Category Archives: barack obama

racism: what’s past is still present

i didn’t know david duke was still around, still stirring his nasty, evil shit, but apparently he is. (for those of you too young to know of him, david duke is a former grand wizard pooba sorta thing of the ku klux klan and ran unsuccessfully for president in 1988, as well as for some local offices in louisiana at different points in time.) i found this out today on facebook when one of my ‘friends’ (who is really someone i barely knew) posted a video saying something about zionism destroying america… well i don’t know what the actual fuck the video was about because i was just surprised at seeing his name, after being quite happy that i hadn’t heard it in a number of years. i am usually quite open minded, plus i *thought* i had some stuff in common politically with this ignoramus that i deleted from my facebook friend list, so i was going to take a look at the video before i passed judgment on the vile thing. however, when i got to duke’s website, from my phone because i didn’t want to leave that history on my work computer, i was reminded of how truly backwards this man is, and said ‘fuck it, you’re gone, buddy’ to my fb contact.

the reason i was ‘friends’ with this person to begin with was because of a mutual friend who i do have a lot in common with politically – she’s quite the libertarian – and i’m pretty certain that she’s not racist. truth be told, i have more in common with tea party types (i will *not* call them teabaggers!) than even i’m willing to admit out loud. i think there are some racist elements within the tea party, just as there are in the democratic party. (democrats can’t be racist, can they?!) overall i think most people involved with the tea party movement are sincere in their desire to have the government much less involved in their lives, and i certainly second that desire. from the beginning of his meteoric rise, i saw some integral potential within obama, but i just didn’t think he was there, and that’s why i couldn’t support him – not because he wasn’t integral, per se, but because of his policies that i don’t think reflect an integral worldview, especially on the domestic side. i still see glimmers and glints of it, but he’s still not there. he keeps banging his head against a green ceiling.

as integral as i might want to be, i also want to be free to live my life the way i see fit, including dealing with any consequences (positive or negative) that i bring upon myself. it is not the government’s job to rescue me from my own folly, as it wasn’t the government’s job to rescue chrysler or aig or anyone else who fucked up on their own (and their shareholders’) dime. so yeah, i completely empathize with the tea party in that regard. don’t tread on me, yada yada yada.

anyway, this little dust up today is a good reminder to me that racism is alive and well (although i am actually reminded of this on most days). many of my left leaning friends would be like, well, duh! but it’s not just a tea party/republican thing, and just because a person dislikes what obama is trying to do does not mean that person is a racist. it just means they don’t like his policies. period. (side note: the republican party was initially founded in order to end slavery, opposing the democratic and other political parties dominating politics at that time. it was the democratic party who vehemently opposed the civil rights act of 1964, not republicans. but you wouldn’t know from the way it’s portrayed by the media today. i’m no fan of either party, because i think they have turned into two sides of the same coin, but i think making being republican equal being racist is wrong.) yes, racism is alive and well, and while tremendous strides have been and continue to be made, it’s unfortunately going to be around for some more time to come.

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my right not to vote

wow. well, i didn’t vote today, in a deliberate decision, although it was something i had thought about and planned on not doing for awhile. i’ve had people (directly or indirectly) try to guilt me and shame me and tell me that i’m doing exactly what the politicians want, and that i’m shirking my civic duty. i’m well aware of what my ancestors and people before me went through so i could have the right to vote. people went through lynchings and being blasted by fire hoses and having to take crazy-ass literacy tests and unrelenting beatings and verbal humiliation; you may or may not believe me, but i do understand the magnitude of their sacrifices. lives were lost and other lives forever changed so i could go to my local polling place today and vote.

however, i would like to think that their lives were lost so that i could also have the right not to vote. this is the first election that i have conscientiously sat out on. i called myself a libertarian for a number of years, faithfully voting for libertarian party candidates at every level since 1996 (with a notable exception for president in 2000. sigh.). however, with each passing year, i grew disenfranchised with the lp, but not because i disagreed with what they believed in. i think they are putting all of their eggs in the wrong baskets. libertarians have been called nothing more than ‘republicans who want to smoke pot’; there has always been this huge push to see marijuana legalized. and i agree completely with that. i don’t see any logical reason why marijuana shouldn’t be legalized and regulated similarly to alcohol. but, most americans don’t see it that way, and if that’s going to be your major focus, you will immediately turn the majority of voters away. focus on less government, more civil liberties, and they could put the tea party out of business. another thing that really bugs me about the lp is what i see as an inordinate amount of attention given towards the lp putting a presidential candidate on the ballot. they could take a lesson from the tea party and work at more of a grass roots level with local candidates. i realize there are many libertarians already holding local offices across the country, but you’re not even hearing about libertarians being serious contenders for seats in the u.s. congress like current tea party candidates are, let alone the presidency.

so i still agree with most issues in the lp platform, but at best i could be described as an independent who thinks partisan politics are for the birds. really, democrats and republicans, the two major acceptable political parties in the country, are two sides of the same coin. tea party republicans notwithstanding, the major differences between the two are their differing views on abortion, and republicans are slightly more conservative fiscally than democrats (but moving more to the left every day). that’s pretty much it.

after much thought and mental exploration, i’ve decided to just stop voting. i hate to use this tired cliché, but the lesser of two evils is still evil. i can’t in good conscience vote for someone i don’t agree with, just so someone even less in line with my beliefs doesn’t get into office. i also firmly believe that to vote would mean that i consent to whatever the election results are, even if ‘my side’ loses. what if ‘my side’ is nearly just as wrong? mccain vs. obama, seriously? i’m supposed to pick a side here? i’m supposed to vote for obama because we share the same skin color? i’m supposed to vote for mccain because he was a prisoner of war for a number of years? in the meantime, what changes for me (and most other americans) in either case? nothing, except for my personal freedoms being eroded little by little, perhaps a little bit slower if mccain had won.

i honestly believe that those who went before me, those who died so i could go and vote today, would understand my deliberate decision not to vote. today i had people tell me that my not voting was playing directly into politicians’ hands, but i think the opposite is true. best case scenario, voting is being allowed to choose who you want to run your life. i say *you* are best at running your own life, and if you truly believe that, you have every right not to vote, and every right to complain about the results.

nope.

Nope

several times while i’ve been working on the sales floor at the b&n, i keep having this repeated encounter with a liberal elderly white gentleman (from now on to be known as the lewg). (how do i know he’s liberal? read on…) the first encounter, a couple of  months ago, went something like this:

lewg (with smug look on his face): did you do the right thing?
me (thinking, what the fuck?): depends on what you mean by ‘right thing’.
lewg: you know, did you vote for obama?
me (nearly choking on my own spit): no, i did not.
lewg (looking disappointed): oh, so you voted for mccain?
me (smiling, trying to be polite, because i am on the clock): um, actually, no i didn’t.
lewg: oh, so you didn’t vote at all, hmmm…
me (perhaps trying not to look smug): actually, i voted third party.
lewg: oh.

a couple of months went by where i didn’t see or hear from him. and then, last friday, an old white man slid up to me like he had some sort of secret, and asked, again with a smug look on his face: ‘did you do the right thing?’ i then recognized the lewg, and said, ‘i think we had this conversation a couple of months ago, and my answer still hasn’t changed. if you mean by ‘right thing’ voting for obama, i think i did the right thing by not voting for him.’ again, he just said, ‘oh’ and smiled at me and walked off. well, today, the same thing happened again, with the same person. i’m thinking that the old man may have alzheimer’s or that maybe he doesn’t realize that he’s talking to the same person when he asks the question. maybe he doesn’t realize that i’m the only person of color that works at this particular b&n, nor does he realize that we (people of color) do not all look alike. at any rate, the lewg is apparently quite proud of himself, an elderly white man who actually voted for a black person, maybe for the first time in his long life. i guess that means he’s not a racist, although i’m relatively sure that he’s not going around asking white people if they did the right thing. (or maybe he is, who knows?)

just to make it clear, i did not vote for obama, and think that a lot of people of all races who did vote for him are now having buyer’s remorse. many politicians run on a platform of change, but voters have grown accustomed to that sort of rhetoric and really don’t expect elected officials to actually change anything once in office. the conservative-liberal pendulum swings back and forth with each election, and it was time for the pendulum to move to the left. most people just didn’t realize how far left, and to what lengths obama was/is willing to go to accomplish his agenda.

on election day 2008, i shed tears because i was happy that this country had finally elected a person of color to the most powerful position on the planet. however, i felt, and still feel that i did that right thing by voting my conscience, and not as expected by the mainstream. if i had it to do over again, i would do the same thing, and knowing how things have turned out, perhaps i would be more vocal in my voicing my opinions. now, i’m just waiting for this coming november. i really hope that the majority of the american people will do the right thing in the mid-term elections, and show the members of congress who have blindly (or even begrudgingly) supported obama’s health-care agenda the door. and then we can show obama the door in 2012 (although for various reasons, i don’t necessarily believe that will happen…),

wilber on obama

please check out the link below to a blog post by ken wilber on what he thinks about president obama. i have to agree with wilber’s non-commital assessment, especially this line: ‘…a major watchdog organization ranked obama in the top 1 or 2 most liberal senators in congress—hardly a badge of integral inclusiveness.’ still, i believe that obama has some incredibly strong integral leanings, and maybe the fact that he still has a lot of liberal tendencies within him as well still has to do with the fact that maybe he is still crossing over from green into teal. at any rate, i’m happy about finally having a president of color, but his skin color really has nothing to do with his ability to govern integrally. that’s what’s important to me (and really to this country and world), and that’s what i’m waiting to see.

http://www.kenwilber.com/blog/show/491

right-wing conservatism’s last gasp?

i call myself a conservative, although not of the right-wing variety. i believe that smaller government is much more effective than bigger government, and that the government should keep itself out of our lives fiscally and personally. in return, we should be free to live our lives as we see fit, with the caveat that should we make a mistake or even fail somewhere along the way, we right ourselves through our own efforts and through the assistance of friends and family and even charity, but that most of the time, the government is not there to bail us out (with exceptions such as hurricane katrina, 9/11, etc.).

as most people who know me are aware, i did not vote for barack obama, and i have had mixed feelings about not voting for him. (nor did i vote for john mccain, for the record; i voted libertarian party, as always.) i could not bring myself to vote for him, no matter the historic precedent set by his presidency, because i simply do not agree with his many of his policies. i was simply following dr. king’s edict about judging people by the content of their character, and not skin color. i am still concerned especially about obama’s economic policies, because i am simply not convinced that they will affect our current economic problems in a positive manner. however, even though i didn’t vote for him, i am still very proud that seemingly the majority of people in this country were able to look past skin color and elect our first african-american president. it brought tears to my eyes the night he won the presidency and i looked out my windown and saw neighbors of many colors running jubilantly down the middle of my street. it brought tears to my eyes yesterday seeing the reactions of individual people among the crowds as dr. king’s, and their own, dream was finally realized by obama taking the presidential oath of office. and of course, it brought tears to my eyes hearing ‘hail to the chief’ being played for obama for the first time. (although i always cry when i hear it, even for those presidents who i, um, didn’t care for so much.)

so obama is now my president (and apparently the world’s president as well), and i have a great deal of respect for him for that reason, and for the office of the presidency as well. no matter what i think of his policies, i do believe there is a great potential for integral leadership here, so i will hold out hope that he will listen to and consider the policies of those he is not always in agreement with. i will even go out on a limb (no pun intended here) and hope that perhaps some day he can even sit at the same table with the likes of rush limbaugh, with the possibility of an intelligent exchange of ideas. back in the day, i was something of a dittohead (don’t worry, i’m over that now), believing that limbaugh was right about a number of issues. nowadays, i see him for who he truly is, someone firmly entrenched within blue and orange memes, someone who displays a willful ignorance about the way things really are instead of the way he thinks they ought to be (a return to the glory days of ronald reagan – who i voted for in the first election i was eligible to take part in, much to the chagrin of everyone around me). still, i will say that i am in agreement with him about the notion of personal responsiblity, but that’s pretty much about we agree on anymore.

whatever respect i may have had left for limbaugh was lost yesterday. i normally work during his program but am sometimes able to catch rebroadcasts overnight, which i was able to do late last night. my initial reaction upon hearing his commentary about inaugural events was, what an ass. (however, i will admit to also being taken aback by reverend lowery’s benediction.) limbaugh has eight years to rant and rail and be dismissive and make fun and do whatever it is he does regarding obama’s policies, but yesterday was obama’s (and this country’s) big day. limbaugh spent a good part of his show, critiquing not only the content of obama’s address, but its style as well. since people weren’t swooning in the aisles as in past speeches, limbaugh’s opinion was that the speech was mediocre at best. i’m sorry, but the transition of power is a solemn moment, and this country faces serious issues on several fronts. i don’t think it would have been proper for him to get up there and start chanting, ‘yes, we did!’ and the 1.4 million people on the mall to start doing the wave in response. obama was addressing some of the upcoming challenges we face, and he had what i thought were some great lines: e.g., ‘to those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the west: know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. to those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist…’

limbaugh said that obama didn’t say anything new, and to that i reply, well, solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, says in the book of ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun. limbaugh himself says very little that is new, and i think that his broadcast yesterday is a prime example of that. no matter what he thinks of obama, i think he should have at least shown respect for obama and his office for at least one day, and the following day, and forever more, he could have returned to his usual tirade against ‘his’ president. he keeps repeating that obama is his president, which of course is true, but he doesn’t treat his president with the respect one would expect. he can disagree with the man’s policies and still be respectful, and still let the most powerful person in the world have his moment. but, i think this whole thing is really right-wing conservatism’s last gasp, that he and others like bill cunningham can see that they are a dying breed (which reminds me of something i *think* can be attributed to ken wilber, in which he says (and this is paraphrased from a distant memory) that the only way right-wing conservativism will die out is for the generation who believes in it to actually die – of natural causes/old age, of course – and i think he may be right). they will continue throw all sorts of accusations at obama having nothing to do with his governing ability or policies – he’s not really african-american because he has an african father and an american mother, he wasn’t born in hawaii, etc. right-wing conservatism is backed into a corner and is doing what it thinks it has do to defend its existence and keep itself alive just a little longer. it’s the best they can do, because ronald reagan is dead and he’s not coming back.

‘every time obama speaks, an angel has an orgasm’

a friend of mine says that he recently saw a woman wearing the above title on a t-shirt, and described the fact that she had the audacity to wear this out in public as being ‘gross.’ i told him that i didn’t see what was gross about it, and in fact would wear such a shirt (if i were inclined to wear shirts that have tacky sayings on them, which i’m not). however, even though i wouldn’t wear the shirt, i would certainly buy the button and maybe even wear it around town occasionally, especially now, right before the upcoming election. (hell, maybe i’ll make my own button.) i don’t know where this particular saying originated, but it’s funny, making fun of the notion of obama being some sort of perceived messiah. i could see calling it tacky or irreverent or trashy or possibly tasteless (i never said i had taste or class :), but gross? i assume it’s the word ‘orgasm’ he finds gross, which i certainly don’t understand. yes, orgasms are messy, sticky, loud, awkward… and they are also beautiful, mind-expanding, mind-melding, the pulse of creation… i happen to believe that the universe can accurately be described as god experiencing a 14 billion year long orgasm (they don’t call it the ‘big bang’ for nothin’). i also wonder about this: if a grown man is using the word ‘gross’ to describe orgasm, does his wife agree with that notion?

anywhooo, check out this hilarious video from ‘the daily show’ the night that ‘the one’ officially accepted the democratic nomination for the presidency of the united states. warning: within you will find the line, ‘every time obama speaks, an angel has an orgasm,’ with a (humorous) illustration of said occurrence, as well as a trip down memory lane as obama’s life history up until now is recounted for the viewer. enjoy, and don’t watch it in a place where you might get in trouble for laughing out loud.

palin comparison, part two

as my friend david says, let the borking begin…

and sadly, this is what i’m afraid is happening to sarah palin, and more often than not by women. i don’t get why feminists have such venom directed towards palin. even if one doesn’t agree with all of her political stances (i certainly don’t), you have to admire her for getting to the top by her own efforts: she definitely didn’t ride on her husband’s political coattails, unlike a certain junior senator from new york whose name i won’t mention. but, because palin doesn’t believe what apparently a typical feminist is supposed to believe (i.e., she’s anti-abortion, and not only talks the talk, but walks the walk), she’s been derided by the feminist left almost nonstop since mccain made his announcement last friday.

i have heard and read the most ridiculous statements about why palin is a horrible choice for veep, from the played out lack of experience argument to her ‘inability to control her personal life’ (how do her daughter’s actions translate to a lack of personal control?) meaning she would be horrible at controlling american’s lives. (the last is a paraphrase of a comment i read at the end of an article about palin; i apologize for not having made a note of the website where i read this. however, my point here is, is this why we elect a president/vice-president – in order to control our lives? if this is this case, then obama is your candidate.) however, a major area of focus against palin has been her stance on abortion, which will be my focus in the remainder of this particular posting.

one prominent argument i’m finding against mccain-palin is the fear that roe vs. wade will be overturned and all abortion will be instantaneously illegal. however, should that happen (which i doubt will actually occur), abortion will not be any less legal than it is now. it would simply mean that the matter would be turned over to the individual states, for each one to decide as it wishes. no matter how strongly mccain-palin (or anyone else) longs for roe vs. wade to be overturned, wishing real hard isn’t going to make it happen, and it seems to me at this point in our history, it has come down to little more than wishing.

furthermore, i would think that pro-choice feminists would allow and support palin’s ‘choice’ to give birth to and raise a downs’ syndrome child, as well as her daughter’s choice to begin her new family. however, it’s as though you’re only a true feminist as long as you’re pro-choice (meaning pro-abortion), and that the only valid choice in palin’s situation(s) would have been to terminate both pregnancies. because the choice to keep both babies is one that they would not make personally in a similar situation, it becomes an illegitimate choice (no pun intended) in the eyes of the feminist left. however, because of palin’s pro-life beliefs and her living out those beliefs, this actually makes her a bad mother, according to the feminist left, because she’s not staying at home keeping an eye on her teenage daughter while taking care of her developmentally disabled baby. yet a man with a similar family situation would not receive nearly the negative scrutiny that she has.

i have this very real fear that palin will be borked out of this opportunity, because of the way she’s being treated by the media. thankfully obama has the grace and decency to declare that candidates’ children should be off limits, but there is very little graceful or decent about the way that the media is all over this. i believe that on her own, palin is more than capable of handling what the media is dishing out. however, it may be a bit much for her family, especially as the media will most likely continually hound bristol and her fiancé and growing baby, as well as the running commentary as they (meaning we) watch trig grow up. she may try to declare her family off-limits, but the media will probably not have it, and she may therefore want to just protect everyone’s privacy and walk away from this offer of a lifetime. i certainly hope not, because whatever one may think of mccain, he has injected new life not only into his own campaign, but possibly into the country, by bringing in this outsider from the alaskan frontier. i may not have everything in common with her and may even disagree with her somewhat. however, it seems to me that while obama talks about change (and picks joe biden, a 36-year washington veteran – how’s that for change?), mccain has actually done something to bring it about by his choice of sarah palin. she may not have the experience at this present moment to be vice-president/a heartbeat away from president, but i have little doubt that she will quickly come up to speed.

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one of the signs of the apocalypse: i actually (mostly) agree with pat buchanan about something…