Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm Undecided About Undecideds

Who, in this age of instant and pervasive information, could really - honestly - be undecided about who to vote for this year?

Even Osama bin Laden knows enough about the candidates to have decided he likes the prospects of fighting us into bankruptcy better if McCain's in office. From his famous (apocryphal) cave in Pakistan he's been able to garner enough data to make a decision. So how is it that there are still Americans who are undecided?

I thought I had made up my mind that they must be idiots. Then I decided that maybe they are what they call "low-information voters." But I sort of figured that was just another name for an idiot.

Now I can't make up my mind. What do you think?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What Constitution?

Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann have gotten lots of mileage out of the fact that neither Sarah Palin nor McCain spokeswoman Nancy Pfotenhauer could state the Constitutional role of the Vice President. While this in itself is disturbing - if for no other reason than it's reasonable to expect an applicant for a job to at least know what that job entails.

But, really, we shouldn't be surprised.

Just think of all the other aspects of our Constitution and our laws that Republicans have ignored over the past eight years:

  1. Habeus Corpus? Check.
  2. Extra-legal prisons on foreign soil? Check.
  3. Trashing the Fourth Amendment? Check.
  4. Illegal war? Check.
  5. Lying to the American people? Check.
  6. Suppressing and/or stealing votes? Check.

Well, you get the idea.

So while I appreciate Matthews' and Olbermann's humor, I just can't be surprised anymore. I can only hope that we can win in November with a large enough margin to swamp any attempts at stealing another election and we can move on towards healing.

But - just because we can - add to the comments your favorite "extra-Constitutional" activities of the last eight years. Don't be shy, there are plenty to go around!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reflections on Race

I have to admit that growing up my family was pretty racist - in that casual, always been like that way - and in many respects are still that way today. Perhaps not as baldly as I remember growing up, but it's still not unusual for my parents to use the "N-word." Having grown up in Florida during the 60's and 70's - I was born in 1961 - I picked up a fair bit of that mindset. There were racial fights in my high school even in my Senior year, 1979. I'll admit to using racial epithets back then.

Entering the Military Academy placed me in a completely different environment. Not only is the Academy in New York, far from the open bigotry of the South, but the Army had been integrated for decades by that time and I worked and studied side-by-side with people of all races and faiths. In fact, like generations of soldiers before me, I had to learn to trust the person next to me with my life - regardless of what they looked like. Unlike the African-American "acquaintances" I had in high school, I made my first black friends.

As you can probably guess, it was Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama that brought on these memories. For the most part, until this year, I had mostly been able to forget that our country still has large areas where racism - the kind I grew up with - still holds sway. I am occasionally reminded of it when I visit my hometown when one of my parents or one of their friends lets slip the N-word as though it were nothing. Living in New York it's sometimes easy to forget about all of that.

I had thought that America had moved past (most of) such a shameful past.

Obama's campaign has been many things to many people; hopeful, inspirational, exciting. But it has also been an uncomfortable reminder of things in our past. And such reminders can provoke many of the opposites of these admirable things. Unfortunately, those opposites have been on display this year and most especially in the past couple of weeks. Think of Michele Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchannan, Palin's rally attendees; think of those who pass on the whisper campaign of racial and religious fear-of-other. Saddest of all, think of John McCain who lets all of this happen in his campaign, on his watch.

Perhaps the most important thing that an Obama win in two weeks could do is to move us closer to a time when we really have moved past such a shameful past. I now believe that it's been premature of commentators to say that we've come to a post-racial society. Maybe, we can actually - finally - get there.

I'm hopeful.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Nerves Are Shot

I haven't bitten my nails since I was in grade school - but every debate, every new endorsement, every new pronouncement or new attack ad has me chewing my fingernails. Sure, we're ahead - but we thought Kerry had a lock on it in 2004.

Whatever McCain and the rest of the RNC has in store over the next couple of weeks I wish they'd just get it over with.

Anybody else feeling this way?

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Am a Liberal and a Democrat - But I'm Not Anti-American

If you watched Hardball tonight, perhaps you saw the segment with Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation and Republican Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. If you did and you're not as angry as I am, then you weren't paying attention.

Bachmann said that the press should "investigate" all the Democrats in Congress for being - and I shit you not - Anti-American. This was after a discussion of the tenuous connection between Barack Obama and William Ayers. She failed to appreciate the nuance that Obama was only eight years old when Ayers was a member of the Weather Underground or that when Obama was working with him he was a lauded member of the Chicago education system.

No, in the new Republican formulation - trotted out daily by the Caribou Barbie - any of us who disagree with the rabid Republican right are now Anti-American. Any of us who's business or charitable acquaintances were at some point in the past any less than pristine, Republicans are Anti-American. And a member of the US Senate has just said so.

Michele Bachmann, meet Joe McCarthy.

Bachmann, despite Vanden Heuvel's backing away from the word, is a fascist.

A New Phase to the Fulcrum?

When I signed in to Blogger this morning, I noted that my last post was almost exactly five months ago. What an incredible difference that relatively small amount of time can make.

"Way back then," the primaries hadn't completed, the current two candidates were still to be selected, the mix of hope, excitement and dread were nowhere to be seen.

I don't know where I will take this Blog going forward. I do know I have felt the itch to write again. I do know that we all are on the cusp of a new era in America. And that will bring new things to ponder and write about. So I will once again pick up my metaphorical pen and post here. Hopefully RSS feeds around the blogosphere will notify my former readers that I'm back.

Please drop me a message in the comments. I'll work to start getting around to all my friends' blogs.

Let's get this started again.

It feels great to be back!