Thursday, March 31, 2016

Politically Correct or Politically Incorrect?

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I have mixed emotions about political correctness these days. I always used to think I was politically incorrect myself. I have laughed uproariously at racist jokes and sexist jokes and gay jokes and ethnic jokes. I loved the most crude and lewd comedians like George Carlin and Sam Kinison and Richard Pryor. It never bothered me especially if someone burned the American flag or any other kind of flag, for that matter. I thought they were idiots but, oh, well. I argued for my own political beliefs in sometimes rather crass terms. If you don't like it , fuck you. Free speech, you know. Stick and stones can break my bones but logos, slogans and mottoes will never hurt me....even the ugly ones. Call me a fat old libtard, or worse, and I just shrug it off. I almost can't be offended.

So, at one time, I was a card-carrying member of the "do away with political correctness" gang. I'm opposed to almost any kind of censorship. I think college kids should be able to listen to any kind of speech from any kind of speaker without falling into a puddle of upset. I'm an agnostic but I can listen to the Christian prayers before NASCAR races without getting my feelings hurt. This would apply to any other kind of prayer as well, including a Muslim one....or they could do away with them altogether and that would be fine too. We have a manger scene on our Courthouse lawn every Christmas. I don't really think there should be religious symbols on publicly-funded property but I don't feel strongly enough to make a issue of it.

Most of these things - comedy, slogans, prayers, etc. are directed at groups and groups should be able to take robust disagreement in a democracy.

I always did cringe at hurtful words directed at people though - words like nigger and spick and dago and slant-eyes and towelhead and whore and retard. I've never said them myself and I don't like hearing others say them. They have no purpose but to cause someone else to feel demeaned.

Does that mean I actually am a proponent of political correctness. In some ways, I guess I must be if political correctness also means being considerate.

America seems to have done with political correctness as we always do - separated ourselves into enemy camps. Conservatives thinks that liberals are pussies because of using terms like physically impaired rather than crippled or mentally challenged rather than retarded and although, the intention is kind, we do carry it to ridiculous extremes sometimes. No child should be expelled from school for eating his toast into the form of a gun....or building a clock that others perceive to be a bomb.

In the meantime, conservatives go to pieces if they are told Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas. They fall apart if the president uses the term radical jihadists instead of radical Muslims. They go apeshit if someone tries to teach their child about religions or customs other than their own. They are the ones who are always wanting to take books they find offensive out of the school library.

When it comes to political correctness, we are so busy seeing the mote in our neighbor's eye, we don't see the log in our own.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Que sera sera


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As my years grow and my family shrinks, I find this is becoming more and more my attitude. I no longer have any hostages to fate. I can do my small bit but I probably can't effect any major, or probably even minor, changes. So, I become more and more of a voyeur in life rather than a participant. Mostly, I watch and shrug in some despair.

This coming election, for instance. I think Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are twin monsters. They would be equally disastrous for the country but if either of them is who the voters decide to elect, well, that's the way it is. I'm sure America would survive them as it has survived so many things.

I have never felt the Bern, in fact, Bernie leaves me cold. his voice and mannerisms grate on me. Even more, I'm beginning to truly detest some of his true believer followers. I have said all along that I would vote for him if he becomes the nominee as the lesser of the evils. I'm sure I still will but that is becoming harder and harder to say with any enthusiasm. If it's what I have to do, I'll be holding my nose as I punch the Bernie button.

I believe in climate change. I believe with all my heart that we are fucking up our planet with carbons and de-forestization and fracking and drilling and mining and over-grazing and over-fishing and over-population..... I believe the ice is melting and the seas are rising and earthquakes follow fracking and pollution promotes extreme weather events. I believe we are despoiling our most critical needs for life - our air and potable water. But what the heck, I'll probably be dead by the time it all comes to a head. If you don't care about the future you're going to leave your children and grand-children, why should I, who has none?

I remember other times in my life when there was hate, mostly particularly during the Vietnam war. Protesters hated veterans and veterans hated those who fled to Canada and some veterans came home and became protesters themselves. And some of us were stuck in the middle, loving all of them, who were our brothers. We said "never again" when that war ended but then, of course, 911 happened and we were exhorted into war again although Iraq was every bit as unnecessary as Vietnam.

As a consequence, many of us now hate Muslims. We don't distinguish between peaceful Muslims (which is most of them) and terrorist Muslims, those who are our enemies and those who are our allies. It is easier to just hate them all. And the more we say we hate them, the more ammunition we place on ISIL's fire.

I never thought racism was dead in America but I did think it was dying. That turned out not to be the case at all. Do I think Barack Obama's election stirred those old, ugly feelings with a vengeance? Yes, I absolutely do. It seems to have reached a boiling point with the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Some of us thought what George Zimmerman did to Trayvon and the subsequent decision by authorities to bring no charges was a travesty of justice. But on the other side were those who simply labelled him a thug and thought he got what he deserved. Those people swear they aren't racist and actually, they didn't verbalize their feelings as long as African-Americans stayed quiet. But let them begin protesting the killing of their unarmed children by "thugs" on the other side, and the bigotry comes spilling out.

I still see us moving oh-so-slowly to raised consciousnesses. Certainly, the legalization of gay marriage by the feds proves that but then, we have the opposite reaction with backward Republican states like North Carolina and Georgia and my own Indiana passing legislation that legalizes discrimination.

And its the same with women's health issues, where red states want to defund Planned Parenthood and let women get their cancer screenings from their dentists, where they have shut down access to abortion clinics, reminding us that Big Daddy is still in charge of our lives.

And where they try, by hook or by crook, to limit the number of people who get to vote with a whole host of voter suppression tactics. Arizona just went from 200 polling places to only 60 for an election they most likely knew was going to set a record. And the closures were mostly in Latino neighborhoods. The result was exactly as could have been predicted - hours-long lines to vote and many people didn't get in at all.

One step forward and two steps back seems to be the way of it but whatever......

Thursday, March 17, 2016

It's Almost Over - It Will Be Trump versus Hillary

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We've said good-bye to many candidates in this election cycle but after Super Tuesday 2.0, barring catastrophe on one side or the other, it looks to me like this is what we will see in November.

I know, I know, the Sanders campaign has a strategy for how they can win which, essentially, involves taking almost all the states that have not yet voted, which will send Bernmomentum into the stratosphere and  convince the superdelegates to switch their votes to him. This seems unlikely to happen although in this campaign, which is the weirdest I've ever experienced, I suppose it is remotely possible. Nevertheless, I hope Sanders will try to dissuade his supporters from engaging in slash and burn allegations against Hillary (although many of them already have) because they will only be hurting the odds-on-favorite Democrat nominee in November.

Meanwhile, almost no one in the Republican party wants Donald Trump to win except actual Republican voters and they are making their preference quite clear even as the "establishment" tries to think of underhanded ways to stop him at a brokered convention. I agree with Trump. If he comes closer than anyone else by a significant amount of votes and the party bigwigs try to take it from him, there very likely will be riots in Cleveland. Such a devious and undemocratic result would prove the very things I hear on Patriot radio all the time - that regular Republicans think their leadership has ignored and dismissed them again and again.

I can say that as a Democrat, the thought of a President Trump gives me nightmares too although honestly, if I had to choose, I'd vote for Trump before I'd vote for Ted Cruz. I think (and hope) that many of the outrageous things Trump says are for effect and that he'd settle down and become a somewhat middle-of-the-road dealmaker if he actually won, something Cruz would never do. I don't think Trump is a fool although he often plays one on t.v.

The situation with the Supreme Court so perfectly illustrates what today's Republican party is. Their total focus for the last 7 years has been on obstruction. In a non-election year, they'd probably be thrilled with Merrick Garland as Obama's nominee, knowing it could be so much worse for them if he chose a young, liberal candidate rather than this much respected 63-year-old moderate. The Republicans themselves have showered him with effusive praise in the past when they voted almost unanimously for him.

Again, the Patriot Channel conservatives quote what Democrats have said in the past without quoting what Republicans were saying at the same time since the parties have changed their views 180 degrees. But when the chips were down, the Democrats didn't follow through. They interviewed the candidate; they held hearings on the candidate; they voted on the candidate and they confirmed the candidate. So let the Republicans bluster and bellow....and then I hope they'll do the right thing.

Republicans appear to totally lack in any kind of sensitivity toward the feelings of others. They don't get how much Trump voters resent them for trying to shaft him. They don't get how regular Americans (on both sides) scorn them for their do-nothing ways. They don't get how they infuriate so many women by treating them like second-class citizens who can't be trusted to make their own decision. They don't get how they offend African-Americans and Latinos and Arabs and Asians with their offensive comments - all groups they will eventually need court to hold their party together. The fact is, Washington Republicans seem to be tone-deaf to all but their own self-interest.

Well, we still have a long way to go. I'm sure Sanders voters will continue believing and Republicans leaders will continue plotting and a Republican congress will continue stonewalling and Hillary and Trump supporters will settle in for the long haul, pretty convinced it will be our candidates who will win in the end.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Nancy Reminds Us Of How Much Has Changed With The Republicans

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Debates and caucuses and primaries - oh, my! The Republican race has descended into a gutter level street brawl making the Hillary and Bernie  Show look like afternoon tea with the good crystal and linen napkins.

We know the Republican establishment is trying to kill off Donald and the media is going right along with them. For instance, Trump received tons of criticism for failing to disavow David Duke although Ted Cruz has endorsements and support from people who are every bit as slimy as Duke, such as the detestable Bryan Fischer. The Donald was excoriated over his defense of his penis size but no one said anything about Marco Rubio being the first one to insert dick insinuations into the body politic.

It looks as though the establishment's plan might be backfiring. Instead of their favorite son, Marco Rubio, becoming the anti-Trump, Ted Cruz seems to be picking up that mantle. And if there is anyone who scares me more than Donald Trump, it is Ted Cruz, whose fondest dream is to turn America into an authoritarian theocracy. There isn't a compromising bone in Cruz' body and I guess that's what hardcore conservatives want although it mean that the gridlock in Washington would even worse than it is now.

Meanwhile, every day working Republicans just keep getting angrier at their elites for trying to steer them in a direction they don't want to go, like they are a bunch of ignorant children. Is their arrogance truly so blinding, they can't see what they are doing?

The last round of primaries and caucuses did nothing but muddy the waters. Ted Cruz won two states and Trump won two so both emerged with bragging rights. Meanwhile, poor Rubio look to be about done, coming in a distant third in all but one where he was a fourth. I don't see how he can prevail even if he does win his home state of Florida, which it looks as if he's not going to be able to do. Same with Kasich and that's too bad because he lends the only note of sanity among the R's.

On the Democrat side. Bernie won two caucuses and Hillary won the primary in Louisiana so that race will continue for sure.

Let me just insert a word in here about how much I dislike caucuses. I wish both parties would do away with them. They aren't a fair contest because only the most impassioned bother with them and they are not be a true accounting of how mainstream voters feel. Just make them all primaries where everyone has a chance to go to the polls, vote and leave. I hated caucuses in 2008 and I hate them now. No, winning a caucus in South Dakota is not the same as winning a primary in Texas.

Lastly, we just got news of Nancy Reagan's passing. Ronnie was one of my least favorite presidents of my lifetime, behind only George W, but I will say that Nancy Reagan was a class act. I remember being so proud of her when she attended Charles and Diana's wedding, well, not just there but everywhere she went, really because she had such a sense of style. I did admire the Reagans' devotion to one another and her commitment and courage through his final illness. R.I.P, Mrs. Reagan. How much the Republicans have changed.