The Responsible & Those Irresponsible

9 01 2011

Tragedy is common. Wars rage and subside, then rage again. Individuals align themselves with groups and battle against other individuals in another group. Disagreements escalate among people in one culture or another every day, sometimes resulting in not just psychological but also physical violence. It happens all the time.

Yet our worlds keep turning – as they should. A shooting in Mattapan, MA doesn’t prevent a street in Moss Point, MS from reopening after its own shooting. One of humanity’s greatest strengths is that we can endure more than we can imagine. However, like all kinds of strength, our ability to endure tragic circumstance improves only with practice.

It is easier to simply react. Hell, it’s more fun. To simply embrace one’s first reaction and cease contemplation soon after is a luxury reserved for those with very little adult responsibility. Much like eating dessert for breakfast, the consequence quickly outweighs it’s novelty.

As we learn more about Friday’s assassination attempt on Congresswoman Giffords in Arizona, and as we hear various theories on why it happened, who was killed, who was injured and who is responsible, it’s important to think four moves ahead. Yes, Sarah Palin is among those guilty of the incendiary remarks that encourage physical violence against those with whom she disagrees. Yes, these people should be ashamed and embarrassed by their past actions. Now, what are you going to do about it? Hit someone? Shoot someone? Use your car to run over someone with whom you philosophically disagree about healthcare, reproductive rights, gay marriage and a myriad of other crucial ideas?

Go home. Sit down. Have a cup of something warm, caffeine free, and non-alcoholic. Remember that each of us has the power to just say no to that way of life. Because they’re out there – those who choose to take the easy path, the irresponsible path, as we endure the violence they embrace.


“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.


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.
More on Al Franken
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

McCain’s Warning: Perils Of One-Party Rule

27 10 2008

It is unreasonable to say that electing a Democrat president and having a Democrat majority in Congress equals
“one party rule”.

First of all, the supreme court, the third branch of government, is conservative-Republican heavy.

Second, we were living under the same “one party rule” when Bush was president with a majority in Congress for 6 years. True – it wasn’t a veto proof majority. We had that when Clinton was president, although he was a Democrat with a veto-proof Republican majority in Congress. Count the ways that went wrong.

That brings me to the third point – members of Congress and Senators are elected directly by citizens. If there is a majority in the legislative branch of government, it’s because a majority of people wanted them there. I wish a majority of citizens hadn’t wanted Republicans to have a majority in Congress for six years of Bush’s term – but they did and I lived with that. The bottom line is that my neighbors wanted it, I was outnumbered, and so I had to live with our collective decision. Now my neighbors might want a Democrat majority in Congress – and I support that. I also support a Democrat for president. It is not a package deal – they are individual decisions being made by millions of people. If a Democrat majority in Congress and Democrat President is what the majority of citizens want, then by golly that is what they should get – for better or worse.

This is the democratic system, like it or lump it.

More on John McCain
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Palin’s Look Is Our Hypocrisy, Not Hers

25 10 2008

Thankfully, Judy Muller has picked up on the hypocrisy of the Palin shopping spree story:

“I remember how shocked I was when I learned that the hair and makeup person who worked for one of network television’s top news anchors was paid a yearly salary of hundreds of thousands of dollars. But there is a reason that particular female anchor looks fabulous, day in and day out. Does it have anything to do with journalism? Of course not. No more than stiletto heels have anything to do with politics. Except that we make it so.”

Absolutely. The scrutiny of Palin’s appearance is excessive and discriminatory. Biden, McCain and Obama are not subjected to the same criticism and the same kind of magnifying glass, which to me makes it clear that the level of opinionated interest is dictated by Palin’s gender, not her policies.

The shame is on those who escalate this conversation to a topic of heavy rotation instead of a passing side story. It should be a topic that remains relatively under the radar instead of making banner headlines.

Bottom line: get real – if you want to dislike the McCain-Palin ticket then pay attention to their policies. If you don’t vote for them then they can’t win. There is absolutely no difference between a vote from someone who really really super duper wants that candidate to win and a vote from someone who is torn about whether or not to vote for that candidate. Don’t mistake moaning and groaning about how ridiculous the candidate is, or his running mate, for the power of a vote.

Talk is cheap – if you really want to make a big deal out of how ridiculous Palin or McCain are, then come up with an argument that will actually convince someone to NOT vote for them. Otherwise you’re just wasting your breath.