Friday, November 28, 2008

Through a Hole in the Air...

Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
~~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The recent blowout election that gave us President Barack Obama resulted in a flood of emotion that engulfed both parties. The one thing they had in common was that neither party could believe it. Political comedian Mort Sahl once said, "Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they've stolen."

If we have learned nothing else about Republicans, it's that, with few exceptions, they are vindictive, immoral, blood-thirsty, and just plain power-mad. Republicans are so much better at destroying things than Democrats are. They say and do whatever it takes to win. And if that doesn't work -- they seize it anyway.

So we were braced for another disappointment -- not because we didn't share Obama's vision of change and his hope for a better life for all Americans, but because voting machines were frantically flip-flopping votes from Obama to John McCain, minority voters were purged, telephones jangled with robocalls smearing Obama as an alien terrorist -- and John King over at CNN kept ramming solid red "magic" maps in our faces as proof that McCain could not lose.

So, what happened?

We woke up. After snoozing through massive homicide, refusing to confront genocide, ignoring fratracide and the hopelessness that has driven an alarming number of our military to commit suicide...we woke up. We stood united against a national addiction to chaos, bloodshed and corruption. We voted for a leader who promised to break that addiction, and to heal this nation in the name of the people.

By election night, we were giddy with relief. We clambered aboard that ship of state and rode the wave of long-lost hope -- free at last. Obama's win ripped a hole in the political air, and millions of us stood weeping as the blissful sound of Democracy wafted through every nook and cranny to swirl around this magnificent moment in our history.

But that was election night. Republicans, terrified of change, were in shock -- in total disarray. But the next morning, they were out in force -- maggots streaming from rotten turds whose blossoms had been stomped on.

The Heritage Foundation warned against the danger of the Left's "radical agenda" of health care, education and energy. House majority leader John Boehner was either drunk or stupidly arrogant, or both, when he maintained that Obama may have won, but his "far-left agenda" was out of step with the majority of Americans. Boehner did concede, however, that House Republicans might work with Obama "when it is in the best interest of our nation," and only when it promoted "superior Republican alternatives..."

Boehner's predecessor, Dick Armey, was quick to point out that Obama didn't win -- Republicans lost. And they lost because they were just too damned compassionate. Armey is chairman of Freedom Works, which advocates scrapping the Federal Income Tax, kicking older folks out of Social Security to keep from overburdening the young, and of course freedom -- such as that of network carriers to manage and control Internet content. According to Armey, Republicans have simply forgotten their principles.

Richard Haass, Council on Foreign Relations president, hissed, "The one thing I'm sure of is, events will test him. ...There will be coups. ...There will be genocide. ... There will be terrorism." Gee, Bush hasn't completed his sprint to the finish line yet, and those like Haass are already waxing nostalgic for the Bush Doctrine.

Georgia Congressman Paul Broun called Obama a "Marxist" who was determined to set up a jack-booted Gestapo civilian security force to use against citizens -- an ominious tactic taken right out of Hitler's playbook. In the ensuing flap, Broun refused to apologize, or to acknowledge that the "civilian national security force" proposed by Obama is, in reality, a two-year-old pilot program -- The Civilian Response Corps of the United States of America trained and equipped to "deploy rapidly to countries in crisis or emerging from conflict, in order to provide reconstruction and stabilization assistance." The State Department has already deployed members to Sudan, Chad, Haiti, Lebanon, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Intolerance, hate -- racism -- runs deep within the heart of this country. It's easy not to be racist, to support civil rights, equality -- but when confronted by a change so abrupt, so momentous as the election of an African-American president, many white Americans have problems calming their inner beast. William Ferris, senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina, said when discussing the hundreds of threats against Obama that the election of a black president is "the most profound change in the field of race this country has experienced since the Civil War. Racism is like cancer," Ferris said, "It's never totally wiped out, it's in remission."

Remission? Perhaps, except for those like the feral, all-knowing, all-caring, all-sensing, all-feeling, all-concerned -- pretty much all-everything -- "Maha Rushie" Limbaugh, who has been in shrieking racist meltdown since the day Obama announced his candidacy. Referring to Barack Hussein Obama early and often, Limbaugh stoked racist fear by warning millions of Dittodeadheads they were being taken over by a "half-minority." In April 2007, Limbaugh aired an insulting Paul Shanklin parody, "Barack The Magic Negro," and went from that to trying to whip up murderous riots at the Democratic National Convention.

Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and their gang of slimy supremacist clones inflame the fires of fear and hate on a daily -- hourly -- basis. They know exactly what they're doing. "The economic mess Bush has gotten us into is all Obama's fault! The Obama recession is in full swing! We will soon be in the throes of an Obama depression! Obama's going to raise our taxes! Obama's coming after our 401k retirement checks! Millions more will lose their jobs! Quick -- burn a cross -- hang a noose in your tree before it's too late!"

And Michael Savage warns that Blacks don't want just a foot in the door; they are poised to take over the entire nation. On his Nov. 18 broadcast, Savage said, "I am telling you that there's gonna be a wholesale firing of competent white men in the United States government up and down the line, in police departments, in fire departments. Everywhere in America, you're going to see an exchange that you've never seen in history..."

If that's not enough to send us screaming into the night, our knees hitting our chins, Lisa Miller, former front-page religious writer for the Wall Street Journal, now Newsweek's Society/Religion editor, asks, in a shameful, code-word laden piece -- "Is Obama the Antichrist?"

Miller quotes several right-wing evangelicals, and she says conservative Christians believe a great battle is imminent. "After years of tribulation -- natural disasters, other cataclysms (such as the collapse of financial markets) -- God's armies will vanquish armies led by the Antichrist himself. He will be a sweet-talking world leader who gathers governments and economies under his command to further his own evil agenda." Miller says, given Obama's liberal positions on abortion and traditional marriage, it's no wonder that "Obama triggers such fear in the hearts of America's millennialist Christians." And, if we want proof -- one of the winning lottery numbers in Obama's home state of Illinois was 666 -- which Miller says everyone knows is the sign of the Beast, or the Antichrist.

The fascist lies and smears of Republicans and their doppleganger radio creeps should come as no surprise to those paying attention. However, the ripples of uneasiness and fear surging through Democratic ranks as a result of these assaults is a bit puzzling. Perhaps it's because after eight years of covering -- and uncovering -- deceit, lies, and monstrous war crimes perpetrated by George Bush, they are hesitant to trust another president regardless of his party affiliation. Or, perhaps they're afraid to have hope because they believe George Orwell's flat, no-wiggle-room assertion that -- "All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia."

Whatever the reason, each day brings a new rash of criticism about Obama's choices for his transition team, his economic team, his foreign policy team. His selection of Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff, probable selection of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and his decision to keep Robert Gates as Defense Secretary for at least a year resulted in cries of betrayal throughout the left-wing blogosphere.

For two Democrats to agree on any one thing would indeed be change. Everybody has his/her own views as to who should make up the cabinet. And, since I'm the most liberal Democrat I know, it seems obvious that Obama should have put the environment into the hands of award-winning former vice president Al Gore, justice into the hands of Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley, and Defense into the hands of former Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark.

Those on the left who complain that Obama is "loading up his administration with Clintonites" should pause and take a deep breath. Anybody old enough to serve -- who has the experience to serve -- would necessarily come from either the Clinton or the Bush era. Which would you prefer? We should remember it is Obama's policies, not theirs, that will be put into effect. He promised change -- to be honest and up-front with all the people. He is keeping that promise.

Last week, in three days Obama held three press conferences wherein he outlined policies that reach far beyond the immediate crisis, such as his long-range plan to boost the economy by creating 2.5 million jobs. "We’ll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children," he said, "and building wind farms and solar panels; fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years ahead."

Millions of us who voted for Obama are weary of fighting our way through the tangles of an Orwellian world. We yearn to live in a Wellstonian world, one where "...politics is not about observations or predictions. Politics is what we create by what we do, what we hope for, and what we dare to imagine."

Obama is not perfect. The problems Bush is only too happy to dump on him are almost insurmountable and getting worse by the day. Obama will make mistakes, but he has promised that, with our help, the hopes of all Americans can be realized. Together -- we can change the direction of the country.

We will not jump ship. Come hate or high water -- we can do it.

Yes. We. Can.

18 Comments:

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Mark Allen Brown said...

I'm afraid I jumped ship.
September 11th, 2007 I left the U.S. For good. I will never live there again. After the stolen election of 2004 I returned home that night and broadcast an email saying I would be leaving the country. I found it simply intolerable to live there. Every morning I woke up mad and gloomy. I felt that half the people I walked among were my enemy, i.e., people willing to tolerate an authoritarian government in the United States of America! How could that happen?! It had thus transformed beyond the point where I could still call it "my country." I spent the next 2 1/2 years getting ready to divest everything. And I did...almost. I dumped my vehicles, my book collection, my art collection, my tools, furniture, and all the small things collected over a 61 year life. The day before I left I threw the remainder of my wardrobe into a black garbage bag and took it to Goodwill. Aside from a few boxes stored with relatives and a rental property in Los Angeles, that in retrospect I probably should have sold, I’m one of those who chucked it all. What remained of my belongings I carried in a backpack and duffle to the airport. When the wheels lifted off the tarmac in Miami heading south I never looked back and never felt a wistful moment. I’ll spend the rest of my life traveling. I carry an American Passport, but I call myself a Citizen of the World. I’ve spent the last nearly 15 months climbing the Andes and touring Argentina. Right now I’m volunteering on an organic farm at the foot of the vaulting Andean mountains. I live in a tent in the woods. And I feel infinitely better. From here I’ll eventually make my way to India and trek the Himalayas. From India…I don’t know. But it won’t be the U.S. even though Obama has won. Too much political nonsense there, too much stress, a consumerist culture I find unacceptable, and a worldview that will not change its manipulative ways. Of course I don’t expect anyone else to take the radical measure I took. But it has been right for me.

 
At 1:35 PM, Blogger Mberenis said...

Did you hear the good news? Obama is making it better for us already! Most people don't realize how much money there is out there. During economic times like this, there is more money to be had than ever. Because of the bailouts and economy, lenders are bending over backwards to bail you out too. Believe it or not, there is people getting tons of cheap money nowdays to start businesses, buy homes, pay off debt, and more. Bailout is for YOU

 
At 1:49 PM, Blogger Greg Bacon said...

There will be coups.

How many more coups?

There was one on November 22, 1963 when JFK was murdered by elements of the CIA and rogue forces.

RFK, most likely to win the 1968 election, was murdered by rogue elements and it sure as hell wasn't Sirhan Sirahn.

There was another coup in 2000, when American traitors in Florida stole the election for their bitch, GW, who still needed help from his Daddy's friends on the Supreme Court to anoint the little bastard.

There was another coup on 9/11 that is still being felt world-wide and will continue to be felt until the liars, thieves and mass murderers, like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice et al. are brought to justice.

Another coup in November 2004 in Ohio that stole the election for that psycho Bush.

I wish Obama well, but the odds are damn near insurmountable.

And if he does get too "uppity," the country will be treated to another sad spectacle like we saw in 1963, with a horse drawn hearse giving Obama his last ride down Pennsylvania Avenue.

We've lost our country to homicidal maniacs and professional thieves and looters and we need to ask ourselves how far we're willing to go to get it back.

Is it time to water that Tree of Liberty?

 
At 3:52 PM, Blogger Grondo said...

Gee- that's so very nice for you, to spend the rest of your life travelling as a "citizen of the world". We who are stuck here because we don't have enough money or security, or too many human connections and obligations, to just "chuck it all" will have to clean up the mess left to us (which I suspect you had your part in creating over the last 61 years as another American consumer). Fucking art collection? PLEASE! You are obviously a member of the investor class, which makes you culpable. And now, you cash in and bail because you're "mad and gloomy"? Well, boo-fucking-hoo.

You sound to me like another self-involved, self-important, self-righteous Baby Boomer, embracing some kind of contrived "simplicity" fad, when all you're really doing is bugging out when the going gets tough.

Well, fuck off - and don't try to return when we who remain have managed to clean things up. You can just go live in an ashram somewhere, if they'll have your sorry ass. Good riddance.

 
At 10:54 PM, Blogger ragingliberal said...

Grondo: Well said - Thank you.


Sheila: Great, great article. The right wing venom has been so unrelenting for so long....It is encouraging to hear someone who says they are 'The most liberal Democrat I know'...write forcefully, with some backbone and conviction. I think Molly Ivins would have liked your article too. Thank you.

 
At 4:13 AM, Blogger ksjayhawk said...

Ah, but are they jumping ship or were they thrown overboard by their fellow democrats? I contend they were forced out and possibly as soon as 2012 this will come back and bite the democratic party big time. I know quite a few republicans had an intense dislike of Bush's spending.

Fact is, just about anyone could have won as long as they opposed a continuation of Bush's disastrous policies. Similarly, Obama's policy of reaching across the aisle will be very harmful to his presidential term and any change that he might have really wanted to make.

The party has been split very effectively by Obama's supporters. Obama's website requirements for employment in his government are Bush-esque and are somewhat silly when you take into consideration his "reaching across the aisle" to republicans policy.

I've read and enjoyed your comments back when you and Robespierre were posting in the Fray on Slate, Sheila. But on this one I think you are wrong.

 
At 4:43 AM, Blogger Greg Bacon said...

Gee- that's so very nice for you, to spend the rest of your life travelling as a "citizen of the world"

True words spoken with passion.

There are many here that can't afford to bail out, whether they're senior citizens stuck in elederly hell, AKA Nursing homes or the young, who can't travel because of age.

Also the sick and infirmed, who are physically incapable of moving.

And more than a few vets, suffering from a variety of sicknesses, toxic contamination and wounds caused by fighting wars for Empire and Israel.

Who will speak for or help protect those from further ravaging by the NeoCons and Zionists?

I plan on sticking around and doing what I can to take back this country from the homicidal maniacs, liars, thieves and mass murderers who have stolen our govenment from the People.

For those who have written off America and left her in a time of great need, just go ahead and make the break complete by giving up your passport and citzenship.

We don't need quitters, we need fighters.

 
At 1:29 PM, Blogger Jill said...

Sheila, this is a very powerful article. As a conservative Democrat, perhaps the Most Conservative Democrat I know :), I must say, that I don't agree with all that you have said. I do believe that Barak Hussain Obama will lead this Nation well. There is no shame in having a Muslim name. I am well aware that he is not Muslim, for I am. I do not believe all Republicans are innately bad nor Democrats innately good. I also believe that all Nations must work together for world peace. Obama's vision of neighbors helping neighbors, communities helping communities, cities, states, and nations has inspired me. I am one of the disabled that cannot work. I can contribute, however. I can meet my neighbors. I have just last month become my precinct chair because of new hope. If I can inspire even 10 people to meet and check on their neighbor. Then I have helped change happen. If I can inspire 10 people to vote, the I have caused change. It does not take money. It takes leadership, which we have in Obama. It takes each individual person at all levels to reach out a hand to each other. I thank Obama for reminding me of that. I thank you for your essay that I will have my homeschooled daughter copy as her example of well thought opinion.

 
At 2:20 PM, Blogger Mark Allen Brown said...

This is to Grondo:

:) Nyah Nyah

 
At 4:16 PM, Blogger Sheila Samples said...

Mark...

I understand your depression, and your attempt to escape. However, I couldn't do it for many reasons -- children, family -- and just as important loyalty to my country, no matter how wounded it is.

Perhaps it's easier if you have no roots nor family -- so I can't judge you. Just hope you finally fine a resting, or "nesting" place.

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger Sheila Samples said...

Mberenis...

Shhhhhh....it's gonna be all right. Just put the mouse down -- carefully now -- and back slowly away from the computer..

Slowly....slowly...there, now. Don't you feel all better?

 
At 4:26 PM, Blogger Sheila Samples said...

Greg...I wish I didn't agree with you, but I do. Like Kennedy, who made the mistake of saying he was going to make sure the American people knew about the Fed and he was determined to do something about it -- Obama could very well find himself on another grassy knoll...

Thanks for your insight.

 
At 4:42 PM, Blogger Sheila Samples said...

Raging Liberal...thank you so much. However, I think I should tell you that being the "most Liberal Democrat I know" isn't difficult out here in the vast wasteland of Little Jimmy Inhofe Country. I'm almost the "only" Democrat I know...

I miss Molly. She would be having a ball if she were here. Did you ever wonder why people like Molly Ivins, Studs Terkel, Hunter Thompson, et al, are whisked prematurely off the planet, and soul-less creatures like Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger and Ziggy just hang around forever...?

 
At 4:51 PM, Blogger Sheila Samples said...

ksjayhawk...Speaking of The Fray -- the responses to this article on ICH was like being attacked by 60 Skepticals all at once. Sheesh!

They seemed to think I am a starry-eyed Obama freak who thinks he neither can, nor will, do anything wrong. That's not true. I was simply appalled at the vicious attacks by the Right, and the whining complaints by the left, on a guy who has yet to be inaugurated.

I believe that Obama should at least be given a chance before we gang up on him.

You are right -- anybody who promised CHANGE from the Bush/Cheney devastation would have won.

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger Sheila Samples said...

Greg Bacon...

Yes. Yes. Thank you.

 
At 4:58 PM, Blogger Sheila Samples said...

Jill...

Thank you so much for such a beautiful response. I agree. We can literally move mountains if we are there for each other. My hero(ine), Mother Teresa once said, "If you can't feed 100, then feed just one...and then another...and then another..."

She spent her life doing just that, and when you look back at all she achieved, she literally moved mountains.

I don't know if Obama will succeed. There are many, many obstacles in his path. But I do know that he will try.

And that's a start.

Thanks again.

 
At 2:40 AM, Blogger ksjayhawk said...

Perhaps its my age, but I want something more tangible than hope.

I hope (there's that awful word again) he is better than good. If we're going to pull ourselves out of the mess Dumbya put us in, we're going to need a genius.

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger Doctor Panacea said...

Sheila,

That was a wonderful, profound article. I saw your reference to it over on Smirkingchimp, where you commented on Ed Naha's article there.

I did a Google search and found your blog here, which I did not know about. I will be returning here often.

Can you tell me: What is ICH?

 

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