Archive for March, 2011

Global youth uprising in 2011?: http://o

March 6, 2011

Global youth uprising in 2011?: What are the chances of an international youth-led revolution and what would that look like? Will privileged and pampered youth toss away apathy and stand together for a greater cause? Interesting theory. Stay tuned because this is predicted for this year.


Patience: Do You Know Where You Want to Go?

March 4, 2011

The adage patience is a virtue has been around for a very long time, but it’s no less true today. How about good things come to those who wait? Well, if wait means sit around and accept abuses of power, make juvenile jokes but do nothing to improve the way things are, pretend that you don’t care about anything, or buy into the mindset that success is monetary and comes to individuals solely because of their own hard work, then the good things will never come to the people waiting. If, however, wait is akin to patience, then waiting for those you trust to help make inroads into addressing some of the more pressing ills in society (rather than bashing them for not going quickly enough) should surely lead to some positive gains.

The U.S. political system is in sad shape, not because of an inherent flaw but because of how we’ve come to define political success and how folks elected to represent us have come to care more about the power we’ve entrusted them with than actually representing our interests; because the masses have failed to articulate our mutual interests and provide a solid timetable for getting them met.

There are a myriad of reasons why people run for public office. Some do it out of some inherited sense that they must protect the masses from themselves. They see political office as a birthright, and while they may never say it, truly believe that their aristocratic heritage has come with the patriarchal burden of leading the less privileged. They think the average person is ill-equipped (due to a lack of so-called cultured experiences and, (gasp) inferior breeding—yes, I said what many think) to run the government (at least on a federal level), to even be able to intelligently identify and articulate her/his needs. It was this elitist thinking that prevented our forefathers from establishing a true democracy, after all. A representative democracy was deemed safer. It’s why the popular vote doesn’t actually directly determine who wins the presidency. You know this. You learned it at some point in your life.

Others run for office because they want to win at the highest levels. Perhaps they were captains of the cheerleading squad or football teams. Maybe they were all-county in tennis in the country club circuit. They led their prep squad to an undefeated season in lacrosse, golf, basketball, baseball. They left behind a legacy of winning when they graduated from the rugby, cricket, or squash club they helped form as undergrads. They were always used to competing and winning and, dammit, they are going to win in politics too. Maybe they’ve never really given thought to what happens after they secure the “victory” of getting elected. The victory, you see, is in getting elected, not what happens afterward.

Conversely, sometimes the perennial loser seeks political office. The mindset isn’t much different from the über-competitive winner. The difference is that they weren’t actually the captains of anything the social circles to which they aspired deemed worthy enough. For some reason the Insect Club in high school didn’t carry the same cachet as athletics, band, or even the debate club. So what’s a competitive person who hasn’t gained the social recognition he or she desires throughout childhood or adolescence to do? Why, pledge to a prestigious fraternity or sorority! Lead the Junior Insert-the-Political-Party’s! Go to law school! Run for political office! Not a loser now, am I? Gee, Mr. or Ms. Office Holder, what’ll you do now that you’re in office? Why, run for a higher office, Dear Child.

Lest you’ve become even more jaded reading this, let me remind you that there are those that run for office to truly address societal ills. Of course there are those, misguided, who define ills in the same way human rights groups define justice. But there are many who truly want to secure rights and gains for those for whom these things have been historically denied. Some of these individuals survive in office, never wavering from this goal. Their constituents may or may not reward them with re-election, but they typically remain unnoticed in the national spotlight. (With how many Congressmen and Congresswomen are you familiar?) These individuals have patience but are not sitting on their laurels waiting for good things to happen. Their loyal constituents practice patience, going again and again to the polls to make sure they stay in office. They are active, not passive. They don’t assume these people will get re-elected on their own. They don’t cry that these elected officials are not doing enough and then sit at home whining when somebody else wins and puts in place an agenda that will set social progress back decades.

A lot of criticism has been heaped on President Obama. He was criticized on the campaign trail, but enough people went out to the polls because they were inspired by his message and finally decided the country was seeping too far into economic ruin and socio-political despair. Many of these same individuals were not so inspired by John Kerry and, therefore, chose to grumble and suffer through four additional years of monetary disaster rather than vote to at least get out of office what they knew to not be working. So, they placed years of hope and dreams into the candidacy of one man.

And now, many are expressing frustration. They are disgruntled. They mock the name they once promoted. Why? Perhaps because they are not patient. Perhaps they practice the motto of “Get all now or get nothing.” This attitude might be something to applaud if it were followed up with action. In the mid-term elections it was followed up with inaction by most, action by a few—many of those with ideas long considered to be on the fringe. Well, tip your hats to them. They did not put up and shut up. They wanted change and elected people to go get it for them. You know, people who want slavery removed from history books, people who wanted to more narrowly define rape in a misguided attempt to rein in federal spending for abortions.

Let’s for a minute take a look at what the Obama Administration has accomplished:

  • Healthcare reform—It’s not perfect, but it’s a whole lot better than letting wealthy insurance companies and medical professionals run roughshod over everybody else; once a good deal of government waste is mopped up, our system will smell a whole lot better and be more efficient and cost-effective. Our other recent presidents were either too fearful to address this or too comfortable to even see a problem. But let’s blame this Administration for fringing on our liberties. Okay. For not doing enough, when nothing was being done before. ‘Kay, let’s.
  • Taking some well-aimed swings at Wall Street—Okay, no home runs yet, but it’s refreshing to see the hacks. If more Americans would start to hold corporate America accountable the government would follow suit.
  • End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell—Sorry it didn’t happen on your timetable, those of you who have been the most vocal since Obama took office. I’m sorry, I must have gotten a new hearing aid. I didn’t hear your loud voices during the Clinton or Walker Bush Administrations. Those who have been working to get this absurd policy thrown out for years are celebrating the victory, while the Johnny-Come-Lately’s, the I Didn’t Speak Up Before’s, are sour that it took so long.
  • Major reduction of troops in Iraq and some serious improvements there—Yes, this has been tempered by increases in Afghanistan, but the man ran on that platform to get troops out of Iraq in a militarily safe and intelligent manner and to increase troop levels in Afghanistan. This wasn’t something he pulled out of his hindquarters once he took office. Were you listening before you voted?
  • Administration’s acknowledgment that the federal government has no right to define marriage and conclusion that the provision in the Defense of Marriage Act (implemented under President Clinton, I’ll remind you) that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman is unconstitutional—no, this hasn’t actually led to a repeal but it was a major announcement, paving the way for a challenge to the law that federal prosecutors will no longer defend.
  • Signs that the economy is improving—Let’s not get this twisted, Obama came into office long after we fell into an economic cesspool of unemployment. The disparity between rich and poor was never higher than in the past decade. So, let’s blame Obama for not snapping his fingers and making things right. Right. Right? The much-ridiculed stimulus bill and bailout of Detroit have led to some improvements. Let’s investigate ways to go farther.

The Obama Administration has had some fumbles and foibles. It has been slow to address some issues and hasn’t gone as far in addressing others, as what might have been hoped, but I’d rather have them addressed at some point and to some degree than not addressed at all. This President hasn’t sounded as cocksure and definitive as President G.W. Bush (that’s the knock G.H.W. Bush received, as people flocked to the more charismatic W.J. Clinton; on the other hand, H. Clinton was ridiculed for sounding authoritative…), but I’d rather have someone in office willing to challenge himself, than someone seemingly self-righteous and unwilling to question anything. Obama consistently expressed, before he was elected, his personal views of marriage being between a man and a woman, but that hasn’t stopped him from viewing the same definition as unconstitutional when authorized by federal law.

When the 2012 campaign gets underway, I’m curious to see if patience wins out over impatience. Will people who haven’t been patient enough sit back and watch people with whom they fundamentally disagree get into office? Will patient people re-elect a man who has been making some progress towards social justice? Will patient people put money, support, and their words of encouragement behind candidates who want to go further with reform that will benefit the most disadvantaged in society? Will impatience lead to rash support of a party that has no clear definition of what it is or a party that is very clear about what it is (and it’s not about the less privileged?) Or will it result in blind loyalty to a party that says it’s about the less privileged but has often portrayed a weakness and unwillingness (lack of desire?) to challenge the status quo when actually given a shot at prominence?

If you want to see the U.S. government acknowledge the biases inherent in our institutions and the inefficiency and oppressive nature of many long-supported policies, if you want to see the government implement sound policies that will curb the abuses of corporations and politicians who are more interested in dollar signs than human beings, work actively to find and back people that want the same things and have the courage and support to create and push through major legislation that will get us going on the path to justice at a workable, brisk pace. Cracking jokes, coming up with juvenile names to call political figures or parties, whining about your problems, none of these things are going to get you where you want to go—unless you don’t want to go anywhere. Educate yourself and find out where you want to go or have you been convinced that there is nowhere to go? Or They’ll Win T-S

March 4, 2011 Or They’ll Win T-Shirt
There are a lot of people with power out there who are betting that you will stay too discouraged to fight for justice. You sitting around doing nothing, buying into the bull, or lashing out at your own are making them content. Their worst fear is watching you use your brain to speak out and fight for change.

Watch an interesting video: The Story of

March 3, 2011

Watch an interesting video: The Story of Citizens United v. FEC about democracy and corporations.

Get $5 off all social justice t-shirts t

March 2, 2011

Get $5 off all social justice t-shirts through Monday (3/7). Type 5OFFSTPADDYS at checkout in the “Zazzle Coupons/Gift Certificates” box.

Huckabee, you don’t talk about Kenyan h

March 2, 2011

Huckabee, you don’t talk about Kenyan history that most Americans have never heard of & then claim you misspoke. You’re either ignorant of the President’s personal history, or you deliberately dropped those nuggets about growing up in Kenya to plant more misinformation in the heads of the fanatical fringe that believes Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim plant sent here to infiltrate the U.S. government.