Monday, January 28, 2008
Since it became obvious last October that former Vice President Al Gore would not be offering himself for president in 2008, I had been leaning towards John Edwards. He's the guy that I voted for in the 2004 Presidential Preference. And although I wasn't completely sure that I had done the right thing back then, I felt much more comfortable with him as my choice in 2008.
Edwards is a populist that just happens to hit most of the right notes with me. He's on top of healthcare issues that concern me, and could possibly affect me. And he's definitely in tune with my feelings about free trade, and what the free trade policies of people like the Bushes and the Clintons have done to this country. In short, outside of Dennis Kucinich, Edwards was the best fit for me.
I still feel that way. But I will not be voting for him today. With apologies to my many friends who are Edwards supporters, South Carolina was his last best chance to get a foothold in this race. And it just didn't happen.
I have so many friends and allies in the womens rights community that are supporting Hillary. Folks, I want to go there. I want very badly to join you. Way back in 1992, when I was working for and supporting Bill Clinton for president, I thought Hillary Clinton was someone that I would LOVE to see run for office one day. What an amazingly talented and intelligent woman with the guts to put herself out there and not be afraid to announce herself as a viable working partner to the man who would ultimately become our president!
I have always wanted more women to get involved in politics. I was thrilled to support Cathy Cox for governor of Georgia in 2006. And I'm looking forward to supporting Lisa Borders for mayor of Atlanta in the near future.
Women have had to fight their way to the table. And then they've had to put up with the smirking, the tush patting, and the condescension. They have had to go the extra mile and for less pay in many vocations just be true equals to their male counterparts.
My own mother is the reason why I care so much about what happens to women in our society. She was a woman that was shunned by her Baptist community in the 1950's because she divorced her first husband. It didn't seem to matter that she would have to sometimes stay home for several days behind closed doors in order to allow her black eyes or her busted lips to heal. To many, she was just a woman. And she was bound by her duties as a wife and a daughter of Christ as they mistakenly decided that it should be.
Here was a woman who was her class salutorian, with the intelligence to do anything that she wanted. But she never dreamed big dreams. Partially because she wasn't allowed to. Simply because she was female. She was encouraged to do nothing more than to find her husband, bear his children, and raise them according to religious and community standards.
She was also a woman, whom when my father became so sick and his business failed, had to step in and become a breadwinner, a disciplinarian, the head of the house, and everything else that my father had been in addition to being the loving and emotional heartbeat of her family. She worked in my high school lunchroom, and then K-mart, and then Goodwill. And she was someone who humbly accepted that anything above minimum wage was a "good day's pay for a woman."
This was a woman, that to her last day on this earth on February 12, 2007, gave everything she had away to others that she knew needed it more. My mother was an example of Christian liberalism without ever having known it. Because it was never her intention. But that is what she was. She gave of herself more than she ever received of anyone. And yet for most of her life she felt that she had no voice. That's just not right.
I would love for someone like Hillary to be her voice. But I just don't buy it.
I understand that women need role models, just like any other group does. And I understand that Hillary is that role model for many of today's women. I respect that. In a way, that is an accomplishment in and of itself. Believe me when I say that I'm with you in your intentions. I just disagree on the woman.
The Clintons that I thought I was getting didn't turn out to be what I had envisioned. Not out of what I simply wanted as a 20 year old thrilled to be involved in the elections process for the first time, but because of what I still feel to this day was promised - by them, themselves.
I thought I was getting one more step towards equality in the lives of those in the GLBT community. Instead I got "Don't ask, don't tell." And then in his second term I got the Defense of Marriage Act.
I thought I was getting someone who understood the value of the middle class, as well as the need to protect the lower classes from corporate America. Instead I got NAFTA, WTO, and other free trade organizations that have zapped jobs, family time with parents who now have to work 2 jobs to make what they used to make at 1, and decreased the power of the average American.
I thought I was getting someone who protested Vietnam because he loved America, not hated it. Because he wanted Americans to give their lives as a last resort, and for the right reasons. What I got was a president whose administration enabled a self-declared enemy of this nation (and in turn everyone that I care about) to leap forward by decades in missile technology possibly endangering our very lives. Meanwhile, we had their officials, including military leaders, renting out the Lincoln Bedroom.
To top it off, Hillary ended up supporting Bush's Iraq war.
I thought I was getting a Democrat. What I got was a Democratic president who ran his 1996 re-election campaign like a Republican. And then governed like one too. Ultimately, he hurt his V.P.'s presidential campaign in 2000. And, along with Hillary, tepidly supported John Kerry's bid in 2004. After all, Hillary didn't want to have to run against a Democratic incumbent in 2008. If there was ever any question in my mind about the Clintons' goals vs. Democratic goals (along with the good of the country), that was answered in the last 2 presidential elections. We are now left with 8 years worth of memories of the worst president (George W. Bush) to ever occupy the Oval Office.
No, the 8 years of the Clinton presidency wasn't all bad. It had its moments. And we were better off with what we got rather than another 4 years of George H.W. Bush or Bob Dole. But that doesn't fix everything. Furthermore, I'm not a Clintonite. I washed my hands of that in 1996 when I voted 3rd party as a protest vote.
And, yes, I know that it's Hillary that is running for president, and not Bill. But let's get something straight. She's used her 8 years as First Lady to say that she's more experienced than the other contenders. She also inherits the goodwill and affection that most Democrats had for Bill and his two terms in office. No matter what anyone says, her legacy is tied with Bill's. And she has used that to her advantage.
This is all fair game in 2008. Bill has thoroughly interjected himself in this race. And with each passing day he sullies his own reputation by playing the race card. The man who is beloved within the African American community and known as "America's first black president" is now dropping casual references to feel good, but failed campaigns past by African American presidential candidates. It's almost as if he's saying it can't really happen. That's so beneath him.
Could Hillary stand on her own two feet? The answer is yes. She had an opportunity as a United States senator to distinguish herself. Instead, she took the political DLC route and governed as her husband had governed in office with few idealogical or policy differences. That's not the Hillary that we knew in 1992. If Hillary had been running for president in 1992, I would've voted for her.
So, no, I cannot with good faith cast my vote for Hillary.
If I believed that her ambitions were about more than just power, I would do differently. If I believed that having Hillary as president would help the lives of the average woman like my mother, I would vote for her.
Call me an idealist, but I washed my hands of political centrism a year ago. Those of us on the left have bitten our tongues for the sake of political expediency too often. And we've gotten so little in return for it. Meanwhile these centrist politicians get exactly what they want. They get the power, they get the prestige, and it doesn't really matter what happens to average Americans who need them to be their voice.
Instead I'm voting for someone who I doubted a few months ago. I doubted his experience, his leadership abilities, and his political sustainance. But as time has marched on, I've come to respect and admire Barack Obama. He has experience in all the right places. Maybe not as an elected official. But as someone who has stood up and been counted in several different communities.
I will no longer doubt his leadership. This is a man that was against Bush's Iraq War when it wasn't politically advantageous to be so. To stand amongst the few and fight the good fight, that's courage. Anybody could do what Hillary did on the Iraq vote along with everything that she has done since. As her husband was so often accused of, she seems to govern by polls. But what Obama did took leadership.
And, finally, I no longer doubt his ability to put up a fight. We all know what the Democratic nominee will face this fall. It'll get ugly. But when things got ugly in South Carolina this weekend, Obama stood strong. He stared down Hillary's attacks at the last debate. And he has shown that he's not going to cower to a popular former president and party leader. He stood strong and he prevailed.
I have no idea what will happen next Feb. 5th. Or the week after that, or the week after that. But I suppose I can take what satisfaction there is from exercising my right to voice my opinion. No one should feel influenced by my choices in this race or any other. They should look into what's important for them and make up their own minds. And now, I've done just that.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
First of all, it was great to see Obama win Iowa. That really seemed to put the Clinton machine on its collective heels. However, it has also brought out the negative attacks from Bill. It's truly payback time isn't it? For so many years, Hillary worked dilligently behind the scenes as Bill's attack dog. Speaking of which, does anyone know where Lani Guinier is these days? The last time she crossed her old pals' path she became a Clinton political casualty.
Thanks in no small part to Hillary, "Kiddo" went from being Bill's nominee for Attorney General to being left to die a slow and painful death as the national media and Republicans destroyed her reputation. Now, Bill's repaying his debt to Hillary.
On the Republican side of things, why in the hell would Michigan voters prefer Mitt Romney over anyone? Perhaps the state hit hardest by free traders and their middle class-destroying policies, Michiganders preferred Romney, a confirmed and unrepentent free trader, in the Republican primary. That state may have distinguished itself as a prime example of how America could end up with not just one term of George W. Bush, but two.........
Back to the Dems, John Edwards (who probably best represents me and my views) is hanging in there. But he sure could use a win somewhere. Two months ago I thought that he might win South Carolina and Georgia. After all, he has Carolinian roots. Plus he has the support of several prominent Georgia Dems such as former Gov. Roy Barnes. But it's not looking good for him.
I have this sense of dread. With Edwards on the ropes, Obama may become our only hope for a win in November. However, he's being pulled into a mud slinging contest by two of the best smear artists around. That's not his game. And it's taking him off message and distracting voters. Why does it seem like we've been here before?
No one can defeat Democrats like Democrats themselves.
Why is it that we can have 8 years of the worst Republican leadership possible and still be looking down the barrel of another defeat? Why am I sitting here in January already dreading November?
Friday, November 16, 2007
"Instead, my son's orientation became an opportunity for the academy to aggressively proselytize this next crop of cadets. Maj. Warren Watties led a group of 10 young, exclusively evangelical chaplains who stood shoulder to shoulder. He proudly stated that half of the cadets attended Bible studies on Monday nights in the dormitories and he hoped to increase this number from those in his audience who were about to join their ranks. This "invitation" was followed with hallelujahs and amens by the evangelical clergy. I later learned from Air Force Academy chaplain MeLinda Morton, a Lutheran who was forced to observe from the choir loft, that no priest, rabbi or mainline Protestant had been permitted to participate.
I no longer recognize the Air Force Academy as the institution I attended almost four decades earlier. At that point, I had no idea how invasive this extreme evangelical "cancer" had become throughout the entire military, that what I had witnessed was far from an isolated case of a few religious zealots."
Col. Antoon goes on to remind us of the ties between the oft discussed Eric Prince and Blackwater USA and the Bush administration that are deeply rooted in religion..........
"As described by Jeremy Scahill in his book "Blackwater," Prince, who attended the U.S. Naval Academy, comes from a wealthy theo-con family, is a "neo-crusader," and a Christian supremacist. He has been given billions of dollars in federal contracts to create a private army. COO Schmitz, another Naval Academy graduate, is a member of the Order of Malta, a Christian supremacist organization dating back to the Crusades, and happens to be married to the sister of Jeb Bush's wife, Columba. And Cofer Black, former coordinator for counterterrorism at the U.S. State Department and former director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, who was quoted by the BBC as saying "Capture Bin Laden, kill him and bring his head back in a box on dry ice," brings his own skill set to the Blackwater team as vice chairman.
The Christian supremacist fascism first reported at the Air Force Academy is endemic throughout the military. From the top down, there has been a complete repudiation of constitutional values and time-honored codes of ethics and honor codes in favor of religious ideology. And we now have a revolving door between Blackwater USA, which is Bush's Praetorian Guard, and the U.S. military at every level. The citizen-soldier military dictated by our founding fathers has been replaced with professional and mercenary right-wing Christian crusaders in control of the world's most powerful military. The risks to our democratic form of government cannot be overstated. "
Unfortunately, many mainstream, well-meaning Christians will dismiss such things saying that anything involving Christianity can't be a threat to our nation and our freedom. But they will be wrong about that. If the United States is ever to be toppled, it will probably involve fundamentalist Christians with fear and hatred of people who are not of their exact beliefs. And their weapon of choice will be the Holy Bible.
The whole article is worth a read...........
Friday, October 26, 2007
Yesterday's AJC contained a guest column by Alabama Gov. Bob Riley where he had this to say in response to Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue's assertion that Florida and Alabama are trying to take Georgia's drinking water:
"Contrary to some of the recent heated rhetoric emanating in Georgia, Alabama doesn't seek to cut off drinking water supplies to the Atlanta region. But Alabama cannot stand by and watch Georgia make a claim on the water in those reservoirs as if it belonged only to Atlanta. Downstream communities in Alabama and Georgia depend on the releases from those reservoirs to meet drinking water needs in times of drought as well as to support industry. If the water is not released, then the industries will be forced to shut down, and thousands of Alabama and Georgia families will lose their source of income."
Not to be outdone, Perdue offered a response criticizing the Corps of Engineers and suggesting that the amount of water Gov. Riley claims that Alabama needs isn't accurate in today's AJC saying:
"I will not stand for negligence when it comes to protecting Georgians' water supply. The Corps of Engineers' culpability grows every day. I will continue to seek a reasonable solution from the president of the United States, and by working with my friends in Alabama, but I cannot allow Riley's inaccurate assertions to go unchallenged."
Perdue won't stand for "negligence", eh? Well, former Georgia Democratic Party chair, Bobby Kahn weighs in over at Peach Pundit, and points out that Georgia's water crisis might at least be partially blamed on the Governor's own negligence (h/t Amy):
"Before Perdue was elected, Georgia was implementing a water plan. The Department of Natural Resources was looking to build reservoirs in North Georgia controlled by the state that would be used for drinking water. Currently, the lakes that supply the water to the Metro Atlanta region are controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers and have other purposes, including providing power and serving downstream environmental needs. That plan has been delayed for at least five years. As a result, Georgia finds itself fighting the Corps because we waited."
It seems that as Gov. Perdue postures and gyrates before the state's media, throwing in a punch or two to please the home folks, he himself has played a role in our water shortage. Considering that last year was a re-election year for the governor, it's disappointing that water wasn't a large issue between he and his opponent. Come to think of it, neither was transportation, nor the overdevelopment of north Georgia, which also contributes to our water problems. Consequently, south and western Georgians as well as Alabamians and Floridians are paying a price too.
So I'm hoping that the armchair political QB's that spent 2006 defending the slimey tactics of the undynamic duo of Perdue and Mark Taylor, and being concerned more about winning the election than actually solving the problems of the state are now happy. Continuing to turn important races that should be based on a little thing called issues rather than Wikipedia entries or writing letters to the editor over sports section headlines.
And if you're reading this and feeling a finger poking in your eye, don't blame me. You can't fault us "idealists" for feeling this way.
You want a good dose of "realism?" Well, I hope you can drink this bit of reality. Whether it be mussel farmers, people paying higher prices for electricity, or those of us facing water rationing, someone is going to be hurting - at least for a while.
Somehow I doubt that the any of the three states are completely right about their arguments. But I know this much, Georgia (metro Atlanta anyway) has made some unhealthy contributions to this crisis that plagues us.
So for our part, I'd like to humbly apologize to our neighbors and friends in "the other Georgia" as well as in the states of Alabama and Florida. Try not to hold it against us all.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
One thing that has been slow to change is that his hair hasn't grown back where it was shaved, right on top of his little head. Now that it is coming back in little by little, he looks like a dog version of Billy Ray Cyrus complete with a doggy-mullet!
Which reminds me of 1984, when I - yes, I - had a mullet. But wait, wait.......if you're old enough, you probably had a mullet too! When I look at pictures of my teen years, I sometimes see my hair short and sort of spikey on top and longish in the back with a curl around my left ear. And before you ask, no, I won't be posting pics of that. ;-)
I was 12 in 1984, and I thought I was cool. I mostly wore tank tops or muslce shirts to show off my lanky arms and skinny upper body. I even wore cut off blue jeans now and then. But I also had a fascination with Panama Jack. I think the other difference in me that year was that I carried a pocket knife in my front pocket. It was a gift that I hadn't asked for. Nevertheless I walked around with it, along with my plastic comb handle sticking out of my back pocket.
I was thinking of Izzy's doggy-mullet this week and telling this same story to a girl that is 20 years old. It suddenly saddened me to realize that my mullet PRE-dates her existance!
Okay, now that I've given you an unpleasant visual, and perhaps rekindled some memories for you, it's important to remind everyone that even celebrities and sex symbols wore mullets. Soap stars, movie stars, sports figures, pin up girls and hunks, you name it and they had it.
Even fashionable women like tennis champ Chris Evert had one. I remember when she cut her hair off, perm fried it, and dyed it blond in a trashy, vampy sort of look so unlike the previous pristine Prissy Chrissy look with the long hair in a pony tail complete with bow. It was a part of her 80's power look, which she came up with when she switched from a wooden racquet to graphite and took up weight training in order to catch her great rival (and fellow mulleteer), Martina Navratilova.
By 1987, Chris' mullet did something quite scary. It grew wings! She curled her bangs over her forehead and created a tall dome on top of her head that extended down to her shoulders. Exactly what kind of hair products it took to perfect that look, I have no idea. Thankfully, my mullet never looked like it could fly away or knock down low flying planes like her's did.
So thanks everyone for asking about Izzy. Know that he's doing well and keeping me on my toes. As I look across the room, he's lying in the sun on his back tanning his pinkish belly. He looks comfy, so I may go over and do the same thing. However, we won't be sharing hairstyles!
Friday, October 12, 2007
The committee's decision to also honor the panel was a smart one. Those men and women have made great contributions in taking out the politics of the issue out, and establishing validity to the idea that global warming is indeed happening, and that humans are contributing to it.
Of course, this will spur on more speculation that Gore might be talked into jumping into the 2008 presidential race. Personally, I'm just happy to see the guy finally getting the credit that he deserves on an issue that is affecting every living thing on this earth.
On MSNBC this morning, former President Jimmy Carter was asked to comment on Gore's Nobel Peace Prize. He said that he was extremely happy for Gore, and that he hopes that Gore will participate in another "political event."
Could he have been expressing his wish to see Al enter the race? I take it to mean that. Although he could've also been talking about a future run for president beyond 2008 as well. The Gores and Carters have always been extremely close, including several joint collaborations between Rosalynn Carter and Tipper Gore on mental health issues.
Contrastly, the relationship between the Clintons and Carters has never been friendly. Not only have they had policy disagreements, but personal ones as well. Even to the point of Carter refusing to attend the 1996 Democratic National Convention, and subsequent inauguration. As well as Hillary's snub of Rosalynn Carter at a late 90's event in Atlanta for Georgia Democratic women, in which Douglas Brinkely ("The Unfinished Presidency") quoted Mrs. Carter as saying was, "hurtful."
Although, it is important to remember that Pres. Carter did invite John Edwards to Americus, GA to speak earlier this year. So, I feel sure that he will actively support whoever the Democratic nominee ultimately is.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Former President Jimmy Carter took another swing at our amoral Veep yesterday, saying that Dick Cheney, "hasn't been right on hardly anything." Carter went on to call Cheney a "disaster" with "undue influence" on the president.
I'm sure that conservatives and the whacko right will come down hard on Carter for his comments, as they usually do. You see, they can't refute what he says with facts. Because the facts rarely support their efforts to cover up for wayward Republican presidents and officials. Instead, they'll try to dismiss Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and go back to thinking of new and creative ways in which to spin the the unspinnable.
They'll also spout out some kind of hullabaloo about former presidents not speaking ill of the current administration. Which is always a hypocritical route to take considering that former President Reagan spent 8 years distorting the records of Carter and even fellow Republicans Ford and Nixon, just to deflect any criticism from him. I guess when Carter started firing back at Reagan they thought that they were entitled to some sort of presidential exception.
But frankly, I appreciate it when the former president calls upon his wealth of knowledge and experience to pass opinions - both good and bad - about how the current occupants of the White House are doing. It's not like he held his tongue when Bill Clinton was in office. So if Republicans stomp their feet and give in to their usual anti-Carter rants, just suggest to them that they should actually consider what he's saying. Because all Carter did was state the obvious.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Al Gore, 7 years removed from having the 2000 presidential election stolen from him, can feel a certain amount of gratification. Draft Gore launched their last best move in which to attempt to lure Gore into the 2008 presidential race. I more or less gave up any real hopes that Gore would enter the race during the summer. Since then I've operated on the assumption that I'm going to have to choose from the current crop of Democrats to support. If I voted my heart, I'd probably go with Dennis Kucinich. If I went with our best chance of winning in 2008, I'd vote for John Edwards. However, it would do my heart good to see Al step in this race, and step over Hillary and give us a real shot at changing the fortunes of this country.
Instead, we may have to settle for supporting Gore's chances for a Nobel Peace Prize. Still, it's great to see so many people embracing Al. He's possibly given more to us than we've given him.