Category Archives: presidential candidates

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.

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…),

pfleger tells the truth

other than the rev. michael pfleger mentioning hillary clinton’s race in this entertaining tirade, he’s not far off. most people do have the (correct) feeling that she was the presumptive democratic nominee until obama stepped up to the plate.

another tirade involving a fringe presidential candidate

did you know that alan keyes is running for president again? i had no idea until a couple of days ago, when i heard it mentioned on a local talk radio show that he would be one of the choices in the upcoming kansas caucuses. and i was like, ‘wow man, why won’t you just go away?’

i’m embarrassed to admit this, but in the mid 90s, during the height of my fundamentalist fervor, i was a big keyes fan. i thought he was what america and the world needed, but as my worldview began to evolve, i began to think of him less and less as being viable. sure in some ways i remained (and remain) conservative, but his brand of controlling conservatism makes george bush look like howard dean, and it just made less and less sense to me, especially as i became exposed to true libertarianism. and the way he looked at the world was positively myopic. sometime in the late 90s i remember him doing a tv interview regarding his opinion on music and popular culture, and he stated that young people needed to listen only to uplifting christian groups such as point of grace. (as an aside, i’m sure they were or are nice godly women, but i’ve met them on a couple occasions and i’ve found them to be complete godly bitches…) that further downgraded my opinion of him, as did his 2000 campaign in which he was, in my opinion, something of a laughingstock (to be fair, i agreed with some of his ideas, such as the sales tax, but too much other stuff bothered me about him). i will admit to being impressed with the idea that he once beat al sharpton in an informal debate, but am of the opinion that this only happened because it was two black men. if a white man had said the things said by keyes, he would immediately have been labeled a racist.

…and i digress. let’s fast forward to a couple of years ago, after his laughable run to be the u.s. senator from illinois against the then unknown barack obama. shortly after this loss, it was discovered that his hot little daughter maya was a lesbian. what did the loving supportive christian father do? kicked his daughter out of the house and cut her off completely financially, including ceasing to pay her college tuition. i lost all respect for him at that point, and it’s because of actions such as his and other so-called christians i’ve known that helped to pave the way in my being the libertarian omnisexual tree-hugging heathen that i am today.

anyway, i really had no idea what he had been doing between then and now, and really didn’t care. (and still really don’t.) i thought maybe he was in cahoots with fred phelps or busy picketing a planned parenthood building somewhere in northern alaska. and it turns out that he’s been campaigning for the 2008 republican nomination for the presidency. i’m no fan of bush, but i believe if this man won through some truly freak occurrence, we’d be begging to have bush back in office.

i do not identify as either conservative or liberal. someone once described me as being too conservative to be liberal and too liberal to be conservative. still, i definitely have conservative opinions when it comes to issues regarding abortion and gun control and government spending. and even regarding gay marriage, i hold a conservative position, although not for the reasons typically held by conservatives. so if he weren’t so hard core, it would not be impossible to see myself supporting someone like keyes. my problem with him is that he wants to use the presidency to enforce his morality on everyone, allowing very little diversity of thought. people say that about bush, but as far as i’m concerned, there is no comparison; bush has his hardcore moral stances to be sure, but even though he’s said things that may cross the line, he’s still pretty much laissez-faire when it comes to people’s morality.

morality is a personal, individual issue and cannot be legislated. the key is to realize that our actions as moral individuals affect other moral individuals. i take the point of view that we should be responsible for our own morality (of course this depends on how you define morality; it seems to me that most of keyes’ definitions of morality revolve around the right kind of sex: between one man and one woman married to one another for the purpose of procreation – how boring) and if it affects someone else negatively, then appropriate action should be taken to make sure that no longer happens. but you cannot tell another person how he or she should behave behind closed doors (as long as it doesn’t involve children or animals) nor who he or she should or should not be allowed to fall in love with, and that any deviation from the ‘proper’ beliefs means that in this life you are a bad person and breaking the law and will be punished, and in the next life, you will really be punished.

keyes doesn’t stand a snowflake’s chance in hell of getting any delegates, let alone winning the nomination (although it wouldn’t surprise me if he ran as a third-party candidate somewhere down the line). this post was probably a waste of time as well, as most people familiar with him know that his presidency would be all wrong for our country. yet, i felt led to write, just as a reminder that there are people like this out there (although i’m reminded of this every time i listen to talk radio, or walk outside my apartment building, for that matter). my beef is not with his conservatism as much as it is his wanting to force that conservatism upon anyone calling himself or herself an american, under the guise of ‘taking back this country for christ’. if the country consisted only of the state of kansas, maybe it could happen, but thankfully it’s not gonna happen.

because keyes is in this country, he certainly does have the right to say whatever he wants, however bigoted and narrow-minded it might be. but as he is seeing, just because he can say it doesn’t mean that we’re listening.

buh bye, ron paul

er, um, well, happy new year! i have decided to return after my unplanned hiatus of about four months: the world needs to hear my words of wisdom once more. (you’re allowed to roll your eyes here.) or maybe it’s just that i’m tired of hearing friends repeatedly mention that i haven’t blogged in months. hey, life happens and i’m easily distracted by shiny things, a good book, or anything with a phallic shape. but now, we’ve come upon that time every four years where there’s no being distracted: no matter what tv you turn on, or website you log onto, you will slowly at first, but steadily begin to be bombarded by political propaganda from the major political parties, and a couple of minor parties too. this is where i am entering back into the fray. and i think i’ll step in just as someone i’ve been unsure about all along is probably about to step out.

for the most part i like ron paul’s political platform and i wanted to wholeheartedly support him, but i just couldn’t, for reasons mentioned in previous posts last year. most of those reasons were based around rumors regarding racist comments made in newsletters bearing paul’s name, but i could not (perhaps out of laziness or having other things to do) find the so-called ‘smoking gun’. last week i was talking with someone who also wanted to support paul, but couldn’t quite, and asked me to produce this proof about paul being a racist. i agreed to do so, knowing that with everything else i have going on it probably wouldn’t happen anytime soon (because the fact was that paul never really was a viable candidate and therefore i’d simply made the decision that i wasn’t going to vote for anyone this fall – a choice i will explain at another time – so it just wasn’t a pressing issue). well, thank you, matt drudge for providing me with that ‘smoking gun’. this article provides details regarding these newsletters, including the staggering claim by paul that not only did he not write any of this material, but has no idea who did.

it’s one thing to not want to admit to writing such inflammatory material, but to have it in a newsletter bearing your name and yet not know where it came from? yes, he has a great platform and honestly if he and kucinich actually would have teamed up at some point, i would have considered voting for that third-party ticket, *but* racist comments notwithstanding, do i want a man as president who is supposed to be in charge but has no idea what the people under him are doing/writing?

so, i will be voting for no one this fall, or maybe i’ll do as a friend did in 2004 and write in trey parker of south park infamy. no matter who wins, from either major party (with the possible exception of hitlery, who could make things worse), not much is going to change in most of our day to day lives. i think obama is the bomb as far as his oratorical skills and making people feel good, but that’s not what i want in a potus. (nor do i want a potus who cries because ‘it’s not easy’ – and these tears came just while she was applying for the job.) with the exception of 2000 (which i am embarrassed about, having actually voted for ‘w’), i typically vote a straight libertarian ticket, but i can’t even bring myself to do that anymore. the libertarian party is little more than a joke anymore, and while i wholeheartedly support libertarian principles, this party, which once had great potential to make a difference on all levels of government, seems now to be nothing more than one of the better financed fringe political parties, whose main concern seems to be legalizing drugs. (and i am for this and ending this crazy war on drugs, but it seems to me that there are more immediate pressing issues: illegal immigration? iraq war? north korea? climate change (real or imagined)? put down the bong pipe for a few minutes, please…)

okay, i am going off on a tangent now, which i didn’t intend to do. i just wanted to briefly lament the downfall of the one presidential candidate whose ideas i could sink my teeth into. i mean, he probably would even consider me as one of the ‘5% of blacks who has sensible political opinions’ . i’d be so flattered…

note to guiliani from paul: thanks

i’ve had a couple of people ask me about ron paul, the unheard of (before the blow-up with guiliani) republican presidential candidate who is suddenly being heard. here is an article about his rise in media attention from salon.com.

i can’t say that i agree with him 100% (e.g., he supports withdrawing the u.s. from the united nations, and slowly, my point of view is changing regarding that and other world bodies), but within this list that i am quoting from the article, he and i have many similar points of view, albeit maybe for different reasons:

He’s the only Republican candidate who wants to end U.S. involvement in Iraq and withdraw the U.S. Navy from the waters off the Iranian coast. He wants America to pull out of the United Nations, NATO, the International Criminal Court, and most international trade agreements. He wants to abolish FEMA, end the federal war on drugs, get rid of the Department of Homeland Security, send the U.S. military to guard the Mexican border, stop federal prosecutions of obscenity, eliminate the IRS, end most foreign aid, overturn the Patriot Act, phase out Social Security, revoke public services for illegal immigrants, repeal No Child Left Behind, and reestablish gold and silver as legal tender.

i’m not even sure i agree with him on iraq and iran, because just withdrawing right now, leaving the two of them, along with other middle eastern countries, to work out their own issues would have disastrous consequences for the world. still, i think much of what he supports is based on pragmatism, based on what he thinks would be best for the country as a whole, and not a piecemeal approach, making promises to individual groups that would not mesh together in working for the whole, which i think most other candidates are doing.

i have two main complaints about paul. first, he doesn’t seem to acknowledge that the u.s. is, for better or worse, a part of the world community. we cannot live in a vacuum where we just do our own thing and let other countries have at it. withdrawal from the united nations, as imperfect as it is in its current form, would serve no real purpose other than to further alienate us from allies and bolster the enmity between our country and our supposed enemies. secondly, in the article i linked to, there were examples of a couple of racist statements made (e.g., “If you have ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be.”) , which he says he didn’t actually say, but still refuses to apologize for. this reminds me of barack obama, when he asked to apologize for a statement he didn’t actually make regarding hilary clinton, would not. i have great admiration for both gentlemen in refusing to back down over being criticized for things they did not say, but this leaves me wondering about where paul stands on racial issues. i would have less respect for him if he pandered to the black/hispanic/other ‘special’ group vote, like many other candidates do, but i am taking note that the comment he ‘didn’t’ say is still quite stereotypical and negative. i don’t think paul is a racist, per se; perhaps his non-comment is based on ignorance and a lack of meaningful interaction with minorities. all i’m saying is that this is something for me to watch out for in him. otherwise, i agree with him on the majority of the issues. i can’t say that i would vote for him, because it probably won’t even get as far as him being a viable candidate, plus i am seriously considering no longer voting at the national level anymore. but, for the moment he’s got my attention, and that of others, and as a lower tier candidate, you can’t do any better than that.