Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This is a blog and exchange with another blogger I wrote in response to an editorial by Morton Kondracke, the conservative columnist who wrote a piece about discarding the likes of Rush Limbaugh and reforming the Republican party. I wrote:

Knowing Kondracke is a conservative, I was surprised by his editorial. I thought Limbaugh and those like he were the Holy Grail of conservative politics not to be touched. It shows there are SOME conservatives with a brain who truly want their party to return. I thought twice about writing this because far be it from me to give tips to conservatives. Knowing the extent of my influence and importance, however, which is nil, I think I can write a couple of thoughts about the conservative dilemma as IF I were one. Yes, I can put myself in the other guy's shoes. If I were conservative I would believe that the essence of true conservatism is limited government. I would be fiscally restrained, militarily very prudent and libertarian in my cultural opinions. What REALLY matters to the conservative agenda, in my opinion, should be what is important. Whether a man spends his life with another man in wedded bliss or a woman with a woman has absolutely NO, NONE, NIL relevance to anyone's life except the people involved in the relationship. Ditto for abortion. If you do not like any of the aforementioned cultural realities do NOT participate in them. The people who account for those phenomina are a minute percentage of the American populous. The so called base of the Republican party is infinitely small. It, as Kondracke suggests, represents mostly the solid religious south and perhaps a few other states. Elections will not be won with just that. What IS important is whether we have a fiscally healthy, educationally advanced and militarily safe country. If I were conservative I would run on those issues and nothing else. The party's tent needs to be broadened and one does not do that by voting people out but by bringing people in. I hope I did not give away the keys to the 2012 electoral kingdom!

Response from blogger

Limbaugh is one of the biggest phonies in the US. A faux-hawk. Student deferments in the 60's during Vietnam. Anti drug in the 80's, busted for drugs and addicted to opiates in the 90's. Compassionate conservative who makes fun of Michael J Fox and those with Parkinson's.

Any party that bys his neocon hypocracy deserves what they get. Do the research into his personal life. How could you take him seriously?

Hannaty? another faux hawk. A phony, macho, Beaver Cleaver. At least with left wing loons like Al Franken what you see is what you get.

My response to him

js,323, points extremely well taken. You are absolutely correct. They are hypocrites of the worst order and we do know how much combat our inebriated drug addled spoiled brat presidential 'Decider' really saw. Without daddy that man would probably have ended up in a drunk tank instead of the White House enacting his murderous destructive politics.

I think, though, one cannot deny the realities of what 'conservative' politics became nor can one deny who the effective mouthpieces were and still are no matter who they truly are in practice. From the Republican takeover of the Congress in 1996 through the Bush onslaught and debacle their Rovian/Limbaugh/Hannity brand attained power and lots of it. It took decades and many presidencies to do this beginning with the so called 'moral majority' of Nixon, through government-is-not-the-solution-it-is-the-problem Reagan, to the insipid Bush II to work their hypocritical magic walking away, while they did this, with billions. They did it by co-opting the extremely religious mainly in the south and the mid-west into thinking Republican politics was about them. It wasn't. The poor of the south, Appalachia and some mid-western states voted AGAINST their own interests just so their perceived Christian social agenda and dogma had a voice even if they had to starve in the process. The southern strategy of 51% worked even though it divided the country right down the middle. Bush II would not have been elected without all of it. It took years to finally show their underbelly, hypocrisy and how that party is NOT about Joe Six Pack. It is, as we know, about huge corporate white collar power and tremendous Wall Street wealth which cares nothing about anyone but hoarding the wealth for themselves no matter who or what they have to hurt in the process.

Finally, the Democratic party learned how to organize, hit the airways and play their own game too and play it better. We now have legions of journalists, writers, IMPORTANT online liberal bloggers, radio talk show hosts and television programming such as Keith Olbermann's Countdown, the Rachel Maddow Show and Chris Matthews's Hardball to give voice to progressives and to those who would question power. All of these things hold the opposition's feet to the fire. Let's hope that defeated so called 'conservative' snake does not recoil to strike again with their hypocritical mouthpieces of lies, fear and hate. The miraculous election of Barack Obama is not the end. It is the beginning. We must always be vigilant, always be organized and never let up while showing the American public what truth REALLY is.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

In his November 23, 2008 editorial "A Question of Faith" Jeff Jacoby sees the word love at the end of religious faith and death symbolically at the end of Bill Maher's film Religulous? I see the word reality and truth as the substance of the agnostic's view and I see religion, throughout the ages, responsible for much division, hate, war, and death. Yes, sure, religion has created some humanitarian thought and action. It has given the world some ethical systems too. The Romans, the Greeks, the Egyptians and other ancient civilizations, gave the world all those things as well. One does not need the monotheistic faiths or any faith for that matter to do good in the world. Man, indeed, survives better when he cooperates with his adversary no matter what his belief systems are.

Since when, historically, has religion been a force for such extreme good? In my world view religion has been has been awash in a sea of blood and implicated in an orgy of war as religious texts give a permission slip for one man to kill the other over five thousand year old text repleat with scientific impossibilities which subvert natural law. Religion, further, espouses different things to different people. If six billion people adhere to a religious text then there will be six billion different interpretations of what that text is. Organized religion is responsible, I submit, for more discord than harmony, more division than unity and more hate than love. Moreover, might I add, having seen Bill Maher's film Religulous, seen its truth, and listened to Maher for years, I never have heard him say even once that the polio vaccine was unnecessary. Having suffered from polio myself before the vaccine was available I would have paid particular attention to anyone who said that.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another letter to the Boston Globe's conservative columnist Jeff Jacoby:

Jeff, referencing your November 16, 2008 editorial "Palin's Political Potential," unlike many on the right I have no problem admitting fear. Do I fear Sarah Palin? The answer to that is a resounding yes! Why shouldn't I? I have just waded through the eight-year quicksand of a George W. Bush. All one has to do in Republican Party land is play dumb, waive a flag, hate a gay and say Jesus told you to do it all. Clark Clifford was right about the lack of scholastic aptitude of Ronald Reagan and Andrew Sullivan is right about less-than-high-school-intellect of Sarah Palin. Let's hope the American public is smarter than to get stuck again in all-image-and-no-substance candidates. Watching American politics for forty years, however, I know anything is possible.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Universal Right: It is my opinion that the gay rights movement for years has thought it sometimes unnecessary to project homosexuality as an ascribed status. Some in the movement thought it not advantageous to talk about being homosexual as something innate. A few said if it were a choice people should have that right to choose too. Sure, that is true. They should. The opposition, however, will say if it is a choice, then, why not choose the opposite? I think, it is NOT a choice and I believe the gay community would be more successful if it argues that point. I believe most gay people are born gay. No amount of therapy, prayer or just plain force-of-will can alter that fact. Would one withdraw marital rights from Indians, Asians, Africans or even two disabled people?

Black rights were won on the fundamental truth that one is born black. Therefore, discriminating in any way is simply unfair because the only rationale for one's ethnicity is through birth. It is unchangeable assuming anyone would want to change it in the first place. Furthermore, the Biblical mandate, as many other Biblical mandates, does not withstand the test of time. Things proscribed in Biblical infancy are eschewed in modernity. Proscriptions for animal sacrifice, stoning of prostitutes, killing of blasphemers, can be found in Biblical text. None of those prohibitions is, in this country, practiced today. Divorce in Medieval Europe was forbidden. Divorce is obviously a common occurrence today. The anti-bellum south used many Biblical passages to reinforce slavery itself. As justifications for white supremacy blacks were called the children of Ham, inherently evil, infused with the devil, fallen angels and other such nonsensical appellations. We know ALL of these views are considered obscurantist now but even after the institution of slavery, its servant cruelty took thousands of years to erase. Indeed, we are still trying.

So, it is the same, I believe, of homosexuality. There are numerous scientific studies which seem to support the nature of homosexuality as inherent and unchanging within the species probably occurring in utero before the fetus even emerges from the mother's womb. Perhaps, further, most homosexuals would support that view since many say they are able to remember at the earliest age being attracted to members of their own sex. Given that and assuming the sex is between, of course, consenting adults, who would find it difficult to understand why homosexuals want their rights? It is not contagious as it is endemic to the species and, I submit, part of human sexual variation. I believe if homosexuals argue from that venue more success would be gained with respect to the gay marriage issue. Homosexuals want rights because they are owed rights like everyone else. Homosexuality is not good and is not bad. It simply is. In 1983 I once saw a movie entitled "Parting Glances" which was about the revelation of a gay young man's sexuality. The protagonist in the story responded to his parents' question as to how could he could choose this lifestyle. He answered "Hey, guys, I didn't choose it. It chose me! " I think that says it all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Take a Breath: Here is an excellent article by Andrew Sullivan. He is a CALM voice on gay marriage. We need it. He is a true conservative AND MOST IMPORTANTLY he is a gay conservative. He is brilliant, a great writer for the Atlantic and has been supportive vociferously of gay rights for twenty years. His article, I think, is worth reading if nothing else then to douse the fires of our anger. It is a clam, reasoned, cool and collected article as to why this is NO time for despair. He looks at the glass half full instead of empty. We truly have come a long way and CA does still have domestic partnerships as do other states. I even read where Utah is considering certain rights without marriage...okay it's Utah..that's huge if it's true. It's the word "marriage" that gets the wing nuts. Personally, I can live without it happily. Rights can be ensured in other ways but others want it and they should obviously have it. This article though, helps us to take a breath, relax, go on and not give up. It can only be a good thing to read it. Click or cut and paste into your browser OR Google Andrew Sullivan.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It Ain't Over Yet: The passage of Prop 8 in CA was a disappointment to an otherwise, in my opinion, flawless November 4. From anti-abortion questions which were struck down, to animal rights, to the right to die -- most progressive measures were, thankfully, given the nod.

The civil rights struggle of homosexuals goes on. Before you conservatives out there in joyless land throw a party, the measure, until the very end when the Mormon Church infused a gazillion bucks to hit the airwaves, Prop 8 was headed for defeat. Gays may not have won this time but the percentage of the vote was MUCH improved from the time before. They nearly won despite the oodles of cash the religious zealots poured into the vote. The fault lies with the seriousness -- or lack of it of -- with which the gay community and its allies brought to the cause. They underestimated the determined well-financed hateful efforts of the Mormon Church with its fundamentalist co-conspirators and the lengths to which they would go to perpetrate their lies to deny to others that which THEY themselves take for granted.

Tomorrow is another day. Herculean efforts will be employed to overrule this patently unfair and obviously unconstitutional vote. Civil rights should NOT up for a vote and, hopefully, a modern, aware, and humane judiciary which has some understanding of biological realities and human genetic sexual variation will FINALLY put the matter to rest as it did for other civil rights struggles. It takes time and it takes money. Stay tuned. It ain't over til its over and it aint over yet!
Wrote this on the Metro west blog in response to those who think I am not thinking clearly about religion:

Yes, I see all your points that evil knows no boundary. It's been committed by believers and non believers alike. I agree with that. What I was addressing was contemporary events. I know weaponry has been designed and used by non believers too. I was speaking about the political events of this era and most particularly about the religious right's and the Fundamentalists assumption of huge amounts of power in this country and what effect that has had.

In THIS country at THIS time and moment in history it is the believers and non who are juxtaposed one against the another as they vie for supremacy, power and wealth. It is they who in the name of religion may in fact annihilate the human race and enact inhumane and destructive policies. I cannot argue though violence and catastrophic invention surely have been designed and committed by all. It is religious belief NOW, though, which has been responsible for so much discord, destruction and mayhem. I might further add a note of understanding. I do not have a closed mind and debate different angles of different issues always or at least I try.

I truly envy those who believe. You may think I do not but I do. It is a MUCH easier life and a MUCH easier world to endure if one accepts a higher power. I have had wars with belief systems all of my life. Life for me has been difficult at best. So naturally I wondered why and looked for answers. They never came for me no matter how fervent the asking over decades. Things simply stayed the same in fact they really got worse. So if people pray and they get solace or their life changes for the better I envy that. I wish mine had. It didn't no matter how hard I prayed or how much I asked. You may say it's the religion but I have had flirtations with several religions. None helped. I think one does not need religion to be moral. I think one does not need to believe in something else to know, for example, killing or stealing is wrong. A society functions best, I believe, when it works cooperatively.

I wrote to Richard Dawkins the physicist, confirmed atheist and author of 'The God Delusion.' I said to him even though I subscribe to most of what he says I wrote to him about how difficult it is if one does not believe in god. He said to me that he thought it odd that I could not get joy in the wonder of the universe, in the construct and evolutionary progression over trillions of years. He said that and that alone should inspire awe. Well, it does. It just doesn't help if one gets ill, or if one looses loved ones OR, most importantly, when one contemplates one's OWN death. That's the problem as I see it which he really could not address. Science cannot address that. Religion can address that BUT is it TRUTH? That is the real question as I see it and one which each individual must make a determination for him or herself but the truth of it cannot and probably will never be proven. As I said before just because you want it to be so does not make it so. That hurdle I could never surmount.

Friday, November 07, 2008

President-Elect Obama -- Guardian of History: What can I say that has not been already said about the historic nature of this election? This was, as has been repeatedly uttered, an historic moment and I am forever grateful that I am witness to it. I feel like the burden of George Bush and divisive Republican politics has been lifted from my shoulders. I feel like the dawn of hope has emerged. I wake up every morning and my first thought is that Barack Obama is president and the chill of a new November day is warmed. I still have to pinch myself to make sure that this is not a dream and that those who poisoned the Washington well really have been driven from power. Kudos to the American people who chose to reverse the titanically disastrous course the iceberg of which our nation was poised to hit.

There have been other particularly notable moments in our nation's story. As stated by a news source "When President-elect Barack Obama takes the oath of office on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in January, he'll be standing on stone that was laid by more than 400 African slaves who helped build the structure from 1792 to 1800." That is history. When he takes his seat in the oval office, January 20, 2009 he will be the first African American to do so in our nation's history. That is monumental history. He stands, of course, on the shoulders of many other giants who risked their lives and often gave their lives to ensure this moment occurred. That is history.

From Frederick Douglas, from the abolitionists, from Harriet Tubman, from Abraham Lincoln, from Medgar Evers, from Rosa Parks, from James Meredith from Martin Luther King from the slane civil rights workers Schwerner, Goodman, Chaney and countless others black and white, men and women, rich and poor who resisted and illuminated the strange fruit hanging from so many southern poplar trees, we must understand our history. Barack Obama knows he is standing on the shoulders of giants. Now he is the giant and must be the guardian of that history so others may stand upon his.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A tinge of sadness: As the days go on I am even more thrilled, if that is possible, about Barack's Obama's victory. But, too, my glee is tinged with a bit of sadness about the California Proposition 8 vote to amend its state Constitution to bar gay marriage. It is clear that homosexual people are the last vestige to whom it is permissible to deny the civil rights everyone else takes for granted. I do not hear much outrage from the media about its passage. The passage of Proposition 8 and its attendant permission slip to amend the California Constitution will be yet another battle for homosexuals to secure their rights through the judicial branch if that is even possible. If it is not it will mean discrimination will be woven into yet another state Constitution and all those who married before the vote in California MAY have their marriages annulled depending upon the legal settlement of that issue. Imagine if the state came to everyone else and annulled their marriage. This behavior to me is predictable in Mississippi ... maybe .. but not predicable in California. I expected better.

What disheartens me most, however, is how the vote broke. Sure, religious Evangelicals everywhere were for the amendment that is to be expected. There were many against it such as the higher educated, half of Hispanics, Asians and most whites in general. So, who added to the religious Evangelicals obvious support of it? A majority of African Americans voted for the amendment. In the gay community I do not think I have EVER encountered anyone who was against African American civil rights. The gay community, quite naturally, has always marched along side black people trying to secure their rights. It is dismaying to me that gay people gave support but when push came to shove and when it was so important it was not given to them on the Prop 8 vote. That is infuriating to me.

Sure, I am happy Democrats secured huge wins in nearly every domain. In addition, all the questions around the country broke the liberal way on abortion, the right to die, medical marijuana, no criminal penalties for small amounts of marijuana, no elimination of Mass. state income tax, EVEN the greyhounds got their rights in Massachusetts. But when it comes to gay people who cares about them? I hear little indignation and not much outcry except within the gay community and some of its loyal friends. Well, I am crying out. Perhaps, the gay community would do well to take a page from a more militant black man at a different time in our nation's history by adopting a more Malcom X attitude -- Either you give us our rights or we will take them by any means necessary. Maybe next time we will.