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August 28, 2008

patriotism, war, and short shrift for diplomacy

Buchanan pointing out the nationalistic riff of the speech emphasizes why it fell slightly flat to me.

As a nonviolent activist, I want my president to recognize the humanity of all humans, not just U.S. citizens. I want recognition that the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements in Palestine is a major reason for the lack of peace in the Middle East.

I don't need to wrap myself in a U.S. flag to recognize the humanity of my fellow citizens. I understand that internationalism is a scary ideal; patriotism is the way to appeal to more American voters in the states that really matter - landlocked and small, that usually swing right.

I feel very alone tonight - listening to the "liberal" MSNBC anchors and their libertarian pundit gush over Obama.

Posted by cj at 9:02 PM | Comments (0)

Brian Williams said "mishegos" three times

Does America actually know what mishegos means? How does Brian Williams know what it means?

It means craziness by the way.

Here's what he said:

Well last night I talked about the mishegos. Three days of mishegos into the final night at Mile High. And the mishegos is all over. Tips of the hat all over the place from the nominee...as Chuck pointed out, to the Clintons...

But seriously, does middle America understand what the hell he's saying? I've heard the word my whole life and I was so startled to hear it said by a national news anchor that I couldn't follow what the hell he was saying. Especially since it was another slap at the Democratic party.

It's mishugge to have more than one qualified candidate for office? When did political parties stop being a place to grapple with political decisions? Why the hell is the media so stuck in internecine conflict? Why can't they accept that healthy conflict strengthens political conviction?

Oy gevalt!

simple Yiddish dictionary here, at Rachel Sage, a Jewish musician's site

Posted by cj at 8:33 PM | Comments (0)

The Preacher Was Better Than the Politician

I admit that I got chills when Obama started preaching. When he started talking about the March on Washington, that's when it got good.

The way he kept looking around the stadium was extremely distracting. I know I am partisan, but I believe Hillary was more credible than him. Maybe it's the bitter taste in my mouth over his inclusion of nuclear power and clean coal as a way to move into the future of energy policy. I'd like him to meet the people with lung cancer caused by coal pollution, go to the Appalachian mountain tops that were sheared off in pursuit of coal, meet the women and men living everyday dependent on the pharmaceutical industry, because the military industrial complex has polluted our environment with so much radiation that thyroid cancer is the only cancer on the rise in this country.

Let me be clear - I'm voting for Obama for president. I do not put any faith in him alone to do anything for this country. Progressives must continue to gather and push for real change.

Pray tell, how is the Electoral College the apex of democracy?

I don't trust any politician to bring about real change. I trust individuals, working collectively through citizen institutions to create the paradigm shift needed to overthrow the shackles of corporatocracy.

Posted by cj at 8:03 PM | Comments (0)

There Is No Such Thing As Safe Nuclear Power!

Obama just lost me.

He said "safe" nuclear power is part of his "new" energy plan. Give me a frickin break! There is NOTHING SAFE ABOUT NUCLEAR POWER!

There is no way safely dispose of the waste created in nuclear power plants. Living near a plant increases your risk of all sorts of diseases. Nuclear radiation is one of the reasons thyroid cancer is on the rise in this country.

Nuclear power is not a green energy source. It is a black, lethal, cancer-causing detriment to the world.

Nor, by the way, is there a thing called "clean" coal. Give me a break - stop raping the environment and the human race!

Posted by cj at 7:35 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2008

My Sister, Hillary Clinton

I have not been particularly engaged in the presidential campaign. See the last post for some of the reasons I wont waste my time on an undemocratic political process.

However, today, my Wellesley sister did me proud. Hillary Clinton gave an amazing speech - a speech that blew away every other speech given tonight. She inspired me to believe that change can come with a Democrat in the White House.

From women's right to vote to the human right to be free of slavery to modern struggles for justice, she made it clear: people are better off with Democratic leadership than they are with McCain.

No Way, No How, No McCain!

Posted by cj at 8:30 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2008

Movie Lecturing to Change the World

I just watch Lions for Lambs, which was accurately described by the critics as a lecture looking for a movie. I couldn't tell you how to make it a better movie, but on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, I find it worthwhile to ponder how to move from pontificating to action.

There are many things that bother me about society, but to start with the basics: there's a continental divide between well-informed citizens and the masses. The masses only hear about the horse race of politics, whereas the well-informed have some knowledge of policy issues, current events, and philosophical differences.

The blogosphere allows those informed citizens to connect with one another, and offers a glimpse at "the informed everyman" for the 24 hours news cycle to ponder.

And yet, the entire paradigm exists within rules. The people involved take for granted the notion that an Electoral College is a legitimate, democratic way to elect a leader. Many believe that free trade capitalism gave US citizens the freedoms we enjoy and that our society - from private health insurance to credit card oblivion - is the most advanced civilization in the world.

Like Lions for Lambs, I don't have the answers that will change the world. What I do know is that nothing will change without a fundamental shift towards real democracy - one person, one vote. Abolishing the Electoral College is the first step to real change. It's a joke to think that being "of the people" is a credential for winning the presidency. The vast majority of people are silenced because they live in major cities; it is the small, rural, majority white states that make a difference in who becomes president. Forget about making a difference in that race if you live in Chicago, Los Angeles or New York. I'm constantly amazed at the number of engaged citizens who pay no attention to the fact that their votes are swallowed by the great appeasement of slave-owning colonies at this country's founding.

So not only are political debates silenced by the oppressive two party system, a simple vote between two men for the most important job in the world is at the mercy of ethanol farmers in Iowa and bison hunters in Montana.

This country is afraid to see that the emperor has no clothes. Don't talk to me about healthcare unless you're committed to cutting venal insurance companies out of the process. Don't mention the economy if you can't recognize the connection between corporate greed and the ever-diminishing average U.S. paycheck, ballooning individual debt, and utter lack of fiscal security in retirement caused by the demise of real pensions.

The fundamental flaws in our society cannot be changed with slogans or even by choosing a particular candidate for president. We need to begin with better education, not just of our school-age children, but of our voting-age citizens. Instead of nattering about poll numbers and describing lusty oratory, we need reporters to explain policy issues and the differences between the candidates' perspectives.

We need cultural touch stones to be more than a surprising performance in Tropic Thunder by a great actor with a penchant for cult beliefs. Fine art should not be relegated to the playground of Russian oligarchs who made their millions by raping their fellow citizens of the natural resources rightfully owned by the people as a whole. Work days should not leave us so deprived of mental space and physical time that a black box full of "reality" programming and ridiculous competitions is the only reprieve we have from chasing the almighty dollar.

This paradigm shift can only begin when we make civic engagement a priority. We need to build citizen advocacy institutions. We need to do more than supporting the paid activism of professional abortion protectors, queer rights advocates, and bloggers. We need to work to build institutions that allow us to be involved in the process - not just by signing the next online petition, but that marry the experience of professional activists with the passion of volunteer citizens. Only by combining the power of the individual in community with the insight of full-time peace and justice workers will we change the fundamental demons plaguing our world.

When I graduated college, I made a commitment to embody this ideal by continuing to be an active member of Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF). Eight years later, after two terms on the national board, I am often disheartened by the lack of real progress made in connecting the real challenges faced by ordinary Americans with the country's political discourse. Nevertheless, I am determined to continue my support for issue advocacy by ordinary citizens within this country and citizen diplomacy on a global level as the only way to create the social upheaval needed to create a the more just society we should pass on to the generations to come.

Thus ends my rant inspired by Redford's 90 minute civics lesson.

Posted by cj at 3:32 PM | Comments (0)