I continue to be baffled by those (mostly "conservatives") who keep wagging their fingers and warning us against any kind of "rush to judgement." What about a rush to shoot?
Your government rushed to use chemical agents, rubber bullets, and technology designed for waging war on foreign enemies- all against peaceful citizen protestors. Tear gas and bullets were not used during the looting, but against peaceful protestors in their own neighborhood.
You go on and on about an oppressive big government violating your freedoms- but when armed agents of the state violate the freedoms of poor black people, you wag your finger and tell us not to "rush to judgement."
You look the other way when it happens in a poor black neighborhood because you're thinking to yourself well, that's a dangerous place full of thugs so they probably deserve it, those people have to know their place.
Here's the point: those are RIGHTS that are being violated, rights that are no less sacred when held by poor people or held by men and women of color.
You allow armed agents of state power to form a domestic army that violates the rights of human beings in an impoverished neighborhood, then I can absolutely and without qualification promise that they're coming to your neighborhood next. It's not a matter of if, but when.
Today it's the parking lot of a convenience store on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Missouri. Tomorrow it's the parking lot of a grocery store at Barracks Road Shopping Center in Charlottesville, Virginia.
You know how Ken Cuccinelli and other hard-right Republicans are always going on and on about how much they (supposedly) love "liberty?" Of course, most of us know that's utter bull****, that the only "liberty" they actually care about is: a) the right of corporations and the super-rich to do whatever the hell they want to do regarding workers, the environment, whatever; b) the ability of big government to tell people what they can and can NOT do in their bedrooms; and c) the efforts of fundamentalists to move America towards a religious theocracy. Other than that, it's obvious that Cuccinelli et al. don't in any way, shape or form care about "liberty," at least not how the Founding Fathers envisioned it, or how you and I understand it.
Ferguson, Missouri proves this once and for all: with all the frightening, horrifying, disturbing, disgraceful, and intolerable things we've seen go down in Ferguson, Missouri the past few days, with clear violations of ACTUAL liberty by police, including blatant trampling on First Amendment rights (e.g., the rights of the press to report on events), you'd think that all these "liberty"-loving right wingnuts like Ken Cuccinelli would be screaming from the rooftops about this situation. You just KNOW that if the races were reversed, and it was a majority BLACK police department putting down WHITE protestors (and killing a WHITE man) that they - Cliven Bundy types, etc. - would be going NUTS (on Fox, Rush, etc.)!
Instead, what have we gotten? See below for two screenshots from TRUE libertarian Doug Mataconis' Facebook page and you'll have your answer. I also checked Ken Cuccinelli's Facebook and Twitter feeds, and saw absolutely NOTHING about the Ferguson situation (lots of ranting and raving about Barack Obama). So yeah, as Doug Mataconis says, "If you have been spending the last 5 years talking about 'Liberty' and aren't outraged by what's happening in #Ferguson you're a hypocrite." I'm talking to YOU Ken Cuccinelli - and others of your ilk (Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Mitch McConnell, Eric Can'tor, John Boehner, E.W. Jackson, Mark Obenshain, etc.). Where's your outrage not just at Ferguson, but at the same stuff (militarized police forces suppressing people's actual liberties) going on all over the country? Crickets.
This piece has just appeared in newspapers in my conservative 6th Virginia congressional District. This is part of my practicing what I preach when I say that Liberal America should be bolder in calling out the Republican Party for the destructive, dishonest, and disgraceful force it has become in our times. In my newspaper op/eds, I try to challenge the supporters of the Republican Party in terms that will not be easy for them to dismiss.
Any genuine conservative, any real American patriot should be outraged at the way the Republicans are treating the President of the United States. Our founders did not envision any president being treated this way.
The latest affront is the lawsuit the House Republicans have brought against the president. That suit should ring an alarm bell for conservatives because it is unprecedented in American history. To a conservative, what is unprecedented is inherently suspect: There's likely a good reason it has not been done before.
But this suit is just the latest episode in a disgraceful story.
Never before has the party in opposition made its top priority to stop the president from accomplishing anything. And, with the House of Representatives controlled by the Republican opposition, never before has a Congress accomplished so little. Republican obstructionism has intentionally prevented the system our founders gave us from dealing with grave challenges. This is a record no patriot should celebrate.
Lest anyone imagine that Republicans have obstructed because the president's proposals are extreme, note that Republicans in Congress have blocked measures - on gun control, immigration, minimum wage - that are supported by large majorities of Americans, favored even by majorities of Republican voters. Republicans have also regularly opposed their own ideas once the president favors them.
It is only at the superficial level that the object of the Republican assault is President Obama. This is an attack against the system of government our founders gave us.
1. The United States has less than 5% of the world's population, yet about 25% of its prisoners.
2. The incarceration rate in America is the highest in the world. We lock up more of our own people than any other country on the planet. The "land of freedom" is the world's jailer.
3. The U.S. prison population is about 2.4 million people: nearly as big as the city of Chicago and twice as big as Dallas.
4. The number of people behind bars in America has grown four-fold (quadrupled) since 1980- despite the fact that violent crime rates have gone down.
5. Approximately 1 of every 99 adults in America will go to sleep tonight behind bars.
6. Our prison population of 2.4 million people means 2.4 million people who are clothed, housed, fed, doctored, monitored, and given recreational and work opportunities every hour of every day of every year - by the government.
7. About 14% of America's prison population is in federal prisons.
8. "The single largest driver in the increase in the federal prison population since 1998 is longer sentences for drug offenders."
9. "The average inmate in minimum-security federal prison costs $21,000 a year. The average inmate in maximum-security federal prisons costs $33,000 a year."
10. "Federal prison costs are expected to rise to 30 percent of the Department of Justice's budget by 2020."
11. The most serious charge against more than half of the country's federal prison population is a drug law offense. Only 4% are behind bars for robbery. 1% for murder.
12. America spends more than $51 billion every year in the war on drugs.
13. 1.6 million people were arrested in America in 2012 for NON-VIOLENT drug law violations.
14. Two out of every three people behind bars in state prisons on a drug offense are black or Hispanic, even though these groups use and sell drugs at similar rates as whites.
15. With big investors on Wall Street, the prison industrial complex is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in America.
16. The use of prison labor is booming as well, especially in providing clothing and supplies to the U.S. military. In 2013, federal inmates sewed more than $100 million worth of military uniforms.
17. A 2012 report found that "All told, nearly a million prisoners are now making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles, shoes, and clothing."
18. This is not about right or left. This is not about Republican vs. Democrat. This is about freedom. America is sick. Rotting from the inside out. We have turned our backs on her, and we have ignored her cries of pain. But it is not too late. We have the cure. We have always had the cure right here in our own hands. It's called liberty. Demand it. Now. Enough is enough.
I was born less than a year after atom bombs leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So, like all my generation, I grew up with the knowledge that everything I love might be destroyed-- my family, my nation, the heritage of human cultures, the web of life on earth.
With the end of the Cold War, that threat has receded -- at least temporarily -- if not altogether disappeared.
But once again, I have that same feeling: that everything I love is under threat. The same, but different.
While we lived in the world of Mutual Assured Destruction, there was a particular mega-event that would or would not occur. And we would either be able to continue on as usual, or we would speedily descend into a fiery abyss.
The destruction was hypothetical (and only during the Cuban Missile Crisis did it seem possibly imminent). And meanwhile the world went along essentially intact.
Now, the rise at the center of the American power system of a force at once so destructive and so powerful, so benighted and so thoroughly enmeshed in the nation's political and economic systems, and in the minds of a large component of the American people, has once again put everything I love under threat.
I don't know if my children and grandchildren will live in a democracy, or in a plutocracy as ruthless and unprincipled and dishonest as the current machinations of the Koch Brothers.
From last night's PBS NewsHour. Conservative David Brooks and liberal Mark Shields also pondered the question of who will step up in the Republican Party to take on far-far-far-right-wing Ted Cruz. So far, the answer is "noone."
This is about the Palinization of parts of the GOP. This is not about passing legislation, not about...we should craft some compromise...with the other side. This is about making a statement that will sound good on Fox. And so, they want to make a statement that will sound good on TV or will sound good at a town meeting, but it's not actually about governing...
"To put it mildly," former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the other day, "the world is a mess." With crises in the Ukraine and Gaza and Syria and Iraq, among other places, it is hard to quarrel with Ms. Albright's assessment.
Which raises the question: Why? What is it that accounts for a marked rise in the level of disorder in the world?
Let us consider first those possible explanations that emphasize the American role in this growing disorder. The premise here -- and it is one I think is substantially valid -- is that the United States has played such a pivotal role in the creation and management of the order of the world since World War II that anything that damages the American performance in that role can readily ramify into problems in the international order.
One theory is that this disorder is the result of the inept conduct of foreign policy by the man who has been president of the United States for the past five and a half years, Barack Obama.
This is the theory pushed by the Republicans, of course. But as I argued in a recent piece, "You Can't Tell Time by a Stopped Clock, we can discount whatever the Republicans say against this president, because they attack him over everything.
However, it is not only Republicans who have expressed criticisms of Obama's handling of foreign policy. Other more honest critics have faulted his handling of the Israeli-Arab problems-- and if one ends up distrusted by both sides, that does seem a sign of less than brilliant diplomacy. Criticism from serious people has also been directed at Obama's handling of the Syrian civil war.
My own assessment -- as one who worked in the international relations field in an earlier era, but who does not have in depth knowledge of world affairs currently -- is that Obama's performance has been adequate overall, if not masterful. (I'd guess he deserves something like a B-.) It has rarely been obvious to me that, whatever the difficulties with the course the president has taken, there were any better options available to him.
In any case, Obama's performance in navigating the United States in world affairs has plainly been far superior to that of his predecessor, George W. Bush (and his for-a-while de facto foreign-policy-president Dick Cheney).
On Tuesday, July 22, Glenn Beck spoke from some 700 movie screens to Americans who paid admission to hear him attack the "Common Core." The "Common Core" consists of standards, offered to the states, defining the knowledge and skills that American school-children should learn at each stage of their education.
Beck's move here reminded me of "The Music Man," the con man in the musical of that name who comes to an Iowa town to fleece the good people there. What Beck and the con artist in "The Music Man" have in common is that to accomplish their own hidden aims they tap into the anxieties that parents have regarding their children.
What the Music Man was selling were fictitious musical instruments and band uniforms, and he did it by playing on parental fears of corrupting influences on their children (fears aroused by the arrival in town of a Pool Hall, which starts with 'P' which rhymes with 'T' which stands for 'trouble').
Beck's pitch against the Common Core is selling a different fear: that the federal government is seeking to take control of their children away from their parents for purposes of indoctrination.
I do not know enough to judge whether or not the Common Core would improve our national educational performance. (Despite being the son of teachers, and having myself taught at both college and high school levels, I do not claim to know what is required to greatly improve the education of America's children.) But I do know enough to feel sure that there is nothing nefarious about the proposed national standards. The Common Core seems to be a good-faith effort -- wise or not -- to address a genuine national problem of educational attainment that lags behind that of many other advanced democracies.
But I suspect Beck's campaign is not really about the Common Core, or about the education of our children, any more than the Music Man was offended by a pool table. I suspect there's another reason altogether why he's working on American parents with this particular paranoid pitch.
In recent years, I've been deeply troubled by an adverse shift in the balance of power between good and evil forces in America. The evidence for that shift is plain to see in the damage that's been done in recent years to so many of the dimensions of American civilization. Clearly, the forces of destruction have gained ground at the expense of those forces that work constructively to improve the nation.
An important factor in this shift is a stark mismatch between the generally fine values of people like many of my rural Virginia neighbors and the goals and practices of the political force to which they give their support.
Most of my neighbors believe in conservative, patriotic, and Christian values. The Republican Party gains their support by claiming to be a champion of those values. But in these times, those claims are false: what today's Republican Party is serving is the very opposite.
Genuine conservatives, like many of my neighbors, understand that traditions are there for a reason, and should be honored and respected. But today's Republican leaders, though claiming to be conservatives, trample America's political traditions. Meanwhile, they misdirect their followers' attention to a few issues of concern, like abortion and gay rights, that have one important characteristic: they don't get in the way of the Republicans' deeper agenda -- transferring wealth and power from average Americans to those who already have the most.
Our country has had an established way, for example, of dealing with the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling has been raised, as needed, more than 80 times without a crisis because both parties know the full faith and credit of the United States is too important to play politics with. But, today's congressional Republicans swept that tradition aside in 2011, as no real conservatives would, to extort concessions to advance their political goals, and in 2013 they tried the same kind of blackmail again.
ANTI-CHOICE *National Right to Life Committee - Positions (June 4, 2014) 100%
*Planned Parenthood Action Fund - Positions captured January 9, 2014 (reflect past 6 years' voting record) 0%
*NARAL Pro-Choice America - Positions 0%
ANTI-ANIMALS, ENVIRONMENT *Animal Welfare Institute - Compassion Index 0%
*Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund - Positions 0%
ANTI-LGBT *Human Rights Campaign - Positions on Marriage 0%
*FRC Action - Positions 100% (note: the Family Research Council has been designated as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center)
PRO-CORPORATE-TAKEOVER OF OUR DEMOCRACY *Americans for Prosperity - Positions (Jan. 7, 2014) 100% (note: this is the Koch brothers' group)
ANTI-PUBLIC EDUCATION *National Education Association - Positions 0%
PRO-GUN *Gun Owners of America - Positions 100%
ANTI-IMMIGRANT *Federation for American Immigration Reform - Positions 100% (note: FAIR has been designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center)
ANTI-WORKER *American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) - Positions 0%
ANTI-SANITY *The John Birch Society - Lifetime Score 94%
ANTI-VETERAN *Disabled American Veterans - Positions (Senate only) 0%
ANTI-CIVIL LIBERTIES *American Civil Liberties Union - Positions (captured June 17, 2014) 27%
And a couple more, as if all that's not bad enough:
*Arab American Institute - Positions on Arab-American Issues 6%
*National Journal - Conservative on Foreign Policy 79%
Also check out these Rand Paul quotes, including that the "fundamental reason why Medicare is failing is why the Soviet Union failed -- socialism doesn't work" and "if you think you have the right to health care, you are saying basically that I am your slave." What a guy.
Good news from Virginia Attorney General Herring's office, partially counteracting the outrageously a wrong/absurd decision by the right-wing judicial activists on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals this morning. Fortunately, the DC Circuit Court decision was so absurdly wrong that it will almost certainly be overturned by the full court ("en banc") and/or by the Supreme Court. Still, it's frightening how a bunch of radical, right-wing, "Federalist Society" judges have screwed up the federal judiciary so badly. THIS is a classic example why elections matter, and why we need to keep electing Democrats to the White House, Senate, etc. for the foreseeable future...
~ Virginia filed an amicus brief and presented oral argument supporting 177,000 Virginians who have already received financial assistance on exchanges ~
Richmond--Today, in unanimously affirming the lower court's decision in King v. Sebelius, now King v. Burwell, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Attorney General Mark R. Herring's position that Virginians are eligible for financial assistance to help them afford insurance purchased through the federally-operated exchange. Because of this ruling, at least 177,000 Virginians will keep an annual average of $3,048 in financial assistance they are already receiving. Attorney General Herring filed an amicus brief in the case and Virginia delivered oral argument defending the right of low- and moderate-income Virginians to access thousands of dollars in assistance to make healthcare coverage more affordable.
"If our tax dollars are helping working families afford healthcare then I will fight to make sure that working families in Virginia have equal access to that assistance," said Attorney General Herring. "Today's ruling is welcome news for 177,000 Virginians who have already purchased a plan and received financial assistance, and for those who may purchase healthcare through the exchange in the future. I'm glad the Fourth Circuit was not convinced by the specious arguments of the plaintiffs, which were based on strident opposition to anything related to the Affordable Care Act."
I just received this from Eric Byler and wanted to pass it along:
(Richmond, VA) On Tuesday, July 22 at 2 p.m., Belhaven, NC, mayor Adam O’Neal (R), will meet with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) to discuss the need for Medicaid expansion and rural hospitals. Mayor O’Neal and his supporters will have completed 160 miles of their 14-day, 273-mile march to Washington, DC, where they will ask for the assistance of President Obama, the Department of Justice, and members of Congress.
“A ‘non-profit’ corporation that makes over $100 million per year, with $540 million in reserve, wants to cherry-pick the well-insured patients out of our rural community, but they don’t want to let us keep a critical access hospital we’ve had for 60 years because it will create competition,” O’Neal said. “Whether it’s Virginia, North Carolina, or anywhere in America, you tell someone that and they’ll say ‘That ain’t right.'”
Vidant Health, Inc., which enjoys a near monopoly in eastern North Carolina, recently purchased the Pungo District Hospital and closed it down on July 1. A placard next to the sealed emergency room door instructs people to “call 911.”
Thousands of rural North Carolinians were already traveling more than 50 miles to reach Belhaven’s emergency room. Now, they have more than 80 miles to go for emergency care. Mayor O’Neal will carry with him a framed photo of Portia Gibbs, 48, who died on July 7 waiting for an emergency helicopter. The photo was given to him by her 24-year-old son on the first day of the march.
Governor McAuliffe has been fighting to expand health coverage by accepting Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, which would insure as many as 400,000 Virginians. McAuliffe has made the argument that forgoing federal dollars which are then spent in other states is killing jobs and endangering rural hospitals. In eastern North Carolina, O’Neal has experienced exactly that.
What:Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to meet with Mayor Adam O’Neal, and Save Our Hospital supporters
Who: Hon. Terry McAuliffe, Governor of Commonwealth of Virginia Adam O’Neal, Republican, Mayor of Belhaven, NC Bob Zellner, legendary Civil Rights activist, former field secretary of SNCC
...don't walk out through the valley but climb up the mountain to higher ground...Snakes live in the lowland, but if you go up the mountain there's something...called a "snake line;" snakes can't live above it...they're cold-blooded animals and they die.
Well, in America, we've gotta get our politics above the snake line...There are some snakes out here. There are some low-down policies out here. There's some poison out here. Going backwards on voting rights, that's below the snake line. Going backwards on civil rights, that's below the snake line. Hurting people just because they have a different sexuality, that's below the snake line. Stomping on poor people just because you've got power, that's below the snake line. Denying health care to the sick and keeping children from opportunity, that's below the snake line.
But I stopped by to tell you, there's got to be somebody that's willing to go to higher ground, higher ground, where every child is educated; higher ground, where the sick receive health care; higher ground, where the poor are lifted; higher ground, where voting rights are secured...Neighbor, we've got to take America above the snake line...America is better than this. It's time to go above the snake line...
When I go up in the spirit and I listen to the Lord sometimes...I heard the Lord say...Tea Party may endure for a night, Koch brothers may endure for a night, oppression may endure for a night, but hang in there, make your way to higher ground...
Great speech, very powerful...now if only everyone would listen to this. Speaking of which, why was the room only half-full for Rev. Barber? That's seriously screwed up (of course, scheduling Rev. Barber for 9 pm on Thursday night, when people presumably were just arriving, might have something to do with it).
P.S. Note to "Bishop" EW Jackson: this is what Christianity really teaches, and this is what a real Christian - one actually channeling the message of peace, compassion, common good and brotherhood preached by Jesus - really sounds like.
I've never attended Netroots Nation, in part because I have no particular desire to spend hundreds of dollars of my own money to do so, but also in part because I never really saw the point. With the bizarre, brain-dead decision of Netroots Nation to hold their 2015 thingamabob (whatever it is exactly) in Phoenix, Arizona (the state being Anti-Latino-Immigrant Central, pretty much), there's less reason than ever to attend (although perhaps the corporate media, which otherwise could give a crap, will cover it just because there now will be "controversy," which they LOVE?).
Is there a broader point here? In my view, there is. Namely, that Democrats, liberals, progressives, environmentalists, etc. should try to live their values as much as possible. No, nobody's perfect, but I see no reason why we shouldn't try, to the extent possible, to...
*Boycott horrible companies like Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A, and refuse to purchase products that enrich the Koch brothers, or support companies that pay their workers slave wages, etc, etc.
*Support businesses that DO conform to our values.
*Work to reduce our adverse environmental impact - carbon emissions, trash, meat consumption, water runoff from our roofs and yards, pesticide usage, lawns vs. native plants, etc. - in our personal lives.
*Choose to travel to, hold conferences/do business in places that we feel good about, and avoid places that do bad stuff like discriminate against whole groups of citizens.
*Refuse to appear as guests on Faux "News" or other right-wing propaganda channels, which in my view convinces none of their viewers/listeners, but DOES help lend them legitimacy, as they can claim they allow "both sides" to air their views and that they are thereby "fair and balanced." One of the most egregious examples of this was President Obama agreeing to an interview with hatemongering right wingnut Bill O'LIElly. That was utterly inexcusable on both moral and political grounds (e.g., it was wrong morally AND it didn't help Obama politically in any way).
Again, we're all human and none of us are perfect, but we can STRIVE to live our values as much as possible. In the case of Netroots Nation, last I checked there are 50 states in this country, including many that are far superior to Arizona in terms of reflecting the progressive values Netroots Nation stands for. Not that they care about my opinion on this, since they didn't even care about Kos' for god's sake (WTF?!?), but I strongly advise them to rethink this truly stupid decision.
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on the escalating conflict in Gaza a few minutes ago. I'm going to bold the parts I particularly agree with, but basically I agree with all of it.
"The escalating conflict between Hamas and Israel is deeply tragic and inflicts serious damage on the people in Israel and Gaza. Based on a cynical political calculation, Hamas, which is a terrorist organization, appears to be intentionally disrupting any chance for progress on peace discussions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Hamas's decision to escalate rocket attacks on Israel was designed to provoke an Israeli defensive response that would necessarily endanger Gaza residents. I fully support Israel's right to defend itself against these indiscriminate rocket attacks, but they also should do everything necessary to minimize harm to civilians and facilitate humanitarian access.
"The entire global community must pressure Hamas to cease rocket attacks. Once that occurs, a cease fire agreement between Israel and Hamas should be enforced. I appreciate the efforts of Egypt and other nations to promote a cease fire in Gaza and pray that such efforts succeed.
"The Palestinian Authority and President Mahmoud Abbas should break off attempts to form a unity government with Hamas and return to the negotiating table to discuss a peace deal between Palestinians in the West Bank and Israel. Those discussions were making progress as recently as March before actions on both sides scuttled the negotiations. The events of recent days demonstrate that the path toward peace will be incredibly hard. But those same events also demonstrate even more clearly the tragic consequences of failed leadership--destruction, rocket attacks, dead children and grieving parents."
I just got this statement from Rep. Gerry Connolly's office. Assuming this was pro-Russian separatists armed by Russia, I agree with Rep. Connolly that this is Putin's fault. The question is, now what? Just horrifying...
Rep. Connolly Statement on Crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine "Putin's brinkmanship begets yet another tragedy in Ukraine"
Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement today on the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine:
"My condolences go out to the families of those aboard the downed Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, which crashed today in eastern Ukraine.
"Prime Minister Putin's illegal action in Crimea and continued brinksmanship begets yet another tragedy in Ukraine, and the international community should be outraged. This latest instance of aggression committed by those who would rather perpetuate a cycle of violence than seek peace, is an unfortunate consequence of Russian meddling in Ukraine.
"This tragedy should compel the international community to strengthen its resolve to condemn and counter the violation of national sovereignty that precipitated this entire crisis."
Tim Kaine is so right about this, which is not surprising given that he served as a Catholic missionary in Honduras and knows the situation inside and out. The question is, what should we do about the thousands of children fleeing violence and coming to the U.S.? According to Sen. Kaine: 1) Stop blaming the kids and show the same compassion as nations like Turkey and Jordan are showing to Syrian refugees; 2) Work on our legal process and particular protections these refugees receive when they arrive. 3) We need to do immigration reform; 4) More support for security in Central America; 5) We need to interdict more drugs; and 6) We need to tackle the U.S. demand for drugs, because that's what is driving the violence in the neighborhoods that's causing these kids to flee northwards to the U.S.
I couldn't agree more. Thanks to Sen. Kaine for speaking up for these kids, while Republicans are busy posturing politically and (of course) attacking President Obama for anything and everything...
This series is about the role of Liberal America in creating America's current dangerous political dynamic. The thesis is that it is the weakness of Liberal America that has allowed a destructive force to become to powerful, and that this weakness is due to a disconnection from the power of "the spirit."
The previous installment ended with this statement: "One side is serving the dark spirit. The other side is impotent to rise to the defense of all that's sacred that's being destroyed." The essay now continues thus:
But the sacred is something that Liberal America, by and large, has not been tapping into. That was not always true.
One can sense the sacred in the words of FDR, for example, engraved in the granite in that memorial on the National Mall. (And FDR was not shy about going toe to toe against his enemies, whether it be to help make the nation a better place or to stop the predations of the fascist powers against much of the world.)
That was then. But if one listens to the voice of Liberal America in these times, one does not get that same sense of being on not just a constructive effort but a sacred mission.
Lacking connection with the spirit and the power it confers, Liberal America has been consistently weak as this crisis has grown. For the spirit not only gives hope, but strength as well.
Part I discussed how hopelessness is a sign of loss of contact with what might be called "the spirit," because the spirit infuses a sense of possibility. History shows, too, that when the spirit enters in, "the apparently impossible can happen."
Liberal America's disconnection from the power of the spiritual dimension is not only manifested in this hopelessness I've heard from people. The costs of this condition go a lot deeper. Indeed, it is through Liberal America's "dispirited" state that this side of America's political divide has played an important role in letting destructive forces wield so much power in our political system.
The whole of the American body politic is exposed as defective by our current political pathology.
A famous line from the poet Yeats: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are filled with a passionate intensity."
Here is what I see as the two-part central truth regarding our current national crisis.
The once-respectable Republican Party has become the instrument of something that warrants being called an "evil force"; and the response from Liberal America to this threat has been woefully weak in ways that reveal important defects in much of Liberal America in relation to the spirit.
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