July 19, 2009
October 7, 2008
I adore Andy Sullivan – from a distance. His luminescent idealism glows with just the right tint of irritable and it catches my eye every day when I peruse the days blogs. We need more people like Andrew who never accept “as is” if “might become” is only a “just do this” away.
Almost daily Andy asks the GOP Vice-presidential nominee to submit to the press. When the McCain campaign bans the press Andy wonders if this is happening in America .
This is America, Andrew, where we do not let facts obscure our vision.
Idealism of the Sullivan variety is like most idealism. It sometimes forgets where it is when it chases “ought.” Mr. Sullivan looks down on Sarah Palin like a helicopter pilot spotting a pack of wolves from the air who hollers at the armed guys in the passenger seats to shoot while they can, and he is flummoxed when they only stare.
Idealism amuses us Americans. Sure, we are an exceptional lot. Yet, just because we Americans know what we “ought” to do does not mean we are inclined to do it. For that sort of dish we need to be hungry. But hungry we rarely are, because we constantly stuff ourselves with snacks and almost always spoil our dinner.
We snack on simple characterizations, slogans, and tasty fear. A real meal? We do not have the patience and will to prepare lasting nourishment for ourselves, nor do we have the determination to hunt down and kill the beast that might starve our freedom. Here, have another snack, instead.
There is something superhero-like in Sarah’s schtick. Never mind that she would gleefully shoot your dog if, in crossing her path to progress, the animal might delay her journey. Because superheros know what they are doing we accept the destruction their actions create, all the while hoping Bowser and the rest of what makes life good survives.
Americans value superheros because superheros do what needs to be done. So, why question them? They do our work so we can eat more snacks.
So when Mr. Sullivan idealistically demands Ms. Palin cast herself at the feet of the infotainment pool of what is left of American journalism so they might accurately take measure, he misses the fact that we Americans just do not scrutinize our superheroes. No. We just believe in them while we can. And, who wants to change America?
September 16, 2008
Unless one is extremely wealthy and completely selfish voting for Republicans this year is an indefensible idea. The only people who don’t understand this are the ones seduced by the Republican machine to believe Republicans care about abortion, gay marriage, or fundamentalist Christianity.
Republicans want one thing. To eliminate all regulation or oversight of big corporations.
But don’t Republicans care about social issues like protecting marriage and the sanctity of human life?
Please. Sanctity of human life? Show me what Republican policies actually do to human lives.
Republicans since the 1970’s act on behalf of environment-be-damned corporate earth plunderers who would sell out their own mothers before giving up a penny of profit.
How do Republicans get away with it?
By pandering to a group of social conservatives who care only about a few issues. These voters are suspicious of so-called “liberal elitists” and windbags like yours truly. and Republicans know how to stir the pot of anger and distrust by telling this group that Republicans care about their “values.” Republicans give their well-meaning religious pals keys to the club and even call them “Republicans” before stepping out back for a smoke and to snicker about tricking yet another election.
Republicans know the sizable portion of social conservative fundamentalists tend to be a very loyal group. Once they make up their mind, there is almost no changing it. So what better group to have on your team? And ever since the 1960’s and 1970’s Republicans have been feeding to this narrow (but significant) band of the electorate empty rhetoric about protecting marriage, stem cell research bans, and abstinence training for randy teens. Nice. Whatever works.
Republicans when in power are then more able to stay in power by turning government over to what it euphemistically calls “the private sector,” otherwise known as big business. So, 99 percent of Americans grow more dependent on deregulated corporations to get mortgages, provide health care, and deliver energy. Guess who profits? The 1% of the population who need you to vote Republican.
As corporations get stronger and bigger and take over more of the responsibilities of government the little businesses have a harder time competing and the private citizen has less recourse when getting screwed by power.
Simply put, Republicans want corporations to run your lives. Democrats want government to referee the game between corporate America and the little guy. And, libertarians are just Republicans who didn’t manipulate religious fundamentalists to gain power.
The new symbol of rural America is Walmart, who comes to a little town near you and gets to pay little or no tax because it creates jobs. Good thing, because the neighbor kids will need a place to work when Walmart closes the local grocer.
Exxon Mobile made more money this year from high gasoline prices than any corporation ever has. Yet, Republicans want to eliminate taxes and regulation from the oil industry so it can drill everywhere it wants like some kind of stud on an island of virgins who never cares for the kids that later come.
Republican single-minded focus on enabling corporate greed and misdeed is huge. They distract with social issues, which they care nothing about except to trick enough voters to keep them in power.
We may never get the Republican social conservatives to join the social conservatives in the Democratic party and vote with their brains instead of their feelings. But, if we do it will be in no small part because we learned how to talk with them.
September 5, 2008
And let me offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second Washington crowd: Change is coming.”
–John McCain, at the GOP Convention last night apparently acknowledging defeat to the candidate of change.
September 4, 2008
Republicans last evening at their convention mocked community organizing in an effort to help their vice presidential nominee appear bigger. The following excerpt is from an email David Plouffe (Obama campaign manager) sent in response:
Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack’s experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed.
Let’s clarify something for them right now.
Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.
And it’s no surprise that, after eight years of George Bush, millions of people have found that by coming together in their local communities they can change the course of history. That promise is what our campaign has been about from the beginning.
Throughout our history, ordinary people have made good on America’s promise by organizing for change from the bottom up. Community organizing is the foundation of the civil rights movement, the women’s suffrage movement, labor rights, and the 40-hour workweek. And it’s happening today in church basements and community centers and living rooms across America.
Meanwhile, we still haven’t gotten a single idea during the entire Republican convention about the economy and how to lift a middle class so harmed by the Bush-McCain policies.
Too bad so many single-issue voters (e.g., anti-abortion, prayer in schools, right to assault weapons, anti-gay, etc.) are bamboozled into supporting the GOP and its personal agenda of corporate wealth care. While the GOP will tend to favor conservative social agendas, they do so while recklessly inserting the country into war and dangerously push us away from solving our energy problems. Yet, for single-issue voters losing our country to keep prayer in public schools is worth it. Sad, indeed, that the only way Republicans can win is by pandering to Evangelicals.