What's All This Then?

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

As Barrack Obama prepares to begin the second half of his first - and perhaps his only term, many people who voted for him, including a core group of Democrats who consider themselves "progressives," are urging him to accept a situation that he has repeatedly denied by his actions - that it is impossible to work with Republicans whose major and often stated goal is to work to prevent him from winning a second term - and to act accordingly. I hope he does and I hope he starts by looking back to the 2004 speech at the Democratic National convention that launched him onto the national stage and admit to himself that while it may have been stirring rhetoric to declare that we were not a collection of red states and blue states and that there wasn’t a liberal America and a conservative America - just the United States of America - it wasn’t true then and it isn’t true now. We’re not only a collection of blue and red states but a collection of blue, red and in recent times, purple people eating people. There are mad men and women among us and they have infiltrated and to some measure are in partial control of the asylum front office.

I know that it’s the patriotic thing to say - that we are one, undivided nation, but in reality, we’re more like50 different countries sharing the same land mass. I mean, how "united" can we be when, for example, we have 50 different sets of laws - where a crime committed in one spot can land you in jail for 20 years but do the same dirty deed a few hundred yards away - maybe even a few feet away -and the penalty can be death. More likely if that place a few feet away is Texas. Of course Texas is a state that may secede any day now and you might get blown away just trying to cross the border. I’ll tell you this much. There are states - I won’t name them - but you can probably guess their names - that I wouldn’t traverse on rural roads in my car with Illinois license plates.

In some states, losing a party primary election for a national office means you’re out of the race - but not in others. Witness Joe Lieberman of the Joe Lieberman party and Lisa Murkowski of the Lisa Murkowski party of Alaska. Rand Paul just got himself elected to the United States Senate from Kentucky. Could you imagine this nut case being elected from - say, Oregon? Chuck Grassley ran around all year telling the people of Iowa that the Healthcare Reform legislation included "Death Panels" - a ridiculous lie aimed at the feeble minded. Iowans just re-elected him for a sixth term. Do you think the people of California would have elected someone like that to represent their interests in the U.S. Senate? You don’t have to answer. The answer is no. The people who elect the Grassleys and the Pauls are like aliens from a distant planet to the people of Oregon and California. Not that all Oregonians and Californians s are endowed with superior intellectual powers, but enough of them are at least sane enough to prevent a Paul or a Grassley or a DeMint from being elected from their states.

But as I’ve said, beyond the disunited condition of our fifty states, we have, spread throughout them, albeit more in the Red than the Blue states - the purple people eater people. These are the people who believe that President Obama raised their taxes - which actually were lowered for most of us. These are people who believe the President is a Muslim and/or wasn’t born in the USA. These are people who don’t believe in evolution but do believe in the Biblical description of creation. And these are people who believe that Saddam Huseein had something to do with the 9/11 attack. These are the kind of people who want a merger between church and state and who believe there is such a thing as "The Rapture." They are the enemies of rational discourse and reasoned governance and most of them are the voters who have handed power in the House of Representatives to Republicans and have increased their presence in the Senate.

I don’t know if it’s reasonable to assert that we are as divided as a people as we were at the time of the Civil War, but Jimmy Carter asserted just that a while ago, and while I have differences with the former president, particularly with his one sided views of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the fact that conservatives were quick to condemn and ridicule his comments, leads me to think that he is close to being right. The divisions in this country seem to be just fine with the ultra right wing. They thrive on it - and their "spokespeople" - Limbaugh, Beck and the rest, keep piling on the fuel that keeps the furnace of hate and distrust and ultimately division - burning.

As I said at the beginning of these few comments on the state of the nation, which I‘m sure the President will say is in fine shape or at least resilient enough to return to being in fine shape when he gives the State of the Nation address in January, I hope that by that time, he will finally have resigned himself to the truth of what he has to face in the second half of his term - a disparate collection of blue and red states and purple people eating voters - the latter two thirds of that trio being determined to destroy him, no matter what the cost to the nation they purport to "love" - and to act accordingly. As in saying NO to the party of "No." No,I will not cooperate with you in my own destruction.

One final thought about Jimmy Carter’s assertion that we are more divided than we were at the time of the Civil War. As I’ve indicated, those comments were widely condemned by right wing media - though I don’t recall seeing much from the "conventional" or even the "liberal" media. At Jon Stewart’s "Rally to Restore Sanity" however, he disagreed with the idea that we’re that divided, saying that the images reflected back at us by our political and media process are false. We’re basically people who cooperate with each other, he said, despite our differences. We make compromises and we get along. I think he just doesn’t get out enough. It’s hard to view the world through thick studio walls. The truth I believe is somewhere in between his view and President Carter’s. But we need to be watchful and make damn sure that we don’t make the mistake that the Germans did and let madness become a substitute for governance. And don’t say it couldn’t happen here. If you listen to some of our governors and other elected officials, it’s already happening.