Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pawlenty Another Neo Con Hack?

Tim Pawlenty, a man of mediocre intellect and average capabilities, and also the current governor of Minnesota, spoke last weekend at the "Values Voter Summit." Along with break out sessions about "masculinism," a take-off of feminism, where such bold assertions were made including all pornography leads to homosexuality, the most homophobic people are prepubescent boys and we should learn from them, and that "science" has proven homosexuality is entirely a behavioral choice, the summit also provided a place for Pawlenty to go radical.

He was seen for a long time as the vanilla ice cream of the political world (and not that french vanilla stuff with the little extra something, something). Just plain old Pawlenty with his tired political positions, moderate man's mullet, and blocky-cut suits- the entire package of him being so unremarkable that I'm still convinced it simply didn't occur to many Minnesotans they were voting for him. He was a name on the ballot that looked familiar and safe.

And he's a Republican. Many Minnesotans seem to have a strong desire to strike a perfect, immovable balance in the universe, which leads them to vote both Democrat and Republican apparently in the hopes the two cancel each other out and nothing is much seen or heard from the state capital for a few years following each election season.

But we must toss aside our previous assumptions about Pawlenty. In his probable future running mate's terms, he's gone "rogue." He not only turned up at the ridiculous "Values Voter Summit" ("Values" here means that one believes his/her rights to express his/her religious beliefs usurps the basic human rights of other citizens), he spoke. He actually drew attention to himself with cameras in the room.

After making it clear to the summit attendees he does not believe in the basic acknowledgement of gay relationships through the legal bonds of marriage (Gay people in their belief system apparently are not full citizens or fully human), he went on to land blast the Obama administration for our national debt. Pawlenty said Obama should apoligize to our youth for the debt.THIS IS A NATIONAL DEBT THAT WAS WAITING FOR THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WHEN HE GOT IN THE DOOR. THIS IS A REPUBLICAN DEBT!

But shared reality, as we know by now, is not welcome among the extremist right. Theirs is not a reality based on evidence or even the observable, it is a doctrine based on religious and racial extremism. They do not read, explore, think and debate, they wait for signs from God and ridicule anyone who chooses another route for gaining perspective on decision making.

Pawlenty has chosen to steer hard right. And why? Well, it looks like his motivation is the same deep, underlying motivation that all of these extremists act upon. Take away the religious talk, and the pseudo-economic speak, and the angry protests of other people's private lives and what do we have? A will to power that is so fundamental, so bedrock to their psychology that one needs only know that about them to predict their next step.

Am I surprised by Pawlenty's choice to align himself with the extremist "Values Voters?" No.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Public Option to Health Care NOT Immoderate

I feel a strong need to correct the language being tossed around by our oft idiotic media in regards to "moderate" positions on health care reform. The Dems from such well-known progressive states as Montana are being termed by the media "moderate" in that they disagree with a public option for health care coverage among the most needy five to ten percent of our population. There is nothing "moderate" about a position that willfully refuses to acknowledge the suffering and immediate needs of millions of Americans. I argue that taking a stance against the development of a public option is akin to consciously denying our fellow citizens care that they need and piece of mind that we all deserve.

Recently, I was jogging in my Midwestern neighborhood. Mine is a working and middle class neighborhood where everyone take the time and pride to trim their lawn and paint their house. I am proud to say I live in a place where there is a pride in where one lives, whether it is owned or rented, large or small. We like living here, for the most part, and it shows in our little neighborhood. I passed a woman in her forties with a bandanna covering a bald head, large, homemade signs reading "Help Me Please!" and apparently all of her jewelry neatly organized on pin boards for sale on her lawn.

One sign explained she was trying to get some money together somehow to pay for her cancer treatment. I acknowledged her and kept jogging, but couldn't stop thinking about her. When I turned to jog back, I failed to find her home again or she had taken down her makeshift shop. Either way, I was at a painful loss as to what to do about the very sad situation. I emailed my legislator and hoped for the best.

I find nothing moderate about supporting a status quo that has enabled large companies to take away profits without adding into the system of health care what they have extracted from the public. I find nothing moderate about a system where a woman must sell her modest jewelry collection in front of her home apparently to pay for chemo. There is nothing moderate about a country where some people are cared for, some people are not, and some people gain wealth off that terrible equation.

Changing the status quo is not an extreme measure when the system it seeks to change is corrupt, inefficient and indefensible. One needs only do the briefest review of this country's history to know the large, powerful economic systems we employ are not loath to loose a few on the way to green pastures. And there's nothing moderate about that.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Van Jones Taken Out By School Yard Sucker Punch

Van Jones, leader in the profoundly progressive movement to train people in impoverished American communities into Green jobs, has resigned from the Obama administration saying,

"On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me. They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide. I have been inundated with calls - from across the political spectrum -- urging me to 'stay and fight.' But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future."

An admirable position for him to take. I'm not so impressed by the position the administration took.

This uprising against Jones got started and fed by Glen Beck on his hateful tripe of a Fox TV show. Beck is a man whose work is actually banned in Britain. Beck, who appears to completely lack the moral center, intellectual abilities, and skills in emotion regulation to add anything of merit to the current national dialogue. Beck,who essentially is the school yard bully with a deep, unacknowledged desire to be the center of attention in a room full of adults. This Beck is the one who SUCCESSFULLY unseated a man like Van Jones, who has been doing that whole community organizing thing not for a few years, but for decades and seen POSITIVE solutions to seemingly intractable problems.

As hard as it is in the face of the deeply wealthy, politically entrenched and apparently soulless cancer of corporate opposition to health care reform with its legions of easily-manipulated hysterics as followers, to act with integrity, the need for integrity persists. There is no "negotiating" when the opponent completely lacks a common moral ground. These are people actively working to gain the support from millions of people who themselves depend on government assistance, particularly in health care. Our opponent here is so sadistic as to work diligently to convince people to surrender what little safety they have in the world in order to gain a sliver of advantage. And this advantage they would immediately use to tear apart the very government organizations that assist their supporters!

The Obama administration will not, through strategic resignations and obfuscated policy positions, tame and integrate the opponent into an alliance. The administration cannot make these opponents more like them. In fact, if the current course becomes the deep channel followed, the reverse may be true. Because these battles do not end the day the health care legislation is passed. That's just one moment in an on-going battle to reorganize a system where the profoundly powerful and wealthy few have stood squarely atop the disadvantaged to gain their height.

There is some ground that cannot be surrendered towards the ends of passing changing legislation because it is that ground that defines the difference between progressive legislation and repressive legislation. That's the moral high ground. We must stand up for our friends when they are under unfair attack. We must stand by those who do the good work inspired by love and passion to help out their fellow human beings.