Monday, December 13, 2010

There's that "H" wprd again!

Rachel nailed it again!  She just aired a story that shared the hypocrisy of Republicans once again through the hypocritical stance of Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.  It seems that the good Sen. Hatch, during the Clinton years, proposed an individual mandate for health care insurance; yet now that same good Sen. Hatch has declared that a judge's decision against the individual mandate was "a great day for liberty."  Huh?  Your own decision just became objectionable because it was brought into being by the Democrats?  Is that what you are telling us, Sen. Hatch?  Sounds like moves by other Republicans since this President took office - what you pushed for a few years ago has now become anathema to your party and you yourself attack yourself over your previous positions - and are completely unable to admit mistakes or hypocrisy.  McCain has done it, even to the point of standing in complete opposition to his own family.  Others have also been shown to have reversed completely positions they espoused just a short time ago.

Since when does an idea become good if one party thinks it up, but horrid if the other thinks it up?  Since when does only the religious/political right have the good ideas?  Where would this country be today, if only the Tories had good ideas during the late 1700s?  Where would we be if only the Segregationists had the good ideas during the Civil War and Reconstruction years?  Where would this country be if the Texans had succeeded at becoming a separate nation?

Come on, Congressional leaders!  Get with it!  I work for Wal-mart, and will admit freely the problems within the corporate structure, but also think Sam had one amazing thing to say to all of us within and outside our company -- "Listen to our associates (employees),.  They are our best generators of new ideas."  You need to start listening to the real voice of this nation, and acting accordingly.  If you did, several of the divisive issues would have been dealt with.  Freedom of speech allows everyone, including those in diametric opposition to share their voice, but it doesn't say that a small but vocal minority can hold the nation hostage over their particular hot button issue.

Hypocrisy?  I recall a quote from a professor I greatly admired in Seminary - a conservative religious leader with a sharp, insightful mind - when a fellow student raised the "position" that people had stopped going to traditional churches because of all the hypocrites in those churches, "You can either be in the church with the hypocrites, or spend eternity with them."  Now, over my lifetime, my own beliefs about eternity have evolved, and I'm not sure we would still see eye to eye on them, but his insight is important!  We won't get rid of hypocrites, but we don't have to let them control our lives or our country!

OK, Sports shows extreme social attitude

It's happened before, I know, but this is still shocking, and not - a NY Jets coach deliberately tripped and injured a Miami Dolphins player to help his struggling team.  Woody Hayes, Head football coach at Ohio State punched an opposing player - and lost his job over it.  A college player in a bygone era was so excited by his team's inability to stop what appeared a sure return for touchdown, stepped from the sidelines to tackle the opposing team's streaking return person.

What does this raise a flag for me?  Well, it is a clear and prominent reminder of the attitude instilled by many of the institutions and social organizations of this nation - win at all cost!  Intentionally injure a player from the other team that is hurting your efforts to win (or step off the sidelines to tackle, or punch that opposing player who just stopped your vaunted team's efforts, or trip and injure an opposing player), intentionally try to influence the officials to get a call in your favor, even when you know it's wrong. 

We've seen it in Olympic sports, the Tour de France, baseball, basketball, football, track and field and other sports.  Medalists have lost their medals and faced prison time.  Named Champions are forced to step down in shame.  Records are cheapened by cheating.  And it is all in the name of winning.

What is the real message we share with the world with this win-at-all-cost attitude?  Do we show ourselves as a nation of honor, who instill sportsmanship in our people; or that we are like all those other countries where dictators intimidate to get the results they want?

Perhaps it is time to reconsider our national obsession with winning.  I enjoy seeing my team win as much as the next person, but prefer to watch at team play to their full potential, with honor and pride in their effort.  I've been a player, I know the desire to win, but I value more that quality that allows us to honor and respect someone who played better on this day.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Another Indication

There is yet another the Republicans, Tea Party-ers and religious and political righties have no intention of working with progressives for things the citizens of the nation want, but instead will dictate their particular view of what life in this nation should be - benefits for the rich, paid for by the middle class.  What do I speak of now?  The announced plan to repeal health care legislation that passed on a partisan vote simply because the hate-mongers kept enough pressure on that Republican legislators weren't willing to represent their constituents and vote their desire for that legislation.

You will recall that earlier I mentioned an avowed aim of erasing any good thing our current President has accomplished, to obstruct and stone-wall at every turn, unless they are, of course, controlling the direction of legislation and policy-making.  Sounds bipartisan, doesn't it?  Sounds like congressional leaders REALLY interested in the diminishing middle class, doesn't it?  Sounds like more of what I have come to expect from McConnell, Boehner and the rest from that side of the aisle!  More of play by my rules, or I'll take my marbles and go home!

That really strikes me as adult, mature, reasonable and reasoned leadership.  A prime example?  Well, GOP leader and spokesperson Rush Limbaugh or his mini-me Glenn Beck and the other far right windbags at FOX News.  And if anyone happens to offer a reasoned rebuttal to their gas explosions, then the heat is turned up full tilt and try to get rid of them.  Note efforts in the recent past to get Kieth Olbermann and Rachel Maddow out of the way, lying about their stories, their staff and what their network plans for them; oh, and refusing offers to come on those shows to defend their positions.

I don't need Kieth or Rachel to show what the Republicans, Tea Party-ers and religious/political right have become, I just listen to what comes from that side of the aisle.  Wake up, my friends, because if we don't start standing up to this, it will become the direction of this nation with more and more powerful commercial interests dictating just how little they will be willing to pay for the services of the common people doing the work that nets them their millions - while spouting drivel about really caring for the common people.

I want the corporations to make money, but I also want them to be honorable and honest, caring and concerned about the welfare of the people who work for them, buy their products or services, and are direction affected by their policy decisions.  I want them held accountable when they ignore safety standards to make a better bottom line, when they send people into unsafe working conditions and disasters happen.  Why?  Because it is right and proper to do so!  Plain and simple.

Think about it, and be truly honest with yourself as you do.  That's all I ask!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Speaking Out

All the time I was in college and graduate school, growing more liberal and progressive in my thinking, I was being told that liberal minded people don't speak out on their beliefs because they don't want to force their views on others, but prefer for those others to develop their own thoughts.  Well, the results of that thinking are now manifesting in this country!  We hear over and over that the country is primarily a moderate nation, but what is the dominate voice we hear - radical right extremes!  Rescind the voter registration legislation, send the "aliens" home, find ways to keep minorities - women, people of color, LGTB persons.

Let's think about those things.  Why rescind voter registration legislation?  The only reason is to keep non-whites from influencing legislation and political policy.  There is no other reason for this move - and make no mistake, Tea Party-ers have indeed indicated this is something they want.

Aliens?  Does someone who comes to his country as an undocumented, come from another planet?  Is our government keeping secret planetary travel that allows these extraterrestrials to come and to make us want to sent them home?   Of course not!  And to anyone who thinks about the history of this nation, who upholds the near-sacred icon of this country - the Statue of Liberty - they know this nation was built on the backs of undocumented immigrants - some brought against their will - people that until the modern era were allowed to come here and build this country.  Think of the Chinese brought to build railroads, think of the Irish, Jewish, Polish people who came and helped build this nation.  Perhaps we need to call to mind repeatedly the words of the Statue - "Give me your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free . . .

What scares these people is the thought that the white nation founded - one might point out over the slaughtered bodies of Native Americans - will be subsumed under the minorities brought in the help build the infrastructure of the nation, and increase the wealth of whites willing to do anything to get more wealthy, more powerful - be that slavery, cheating on contracts, reneging on treaties - all in the name of "manifest destiny."

It's time we acknowledge our past, our dark secrets (that aren't even secrets), and start maturing beyond that domineering, empire-creating mentality.  It's time to recognize that blacks, whites, Indians, Hispanics, Asians, and women, straight and gay, have all contributed to the legacy of this nation.  Let's start by having progressives speak out with as much power and vehemence as the ultra-conservatives.  Or at the very least, let progressives learn to use all the tools available to silence the hate-mongers on the right.  First amendment rights do not include inciting rebellion, and second amendment isn't an excuse to allow people to develop personal arsenals and to form private, white-supremacist militias that have in fact spawned domestic terrorists.  I have no problem with someone owning guns, but no sportsman takes an automatic, weapons-grade rifle to shoot game.  I have no problem with someone sharing their alternate view of this nation's direction, so long as they understand and honor that it is indeed the right of every citizen to speak their mind.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Sen. John McCain has really gone of the deep end!  He's flying in the face of his daughter's orientation, flying in the face of his wife's support of repealing DADT, and, in something we have come to expect from the far right political machine, has stooped to insulting the people who are in a better position to make the determinations and former service member John McCain.  He flies in the face of history, and shows his paranoid reaction to those whose sexual orientation is different than his own.  One has to wonder what Mr. McCain would have reacted to a such insults and questions of his ability and qualifications to make the decisions, as he did to his Commander in Chief and the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

All I can say to the senator is, "Grow up, son!"  I don't care if he's older than I, he's acting like a kid with a chip on his shoulder.  In his position of leadership, John McCain needs to stop acting like a teen aged boy with an attitude problem, and start acting like a leader who has in fact served honorably and with distinction as a former prisoner of war.  Whether he realizes it or not, McCain, probably has served alongside gar service men.

What McCain and those who are with him in this position, are perpetuating social attitudes that have existed for ages - if you are same-sex-oriented, hide it!  Get married, have children, and hide your true orientation in secrecy and deception.  How sad that a person who speaks so much of honor, feels a need to force others to live in deception. 

And I have listened to service men who served with known gay service people, that said they knew and it didn't make a bit of difference, because they knew this person had their back, would support and protect them just as they would him.  It seems to me these service people are far more mature and prepared to address the repeal of DADT than McCain.

This nation's religiouslyy conservative element has mired the social conscience in a bygone era and in ignorance and prejudice.  When confronted with science, they stick their heads deep into the much and mire they thrive in and deny it or create pseudo-science to support their point of view.  I have heard science that supports that sexual orientation is genetically determined, and that has been for four decades or more.  During that same time, I've heard repeatedly that the supposed "cures" for same-sex-orientation simply do not work, that those who are "cured" later return to the lifestyle because it is who they are.  I have worked side by side with same-sex-oriented persons, and found them to be persons of deep faith, deep compassion - more than their detractors show them - and deep respect for the feelings and concerns of others.  I wish I could say the same about those homophobic mouthpieces for the religious right.

It's time we stop putting people down for being different, whether for skin color, national origin, gender, physical or mental ability, or sexual orientation.  God makes us who we are, so let's celebrate the gifts God gives us, not try to second guess the Creator!