For all the griping I hear on the left and right, I remain a huge fan. It was an amazing moment for me, so I’ll be enforcing a “Thumper Rule” for comments: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”
Attempting to keep people from voting – in Florida
Early voting the Sunday before Election Day used to be allowed. But it was eliminated by the GOP-controlled state Legislature and Republican Gov. Rick Scott last year after Barack Obama used early voting to help him win Florida in 2008 — and therefore the presidency.
and in Ohio.
In Ohio, after attempting to cancel weekend early voting all together, Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) drastically rolled back early voting hours.
If you have to stop people voting to win elections, your ideas suck.
Closer to home, the two Obama signs I had stapled to our fence were torn down. Too lazy to drive to Obama HQ and get new signs, I resorted to more basic First Amendment tools: the inkjet printer and staple gun.
The little sign on the right reads:
Tim pointed out that it’s not really communism; more like fascism. I thought it reminded me of the neighborhood committees in China, in which neighbors kept an eye on one another’s ideological purity. It’s also possible that it was random vandalism by drunken college students — not unknown in our ‘hood.
Extra bonus Colorado sunset shot:
Since my brother and I appear to be communicating by blog these days (::waving:: Hi, Bruce!), I’d like to respond to this post* by paraphrasing my second favorite movie line:** “‘Fail.’ You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Republicans are fond of saying that Obama is a failed president, that his policies have failed, and that there’s just a whole lot of fail going on. The only possible definition they could have in mind for the word “fail” is “not doing what Republicans would like a president to do.” Because by any reasonable, apolitical, measure Obama is a resounding success. I’d really like to know how the definition of “fail” accounts for:
- Killing bin Laden.
- Saving the US auto industry.
- Repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” ending defense of DOMA in court, and supporting marriage equality.
- Supporting the overthrow of Gaddafi.
- Signing the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
- Getting us out of an expensive and destructive war we should never have started.
- Appointing two righteous women to the Supreme Court.
- Passing Obamacare.
- Passing the Stimulus.
- Passing Wall Street Reform — not enough, but it’s better than nothing.
This is just sort of Amy’s top ten; there are a number of websites devoted to listing the President’s accomplishments, including
- A blog called “Please Cut the Crap” which makes me insanely jealous, blognamewise.
- A massive, categorized list on a site aptly named obamaachievements.org.
- The Washington Monthly’s Top 50 List.
- A list prepared by a professor of American Studies that started with 90 items and is now at 244.
There are, in fact, several very business-oriented metrics that suggest President Obama is a success. For example, the Dow was at about 8,000 when Bush left office; it closed at 12,820 on Friday. (This continues the general trend that the Dow likes Democratic presidents much more than Republicans.) And Corporate profits are way up under Obama. So, um, “socialist” doesn’t mean what they think it means either.
I think that leaves for the definition of “failed” when used as an adjective in the Republican mantra “failed president” such things as
- Failing to cut taxes for millionaires.
- Failing to appoint Federalist Society members to the Supreme Court.
- Failing to leave the health of our citizens to the mercies of the perverse incentives of the insurance industry.
- Failing to continue the war in Iraq.
- Failing to not be concerned about bin Laden.
Ultimately, it is perfectly reasonable for Republicans like my brother to disagree with Obama. But calling his administration “failed” seems like a weirdly transparent but ultimately content-free branding campaign.
* The upshot of Bruce’s post is that all teen-age boys do cruel things, so we should not judge Mitt Romney by his decision to assault a classmate to cut off his hair or physically trick a blind teacher into walking into a door. I don’t think any of my brother’s escapades (he takes the fifth but I’m aware of at least some small percentage of them) rise to the level of cruelty the Washington Post article describes of Romney. But if in fact all boys do these things, perhaps it’s time to elect a girl to the presidency.
** My favorite is “Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear. Doesn’t make me Madonna. Never will.” Don’t ask me why. I have actually used this quote on opposing counsel, though not to his face. We have an opposing counsel who has, on his voice mail, a pompous quote-of-the-day, which you have to listen to, all the way through, before leaving him a voicemail. It’s generally something from Gandhi, or the Buddha, or a Hallmark card, and it’s often very long, with no option to push # and just skip it. After several years of superhuman effort exerted toward not saying, “Dude, you are working your ass off to deny the civil rights of people with disabilities; stop it with the quotes, already,” I finally left him two quotes of my own. The first was this one; the second was “I used to be disgusted; now I try to be amused.” No reaction to either one from him, but I cracked myself up!
Thank you for supporting marriage equality! Keep moving us forward. If you agree that this was an important step forward and that politicians, like puppies, should be rewarded for good behavior, throw some money toward keeping us moving forward.
And in honor of this step forward in civil rights, in response to the benighted state of North Carolina, and in recognition of the fact that I’ve been in trial prep and trial for the last month or so and have not had the time to come up with a new post, I’m rerunning a post from July 2010:
Folks opposed to marriage equality argue that if gays and lesbians are permitted that state-sanctioned status, it will have the effect of destroying heterosexual marriages. In response, they promote legislation ostensibly designed to protect this venerable institution. Most liberals campaign against these measures, on the grounds that they are unfair (what part of “equal protection of the laws” is unclear?) and irrational (straights have done a pretty good job of marriage destruction all on their own).
My view is: if we’re going to use the legislative process to protect heterosexual marriages, let’s pass laws that might actually reduce stress and promote harmony in those marriages. These measures would “save” those marriages in the sense that the people in them would remain happy with one another and therefore married, rather than in the way that opponents of gay marriage think it works: that we’ll only stay together if we can smugly monopolize the legal label for our relationships.
Warning: what follows traffics in the basest of gender stereotypes, derived directly from my own 16-year experience with heterosexual marriage.
The Bathroom Separation Act. Men and women were not meant to share bathrooms. The vast genetic differences in cleanliness perception and many practical differences in paraphernalia make sharing facilities a source of stress in 55% of heterosexual marriages.* Under this proposed legislation, all new homes will be required to have two completely separate bathrooms adjacent to the master bedroom and money will be allocated from the federal budget to retrofit houses of married heteros with one extra master bath.
The Laundry Technology Act. All new washers and dryers will be equipped with control panels of equal or greater complexity to a sound system of comparable price. In addition, federal regulations will require garment labels to include one of the following two statements, as appropriate: “This Goes In the Light Wash,” or “This Goes In the Dark Wash.” At least 43%* of the bickering in hetero marriages concerns lack of laundry participation by one of the two genders commonly found in those unions. This measure will not only promote increased participation, but will ensure that the result is not uniformly pink.
Music Parity Regulations. FCC regulations will require at least one station in each broadcast area to play folk rock and heavy metal tunes on a strictly alternating basis. Imagine the heterosexual marriages — not to mention lives — saved by not having driver and passenger switching constantly among stations in search of (to take a completely random example) Boston or The Indigo Girls.
Quality Motion Picture Act. At least five movies each year will be required to have both exciting action sequences (car chases; explosions; zombies) and a plot with believable, grown-up dialog and characters. Hetero marriages will flourish when husbands and wives not only attend but enjoy the same movies.
Full Funding for Public Education, Universal Health Care and Assisted Living Act. Approximately 95%* of the fights in heterosexual marriages concern the kids’ schools, the doctor’s bills, and how to care for the in-laws without having them actually move in. The FFPEUHCALA will ensure high quality public education, availability of heath care without forgoing food and heat, and a comfortable, safe old age for your in-laws** somewhere other than your home. This legislation will avoid at least 3.2 million* heterosexual divorces each year. In addition, just imagine all the quality time hetero couples will have in lieu of the hundreds of hours they now spend filling out insurance forms, fighting with insurance companies, filling out more forms, waiting on hold to insurance companies, and figuring out how to pay for things they already bought insurance to pay for.
Let’s see if those anti-marriage-equality folks really want to protect hetero marriage — let’s see if they’ll support all this crucial legislation.
* All statistics in this post are invented out of whole cloth. They sure sound about right, though, don’t they?
** Love ya, Denver & Nora!
You see, when a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations – to try to impose some order on the chaos, and make sense out of that which seems senseless. Already we’ve seen a national conversation commence, not only about the motivations behind these killings, but about everything from the merits of gun safety laws to the adequacy of our mental health systems. Much of this process, of debating what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future, is an essential ingredient in our exercise of self-government.
But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.
Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, “when I looked for light, then came darkness.” Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.
For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind.
So yes, we must examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.
But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.