Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dem Dems...

I find myself pretty unsatisfied by all the Democrats in the Presidential field this cycle, and in the last several.

The missing piece, for me, is Economic Justice.

The income distribution in our society is more skewed towards the rich than at almost any time in our history, and yet, virtually no one is talking about it, at least in any depth.

The Dems seem very, very gun shy about even bringing this up.

There used to be a consensus in this country - a consensus forged by Democrats of the past - that one of the more important functions of government was to help balance society by keeping things more economically equal than they would be under a purely capitalist system (mostly through a progressive income tax, and redistribution), and thus provide soocial stability.

Places where this ethic does not obtain tend to be places constantly on the verge of armed revolution.

The current consensus - the idea that redistribution = communism - is a consensus put in place by Republicans, who are the party of the Rich.

Hurricane Dean gets me thinking...

[Update: This post stared as a comment on this " post at Street Prophets...]

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area as I do, I remember the Lome Prieta Earthquake in '89, and then the Oakland Hills Firestorm a couple years later.

The power being out seems to pull back the electronic veil behind which we hide, and which (I've come to realize) keeps us isolated from one another. Without the constant blaring of television and radio, my city neighborhood seems to revive after a long slumber - suddenly neighbors are talking to each other, learning each others' names (this after living 20 feet away from each other for 10 years).

You can hear the neighborhood - without the immersive electronic din that characterizes life in early 21st Century America, people become the only sound you can hear. Everyone pulls together. The neighborhood suddenly becomes a village, a true community. It is a startling transformation, which happens instantly.

It's always struck me in these situations, "why aren't people doing this all the time? This is actually pretty cool... "

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Epitaph for a Reprobate

An excerpt from a post on Daily Kos, which pretty much presents the unvarnished truth about Karl Rove:

Rove's oft-touted "genius" is nothing more than single-minded amorality. In campaigns and in the administration, he was and is unapologetically amoral in service to his own cause or that of his client: his "genius" is that he has consistently been willing to go farther, be meaner, and invent more astonishing lies than would be done by anyone in politics with a thin remaining threads of a conscience. From smearing John McCain's children with race-baiting taunts to attacking the careers and wives of critics to helping corrupt the most basic and foundational premises of the the United States Department of Justice, nothing has ever been considered "out of bounds". If a malevolent action is not taken -- such as ratcheting up the already venomous Republican rhetoric against immigrants -- it is done only in service to calculated poll numbers, never as a nod to basic morality or patriotism or human decency.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

New Business

A friend of mine is opening a store for women (no, not "that" kind of store) called All About Eve, some time this fall. From her description of the store's mission, to be found Here.

Along with creating a marketplace for local women to promote and sell their creations, we will also be providing a community space for women to come together.

I'll keep my SF Bay Area readers posted about the progress of this store.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Republican Surrenders to Reality-Based, um, Reality

This is an excerpt from an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I post it here without further comment or emendation:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Thursday the Bush administration is waging a "phony war" on terrorism, warning that the country is losing ground against the kind of Islamic radicals who attacked the country on Sept. 11, 2001.

A more effective approach, said Gingrich, would begin with a national energy strategy aimed at weaning the country from its reliance on imported oil and some of the regimes that petro-dollars support.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Anti-immigrant and Anti-Catholic

Fr. Jim points out something I hadn't thought of, namely that Anti-Immigrant agitation often has anti-Catholicism as an ingredient:

I didn't realize that nearly forty percent of Catholics in the United States are Hispanic. It's worth noting that in today's immigration controversies, there are some very real strains of anti-Catholicism (a "foreign religion") mixed in with the other prejudices. This shouldn't be very surprising, inasmuch as the even more frantic agitation against immigration in our grandparents' and great-grandparents' day was a traditional blend of xenophobia and anti-Catholicism, too.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

New kind of Troll

This is something that's been bugging me for awhile, and so I wanted to bring it up for discussion. To the list of categories of troll (Concern, etc.) that folks on blogs refer to, I'd like to add a new one: The "Despair Troll." This may seem harsh, but frankly, I've had enough.

I define a Despair Troll as someone who does some version of the following:

To an action diary, they post a comment like:

"Yeah, that'll happen. Americans are too wrapped up in [Paris Hilton/Lindsay Lohan/American Idol/Boy Bands etc etc etc] to pay any attention to your [protest/LTE campaign/boycott etc.].

I understand feeling discouraged at times about the state of American culture and the prevailing state of political...unseriousness, shall we say.

And, don't get me wrong: I'm all for venting and wailing/teeth-gnashing in the face of defeats and set-backs: Liberal Blogs are largely what got me through the '04 presidential and congressional defeats. As a community, Progressive blogs ought to be places to vent these feelings among friends (like I say, I've done a fair amount of this myself, in fact).

I think it is a question of finding the appropriate forum for this. Replying to a proposal for political action with an expression of despair or "good luck with that..." cynicism seems trollish to me; at the very least it is unhelpful.

Also, it must be said that there's a category of reply that, while it may seem disparaging, is intended as reality-testing, and is not what I'm talking about: "While I would applaud organizing, tonight, a million people to march on Congress by tomorrow, I wonder if you've thought through the logistics..."

BUT, if someone posts a comment like, "I say we protest at the Capitol tomorrow! Who's with me?" a reply that Americans are celebrity-obsessed morons and why bother? would certainly qualify as "despair trolling", as would such a response to a proposal to organize such a massive protest, say, a few months out, with concrete proposals in terms of first steps, the scope of the agenda and what it would accomplish, ideas for building buzz within the progressive community, why it is time to consider it, etc.

I don't want to belabor this. I'm just really, REALLY sick of reading cheap, cynical responses to expressions of hope. I want to keep coming here, and I have hopes of my own, and I will not have those hopes disparaged. This about respect.

After all, we are progressives. Progress pre-supposes hope.