The Tow Truck, Torture and the Court

My wonderful weekend wedding magic ended abruptly at 8:00 A.M. on Tuesday.  First the tree guys arrived to cut back my very own piece of Virginia jungle.  Then the window washers arrived to clean my access to the outside world, which my fine feathered friends use as their toilets.  Then my car died.  Reality is sobering at best and, at worst, sucks eggs.

The thermometer light went on, in RED.  Unlike a similar experience I had over 30 years ago and chose to, in my exuberant youthful optimism, ignore and thus the engine completely melted down, I pulled over at  the side of the road within 30 seconds of this warning indicator going on.  After waiting two hours for the tow truck to arrive, I settled down in the cab of the truck with the driver and commenced delving into his life and political beliefs.

This man was somewhere in his forties, African-American, a very hard worker and a dedicated, stable family man.  My powers of discovery and observation served me well on this 45 minute drive to the dealership.  President Obama had just appointed Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme court that morning, so I asked the driver, allow me to call him “Gordon”, how he felt about that choice.   Silence.  Then I probed even further: I asked him his opinion of our president.  He responded that all the lawmakers and politicians are thieves and crooks, Obama included.   Uh-oh.  So I asked him why he felt that way.  He was so against the tens of billions of dollars allocated to the banks, auto companies, etc. instead of being handed over to him, one of the “little people”.  He firmly held that the way to a better economy was for the government to dole out all that stimulus and bailout money to you, me and especially, him.  That, he said, was the only way to truly stimulate the economy.

Gordon had my sympathetic ear for about two minutes.  Then we continued to discuss the abuses of large corporations and big government.  For those  few minutes, I also believed his economic theory.  Poor man: here he is just giving me a ride to my car dealership and I hook him into all of my political nonsense.  So I continued by acknowledging that yes, many financial, corporate and governmental entities are corrupt, greedy and immoral.  However, I added, so are many of the “little people”.  Their hardships were precipitated by their accepting mortgages that they knew they could not afford, demonstrating irresponsibility in managing their credit limits  and their incessant crying  for entitlements and personal bailouts added to the exact same scenario on an individual level that happened on a corporate level.  Gordon was again silent in response to my comments.

So since my ride with Gordon, I have been thinking about his proposal of paying out large, taxpayer dollars to each and every citizen versus investing in the larger infrastructure.  Either way, we are using taxpayer dollars to “save” our economic framework.  Gordon could not see this fact, and insisted that the only way to benefit Americans was to give them money directly.

Gordon’s plan and Obama’s plan have the same ends; it is just the means that differ.  After much thought, I agree with the larger plan because if the infrastructure of our economy goes to hell in a hand basket, the individual will not be able to stimulate any economy, much less one that is dead in the water and dismantled.  Gordon was blind to this plan for the greater good over individual gain.  I understand his position completely; I just disagree.

As ugly, bad and corrupt as our system appear to be sometimes, if we do not prop up the entire framework, such as jobs creation and retention, there will be no getting out of the hole.  But with Gordon sitting on a pile of bills totalling $9000 (Am I good at getting information from people, or what?), I understand his lament.  In retrospect, Gordon deserved much more than $9000 for having to listen to me on that tow ride to the dealership.

I have a couple of other incomplete issues that I must bring to your attention.  In one of my posts last week addressing President Obama’s speech and Dick Cheney’s separate speech, both however, on the philosophy and procedures of detainee practices, I said that I would get back to you on the finer points.  Rather than listen to me, I have an article from this week’s “New Yorker” authored by Jeffrey Toobin that summarizes the ideological differences between these two men:

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2009/06/01/090601taco_talk_toobin

Guess in which camp my heart and mind rests?

The other issue that I want to discuss further is the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor.  I present you with two Op-Ed articles from the “Washington Post” today for your enlightenment.  After all, what value does a weekend have without assorted and meaningful reading?  The first is by Charles Krauthammer, the conservative commentator.  In this piece today, I find him to be the model of reason and tolerance:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/28/AR2009052803613.html

But wait.  Right under his article, is another piece, by Eugene Robinson, the progressive if not downright liberal thinker, on this same subject of Sotomayor:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/28/AR2009052803627.html

On one hand, compatible with Krauthammer’s stance that the fireman Ricci was treated unfairly in being denied his well-earned promotion, I find my sense of fair play to be terribly offended.  On the other hand, Robinson’s opinion made perfect sense to me.  So study these two articles this weekend and give me some feedback.  Whatever your and my opinion may be, I firmly believe that Sotomayor was a solid pick for Justice of the Supreme Court.  And do not be foolish enough to pride yourself that Sotomayer, once on the bench, will deliver consistently for the liberal side.  She is much more moderate than that.  This was the most conservative choice President Obama could have made and we might be in for some judicial surprises once she is confirmed.  Enlighten yourselves:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/27/AR2009052702906.html?nav=hcmoduletmv

So have a good weekend.  Forgive me all the assigned reading, but we must always enrich our minds.  A vegetative state has no worth.  Couch potatoes can not help themselves, much less anyone else.  Get on it.

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2 Responses to “The Tow Truck, Torture and the Court”

  1. Natalie R Says:

    E.J Dionne whom I love, had I thought the best analysis of Judge Sotomayer. She really is a moderate especially on business issues. I am hoping at some point Obama will show even more of a liberal pick as the court for too long has been brutal to those who do not have weal or power to defend themselves.

    I still hope Obama will choose wisely but give a tip of the hat to the liberal base who fell in love with his candidacy. After all it’s only fair!

  2. Natalie R Says:

    make that “REAL POWER” to defend themselves. It’s late and I’m tire …. ooo 😦

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