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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Warning: Extremely Liberal Material :)

Hey there! I am thoroughly enjoying the Naomi Klein's interview of Michael Moore for Nation. Of course they are both brilliant. Personal opinion: Moore is off-putting sometimes, always to his detriment. But what he lacks in "social graces" he more than makes up for with passion and commitment to "the cause." I can always relate to his position on serious public policy issues. Sometimes it is the bull in the china shop who makes the most sense out of the right china pattern.

I have not seen his new film Capitalism: A Love Story. Yet. The trailer makes it clear that it's Moore's antics all over again with the People in Charge. The People who created The Cause for which we need thirty more Michael Moore's. He is going after The People who instigated the outrage over a bankruptcy so vast it reached beyond financial of every American. He's bringing attention to the moral corruption. Moore blames Capitalism. I don't know about that. Yet.

Progressives do not necessarily have a leader. The Right have always been better at fund raising and knowing how to spend the money. (Heard the first Meg Whitman ad this evening. which was more than a little creepy. You know that she's still on the board of ebay and she's running for Governor of California? Well you do now.) Progressives don't always have deep pockets. While Wendell Potter now gets hailed as the big hero to The Cause of health care reform, Michael Moore still gets knocked around by the Right Wing.

Michael Moore has taken enough abuse. Let's just listen to the guy, with an open mind, and he is entitled to have his say. And anyone is entitled to agree with him. Or not.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rude- a national trend

There is a lot of talk about the madness taking over our public discourse. I want to point to Linda 's article in today's Los Angeles Times. She emphasizes the point better than I:

"If this trend continues, it's not a good thing for the country."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The New Epidemic

We have an epidemic of bad manners. It is spreading into the halls of congress (Rep. Wilson- R-S.C.), the stage of the VMA awards (Kanye West), and on to the tennis courts (Serena Williams). These are just three examples. There is an explosive nature taking over our personal exchanges.

I recently had to leave an email group of my old hometown gang. There were maybe two dozen names on the list, all who grew up in the same small town in the close suburbs of New York City, now spread out through the world. We reminisced and exchanged photos. We kept each other up to date and shared things of mutual interest. And then he arrived. You know the guy. He made some horrible decisions in this life, he screwed up and was screwed over, and he's basically a sorry case. It is a sad story and some of the others on the email list took pity on him but I prefer not to pity people. I want to accept them and help them if they need it and if I'm able, but I won't insult them with pity. Anyway, as soon as he arrived on the list we were all made aware that he had found The One, he had Jesus as his Savior. It was shallow at best, I didn't engage it, and yet it quickly became politically ignited. I tried to reason with him privately ("look," I'd say "protecting homosexuals under a hate crimes bill will not provide protection to pedophiles"). It tested my patience. But I took it as an exercise in balance and restraint. I never expected to convert the guy and that's probably where I made my mistake. People like him are looking to be converted or to convert. They go through their whole lives having to screw with things, they can never let well enough alone. They get their big awkward thumbs all over everything, they can't help themselves. But I drift away from the point of this long story.

I also asked him privately if he could curtail some of his more hate-filled religious rants without saying those exact words. I explained that I'm "sensitive" to that kind of material which is really a nice way of saying "You're a callous bore." Anyway, on the group emails, he just ramped it up. He singled me out. He grabbed on to a quote that I used in my email signature line by Ted Kennedy. It was the week that Kennedy died and I was showing a little respect. Well, Jesus' newly begotten son got on my case, to the whole group, about the mistakes of Ted Kennedy and that he wasn't a person worthy of, of, I don't know, acknowledgment.

I simply and briefly responded that it was a good opportunity to ask ourselves if we really do believe in redemption and forgiveness. Jesus' newly appointed spokesperson responded that Ted Kennedy wrote a letter to the Pope and so he did not deserve to be forgiven. His tirades escalated without my saying another word. This went on for a day and then some kind soul within the group emailed a few of us privately and asked what we can do about the particularly "mean spirit" of the emails of late? A few of the other people decided that they believed in freedom of speech and that we all had the option to delete. That's when I decided that the effort to filter him out and delete him, to have to navigate around his hate in the name of God, was an imposition. I opted out of the group. It took a few tries. I had to get very direct and stern with new Son of God before he understood that he was not to include me in on anymore of his emails. He did not know how to respond to the word 'stop.'

So there you have it. People are getting more rude every day. I blame the tone of the town hall meetings more than anything. I know it's really a much bigger issue but I don't want to navigate around other people's fears and ignorance's my whole life. I don't know if it will be possible. But we really do need to ask ourselves, what happened to get us so angry?

Now, I'd be so remiss if I didn't mention a particular reason for the rude tone among people, or a reasoning that has come up from New York to Kentucky from what I've seen, I'm sure more folk are mentioning it. So I better too. They are blaming this bad behavior, these over-the-line antics, on the fact that we have a black president. For all the crap we will say about Kanye West, he is not a birther. If I was a betting woman, my money would say that he voted Obama. I think the people who need to act out because the hate our black president are a virus that has fired up the rest of country. It's not a good heat. A vaccine would be more cool heads, but I do not witness an abundance of those.

I'm glad that Congress rebuked ol' Rep. Wilson. Note to South Carolina: get your representatives sorted out or stop embarrasing yourselves.

Thank you for listening.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Did you know the Constitution is for sale?

I am so uneasy about the possibility of the Supreme Court's imminent decision regarding unregulated corporate spending on campaigns. This could be the beginning of the official end of any shreds of democracy left between these two shining (if not polluted) seas.

If the Supreme Court overturns this century's oldest campaign finance protection (the wee bit of protection that is truly left for individuals), We the People will become We the Poop. When I analyze the long-term and short-term implications of giving corporations, who already are able to outspend the consumer/voter, the equal right to endorse and contribute to political campaigns as much as their legislative needs require, well we will truly have given away the keys to the kingdom. I am so sorry. If this comes to pass, I will be so very sorry for all of us.

It reminds me of another tentacle of Jane Smiley's sound argument in favor of the public option in health care reform. She points out the obvious- that if Obama sells the middle-class down the river by signing off on anything less than a public option in a health bill, she rightly says, "that the government is just a sham, a front organization for wealthy corporations."

That's will just be the cherry on top of the real treat- if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiff in Citizens United v. FEC, welcome The United Corporations of America.

And then the truly ugly war between the titans of greed and megalomania will be at our doorsteps, in our homes, in our bank accounts, in our tvs, in our computers, in our books, movies, and schools and there will not be a damn thing we can do about it.

We need help. Individuals need to unite, not try to "divide and conquer" or it will be "divide and be conquered." It is in the hands of the Supreme Court and this will tell us pretty much everything we need to know about the health of our nation.

One more thing- don't miss Bill Moyer's essay to Barack Obama. This is what journalists are supposed to do.