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.

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“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





Hostage to Abortion Politics

3 09 2008

Marie Wilson – what a woman. On Gov. Sarah Palin as the choice for Republican VP:

“It reveals a deep distrust in women to make their own decisions about their bodies, and selecting this particular woman largely based on her stance on one issue is the latest insult not just to Governor Palin, but to women as a whole–and to our democracy.

“The crusade against choice pivots around the deep societal fear of women’s power to act as the authors of their own lives, the keepers of their own bodies. As Kristin Luker wrote in “Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood,” the real issue at stake is the fear that women will abandon their traditional role and decide not be mothers, if given the choice. ”

Pure gold.
More on Sarah Palin
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost





So, two Obi-Wans walk into a bar…

28 08 2008

“If you strike me down I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

I have been struggling to find a way to characterize the situation between the Obama and Clinton supporters. I still haven’t found an satisfying explanation for the recovering-codependant behavior, but this ain’t bad:

“There is a unacknowledged immaturity about the Obama faction that many parents among us will recognize. Here’s the money quote:

The deep problem of Obama’s campaign is that he and his supporters do not want to face the political reality of their own conflicting desires. They both want to sweep to victory in November and they want to purge the party of anything connected to the Clintons, which includes all of the voting contituencies represented by that amazing and talented duo. The failure of the Unity Pony stems directly from that fantasy of majority status without majority support and the political work and compromises that go with cultivating that support. Thus, their model for unity is unanimity through elimination, purging the ranks of the unclean and unbelievers.

They will not acknowledge that Hilalry is a legitimate political actor and reduce her to an inhuman monster and enemy. They will not acknowledge that her supporters have sound, rational reasons for our support, and reduce us to mindless fools and spoils of war. They shift blame for their own choices and actions onto us and expect that we will cater to their whims.

Like adolescents, they insist on making their own decisions and yet expect us to get them out of a jam later. They hate us because of who we are and yet they need us in order for them to get what they want. And the superdelegates are the too permissive parents who are giving in to them because they can’t handle the screaming and guilt trips that will follow if they don’t.”

There is a sort of “your continuing campaign is ridiculous and your supposed legions are insignifcant, but for the love of god please support Obama” reality right now.

Other metaphors:

“Stop being so selfish and pay attention to me!”
“Hey – no cuts! It doesn’t matter where you are in line – so don’t get in front of me.”





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.





CNN’s Cafferty Paints PUMAs With Broad Brush

26 08 2008
DNC protesters outside the RBC meeting in May, 2008

DNC protesters outside the RBC meeting in May, 2008

The description of PUMA isn’t entirely accurate – PUMA grew out of the response to the DNC RBC meeting in May 2008. Their main point is boycotting Obama, not necessarily out of pure loyalty to Hillary or because they are closet republicans, but because of the mess with Florida and Michigan’s reduced delegates.

Because the decision to hold early primaries in those two states as well as the decision to punish those two states in that way (reducing delegates to half status, thereby effecitively eliminating half the voters in each state) was 100% out of the voters hands, a lot of them joined together to form PUMA.

They do not endorse any candidate, though most people were Hillary voters (and of course they would be – if you were a McCain voter then you weren’t affected by the RBC ruling, and if you were an Obama supporter then it worked in your favor).

I think other Hillary supporters, who don’t give a rat’s ass about Michigan or Florida, also joined because, well, they felt betrayed and needed an outlet. Kinda like Gore supporters in 2000, only this time (sadly and ironically) the role of Bush is being played by Obama.