21 October 2014
The most brilliant strategies are usually the simplest. I learned it from my mother, as countless other young women with young children did. Besides parenting, though, I discovered its usefulness in other environments, such as work and social situations. The art of distraction. When the attention upon something becomes uncomfortable, throw a distraction in; then watch the focus move off the point of contention and on to another, less intense topic.
It’s very useful in government. And it’s being played out, for the millionth time on this front.
We’re waiting for the swift stroke of Obama’s pen; the belligerent executive order. That’s simply the seal on the deal, the ref that yells “Play Ball!”
16 October 2014
Barack Obama, Opinion, Politics
Barack Obama, Exams, Fifth Grade, Michelle Obama, Voting
…that fifth grade essay I had to write for a State Standards exam. You know the type – Write a five hundred word essay on the importance of voting. It is therefore easy to imagine just one of the reasons why I cringe every time I hear something like this:
Mrs. Obama also told her audience that turnout was a large part of her husband’s victories, especially “women and minorities and young people.” Republicans, she explained, counted on “folks like us” to stay away from the polls.
And I don’t know if you remember, but people were shocked when Barack won — they’re still shocked — (laughter and applause) — because they were counting on folks like us to stay home. See, but then we proved them wrong. Barack won because OF record numbers of women and minorities and young people who showed up and voted.
But the Fifth Grade was way back in the past. And Adulthood is left with the basic premise that your husband, Mrs. Obama, was initially elected based not on the content of his character; Isn’t that what the vetting process used to do? No, Barack was elected because a majority of the sleepy electorate were like, dude, he’s black and that’s enough for my vote.
In grown up terms, Michelle, he was elected based on the color of his skin. And the irony is that you and the Black Caucus are spitting on MLK Jr and all the good the old Civil Rights Movement represented and accomplished.
But then again I’m white. So what do I know about any of this.
16 July 2014
Conservatism, Conservative, Liberal, Quote
In recent weeks I finished a book by John Lukacs entitled A New Republic: A History of the United States in the Twentieth Century. Sometimes it takes a naturalized foreigner to see things American-born citizens can’t or won’t see. From pp. 337-8 of the 2004 printing:
Here was a peculiarly American paradox: the liberals had become senile, while the conservatives were immature. Their intellectual – and moral – substance was not sufficient to fill the post-liberal vacuum. The reason for this was not the cultural inferiority of American conservatives when compared to American liberals: that was a condition that the conservative intellectual movement had, by and large, outgrown. The reason for this was the conservatives’ split-mindedness — suggesting that split-mindedness, too, was not a monopoly of American liberals. The conservatives argued against big government: yet they favored the most monstrous of government projects, laser warfare, biological warfare, nuclear superbombs. They were against the police state: yet they were eager to extend the powers of the FBI and the CIA. They were against government regulation of “free” enterprise: yet they supported at times the government shoring up or bailing out large corporations. They stood for the conservation of America’s heritage: yet they were indifferent to the conservation of the American land. They proclaimed themselves to be the prime defenders of Western civilization: yet many of them had a narrowly nationalist, and broadly Californian, view of the world — narrow enough to be ignorant, broad enough to be flat. “I was a nationalist,” Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf about his youth, “but I was not a patriot.” So were, unfortunately, most American conservatives, unaware of the crucial difference (George Orwell described it in one of his prime essays) betwen the ideological nationalist and the true patriot: the former is moved by the desire to extend the power of his nation, the latter is moved by the love of his country. They were nationalist rather than patriotic: they put their nationalism above their religion, their nationalism was their religion. Thus American conservatives welcomed (at worst) or were indifferent (at best) to the dangers of excessive American commitments to all kinds of foreign governments or — what was more important — to the flooding of the United States by countless immigrants from the south who would provide cheap labor but whose increasing presence could only exacerbate deep national problems…The true patriot and the true conservative is suspicious of ideology, of any ideology: yet the American conservatives were, more than often, ideologues, disregarding John Adams’s pithy statement that ideology amounted to idiocy. Their view of the world and their consequent advocacies of foreign policies were lamentable, since their view of the Soviet Union as the focus of a gigantic atheistic conspiracy and the source of every possible evil in the world was as unrealistic, unhistorical, ideological, and illusionary as the pro-Soviet illusions of the former liberals and progressives had been. Even though intellectuals of the American conservative movement were often more generous and less narrow-minded than were liberal intellectuals, they seldom hesitated to ally themselves with, and to seek the support of, some of the most uncouth and slovenly-minded people and politicians. That was just the trouble. As Jonathan Swift said, certain people “have just enough religion to hate but not enough to love.” Many American conservatives, alas, gave ample evidence that they were just conservative enough to hate liberals but not enough to love liberty.
9 June 2014
It’s insidious, really. Our non-existent southern border is crisis enough, but now it involves children. What exactly is going on? Why are there tens of thousands of children crossing our borders? Why is this happening at all, and why is it not headline news? Why is Eric Holder waning philosophic about caring about the most vulnerable yet silence is palpable regarding what is causing this mass exodus from Central America? A mass exodus of children. How does a child get from El Salvador to Arizona? They get there with help. From who? And why? This isn’t a simple effort to get out of poverty. This is a calculated effort.
Can it be as insidious as political ploy? Can the children of Central America be the new slavery class? Please tell me the big guys are not playing a game of chess with the backsides of children.
What, exactly, is going on?
23 May 2014
And an honour (spelling formal on introduction) to join The Republican in conversation. May analysis begin.