Friday, January 11, 2008

Endorsements, but not by me...

A man that I truly admire endorsed Barack Obama yesterday. John Kerry may not bring tears to people’s eyes with his oratory, but he has a gifted mind and a vision of America, past and present, that must be respected.

That is the second high caliber endorsement following Bill Bradley’s nod last week.

Where are you Mr. Gore???

Thursday, January 10, 2008

United we stand, divided we fall...

Here is an interesting perspective on feminist support for Hillary Clinton. My reaction is that it is interesting that Barack Obama is not expected, by the African-American community, to run as a "black man" but rather just as a man (interestingly Obama has been reviled for not being black enough, an interesting response to the son of a Kenyan foreign exchange student). I wonder why we place emphasis on the difference between race and gender. Obama has refused to play the race card and therefore isn't castigated for not talking about "black issues". Whereas the Clinton campaign is all about the feminist/gender issues and uses it quite effectively. In that respect I agree with this assessment of Clinton and her run for President.

We do have sexism issues to grapple with, but "traditional feminism" is confrontational, whereas traditional civil rights advocated are hopeful. Gloria Steinum is about what she never got and should have but was denied because of her gender. Martin Luther King Jr. was about what was possible, what we could overcome if we could come together and make it happen as one. One approach brings together and one divides. As I have said in baby-boomers view change and conflict in terms of “us against them.” This is probably born from watch Martin Luther King die for wanting to bring us together. That type of scar doesn’t heal easily. Though to hear Hillary Clinton give LBJ credit for that change is LAUGHABLE! LBJ was the man in the chair when everything came to a head. To his credit, he had the courage to sign the Civil Rights Act even though he knew it would doom his Party in the south for a generation. Well, guess what. The generation is just about up and Barack Obama’s voice is about bringing people together.

Hillary Clinton gives good lip service to bringing people together, but if the last Clinton administration (which she professes to have been a large part of) is any indication, her record indicates that she is a divider. The Clintons are divisive. In 2000 Americans voted for a “’uniter’ not a ‘divider’.” I think we did that because the previous 8 years had torn us apart. Partisanship of ideas is a good thing; it is what our founders envisioned. Debating ideas is as American as apple pie! Partisanship of ideology is fanaticism and it runs against the grain of what we stand for in this country.

The seven years since the end of the Bill Clinton era have proven that we have to be much more skeptical of people who tell us that they want to bring us together because the Bush administration has been more divisive than Clinton’s (and I didn’t think that was possible). False hope is what the Clintons tell us to fear. I for one am tired of fear and those who exploit it to get power. I am tired of people who divide us into groups (liberal and conservative, rich and poor, black and white, man and woman, minority and majority, Christian and not), who exploit differences to gain power from some at the expense of others. Differences exist, but I refuse to see the world in myopic “this or that” terms. The world is far more complex. Diversity of ideas is a good thing. We need Gloria Steinum as much as we needed Martin Luther King. We need neo-conservatives as much as we need pacifists. We need Christians as much as we need atheists. But inside all of that we need respect for difference of opinion, and there is far too little of that on either side right now. Respect for differences; isn’t that what feminism and civil rights is all about?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A second opinion on last night's take...

Thank you Maureen Dowd!


An unpopular perspective.

I posted this reply to a blog posting by Adam Lebor on Jewcy.

I wanted to write this in light of the fact that President Bush is making his first visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.


Thanks for your original post and this thoughtful response. One would like to believe that peace in the Middle East is possible, but responses like these serve to make me skeptical.

I am half Jewish, though I do not practice the religion. I won't pretend to be a great defender of Jews. I believe that there must be room in this world and that region for a Jewish homeland, safe and secure. But I reject the notion that Israel's interests are automatically America's interests. Absolutely not. If that were the case, we should just make Israel the 51st state and be done with it. They are an independent nation and where we agree we should support one another. Where we differ, we must be allowed to express that without fear of being labeled anti-Semitic. But that doesn’t happen in America. If you purport that there is a potential “different way” the chorus of condemnation rains down upon you (apparently even if you are Jewish).

The wall is bad. Settlements are bad. Pursuing policies that punish all Palestinians for the crimes of extremists is bad. The Israeli people want peace, many are willing to give a little to get a little. But it won’t happen as long as the United States pursues a policy of Israel first, second and last.”

The United States should continue to work aggressively to ensure that the state of Israel continues to exist. We should strive to help our friends in Israel acquire security and peace. But as others point out here, we must also combat the abject poverty that allows extremist ideologies to flourish in the neighboring countries. This malevolence that exists in the Islamic world towards the U.S. and Israel has as much to do with envy as anything. They see that we "have" and they "have not" and they resent us for it. They should resent their leaders, but they are repressed by their leaders and swallow the propaganda whole.

I don’t apologize for the extremists. The poverty and oppression they suffered does not excuse their hateful ideology. But I also do not believe that analyzing the situation and trying to understand the roots of that hatred is tantamount to condoning or excusing. I believe that it is the first step in developing an effective strategy for combating that ideology.

Does anyone truly believe that an ideology was defeated using violent force? Ideologies are defeated by attacking their root cause. Israel is not the cause of this hatred. Poverty and oppression are. The solution won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight, but methodically working to undo those root causes will be good for the United States, good for the people in the Islamic world and ultimately good for Israel.

Lastly, let’s put to rest this bogus notion that Barack Hussein Obama is in some way a Muslim. He was born of a Kenyan father and white American mother raised by white family in Hawaii (the least extremist place on Earth). He only saw his father once after he left the family. A name does not a Muslim make.

So, let the attacking begin…

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

"A place called Hope"

As I have said before, it will take an extraterrestrial situation for this blog to endorse a candidate. This is not the place for endorsements. To paraphrase Chris Dodd in Iowa before departing the campaign; it would be incredibly arrogant of me to assume that people would listen to me and my opinion on who they should vote for.

That being said, I am prepared this evening to rant. I am disappointed by tonight’s results. I am a person that believes that change is necessary if we are going to successfully tackle the giant challenges that face us as a nation and as a world. Nothing gets accomplished in the polarized world of right vs. wrong, left vs. right, Democrat vs. Republican, African American vs. Woman, good vs. evil… the list goes on and on. I reject the old paradigm of bi-lateral politics.

No, I am not going to vote for a third party candidate. I take my civic duties way too seriously to flush them down the toilet on the Natural Law Party.

I hold the Baby-boomer generation responsible for obstructing change today. I am tired of the children of “the greatest generation”. This is a group of people who are still fighting the war between the hippies and the squares, those who went to Woodstock and those that didn’t. They are still debating the Vietnam War, and they are still licking their battles. They are a generation scarred with the wounds from the brutal assassinations of JFK, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Bobby Kennedy, the impeachment of Nixon, and the loss of innocence in Vietnam. I have a message for you soon to be retiring boomers! Enough already, we know you failed to change the world for the better, but that should not diminish our optimism. It is the unspoken creed of this nation that you shall leave this country improved for the next generation. And the baby-boomers are the first to violate that sacred pact. Where is your Declaration of Independence, your manifest destiny, your suffrage movement, your New Deal, your Brown vs. Board of Education, your Great Society? You failed us. And your bitterness about it is palpable. You have left us a government that is broken and a politics that is divisive to ensure that it is difficult to fix. You are not wholesale useless, but more often than not your generations leaders are all hype and spin.

Hillary Clinton’s speech tonight was canned ham. It was tired, cliché driven drivel. Someone needs to explain that you can’t represent change for 35 years. You get 4 years MAX. I am tired of the war room mentality of this posse. Don’t get me wrong, Bill Clinton was a good President and a great politician. But I want a great President and a good politician. His combative nature of “us against them” divided this country. He doesn’t bare sole responsibility for it. The Republicans were indignant that Bubba was better at playing the game than them and they made him pay for it. They felt that he stole the White House from them and they went after him from day one. But instead of fighting for the hearts and minds of the American people, instead of engaging in a war of ideas; he engaged in a war of ideologies. And we, the people, lost!

Bill Clinton did some great things as President, but he could have done so much more if he could have just kept his eye on the ball. He cared, he represented change in 1992. But anyone who thinks that the ideas of 1992 still represent change are either insane or 632 million years old. I love Bill Clinton and in 2000 I would have voted for him again. I respect the work that he is doing around the world and the efforts he is undertaking to be activist in his post-Presidency. He is, in spite of all his failings, a good hearted and honorable man. But he is also a dirty politician. He hates losing and he isn’t below a cheap shot to win. I understand that they believe in their cause, but to what end. Do they really think they can end the gridlock? Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly are chomping at the bit. It will be the 1990s all over again.

We are gambling that she is as good as him. We already know she isn’t half the politician that he is. She lacks all of the natural talents that made him great. She is dull, unoriginal, uninspired, wonkish, overrated, and utterly bland. She has a tin ear and a lead tongue.

Some might ask if I have a problem with a female President. I do not. I would have no problem with a female President, just not this one. I also feel very strongly that voting on gender is pathetically myopic. I believe you vote for issues and when you realize that the platforms of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards are basically identical you then move on to personality. In that regard, Clinton is miles behind her competitors (not to mention John McCain and Mike Huckabee). As I have said in the past; what is the point of electing a female President if she has to strip away her femininity to win? That isn’t feminism. In fact it is incredibly sexist.

Anyone who thought it was going to change this country (including myself) was being utterly naïve. Change is hard, very hard. The status quo is easy and it appeals to the lowest common denominator.

The reason change is difficult is because the young voters of this country are lazy and apathetic (not hard to understand considering their parents). What is it going to take? What’s going to get you up off the sofa? Put down the bong. Pause the Nintendo Wii! Real issues are being decided and you are leaving them up to your parents and grandparents. The bluehairs are the past. My friend believes it will take reinstating the draft (I have never been totally against that idea). The young vote carried Obama and Edwards in Iowa, but then they thought the job was done. They don’t understand the process and that is probably because they never had to take a civics class in High School.

The reason that the only thing that gets reformed is Medicare and senior services is because that is what the boomers care about. In their own viral way, they don’t really care about what resources are left when they are gone. It is up to young voters to stand and be counted and say enough is enough to this obsolete focus on the old at the expense of the young.

The Clintons want you to believe that you can’t change the world just by hoping for it. But remember when they “still believed in a place called hope.” They say we can’t change this broken system without being from the system.

I won’t endorse anyone but I will say: “Yes We Can!”

Five Words to describe the Democrats

Five words to describe Hillary Rodham Clinton:
1. Bellicose
2. Unoriginal
3. Forced
4. Uninspired
5. History

Five words to describe John Edwards:
1. Combative
2. Compassionate
3. Crusader
4. Dogmatic
5. Long-shot

Five words to describe Barack Obama:
1. Hopeful
2. Inspiring
3. Idealistic
4. Progressive
5. Naïve

Five words to describe Dennis Kucinich:
1. Whimsical
2. Overwhelmed
3. Helpless
4. Simplistic
5. Obstructionist