Archive for May, 2008

the past and the future

May 27, 2008

Forgive me my absence —– I was away for a week but only in body, not in mind.

I was very sad to hear about Ted Kennedy’s illness. It hit me hard and I think there are a couple of reasons for that: his public impact and his personal responsibility, his awesome accomplishments and his important legacy.

Ted Kennedy was raised in a family of entitlement. However, that scoundrel of a father, Joseph Kennedy, inculcated in his children the duty and honor of being public servants. During Ted’s tenure in the Senate, there has been a certain “comraderie”, a cohesiveness, among the liberals and progressives. Ted became their leader. He came to embody the ideals of this faction and ultimately, over a 40 year term of service in the Senate, fought like hell to see many of those ideals legislated. He found his place, he accepted his place and when he is gone, there will be a tremendous vacuum in the progressive side of the Senate.

Teddy’s illness, in conjunction with Obama’s rise, is a stupendous event. The collision of these two occurences, which MUST be taken together, are extremely significant for the future of the Democratic Party and human decency in government. Many politicians labelled Teddy a “liberal” —– even a “fat liberal”—–and left it at that, letting their partisanship override the meaningful legislation Teddy worked on. But Teddy was always true to his causes. Just as his brother Bobby was devoted to civil rights, so was Teddy dedicated to health care. Despite his privileged upbringing, he became a long-standing leader who fought for all of us, especially those with less.

Teddy’s personal responsibility to his extended family has been nothing short of fantastic. After losing his three older brothers, Teddy was the only brother, surrogate patriarch, left. And yes, he stepped up to the plate in a huge way. There must have been at least 20 nieces and nephews, not to mention his own children, who depended on him. And he was there. Kudos to Teddy for taking care of the children. Ultimate altruism, ultimate responsibility. Period. So thank goodness for Ted Kennedy, that his public and personal dedication to service won out over scandal.

Even before we knew of Kennedy’s illness, Barack Obama was telling us that it is time for change in America. I have heard news reports that Kennedy was thrilled by Obama’s ascension and was like a giddy child campaigning for him. I hope Kennedy gets to see Obama as our next President. The gridlock of our current government, the abyss of existing ethics and the blatant support for the economic elitism of the very few at the top of the financial ladder underscores the fact that it is not only a crying shame to see Kennedy’s tenure cut short, but also that there is a vacuum in the Senate for youthful, educated and honest newcomers. Ted’s illness coupled with Obama’s rise can turn out to be a true “passing of the torch”. Both domestically and internationally, our country is screaming for this opportunity.

After Kennedy made public his diagnosis, I see McCain and I see an old man. He is a person who represents the status quo of the last 30 years. He looks tired, a bit spacey, but most important, he is out of touch with what this country needs NOW. And Hillary Clinton, what can I say? Her math skills stink (“I am ahead in the popular vote, but I am not including the caucus states, the pink states, the yellow states, etc. I am counting only those states that I want to count. I can do that because this nomination should have been mine, MINE!!”). Despite her protests, it is not Clinton’s gender that is blocking her nomination; it is HER. Both McCain and Clinton are history regarding what America needs to turn it around economically and internationally, in the eyes of each one of our citizens and in the eyes of the world. The people of the United States want something different, much more basic and honest, and this shall be a true changing of the guard.

Obama’s nomination as the Democratic candidate for the President of the United States is imminent. Do not falter with your time and money. Symbolically, let us sing Ted Kennedy’s praises and thank him for his unfailing service. We can do this by working tirelessly for Obama for President.This fight is not only a battle to take back our government for the people by the people, but also a living testimony to the accomplishments and ideals of Ted Kennedy. And the confluence of Kennedy’s sunset and Obama’s sunrise is an event we get to see maybe once in a lifetime.  Serendipity.  Get on it.

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get smart

May 16, 2008

I am hot under the collar today.  However, I slept very well last night, and here’s why.

My dearest and oldest friend of over 40 years called me yesterday.  She is a Republican and we never discuss politics.  As I mentioned before, I have a number of very good friends who are Republicans and I love them no less because of it.  Going on, we somehow got on the topic of Barack Obama yesterday and she said, “Well you know, a black man will never get elected President in the U.S.”.  My hackles were raised, but i just said, “How do YOU  feel about that?”  No answer.  Silence.  Then she proceeded to add, “You know Obama has Muslim ties?”  I responded, how do you know that?”  To make a long story short, my friend was speaking out of ignorance and fear.  I asked her if she ever read a biography of Obama, and she said something about some blurbs on the web.  I told her she was misinformed;  that yes, Obama’s father was Muslim, but he disappeared out of his child’s life when that boy was two years old, and his mother and grandmother raised him —– as a Christian.  So my friend then says,  and this is the kicker,  “That’s what HE says”.  So here we have a smart woman who won’t do her homework, and then offers an illogical retort negating everything Obama has said and written about his own history.  My friend is ignorant and above all, downright lazy.  Her fear and lack of inertia to learn for herself about someone she would never vote for results in just repeating misinformation and gossip.  This is bigotry.  This is prejudice.

To take this bias a step further, what if Obama DID have a Muslim background?  My friend was assuming that ALL Muslims are militant homicidal terrorists.  Fair? No.  Prejudicial?  Absolutely.  How would she feel if people lumped her together with every other Jew in history who had done something horrendous?  Remember the “Son of Sam” serial killer, David Berkowitz,  in New York?  Does that make all Jews serial killers?  And if we listen to malicious speakings such as “The Jews killed Jesus”, we would hold that this untruth is actually true, and that all Jews killed Jesus.  Fear and ignorance.  Manipulating that facts to support one’s prejudices. 

So I called her on the carpet and told her what I think.  I do not care whom she votes for;  what I do care very much about is the propigation of false information.  Remember a few months ago I ran into someone else with these slanted, untrue ideas about Obama?  I swore then that I would never stand by again without confronting the speaker.  I would not be polite just to avoid discomfort.  So this time I spoke out.  And I slept well last night.  I am still sad about my friend’s lack of intellectual evolution, but I am content with my response to it.  Time to face one’s demons instead of running from them.

Then there is this “appeasement” issue the Republicans are voicing about Obama.  Bush even brought it to the forefront in his speech in the Middle East at the celebration of Israel’s 60th birthday.  McCain has spouted this untrue venom against Obama also.  Chris Matthews, on his “Hardball” show last night, really creamed Kevin James for his unfounded talk about “appeasement”.  The issue discussed was basically speaking with your “enemies”, and James called this appeasement a weakness on the part of Obama.  Somehow, the topic came up of  Neville Chamberlain regarding his “appeasement” of the Nazis.  He did speak with the Germans.  However, as Matthews pointed out (he does his homework, he reads, and doesn’t just further innuendo and rumor), Chamberlain was an appeaser NOT because he spoke with the Nazis, but because he gave them half of Czeckoslavakia.  Duh!!!!!!

Many people are using the term “appeaser” to describe Obama’s willingess to sit down and talk with our foes, such as the Palistinians and Iranis.  For an individual or an international power to refuse to speak with the other side  is the ultimate power play.  It just reinforces one’s need for control above all else.  It smacks of narcissism, lack of tolerance and power-mongering.  It naturally follows that this empty, self-defeating tack rules out any chance of detente, logic, peace and prosperity.  It is a self-fulfilling prophesy for chaos.  It is totally unproductive.  So if Obama believes that talking to entities that disagree with us is beneficial for the U.S. and the world, so be it:  call him an appeaser.  Call him whatever you like, but he will get the job done.

I admire Obama.  I am inspired my him.  I trust him in his ideas, plans and mostly, his toughness.  Take a chance America.  Climb out of your static cocoon.  At the minimum, get the facts straight.  Read a book.  Teach yourself something new and true.  Stop repeating harmful gossip as a means to control your fear.  Get smart.

 

 

the shame dame

May 9, 2008

She did it. She’s the dregs of the barrel. She’s a bottom-feeder. Shame on you Hillary Clinton! She made the remark yesterday that Obama does not have the white vote to be President. Divisive? Prejudiced? You betcha. Disgusting desperation will never trump decency. I do believe that America is seeing this also. Thus the sound trouncing of Clinton in North Carolina and an unexpected close race in Indiana was the deal sealer for Obama even before this comment was made.

I always have held that the primary process is an integral part of our Constitution and our political history. I still feel that way. However, I believe that it is stupidity, selfishness and lack of foresight for one Democratic candidate to try to destroy the other Democratic candidate when the cards are clearly on the table. This also is so very destructive to the party as a whole. Personal ambition should not reach that level whereby the Party suffers for it. This represents total selfishness, narcissism and a denial of the greater good.

Lets have a look at the Clintons’ unabashed doggedness about their legacies. Bill, throughout all of his campaign stops for his wife, often emphasizes , as his first priority, his legacy. That has been his main focus. Of course he is the classic narcissist and it shows when he constantly speaks about his accomplishments during his Presidential terms. Both he and Hillary have always considered Bill as the “first Black President”. That is, until a real Black man came to the forefront in this race. “Black” is the least important adjective to describe Obama: he is smart, focused, decent, unifying and honest. And that is what really scares the daylights out of the Clintons. As Eugene Robinson said today in the Op-Ed section of the Washington Post, “Hillary’s sin is not racism; it is arrogance”. Her crime is not the path she has chosen; it is her tactics. Her legacy is not what she deems it to be; it is what the American voter decides it will be.

A few other groups also need to be called on the carpet. The Hispanic bloc will be of the utmost importance in the general election. Their numbers are too great to be ignored. It is not mine to figure out the cause, but Hispanics have much animosity towards the Blacks. So will the Hispanics vote for McCain over Obama? They’d be crazy to do so. They’d be cutting off their noses to spite their faces. John McCain’s state of Arizona is erecting a wall on their border with Mexico. Should McCain get the Presidency, I firmly hold that this physical wall will be minute when compared with all the “virtual walls” that will arise for the Hispanic population to overcome. If a person “looks” Hispanic or if a person has an accent, prejudice will surface. It is already happening in counties and towns all around our nation. So voter beware: do not let your empty prejudices cause you to make a life-altering decision because that will only serve to put you in a more untenable position. It will be the ultimate backfire.

To the “upper-crust”, financially speaking, of our population also goes out a warning. These top-earners need to exit their womb of self-preservation and look into the real deal we call Barack Obama. Yes, if he gets in, taxes will go up. But at what point do these highest net-worthers do something for the greater good? Can they actually look past their own pocketbooks? As an aside, what must go hand-in-hand with this altruism is a strict effort to reduce the pork, waste and pandering to special interests in government, and Obama has been the strongest candidate to identify and fix this problem. This dilemma is harder to call even more than the Hispanic dilemma.

And finally, what are you doing Howard Dean? Where is your leadership? He is the head of the Democratic Party and yet just bides his time as Hillary is tearing apart the party. At what point should Dean step in and say, “Just stop it”? At what point should some superdelegates, maybe a chunk of 50 to 100, step up to the plate and negate Clinton’s lunacy by pledging their support to Obama now as a way of making the overall party coalesce rather than fragment? Clinton is not going to end this cordially, without damage. It is her right to stay in the race as long as she wants. It is her right to pick an exit strategy of her own choosing —– she’s earned that by her strong fight. However, for her to use whatever time she has left in this race to decimate Obama, the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee, is obscene. There is absolutely no grace in that. It is disrepectful to the party, the voters and unfortunately, most harmful to herself. But human decency puh-lease. Why can’t people, especially politicians, actually take a stand and right this wrong? Is it a requirement of elected officials to lose their balls as soon as they take office? Are insults and bigotry acceptable because it “tests” the offended candidate’s mettle to be President? Is the temptation for votes, personal ambition and legacy completely subservient to doing what is right for the people, the party, the country, the world?

The Obama message continues to be one of unification, consistency and honesty. In the general election we need to go after McCain’s strengths, which really, like his support of the Iraq war, are weaknesses. Obama, relying on his sharp mind, proven and low-turnover campaign staff will be effective at this tactic. He remained a gentleman and a scholar during the primary race and let Clinton shoot herself in the foot time and time again. There is no way McCain is smarter than Clinton. Thus, McCain will do an even greater job at self-immolation that Clinton did.

Talk to people who think differently than you. Don’t get emotional; do your homework, stay calm and present the facts. Above all, do not back off on issues like racism. You will never sleep well again. Rise to the occasion, and what an occasion this is! I can. You can. Our country can. Barack Obama can.

YES WE CAN. As one and all together.

bingo barack

May 7, 2008

BINGO! Last night was exactly what Obama needed: a stunning turning of the tide, a decisive victory, an end to the beginning, a new beginning for our country and a fantastic speech telling America why he is where he is and what we need for a productive future. I believe that last night’s primaries will go down in this campaign’s history as “the BINGO night”; the seal, the deal, the real McCoy. Could it be that America is actually hearing Obama? Could it be that he’s really on to something? BINGO!

So: Buh-bye Hillary. Sayonara. Adios. Your spin isn’t working. Your delusional denial of the math reeks of blind ambition and personal gain. So you had to dig deep once again into your own pockets for an additional $6.5 million to sustain your campaign. That’s a total so far of $11.5 you’ve given to make believe you will be President in 2009. That behavior is, in my mind, exactly like President Bush’s dogged blindness about the initiation and the current status of the war in Iraq.  Just because you may say things one hundred times over DOES NOT make it true. It still remains fantasy, make-believe. Frankly, this behavior of Clinton’s is frightening to me: should she ever become President, she might use this same type of hype to promote policy that would only benefit her and her special interests.   See any similarities between that and the lie of Iraq? A lie on the Democratic side of the aisle is just as poisonous as a lie on the Republican side. So auf wiedersehen Hillary. Ta-ta. Adieu. Good night. Good bye.

Helloooooooooooo Dolly! Aloha. Shalom. Welcome to the 2008 Presidential race Senator Barack Obama. You delivered the knockout punch last night. Mazel tov. You have been, you are and you will continue to be the only politician in this race who is true to yourself. You have self-respect and thus, impart tremendous respect to those of us who open ourselves to hear you and vote for you. Thank you for bringing me back into hope, possibilities and yes, realistic yearning for a better country.

The math and money are with you. My bingo winnings of $33 from last night have been donated to your campaign. The journey is huge now and I continue to be with you because you have shown me that you are with me.

Hola! Bonjour! Benvenuto Barack Obama! BINGO!!!!!!!!

YES WE CAN.

a promise is a promise

May 6, 2008

I am deliberately writing this entry today before the polls close in Indiana and North Carolina. Regardless of how they turn out, my sentiments remain the same.

Which are: even though Obama’s campaign message of unity in government, throw out the corrupt scoundrels and let’s get on with making and effecting real policy, people still cling to his perceived shortcomings of philosophical issues rather than specific remedies; of message over matter. This is a misconception. He has been true to his promise so far to stick with the issues at hand and not sling mud. He has been the only candidate who has taken the higher ground. Besides admiring his philosophy, i am most impressed with his excellent, consistent campaign management and the fact that HE HAS KEPT HIS WORD.

Neither other candidate has done so: McCain, after having spent 5 years in a POW camp during the Viet Nam years, was adamant in his abhorrence of torture. However, two months ago, fearing he might not get the conservative vote, switched that opinion and said water boarding and other forms of torture are acceptable. Equally disgusting to me is that McCain, after being personally, viciously slammed by the Bushes in the 2000 campaign season, coolly went on to embrace Bush during the 2004 election. Don’t tell me “this is just politics”. Maybe this is “just politics” as we know it, but its time for a change and a little self-respect.

And Hillary is simply all over the place. She with her Ivy League graduate and post-graduate history, having the nerve to call Obama “elitist”. Now that she sees there might be some votes for her in the white, blue-collar sector, all of a sudden she has become a beer-drinking buddy. Let me tell you this: the American people, in all their infinite wisdom, elected a President in 2000 and again in 2004 whom they thought would make a good President because he was a good ole’ beer buddy. And that’s exactly what we got: a guy who doesn’t know his ass from his elbow in leadership, but is a fantastic cowboy to have a beerfest with.

As for me, I am convinced that should Obama become our next President, he will be the biggest bastard we have ever had. And I mean that in a very positive way. He has the intellectual capacity and experience to make the good, fair decisions. He has proven himself during this campaign as a focused, consistent candidate who has not strayed from his core beliefs. He has kept his promises. Politics be damned. And yet, I sense that he will be a unifying figure. If he had to , he would shame other elected officials into unity.

So on to Indiana and North Carolina. I think North Carolina is Obama’s and what a feast it will be if Indiana is also.

merry christmas!

May 2, 2008

Cannot face the weekend without some closure on this week.

I was very down-in-the mouth earlier this week. Obama’s lackluster demeanor in the last debate got to me. Can you blame him? What ridiculous, meaningless questions were hurled at him. He is focused and devoted to real issues, real change. How helpless he must have felt at Gibson’s and Stephanopoulis’s banal inquiries.

Then, of course, the Reverend Wright loony tune show. But I just love Obama’s plain-spokeness. He finally had to completely remove himself from any kind of support for his friend of 20 years —-not an easy thing to do. And actually, some of the things Wright speaks to are absolutely right on. However, the outrageous items overpowered his sane moments. And that was the problem. So Obama said, and I paraphrase, “Wright is so devisive and here I am trying to unify”. Simply said, he spoke volumes on his consistent campaign message. So let’s put a period here.

When Obama has trouble, I feel it physically. I needed to get back on track and use his messages to uplift me again. I think Obama is definitely back “on track”: most economists have said that the insulting “vacation ” on gas taxes for the summer is a sham, meaningless. Also, Andrews, who was once head of the Democratic Party, switched his support from Clinton to Obama. Personally, I think it is time for Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore, both superdelegates, to declare their personal allegiances.

So I am feeling a bit uplifted at this week’s end. Here are some lyrics from a song called “We Need A Little Christmas” from the Broadway show “Mame”. I have been whistling it all week to help me keep things in perspective:

Haul out the holly,
Put up the tree before my spirit falls again.
Fill up the stocking,
I may be rushing things but deck the halls again now.
For we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute,
Candles in the window,
Carols at the spinet.
Yes we need a little Christmas.
Right this very minute
It hasn’t snowed a single flurry,
But Santa, dear, we’re in a hurry;

So climb down the chimney
Put up the brightest string of lights I’ve ever seen.
Slice up the fruitcake;
Its time we hung some tinsel on that evergreen bough.
For I’ve grown a little leaner,
Grown a little colder,
Grown a little sadder,
Grown a little older,
And I need a little angel
Sitting on my shoulder,
Need a little Christmas now

For we need a little music,
Need a little laughter,
Need a little singing,
Ringing through the rafters,
And we need a little snappy
“Happy ever after”,
Need a little Christmas now,
NEED A LITTLE CHRISTMAS NOW!” *

So damn that fact that I have never celebrated Christmas, I still need a little Christmas now. Don’t worry: its the math and the money that will seal this nomination for Obama. But we still need to fight the good fight, especially when the chips are down.

But things are definitely looking up. Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!

YES WE CAN.

*lyrics by Percy Faith.