Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Busy times...

A lot has occurred over the last couple of weeks.
The Republican primary is over…thank god. Well, at least it’s realistically over, if not technically over. I think Mitt Romney’s victory in the Republican primary has cemented Barack Obama as a two-term president. Mitt is boring, stiff, and totally uncharismatic. He’s out of touch with most people, and it’s palpable. While Republicans will fall in line for the most part, Romney does not excite the base, and independents are not fooled by the back and forth (etch-a-sketch) stances on every issue; they see Romney as being hollow, and blowing with the political winds of popularity. While the election will probably be close – all modern day presidential elections are – President Obama will reinvigorate Democrats (and the nation as a whole) with a charismatic campaign (even while he’s been unable to excite us as president).

George Zimmerman has FINALLY been arrested and charged with a crime. The prosecutor has charged Mr. Zimmerman with 2nd degree murder. It’s possible that this is an overcharge, because manslaughter would probably be easier to convict, but I have to assume that the prosecutor knows what she is doing. Regardless of the charge; and really, regardless of whether Mr. Zimmerman is ultimately found guilty or not guilty, the important thing is that the facts of the case will be presented in a court of law so that guilt or innocence can be determined based not on one person’s opinion, or the bias of the police, but instead based upon the facts. George Zimmerman needs to answer some questions about what was suspicious about Trayvon Martin. About why he thought Trayvon Martin was on drugs. These are questions that are important, not only in this case, but also on the national conscience about race.

This brings me to the next big update, which is that a piece of legislation has been presented in the Senate that would ban racial profiling. This piece of legislation is still in utero, but I think it’s important that this issue is being brought back into the national discourse. It’s sad that it takes the death of young black man, at the hands of white (he has also identified as Hispanic at different times) man, when there are countless examples every day of racial profiling, which, while they don’t end in death, still end in distrust and humiliation.

Finally, I have to say that I’ve been surprised (though I guess I shouldn’t be) by political television. Every time I watch political shows (it’s an indulgence that I wish I didn’t want), there are always some middle-of-the-road, independent journalists that are commenting on some particular issue, and the host is typically fairly moderate, but then there is always some wealthly, smug-looking white man or woman who completely rejects any idea that our country has issues with race, human rights, equality, or jingoism. Their (ridiculous) perspective is that the United States is God’s (big G important) gift to the planet, and it’s our manifest destiny to the “beacon of freedom” in the world, and that whatever we do, wherever we do it is completely just and right. And the idea that there is anything wrong is this country is completely absurd, because we have the Declaration of Independence which states that all men are created equal, and the post civil rights/post women’s rights era has been a society that has reached near complete equality. It’s just race/gender/etc.-bating to say otherwise. Ugh…

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The truth...

Where has this guy been?

Not only was this speech a good political move, especially for a president that has maintained low but respectable ratings despite a fledgling economy, but he was right on.
Democrats are so quick to qualify any comments they make about politics, by stating that both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for the ineffectiveness of government, and especially of Congress. While I think it’s important to recognize how poisonous money to both Democrats and Republicans has been to our political process, when we’re looking at actual legislating, it’s na├»ve or just completely disingenuous not to recognize that Republicans are holding up the process.
Republicans say that the president and Democrats in congress will not work with them; but what they fail to recognize is that when you come to the table with something so radical, and tell the other side before negotiations, and all throughout negotiations, that you’re unwilling to negotiate, it makes it somewhat difficult to get anything done. The president came into office hoping to work with Republicans, despite a filibuster-proof majority in the senate, and an overwhelming majority in the house. However, even with Republicans in a position of considerable weakness, they managed to throw wrenches in the cogs of government, and it was only be the skin of their teeth that Democrats managed to pass the Affordable Care Act.
Since then, and especially since the midterm elections, Republicans have done literally everything they can – including lying, delaying, chastising – to hurt the president politically, but have unfortunately spent no time actually legislating. Their goal, as stated, is to make President Obama a “one term president”. They believe that any substantial, positive legislation, no matter how much bi-partisan support it might get, will not get passed. The only legislation that has been passed since the Affordable Care Act have been only those laws necessary to prevent government shutdowns, the discontinuation of the unemployment insurance, the discontinuation of the payroll tax holiday, and the like. No new substantial legislation is on the horizon, and I don’t see any formulating anytime soon.