Reconciliation without Truth

21 11 2008

“Why not repeat the truth? Barack Obama’s election was a real breakthrough, without precedent–something he did by himself with the help of a million workers who were not working for Hillary Clinton.”

See, now when I read something like that I feel really pissed. The only reason (ok, the biggest reason) a lot of HRC supporters voted for BHO was because she encouraged it. Clinton asked them to support the Dem nominee and vote BHO – and a lot of supporters did. The vast majority, in fact, of former Hillary supporters swung hard right and voted Obama. This was out of loyalty to Clinton, not Democrats in general. Disregarding that voting block and saying, “Hey, we coulda done it without ya!” seems really stupid. If for no other reason, it fortifies that group of voters into looking for another candidate in 2012 and undermining Obama’s efforts in the years to come. And if he hadn’t needed them, he wouldn’t have bothered recruiting Hillary during the campaign.

Advertisements




The Government in Exile: What Obama Can Do for Women

7 11 2008

“Despite the rise of women as political contenders and voters in the 2008 election season, the U.S. is woefully behind other nations in terms of parity in representation. Over the last decade, the United States has fallen from 47th in the world in women’s political representation to 71st — behind such stalwarts of democracy as Iraq (33rd), Sudan (65th) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (57th). Only weeks ago, Rwanda made global history when it became the first nation electing women to outnumber men in parliament.”

“On the heels of an election that was often touted for its historic significance for women — a constituency that voted 56% in his favor on November 4th — the Obama administration would be wise to build on that momentum by addressing the struggling status for women in the U.S.”

Interesting article.





All Hail, King of America!

5 11 2008

Well, that was fun.

I hope everyone enjoyed the festivities last night, because now it’s time to focus on still-President Bush’s last days in office – his parting gifts, if you will.

From closing Guantanamo Bay to providing birth control pills, from protecting the endangered Gray Wolf to keeping coal plants away from national parks, Bush (read: Cheney) is going to do everything in his still-expanding power to make his last days count. Think of it this way: he has nothing to lose. Reputation? Legacy? Re-Election? After all, he is the tyrant our mothers warned us about, and he’s not burdened with face-saving displays of centerism that are required when running for re-election. He, and his administration, are the hard core, git ‘er done, christian fundamentalist conservatives – and they have plans. Plans that can be executed right up until the last minute as far as they’re concerned. It doesn’t matter if they are popular – there are no more contests left to win. Bush can no longer hurt McCain by being divisive, extreme, and deaf to half the country. He, and his administration, are in the final days of an presidency marked with exclusion, extremism, lawlessness, opacity, fear-mongering, and pridefulness, and they plan on going out with a bang.

There is no tomorrow for the Bush Administration. In fact, arguably they view the incoming Obama presidency as the apocolypse – a slap in the face to their sacrosanct healing of American Liberalism that was infected into our government and society by the Clinton administration, among others.

While the Republican machine has suffered losses, it is by no means deterred. In fact, the few who remain, and who are by definition not up for re-election any time soon, are probably all the more convinced that they are the saviors who will bring the heavenly Bush administration in for a landing.

Let’s not and say we did.

A stitch in time is within our grasp. We can avoid having to undo damage later if we can prevent it from happening now. This is the time to take a deep breath and sprint to the finish line. This is the time to speak your mind, even if your voice shakes. This is the time to speak truth to power. There are people making monumental decisions about our civil liberties, abortion rights, and the environment, and these people have publicly available e-mail addresses.

Don’t forget your newspapers, local or otherwise. One letter can be ignored, but one thousand cannot. In New Jersey we have over 550 towns. If one person from every other town wrote a letter to the Star Ledger, New Jersey’s state wide paper, that would be over 200 letters. No newspaper is going to ignore 200 letters about anything, and a few will even be published.

Start now. Start tiny. Write an e-mail to your member of congress. Write an e-mail to both of your senators. Write e-mails to every elected official that in any way represents you, and send paper mail if you must. It can be as simple as “Hello, my name is, and these are the things that are most important to me this year:”. It doesn’t have to be the great American novel – 50 words or less will do. Go to blogs and furiously comment on every article that you feel passionate about. Practice arguing with people virtually so that when you encounter a face-to-face confrontation about that subject you are better prepared. None of this will help end something like discrimination tomorrow, but it can help end discrimination sooner than if you did nothing. The small and definate actions will outweigh the lofty and imaginary on any scale.  

Don’t let it be the thing you wish you’d done.





“What do Undecided Women Want?”

3 11 2008

Let’s ignore the inherent flaw in the question (that “women” all want the same anything – let alone those who are admittedly torn about something.)

“It was really crushing when Hillary lost…I felt like [Obama] could have spoken out and said okay, enough is enough, stop with the sexist comments, the misogyny, but I didn’t hear that from him, but a lot of us did feel that although we were loyal, lifetime Democrats we could not vote for Barack Obama … It’s just the fact that they told a whole segment of American society to go away, we’ll win the election without you… it was just incredibly insulting to so many women in this country….but again, it’s the policies, and that may be why I eventually wind up voting the Democratic ticket in November, but either way I won’t be very happy with my vote. Either way I vote this year it will be with great reluctance and with a lot of sadness.”

Amen, sista.

I have never been undecided about who I want as president, Obama or McCain. For me it has always been Obama. However, who I want to see as president and who I vote for are not necessarily the same.

As far as I’m concerned, I lost this race back in August. Now it’s just choosing between a royal jackass and a spineless jackass. I mean, Obama sounds good – but he ain’t gonna be THAT good. Others like me promised ourselves that we would not vote for the candidate who gutted Hillary’s campaign. If we were to uphold that promise, that would mean voting third party or voting McCain-Palin. One is a vote for progressive ideas, the other is just a protest vote. I’m not voting McCain-Palin. Then again, HRC did practically beg her supporters to vote for Obama. To ignore that call would be a disservice to HRC.

So, you could call me torn about who I will vote for, but I am not torn one bit about who I would rather see as POTUS. And I get that my candidate lost – I do – but that loss and how it came about is exactly what drives this ambivalence. Obviously Obama is closer to Clinton on policy issues. Obviously Palin being anywhere near that much power is a feminist nightmare. It isn’t about who would be the better President – that’s no contest. But if there are no consequences, microscopic as my vote is, for treating an experienced, intelligent, articulate, progressive woman candidate like dirt, then what’s the friggin point?

And it isn’t about calculating either – I understand that every vote counts, and that there is no guarantee that Obama can win without my vote. By the same token, I refuse to take responsibility for 99,999,999 other people’s votes. It is my decision, as their votes are theirs.

I’ll be happy to see a non-white male become POTUS, but don’t pretend like this vote is easy for former Hillary supporters and loyalists. Respect that passion, as I respect Obama supporter passion.





The Beginning of Hope or the End of It

31 10 2008

“Right now, in America, we are living in the center of a potential paradigm shift. A definite, burgeoning movement. A time of Hope. With the upcoming elections, we could redefine America’s standing in the world by enacting foreign policy that is based on the universal understanding that we are all interconnected. That the rape of an eight-year-old-girl in Congo is akin to the rape of an eight-year-old girl in Chicago or Phoenix. We use the words and slogans “Never again” and “Not on our watch”, but right now thousands are being displaced, raped, murdered in Eastern DRC.”

There are policies that Barack Obama and I do not see eye to eye on. I have serious reservations about a few of his decisions, and I continue to hold a political torch for Hillary Clinton.

However.

I believe that Barack Obama will do more for the people of Congo than John McCain will.

I believe that Barack Obama will do more for women’s rights in the U.S. than John McCain will.

I believe that an administration under Barack Obama will listen to issues of the poorest American people more than under John McCain.

I believe that Barack Obama will show more diplomacy, both at home and abroad, than John McCain.

I believe that Barack Obama will support scientific research more than John McCain.

I believe that Barack Obama will inspire other leaders better than John McCain.

For all these reasons, I believe that Barack Obama will make a better U.S. president than John McCain.

I will be stepping into the gym of my local high school this Tuesday at 6 am, where I will state my name, show some ID, and make a few choices that will change the course of history for my country and the world. The biggest assholes in the history of America will be the people who, on Wednesday, wake up and realize that they were registered to vote and just didn’t.

 
Read the Article by Eve Ensler at HuffingtonPost





Maybe You Shouldn’t Vote

29 10 2008

“If everyone was a brilliant voter, we would never elect bad leaders, and the last eight years might have turned out quite differently. So this election year, before you step into a voting booth and possibly screw things up for the rest of us, I ask that you take a moment to answer the following questions and determine whether you have the skill and the know-how to vote responsibly for our next president.”

I understand the intention behind suggesting that informed voters are better than lots of voters – and that is true. However, this is not the time to scare first time voters into staying at home. Actually, there is never a time to do that. Part of taking the responsibility of voting seriously is understanding and acknowleging that, despite your assumptions and intentions, the person you selected (if they win) were a bad choice. Four years later, you will likely inform yourself more and become a *more* informed voter.

Ignorance doesn’t just evaporate – it’s a long, painful process to pull yourself up by your intellectual bootstraps and try to better yourself . If you never take the first steps of the journey, however, you will never reach the end. That includes screwing up. Do you think people who voted for a Third Party candidate in 2000 or 2004 haven’t done some soul searching leading up to the 2008 election?

C’mon – don’t be a willful ignoramus – vote as best you can, and pay attention once in a while to how your choice affects the next four years of your life and your neighbors’ lives.

 
More on Voting
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost





Obama Should Spill a Little Red Ink to Turn a Few More Red States Blue

28 10 2008

“Indeed, a significant chunk of that money should be directed to Kentucky where challenger Bruce Lunsford is running just a few points behind McConnell. Want real change in America? Imagine a Senate without McConnell in it.”

A filibuster (talking out a bill) is a form of obstruction in Congress. An attempt is made to infinitely extend debate on a proposal in order to delay the progress or completely prevent a vote on the proposal taking place.

In 1917 in response to the actions of isolationist senators who attempted to out talk a bill, a rule allowing for cloture (ending a filibuster) was adopted by the Democratic Senate. President Wilson urged the Senate to change its rules to thwart what he called a “little group of willful men”.

In the 1960s, no Senate had more than 7 filibusters.

The 1999, with a Democrat president and a Republican supermajority in the Senate, the Senate had 58 filibusters.

In late 2007, with a Republican president and a Democrat majority (but not a super majority), Congress broke the record for the most filibusters, and then broke the record again with the most cloture votes in a single session, topping 70 clotures against a record number of filibusters from the Republican minority.

THATS why they’ve been dubbed the “do nothing” congress – Republicans won’t let the Democrats do a damn thing. Maybe if they had, the citizens wouldn’t be so quick to push for a supermajority.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/110th_Congress
More on Al Franken
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost