Political thoughts

So, Rove is viciously misrepresenting democrats, and the democratic response is again, what? Oh, right, calling on him to take it back.

Bullies are hard to deal with. They make us mad. There are a few ways to take this anger.

Get steamed at the bully and demand that they take it back. This generally gets one nowhere by itself. Picture the nerdy kid trying to ask the bully if he could talk to him in private or saying, “would you pretty please stop beating me up?” That’s the course the democratic party is by and large taking.

Then there’s “the high road”, or passivity. Rein in the anger, and do nothing. It’s a course I’m well familiar with, and one I don’t generally recommend. It changes nothing. Unless you’re relying on independent witnesses to stop it (schoolyard monitors/an independent media/a skeptical or compassionate population), that won’t change anything either. And even if there is a protective agent, when the cat’s away the mice will play.

In the democratic case, calling for Rove to apologize is like the nerdy kid asking the school bully to apologize without any authority likely to intervene. I’d say, instead of pretending he’s playing a fair game, denouncing him is about the only shot the democrats have for any short term progress. Not calling for an apology, but saying he’s full of shit. That he makes shit up, has nothing backing up his words. Take a position of power. Define him. Call him a bully. Call him a liar. Use strong language (I’m not talking profanity, but ‘asking’ and ‘apology’ are not strong words). Delegitimize him in the public view. Otherwise the dems will keep on losing.

Ties in pretty nicely with the article posted about democrats and dean a few days back. Dean seems to be the most influential person in the party playing this role, and most of the current holders of power are more fearful or rocking the boat than seeing what might result, so they’re directing all their criticism at Dean. Brilliant. *sigh*

Must Give Us Pause

So, I had a couple of stop-and-think-about-it moments today.

The first was with someone who works in a different group from me. I really don’t know him, but I was carrying my new cell phone back from the post office (yay new cell phone, yay lower phone bills), and we got on the subject of accidental dialing, (new phone is a flip up, old phone was not). And he said something about accidentally dialing my mother while making out with my girlfriend. I found it amusing on two levels, and I was laughing, and I thought that not so long ago, I would have felt compelled to inform him that girlfriends weren’t likely for me, but this time it didn’t really matter to me. As a point of ettiquette, not sure quite what “the right thing” to do there is, but I don’t regard it as terribly important.

Shortly after this, as I was walking to grab lunch, I heard the annual “X person died, at age Y in year Z, at concentration camp A” litany. I did some quick math, and figured that by now, the people she listed while I was walking past would be 70-odd years old, those that didn’t die in some other way. I’m not saying that this wasn’t important, and hasn’t had important consequences down the line, but will we continue to mourn untimely deaths when the individuals would have died years ago anyway? What about centuries?

When we harbor the memory of a wrong done to us personally, it’s called keeping a grudge. In light of the recent events in the middle east, well, collective keeping of grudges doesn’t strike me as a solution to our ills.

Matthew Shephard Show

A friend invited me to go watch the matthew shephard story at his friend’s
place. I did, and it was an okay made for tv film, despite being incredibly
preachy, and uncompromisingly biased. It got me thinking on several topics.
It portrays anti-gay violence pretty graphicly for television. It was
unabashedly pro-death-penalty until the very end. And, as always, it raised
questions regarding media attention towards this particular incident.

I’ve never been on the recieving end of any anti-gay violence. I’ve had a
couple of driveby slurs shouted at me. I’ve lost a couple of friends over
being gay, but only a couple. I’ve been very careful and a little lucky. In
the past year, a friend of a friend was shot leaving a gay bar, another in
similar circumstances fought back against his assailants and ended up being
permanently impaired when, as he was fighting them back, he grabbed onto one of
them as they drove off. Both are alive. A straight man hugged a male friend
of his outside a bar in chicago and was severely beaten by cops from that bar.
He too is alive (and suing). A lesbian whom I never knew, who worked at a gay
bar in pittsburgh I’ve been to many a time was burned alive in her car. She is
not.

Anti-gay violence happens. As with any violence, it is wrong. It affects a
person, and a community to know that it could happen to us, for no reason other
than stepping out of a familiar place at the wrong time, or showing affection
to a loved one. It didn’t start or end with Matthew Shephard.

There is no conclusive evidence that the death penalty works as a deterant, but
there is conclusive evidence that many people that have been sentenced to death
are innocent. Given the error inherent in the judicial process, I am
unambiguously opposed to it. And yet, even in the truly unambiguous case, such
as (to the nearest of my knowledge) McKinney, we ought to stop them. Does that
mean kill them? It’s not the only way to accomplish the goal. And I think
there are better options.

There have been a large number of possible victims to select from when it comes
to who the media turned into the poster child for anti-gay violence. One
wonders why they chose Matthew Shephard. Could it be because he was the
archetypal gay man? Physically less than imposing, into theater, pretty, etc.
How about the gay men who fought back? Why did it wait until this particular
example to bring the matter to light?

Consumption

Thomas Jefferson said “The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance”. We’re behind on our payments.

We’ve let our attention be distracted by the lies of advertising, promising happiness in return for our money. Little white lies that corporations tell us so that we’ll give them money. Money which they use to buy more capabilities for production, more advertising, or firmer holds on major political parties.

But maybe things are changing. We have a bill before the president, disallowing soft money, a major source of corporate power to reward political parties for working towards their political interests. And the republicans stands to benefit more from this than the democrats. (democrats raise more soft money, surprised? I was).

I have my doubts that this will be all it takes, but I think this may be just the tip of the iceberg.