I am over the Democrats.
The Democrats were at best a default choice for me — I am not a racial or religious bigot, so Republicanism is out. I know that not every Republican is a bigot, but the party has a history of embracing them, and everyone who accepts the party name has made their peace with that, either by deciding that they agree, or deciding that the question is not important. Both of those positions are moral failures, so the GOP is out for me. That leaves me with the Democratic party, not because no third party stands a chance of getting elected, but because no third party exists that isn’t bat-shit crazy. Some of them have some good ideas some of the time, but from my college days I have noticed that the best definition of the fringe is that part of the garment that accumulates fluff. I wouldn’t want Ralph Nader or Ron Paul in charge of the military or the economy — they might make interesting conversation partners, but I don’t believe that either of them could get shit done.
However, the total intellectual and moral failure of the Obama team in aligning itself with Rick Warren has highlighted a tremendously uncomfortable fact for me — I can not make my peace with the Democrats either. Rick Warren is a fraud — I’ve read the man’s books — he is a traditional American huckster, straight out of the P.T. Barnum tent revival circuit — he is a smiling Amway salesman and he is selling you salvation. There are many Christians in this country who don’t go in for this kind of obvious transparent fraud, and there are many atheists who would sit googly eyed at a slot machine in Vegas and pour all their money into it while the B-girl flirts and the music plays. It has nothing to do with religion — it has to do with the con. It has to do with giving up on your intellectual integrity, because the good part of too-good-to-be-true is something you want so bad, and anyway thinking is so hard, that you will sign up to buy swamp land and snake oil, jewelry for $9.95 and you think every waitress really wants to be your friend.
I get it – but I don’t want it from my leaders. I don’t want a president who is selling that shit to himself, or to me. And in America that means I don’t want a president.
I signed on to the Barak Obama juggernaut because I wanted to believe. And that is a bad reason to believe anything. Ultimately, what is important to me is truth — and while I know that I can’t always get that, I also know that I don’t have to insult it. And if you are an ambitious enough person that you want to be president, then you are going to insult it.
Barak Obama has taken some important stances that are simply wrong — factually and morally wrong. I acceded to them because I had signed on because I wanted to believe. I am not saying that the Republicans have the right answer for any of these issues, and I’m not saying that the progressives have the answer, I’m saying that the current administration, the incoming administration, does not have the answer.
Issue 1: Gay marriage. The bottom line is that marriage in the United States is not defined by the Church, it is a legal contract that exists within the vast and complex structure of national and state law. Separation of Church and State insures that what the Bible has to say about it is irrelevant. It may have come from the Bible originally, but that is of no matter other than historical interest, even if it were true (which of course it isn’t — but I don’t want to diverge into a historical argument). Legally, the biblical opinion of homosexuality is irrelevant. Homosexuality is a biologically determined trait, like sex and race — and it is clear that under the spirit of equal protection under law, that homosexuals are to be allowed the same rights under law as heterosexuals. Ergo, the marriage contract that heterosexuals get at the courthouse is the same one that homosexuals need to get. We might have to change the wording on the contract, but the state needs to provide one contract, and it needs to be the same contract for everybody.
Issue 2: Global Warming. Is not our number one energy priority. We have been shanghaied into a national acceptance of a phenomenon which no two people can even agree to a name for. The science at the root of it is one thing, but the science that the public understands about it is mostly bad. The people at the center of the debate have made a decision as a group that it is more important to motivate action than to be honest about the complexity of the issues at hand. As a result they lie, and people repeat the lies. Weather it exists or not, no one understands it. I have read a lot about it (thousands of pages) over the last three years, there are some interesting conversations to be had, but they are not the conversations that are being had. The topic needs to be cleared up before we go spending money, it is pursued with a religious fervor right now, which means people want to act before they understand. That is always a bad idea. Global Warming is our national Lamarckism and in time if we even remember it and aren’t off on some other trip, we will have to pretend that we aren’t embarrassed to have been a part of it.
Issue 3: Energy. I despise John McCain, but he was right about Nuclear. Energy density demands that wind and Earth based solar will never be the principal energy sources for an industrial civilization. Wind is a massive sinkhole for cash, and 30 years from now the junkyards are going to be full of giant abstract sculptures which your tax money will pay for, because wind cannot pay for itself at this time. We need something to reduce our demand on foreign oil, for sure, but wind is not going to do it. Nuclear plants, electric cars, and smart exploitation of tar sands and shale are a good place to start.
Issue 4: UAW. It’s time is done. We don’t allow monopolies to distort the market for product, why should we allow it for labor? Like the Democrats, the UAW doesn’t care about the worker, they care about themselves.
Issue 5: Corporate taxes. Corporate taxes do not come out of corporations pockets — corporations don’t have pockets — they have resource flows. A corporation may be a legal person, but it is a mistake to personalize them. When you raise the cost of doing business, the shareholders don’t just choose to take money out of their bank accounts, they raise prices — and that comes out of your pocket. A tax on a corporation is a tax on you. For that reason, we need to switch, slowly and over time, to a single payer plan. The only reason to tax corporations partly, and individuals partly is to mask the actual cost of government. Right now, you are paying taxes three ways — you are taxed through manipulation of the dollars value, you are taxed by direct taxes, and you are taxed by indirect taxes (licencing fees, business taxes etc) that raise the cost of the products that you purchase. That means you are paying multiply compounded tax, because after you pay 20% tax to the tax man, you pay an inflated price for an orange (how much you do not know) — so every penny of inflated cost of the orange is a penny you have been taxed on twice or three times, or four times.
Your real tax rate right now is probably close to 50%, you can figure out exactly how much by comparing the GNP to the actual cost of government, but your real rate depends on how much money you spend and on what — so you can’t know for yourself, just for a fictitious average person. That ambiguity is why it is kept that way — you would not tolerate your real tax rate if you knew what it was, and you would demand greater efficiency and cut programs. I’m not saying this is a deliberate conspiracy, just a conspiracy of interest. It can be eliminated by having a single tax, and that tax should be progressive and on income, and the rules for reporting income need to be made more transparent.
Issue 6: Warrantless search and seizure. Obama was part of a major Democratic failure to protect your constitutional rights against illegal search and seizure. The Bush Administration asked the major telecommunications companies to spy on your communications illegally. Some of the companies refused, and some agreed. The companies that agreed should be penalized so that in the future, when the government asks companies to break the law, they have an incentive not to do so. “We were just following orders.” is not an acceptable excuse in America.
I have purged, but I am ashamed of my collusion. I am not a liberal, and I am certainly not a Democrat. And the Democrats do not care about me any more than the Republicans do. The party cares about winning, and the indivudals care about their own ambition. I had no business lying to myself or the world about it.
So who do I vote for? I don’t vote. Voting is a con to normalize dissidence. It is a trick to get you to invest in the debate as it is framed by the power-players at the time. Voting does not exist to give you a voice, it exists to make society stable. When a salesman comes to your door, sometimes they will give you a worthless trinket of some kind, a pamphlet or a flier. It doesn’t matter what. As an animal, by accepting the trinket, you make a subtle emotional investment in what the salesman is saying. That is all a vote is.
I don’t care so much what you as an individual think, but you need to start thinking. You need to stop following the party, whatever party. You need to learn how to evaluate claims of truth and value, how to reason, how to weigh evidence. This is hard work, but as long as you are following the bandwagon, you will never do it, because the B-girl is flirting with you and the music is playing and you are being sold something that is too good to be true: which is that you can have value without thought and effort. Resist.
Think for yourself.
And so the journey that began with Rosa Parks ends with throwing the faggots under the bus.
Not the outcome I expected, but hell, you gotta throw somebody under the bus — white men still have the nuclear codes, there are a lot of women in America, the president-elect is black, the ADL is strong and Hispanics will soon dominate the lead economic state in America — so it’s gotta be the faggots.
I mean, you could pay more than lip service to the idea that all human beings deserve equal protection under the law — but lets not go crazy here. None other than Rick Warren — that font of human intelligence and dignity has asserted that such a radical step would lead to legalizing pedophilia and bestiality.
Pedophilia and bestiality. Because being a faggot is such a disgusting thing that it’s stored in Rick Warren’s brain next to raping children and fucking pigs.
BUT if you have raped a child or fucked a pig, and gotten caught and prosecuted — you still get to get married. If you are a faggot and you get married you are threatening the sanctity of the institution.
You can kill your wife, get convicted, serve your time and still get married again. You can rape your daughter, and the sanctity of marriage stands — no one has ever tried to deny the marriage rights of murderers or pedophiles. But try to marry someone of the same sex, and somehow your decision casts an evil and disgusting pall over all of the heterosexual couples in the world. In fact, Pastor Fred Phelps believes that the pall cast is so severe that it is the reason that American troops are dying in Iraq. He protests their funerals with the sign “God hates fags.”
I admire Fred Phelps in a way that I do not admire Rick Warren — he is honest about his insanity and his hate. The moral argument is exactly the same — homosexuality is a contamination that erodes the moral structure of the nation. Homosexuals are either morally insane individuals who needed to have been disciplined more severely as children (please don’t accuse me of exaggerating — I have known homosexual men who were beaten by fathers they no longer speak to because of this very common argument.) Or they are diseased — they are mentally ill and can be reformed by therapy.
Of course, if you have read any of the history of racial stereotyping you will be familiar with all of these arguments. They are all the arguments of the segregationists, who also had the sanction of American churches at one time. Black men were morally insane — they were subject to uncontrollable urges towards rape and violence — in fact there are a lot of people who believe a watered down version of this today. Not 10 years ago a popular radio disk jockey made the claim that aborting all black babies would lead to a decrease in crime.
Do you find that argument disgusting? I do.
If a preacher made that argument, or made the argument that black men should not be allowed to marry outside of their race because of their contaminating influence, would you find it acceptable for the president of the United States to receive his inaugural benediction from that preacher?
It’s not just something that Rick Warren has said, and reiterated, and clarified, and preached about. He has been politically active in the cause of denying homosexual women and men the right to marry in California. It’s not a subtle thing that he has done — its not like Obama didn’t know, and that he didn’t see the protests following the passage of Prop. 8. So you have to ask yourself a question about Obama — does he not believe that homosexuals deserve the same rights that he has, does he not believe that rhetoric which he would recognize as vile when applied to himself is equally vile when applied to other people, or is he just drawing a line in the sand to tell Americans how far he will go, and too bad for the faggots — they are just too far over that line?
Because it’s one or the other. It wasn’t an oversight — Obama knows Rick Warren, he knows his beliefs, his political stances and he knows how the gay community feels about that.
So does he believe that homosexuality is a contamination so pernicious and virulent that simply allowing homosexuals to marry other homosexuals will damage our society, or does he not believe that homosexuals are worth defending? Does he believe that Rosa Parks deserves to sit at the back of the bus, or is he afraid of what the other passengers will say if he defends her? Which one is it?
Which one is it?
Dear President-Elect Obama,
I decided early in your campaign to support you. I caucused for you in Washington State, and voted and advocated others to vote for you. I sent out emails with your promotional materials and discussed your ideas.
I have argued against other progressives who have been upset by your cabinet choices, I am a staunch centrist Democrat.
Your selection of Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural prayer is beyond unacceptable to me.
It is less a matter that he be given a greater pulpit to bully homosexuals from — he will have that — he is media savvy and will continue to demean and disparage people from it for as long as he lives.
I am astonished, however, that in the wake of the passing of Proposition 8, you could be so insensitive to a constituency which supported you, and whose claims, based as they are on the separation of church and state and equal protection under the law, are so just.
Rick Warren has every right to define what marriage is for him, and anyone who agrees with him is free to support his church. He does not have any right to define marriage for anyone else.
You have said that you want to heal the rifts in America — would that include inviting a preacher who believed in non-violent racial segregation? Would you feel comfortable being prayed over by a segregationist? Because a few short years ago it would have been easy to find one to do the honors.
If you do not understand that democracy means equal protection under the law, and that hate in any form is unacceptable then I cannot in good conscience continue to support you. I voted for you once, and I even understood your distancing yourself from the issue of homosexual rights during the election, because it is so divisive and you needed to get elected.
But you have chosen to put yourself in the middle of the debate in the national spotlight, and chosen to share your moment of triumph over bigotry with a bigot.
How many times has this been said? “But I thought you were different.”
I thought you were. But the central issue in politics for me is human equality. If politics is to populist, to dirty, to ugly a place for that vision to find a home and the courage to support it, then I see clearly that I was wrong about you, I was wrong to support you and vote for you — I will stand humiliated in my naivete and I will not vote for you or any Democrat again.
I am stunned that you ever even considered this,
James D. Newman
I have a strange problem that I have been, so far, unable to solve myself — so I am putting it out into my freindspace to see if anyone can give me a hand with it.
I love doing math problems. I realize you probably think that is the problem right there, it isn’t. I also love writing poetry. I find, in either case, that the experience of sitting down to work is profoundly satisfying, that it stops time, that it leads to feelings of self worth. Both activities are inherently pleasurable to me, and both result in my growth as a person.
So far so good.
The problem isn’t choosing between them. Thankfully, I don’t have to. What a lucky lover who has to choose between equally beautiful and attentive partners, how much more lucky they that do not have to choose!
My problem is that setting down to work, besides producing all of the positive things I have described, produces an intolerable anxiety in me. Sometimes it prevents me from being able to sit down at all. Other times it builds slowly over the course of a week or two, until I am not able to sit still and I experience such intense symptoms of physical distress that I would do anything to get away — I watch TV, I go out, I drive around. But the break always turns into an abandonment of the project — the break is not a respite, it is an avoidance of a terrible anxiety produced by the thing that I love.
Then once I am lost in whatever self indulgent escape I turned to, I experience a sense of worthlessness and disappointment. Please do not misunderstand me — I am not doing either of these things (the math or the poetry) for anyone else. I am not ambitious at all — I am not looking for reward or external gratification. I am experiencing a genuine approach avoidance, where I feel a genuine love for a thing, and a nauseating anxiety produced by the very thing that I love.
Besides the obvious observation that I am just stone fucking neurotic — what on earth is going on with me?