November 14th 2008
November 14th 2008
Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall next January 20th? A new president skipping through the West Wing in his boxers shouting “nuculer, nuculer,” twirling like Mary Tyler Moore while “You’re going to make it after all” plays in the background…
Well, that’s what I would do!
Nice to have a president classier than me–who wants their beer-drinking buddys to run a country!?
October 28th 2008
October 22nd 2008
Sarah Palin is another example of the Peter Principle in action. Interestingly, though she may have already reached her level of incompetence, it is possible she can still move up the ladder. It is hard to imagine even the American public, notoriously gullible, seeing anything but fluff and blather in Palin. Her recent shopping trips really shatter any notion that she’s “one of us.” Still, one never knows.
“She was never a hockey mom, she was always the prom queen sitting in the back of the convertible waving to the hockey moms” said Simon Doonan, creative director at the high-end clothing store Barney’s New York.
In these last few weeks before the election, let’s just sit back and contemplate the special world of politics. Actually, I wish there was a Caribou Barbie. My daughter loves moose, and that’s close enough.
Comes with everything you see here:
– Dead Caribou
– Sexy Librarian Glasses
She even talks with such fun phrases like:
– “I’m a pitbull with lipstick!”
– “My family is off-limits!”
– “What is it the Vice President actually does?”
Coming soon: Bristol Palin with inflatable baby bump and John McCain with portable green screen background!
[photo and quote from CollegeOTR]
October 6th 2008
One of my greatest heroes from the past is Emma Goldman, whose life story so enthralled me in high school that I collected her every biography and pored through used book stores for tracts she authored. Most of my political philosophy was shaped first by her words, then by other voices from the labor movement of the early 1900s and marxist or leftist writings from the 1950s.
Ms Goldman, feminist and activist that she was, was squarely against the notion of women’s suffrage–so much so that she denotes an entire tract to the subject (published in 1917 in Anarchism and Other Essays). Her argument, in “Woman Suffrage,” is not complex: she essentially targeted the methods used by upper-middle class and rich (white) women to try to gain the right to vote as well as (in her view) the inability of the vote to effect real change for women’s rights. As allied as the suffrage movement was to freedom for blacks, it still was an elite movement, run by women who had time and could afford to. It did not matter to Goldman whether that path to suffrage was necessary (who else was going to fight for it?)–it only mattered that in the process, women turned their backs on other women, that working women were disenfranchised or worse.
In the concluding paragraph of “Woman Suffrage,” she writes
She can give suffrage or the ballot no new quality, nor can she receive anything from it that will enhance her own quality. Her development, her freedom, her independence, must come from and through herself. First, by asserting herself as a personality, and not as a sex commodity. Second, by refusing the right to anyone over her body; by refusing to bear children, unless she wants them; by refusing to be a servant to God, the State, society, the husband, the family, etc.; by making her life simpler, but deeper and richer. That is, by trying to learn the meaning and substance of life in all its complexities, by freeing herself from the fear of public opinion and public condemnation. Only that, and not the ballot, will set woman free, will make her a force hitherto unknown in the world, a force for real love, for peace, for harmony; a force of divine fire, of life giving; a creator of free men and women.
Her reasoning seems, to me, quite rational and I struggled for years each election with whether I should vote or not, wondering how, in the broken system Emma described–which is all the more entrenched today, perhaps–any vote could contribute to real change.
I have voted, every time. I vote my conscience, so of late I’ve voted Green mostly; when I was younger I was a Democrat, which didn’t stop me from voting Independent for John Anderson in ’80. But I am disenchanted. What does voting Green mean, after all? Have I wasted those votes? Many argue that Ralph Nader’s presence in recent elections has “stolen” votes from Democrats–but I wonder if his presence isn’t necessary: he speaks of the “tyranny” of the two-party system and I hear Goldman’s words floating in the air. The problems of our country are not Republican, nor Democrat, they seem to me to be systemic. Voting won’t reform the system–or at least, I can say with certainty, it has not reformed the system to date.
And now, a historic election. My colleague at Brave Gnu Whirled linked to the New Yorker endorsement of Barack Obama and it is indeed an extraordinarily well-reasoned, well-written piece. It moved me the way Obama speeches themselves move me. The rhetoric is beautiful and inspired.
But change? Forgive me, but I do not think there will be real change in America. I believe our lives will be improved under the administration Obama envisions–things can hardly get worse (the New Yorker calls George Bush’s Presidency “the worst since Reconstruction”). But the Religious Right is not going to go away, Rush Limbaugh will not disappear, conservatives will still hold seats in Congress… The business of politics is not significantly going to change.
And so, what does suffrage do for us? I want to hope it is more than just a national catharsis. Is it?
October 5th 2008
While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year-old Texas rancher whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Sarah Palin and her bid to be a heartbeat away from being President.
The old rancher said, ‘Well, ya know, Palin is a post turtle.’ Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a post turtle was. The old rancher said, ‘When you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that’s a post turtle.’
The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctor’s face, so he continued to explain. ‘You know she didn’t get up there by herself, she doesn’t belong up there, she doesn’t know what to do while she is up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put her up there to begin with.’
For a reasoned approach to Sarah Palin, read the latest Palin post at Brave Gnu Whirled, who maintains an admirably even approach on issues I get too emotional about.