You don’t need to think these days if you’re not of a mind to. You can buy a complete philosophy by listening to one of a few public figures & media stars. (Larry Winget made this observation at length recently on his blog at larrywinget.com.) But if you do, you miss the idiocy that is present on both ends of the political bell curve.
I don’t know what it says about my political philosophy, but liberalism of late is spawning more of the idiocy I’m seeing than conservatism. This may be systemic or just an odd statistical distribution, I'm not sure. In any event, I have quit referring to myself as merely a “Democrat,” and insist now that it be “Democrat-Progressive,” the Progressive part being in the TR sense. (Recently published Glenn Beck’s Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, is the first conservative tome I've seen which specifically attacks TR's progressivism. Screw Glenn Beck.)
I offer the absurd twaddle of the last couple of days:
1 - Former Governor Palin, the one hit wonder, has hit the popularity trail and is extending her (cute) coattails for others to hitch a ride upon. (No, I will not apologize for a sexist comment. If you don't like it, go somewhere else. The Governor's primary schtick is that she is a woman who is conventionally attractive and has strong opinions which establish a perceived conflict which is attention-getting.) Governor Palin has “shocked” the political establishment by saying that she will support candidates, regardless of party, who believe in “the right things.” First, no one is shocked. Senator Spector jumped to the Democrats and Senator Lieberman spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2008. Their respective parties have whined, of course, but the First Amendment applies to them, too. There is always mixing at the fringes. What annoys me is that Governor Palin believes that she knows all of the “right” things. The Apostle Paul was one cocky individual and even he didn't go quite that far. Fewer things than the liberal writers will admit are subject to rational debate; as are more things that conservative writers suggest. It is becoming tiresome hearing total defenses of one or the other without addressing entire subjects.
2 - On Friday 18 July 2009, I received a “personal” email from Senator Barbara Boxer from California. (I’m on an email list, mostly for fundraising. Any political contributions I make are local or state.) I cannot adequately describe the Senator’s gush, so I will quote her (ghostwriter) at length:
“Often it seems like I'm writing to ask you to help respond to an urgent crisis. Well, today, I'm proud to tell you about an important, hard-fought victory that we won last night.
“Just before midnight Thursday, the Senate finally passed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act as an amendment to the defense authorization bill. [She doesn't mention that it has nothing to do with defense, and that this is the sort of parlimentary crap which Congress uses in its legislative shell game.] This legislation is long overdue, and now we're finally on the verge of getting it signed into law.
“On Wednesday, I spoke out on the Senate floor about the senseless death of Matthew Shepard, a tragedy that showed us we have a long way to go before we can truly say in this country there is equal justice for all. More than 10 years ago, two men offered Matthew, a gay man, a ride in their car. Subsequently, he was robbed. He was pistol whipped. He was tortured. He was tied to a fence in a remote rural area. And he was left to die.
“This was a brutal, vicious hate crime —— and we've got to do everything in our power to make sure nothing like it ever happens again.”
Well, Thank you, Jesus. The Senate will not let that happen again. Of course, straight guys tortured and killed are just shit out of luck? The problem here was not what motivated the criminals. The problem was the crime. This was a robbery and a heinous murder. If we accept that punishment deters crime (and to some extent it does), do we want to deter people from committing violent crimes only when they do it because they dislike people’s race, etc., or every time they kill someone? And while the Senators are all pious and self-righteous singing Kum-bah-yah, within 1/2 mile of the Capitol steps, anyone but a total cretin can obtain methamphetamine or crack. Could that have a bearing on crime that the Senate might spend a little of its valuable time on?
3 - The press reports today that “a group of black Philadelphia police officers filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against their department, alleging an online forum geared toward city police is ‘infested with racist, white supremacist and anti-African-American content.’ ” By the way, the city has nothing to do with the online forum, it is private.
Racism is tiresome and time-wasting. Whining lawsuits are self-righteous, tiresome and time-wasting. Perhaps a better response? Identify the sponsors of the forum if known, or point out that they don’t have the guts to identify themselves if not. Running to mommy-judge isn’t very dignified for police officers and sends that message, "Please, Mr. Government, take care of me."
Also, bitching about words is at least peculiar. Words can be used abusively. You do not deserve to be abused. Guess what? This is America. If you don’t like what someone says, you can (1) disagree as verbally strongly as you like, (2) terminate the conversation and walk away, (3) not turn to the forum in the first place, (4) publish your own forum, (5) ignore them because they aren’t worth listening to or (6) say, screw them and walk away. Pick one - or more. Or, stand, cry, whine, and file suit, that’s real smart, isn’t it?
4 - Last week, the United States House of Representatives observed a minute of silence in remembrance and celebration of the life of Michael Jackson. That same day, USA Today reported the deaths of four servicemen in Iraq. Congress didn’t observe shit for them, not even a combined minute, which would have given each 15 seconds. You do not have to say anything negative about Michael Jackson to point out that this is wrong. Congress has sent the military on an ill-defined mission with inadequate equipment and support. Congress is VERY slow to fund vehicles that are MUCH more resistant to explosives than current vehicles. Families are personally buying quality body armor for loved ones in the military. After Dad ships out, Mom and the kids, even with Mom working her ass off outside the home, qualify for Food Stamps. IN AMERICA!
5 - The Administration is worried because the President’s approval rating among the general public is below 60 percent. Who’s running the country, Sally Fields? “You like me, you really like me.” Unemployment is going over 10%. The Chinese own our national debt. The American manufacturing economy is greatly reduced, and the balance of trade continuing on a path of much, much more imbalanced. Expanding health care to uninsured Americans will cost over half a trillion dollars.
Quiz: How likely is it that these problems can be addressed at all while maintaining a 60% public approval rating?
Answer: I say, NIL. Somebody is going to have to take responsibility to start paying the bills that have to come due.
6 - A fine fellow and friend on the Facebook site posted a youtube thing of one Congressman Forbes giving a speech on the Floor about America really being a Judeo-Christian country. Apparently, President Obama gave a speech in Turkey where he said that America is not a Judeo-Christian country. My response on FB was:
"Friend Richard, I agree with the Congressman’s words, but not with him. He is giving a speech during "special orders," when virtually no one is on the House floor. In other words, it's a PR schtick for the cameras and the kiddies back home. He's painting Christians as victims and doing "poor me," which is darn inviting in our culture, but unnecessary and undignified. Listen: Jesus is the Christ. I'll say that anywhere I please and to anyone I please. If I want to pray in a school or a court, you cannot stop me. If I want to praise God at a ball game, anyone can wait til I'm done and then have their say. How about this?: Yo, Mr. President: You're wrong. Get over it. We're not victims. Remember the old Ranger who carried a .45 'cause they didn't make a .46? Jesus carries a .46.
And to expand a touch - you have the right to talk about or keep quiet about your beliefs as you wish. If someone is being a jerk about it, you can point that out. When the Westboro Baptist Church disrupts a military funeral with their “Thank God for IED” bullshit, you can (and should) share your views in a vigorous fashion. (Screw it, if you get arrested, you get arrested.) I do not interpret “the Great Commission” given by Paul to Christians as calling on me to become a street preacher or something of that sort. My path takes me places where I do what I think I’m supposed to do, undoubtedly incompetently at times, and certainly with imperfect understanding. As LBJ said on 22 November 1963, “I will do my best; that is all that I can do.”
I could be wrong - I still believe that my political principles have remained pretty stable, and that the major parties have been wobbling back and forth occasionally intersecting with my path. No more, now they’re both riding different trains to Hell and wanting me to pay for their tickets and fluff their pillows.