Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dissing Dems

Everyone from Keith Olbermann to Ben Affleck got to demonstrate some fair and balanced venom last week directed at the Democratic Congress for their so-called "cave in" over the Iraq Supplemental Bill without guidelines for withdrawal. What's the surprise? Bush and the Wild Bunch may have lost their rubber stamp majority, but they're still looking to portray Democrats as abandoning our soldiers in the field on Memorial Day and thus, the cause of our increasing disaster. The Bushies have built so many straw men, they should have an art festival in the desert and burn them. But one skirmish doth not a battle make. Rather than send their troops into the fray like Pickett's Charge, some Democrats are keeping their powder dry and waiting until they have the votes to override a presidential veto.

I am not surprised. Since Bush's war is exactly like Vietnam, it will take more than one vote to force his hand. I, and others like me, in our little corner of West Tennessee, elected a liberal, anti-war Democrat to represent us in Congress, so we expected that his vote would be consistent with our wishes to end this war. Had Harold Ford, Jr. supported Rep. Steve Cohen's candidacy and run as a true Democrat, rather than soul brother to Joe Lieberman, he would be sitting in the Senate today. I don't blame the Democrats for appearing timid in the face of potential vilification. Even the fiercest partisan must admit the presence of many legislators who's sole purpose is raising money for reelection. Their fingers are constantly in the wind, their eyes are on the focus groups, and their ears are attuned to their political advisers. So, I don't blame the Democrats for vaccilating; I blame you and your complacency for not making yourself clearly understood. If your congressman or senator voted to continue funding this war and you are angry about it, it is your obligation to forcefully deliver the message.

Fortunately, it is not too late. Citizens who elected a Congress to put an end to the Bush atrocities must demand representation and the pressure must be maintained until a veto-proof majority is obtained. Netroots (i.e. e-mail, blogs, and postings) have proven to be effective. Even if a lonely staffer is at the other end of the computer, they will read your mail because data and public opinion are being compiled for a legislator. Find your Senator's or Representative's address at, or Another good link is
Phone calls work and can be found at the same sights. Snail mail does not work because of the unsolved postal scares after 9/11. Some of these folks just don't know how to vote unless you tell them.

My heart breaks over the daily body count and the carnage in Iraq. These insideous roadside bombs make sitting ducks of our troops. But the U.S. Embassy, the largest in the world, is on schedule to be finished right in the same spot as one of Saddam's guilded palaces. There was never an exit strategy because we never intended to exit. At least not until the Bush puppet government can sign over international oil leases to the U.S. Cindy Sheehan deserves a rest. Now everyone, just like 1968, must choose a side and fight for peace individually. Only I never believed we would have had to fight this same battle twice. Sometimes I wonder when everyone who was affected by the Vietnam era will awaken from their sleep-walking and raise their voices, especially now when the communication revolution allows you to express yourself so readily and easily. Your representatives are on vacation now, probably just waiting to hear from you.

"The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Falwell's Hell

Moms Mabely used to do a bit about her cheap, late husband. She said her mother had told her, "Don't say anything about the dead unless you can say something good." So she said, "He's dead. Good!" Same with Jerry Falwell. In fact, I talked with the Lord who told me Falwell's death was retribution for doing intentional harm to so many of His children. While the candidates in the Republican debate fell all over themselves portraying Falwell as a great religious figure, I knew of no one outside of South Carolina who shed any tears for the pompous inquisitor. In fact, my phone started ringing with messages from people uplifted by his departure. In the sixties, Falwell would have been branded as the racist he is, along with figures like George Lincoln Rockwell and George Wallace. They cloaked their bigotry in Klan robes; Falwell cloaked his in the robes of the church. His South Carolina brand of divide and conquer preaching is no stranger to the South, and only another rigid fundamentalist could say that Falwell left this world any better for his presence in it.

Falwell liked to say he was "pro" things, like "pro" life, and "pro" family, as if anyone was against the family, but he was mainly known for the things for which he was opposed; Abortion, sex education, welfare, secularism, globalism, homosexuals, feminists, fornicators, and freeloaders. The Jews would have been at the top of the list, had it not been for Falwell's twisted desire to see the State of Israel used as a springboard for the return of Jesus and the judgement of the Jews. Some of his more outrageous statements made me believe he was reading from a different Bible than the other Christians, but what he calls the inerrancy of the Good Book was only his interpretation, just like everyone else. How else to explain Falwell's ghastly and cruel televised statement to his flock that the blame for 9/11 lied with "Pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'" The doctors claim Falwell had a heart attack; how would they know where to find it?

Falwell wasn't the first evangelist to use religion to advance his petty prejudices. Father Coughlin, from the WWII era, comes to mind. But Falwell was the first to use Christian exclusivity as a political philosophy, and the most successful in marshaling like-minded followers into holding political candidates hostage to his views. He made his bones as an anti-gay crusader, howling about Disneyland and Tinky Winky the purple Telletubbie, but the Moral Majority was his creation and legacy to the political process. Who could have imagined that his rise to political power would find such official Washington sympathy, that the last two election cycles, in a time of war, would be decided on abortion rights and gay marriage? But what made me choke over Falwell's message, was his utter intolerance for people not sharing his rigid biblical views, and his towering ignorance of any faith other than his own.

Falwell was so unyielding in his "one way" ideal that the IRS found, in 1993, that he was diverting contributions from his "Old Time Gospel Hour" to right wing Political Action Committees. Falwell paid a fine and retroactively lost the program's tax-exempt status for the years involved. That's a lot of prayer cloths and poor people's hopes that went into the political coffers of the morality police. Falwell believed that absolute certainty in his faith made him a religious leader of great stature and wisdom. Of course, Moktada Al-Sadr believes the same thing. So does George Bush. But inflexibility never led to diplomacy, or cooperation, or peace. The fact that Republicans like John McCain, who called Falwell an "agent of intolerance" in 2004, now line up to talk at Liberty University, speaks of the moral bankruptcy of a party that has sold its soul to the Christian Right. Falwell has already promised that "the Anti-Christ would be Jewish," but I can't think of a less Christian approach to society than Falwell's. There were no sex scandals as there were with his compadres Bakker, Swaggert, and Haggard, but there was financial malfeasance galore, including the discovery of Falwell's participation in financing anti-Clinton materials that accused the former president of drug smuggling and murder.

Before Falwell is eulogised as a great defender of America and its freedoms by those who covet his followers' votes, let's us regular people stop to remember the man who gave us the Moral Majority and the abortion-driven, sledge hammer tactics they have used for the past thirty years. For all the crusades against public schools, all the attempts to force prayer into the public arena, the opinion that AIDS was God's scourge against homosexuals and all AIDS relief to impoverished countries be tied to abstinence only education, we will remember him. For the War on Christmas, the outing of Tinky Winky, the Hustler Magazine lawsuit, and the statement that "Global warming is a conspiracy orchestrated by Satan," we will remember Jerry Falwell as one of the fiercest Christian jihadists ever.

Since I don't actually believe in Hell, there's no way I can envision even a Jerry Falwell in such an eternal place. I do, however, believe in karma, or reaping what you sew, or what goes around comes around; but eternal damnation for only making it harder for people in just one lifetime? That only necessitates one lifetime's worth of rumination over the soul and the requirement to come back to this realm and do it all over again; in Falwell's case, probably as a professional baseball player, but gay. After watching the film, "The U.S. v. Larry Flint," I would prefer to see Jerry Falwell do his time in multi-century limbo as the spiritual advisor to Courtney Love. Then he would at least know what hell is like, and perhaps how obnoxious he seemed to those who had to listen to his inane yammering.
fact timeline from