Monday, March 29, 2010

The Mad Hatters hit Searchlight...and beyond

I realized that the Tea Party people and I (and my friend Margaret Ann Brady who got this letter published in the Boston Globe) have one thing in common: we are tired of being told what "the American people" want by people who don't seem to really know who "the American people" are.

What I disagree with is the how the Tea Partyers - or rather in my mind, Mad Hatters - are claiming to be the voice of America when clearly, they do not represent me; let alone all the people who voted for our president and wanted a change in the White House and with healthcare (among other things).

I am one of The American People. Now the Tea Party would immediately look at me and see a leftist elitist. I grew up in Massachusetts wanting for nothing in an affluent town with loving, generous and liberal parents (both of whom came from working class backgrounds and immigrant parents). I did go to public schools (and they were and remain excellent public schools, mind you) and then to a private college (to which I commuted all four years). Since then, I have tended to work multiple jobs at a time, moved to New York City, hung out with many gay people and people of color, volunteered for theatre companies, the AIDSWalk, done peace marches, pro-choice rallies, listened to indie music and to top it off, I also happen to be mixed race. Yep, you can't get much more screaming liberal than me - according to them. But you know, what, I am still one of the American people and I still have a voice, just like they do.

I voted for Obama.
I wanted the public option in the healthcare plan.
I want everybody to be able to have health insurance and I want medical costs to go down.
I want women/girls who make the choice to get an abortion to be able to get coverage and to be able to get their abortion services conveniently, safely, and discreetly.
I don't think all Muslims are terrorists.
I am a Christian but don't think everybody else should be.
I don't believe that Christians who act on social justice and believe Christ preached social justice are Communists or Socialists. They're just nice people!
I think Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are positively hazardous to the nation and I believe that their ignorance and use of fear and bigotry do nothing but divide our nation farther at a time when that is the last thing our country needs after eight years of partisan divisiveness.

I am one of the American people. And I do not hate my country. And I am not a Communist or a Socialist nor do I care to be. So don't tell me, and the many of other folk who agree with me, that I am just because of the way I vote.

(Particularly if you are one of the Tea Party folk I have heard interviewed like this guy: "Why do you want Harry Reid out of office?" - "'Cause he's trying to push the Socialist Pelosi agenda on us" - "How so?" - "'Cause he's a traitor to his country" - "How so?" - "'Cause he's a Communist". If you cannot give me anything more than Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh's talking points as to why someone's a traitor to their country...don't even start with me; unless you are expecting me to sit down with you and give you a long list of reasons and facts as to why [democrat who supported the bill] is not a traitor and actually may be trying to help you)


Peace --Alex

Friday, March 26, 2010

You know it's ugly when...

I have often said that, particularly over the last several years, the GOP and conservatives are eating and will eat their own. But wow, all joking aside, it is becoming very very ugly.

When Bart Stupak, the guy who made a deal with Obama who will actually sign an executive order confirming that federal funds will never fund abortions, starts getting death threats from folks calling him a "baby killer", you know it's bad.

And the conservative democrats are not alone. Republicans are getting threats, having windows broken and even Rep Cantor had shots taken at his office.

And all John Beohner can say - somewhat insincerely I might add - is that this kind of behavior is "unacceptable".

Sadly, he, his fellow republicans, pundits and various commentators, don't seem to get it. They were the ones who fanned the flames of such behavior, anger and hate. Their fearmongering has led to this...and they are not handling it well. They made the monster, now they have to learn how to tame it...
It appears, though, they like the excitement of the monster and how much it's made the news too much to reigh it in just yet.

I always like to believe that folks with this much hate in their hearts just did not have enough love in their lives. But perhaps, they also have not let enough in..because they've been made afraid...

It's like how Rush Limbaugh, despite claiming that he would leave the country if the healthcare bill passed, can't leave. He's afraid of "socialist medicine", which he would get most likely have to deal with in most other countries; he can't go to Africa 'cuz there are too many black people and we know he doesn't like them; and then there's the fact that he's got issues with foreigners...see, all that fear can be hazardous to your health...


Peace --Alex

Rachel & Scott are getting married - and other webfibs

Rachel Maddow is not running for Senate. Just wanted to set that straight. Particularly if you were not convinced by the full-page ad that ran in the Boston Globe today, or her live confirmation of this fact on the Ed Schultz show on Revolution radio this afternoon, or when she said it live on her TV show.

Apparently, someone on Facebook decided to start a fan page called Rachel Maddow for Senate in 2010, and some conservative creative guy working on the Scott Brown campaign decided to jump on it. This person/people decided not to verify it as in, did not call Rachel's show, did not email her, did not respond to four days of calls from Maddow and her people. They just threw in an email to out-of-state conservative donors the "facts" that the Democratic party had try to reach her in order to woo Maddow to run against Brown - and I like to think they added: "ooOOOoo we can't have that happen, can we? Take out your wallets and help us beat the crazy liberal lesbian lady!" (No, they did not say that but I bet they would like to have)


Rachel Maddow is the big threat?

They can't just say that Scott Brown is a decent candidate, would do his best for Massachusetts and here's why [list good policy points here]?

No, they can't. Because Scott Brown is - least not in my mind - not good for Massachusetts. And as for his being "an independent voice" for the state, I have to heartily disagree with that statement as he has been doing nothing so far but reiterate the conservative GOP talking points.

And allowing this email to go out to people - as I am sure he had to approve it - without checking the facts (I know, like that's ever stopped a politician), as well as believing, like his campaign staff, that "while [he's] sure she's a nice person", she is truly a liberal threat worthy of luring lots of money from conservative donors...oh wait, of course he'd believe that. She has her own show which is "a nightly platform for her liberal agenda" And, of course, the little, unheard conservative folk don't have that kind of voice. Nobody speaks for them [Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and all the Fox News people who repeatedly had Scott Brown on their various shows plugging him like he was the guy to save the state of Massachusetts from all those crazy liberals like the deceased Ted Kennedy are beside the point].

What he and his people appeared to have forgotten is that this is how the internets works: when you don't fact check, other people do.

At the same time, I guess Scottie can breathe a sigh of relief after hearing for a fact that he doesn't have to run against, and potentially lose to a smart, witty, gay woman from Western, MA who actually probably COULD get all her campaign funds in her home state...and definitely from around the country as well.


Peace --Alex

Monday, March 22, 2010

Healthcare Happens

it is not a perfect bill by any means, but after presidents fighting for this for over a hundred years, this is indeed a start. We have something...
And the republicans are absolutely freaking...
But they have been freaking for since Obama got into office, but really, they made Obama's hardcore push for healthcare reform one of the most divisive issues ever, to the point of outright crazy.

I understand being a sore loser, I went through that for eight years with George W. in office. I called him an idiot, clueless, ignorant; many folks called him and his administration fascists, liars, rich elite white men out of touch with the American people who manipulated them into an unjust war...

So I can see why the GOP might come back calling Obama a fascist, a socialist, pushing "socialist healthcare" on the nation, being elitist and out of touch with what the American people really want. We may think it's wrong, just like they thought the dems and various progressive protesters were wrong about the Iraq and Afghanistan. But here's where I think things differ.

First - War is one thing, healthcare is another. War messes not only with foreign policy, but people - people who volunteer to fight for our nation. These people die, civilians die, countries are destroyed and take years to rebuild, and those soldiers/contractors/reporters/civilian aid workers come home and need both mental and physical care thus when politicians lie and get us into a war that not only kills our people but our economy, people are going to be rather vociferous in their opinions.
Healthcare's our HEALTH. Since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, presidents and their administrations have been trying to fix the perpetually in-flux healthcare system. Why this has been so difficult is beyond me - and beyond various other nations as well. Don't we all want better healthcare? Don't we all want to be able to see good doctors, take better care of ourselves, and be able to afford it? Wouldn't we all like to actually deal with a qualified human being rather than random people with scripts and voice prompts? And have it easier to get care on a weekend (don't make me go into my needing to talk to a doctor/go the ER on a Sunday - except to say thank you to the St. Luke's people who got me in and out of the ER in an hour and twenty minutes rather than the nine hours I had to deal with previously at a different hospital) We can;t agree on THIS?
Okay, I understand worrying about abortion funding. While I am pro-choice and would like everybody to be, I know this is a divisive issue and can understand the arguing about that. I can even understand worrying about cost. We are in a recession, unemployment is still very nigh (hello! still funderemployed here!), and we have a deficit so high it feels like an imaginary number. But...

is this really the issue about which you just want to start scaring people about with things like "death panels", sky rocketing costs and the government forcing socialist medicine on you?

Apparently, yes it is.

They couldn't get Obama on anything else, so they decided healthcare was going to be the Waterloo to bring him down, so they pulled out all the stops on the talking points - "They are ramming this bill down our throats!" they conservatives said (for 17 months), then there were big numbers and the outright fear - Big government is out to get you! But then, it started getting ugly...
The GOP was already going above and beyond on all this forcing fear upon the masses with claims that the government was not only going to kill your grandmother, but make your great-grandchildren pay for all this. The Tea Party movement started with reasonable folks worried about taxes and too much government, but sadly, they started going beyond that. They started not only calling Obama Hitler, a Socialist and a fascist, but then the hate speech started up.
And these folks have been encouraged by pundits like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs and others who a) are still looking for Obama's (on record) birth certificate, b) think Obama's a Muslim and that that's a bad thing and c) have issues with black people, foreigners and anybody who does not look like them.
They have been fanning the flames of fear, hate and have been bringing out the worst side of the American people. At the 9/12 rally, there were folks who had signs referring to Obama as the "monkey in the white house" (graphics included), claiming Muslims were taking over the world and were all terrorists, with pictures of Obama as Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, called him the n-word, etc etc etc.
As mentioned in a previous entry, Glenn Beck had to add to the fire by saying Obama "took" his name to relate to his "radical" Muslim and African father, rather than be American. Rush Limbaugh made (what he considered) a joke about Obama having to find another "Massa" now after the Eric Massa farce.
And then, the day of the vote, the hatiest of the hateful in the Tea Bagger - I mean, pardon me, Tea Party movement, came out to spit on one Congressman, shout the n-word at a few others, and call one more a gay slur. Apparently, three gentleman also surrounded a wheelchair bound guy with Parkinson's, threw dollar bills at him and told him he has to "work for his own healthcare now rather than get the "free ride".
Really, GOP? Are these the kind of people you want to hang with? To have voting for you? To encourage and call "great Americans"? Really?
Being the "party of NO!" has it's in, you can't say "yes" to anything, when you've already said that you are going to say "no" to it; otherwise you are a weak liberal flip-flopper. (why think about something and change your mind or compromise when you can just change the rules of the game and make it look like you meant to go that way anyway?)
It also sadly keeps you from saying "yes" when folks ask you to tell the most extreme of the tea party folk to stop with the hate speech and violence and be more reasonable. Because, of course, if you say yes to that. again, you'll look weak, like you're against free speech and like you want to take away everybody's guns.

Call me crazy, GOP, but I so would not want to have these kind of folk supporting, voting or working for me...

I would love to say to them, be reasonable and stop encouraging this kind of talk...but then again, I know that such encouragement got the GOP and the Tea Party right where they are now...and while they got there ugly, they got there...and it's hard to slow the crazy train...


Peace --Alex