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 www.house.gov, or www.senate.gov. Another good link is www.congress.org.
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.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's more effective to live your life as though there were no government. After living like this for a while, for you and for most practical purposes, the assholes won't exist. It's so freeing. Let the political freaks grind their teeth, and tear out their hair. In the end all that ever happens is that a new set of assholes run the country. Perhaps they will be assholes more to your liking, but assholes all the same, and that is little consolation to those who don't want their world stunk up by assholes. And by the way, this is a political position long venerated by the lost race of hippie (and other miscellaneous bohemians). But then, haranguing over politics may provide a way for some to pass the time of day...so rave on. Why do I bother to rain on your parade? I guess it's just another way to pass the time of day.

davethedog said...

My prediction is that Bush will start drinking and doing "coke" before his term ends and that Lindsay Lohan will be his sponsor in rehab.

Carnack the Magnificent

a/k/a

davethedog

ghg said...

The only problem with just saying "no" to all government is that anyone who says that presumably says it from the privacy of his own home with his own medical insurance available from his own job (that he is not concerned about losing) who is able to get to the supermarket in his own car and buy the groceries he needs with his own money. He also presumably lives in the USA and is white, luckily enough for him relative to the usual and customary problems for those who are not white or who might live in another country not as fortunate to have the military might of the US. No bad. Just his good fortune.

However, if his mom had been a wonderful Iraqi woman and he had been born into a wonderful family in Ramadi and his father was a doctor or a carpenter or a guy who works in a shoe store but he was proud of his heritage and of the meaning of life inspite of the fact that he lived in a state in which a dictator reigned he might wish right now that the "government" of the US was not taken so lightly by its people. I'm sure he would, if asked by any of us, if maybe we could have done something to have prevented what happened to him and his country and his family if we could have. And further, if we could somehow have some impact on our "government" so that the end could at least be glimpsed, whatever that might be, Sunni state, Shia state, whatever. Anything to get again a taste of what it is like to be able to go to the supermarket and buy the groceries that his family needs with his own money. I think I know what any of us would say if we were Iraqi to the American who we thought might be able to help us and it wouldn't be to ask him to hide in the Vermont countryside and do his commune thing. If looked at from the, (if I might be so bold), "right" perspective the scene is reminiscent of the videos of people on the street watching a group of thugs beating up an old woman to steal her purse and then when the deed is done the onlookers just mosey on over to their cars and drive home. "Whoa! Didja see the whaling that ole lady got?!" "Man, that was really something."

The old lady is your mother.

Got that. She's your mother. The Iraqi kid is your kid. The black lady is your grandmother. If you can't see that, then don't make any noise when the thugs knock on your life's door. "Whoa!! Didja see the whaling that the 'I think I'll just stand on the sidelines guy' just took?! He's gonna need a good dentist.

Any other deal is bull shit. Put up or shut up. Golden rule or live with a rear view mirror because what goes around.....

Anonymous said...

Gregg, you are beautiful...a poet and a socialist. Unlike you, I did not 'take the world to raise'. I just live in it and negotiate the twists and turns sort of like a rat in a maze. A half-way diligent and frugal rat who takes advantage of the basic opportunities that this country offers can land on his feet. My parents were high school dropouts and country-bumpkins...no silver spoon in this mouth. But, like I said if one is diligent and frugal he can make it without massive government assistance. It is de-humanizing to think otherwise, but then I can't do your thinking for you. I have more confidence in the human spirit than government...is that so bad? And as far as the folks who want to knock my door down and kick my teeth out, I have insurance provided by Smith & Wesson to dissuade them. Of course folks such as yourself would love to take that away from me so that I will be solely dependent upon the slack-jawed bureaucrats that run this country. And what's more, your side is going to win the battle...just before the whole thing collapses from a lack of strength of the human spirit. The human spirit in America will be ennervated due to socialism. When someone else does too much for you, you become weak and fodder for the tyrants.

Anonymous said...

Another thing that you socialists hate to hear...I got a public school education and did three hours of homework a night. We were so poor that I only had two shirts to wear during my senior year in high school. I went to college and kept a job for thirty two years. I drove cheap cars till the wheels fell off, shopped for everything to get the bottom dollar, wore clothes on sale, etc., etc. and invested every spare penny I had. I had no big inheritance, and I had a relatively low paying job for a college grad (grossed $6500 a year with a Master's degree when I started and never made more than $60,000 a year tops). I am retired and can afford to be a hippie living in a bunker, not in Vermont but in the Ozarks. I say all that not to be self-righteous, but to make the point that a lower class rat like myself who is diligent and frugal (and stays sober) can make a go of it in this country without all the help that the socialists feel that everyone needs. You should be preaching self-discipline (I know the word makes you cringe) rather than pushing for welfare checks and food stamps. I'll back away now so that you can have your liberal tantrums.

randy said...

you sound as pissed off at your fellow man as you accuse others of being at the government. No one I know who refers to themselves as "hippie" would sit silent while their children were dying in another racist war. Hippies helped end the Vietnam war. I was at the Vietnam Moritorium March on Washington in the fall of 1970. Where were you? I was spit on and harrassed for having the temerity to protest Richard Nixon's visit to the University of Tennessee in 1970. Where were you? You seem to believe that all hippies are now yuppies without conscience. It is no longer appropriate to encourage people to "drop out" when there are atrocities being committed in our name. Your rural, observer stance doesn't disqualify you from the human race. Smoke pot until your head caves in for all I care, but for me, refusing to speak out now, smacks of elitism, despite your humble origins.

Anonymous said...

Many hippies were apolitical. In fact there was a scism in the movement between the apolitical hippies (Merry Pranksters, for instance) and the leftist politicos. I was a cultural hippie, because truthfully, politics disinterested me then and still does now. I don't really mean to be difficult, but I can't get past the overwhelming bogusness of the whole affair. I wish that I could call myself something in terms of a political identity, but I just can't bring myself to play the party game regardless of the context. I am as staunchly liberal on many issues as I am conservative on others. One of my problems is that I worked in the government (as did my brother) and saw and heard too much that was discouraging. I have seen first hand the damage that enabling can have upon the human spirit. I have also seen wonderful triumphs of the human spirit. I am not sore at anyone, really, except for politicians and lawyers. I am equally fed up with Republicans and Democrats, but believe it or not, I may vote Democrat next time, because I feel like the Republicans have done a lot to dimiinish civil liberties. I will always have the heart of a hippie, but it has been tempered by my experience. I believe in helping those who cannot help themselves, but I cringe when I see well meaning people do things in a spirit of helping that winds up weakening the recipients. I have seen a lot of that in education. I use a lot of sarcasm and play devil's advocate, but it really is all in a spirit of fun. I hope that you can sense that, because at heart I am and will always be kind of a goofy hippie. Maybe it's a case where if I am able to maintain composure when everyone else is freaking out... I just don't understand the situation. I have always had a hard time with being serious. I admire your zeal, but I don't get your fascination with the Democrats (the same goes for the Republican freaks). The larger the number of adherents in a movement, the more likely that there is error. But then I am an extreme individualist. I would prefer to be a friend, though.

Anonymous said...

One more thing, what is so elitist about believing in the strength of the human spirit. Is it elitist to believe that people can achieve without massive subsidies? I am a big believer in the strength of the human spirit (if it is not screwed up). I happen to believe that the vast majority of people have what it takes to get by in this life if they use some common sense, a little self-restraint, some self-discipline and frugality. I also believe in helping those who cannot help themselves. I don't understand being called an elitist. I don't own a suit. In fact, practically all I wear is shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops. In the winter I wear sweat pants, sweat shirts (or flannel shirts) and athletic shoes. I drive a pickup and live in a very modest home. I follow the precept that a man is wealthy in proportion to what he can do without...simple living and high (no pun) thinking. I prefer to mingle with people of low estate...blue-bloods tend to repel me. Where do you get elitist? Is it because of my naked faith in the human spirit. That strength of spirit can be fostered apart from (or with minimal) material assistance? Educate me.

ghg said...

I appreciate the honesty of all writers on today's BAH. Without a grip on our own integrity nothing we say has any purchase. So with that in mind, I think that my comments may need some further detailing. In doing so I believe that we may have much more common ground.

When I strike out against what I see as injustice, I do not have any specific plan in mind that would right it. I am moved, though, by my sense of "what if". By framing others this way I've been able to only surmise what the other person might be feeling, but having lived 60 years my experience allows me to draw some conclusions. I know how lucky I am. Not my fault. Just happened. But, just like you, I've done my best to take advantage of everything that was given me. But, it wasn't money that I was given. I was given an atmosphere in which intelligent discourse and a larger sense of right and wrong was embedded. Again, just the environment in which I was raised. I had nothing to do with it. My mother used to say "there but for the grace of God go I". I didn't really get the jist of that until I started working in an ER and saw how some people were so badly treated by "care givers"...these people who visited the ER were very "down on their luck" and had no place else to go. Some were schizophrenics, some fools, some alcoholics, some suicidal, some just afraid of something they couldn't explain. They'd reached their limit and so they were there with me...the place of last resort. Their plight made me think. These folks served as a proxy for me for those who had it together just a little bit more, who weren't in my ER, but who were living that life of "quiet desperation" that only foments frustration, inner anger, and lives poorly lived. Here I was, educated, emotionally fairly stable, at least enough to love Beethoven, a beautiful day, a beautiful woman, a well written paragraph.

My point is that if I had been born someplace else with other parents in circumstances (beyond my control) that didn't foster inspiration or emotional or intellectual growth, but instead fostered emotional frustration based on the harshness of the living conditions and the very human harshness that the human reaction to pain creates, and the terrible loss of self respect that is inherent when faced with one's life consequences compared to that seen by one and all on the TV, the movies, and among those "ahead" of us by virtue of their good luck, I'd be a different person. Of course. But, I might not have the inner fortitude, the energy, the desire to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I might be so beaten down as a child that it would not be in my cards to ever be more than frustrated, angry, and sad. Hey, there is no equity here on planet three. Two year olds get hit by cars. Bad stuff is as likely as good stuff. But, I know what good stuff is, and I know how lucky I am. And if it weren't for......I might be one of them.

I guess its my gratitude for my great good fortune that moves me to fight injustice. Injustice here should mean the environments that, as Paul Farmer puts it, create "structural violence"....that is, in the midst of great wealth and hope, the lack the institutions to allow for the real time availability of opportunities for health, education, good will, good habits, good thoughts, good schools, friends and family who have good sense, enough to eat, and the chance to have the strength of spirit strong enough to want to help somebody else.

The "poor" are indeed poor. Maybe so poor in spirit that unless they get some sort of help they will die never having tasted what I have of what is available in this life.

So, this isn't about hand outs or Democrats. It's more about seeing a problem for other humans that is more often than not beyond their control. What can we do? How grateful would we be if we were helped and then with renewed strength we WERE able to lift ourselves up? How grateful would anybody be? No handouts. No putting people on the tit. You're right. This doesn't help a person to find inner strength or the will to fight what could be terrifically bad odds. But, how can we not spend some time thinking about how to use our resources in a way to do the most for the most? "Most" here means giving the best tools in the best way so as to have the greatest chance that they'll be used for human growth. Hey, that's all we want for our kids. I just want to spread the wealth.

Why not?

jimbob said...

I think what brother ghg is saying is, a little empathy will do you no harm.

ghg said...

I think JimBob is a-ok with me. A-OK. You keep on plugging JB. I on yo side.

Anonymous said...

How can anyone argue with what Gregg just laid out? I'm with you, man. That is a sane non-political position that should appeal to all but the most cold-hearted. You are every bit a poet and maybe even something of a genius...sorry I called you a socialist. You are just a keen-sighted humanitarian. I think we can all be friends.

Gregg said...

Dear Anonymous---What you don't have to already be told is that inside I am about as mushy as a hot marshmallow. You touched me, old friend. Many thanks for the good words.

Anonymous said...

Many, if not most, disagreements involve a failure to adequately communicate. A lot of issues center around how to best help people, rather than should we help them at all. No person of good will would be against helping people. It's just a matter of how to do it but,of course, there can be price tag issues. Even Ted Turner said that his philanthropic endeavors would cease if his wealth dropped down to around the hundred million dollar level. Talk about a limousine liberal! Speaking of collecting money to serve the common good, I have often wondered why those who are hyper-concerned about the issue of taxes not being high enough don't start some type of national clearinghouse to collect donations. If the tax rate isn't high enought to suit them, everyone who is concerned about that issue (usually those who call themselves liberals) could send all the money they wanted to this common fund to be given to the government to use as they see fit...or maybe specify that it is to be used only for humanitarian purposes. That way everybody would be happy. The conservatives could keep their money for investments and the liberals could give all of their excess money away. If roughly half of the country considers themselves to be liberal, think of the vast amount amount of money that could be raised in this way. Then, voile!, a major political issue could be resolved.

Anonymous said...

I need some guidance. Here is what I want from the government:
1) Low taxes
2) Defense of the country
3) Take human predators off of the
streets.
4) Legalize drugs
5) Legalize prostitution
6) Allow citizens to choose a means
of death when the time comes
7) Get out of the moral police
business, for that matter, get
as far out of our private lives
as possible.
8) Seal the borders and come up
with a viable and fair
immigration law.
The question is...who do I vote for to get these issues addressed?

Anonymous said...

Rather than to hold my nose and vote Republican, I am considering voting the only other way there is...Democratic. The Republicans are too authoritarian for me and I don't like what the American culture becomes under their reign. Needless to say, I have lots of concerns about the Democrats. One of these concerns is their tendency toward pacifism. Here is what I wonder about...If a couple of American cities get nuked killing a couple of millions of Americans, I already know that their first move would be to negotiate with the enemy. Of course, after the negotiations we would be nuked again...why not?, easy pickings. My question is this, is there a point were the Democrats would finally fight back? Or, would they be content to die having the enemy think, 'Gee, those were really nice guys. They chose to give us their country rather than to fight back'. This is the picture that a lot of people have of the Democrats and it really hurts their cause.

Anonymous said...

i have one more concern that I wish someone would address. But, before that a couple of observations. I used to be concerned about the Democrats in regard to our judicial system, but I have decided that it couldn't get much more screwed up than it is now, regardless of who is running the show. Another issue was government spending, but the Republicans have shown that they are equally if not more irresponsible in this regard. That leaves me with this concern...what is the Democrats' fascination with raising taxes? Wouldn't that money be better used if it were invested? The government is the most wasteful and inefficient spender of money in the entire world...just about everyone knows that, so why do Democrats want to continue to rathole greater and greater sums of money by giving it to the government. I really wish that someone would explain that to me. Like I said before I will probably vote for a Democrat next time, but I wish someone could give me some kind of assurance on the issues of national defense and ever increasing taxes...The only reason that I can come up with is that they want to effect some kind of social leveling by taking money from the producers and giving it to the folks at the bottom of the income scale, which never really improves their lot. It might be different if those folks used the funds wisely and responsibly, but if they were inclined to do that, they wouldn't be at the bottom of the scale to begin with. In the end, at least half of the tax money that the government spends is ratholed...Hey, somebody throw another bale of the taxpayers money on the fire...I feel a chill.

Anonymous said...

And one more thing...lest some of you think that I was being unduly harsh by my comment on folks advancing by using money (or other entitlements) wisely and responsibly. In my 32 years in education, I can't calculate the number of instances where the very people who should have taken advantage of their opportunity to get a good, free public education did not do so. In a large percentage of the situations, the 'disadvantaged' applied themselves the least and were the most trouble in class and prevented others from learning. It would have been an interesting longitudinal sociological study if I had kept a logbook of these individuals and then done a follow-up to see how many of them wound up in jail or on welfare rolls. They had their opportunities and squandered them. Of course, on the oher hand there were success stories, but I have to say that they were in the minority (speaking of the 'disadvantaged'). It is an excellent illustration of the addage that says if you don't use it, you will lose it. A small example...I recently ran into a former student who is now in his 40's and is a security guard at a mall. He was innately bright, but didn't want to put forth the effort in high school to get an education. He was bright enough to get a college degree, but I'm not sure that he even graduated from high school. There are countless such stories and every teacher has them. Bear in mind that I am referring to those who would be classified as socially marginal. Most of the rest get their education and lead productive lives. In fact, they wind up paying the taxes that help to support their less responsible classmates. You have to feel for those who had no opportunity, but what can you say for those who had the opportunity, but CHOSE not to take advantage. When I went into education as a young man, I was what some would call a 'flaming liberal'. However, I was forced to move back to the right on the socio-political spectrum from the shear weigh of experience. I have often said that as part of everyone's education they should have to spend a year as a classroom teacher and a year in a cop's patrol car. It's hard to be too liberal when you get out of the ivory tower. Believe it or not, I have plenty of liberal positions on particular issues, but I am pretty conservative in others. This presents me with a problem...I tend to be rejected by both liberals and conservatives. I just can't play the party game. I am doomed to dwell in a political netherworld. Having said all of that...I am prepared to be stoned for being politically incorrect.

Anonymous said...

The police/nanny state is poised to strike again. If you don't already know, kava is an herb that has been used for thousands of years in the Pacific Islands as a relaxant. In light of this, Kava bars have sprung up in Florida, Oregon, and Hawaii to market a harmless kava drink (no alcohol, the officially sanctioned drug of the gov., is served on premises). As you might have guessed the FDA is hot on the trail to see if this herb needs to be regulated. Apparently, if any herb has any therapeutic value at all, the FDA wants to hijack it so that the pharmaceutical industry can play the role of pirate and charge exorbitant sums of money for it. This is just another intrusion of our control-freak gov. into the lives of the citizenry. I say it is time to come together for a revolution. If we don't stand up these PMS-ing bitches, they will continue the march toward complete regulation of our lives. I can see the day when there will be gov. cameras in restrooms to monitor whether or not hands have been washed and violators fined...not much of an exageration in light of the cameras monitering stop lights.

Anonymous said...

The Democrats will clean up the culture of corruption in Washington? William Jefferson? And they are too cowardly to do anything forceful in his regard, because they don't want to offend blacks. HA,HA,HA,HA!!! Politics in this country is too bogus for words and is irredeemably corrupt. All voters do is to send a new crop of bogues in to perpetuate the comedy of errors...all the while fervently believing that what they are doing makes a difference. All the fevered commentary about how a given political party is the right one and the one that will save the day. Just so much spitting in the wind...a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing...but more bogusness. Unfortunately, nothing will keep America from sinking into oblivion (a third world country). It's just a matter of time.