Category Archives: politics

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.

guess which one i don’t do?

seen at the rally to restore sanity and/or fear (from buzzfeed)…

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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.

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.

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…

palin comparison

um, so, i need to explain that last blog entry i wrote, or maybe i need to delete it or something… i have often thought about myself that i’m too liberal to be conservative and too conservative to be liberal, and maybe this new entry will at least illustrate that point, if not explain it. i wrote that last piece early friday morning, immediately after the conversation referenced within and before john mccain made the announcement of alaska governor sarah palin as his choice for vice-president. i’m still not saying i’m voting for anyone (other than a potential write-in for jrb), but her presence on the republican ticket significantly increases the likelihood that i will vote for a major party candidate (mccain). it does of course depends on how she handles herself in the next few weeks, but what i’ve seen of her initially i’ve been quite impressed by. i may not agree with her on the various positions she holds, but at the same time, i have a lot more in common with her than i do with hillary, even if i’m not married with children nor a business owner.

what i’m finding interesting are the reactions of the democrats, in particular the argument that she has no experience. yet her résumé blows barack obama away, let alone the other two at the top of their respective tickets. she has executive experience being mayor and governor, which, no matter the size of the entities she has worked for, are to some extent microcosms of the federal government. and yes, alaska’s population is only slightly more than that of the county i live in (jackson county, missouri), but what is the population of joe biden’s home state of delaware? and, more importantly, does he have any experience governing there? from my vantage point, being a united states senator consists of little more than pushing papers and voting and trying to get fellow senators to vote your way. there’s a big difference in voting on policy and implementing policy, and, from my point of view, palin has a huge advantage over biden (let alone obama) in implementing policy.

as for the foreign policy experience question, well it does seem on paper that biden would have the advantage there. yet, as governor of alaska, palin has had to deal with russia on oil drilling rights issues, the same saber-rattling russia that just invaded georgia. and this is some speculation on my part, but being bordered by canada to the east and south, i’m sure she has had some dealings with them. before obama’s great middle eastern/european adventure early this summer, what was the extent of his foreign policy experience? i would certainly trust palin more as commander in chief (which she is of alaska’s national guard) to stand up to various aggressors in the world than obama. i do believe that there is a time for talk, but there is also a time for action and talking later, and from what little i know of her, i believe she would take appropriate action as necessary.

there is of course the argument that mccain chose her only because she’s a conservative and because of her anatomy. maybe, maybe not. but i think that even if she were a man, and her résumé was similar (let’s overlook the miss alaska competition :), i would at least give this person some serious consideration. by this same token, looking at obama, i honestly believe that if he were white and holding the same positions that he currently espouses (overlooking the black liberation theology thing), he would have gotten as many votes in the primaries as did his running mate (who, i might add, thinks obama is awfully articulate for a black guy). so i guess we do have obama to thank for hillary not being the one to break the glass ceiling.

i agree that there is much to be learned about her, which i have no doubt will happen over the next few weeks. however, at the moment i have nearly the same feelings about her that i do about condoleezza rice (who i have a crush on, despite her allegiance to bush). i love the diversity of palin’s history, from her being a lifelong member of the national rifle association (i have nothing against guns, *with* proper training and licensing), to her being a miss alaska runner-up, to her working as a professional fisherwoman, to her taking on the republican establishment in her own state. and the fact that she is a mother of five currently dealing with challenges faced by many parents, as well as being married to a union member who works in the oil industry – this all makes her seem down to earth, like she understands the issues of the average working person here in flyover country and will take those issues into account as she governs. and if, god forbid, something should happen to mccain while in office, i have little doubt that she would be up for the challenge. at any rate, i can’t say that this changes my voting plans any, but it’s making me think about it. and, if i do ultimately vote for mccain because palin’s on the ticket, it’s really not a vote for him; it’s definitely a vote for palin.

why i’m not voting in november

“The — the reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.

“I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.”

when i heard lines such as these (courtesy of http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/28/us/politics/28text-obama.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all ) during the brief portion of obama’s acceptance speech i listened to last night (chiefs football was on simultaneously), i remember thinking to myself, ‘well, fuck, obama’s integral.’ he certainly seemed to have a lot of support from my fellow attendees at the integral theory conference earlier this month. and while i see definite flashes of integralism in his talk, for some reason, i just can’t get on board. maybe it’s simply because i don’t trust obama, i feel as though he’s hiding something, or that he is in fact making himself out to be a savior by promising this and that, and i’m a firm believer that, as individuals, we can only save ourselves. we can’t look to someone from the outside to do it for us, whether that person be a jewish carpenter who supposedly lived 2000 years ago, or world citizen barack obama in 21st century america. if we do that (which i believe most people have already done), we’re only giving our power away, but i digress…

this morning i had a somewhat enlightening conversation with a friend about last night’s speech. she is so fired up by it that she’s thinking of volunteering here locally for obama’s campaign, and i’m happy that she feels passionate enough about it to take time out of her busy schedule. she mentioned to me that she overheard a conversation here in which one coworker was telling another that he wasn’t going to vote at all this fall, that he is just going to sit it out. surprisingly to her, i replied, ‘so am i.’ i think she was genuinely shocked first of all that, as a person of color, i am not an obama supporter, and secondly, that i’m just not voting. she went on to tell me that people died for my right to vote, which is of course true, but i can’t believe those people would want me to vote for someone i can’t believe in, which is true out of all possible choices this season. (i usually vote libertarian, and i can’t even see myself doing that this year.) and it’s not like i’m not voting out of apathy. i truly do care about what’s going on around me, but voting for someone just because they are on the ballot to me is doing nothing but perpetuating the problem. so, i do what i can in my sphere of influence, which ultimately i hope will provide more positive change than teaching people to depend on the government. i did tell her that i was considering writing-in a candidate, which she discouraged, saying that i was taking away from legitimate candidates, which doesn’t even make sense to me.

at any rate, the main reason i’m not voting this fall, in addition to not really feeling any of the candidates, is simply something i’ve said before: i don’t think it will make a difference. no matter who wins, mccain or obama, any ‘change’ is either going to be surface or token, or *if* significant change does take place, i think it will only speed up our country’s escalation downward.

yes, i realize that it is quite significant that obama is the first african-american presidential candidate for a major political party and i’m very pleased about that, and the fact that it occured in my lifetime. this country has come a long way (and still has a ways to go, which i think can only be dealt with by a change in consciousness, which is happening). still, a few months back i said to a friend that obama probably will be the first black american president, but he will probably also be the last for a long time. i think his policies will be quite detrimental to this country, and americans, with their inability to look past the surface on so many things, will look back and blame the black man for what he did to this country, even though his skin color will actually have nothing to do with it. i hope he enjoys his day in the sun.