Palin Uses Hate to Motivate

8 10 2008

“Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.” – Gandhi, 1948

“I’m afraid this is someone who sees, America as ‘imperfect enough’ to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country.” – Sarah Palin, 2008

See, here’s the thing. Violence is bad. Murder, rape, assault – that type of violence is destructive and unhealthy. Healthy forms of violence – kickboxing, weight training, running – are good. Going to the gym and working off some rage is good. Raping a woman who just left the gym is bad. Everyone on the same page? Good. Let’s continue.

Inspiring unhealthy forms of violence is exactly what people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi detested (if you can claim Ghandi “detested” anything).

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”

Constructive conversation, peaceful action, finding common ground – these are the surrogates of diplomacy, non-violent protesting, and progress.

Leaders throughout history who inspired people by appealing to the angels of their better nature have become symbols of a way. A way to stop fighting without surrendering. A way to look hate straight in the face without hating back.  A way to focus on what binds us instead of what separates us. A way to negotiate irreconcilable differences.  A way to take a little but also give a little.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr., 1958

Sarah Palin is not that kind of leader, and neither is John McCain.

“It’s a dangerous road, but we have no choice,” a top McCain strategist recently admitted to the Daily News.  “If we keep talking about the economic crisis, we’re going to lose.”

The ‘dangerous road,’ however, is not just a generic attack on Sen. Obama’s trustworthiness or honesty.  Rather, the McCain campaign has chosen to stand before campaign rallies and accuse Sen. Obama of hiding sympathies with domestic terrorists–to accuse their opponent, essentially, of being a terrorist.

With the McCain campaign now using the Palin stump speech to accuse Sen. Obama of hiding a terrorist agenda, the McCain campaign has staked its future on rhetoric that skirts the boundary between character assassination and incitements of actual violence against their opponent.

Inspiring progress is good. Inspiring assassination is bad. Ironically, this kind of rhetoric actually makes Palin sound like a domestic terrorist herself.


Re-Affirmative Action

26 09 2008

“No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.”

In an article in The National Review, conservative columnist Kathleen Parker has called on Sarah Palin to give up her seat at the political table and to drop out of the race. It cites her flawed interviews, panic-driven press moments (what few there have been) and her lack of experience in economic matters, which have become rather important recently, if you hadn’t heard – what with the biggest bank failure in American history this week:

“Quick study or not, she doesn’t know enough about economics and foreign policy to make Americans comfortable with a President Palin should conditions warrant her promotion.”

No sh*t, Sherlock. Congratulations – you’ve just caught up to where the rest of us were a month ago. It only took one Wikipedia article to convey her major strengths and weaknesses, but you just had to rally around the skirt. Did you rally around Palin? No. You rallied around her skirt. Well, for better or worse, she’s your man, so don’t get a jelly belly now. There are plenty of arguments to make for the McCain-Palin ticket. Here’s one: It is monumental that a woman would be in the position to serve in the office of the highest executive – no BS, that’s a really big deal even if it IS only symbolic. Symbols are what inspire the rest of us when we’re just getting to the age of reason. No six, seven, or eight year old will remember the specifics of the McCain-Palin administration. What they will remember is that the vice president was a woman. That she exists in that capacity will prove not that a woman can be a president, but that there is no reason why a woman can’t be a president – a far greater lesson.

Those of us who have already reached the age of reason, however, have facts to contend with. Palin’s views are enough to disqualify her from my short list of feminist leaders, but those views aren’t why some people are calling for her to step down:

“Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.”

What’s worse is that the recommended course of action is fueled by the old “take one for the team” mentality. This is always a convenient line of logic for sexists looking to get rid of a girl on the team. In doing so it totally undermines those qualities for which Palin has be lauded ever since stepping into the national spotlight. Mainly, her toughness and committment to her career:

“Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.”

Oh really?

Tell that to every anti-feminist who has ever criticised women in general because they reportedly lack the capacity to have a family AND a career.

Tell that to every mother who encourages her child to miss school or blow off schoolwork in order to focus on learning a trade because their school districts aren’t worth a damn thing.

Tell that to any mother who is also a stripper, or any other socially queer occupation, in order to make ends meet.

Tell that to any mother who has chosen adoption for her child, not because it was in the best interest of the mother, but because it was in the best interest of the child.

Tell that to those who criticize single mothers who leave their children in early-bird and after-school programs so their kids don’t have to be latchkey kids, coming home to an empty house.

Tell that to those who criticize single mothers with latchkey kids, coming home to an empty house.

Tell that to those employers who reprimand and fire working moms for their lack of punctuality instead of giving them flexible schedules.

Tell that to the critics of mothers who go back to school in order to get a job that pays a salary that could help her child go to college someday, and in the process has little energy to spend with her young child every night.

Tell that to the moms who leave toxic, low paying work environments in order to preserve their self-respect, which her children pick up on, only to be without a job and broke for weeks or months on end.

Tell that to the moms who stay at toxic, low paying work environments in order to gather a paycheck that makes ends meet.

Tell that to the pregnant woman who cannot afford to go to the doctor, but does anyway to ensure her baby’s health, and consequently runs up debt which the state later pays off for her.

Tell that to the mother who cannot afford to go to the doctor for cancer screenings, thereby putting her family in danger of being without a mother.

The fact is, many people criticize mothers who put family first. It is a constant battle to defend one’s choices against one’s critics. The fact remains, they are our choices to make and we do the best we can with the resources available to us.

Sarah Palin has every right to run in this race. We cannot blame her for being elected, because she could not do it without our votes. Anyone can run, not just anyone can win. If you’re really furious at her presence on the ticket, don’t vote for her ticket. It’s as simple as that.

Sarah Palin shouldn’t drop out of the race any more than John McCain should. She is totally wrong for this country’s leadership, but she has every right to run as the Vice Presidential candidate. Sarah Palin may not be a Rhodes Scholar, but she isn’t stupid. She is one of 50 people in the entire United States who was elected to run an entire state. Stupid people are not elected to high executive offices. Sheepish people who do exactly as their told by their backers are elected to high executive offices, but they need a few functioning brain cells. She was elected to city councilwoman, then mayor, and then governor. This woman knows how to schmooze, throw fundraisers, and make promises she’ll never keep.

I’m not saying that she’s done her jobs well, or that she should have been picked as John McCain’s runningmate, but saying she should drop out of the race for the country’s sake because her half of the ticket isn’t polling well is almost as sexist as her getting the on the ticket in the first place. She’s a politician – she has bad days; bad hair days, bad gaffe days, bad speech days, bad interview days, etc. She may be as bad as George W. Bush – or worse. The mistake we made with him, however, was laughing and cringing at his idiotic remarks during his first term in office, dismissing him as stupid. He served two full terms, led our country into two wars without blinking, and took an economy from surplus to debt. In fact, we had so much surplus that what to do with it was a major portion of the presidential debates in 2000:

Interviewer: “Let’s suppose that the projected surpluses in your tax plan fail to materialize in full or in part. What part of your tax package gets dropped first?”

Bush: “I refuse to accept the premise that surpluses are going to decline if I’m the president. I think they’re going to increase, because my plan will increase productivity by cutting marginal rates.”

The signs were there when Bush-Cheney ran in 2000. The signs are there for McCain-Palin in 2008. Asking her to step down because of news media hiccups, even if she is as dumb as she seems, is ridiculous. It’s like if an all male construction crew was forced to hire a champion female bodybuilder with no construction experience, and then a month later fired her because she had no training.

Our country needs an architect, not another construction crew.

Rotation vs. Revolution

23 09 2008

2000 – Bush vs. Gore

2004 – Bush vs. Kerry

2008 – McCain vs. Obama

Will we learn from our mistakes?

Have you ever watched the first season of Heroes? How about the first season (and the first half of season 2) of Jericho? Ever see the movie The Cradle Will Rock? Ever read Plato’s Republic? No? Well, that’s OK. Even those of us who haven’t enjoyed the entertainment value of revolutions understand that it is not a passive act of resistance that dominates the landscape of change, though it can be the catalyst. Revolution hurts – it always hurts somebody, and most of the time it hurts a lot of people before it helps anyone. The thing is, even the smallest change is worth fighting for, and even the smallest change can help reclaim our place in the world.

Technology has helped to make our worlds bigger and smaller at the same time. Some people use technology like blogging to connect with other like minded individuals. We share ideas, we challenge eachother, we think, we disagree, we learn, but most importantly seek others’ opinions. Maybe we troll around to other blogs and callously spread our own opinions, thus pissing off people with whom we disagree. That, too, is part of sharing ideas. In these small ways we fight our own private revolutions of the mind, seeking and presenting challenges so that we can grow. Without our predatory hunt for change we become the prey of others’ revolutions. The spirit of determining our own destiny enables us to move toward change in baby steps and on our own terms. Without that proactive search for the next level of understanding, we become stagnant targets of fate’s idle hands.

The Boston Tea Party did not change the fate of our nation out of boredom. Those people took thousands of dollars of merchandise and tossed it into the ocean. Would you board a ship that had $2 million worth of laptops on it and dump them into the ocean? That’s the equivalent to what they did. They weren’t anarchists – quite the opposite. They demanded that the government include them, or there would be consequences. Depending on who you quote, around 2,750 people tipped the crates of tea the night of a heated town meeting. The total population in the colonies at that time was around 275,000. That means around 10% of the population joined together to accomplish a single act of rebellion. That’s the equivalent of 3 million people in the U.S. joining together during this election cycle. In one place. At one time. There are really only two places that 3 million people could gather in the U.S. – 1) the Washington National Mall in D.C. with the Washington monument in the background, and 2) the internet.

So here we are, and the first presidential debate is on Friday night at 9pm New York time. Many of us will be gathering at apartments and houses of political sympathizers to witness the first of four life altering “debates”. But are they really debates? Not really. They’re a pageant – a way of showcasing the best side of each candidate and hopefully exposing a few kinks in the armor of the other person. Most of us already know who we are voting for, even if we’re conflicted about how much we support them. Is that a good thing? Should we know who we’re voting for before the first debate? Is the policy for each candidate set in stone? Could we nudge them one way or the other? I mean, I don’t think we’ll have much luck pushing Obama to be pro-life or McCain to be pro-tax increases. Surely there are areas where each are, shall we say, grey? Raising the minimum wage, regulating Wall Street, investing in roads and infrastructure – these are areas that directly impact the vast majority of voters. Those voters who wish to be heard need to speak up.

Revolution of the mind happens like any other change – one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. Contact your senator and member of congress to let them know what you want. Challenge others’ ideas now, with respect and humility, so they have a chance to catch up to your advanced intellect by Election Day.

Palin is McCain’s Weapon of Mass Distraction

4 09 2008

Sarah Palin is not a woman politician. Sarah Palin is a Republican politician.

A letter from someone claiming to know Sarah Palin:

Sarah Palin - (sigh)

Sarah Palin - (sigh)

And a great article that came out even before the NY Times piece this week:

Bullying, cronyism and banning books – what’s not to love?

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

We Have Not Come A Long Way, Babe

3 09 2008

“It’s nothing less than a slap in the face to all sisters wanting equality based on merit, not marketing.”

That’s really all you have to say about Govenor Palin as a VP candidate. But we’ll keep going, ’cause it’s fun.

“She’s too busy pushing that dinosaurs and people lived on the planet at the same time. That is when she’s not telling women that if they’re raped to suck it up and have the child, including in cases of incest”

Now, I enjoy the writings of Taylor Marsh, but this piece is above-average for an already above-average writer. It’s true that while some people’s initial reaction to Palin may have been, “Oh, thank god – a woman! “, the morning after offers a cayote ugly moment. Here is a politician who represents, in one way, voters who continue to feel ignored, unimportant, powerless.

The problem is people suck. Let me clarify – women can suck. Let me say it a different way – women who finally reach positions of power often act exactly like their male counterparts in ways that are counterproductive to enabling other women to reach positions of power. (See Carly Fiorina.)

So, that is part of the reason a lot of women are either sinking into a deep funk or suffering mental meltdowns from the repeated “does not compute” error message in their heads. That in-between slice of the Boolean circles belongs to the likes of Taylor Marsh. And that’s a good thing.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Off the Shelf

3 09 2008

While democracy does need at least two parties to survive, those two parties may no longer be Democrat and Republican. Dems faced a long bitter battle this year and some revelations came out of it (New Democratic Party is already being carved out of the warring factions – made up of Feminist Dems, Green Dems, socially liberal Dems and anti-Iraq War Dems).

Protests and rallies continue to be on the rise, and more people are becoming more involved, actively and passively, in political campaigning. The fiscally conservative Republicans should think about joining the Dems, and let the progressive leftists migrate to the New party.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Gore is to Bush as Clinton is to…

28 08 2008
Oh Democrats, you’re so cute.
Thank you, Senator Clinton.

Thank you, Senator Clinton.

Many reasons were cited for Gore’s loss in 2000. One factor was of course Nader. But Nader alone could not have broken that camel’s back. Half the country voted for the other guy – twice – and the Dems still haven’t gotten their shit together. In baseball, one cannot blame the last batter for losing the entire game – there are 8 other players on the team.

Likewise, PUMA is just one of many players. The people who make up PUMA existed long before this summer, and will continue to live on for the next 20-40-60 years, even if the organization does not. 40 years ago the “hippies” got pissed and made great sacrifices to bring about change. Where could we be in 40 years if PUMA takes the same path?

I understand that HRC needs to appear to support BHO 200%, but those references to “keep fighting” and “don’t give up” along with what she did NOT say made me crack a smile.

She asked if we were in it “just for her” and not the mother, daughter, woman etc.. which in NO WAY spells out, “this election is bigger than me so vote for Obama” …

All it spells out is, “this election is bigger than me” – which it is.

Her losing now, like Gore losing in 2000, will have ramifications far beyond what she can control and I’d bet a shiny nickel that she’s thrilled about it on some level.

On another level she’s pretty bummed I bet – which is understandable. So am I.