Tag Archives: hate

The futility of political discourse?

What a civil political forum looks like

What a civil political forum looks like

Has our political discourse grown futile?

The combination of misdirection, false statements, exaggerations, misplaced emphasis, character attacks, slander, lies, and too little time to research all of the above for anyone but political obsessives (like myself) makes an intelligent vote a somewhat elusive outcome in what passes for our modern political campaigning.

That said, I had an opportunity this past Saturday to participate in a civil, disciplined, even enlightened political process that just might serve as an antidote to the modern campaign.

This past Saturday, two seasoned political journalists asked each of our partisan gubernatorial candidates, Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Edward Gillespie, who they are, why they are running, and what hopes they may harbor for the Commonwealth if elected this November.

Among the “hard questions” posed, Dale Peskin asked Mr. Gillespie about his “attack ad” charging that Mr. Northam was indifferent to MS 13 gang crime, that he’d release gang members to the streets, and that he favored “sanctuary cities.”  No matter that there are no sanctuary cities in Virginia, that Mr. Northam opposes the creation of any, and that Mr. Northam supports prosecuting any and all crime, whether it’s the MS-13 gang or any other kind.  Mr. Northam said the ad was “despicable and inaccurate” and nothing less than “fear mongering.”  Later that day Mr. Gillespie campaigned with Mr. Trump’s Vice President.  Mr. Northam compared how Mr. Trump campaigned last year with how Mr. Gillespie was campaigning this year. Continue reading

Homeland insecurity

concordmilitiaWe have changed our definition of what’s freedom.

I stand in court rooms in defense of the Accused and invoke the presumption we are all innocent including those charged.

Our government treats us, however, as if we are all presumed guilty, that we must prove otherwise, and we are all treated as suspect for the commission of some unstated possible terrorist act – without any evidence whatsoever.

We have become accustomed to being searched and radiated at airports and public buildings, though we comply reluctantly.

For years now the government, “our” government, has also been collecting every bit of information it can about who we are, what we do, what we say, where we go, what we write, our financial holdings, and with whom we associate.

Our personal information is being inhaled into the government’s mammoth data banks at the cost of our expectation and right to be let alone.

Yet, we brag our freedom is the envy of the world.

The fear of those who would govern this nation is compromising the freedom of the governed.

When 9-11 occurred, I was ashamed of the members of Congress.  Little has changed since. Continue reading

Sexism in America

Two great women (Hillary Clinton and Holly Flannery) and one impressed guy

Two great women (Hillary Clinton and Holly Flannery) and one impressed guy

On how far we have to go – well, we have quite a ways yet to go on respecting a woman’s dignity and right as a person to be treated as an equal.

On NPR, the next day after Secretary Hillary Clinton accepted the presidential nomination in the City of Brotherly Love, there was an on-air discussion among both men and women wondering – “Why didn’t Hillary cry?” and “Wouldn’t that have helped?”

Is a woman not perceived as human unless she sheds a tear? This semi-conscious sexism drives me crazy. What’s most distressing is that any woman would suggest another woman should cry for some calculated political effect – what I consider a disappointing form of sexist masochism.

If Hillary had felt the moment in such a way that she cried, then fine, but to suggest this as the projected and expected profile of any woman is sexist.

So yeah, I think these NPR commentators, men and women, were sexist pigs (with apologies to my pet pigs). Continue reading

Not like any other election year

donaldtrumpThere is a disconnect on a rational and emotional level with this last Republican Convention as compared to past Republican Conventions.

I’m not talking about the “not ready for prime time” gaffes, nor Melania’s plagiarism on opening night, nor the misty “Apollo Creed” convention entrance of nominee Trump, the arm-twisting rules decisions “to move things along,” nor Senator Ted Cruz’ thinly veiled pitch to the delegates to turn to Cruz himself as the Republican’s nominee in 2020 after “the Donald” crashes and burns this November.

In my life, when the Republicans chose past candidates, every one of them, even President Richard Nixon, I could see it, understand it, the Republican choice, that is, even as I disagreed with their party’s standards for choosing the nominees.

I was a kid when Dwight Eisenhower was the Republican presidential nominee. True, he hadn’t ever run for elected office, like Mr. Trump, but, besides heading up Columbia University as President, where I served time undergrad and at the law school (long after “Ike” had moved on), President Eisenhower had been a five star general in the Army and was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, heading up invasions into North Africa, France and Germany. Both parties had sought to have Eisenhower head up their ticket. Donald Trump is no Dwight Eisenhower.

Ronald Reagan may have been the consummate show man but he had to be more than that to position himself for a presidential nomination. He had been the head of the Screen Actors Guild, the voice of GE, the Governor of California, and ran for President in ’68 and ’76 before sealing the deal, and winning the presidential nomination and election in 1980.

Blemishes and past disagreements aside, I have never seen a worse nominee than Donald Trump so ill-prepared to lead this nation. Continue reading

The sweet scent

Blossoms_bloomingWhile running on a dirt road, up a slight hill, the Kelly green of the forest floor nearby, a soft breeze washed over me and there was the sweetest scent, I imagined, from the fruit trees nearby.  Ah, finally, the sweet smell of spring, an antidote for the sickness of mind that is modern society.

We’ve heard the metaphor in politics, invoking “spring,” the network herd of media mimics murmuring thoughtlessly the word “spring,” repeating it again and again as if it were true, misapplying this glorious time of year to mid-East street protests, armed conflict, American air strikes, AK-47s fired in the air, blood leaking through the dirt, improvised bombs, cries of pain, and needless death.

Such dystrophic destructive events cannot be compared — however you may stretch and pull a poetic metaphor — with spring’s awakening of that renewable life dormant through the cold and hard seasons until the moment when the sweet scent drifts in the air anew.

Of course, much of our public dialogue is imprecise, unfocused and misleading if not a lying whopper to lull the mind to sleep or to misdirect our attention from what really matters to what we can fear or hate.  It is this sickness of mind we must cure.

When I was young, I played a Seabee in South Pacific, and heard over and over in rehearsal the lyric how you have to be taught, carefully taught, how to hate and fear.

Much of our public dialogue is about hate and fear. Continue reading

Loudoun should adopt San Antonio’s non-discrimination language

Christianist Christians are claiming that they will be discriminated against under the city of San Antonio’s proposed non-discrimination policy.

No person shall be appointed to a position if the City Council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age, or disability.

Is it reading comprehension? I bolded the word religion. The Washington Times headline reads, “San Antonio proposal could set the stage for barring Christians from city council.”

“San Antonio’s current ordinance hasn’t been used to police city officials’ personal views on race, gender, or religion. That’s because the ordinance is meant to prohibit clear cases of professional discrimination and bias – not bad personal thoughts,” Equality Matters explains. “Right-wing media’s attacks on the San Antonio proposal represent but the latest example of the anti-equality movement’s Orwellian strategy to depict LGBT rights – whether marriage equality or employment non-discrimination – as a danger to liberty.”

We have a clear case of professional discrimination right here in Loudoun. Our BoS should adopt the similar language and lobby the state of Virginia to do the same. It would open up a lot positions in the governor’s office, AG, House, Senate, and local governments across the state. We’d have to add a warning label to the ballot.

WARNING: If you vote for a professional bigot, he or she may be removed from office at any time.