Thursday, April 29, 2010

Welcome to the Melting Pot

My father’s parents came to this country from Italy in 1911. When they stepped off the boat at Ellis Island some illustrious jackass with the Department of Immigration stamped W.O.P on the back of their hands. Strictly speaking they were illegals, "without papers." If they were in Arizona today they would go to jail and be deported I suppose.

Our immigration policy (old and new) is the craziest mess in the history of societal screw ups, based upon the assumption that immigrants are a threat to America's way of life. It seems to me that the Mexican immigrants are basically after what generations of immigrants have been after before them. My dad used to say that it all boiled down to food and a way to earn it.

Nevertheless, on one side of the modern immigrant is a group of murderous career criminals whose existence in Mexico has become endemic largely because their products - drugs and smuggled human beings - have become endemic in the United States. On the other side of the immigrant population U.S. citizens are feeling frightened and under siege by the breaching of a porous border. Some are bigots. Some are being manipulated by politicians who have used immigration for decades to instill resentment and terror in their constituents. In my grandfather’s day all Italians were greasy criminals and anarchists. I have to believe that there are also some decent people in Arizona who living in the hardest times they have ever known are simply worried that what little they have will be taken from them, including the ability to work and even their lives.

The federal government surrounds this damn muddle like a filthy swamp. Scores of our leaders stand with a microphone in their face posturing, pontificating and promising blindly. The only thing that concerns most of Congress is getting reelected indefinitely so that they might die in office or perhaps be buried under their desks like sacred relics. Thus, it is impossible for many of them to behave with any kind of courage - to recognize the right thing much less do the right thing.

Suckling at the under belly of the immigration issue are legions of employers who support the flow of illegal laborers that they can work to death and pay next to nothing. I don’t hear a lot about these vultures even though they are the catalysts of what I shudder to think is an impending explosion.

There is no question that the law passed in Arizona is a tragedy waiting to happened. I guess a tragedy is what it will take to get the attention of our recalcitrant, insensitive, even negligent lawmakers. I am always hearing Obama and the lawyers in Congress chant that this is a nation of laws, not people - a concept that I find fairly toxic on its face. Having said that, if the lawmakers are not making laws because they are paralyzed with partisanship or terrified of being jettisoned from office do we still have a nation?

The current White House is adamant that they will not get into immigration this year. Let’s not have another health care, Mr. President. This issue is important if not politically correct. Over the last year and some months I have felt the wind of calamity blowing across my heart. I hope that Arizona’s law will not provide the backdrop for that calamity to play out simply because Obama and other politicians are watching their butts when they ought to be watching the racists and the border.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Somewhere in the Darkness

Some in the mainstream media seem to be discovering that they have given the tea partiers more coverage then they deserve. Well hell, ain’t it amazing. There are more people on Downtown Denver's streets at lunchtime then have shown up at some tea party rallies, and the media thinks they may have credited them with too much influence - wow, brilliant.

Never have so few been served by so many to damage so much. I continue to hear leaders of the tea party and leaders of the Republican Party mouth falsehoods one after another into any microphone that is available. While media types sit frozen, wide-eyed like dear in headlights, seemingly unable to argue with or even question what is being said. Further, our journalistic community appears not to realize that every lie serves to eat away at this President’s perceived veracity not to mention the integrity of his legislation the way infection eats away at the integrity of tissue. In the final analysis the question becomes what lasting effect will this campaign of deceit have on the institution of the presidency and the legislative process.

It goes without saying that the current breed of politician tends to be myopic with a near sociopathic obliviousness to anything other than self promotion. Still in all there needs to be a limit to the fabricating, mudslinging, slander spreading emesis that passes for political discourse. Goddess knows that our cowardly media is incapable of setting those limits. Many members of the public lemming-like, believing whatever they are told, get in line and follow any voice of doom through the looking glass and against their own interests. Thus, a health care bill that will cover 30 million of them is still unpopular on the grounds that it is Socialism.

It seems to me that politicians, the media and the public all have a large piece of responsibility for the nightmare we are living now. Nonetheless, be it sickness, cowardice or foolishness there is a special place in hell for people like Frank Luntz, Republican spin mister, personality assassin and apparatchik, who counts on the full trinity when sculpting a propaganda campaign designed to destroy his political opponents with lies rather than help his fellow Americans know the truth.

In as much as this man has written many of the talking points that were used to discredit health care reform and now financial reform it is interesting that so few people know of him. I think it behooves people to find out about him. Men like Luntz do their best work in the dark - shine a light.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cynicism and Self Promotion

One of the finest things to come out of the 90’s was a television series entitled "The X-Files." Its creator Chris Carter is a genius and a master storyteller. Like most brilliant writers he writes on many levels simultaneously and appears at times to be engaged in prophecy. In the final episode of the series when his hero, Fox Mulder, is on trial for his life and is given an opportunity to speak to his accusers Mulder basically asserts that a large group of liars working in concert has no reason to fear the truth. Further, that true evil is a product of that same kind of alliance rather than the deviousness of a single malevolent entity. One can almost imagine that Carter was looking into a crystal ball at the world of social unrest and politics in the Age of Obama.

I believe that lies are like airborne bacteria passing from person to person. In the presence of fear or exaggerated self interest they attach to the cells of the psych rupturing and deforming the perception until fact cannot be divided from fallacy. We saw this with the health care bill as a preponderance of lies were slathered over reality until distortion became truth. The same is happening with the financial reform bill. A couple of days ago Mitch McConnell, the Republican Minority Leader, stood in the well of the Senate and insisted that Obama is giving the American people a bill that will force them to endlessly bail banks out of their self induced implosions. This is a damn lie, and he knows it is a lie. Smiling and winking at Main Street, pretending to be a defender and friend of the people, this hyena is working hard to protect Wall Street. The bankers and other greed merchants do not like the democratic reform bill because it will reign in some of their more predatory practices and force them to create a fund to cover the cost of their failure. It is not perfect but it is better than the deregulate and hope for the best strategy the Republicans favor.

In this milieu of lies upon lies upon lies the image of America’s first African American President has been thoroughly tarnished and trampled. Obama has been made to appear as a dangerous interloper, even an alien, to such an extent that a fair number of Republicans believe that he is the Anti-Christ.

I wish someone would explain this conundrum to me. In the self proclaimed best of all Christian countries a comparatively large number of "good" Christians believe every bit of stupidity spoon fed to them by an army of self promoting, cynical gasbags. Thus disempowered, they courageously stand together in packs shouting at the hungry, the homeless, the sick and the dying, "I’ve got mine. Screw you." Where does the Anti-Christ fit in? It seems to me the patina of lies, the liars working in concert and the alliance of hoodwinked, crap-fed sheep have rendered him superfluous - unemployed like everybody else.

In my religion we believe that the Goddess gives each of us the gifts we request when we are born. Those who can heal, heal. Those who can feed, feed. Those who can tend the Goddess’ most vulnerable and precious creatures, the nonhumans, tend. Those like me who can serve the Earth, serve. We are charged with offering our gifts humbly, lovingly, joyfully, freely and to the extent that we are able, impeccably. There is no Anti-Goddess. If we take a leak on our ancient and sacred faith it is down to us - our responsibility.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Truth and Twain

The Constitution is the new Christ - gun, bludgeon and knife. A tool with which to indoctrinate and intimidate the uninformed. A counterfeit ethical standard by which to judge the morality of one’s enemies. I have heard the right, the tea people, talking about the Constitution and am put in mind of Mark Twain’s statement about truth. "Familiarity breeds contempt. How accurate that is. The reason we hold truth in such respect is because we have so little opportunity to get familiar with it."
- From Twain’s Notebook, 1898

This clearly applies to the fringe of the right. These shouting, screaming, stuttering intellectual ragamuffins are as committed to their version of the Constitution as they are ignorant of its true meaning. If I am not mistaken, that was Twain’s definition of a Blatherskite - the abusive morons of his day.

I am not a great fan of Obama anymore. I am a left leaning Liberal, and he is a Moderate. I have no idea what in the hell the word Progressive means so I don’t use it. Nonetheless, President Obama is the most maligned, ridiculed, tortured and tormented man I have ever seen reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Why? He is not radical - I am radical, so I know. He is not a socialist, a communist, or a Nazi. He has done none of the things he has been accused of like plotting a government takeover of health care or turning his back on Israel. So what is the impetus for all the hate and cruelty? In my Constitutionally protected opinion the answer is obvious - it is his black face. The man is black. Bush was an idiot, and Nixon was a scoundrel but the tint of Obama’s epidermis has sent this country into a tail spin of unprecedented force.

What amazes me is the umbrage that bigots take at being labeled racists. They will snivel for days about being victimized by the race card, no matter how vicious and bloody their deeds. The same is true of people who perpetrate class warfare. Don Blankenship of Massey Energy, the company CEO who killed 25 miners in West Virginia is engaged in class warfare every time he sends a man down into a mine he knows isn’t safe. Yet, the words "class warfare" are somehow more profane then Massey’s behavior. Even liberal talkers apologize for sounding like they are talking about class warfare.

I want to get familiar with the truth. I don’t think this country can heal from the carnage done over the last 14 months until we all get familiar with the truth. In my estimation Palin and Bachmann and most of the right are garden variety racists engaged in bigotry dressed up as politics and policy. They remind me of the Klu Klux Klan hiding behind their hoods and robes. The racist vehemence swells as one moves toward the fringe of their party.

The unfettered free market is the first weapon in the arsenal of someone perpetrating class warfare. Whenever money is more important than men and women the Working Class is under siege. I believe that the left uses money to take care of people. The right uses people to take care of money. The struggle is elemental. But then as I said, I am a radical.