Monday, March 31, 2008

A Fina Note

I wrote this a few weeks ago, shortly after the Texas primary and before Obama's "race" speech.


Tucker Carlson – who I dislike, but not as much as I dislike conservative mouth pieces Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, & Bill O'Reilly – asked a panelist on his MSNBC show last week, "if the Democrats can't beat John McCain after 8 years of Bush, shouldn't they just disband?" After a moment of thought, the panelist replied that Carlson's point was "well taken." While the Democratic candidates ravage one another with more and more negative attacks, the Republicans quietly lick their chops and grow stronger.

We are on the verge of electing the oldest man in history to be president. He is a man who offers nothing to the American people except more of the same; a man who has changed positions on important political issues overnight for the sake of political expediency. An uninspiring man, who brings no innovation and no vigor to an office that desperately needs new life and new direction. I cannot blame Democrats for wanting the future to be now, but I must take issue with Democrats dreaming about how things should be, and how that perpetual dream state interferes with an objective assessment of harsh political realities.

The fact remains that this country remains deeply divided along race and gender lines. If the movers and shakers in the Democratic Party would step outside of their sheltered cosmopolitan hotbeds of liberalism, they would realize that huge numbers of working poor remain unconvinced that the party has their best interests at heart. Even more disconcerting are the droves of lower class and lower middle class people who have openly embraced the Republican Party because the Democrats have allowed themselves to be portrayed as the party of the "Godless." This is primarily a result of the party's stance on abortion and gay rights, in combination with a successful Republican campaign to portray those beliefs as being in direct contrast to the teachings of Christ and Christianity. However, there are – and always have been – weapons for the party to use against accusations of Godlessness. For instance, the dichotomy that Republicans present with their anti-abortion / pro-death penalty stance is in diametric opposition to the teachings of Christ. The fact that the vast majority of reputable biological scientists agree that homosexuality is a condition of birth and not a choice – as the evangelicals would have us believe – is a fact that continues to fall upon largely deaf ears both within and without the Republican Party. Why would anyone "choose" to be homosexual? But, the Democrats have dropped the ball. We have wrongly convinced ourselves that the anti-abortion / pro-death penalty / anti-gay segment of the population makes up only a small percentage of the electorate, and that their influence is felt only along the fringes of the political spectrum. We have blindly accepted that race and gender divisions are quietly dissolving of their own accord and that there is no real need to openly talk about them.

Of all these things, race and gender remain the most divisive. Amidst talk of ending Affirmative Action and quotas in college acceptance that require a minimum number of minority students, we are blindly stepping into a time machine that will return us all to a day when racial harmony reigned supreme under the protective umbrella of segregation. Nowhere is legalized segregation more openly on display than at the elementary and secondary education levels of our children. Private schools have long been a way for parents to separate their children from "undesirables." The move toward more and more home schooling is not so much a reflection of a lack of confidence in the quality of public education as it is a way for poorer families to prevent their children from racially mixing. In rural small town America – especially in the south - one can easily identify the white, black, and Hispanic sections of town. The white exodus from the cities to the suburbs can be either directly or indirectly attributed to the relative close proximity of the races in the cities. Churches, temples, and mosques remain largely segregated. Authoritative positions in both the public and private sector continue to be dominated by white men. Republican attacks against the illegal immigrants themselves rather than against businesses that hire them or conditions in Mexico and elsewhere that force migration are inherently racists. The refusal to tolerate or respect cultural differences perpetuates ignorance and insures that racist attitudes will be passed from one generation to the next. However, racism is not a one way street. There are plenty of black, brown, red, and yellow racists. But, when one out of every fifteen black men and one out of every thirty-six Hispanic men in this country are in prison, and the national average is one out of every one-hundred, there is clearly something wrong with the social fabric. Are black and Hispanic men guilty of serious crimes more often than white men? Or do they suffer more extreme consequences when found guilty because of a system of justice that is inherently racist? And if the answer to the former question is yes, then we must examine the controlling factors in the lives of those men and ask whether or not they – the factors – have their roots in a racist dogma. Are the scales of social and economic success tilted so far to the right that the average black or Hispanic in this country gives up on the pursuit of a better life through hard work before he ever gives it a real chance to succeed? Hopelessness about the prospects for a better life for themselves and their children is pervasive in the black and Hispanic communities.

Imagine for a moment that you are a young black or Hispanic female. How much more will you have to overcome in the way of prejudices than your male counterparts? If white women are still struggling for equal rights in America, how much less are the opportunities in the workplace and the society at large for female minorities? Equal pay for equal work is still an unmet goal for women's groups. The board rooms are still largely an all white male dominated arena. In-roads have been made in the political world through the election of women to seats in the U.S. Senate and a few governorships. However, with a handful of notable exceptions, most of these aberrations occur in states largely populated by progressives and liberals. Large segments of the population still view women as second class citizens. While no reasonable human being would continue to assert that there is a connection between physical strength and intellectual prowess, the same, I'm afraid, cannot be said for the connection some would continue to make between estrogen and the decision making centers of the brain. If we are not far enough removed from Appomattox to know the full impact of the Civil War on this country, then we are certainly not far enough removed from the passage of the 19th Amendment to know what effect thousands of years of denying women the most basic of rights is likely to continue to have on women's opinions of themselves in terms of self esteem, as well as men's estimations of their abilities to effectively lead.

Democrats now find themselves in a predicament from which there is no escape. It is a Catch-22 of epic proportions. While the historic consequences have most of the Democratic faithful excited beyond anything they have experienced in recent years, the quandary presented by their selections for president have created an inescapable dilemma. Sen. Obama brings many problems with him to the general election. For example, much will be made of his lack of experience and his religious affiliation. However, the biggest stumbling blocks for him will be his race and his name. The two issues that should matter least, will I'm afraid, matter most to a significant part of the electorate. Sen. Clinton also brings her fair share of obstacles to a successful general election campaign, not the least of which is the disdain in which she is held by many women in this country for not having left her husband over his infidelities, and hatred for the Clinton's in general is palpable. Unfortunately, like Sen. Obama, her main problem will be one which should matter least. She is a woman.

One day America will overcome the hatred and bigotry associated with race and gender. Sadly, it's a little early yet.


I wrote this next part after the bottom fell out of the campaign - about a week ago.



President John McCain

Go ahead and resign yourself to the inevitable. It's a done deal. The republicans really don't even have to do anything to win. McCain could go on a vacation to Tahiti from now until November and still win. A new Gallup poll indicates that about 20% of Obama supporters will vote for McCain if Clinton gets the nomination, and about 30% of Clinton supporters will vote for McCain if Obama gets the nomination.Both candidates are downplaying these new Gallup numbers; but, it's becoming an ominous warning sign for Democratic insiders that all of this infighting is helping to create an enormous amount of canon fodder for Republicans to use in the general election, and is creating a sense of a no-win scenario for whichever Democrat gets the nomination. Rassmussen Reports shows a dramatic shift in the electoral math, which I have found over the years to be the best indicator of what the ultimate outcome in key swing states will be. When a state with the kinds of economic and unemployment problems of Michigan becomes a toss-up state, then the Democrats are in serious trouble. It's a shame that the democratic candidates - particularly Mrs.Clinton - didn't focus their time and energy toward pointing out the failings of the administration and explaining to the American people why they would be better suited for fixing the current mess as opposed to a tired old retread like John McCain. I put most of the blame on Mrs.Clinton because she has been willing for quite a long time now to sacrifice the Obama vote in the general election in order to win a nomination that is mathematically impossible for her to achieve. Only the supers can give her the nomination as it now stands; and that sort of smoke filled back room deal would spell certain defeat. The Obama people would simply stay home on election day (and rightfully so). I'm not sure what she's actually trying to do. Maybe she's running for president in 2012? As far as Obama's candidacy is concerned, he already had a big hill to climb as an African-American. Now all the republicans have to do to win is run a few ads with out takes from some of Rev.Wright's tirades, show a smiling Obama sitting in the pew, and just scare the bejeezus out of white America. I don't know how many times I've disagreed with my pastor. If someone put a montage of clips together showing a few of the right wing outbursts I've heard coming from the pulpit in MY church, most people would come away thinking that maybe I believed "Hitler wasn't such a bad guy after all." It's ridiculous, but the sad fact remains that it's effective. The Republicans will never allow the American people to distance Rev.Wright from Sen.Obama. It's over.

I'm not even mildly interested in it anymore. The Democrats have once again managed to successfully sabotage their own chances without any help from the republicans. While they walk around in their perpetual dream state about how things SHOULD be, the country continues its' slide into debt, recession, inflation and interminable war.

This is the last you will hear from me on this subject. Anymore debate will be superfluous. The thing about an idiot is that he/she does not know that they're an idiot. You can't convince anyone by argument that you're right and they're wrong anymore than you can convince someone that it's raining outside if they refuse to get up and see for themselves.


P.S.

This has nothing to do with the national election of which I am now totally disinterested.

However, I will make one final statement on politics of a personal nature.

I am, as of this moment forward, totally acquiescing to the oligarchic fascist state of the military industrial complex. As the Borg would say, "resistance is futile." Because I am totally withdrawing from the political scene (I've been virtually absent in recent years anyway, so it won't make any real difference), I will be making no political statements or arguments supporting or opposing any political ideologies on the right or the left. If, at some later date - and I consider this highly unlikely - a viable third party emerges (The Purple Party?) which has as its core principle a return to the ideals set forth by Jefferson in his writings, I will gladly join the cause. The U.S. is in need of a new revolution. Somehow it must find the courage to throw off the yoke of fascist oppression. While I firmly adhere to the non-violent teachings of Mahatma Ghandi and Dr.King; I will, if necessary, be willing to lay down my life for the cause of freedom. Was it not Jefferson who said that violent revolution is sometimes necessary when an oppressive government exceeds its authority by violating the unalienable rights of mankind; and that the roots of the Liberty Tree are kept fervent and alive by the blood of the martyrs? When the executive, legislative, and judicial branches become tools of the corporate fascist oligarchs, is it not time for revolution? I don't see any evidence that democrats are any more willing than republicans to take on any of these destructive, self-interested giants. In fact, I see a preponderance of evidence that the opposite is true. And, if Democrats, or anyone else for that matter, decide to speak out and stand up to fascism, won't they simply die under mysterious circumstances, or just be murdered outright? I've never been a conspiracy theorist, but this conspiracy is frighteningly real. The monopolization of the mass media, corporate welfare, allowing industries to outsource work to take advantage of slave labor overseas in order to increase personal profits, allowing the petroleum industry to milk oil profits for all they are worth while viable clean energy technology is available, are just a few examples of how America has become a passive captive of fascist oligarchic rule.

I'm not trying to convince anyone that I'm right and you're wrong, and that you should also throw in the towel. Go ahead and keep hope alive and fight the good fight if it makes you feel better. Also, because I am giving up on politics as usual, I will no longer engage in republican vs.democrat discourse. Sadly, they have become the same thing. I will, however, continue to lambaste a country which professes democracy - and tries to force it on the world - while practicing fascism.

God Bless
Good Luck
&
Sieg Heil !

JBA

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