Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Friday, June 18, 2004

"The Disconnected Middle American"

I recently returned from a short trip deep into the heart of America. I was in a position to hear people talk about their hopes and fears -- and their general philosphy about life, politics, religion and family.

By and large the people I met were smart and moral. Many of them still believe that life is best anchored by strong family ties, faith and community. What they don't realize, however, is how these beliefs are used every day to manipulate them.

They are, almost to a man, unaware of how completely they've been bamboozled by the Republican Party and its far right wing idealogues. Having never actually dealt with a candidate or elected politician, they have no clue that they are ALL users, and they will ALL say whatever it takes to get elected and then stay in office. In Kansas and Nebraska and elsewhere, they means preaching to the choir...

...more to come....

Sunday, June 13, 2004

"The Stem Cellar"

The neocons love to brace liberals over their supposed "situational ethics," a shifting ground of moral ambiguity that they purport to be part and parcel of being left of center.

Funny then, when you see conservatives (and Nancy Reagan is only the most visible example) deciding that embyonic stem cell research is okay because their husband or wife is starting to lose mental cohesion. Perhaps they'd have the same response to abortion if little daughter Mindy or Britney of Linsey came home knocked up.

You see, if you want to be a stiff, unbending idealogue, you don't get to make these sorts of distinctions. If you take this anti-intellectual stance, you then you'd better take it all the way, buddy. If you want to live in a world that is only black and white, you won't be allowed to play the subtle gray areas in between, where much of the world's great thinkers and thoughts have emerged from.

And when and if scientists use stem cell research to cure a brutal, unyeilding disease (whatever it may be) we're going to check you voting record in the same way you excoriate politicians who support the right to choose. And if we find that you're a right-wing nut who wants it both ways, we're going to make sure that Bob the Friendly Pharmacist denies your request for the an effort to help you steer clear of situational ethics.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

"Mourning Over America"


Boil all the hyperbole down and that's the extent of what the major media are lauding former President Ronald Reagon for.

He was an optimist. Wow. Great. Hell of a legacy. Tantamount to a 16 year old saying someone is "nice." There is where we stand today, people. In the world where "mean people suck" wins out over intelligence, or thoughtful discourse or, it seems, common sense.

You can't argue that Reagan was optimistic. What you can (and should) argue, is whether that quality has or had any real meaning. Was it Reagan's optimism that led to the Iran-Contra affair? Was it Ronnie's optimism that shut down PATCO, thereby signaling the beginning of the end for American unions? Was it the Gipper's optimism that gutted regulation at every level of the government, leading directly to the multi-billion dollar savings and loan fiasco?

Yet, somehow, a massive number of American's remember him fondly -- and think he was a hell of a President. They give him credit for the dissolution of the Soviet state in the same way that fans reward a worthless coach who happens to inherit a great team. They think he did it, when what he really did was go along for the ride. Reagan wouldn't have known the Brandenburg Gate from the Golden Gate until he was handed his script, given his marks and told "Action!" What Reagan did begin was an era (and it continues unabbated) in which we only want to hear good news. If that's the morning over America, you can have it.