Thursday, August 27, 2009

Burn Atlanta and March to the Sea- Barack!

Tonight while having coffee with my soon to be Poland bound friend Mark Tardi he said what I think is the biggest question for our President- why are we consulting the losers and letting them make policy in the healthcare debate?

It seems to many of us that a victory in the electoral college, a majority in the House and a large majority in the Senate means nothing in the face of Fox News- the crazies- and the screamers.

Who by the way are being paid/motivated by corporate interests to oppose change.

It is the special interests who are trying to change the results of an election by deceit.

Why is it that Liberals cannot speak the truth- every Conservative issue position of the past 40 years. The Liberal answer has been right and the Conservative one has been wrong so why not just say the truth that these people do not get to stand in the way of progress?

Look at The Record

1) Social Security and Unemployment Insurance: In 1933 and throughout the 30's and 40's Conservatives opposed these programs because they put 'undue' burdens on business. Progressives passed these laws and in the end America is a better place for it. They did not listen to the opponents of these policies, they passed them and made America better. Can you imagine America today without these programs.

2) Medicare: In 1964 Conservatives lead by Ronald Reagan opposed Medicare. Can you imagine an America today where the elderly would have to pay to their healthcare? The average cost for a private plan would be over $12000 a year would seniors prefer that? The Conservatives were wrong on that issue as well.

3) Isolationism: It was Conservatives lead by right wingers like Robert Taft and Charles Lindbergh who opposed American involvement in World War 2 in Europe and Japan during the 1940's if Liberals had listened to them Nazism and Japanese Militarism would have won World War 2. Roosevelt invented Lend Lease to circumvent Isolationists and he was right Roosevelt made America better. Again the Conservatives were wrong.

4) Racial Justice: Conservatives, especially those in the South who are the Grandparents of today's Southern Republicans were opposed to Racial Justice. Conservative thinkers as grand as William F Buckley and Ronald Reagan argued that the Federal Government had no right to "impose" Racial Justice on the United States they favored separate but equal. Lyndon Johnson and John Kennedy fought these people along with true racists like George Wallace and Bull Connor. Lyndon Johnson did the right thing and forced through Civil Rights laws that were opposed by a Majority of the US population but he did it because it was the right thing to do. Should he have consulted Bull Connor or George Wallace and sought common ground? Oh and by the way it was Conservatives that opposed the North in the Civil War because the Federal Government was imposing on states rights. Lincoln did not consult with Jefferson Davis he burned Atlanta and Marched to the sea .

5) Unionization: Before the 1930's most Americans worked 6 days a week. They had no pensions, no health insurance and they could be fired at any time for any reason. It was Liberals and the Labor acts of the 1930's opposed by Conservatives that made these things and the middle class possible. Since the 1980's Conservatives have dismantled these laws and our national standard of living has fallen. The Liberals were right and they should have stood with their labor supporters instead they abandoned them.

6) Internal Improvements: In every instance from the canals of the 1840's, Land Grant Colleges of the 1850's, Intercontinental Railroads of the 1860's, Dams in the South and West in the 1930's (that made the Sunbelt possible by the way), National Parks, Environmental Rules, Food Safety Rules and on and on Conservative opposed all of these things. Advocates did not consult their opponents and today America is a better place for having all these progressive things in place.

If all these issues had been handled the way President Obama has conducted this debate where would be be today?

The facts are....

  • Conservatives lost an election by a huge margin.

  • Conservatives created the worst economic shock in 50 years because of their policies of deregulation and untethered corporate greed.

  • Conservatives have opposed every major improvement in this country for the past 50 years. So why are they right on healthcare when they were wrong on everything else?

President Obama do what history calls for.

Burn Atlanta and March to the Sea.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Hung Generation

It is funny how HBO series have defined recent generational moods. During the 1990's it was a juxtopostion of The Sopranos and Sex in the City. Two stories that were less than 10 miles apart but were two sides of a world that today seems very far away. For the Sex in the City women everything could be solved by having a Cosmo and a pedicure. They lived the life of the unreal that many were living in the 1990's as we consumed ourselves into debt buying granite countertops and Manolo Blanik shoes. It was the decade of the celebrity chef and the .com boom and bloggers becoming millionares.

Opposed to that world was the Sopranos. The Sopranos best encapsulates the last 25 years of the 20th century and the first half of this decade. The Sopranos live in the suburbs. They live respectable lives while they steal, murder and cheat. This suburban disconnection is what also has defined our world. The respectable men of Goldman Sachs and Citibank are little more than Ivy League versions of Tony Soprano.

The Sopranos and the Wall Street version continue their impunity. The Sex in the City girls still have their devotees but no one has every explained to me how they pay for all that stuff they have and how will they do it now with no credit?

No now we come to live in the Great Recession and again HBO had produced a show that defines a Zeitgeist.

Hung which airs of Sunday nights is a great encapsulation of America as it is today. First off it is based in Detroit, Michigan. The opening begins with the main star, Ray, walking through the destitute streets of Detroit. Ray is a character that is defined by the disappointment of Generation X. He is a failed sports star who is now teaching High School in the same place he grew up. He is living in a tent behind his burned home (that he inherited from his parents no less). His old home is juxtoposed next to a Mc Mansion which is the Tyrannasaur of the age just past.

Ray decides with a woman he met at a class, Tanya, to sell his best 'asset' he becomes a Happiness Consultant which is a euphamism for Prostitute. The most telling interaction in the show is between Ray and his Exwife Jessica who has left him for Ronnie the rich dermatologist.
The thing about hung that defines our age is the changability of the characters. Within two episodes Ronnie goes from being rich to poorer but still with the appearance of richness which is where America now sits.....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Just Haven't Felt Like Writing

I just have not felt like writing. The energy to create has been sapped from me and to press the keys of the computer feels like lifting 500 lbs of iron.
At the same time as out hopeful president was inaugurated I lost my job.
I have been looking ever since trying to figure out what I am going to do? 2000 resumes later I am still trying to figure.
The combined stress of job search and watching our president become embroiled in Neo-Fascist media tactics has sapped my desire to write.
Usually I am best as a poet/writer when my life is chock full of activity. Let me work for 12 hours a day and I will turn out poems and novellas. Give me large blocks of anguish time and I do nothing.
My life now is a slow, depressing burn.
It is not that bad things happen-- it is that nothing happens. Days become the same with no differences.
I don't have the energy to be Irascible either. I just find what most poets are doing laughable and irrelevant.
The only post I recently from a poet that was spot on was from Maxine Chernoff about the budget cuts in the Cal State system. The fact that during this time of Recession we are cutting funding to a system like the Cal State System which is usually the entry point for first time college attendees shows how short sighted we are today.
I have to say that I am tired of President Obama being so 'nice'. I believe in him but I do not understand why the people who caused all this pain are being coddled? Why can't we say the truth? I am tired of the lack of truth. We need to do something to end the Las Vegas mentality. Why aren't the people from Goldman Sachs in jail? We need to demand change. But I am afraid that the neo fascists are stronger than our lovely- idealistic president.
I have spent allot of time this summer with Albert Camus. He does feed the soul and this quote from his Notebooks 1951-1959 from Ivan R Dee Press ends the book.
"I sometimes accuse myself of being incapable of love. Maybe this is true, but I have been able to select a few people and to keep for them, faithfully the best of me no matter what they do"
It makes me wonder what it means to keep the best of yourself?
I ask this question allot?