Wednesday, May 28, 2008

An Education From My Flirtation

My progressive friends are still celebrating my return from the libertarian wilderness. They're treating it as sort of a long bad dream. But I myself am grateful for that time of wandering. My flirtation with libertarianism taught me quite a lot. As I move forward on my journey through life, I am not exactly the same person I was before.

I learned, for one thing, that I can disagree with people on some issues, yet respect them very much. I never used to be very good at that. I tended to treat conservatives of every stripe (and yes, even liberal libertarians are conservatives) as enemies. They were bad people, as far as I was concerned -- except for my conservative friends, who were simply deluded.

Now, having really listened to them for a change, I understand that they have deeply-held convictions that make them think the way they do. I still think they're being hoodwinked by the Right Wing, but that doesn't mean they're nuts. I agree with them that there is much wrong on the Left today; we merely disagree about what should be done about it. They prefer to oppose everything about the Left, tarring everybody on that side with the same brush, while I choose to stay and work -- fight like hell, if necessary -- to turn progressivism back onto its proper course.

I choose this course of action because I also learned the consequences of picking up my marbles and leaving because things weren't going altogether my way. The American Left has been largely hijacked by whackjobs and unscrupulous opportunists -- people who either want to work out their personal problems on the political stage or hope to gain power and prestige by using progressivism as a cover. This cannot be improved by my leaving, which only makes things worse. If I were to exit forever, there would be one less reasonable and principled person and still more power for the whackjobs and the con artists.

There are a great many, these days, who fancy themselves conservatives not because they truly are (when you talk with them, you find out they're just disgruntled liberals), but because they've bought into the Right-Wing propaganda pronouncing liberalism dead. If progressive principles were as crazed and stupid as many people today seem to think they are, it never would have gained as much traction in society -- or made so many momentous changes -- as it has over the years. Truth be told, most of what now makes life worth living came about as a result of progressive values winning out over conservative ones.

Life would suck for me -- a woman, who also happens to be a lesbian -- if conservatives had their way. Almost everything I value has come about because progressives fought for it. And over the past few years, especially, it has become apparent that the Right Wing, especially the Republicans, want nothing short of my total destruction. I don't understand why these people hate me so much, but as I look around the country, at what they're trying to do to my life and the lives of those like me, I can no longer afford the luxury of thinking that they don't.

The libertarians are somewhat better, and seem to have real principles -- something that conservatives, in the late-Bush era, obviously do not. But they are so obsessed with government that they can't understand the threat global capitalism poses to decent human life everywhere. Once mega-corporations get the power of government, in effect, they BECOME governments unto themselves.

Oppression is oppression, and tyranny is tyranny. My foray into libertarian-land has left me stunned at their cluelessness about this very basic fact. Corporations now have the power to do to us what few governments, no matter how oppressive, have ever been able to accomplish by themselves. A hundred years ago, they called rapacious capitalists "robber barons" for good reason. They did something few of us any longer seem to have done -- studied history -- and they saw the ominous parallels between unbridled capitalism and the feudalism of the Dark Ages.

A final lesson I have learned, watching liberals become more and more demoralized and confused by the savage beating they've been taking from the Right Wing, is that today we need liberals more than ever. You miss them once they're gone -- no matter how tired of them you may have thought you were. We cannot presume that progress will continue. It can be undone -- and right now, the radical Right is trying its damnedest to do exactly that.

And so, onward and upward. Barack Obama must increase, and that charlatan Hillary Clinton must decrease. She MUST. If she is elected, it may indeed strike the final death-blow to all true progressivism in this country.

No wonder Rush Limbaugh is rooting her on...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself...

Well, it looks as if Senator Obama's almost got it all sewn up now. The only way Clinton could possibly get the nomination would be to hijack democracy entirely somehow, thereby destroying the very party named for democracy. The Republicans who hope this happens are the ones who really hate America.

This week, as usual, I watched American Experience on PBS. One of this country's greatest presidents, FDR, was profiled. And I was reminded of a very crucial fact: Democrats are the enemies of fear. "The only thing we have to fear," President Roosevelt told the country in the depth of the Depression, "is fear itself." And how right he was!

Republicans love fear, and the chaos that triggers it. Just behold Rush Limbaugh, urging riots in Denver when the Democratic National Convention comes. Or "President" Bush, ignoring intelligence warnings of an imminent terrorist attack because -- quite obviously -- he wanted it to happen. Hillary Clinton loves fear, too, which is why she's done all she can, during her campaign, to whip it up into a frenzy.

Hard-workin' white redneck whackos for Hillary. How you "progressives" who voted for her must burn with shame!

It is the Democrats, and real Progressives in general, who should hate terrorism the most. Terror is a conservative weapon. It is, in fact, along with ignorance, the only weapon they've got.
It is Right-Wingers who hope for another terrorist attack on this country -- and make no mistake about it, they absolutely salivate with glee over the possibility of it.

I hate thugs who threaten cartoonists and writers with violence because free speech is still free. I also hate thugs who, under the guise of "legitimacy," leech away our freedoms -- supposedly to save them. We must pray there will never be another terrorist attack on America, and work with peace-lovers everywhere to keep in from happening anywhere.

I will say it, loud and proud. It is Right-Wingers who are the natural allies of terrorists. They love 'em so much, they're helping them to multiply like maggots in a corpse. Enough, already, with the lie that the Right Wing could ever effectively fight them. Actions speak louder than words, and despite their bombastic, macho rhetoric, they've shown themselves utterly dedicated to stirring up more terrorism around the world.

"Bring 'em on!" said our Cowboy-in-Chief. We didn't realize just how literally he meant that.

Barack Obama is the enemy of fear, and the true foe of terrorism. How nuts it is that so many ignoramuses think he's Osama bin Laden's long-lost cuz. He wants to bring back the sense of optimism FDR once brought into the White House like a fresh breeze. "Yes, we can!" he tells us. And he means it.

We really do have nothing to fear but fear itself. And any superdelegates who let Hillary browbeat them into backing her are gonna find out what fear is. Democrats are not going to forget who tried to cancel out their votes. And the next time any of these not-so-super delegates tries to run for any kind of public office, including dogcatcher and outhouse inspector, they'll find out just how over their glorious political careers really are.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Saved From Certain Brain-Death

Some of my gay conservative friends wonder why I've become so darned argumentative. They've been working on me for soooo long now, and for a while they thought they had me -- at least halfway there. I was actually flirting, for a while, with changing my party affiliation from Democratic to Libertarian.

Okay, so I considered myself a liberal libertarian. And I told them I'd eat worms before ever considering becoming a Republican. I never had anything but comtempt for Frat Boy Bush, even when my Log Cabin friends were falling all over themselves about how he would save us from "terr-ism." And I have always, ALWAYS hated this war without reservation. But these were all perfectly respectable positions for a libertarian.

I still lean libertarian about some things. I think, for example, that it will be impossible to break the death-grip that big corporations have on America and the world as long as mega-government is enabling them. And I would like to see more of an emphasis, in social activism, on persuasion over coercion. I would, for example, prefer a "scarlet letter" law -- forcing employers who would discriminate against gays to publicly declare this and accept the stigma -- to laws telling people who they can and cannot hire. Employers who violated a full disclosure, or scarlet letter, law would be prosecuted for criminal fraud instead of simply receiving an ineffectual little slap on the wrist, and they'd be forced to think long and hard about whether the stigma was worth standing up for their vaunted "pro-family" principles.

But I have backed away from the abyss. It took some thinking, but I finally saw the light.

The reason I agreed with my gay conservative friends at least partially was that they are at least partially right. Liberals are NOT as solidly liberal as they used to be, and many are outright hypocrites. It is impossible, for example, to vote for a race-baiting, Limbaugh-courting bigot like Hillary Clinton and truly stand for progressive values. Though I respect many of those who support her, I cannot listen to their arguments in her favor and remain calm. If she wins, she will destroy what's left of the Democratic Party, and drive a stake through the already-feebly-beating heart of the Progressive Movement.

The gaycon's argument, however, departs from reason after that.

Lemme see if I can get this (in a manner of speaking) straight. They criticize the liberals for not being liberal enough, but their answer to that is to...become more conservative? Whaaaatheheck?!

If you think the liberals are not liberal enough, you are at least starting out on the right planet. But if you think the most constructive answer to this is to become a conservative, you have blasted off for Pluto.

This is drugs...this is your brain on drugs. If you think the liberals are TOO liberal, you're a conservative. If you think they're not anywhere darn near liberal enough, you are either a liberal yourself or else you are terribly, woefully, lamentably confused.

There is, in fact, only one constructive solution for someone like me, who wishes that the liberals were more liberal -- and that is to stick with the Left and try to help them get back to it. Turn that rocketship around -- a SHARP U-turn -- and head right back to Earth.

That, folks, is today's lesson on Logic 101. After a lapse of a couple of years, more or less, my brain is back off of life-support and functioning on its own. And I promise you'll hear nothing but clear thinking from me from now on.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Obama O-Rama

Well, I've finally found the jump-start I need to get this Blog going again. From now on, I'd like to make it a weekly blog, posting every Wednesday -- God willing.

My new inspiration? The incredible emergence of Senator Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential front-runner. This is, quite frankly, the most exciting political phenomenon of my entire adult life.

I had given up on the Democratic Party. Having confused the Progressive movement with the party, I had all but dismissed any interest in it, too. Long and soulful talks with good progressive friends have since restored my belief that without a strong Left in this country, not only America but the world is doomed. There are, indeed, elements of the Right (particularly liberal libertarianism) I find interesting, but let's look at the way the Right has dealt, thus far, with Senator Obama:

"Obama...Osama! Osama...Obama! Duuuuhhhhh...his middle name is HUSSEIN, d'yuh know that? And his preacher's real scary...and he's BLACK!"

That's it, folks. That's pretty much all they've got. In other words, they've got nuthin'. These poor, lost souls are so brain-dead that, post-Bush Junior, they can't even manage a coherent answer to the message of conciliation and optimism Obama presents.

Barack Obama is a classy man, and a gentleman in the true sense of the word. He's quality, through and through. I've read his book The Audacity of Hope, and I've heard him speak at least a couple dozen times. I've been watching and listening as he deftly, and with dignity, weathers the scumball bullshit the Clintons have been spewing at him. I can add very little to what he has to say for himself. Read his book, and listen for yourself.

It even looks as if enough Democrats still have the sense to remember what progressivism is that he may WIN the nomination. Let us fervently hope and pray. He may not wear a flag pin in his lapel (and what is up with that idiocy, anyway?), but he clearly loves America. There's a new generation of Democrats out there -- true progressives -- who are bringing the honor and common sense back to liberalism. It isn't a dirty word anymore.

Do I still consider myself something of a (very liberal) libertarian? Small-l, and without the creepy cultism, yes. But conversations with numerous true-believer, capital-L types have shown me that they'll never accept me as one of them. And I have to say that's a profound relief. There is nothing more utopian than Libertarianism with a capital L. Those poor, deluded souls, with their odd pride in their supposed anti-utopianism, will be the last to know it.

I know a few people still visit this Blog, because they've told me so. I hope they'll pause, once in a while, to leave a message and send me their hellos. There may be some way, through, to find out how many hits I'm getting, but I have no idea what that might be. I hope to build it up, now, to full strength, and to gather a loyal assortment of engaged readers -- however small that motley lot might be.

My theme -- and I do have one -- is that the far-out, whacko Right is what attacked America on September 11 of 2001. On that evil day, my thirty-ninth birthday, I was just too pissed-off that those thugs had chosen my birthday to do those deeds to be able to make sense of it all. But globalism does, indeed, present new opportunities to people all over the world, and never more abundantly than to extremist conservatives, both political and religious, who want to hold decent people everywhere hostage to fear. A new progressive movement, liberal at heart and libertarian in spirit, has begun to emerge from the ashes -- and Barack Obama leads the way.

He doesn't want us all to be mere followers. He hopes to energize us to take action alongside him. This is what I love best about him. And I fully intend to answer that call. May 2008 be the beginning of a real Obama-o-Rama. I hope as many of you as possible will come along for the journey.