Archive for the 'Independent' Category

04
May
09

Conservative and Liberal Southerners Face-Off With Mutual Awesomeness. UPDATED

A conservative blogger, Essence of America, asked me to join in a spirited discussion (see comment section of this blog about douchebag Rick Perry) during which we both present our views of various issues. Because Essence’s commentary style is one of irreverent, foul-language appreciating flavors, I thought we’d be a perfect match. That and his personal insults make me laugh really hard on the inside. I’m a sucker for people with a sense of humor who aren’t too sensitive and offended easily.

Essence launched the discussion with his take on a number of topics presented below. My responses are below his comments. After he reads my responses and responds, I’ll paste those in. Enjoy (it’s crazy long, by the way, so I hope you’re at work and bored):

And so it begins. I’ll start this magnificent dialogue between us by briefly addressing each of your points. Then we’ll go from there.

CHURCH AND CHRISTIANITY

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

Have you ever been kicked out of a church because your family, as foster parents, was taking care of black children for an adoption agency? Did people who call themselves Christians ever threaten you because they didn’t like the way your dad preached? Have you ever had a cross burned in your yard and been called nigger lover? Have church members ever stood in your front yard and record your conversations in some ill-advised attempt to set you up for a fall?

If anyone is pissed off about what church has become, it’s me. You have no idea. I’ve struggled for years with this, having to balance my love of God against my bitterness for His church.

But it’s the church’s fault. Denominational theology is more important to them than Christ’s teachings. If you attend a Baptist church, you are taught to believe this or that. If you attend a Methodist church, you are taught something else. If you go to a Presbyterian church, it’s one way, and if you attend a Pentecostal church or non-denominational one, it’s something else. And don’t even get me started on Catholicism or those other branch-off churches I consider to be cultic.

I will say I have been more comfortable in the non-denominational church, where people of all backgrounds and races are generally welcomed and the focus is on worship, not theology.

Still, I don’t like going anymore. It feels fake to me, like people are not there for the right reasons. So if anyone understands how you feel about church and her people, it’s me. We’ll talk more about that later.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

First of all, I don’t use the N-word. Seriously, the word doesn’t belong to white people – especially white men. Even if you’re not using it against anyone. The word belongs to the black people and they can decide amongst themselves what to do with it. It’s like “cunt” with women. That word belongs to women unless you live in Australia, where it’s practically a term of affection men use with each other. Here, I don’t think men should use it – but I’ll be blue in the face before my husband decides to abide by this tenant. The cunt.

Okay, church and Christianity. Sure, they are separate things to a degree – but I do believe the church is by-product of the use of religion for power. Christianity was created by men for political reasons. Most tribes and cultures throughout history have had religions. Almost everything in the Bible is borrowed from previously-established religions (for example, Zoroastrianism). Many of these tribes were organized with the caste-system and the only ways to rise above your birth station was by entering the military or the priesthood. Priests were extremely powerful, so it was a naturally beckoning to many the ambitious soul. The creation of Christianity was a natural example of this tradition. Furthermore, the human race has always sought explanations for its existence and the world around it and religion has largely fulfilled that whole (though quite erroneously) until science was capable of offering a much better, evidence-based enlightenment.

Also, Jesus almost definitely did not exist as the tales in the Bible tell. First of all, the gospels don’t even agree on the facts of his life. Secondly, Jesus, as the Bible describes, almost certainly would have gained much more attention outside other cultures and we would see writings about him in other cultures. And this is not the case.

Furthermore, we live in world that rewards good decision-making. If you’re a junkie, you’ll most likely die. If you commit crimes, you’ll most likely end up in jail. If you treat people poorly, you’ll most likely end up alone or hated. Now, according to Christianity, we have two choices to make: believe in this man as lord and savior, without evidence, to receive eternal salvation OR evaluate the information and evidence, of which there is none other than this book written by men, refuse to accept the divinity of Jesus and find yourself blistering in eternal hellfire.

Why would God create a world in which evidence-based, informative and judicial decision-making is rewarded and them condemn those that would use such an exemplary decision-making process to Satan’s lair? It makes no sense. Any reasonable, objective, un-brainwashed person could recognize this. That and almost everything in the Bible can be debunked. Get with the program. As Christianity spread, it usurped the traditions of the locals to better convert them. Most religions of the time did the same. Christmas and Easter were not originally Christian holidays. They are now. And isn’t the Corporatocracy of America quite the benefactor?

Religion is and always has been a tool used to control people. Power is one of the primary ambitions of man and both religion and the church feed this. Churches are business institutions and the people that erect them are hungry for power, money, and adoration and the Bible (which describes a God of Abraham I would never follow) paves the way for these charlatan monkeys (ahem, Joel Osteen). They decry homosexuality and abortion (which the Bible barely mention) while living obese and rich (which the Bible soundly renounces) lifestyles. Ridonkulous. How funny that Miss California would discuss the sanctity of marriage while ignoring the sanctity of her body (which the Bible says to leave unaltered) by allowing the California Pageant people to pay for her boob job. Wow. Makes me want to sign right up.

Phew, let me take a breath as I get off my soapbox.

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

You couldn’t be more wrong, Mpressions, about the Christ. And I’ve got news for you, my friend, you’re not going to be receptive to the opposing argument with such a hardened heart. I could debate theology with you all day long and get nowhere. I could tell you what He has done in my life and in the lives of other believers I know. I could tell you about the miracles I’ve witnessed in not only my life but in others as well. I could share the Gospel with you, unconditionally, for as long as you’d listen. But it’s not going to change your heart. Only God can do that.

I’ll just drop a link for you and let you know I’m here if you want to talk about it. I’ll pray for you and hope you won’t just dismiss this: http://www.ucgstp.org/lit/gn/gn053/bibletrue.htm

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

It’s true you won’t get anywhere debating religion with me. Just try and remember that the majority of us atheists and agnostics (at least those of us over 30) were once religious, and probably Christian. We use to have those same stories of what Jesus did in our lives and tales of miracles we witnessed firsthand. We were there. So, those stories would most likely reveal no new revelations. Trust me, we’ve heard it and said it all before. And I like to think of it not as a hardened heart, but an open mind.

CONSERVATIVES AND LIBERALS

ESSENCE OF AMERICA :

I know what you’re saying, and I know the difference in terminology. I am a Republican politically and a conservative socially. In just about every way possible, you’re going to get a right-winger with me. I can attribute much of that to my upbringing, and I’m not ashamed of it.

As a member of the GOP, I am not a blind supporter. I don’t go gently into that good night. When my party is wrong, it’s wrong. I did vote for and supported President Bush. But I did not like every single thing he did. I can think for myself and talk for myself. The fact remains, though, I am on the right side of the aisle and it always will be that way – unless, of course, my fellow right-wingers lose their damned minds and they do go gently into that good night. If that happns, I might just have to take over the party myself.

POLITICAL IMPRESSIONS:

Haha. I soooo encourage you to take over the party yourself at this moment. It’s a rotting ship. I was never too conservative, but I was a Republican in my younger days (which weren’t that long ago). I would have voted for W. if I wasn’t lazy about getting my absentee ballot in (I was in Australia at the time). But, I was a government major and then a geopolitical analyst and after really observing the results of Republican ideology, I had to jump off the bandwagon.

And I would never accuse  you of being a blind supporter, but you must remember that most of liberals – definitely the ones that comment on my site – are well-informed as well. Hell, I’m pro-death penalty, I eat meat, I drive an SUV. But, you see, Democrats tend to be a coalition with many diverging groups. The Republicans have morphed into an ideology-driven borg that refuses to allow members who do not tow the line. That will be their kiss of death if they do not somehow overcome their tendency to simply “fall in line.”

And you say you will always be on the right side of the line. I define that as being loyal to the label. You should strive to be on the right side of truth and policy rather than actually care about political labels or colors. I call myself Independent because money-hungry bastards who call themselves politicians inhabit both parties. I care more about policy than party.

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

You’re half right. I care more about my country than a label. But I’m a Republican for many reasons, not the least of which is this ideology stuff you’re so happy to condemn. For the anti-Republicans scattered chaotically across America – with deep concentrations of them on each coast and a few in the Midwest – people like me who hold sacred certain principles and American traditions are mere fucktards who cannot and will not tolerate the opinions of others. The fact I’ve taken the time to engage you is representative of my tolerance. The first time I visited your blog, I wanted to spit up in my mouth. I could not disagree more with you on just about everything on here. In fact, I’d go even further by saying your politics are what I hate so much about the left-wing machine (http://essenceofamerica.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/former-mccain-advisor-wants-gop-to-turn-left/).

But I am grateful for this opportunity, for your willingness to listen to what makes me who I am. You seem like a well-rounded person, even if you are so imperfect politically. Indeed, I can tolerate a liberal, despite the fact so many liberals think we conservatives are a bunch of hateful bigots who carry our Bibles everywhere while we go after homosexuals.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

Political personal interactions are so different than responding to a group as a whole. And each side resents how the other side lumps the other into one homogeneous borg. I get that.

I don’t think liberals are all the same. Some are vegetarian, some prioritize inner-city development, some are staunch pacifists, some are environmental terrorists, some think women who stay at home are parasites on their husbands. I really belong to none of these groups. We’re quite different and more a coalition.

Republicans, while some might be socially liberal, tend to have a base that is of the same opinion. Pro-life, pro-gun, for small government, lower taxes, etc., etc. There is much more commonality among right wingers than left wingers. However, I know many the reasonable and lovely Republican, and many the nutjob, freako racist Republican.

Either way, we’ll never be happy reading what the other side has to say about our side. That said, if you can’t have a sense of humor about it, it’s just not worth it. Life is short and there are way too many fun Republicans for me to hold up a Do Not Enter sign when they approach. While I think it’s retarded not to be able to talk to people about politics and religion, I can wax and wane on beer and college sports for hours. We have to see what we have in common and stop being so offended all the time when people disagree with us.

PATRIOTISM

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I haven’t read your post about this yet, but just let me say I am patriotic, I do love my country, and I am a good person – though not perfect. I’m the kind who gets chills during the singing of the national anthem and seeing the American flag wave. I like a good war story. I enjoy talking to members of the U.S. armed forces. I think you can love your country but not like the direction it’s headed. I think you can disagree with or even hate what the president of the United States is doing and still be patriotic. And I think you can want a different kind of change without being hateful.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

I agree that you can be patriotic and still disagree with the president. However, for chrissakes, we need to get off this crazy train where patriotism equals character. And we should not be judging how patriotic or NOT patriotic others are. It’s not a currency and I am soooo sick of the Right doing everything they can to seem patriotic in order to gain the upper hand of the debate.

I want to know how many of these people have lived outside of the U.S. so that they may compare it and know just how they actually feel about this country. I have lived outside of it twice – and hopefully will do so again – and can appreciate more than you could ever imagine. I have seen firsthand the differences in culture that allow me to appreciate my home. But the U.S. has a long way to go to claim the superiority all the Right award it. I would encourage all readers now to read a blog I have written in the past: How Great is the U.S.? It’s an eyeopener.

Patriotism also means having the courage to admit the faults of the U.S. and the areas in which our country can and should improve. Patriotism should not be used as a weapon and it is shameful that the Right does so repeatedly (and not John C. Holmes shameful, but Joseph McCarthy shameful).

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

To me, patriotism means actually loving your country – I mean loving it. Democrat or Republican, love of country must come first. Obviously, a person can love his country and recognize its faults while working to correct them. We would disagree, obviously, on what those faults are. To me, patriotism means serving honorably and bravely in the U.S. armed forces without regard to politics. My dad is a war veteran. I have other relatives and friends who have served. I believe no greater honor exists than wearing the American uniform.

It’s another story, however, to go abroad and insult your own country and apologize for its existence (http://essenceofamerica.wordpress.com/2009/04/03/obama-mocks-america-presidency-while-overseas/). I just can’t abide by that kind of idiocy.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

I think all Americans love their country. And my love of my country is no one else’s business and isn’t for anyone else to judge. My worth is not how many flag’s I’m waving on the 4th of July. People who judge others’ patriotism can suck it as far as I’m concerned. I bet Jesus wouln’t walk around saying who’s patriotic and who isn’t. And many people can love and honor their country and do not have to join the armed forces – and I have a bit of military in my family as well.

First of all, almost anyone can join the Armed Forces. During Bush, they eased recruitment standards that allowed people with criminal histories and gang members. Now, I don’t give a shit if someone has the uniform on. If they kill, rob, or peddle drugs while, they are not honorable.

Also, sexual assault is rampant in the Armed Forces. A huge percentage of women in the military report being sexually assaulted. Many times these incidents are pushed under the rug and many a seemingly honorable young man in uniform has felt it his right to rape females. That is abhorrent and quite the opposite of honorable.

We can romanticize the Armed Forces all we want, but many join it because they have no other options or want a paycheck – not for the love of their country. This is reality and I’m not afraid to say it – not for all the right wing attacks that may come my way for stating what actually happens. I will not whitewash the military or act as though there are no bad apples.

I do appreciate what soldiers have done for this country and the sacrifice they make for us. My acknowledging problems in the military does not diminish that. And the Right’s refusal to discuss the military in a way that appears to diminish its greatness is the umbrella under which many of these dishonorable acts take place.

THIRD PARTIES

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I just don’t get them. I like to make fun of them precisely because of what I told you about my libertarian buddy. The guy is good people, but I never can grasp what he’s really about. I can’t even remember who he voted for in November. I do remember, though, how he kept talking about how he just might write himself in as president because no one he liked was on the ballot.

I just can’t respect that kind of thinking. Hell, I would have respected him more if he had voted for Obama. At least then I could understand the rationale.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

I completely understand. On a theoretical level, I think a multi-party system would enhance the level of democracy in this country. In such a case, the two parties couldn’t hold the country by the balls and then cede all decision-making to the corporations. Under the multi-party system, you really would have a contest of quality candidates rather than a fundraising-a-thon. Many would argue that those who raise the most money were then supported by the most people, but when you look at Center for Responsive Politics numbers, you see just how entrenched companeis are in the fundraising process. Third and fourth and fifth parties would help alleviate this problem.

That said, if Nader hadn’t run, Gore would have won (despite all his douchiness) and we wouldn’t have had the atrocity of W. If we want the multiparty system and we want it to work, we’ll have to go through a painful process to earn it. And as for Libertarians – it’s a fad that has arisen in response to the inability of the Republicans to drop the religioners off at the nuthouse and regain competence. Once these old white guy Falwell-foll0wers die off, Republicans will return to prestige and Libertarianism will evaporate. Furthermore, the more I have discussions with Libertarians, the more I realize they really do not understand the results of the political ideology they espouse. I’m happy to see them on the playing field though. I will support the emergence of all viable third parties, even I don’t vote with them.

UPDATE –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I believe mostly in the two-party system and its survival for the betterment of democracy in this country. It is my opinion, though, that third parties only serve to dilute elections and thus, are not worthy of any votes whatsoever.
POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:
I don’t think the two-party system is good for democracy at all. It gives us the choice of lesser of two evils. If we had five or six viable candidates for positions, we’d have better choices, fresher talent, speedier progress, and less wheeling-and-dealing.
At this point, for the majority of politicians, if they have the funds to run a great campaign, it doesn’t matter the quality of politician they are. As long as they are of the party the majority of their constituents are, they can be as unethical as they like.
The multi-party system would also help staunch the entrenchment of corporate interests as companies would have to more widely distribute their contributions (which should be illegal anyhow).
At this point, our two-party system intensifies the polarization of the country and increases the likelihood that the political will behave unethically at some point in their political career and that the politician with the most money is the most likely to win.

INTELLECTUALS AND THE DESIRE TO BE INTELLECTUAL

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I’ve been called “passionate” and “hardcore” and “crazy” about my politics and beliefs. So I do appreciate when someone of a varying opinion brings the same passion to an argument. I respect those types. I cannot, on the other hand, abide by people who believe in something but can’t explain why they believe that way.

About a year ago, I was hosting my own birthday party when the brother of my best friend started talking about his affection for Bill Clinton and other Dems. By this time, we both had plenty of drinks in us, and the argument became exceedingly spirited. People were laughing. We spent half an hour insulting each other, defending each other’s parties and beliefs, and threatening bodily harm to each other.

But when it was over, we shook hands, laughed it off, and got back to the business of celebrating life and freedom and America.

So, finally, here’s to an ongoing discussion about right-wingers and left-wingers and why we are so freaking different. Feel free to drop by essenceofamerica at any time to get your daily dose of conservative awesomeness. And if you ever decide to come to the other side, we’d be glad to have you!

“Cause God blessed Texas with His own hand
Brought down angels from the promised land
Gave ‘em a place where they could dance
If you wanna see heaven brother here’s your chance
I’ve been sent to spread the message
God blessed Texas”

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

Mkay. Good remarks. However, they had nothing to do with intellectualism. So, I’ll respond to your remarks and we can talk about intellectualism later.

I am completely with you about wanting to kick someone overboard when they can’t explain their political leanings. I was at my sister’s birthday party in the heart of a McCains-ville part of Houston when some of the peeps asked me about politics, knowing I was a lefty. They’re response was that they didn’t know enough to have a real discussion with me. Grossly pathetic – though I still like those people quite a bit on a character level. Plus they are great to party with.

Debate and discussion are the vessels of progress and we cannot shy away from them or simply have the goal of superiority. Through every interaction a lesson can be learned. I read right wing blogs and watch right wing televsion because not only can I learn something new, I can understand how others think. And that’s important in a Democracy.

Most of my family (extended, not immediate), and a great many of my friends are right wing and Republican and I would do anything for them. So, I’m not afraid to have a discussion. I’ll still like them afterward. You can’t be offended by disagreement or insist on political correctness because to do so impedes progress.

And that is some crazy “God Blessed Texas” shit.

I’ll just say that I love this state because sitting in an inner tube on a lake with a floating cooler of Lonestar and Willie Nelson playing in the background is seriously the most awesome activity ever. Ever.

I’ll just add here – and I will repeatedly in my blog forevermore – that Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso ALL voted for Obama on Nov. 4, 2008. So, our little good ol’ boy Repubs better watch their asses.

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

Yes, maybe I got off track with this one. But I dare say the country probably does not give one little shit about who Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and El Paso go for in presidential elections. The state is still red (as are most states), as evidenced by the county-by-county election map of November 2008. As for Austin, that place is a hotbed for liberal activity, so it’s no surprise it went for The Blessed One.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

So, true. Most of the country doesn’t care about these cities. I merely point it out because of the recent craziness of our governor and in rebuttal to recent Republican leadership statements that they are shoring up support in the South. They are, in fact, losing numbers – not strengthening them – down here. The only state that went more Republican in ’08 was Oklahoma. And there’s a very reasonable explanation for that that would take a while to write out, but I can offer it easily upon request.

WRAP-UP

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:
Meredith, you presented all the classic liberal arguments in this one. Well done! It’s a shame you went to the other side a few years ago, but I’m sure you were deceived like so many before and after you.

You’re welcome to rejoin us at any time. I mean, you display the charactistics of many conservatives in our country: You drive a truck (so do I, an American one); you listen to good music (I have many different tastes); you like to have a good time (nothing’s better than a cookout and many, many beers, if you ask me); and you are a spirited debater.

Touche!

By the way, I’ve never liked the word cunt. I believe it corrupts, rather disgustingly, what is supposed to be a glorious and essentially perfect part of the female form. To call it a cunt, or to call someone a cunt, can have an almost demoralizing effect on the sexual being, if said sexual being is a pansy, of course.

Nonetheless, the word is just no good. No good at all. And I despise it. Even women shouldn’t use it, a term of affection among them or not. Cunt. Well, fuck, that just doesn’t do it for me. Cunt. Just can’t get my mouth around it.

Ok. Sorry about that last part. I could not resist. Shame on me.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

Hey! I presented all the classical liberal arguments? Perhaps I’m a classy liberal… Well, maybe not (I have a really, really impressive belch).

I appreciate the offer to return to the Right, I will however decline in the name of Progress. If one thing doesn’t work, you take a reasonable step at studying the problems and solutions and then make decisions. That’s what I’m about. Republican ideology is tried and failed and it’s time to move on.

That said, I very much enjoyed your participation in this debate. So much of this is more about discussion than our conclusions and we rock in this most important facet of American politics.

So funny your comments on the word “cunt.” You see, when this word first came into existence it meant vulva or vagina and was not offensive. Male-dominated cultures tend to alter words referring to the femine and make them offensive. In latin langauges, many bad things have are femine (war), while good things (money) are masculine. Think about how many derogatory words you can think of for women: bitch, cunt, whore, jezebel, slut, etc. And how many you can think of that deride men for their sexually liberal ways?

In my opinion, we need to take back the word “cunt” and many others that had reasonable beginnings and restore them to the previous grandeur. Will it happen? No bloody likely.

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15
Apr
09

Tea Baggers – Disingenuous, Ignoramus Boobs

The blogosphere is alight today with opinion pieces denouncing these rube-magnet “Tea Parties.” Here’s another one.

cause bush told the truth!

cause bush told the truth!

First of all, much like a circus, these Tea Parties put on display for the rest of us to see, the imbecilic nature of Right Wing nutjobs. The ones who vote for their big biz Republican politicians who enact policy that directly injures their very constituents. Who is dumb enough to believe the Dick Armeys, Newt Gingriches, Limbaughs, Coulters, Hannitys, Glenn Becks, Michael Steeles, Rick Perrys, Mark Sanfords, Sarah Palins, Michelle Bachmanns, David Vitters? Who is dumb enough to be whipped into a gun-buying, revolution-shouting frenzy of inanity by this honorless Republican leadership? Go to a Tea Party tonight and find out.

DEFICIT

Here’s why these people are disingenuous: they are protesting government spending that would drive up the deficit. Well, their precious Reagan drove up the deficit, George H. W. Bush and his highly successful son drove up the deficit and nary a Tea Party was had. Where was the outrage? I remember a bunch of Right Wingers getting their panties in a bunch over the fact that Bill Clinton was sucked off by an intern, but did they ever congratulate him over balancing the budget? No. They don’t care about the deficit. They’re group-think idiots of the highest order.

They keep saying they don’t want our kids to inherit a huge deficit. Yet, they don’t give a shit if our kids inherit an environment raped by big business because we were to ignorant to switch to renewable energy when we had the chance. They don’t care if our kids inherit a country with semi-automatic weapons carpeting the countryside. They don’t care if our kids have affordable health care and access to decent medical attention. Their claims of concern for our kids is false and hollow and nauseating.

TAXES

And they’re complaining about taxes. Well, let’s see. Obama is instituting the broadest tax cut in history. And he’s only raising taxes of the wealthy to less than they were under Reagan. In fact, the GOP’s proposed budget again lowers taxes for the wealthy, increasing them for the lower and middle classes, according to this PDF put together by Citizens for Tax Justice. They also discovered that the GOP plan would cost $225 billion more than the Democratic plan.

These Right Wingers are also people calling for the U.S. to attack Iran, North Korea and launch a military operation in Somalia and off its coast – yet they don’t want to PAY for it. Funny how their buttboy Bush didn’t want to pay for his war of choice either – refusing to fund the soldiers on the battlefield appropriately and refusing to fund their care when they return home. Yet, the Bush administration sent billions of dollars to defense contractors who struck it rich while unable to account for millions, if not billions of dollars they received.

HYPOCRITES

We’re seeing calls for Revolution – for people to arm themselves as if to somehow thwart the government. How ridiculously hypocritical these white, racist conservatives are being! What if members of the left made these anti-government slogans? How unamerican we would be labeled –  how unpatriotic.

This is a lunatic fringe minority of the American demographic and they want to control the fates of the rest of us. They would rather overthrow the legally-elected government representing the views of the majority of this country. The election was a blowout – the American people spoke and were absolutely demanding a change in leadership and these crazy teabag freakos would attempt to undermine the very democracy innumerable people have shed their lives to give us. They seek to weaken the country and cheapen the government system that makes them so proud only when it serves their selfish purposes.

LIBERTY

How deep does these people’s inability to process logic and thought go? Consider their calls for liberty. Bush used illegal warrantless wiretapping on the American people (and most relevant journalists). Right Wingers were silent. Bush banished Habeas Corpus from the Constitution. The Right Wingers were silent.  Bush turned the Justice Department into a partisan death squad. Right Wingers were silent. The illegality of gays to marry inhibits the liberties of a vast number of Americans. Marijuana as never caused the death of a person, yet the liberty to smoke pot legally is almost non-existent. Women’s liberty to choose to end a pregnancy would be taken away if these conservos had their way.

The only liberty they want is to take away the rights and decisions of those who disagree with them. They would oppress the rest of us for their own, ignorant, baseless, uninformed reasons.

DOUCHEBAGS

This shade of political activist allows the terrorism of the rest of the country by easing the release of assault weapons onto our streets and into the hands of criminal elements both

yeah, and Bush wasnt? Jeez....

yeah, and Bush wasn't? Jeez....

domestic and outside our boarders. Their answer is that we should all arm ourselves, encouraging the possibility of gun battles in our neighborhoods.

These Tea Baggers do not understand the realities of their theories and the results of their lunacy. While their opinions on deregulation and taxation and government spending, etc. sound quite wonderful, they have unintended consequences and materialize in ways that damage this country’s economy, civil liberties and safety – as was illustrated so clearly under Bush.

The Tea Baggers had their chance. They controlled the White House and Congress for six of the last eight years and their policies tore this country asunder, taking it to the brink of collapse. This subgroup of political outliers would dictate liberties not only to the rest of Americans – but hang the rest of the world out to dry, attacking many without justification and at the same time arousing indignation that we sacrifice our “sovereignty” by abiding by U.N. Resolutions.

These people are idiots – the lowest common denominator of the uninformed. They are being used by people and leadership whose policies affect these “protestors” negatively in a significant way. Yet, time and time again, Republican “tax and deficit” lies – and the use of god, guns and gays – gets these turkeys hot to trot in an attempt to inhibit progress and improvement of this great nation.

It’s real cute, the mock revolution and display of boobery by the ‘baggers. I’m glad the rest of us can sit back and chuckle at the baffoonery without real fear their opinions will gain any traction. In my opinion, the best way to overcome this circus of ‘tards is to stay informed. Read,read,read. And remember the last eight years.

In short, take a hike, tea baggers. You don’t know what you’re talking about and the rest of us (ahem, the majority) don’t need or want you.

And I don’t want to hear any shit about the Tea Parties being Libertarian before being hijacked by the Right Wing wackos. This blog is meant for those hijackers. The tea bags are being funded by the Right Wing death squads and that’s why I’m responding so vehemently.

UPDATE 4.16.09: After looking at all the pics of these rallies, it was clear there were no minorities amongst the Tea Bag douchers. A klan-esque political movement of old, white people that is tasteless to minorities, gay people, non-believers and progressive women will go nowhere and gain bupkis. And Rove thinks this “movement is significant.” Um…right. He also referred to Democrats’ “tax and spend tendencies.” Why don’t we talk about how great the “no tax, but sill spend a lot” policies of the Republicans are? I guess it’s true. Right Wingism does rot the brain.

08
Apr
09

Gay Marriage Update

What a freaking awesome time for progress! The Vermont Legislature overrode their dipshit governor’s veto of their bill to legalize gay marriage (and, Vermont, what’s the dealyo with electing such an ignoramus in the first place? I mean, I know I’m from Texas and haven’t a positive thing to say about our governor – but you’re VERMONT). And the Iowa State Supreme Court found that legislation defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional:

A statute inconsistent with the Iowa Constitution must be declared void, even though it may be supported by strong and deep-seated traditional beliefs and popular opinion.

Civil libertarians around the country are as giddy as little girls  over these momentous occasions and what a bright spot they are after the resounding show of bigotry last November in California.

So, it was quite galling to watch a Mike Barnacle-hosted Hardball today on which Maggie Gallagher, of the National Organization for Marriage, issued the most ridiculous claims regarding the effects of gay marriage. First, allow me to post an ad NOM recently spent a cool 1.5 million bones to air in hopes that it would turn the tide of public sentiment against gay marriage:

Hello, McFly! Are you serious? Are you trying to dumb down the American people with this drivel?

One woman says she’s “afraid” of gay marriage. A man claims the gay marriagers want to bring the issue into their life. And another chick says her freedoms will be taken away.

And then Gallagher posited on Hardball that the bad thing about gay marriage is that our children will be taught they are wrong to hold on to their beliefs that gay marriage is wrong. And churches participating in legal adoptions will be unable to discriminate against same-sex couples. And churches in New Jersey that participate in the commercial real estate market by renting out space for marriages will have to rent them out for gay weddings.

If you are a regular reader, and even if you aren’t, you can imagine I have a few (more than, actually) choice words to answer these babblings of those…say it with me…on the WRONG side of history. It’s called progress. Look into it.

First of all, like most religioners, NOM is attacking gay marriage from the viewpoint that it will injure them somehow. They give little consideration to the feelings and rights of gay marriage. I have one question for them: WWJD, biotch? Their storied Jesus would have never allowed his opinions to dictate the lives of others. The Bible preaches FREE WILL. These people have a bastardized view of that which they hold up as their guide. Be kind. Think of others first. That’s what your Christ would do.

Secondly, NOM is trying to stir up fear and playing to the most base of human emotions to illicit a reactionary response rather than debate the issue on its merits. The Constitutions grants all Americans inalienable rights – including marriage. Negate that. Trying to scare people into a frenzy is no means to change society for the better or for the long term. It’s juvenile and, as we saw with the Bush administration, destined for failure.

Like the cute dude debating Gallagher said, if the churches want to participate in government-controlled activities, such as adoption and real estate, they should not complain when their religion-induced bigotry is called onto the mat and squashed like a fat mosquito. Gallagher kept complaining that those opposed to gay marriage are simply labeled as bigots and intimates their religious beliefs should not be labeled discriminatory.

Au contraire, ma soeur, religion has long served as the catalyst for bigoted, evil, discriminatory acts. It is the job – the duty – of those driving progress and propelling humanity forward to thwart those who would victimize others and then defend their actions with “religious ideology.” We no longer have room for such behavior in this society of free speech, widely available education and information.

I would encourage religioners to stop trying to keep everything the same. Change is inevitable. Progress will always tap you on the shoulder and show you the exit. Maybe not the nearest exit. But the eventual one.

And good riddance.

03
Nov
08

I’m Voting For Barack Obama

Surprise of the century, I know!

While I had been considering Nader in order to support the multi-party system, he is a unfortunately a write-in candidate here in Texas – forcing me to question the immediate efficacy of such a vote. All candidates on my sample ballot are Repub, Dem or Libertarian, so it seems the major parties here in Texas are succeeding in keeping our political choices as narrow as possible. A shame for democracy, really.

Nader’s write-in status, however, did not itself determine my vote.

The widespread efforts of Republican voter suppression did. Republicans across the nation try to have hundreds of thousands of names purged from voter lists, fight efforts to increase early voting availability (salute to Charlie Crist, middle finger to Georgia’s secretary of state) and fund disinformation campaigns to confuse and intimidate potential voters. Our saving grace this year is that the secretaries of state in Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada and (thank christ) Ohio are Democrat. Sorry, bitches, no Katherine Harris replay here.

Almost all voter suppression efforts originate in the nasty little minds of Republicans, who have shown election after election that they hold winning of higher import than democracy. How ridiculously wretched that Bush claims is presidential clarion call is to spread democracy when he has helped his party be an agent of democracy poisoning.

The Right likes to flail their hands in the air screaming Voter Fraud. Yet, even if quite a few false registrations were turned in, it would be an unlikely realization that those registrations would result in actual votes. Republicans – who know this – would prefer to dump thousands upon thousands of legitimate voters in order to prevent a few false votes from occurring. It is a charade. A pathetic, dishonorable, horrific charade given the historic fight to provide us with such a freedom.

I find it harder and harder to relate to the Republican Party as a whole and my respect for the organization has plummeted since my days as a freshman member of the College Republicans.

So, I’m voting for Obama – for all the regular reasons: I agree with many of his policies, I believe he would be infinitely better as president than McCain, I would rather cut off my little toe than see Sarah Palin so close to the presidency, I want to help protect civil liberties and have the utmost concern for the next three Supreme Court appointees, I believe Obama to be an extremely thoughtful man, my consideration as a voter is not just for myself, but my fellow Americans and fellow citizens of the world, Obama would be of much greater benefit to the environment, etc., etc., etc.

But, I’m also voting for Obama as a big FUCK YOU to the Republican Party. As long as they are party who practices widespread voter suppression, as long as they are a party who views fair democracy as an obstacle, as long as they are the party who would rather steal elections than win them outright and smile at the freedom those before us have earned, I will vote against them. I will raise my voice against them. I will fight them every election.

Unfortunately, Texas will send their electoral delegates to support McCain. I’m sure all of you heard that a fourth of Texans still believe Obama is a Muslim – so that gives you an idea of the political education of our fine citizenry. As of this late date, the GOP is running Jeremiah Write ads every few minutes calling Obama too radical and too risky. I’m glad they’ve decided to waste their money in this media market since they’re basically (sadly) preaching to the choir here.

So, I will vote Obama and hope he can fulfill much of what he has promised. And I’m not simply talking universal health care. I’m talking competence and consideration and even-handedness. It will be so difficult for him to achieve many of his lofty ambitions in the face of the massive destruction left by Bush and Cheney militarily, economically, in the area of checks and balances and widespread corruption at the Executive Branch.

I believe Obama will take it home tomorrow night and the majority of us can collectively breathe a sigh of relief and lift a finally-steady hand holding a glass of champagne in celebration. But I’m looking past tomorrow and at the next four years and I’m cautiously optimistic. While the Republican death squads will emerge from their mire within seconds of an Obama victory – this time the majority of the country and overwhelming numbers of global neighbors are supporting him, watching him and simply hoping.

Here we go. Just breathe. And vote. And then breathe. It’s time.

29
Oct
08

Screw You – Leave My Liberal MSNBC Alone!

With MSNBC taking second place in the nightly line-up ratings for October (which isn’t over yet, so it’s weird the ratings for the month are already out…), all I have to say is, Damn Straight! We liberal-leaning political junkies need our opinion/analysis fix – or at least spirited discussion. No one would accuse Joe Scarborough of leaning left, yet his numbers are up as well.

CNN

CNN President Jon Klein

CNN President Jon Klein

Now, CNN is getting defensive. The network president Jon Klein is quoted in The Huffington Post as saying MSNBC’s partisan programming is giving it a boost before the election, but CNN’s post-partisan line-up will serve well in the long-term.

Um, “post-partisan”? We already have bi-partisan and non-partisan. I mean, how many prefixes can you attach to one term? Anyway, on The Daily Show Oct. 27, Campbell Brown said “We are banking on the idea that people want us to play it a little more straight than that.”

Okay, we get it, CNN. You’re the mature, unbiased news analysis. We.Get.It! (although, I think CNN’s daily news coverage tends to be a bit sensationalist, even if it’s unbiased sensationalism)

FOX

Do I even have to devote space in this blog to FOX News? Well, if I must sully myself, I must. I’ll just have to wash with LAVA afterward.

FOX is partisan. Everyone knows it. I mean, Roger Ailes is an absolute trollop for the Republican Party – especially Neo-Cons. He basically has one of those “puff, puff, give” relationships with them.

And who gives a crap, really? If FOX wants to be partisan, let them be partisan! It’s not as if their shit doesn’t reek and we intelligent people can’t all smell it. Everyone knows their angle and I’d have no problem with it if they didn’t claim to be fair and balanced. There has to be a special place in Hell reserved for the people who repeatedly say this and those who actually believe it.

Which brings me to – did anyone catch the video of Obama spokesman Bill Burton having a confrontation with anchor Megyn Kelly?

FOXs Megyn Kelly

FOX's Megyn Kelly

It’s priceless watching her get all hot and bothered by Burton’s repeated accusations that FOX has an agenda. She was so irritated, when referring to FOX News coverage, she actually repeated the phrase “fair and balanced” three times. “Oh! Maybe if I say it enough, it’ll be true! Where’s my fairy godmother, dammit!”

I don’t know what kind crack they’re smoking over there at FOX HQ, but I’m sure it’s illegal in the lower 48. Let’s think about this. Brit Hume called the Democratic National Convention “a spectacle.” Their show hosts are Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly, Steve Doocy, and Sean Hannity – who’s “Hannity’s Obama & Friends: A History of Radicalism” made our likely next president look like Al Qaeda’s puppy dog mascot. Outwardly and inwardly repulsive William Kristol and Karl Rove are big-time FOX commentators and the network just hired Glenn Beck.

People, I am throwing up inside. Are you with me? OK. Let’s continue.

Jed L of Daily Kos conducted a search from Oct. 12-Oct 16 and found FOX News “mentioned ‘ACORN’ or ‘Ayers’ 1,231 times,” compared to MSNBC’s 407 and CNN’s 391. And, according to Rasmussen Reports – run by FOX darling Dick Morris (which is why his poll is the oft-quoted poll on FOX), a survey released August 6 of this year indicated 87% of FOX viewers said they planned to vote for McCain. EIGHTY-SEVEN PERCENT. Now, if they were fair and balanced, don’t you think their viewership would reflect that? (Oh, FYI – only 26% of CNN and 30% of MSNBC viewers planned on pulling the lever for the Republican.)

And, just for recreation, have a look at this picture of their website’s homepage (also posted on Daily Kos by Jed L):

For chrissakes, FOX – own your partisanship. Be one with your partisanship. Be proud that anti-intellectual, Right Wing Nut Jobs have a home among the cable news giants. No one thinks you’re FAIR AND BALANCED – not even FOX News watchers. I know pah-lenty of them and they will fully admit your slant and fully admit to liking you just for that reason.

You may be many things and receive high ratings through deals with some devil, but fair and balanced you are not.

SIDEBAR ISSUE: McCAIN NEWS COVERAGE

Now we’re hearing echoes of Hillary Clinton Campaigns lamentations from McCain’s clusterfuck of a campaign. They’ve been whining over their media coverage for quite some time – even Mark Salter said he thinks the media want Obama to be president.

What the Clinton campaign failed to understand, and what the McCain campaign is now unable to grasp is that when you run a negative campaign, the media reports it. And if your campaign is negative, the media will investigate that, they will investigate your claims and attacks. If your campaign is positive and about yourself, the media will report that and investigate your policy assertions.

McCain wanted to generate negative coverage of Obama with attacks and lies and accusations. What they didn’t understand was that they made their own attacking and accusing THE story. When a politician behaves in such a manner, the media turns its attentions on the aggressive politician because attacking and lying are much juicier story lines. The media is hungry for ratings, not truth.

Had McCain run his campaign of 2000 – which the country was wanting – media coverage of McCain would have been much more positive. But, a campaign run by former Bushies and lobbyists can’t see the forest for the trees or satiate their taste for blood. They themselves are negative entities and black holes with little character. And that, in an of itself, attracted negativity.

Perhaps they will learn this lesson before Sarah Palin gives her own executive ambitions a go in 2012, but something tells me they won’t.

BACK TO MSNBC

Now, everyone’s attacking MSNBC for being too liberal. A meeting of television peeps last Monday produced much criticism of MSNBC, with Linda Bloodworth-Thomason saying Keith Olbermann-type programming “diminishes us.”

Well, get over it. For far too long, this electorate has had a Right-Wing opinioned network and their viewership follows them over the cliff of falsehoods, guilt-by-association, ugly insinuations and outright lying. I’ve been an MSNBC watcher for a while and I’m a fairly informed person. The lying that goes on on FOX – the softballing of their favorite candidates, etc. does not happen at MSNBC. I will absolutely agree that the opinionated nighttime line-up at MSNBC leans left. And MSNBC exec producer Senior VP Phil Griffin said the passionate voices at MSNBC were part of the “rough-and-tumble world of politics.”

Rachel Maddow. Yay.

I agree. If you can’t handle the heat – get out of the frizzeaking kitchen. There are outlets of non-partisan news and analysis available anywhere you want to look. These days, we want opinion. In the era of a tidal-wave of Neo-Con, anti-intellectual, gutter politics, liberals are practically begging for someone to say, This situation is ridiculous and we’re going to tell you why we think so. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are not enough; we’re looking for people who are seriously concerned and seriously angry and aren’t afraid to say it and aren’t afraid of Republican, White House tactics that did Dan Rather in.

Plus, I’m so happy this influx of political opinion is replacing endless reruns of Lockup and To Catch a Predator. I mean, I felt dirty after watching those programs. Hate them.

Now, I’m no slave to MSNBC. And, just to prove it, I’ll allow you the special privilege of insight into my evening television-viewing habits:

I do watch Hardball and sometimes Race for the White House (which is hardly partisan – the other day Tim Pawlenty and Nicole Wallace were the only one-on-one guests. Plus, David Gregory comes from the same non-partisan school of journalism as Tom Brokaw and Brain Williams). Countdown with Keith Olbermann has too much ranting and hardly ever gets my eye – I’m normally tuned into the reruns of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report which I undoubtedly missed the night before. I always check to see what’s happening on Larry King before I commit to Rachel Maddow, whom I love (and can catch her again, later). And then, at bedtime, I’ve got Anderson Cooper on while trying to read the multitude of books I should have finished weeks ago.

And, lest you think my eyeballs permanently glued to the television, I’m almost always doing something else in conjunction with watching these programs: cooking, reading, cleaning, writing, researching, polishing my toenails, playing with my dog or husband, polishing my collection of pundit bobbleheads (kidding. i have no such collection. i mean it.), or other insanely fascinating activities which I cannot recall at this particular moment in time.

So, those of you getting a little squeamish over MSNBC’s liberal commentary – screw off! Leave me my guilty pleasures of Matthews and Maddow. At least MSNBC has the balls to keep Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan on the payroll. Hell, even my old boss – a Republican Strategist – was on there the other day giving his two cents and looking like a goober.

But the nighttime at MSNBC belongs to those of us who want a bigger voice against the religious, Republican idiocy that has released a plague across our country’s legions of uninformed and uncurious, intolerant and close-minded. There are times I want to yell, Right On! No Shit! Finally, someone said it! And MSNBC gives me that opportunity. And I wouldn’t trade it or sacrifice it for all the vanilla, non-partisan, boring, dignified news in all the world. I get my facts all day. At night, I want something different. And MSNBC gives it to me.

21
Oct
08

Simpletons Have Taken Over The Republican Party

Politics have always been selling the most simple ideas about the most complicated issues. Capitalism vs. Socialism. Legalization of abortion vs. Criminalization of abortion. Gay marriage vs. Marriage between a man and a woman. War vs. Peace. Welfare vs. Politics of Personal Responsibility. It seems so easy to decide which side of the coin to set up shop until you dig deeper into the issue – especially social ones.

Many of Americans, however, have no interest in understanding the nuances and complexities of the issues facing this country and its citizens. They exist in the shallow end of the pool, searching for answers that bolster their viewpoints rather than seeking information that may broaden their comprehension. They exist in all voter demographics, but it is the more ugly and intolerant of these simpletons that currently serve as the foundation for the Republican Party. It is on these people that Republicans have been betting elections on for years.

In recent weeks there has been loud murmuring of the “narrowing” of the Republican Party. Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama reflected this development in Right Wing politics – the sacrifice of the intellectualist in favor of the zealot. Many Republicans once supportive of debate, discussion, consideration now find themselves the minority in their party – a stranger in their own home.

In 2004, the Republicans successfully added bans against homosexual marriage to ballots across the country, bringing out evangelicals in droves and delivering a solid victory to the Right. This tactic, largely attributed to Karl Rove, gave Republicans a taste of the power they could attain if only they would debase the election with a simple and divisive issue. Once the simple-minded were good and scared into believing their very way of life was threatened if they didn’t show up to the polls, the Republicans reaped the reward of scare-tactics and dividing a nation. George W. Bush had promised to be “The Great Uniter” but preferred power at any cost and thus ceded his lofty moral ambitions to the salacious intentions of Rove, who believed in a “Permanent Republican Majority”, the very antithesis of democracy.

It seemed for a while the lunatics had taken over the asylum and run away with our grand country, suffocating our national opitimism with their arrogance, isolationism and thirst for power. Americans watched as their government lied them into an unnecessary war, left thousands to die after a hurricane on our own soil, murdered a defining tenant of liberty: habeas corpus, used semantics to skirt Geneva Conventions regarding prisoners of war, committed the ultimate sovereign American hypocrisy of torture, illegally spied on its own citizens, outed one of its own CIA agents, neglected military efforts in Afghanistan, made our country sink lower and lower in developed-world health care standards, sent jobs overseas, established free trade agreements with countries who have no regard for the environment or the laborer or quality of product, redistributed the vast majority of the wealth in this country to the upper economic echelons and, little by little, brought our economy to the verge of collapse.

And Americans, left hopeless and dejected and crushed by years of detestable executive government are now standing up and saying, “No longer.” They are turning their hopes to a fallible, yet thoughtful man whom they will elect as president in two weeks. This turn of events, you can imagine, is causing tremors in the Republican Party, as they witness the death of their “Permanent Majority” aspirations.

In this moment of political crisis, the frenzied Right Wing fringes of have seized command of the ship, ignoring rational voices futilely trying to warn them off the path which leads to a destination of utter annihilation. A line has been drawn in the sand and many, including Colin Powell, Chuck Hagel, Michael Smerconish, want no part of this incensed and ugly Republicanism. Others  – Christopher Buckley, Peggy Noonan, David Brooks, Kathleen Parker and more – have appointed themselves lighthouses amidst the storm, only to be rebuked by the anger and dejection of the Republican Simpleton.

The thoughtless Simpletons have their captains: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coutler, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Tom Delay, Newt Gingrich, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, Karl Rove. And they’ve elected their hero, no not McCain – he’s almost a victim of  Stockholm Syndrome this maelstroom, giving way to the  tactics of fear: attack, lie, then attack some more. No, their new hero is Sarah Palin.

Palin is the new, perfect mascot of the Neo-Conservative, the epitome of this rash of intolerant, hateful and unthinking Simpleton Republicans. They see everything in black and white: Obama’s association with Bill Ayers, Palin’s “executive” experience, Powell’s endorsement of Obama, drilling = energy independence, taxes, foreign relations, the war on Iraq, the SURGE, anti-Americanism.

These are the simpletons that think our country perfect and in no need of improvement, these are the people who think our country is on a hill – above all others – who coined the term “freedom fries” and have no appreciation for our foreign brethren, their own pride and traditions and culture and opinion. These are the people who think any criticism of the US a blasphemy and equate the number of flags flown to the strength of character. These are the conservatives who believe a lie even more after the truth is told to them.

These are the conservatives who are one-issue voters and would criminalize abortion while supporting legislation that would increase poverty, leading to increased abortions. These are the Michelle Bachmanns who would dare judge another person’s anti-Americanism, whatever that means. These are the Republicans who would care if Obama were or Muslim or not and would yell “terrorist” and “kill  him”. These are the Fox News believers who would banish any other source of information that might challenge their way of thinking. These are the base that made it impossible for McCain to choose a more suitable running mate such as Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman.

These are simpletons who do not appreciate intellectual curiosity and education and information. They do not understand intricacy and nuance and complexity. They do not know of the depth of arguments and issues – federal taxation and necessary marriage of American capitalism with socialism. They do not want the government teaching their children evolution and sexual education but would have the government legislate the private lives of those that may live differently. These are the Jacks of “Lord of the Flies” and Samuel Parrisses in “The Crucible” and Joe McCarthy’s and witch hunters who would turn fascist if given any length of legitimacy and dominance. They do not seek truth nor justice nor reason, but struggle to create an ugly, one-sided caricature of their view of the United States of America.

These simpletons have the minds of children, which is why they gravitate so steadily toward a woman who speaks with the tone of a fifth-grade teacher, or school principal at best. They suckle on the lies of the Republicans, calling Obama a Marxist, that he would raise everyone’s taxes, they he palls around with terrorists, that he is the equivalent of Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, that he must answer for the words of Jeremiah Wright, that he is unamerican and different than you and me, that he has different values and shady intentions. This is mother’s milk for the simpletons, leading Fox News to shovel it by the ton.

So many legitimate, centrist Republicans tell me not to associate them with these simpletons. And I don’t. I appreciate my more understanding, learned, reasonable Republican friends.

But in an election such as this, a vote for the Republican Party at the presidential level is a vote for the Simpleton. For the ugly scourge that threatens liberty and discourse and progress. For the person who thinks to be an American is to be a white Christian. For the person who has no capacity of self-analysis, empathy for others, consideration for differing views.

The Republican Party is not what it once was. The Grand Old Party. It has narrowed into a shriveled shadow of its former days, a haven for hate and intolerance. And I am thankful and glad not to consider myself one of its members.

UPDATE 10.22.08: The New Republic echoed my sentiments today (though more diplomatically) in Alvaro Vargas Llosa’s “Cracked Up” – here are a few excerpts:

A rebellion is beginning to take place among American conservatives, many of them influential commentators who are denouncing the takeover of the Republican Party by a mixture of anti-intellectual populists and political extremists.

These fundamental deviations from conservatism crystallized in the Bush administration. The result was the biggest growth in government since the presidency of Lyndon Johnson, a loss of international prestige and, in purely political terms, the alienation of millions of people who could have been attracted to the Republican Party had its libertarian roots been preserved in dealing with social issues. Thus, the party that styles itself the champion of individual liberty has come to be seen by many in the United States and around the world as a special-interest group driven by factions and devoid of principle.

That many conservatives have finally decided to speak out is encouraging. That they are being vilified is even more encouraging–it means that they may just have a point. After the elections, conservatives will have to do some serious soul-searching and ask themselves a few simple questions: How was it that they let their movement and their party be hijacked by people who were hellbent on disfiguring the face of American conservatism? How was it that the self-styled party of individual liberty became, in the eyes of many, the party of big government, intolerance and jingoism?

17
Oct
08

I’m An Undecided Voter

Wait. It’s not what you think.

This may cast a shadow of doubt – for my five daily readers – on the politically sensationalist notion that there is a golden pool of undecided voters who have yet to be decisively plucked by either John McCain or Barack Obama. Oh trust me, the golden pool of undecided voters is there. But the field of pluckers is wide open.

Let me explain,

I live in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas. As of today, Pollster.com has McCain ahead of Obama 55.4 to 39.8 here in my home state. Now, it’s quite clear from my previous blogs that I do not want McCain to win. However, I am not in love with Obama, I do not have a crush on Obama, nor am I engaged to Obama. Furthermore, I steadfastly believe in the necessity to progress our nation beyond a two-party system, which is anathema to democracy.

So, it would seem under this political equation that my well-considered vote is leaning toward Ralph Nader. He’s a third-party candidate. Of course, you wouldn’t know there were third party candidates from the mainstream media. Perhaps they’re bitter about 2000 as well and have made a pact not to discuss any presidential hopefuls other than BO and JM.

Most of us secretly know what will surprise many in the voter booth come November fourth. Lo and behold – there are more than two names on the ballot (Can’t speak for Oklahoma – when god was punishing me by making me live there in 2004, Nader was not included in the election in that state. I was pissed). Ralph Nader – Independent, Bob Barr – Libertarian, Chuck Baldwin – Constitutional, and looney tunes Cynthia McKinney for the Green Party. There are actually SIX presidential candidates! Six!

Of these second and third tier candidates, I would choose Nader. As a tireless founder of and campaigner for consumers’ rights, Nader has spent a life voraciously doing the right thing. While there is no saint of seat belts, my vote would at least heartily congratulate Nader for his selfless endeavors while at the same time giving a shot in the arm to a third-party system and avoiding any benefit to McCain. Win, win, win, no?

No.

Texas will ultimately send its electoral college designates to the malfunctioned Republican Party. Though I had hoped Hispanic support for Obama could somehow miraculously turn Texas a whiter shade of pale blue, it’s not lookin’ good. It’s lookin’ bad. If it were a closer race, I would automatically vote Obama to help tip the scales. Well, it’s not a close race, so I should definitely vote Nader. But, I’m not sure I want to. I mean, I want to. But I also want to vote for Obama.

You’ve heard it a thousand plus a thousand times: this is a historic election. The first African-American president! He has good character. He has reasoned judgment; he is calm. He is not showing us any of the daddy issues that led Clinton and Bush to professional baffoonery. Sure, growing up a black man in a white family has left him in search of a few things, but a black wife and black children have largely served a salve for that wound. Basically, Barack deserves my vote as well.

BUT, I have a degree in government. I do not believe political science is an oxymoron. I highly prioritize decisions and opinions that will strengthen democracy and am firmly of the idea that a multi-party system would do so.

My heart wants to participate in the history, my head wants to add a brick to our democratic institution. I am undecided.

And I believe that all the rest of the undecideds swimming in this glorious pond of uncertainty are of the same persuasion as I in that they are not simply choosing between Obama and McCain. They are choosing between:

  • Obama and Nader
  • Obama and not voting
  • Nader and not voting
  • McCain and Barr
  • McCain and not voting
  • Nader and Barr
  • Barr and not voting

**I know I left out Baldwin and McKinney. I mean, they got to be joking. For reals.

And the only people really grappling over Obama or McCain are the Hillary PUMA freaks who are deciding between doing the right thing (Obama) and revenge voting (McCain) – either way, their numbers have dwindled and they are no longer a factor in this election.

Obama and McCain are completely different on policy, completely different in demeanor, age, race, party, background, wealth and they have fairly different records. There is no one choosing between them. Not even Sam-The-Joe-Uninformed-Plumber/Fibber. The biggest challenge Obama and McCain have now – this late into the race – is convincing their supporters to actually suffer the inconvenience of voting.

What an unAmerican thing to say!! That someone would somehow ignore the sacrifice of lives necessary for our right to vote!?

Yes.

Say hello to the majority of the eligible electorate. I call it the “get-off-the-couch” vote. And I hear there are some wicked awesome video games literally tethering their “eligible voter” players to the console or keyboard or whatever the hell the jail-pale birds use these days. How insightful of the Obama campaign to purchase ad space on 18 online computer games.

The Obama team understands they’re no longer running against John McCain, they’re running against that un-cast vote belonging to the eligible-yet busy, distracted and unconcerned. McCain is shouting a lot of hoopla about fighting and being a fighter and having to fight, so I think he gets it just a little as well.

I do hope mainstream media decides to kill off this fictitious character Independent-Undecided Voter. We’re not sitting on the edge of our seats anymore. We’re either unusually angry or cautiously excited. And for campaigns and news organizations to pretend the race is about Obama and McCain and not the channel-surfers and workaholics and unmotivateds, is increasing my perturbation and decreasing my MSM intake. Though, as a political scientist, I love all the recent rise of awesome op-eds declaring what a long-shot McCain is. If only I could figure out who to vote for…




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