a site for pissed-off liberals

Friday, January 21, 2005

Did you hear? Freedom is on the march.

On Monday we were reminded by the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King to put down our weapons. We were charged with renewing our commitment to a non-violent movement towards achieving that dream of peace, love, and equality- not just at home but abroad.

On Thursday we were in the presence of a warning in liberty’s costume, though it may have gone undetected by the majority of citizens. President Bush said, “one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of the world.” Are we to believe that this is a different entity than the “day of fire” he described earlier in his speech, that fire that prompted him to take up arms with Afghanistan and Iraq? Just as ice in the South could melt like ice in the North, does not fire from one source burn like the fire from another? When hearing talk of fire across the earth (whether someone intends for that to be a positive vision or not), is mine the only mind that immediately thinks of Armageddon?

Given this rhetoric, it should be of no surprise, then, that Mr. Bush’s comment to young Americans was an order of a Commander in Chief to “make the choice to serve…” No longer is his cry “the axis of evil.” No. This cancerous notion has developed into six “outposts of tyranny,” including Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Zimbabwe (according to Condolezza Rice at her confirmation hearings this week). How long will we let this cancerous vision of ignorant and arrogant “foreign policy” continue to grow? Will we wait until it’s too big to excise from our body of law? Will we try to help ourselves as early as possible by seeking experts and healers, or will we idly yet anxiously wait for the experts and healers to come to us?

I am disturbed that the leader of our nation does not have an accurate understanding of the history of our nation. The president remarked, “From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value…” Yet, I seem to recall something like women and minorities having to struggle for decades – no, for centuries - for recognition of their rights, their dignity (indeed, some are still struggling). Does the president forget the path on which our nation has traveled so long and hard? I would dismiss any claim that merely because a government has been overthrown, “tens of millions have achieved their freedom.” Living without tyrannical rule is not synonymous with achieving freedom. Living in the daily fear of bombs from “liberators” and “martyrs” alike, is not freedom.

It is to my sadness that Mr. Bush often does not practice what he preaches, specifically that “America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies.” How can someone who speaks these words dance around affording “jailed dissidents” in Guantanomo Bay or Abu Graib their rights as human beings, so meticulously drafted and adopted by our nation? How can someone speak those words while simultaneously striving to place women legally at the mercy of men who impregnate them by rape, by choice, or by chance?

It seems odd that a president who so adamantly works to oppose legislation supported by the American Civil Liberties Union would be the same president that pronounces, “there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty.” And, while we are informed daily by his actions and words that homosexuals are a different class of citizens than heterosexuals and that those who follow no faith, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, or other religions are a different class of citizens than Christians, he has the nerve to speak of the importance of “tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our lives.”

Mr. Bush was right about something. We are, as Mr. Bush stated, “ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.” Let us make sure we demand that President Bush be an agent for freedom and not a mere war hawk in Liberty’s costume.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Cradle of Western Civilization Checks In

I heard today from our foreign correspondent and my great friend Eleni. Her email begins, "I just watched President Bush's (I can't believe those two words are still one phrase!) inauguration speech...I got so pissed off, I found refuge in the blog, which I hadn't visited for a while..."

She wasn't entirely pleased, and asked me to pass on her thoughts.

"I just heard the president talk about "bringing freedom to all the nations that need it"! How? By killing thousands and imposing a pseudo-state of stabilization/peace while making profit on rebuilding the destroyed/free countries? Is that what American democracy dictates? This is not the kind of Democracy our ancestors preached about or fought over...I don't think the American Revolution was fought over who's gonna make more profit, or how much oil will be exploited, or how many countries will be controlled, or who owns more media, or who deprives the public from "public" information...

It's a shame that words like Democracy and Freedom are used so freely these days by people who understand nothing about their historical, political or cultural weight...people who have NEVER felt the absence of Democracy or the agony of an effort to regain it...I guess it's always easier to speak from a safe distance...the kind that only a capitalistic "superpower" can ensure."

So that's the perspective of a European on our nation's foreign policy. Not so good, huh?

Finally, consider this - when my friend refers to the "Democracy our ancestors preached about" she can go back a bit further than most. She's from Athens. Hers invented it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

My rant, albeit a day late

Dr. Martin Luther King had more than a dream of racial equality.
Sadly, for far too many of us, that phrase is nearly all we know of the man or his dream.

Here and Now in 2005, Dr. King's message could not be more relevant. Dr. King taught of peace, of nonviolence. He taught of love, of brotherhood. He strived to lift people out of the shackles of poverty and fear. I recently came across his words,

"A nation that continues
year after year
to spend more money on military defense
than on programs of social uplift
is approaching spiritual death."

Although MLK spoke those words in reference to action in Vietnam and although we have no way of knowing what his position would be on current events, only a fool would fail to see the similarities between Vietnam and Iraq.

Whether the current war was just or not is rather irrelevant now. The fact is that this war is draining the life out of this nation. The funds which are rapidly being depleted or are being funneled to defense contractors (or, dare I say, are being wasted on this president's inaugural celebration), should be going to fight poverty, solve the healthcare crisis, and strengthen our failing education system. Sadly, those who need our assistance the most are precisely those who will be left behind by budget cuts.

While thankfully we don't have the same fears that plagued the nation when Dr. King marched, many of the politicians today would have us live in daily fear. Fear of another terrorist attack, fear of a natural disaster, fear of family values being weakened, fear of social security crumbling, fear of unemployment, and fear of alternatives to the judeo-christian faiths. Can we really know freedom if we're living in fear?

A speaker at the law school today urged us to consider Dr. King's "dream that never was."
She urged us to spread the word that we need to renew our commitment to the dream that Dr. King shared with us: to dream of love, so that one day we may know freedom.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Dead Blog

I think we're all pretty burnt out on politics, and the blog has gone pretty quiet. That's not too surprising. Anyway, here's a good quote from Ted Kennedy in today's Post:

"We cannot move our party or our nation forward under pale colors and timid voices," said Kennedy, who has served 42 years in the Senate. "We cannot become Republican clones. If we do, we will lose again, and deserve to lose."

Damn, Ted! That's what we've been saying! Well, it could be a good sign for us, the tough liberal Democrats, that Howard Dean is now officially a candidate for the position of DNC Chairman. Best of luck to him.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

There must be an enemies list around here somewhere

CNN is reporting today that Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are splitting. Tragic.

In other news, it was revealed yesterday that the Nixon-I-mean-Bush administration payed conservative radio commentator (read "shill") Armstrong Williams $241,000 to promote No Child Left Behind on air. Here's a quote from the Post:

"Alex Jones, director of Harvard's Shorenstein media center, said he is 'disgusted' by what he called 'the worst kind of fakery and flackery' on Williams's part. 'It's propaganda masquerading as news, paid by government, truly a recipe from hell,' he said. 'It would make any thinking person hearing any pundit speak want to say, 'Okay, how much did they pay you to say that?' ' Jones said the contract also shows that 'the Bush administration neither understands nor respects the idea of an independent media.' "

Well, that's not good.

According to CNN.com, the logic behind the decision to hire Williams seems to be that parents, "particularly in poor and minority communities," needed to be educated on why NCLB was good for their children. The fact that that decision manifested itself as a lie, specifically that Williams was presenting propaganda as original thought, didn't seem to strike anyone as unethical.

Sounds like an excellent use for our tax dollars, doesn't it? Hey, do you think maybe a few of those dollars could be diverted towards an education program focusing on why NCLB sucks? Or you know what I could really use? Some education on why it is that those same "poor and minority communities" that provide about 40% of our military are losing their health care, their livelihoods, and their opportunities for affordable education. I'd like some fucking education on that, please.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Radicalism on the D

Each morning, my bus driver posts up a quotation alongside the rearview mirror. Here is today's:

In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.

- Fran Lebowitz

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Send Money!

Hello and welcome back. We took a hiatus from the blog while all of us were busy with our end of the year (and start of the new year) celebrations. I guess we're back now.

This post is just a quick one, and it's not very political in nature. If you know me or our other contributors personally, I'd like to make an appeal for cash. We are sending a donation to UNICEF for aid to the tsunami victims. We aren't planning to collect a huge amount - so far we have $80 - but whatever you can afford would be great. If you don't know us, or if you can afford a larger contribution, please consider donating to an aid organization yourself. It's tax deductible and they could use the help.

Thanks in advance for your generosity. Happy new year.