(ATLANTA :: 19 July 2010) Tomorrow is election day here in the city of Atlanta and across the state of Georgia. We have been barraged by a litany of ads that tout the conservative cred of our candidates - including a now-infamous slam on Karen Handel’s previous support on “gay-partner” benefits and adoptions. Here’s a sample:
This is a multifaceted political trainwreck in that, since this charge, Handel has renounced any and all progressive values as she seeks the GOP state of Georgia gubernatorial nomination - and the conservative Deal appears to think he can score points with voters here in our state by calling her on it. (He trails in the polls.) John Oxendine, also a GOP candidate in Georgia, tried to outdo Deal by associating himself with a mailer that basically used the same message.
Seriously? You’re so married to your conservatism - and so desperate to win at all costs - that you’d blatantly ignore and foment disgust within a segment of your constituency by maligning support of it?
My problem is that there are NO issues discussed in these mailers - NONE. Zip. Just a fraudulent indictment of someone who bucked her party on progressive issues in the past.
I am an independent voter who can at least appreciate when Roy Barnes, Democratic state candidate, calls out the GOP for its state shenanigans about succession and rejection of stem-cell research.
Get real, Mr. Deal, et. al. If you are to be considered for governor of this state, you must realize that you ALSO are asking to preside over the city of Atlanta, its people and its surrounding environs. The city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia’s relationship has only gotten more adversarial under the leadership of Sonny Perdue, who has thwarted key city funding and development, and even disturbingly lead a prayer in front of the statehouse for rain. I object to those and other of his policies, although there is evidence of a thawing in relations of late.
If I am to swallow your bitter advertising pill, Mr. Deal - and if you make it into office, or even if Handel does - YOU are also required to accept, acknowledge and nurture the moral, civil, cultural and commercial center of this great southern state.
Here’s a hint: it’s NOT the statehouse, nor does it live under the Gold Dome. It’s Atlanta. And we will be voting this season.
Atlanta - cited as the “gayest city in the nation” by the Advocate (a story picked up by the AJC, NPR, and our own ProjectQ Atlanta) - is a national treasure that includes gays and lesbians, Mr. Deal (Miss Karen, I’d pay attention to this, too). Your advertisement is disgusting and offensive, and will hopefully be ineffective as a dual-discriminatation, negative-attack ad.
I’d like to remind you that Atlantans - gay or straight, black or white, liberal or conservative - will continue to speak up and seek the gay-partner spousal rights and gay-adoption benefits you malign in your ad. We will ALWAYS try and speak truth to your pursuit of power, and keep you honest at every point in the process. In other words, the more the state of Georgia tries to marginalize and diminish this great city and its people, the taller we will stand in reminding you not to mess with us.
As an intended gay parent myself, I represent the opinions mentioned in Deal’s ridiculous ad or in Handel’s comments or in Oxendine’s direct-bigot mailer campaign - and I object to all methods AND the content of the argument. They are all, down to their very core, false promises intended to scare people into voting for you. And it’s utter nonsense.
Mr. Deal, Ms. Handel, Mr. Oxendine: I invite you to take 10 minutes to speak to a candidate like Graham Balch - he has a mature and open worldview and an understanding of urban life that seems to be lost on you (and he’s in a tough race of his own). He rejects the status quo. He sees a city and state where EVERYONE thrives, where all people are accepted and encouraged to enter into partnerships and parenthood if they so choose. He is fiercely protective of our environment and wants us to pay teachers fairly and create superb learning environments. He is the Democrat for Georgia State Senate District 39, so feel free to look him up.
This Atlantan will be in the voting booth tomorrow, and I will select those candidates who understand me, my friends and my family, and whomever can celebrate diversity - not use it to malign your opponents. (This post was sent to both the offices of Mr. Deal and Ms. Handel; I will update if I receive any official comment.) (Photo courtesy of 11Alive.com, Atlanta.)
(ATLANTA :: 24 February 2009) To all those sour, whiny bitches who think liberal-minded folks are reflexively following Obama because he’s a messiah, or that his recovery plan is a Robin Hood giveaway to the poor, or that we are blind sheep getting herded to slaughter, here’s my message. Get the fuck over yourselves. Seriously.
I was asked to give Bush a chance in 2000. I did that. He failed. The most notable failure, of course, is his ridiculous invasion of Iraq and mismanagement of Afghanistan - two shitstorm doozies that continue to throw dookie on a fan that was submerged in it years ago. Where was the financial outrage then?
And then there’s Bush’s presiding over deregulation of the financial system, continuing the themes from the Clinton, Bush I and Reagan eras. We got the rich richer. The Bush’s nominations, minions and underlings were a particular source of twirling. Many of them in Justice came from Bible-chucking Liberty University, drawing from a pool of people he actually derided in secret meetings. Just ask David Kuo, who did an exclusive book treatment in Time magazine. “Evangelicals may share Bush's faith, but they would protect themselves--and their interests--better if they looked at him through the same coldly political lens with which he views them,” he writes. Barely anyone knows how sociopathic and opportunistic the Bush White House was with this particular group of people who elected him. Who helped put him in power, twice.
Now that we know “compassionate conservatism” is a sham, a farcical pretense, we need serious answers to serious issues, and we need someone competent - with usage of complete sentences and a sense of reverence for the job - to oversee this enormous task we have ahead of us. And I trust Obama FAR more than I trust his predecessor, but more than that, the people out in the field who will be executing his orders.
Not all of Obama’s decisions have pleased me - far from it. Look for a post on civil liberties soon... it will surprise you. Even people on his team piss me off, and will continue to do so I’m sure over the next four years.
But this idea that Obama is the left’s “second coming” is just absolute horseshit. It is a waste of time my friends... Why not focus effort on holding the current government accountable rather than using labels to marginalize? We need to spend less effort deriding the relief people feel (with approval of Obama running between 60 and 70 percent, although softening lately) and focus on solving our country’s woes. We’ll be better off. Seriously.
And make no mistake: Bush, Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Hannity and Rush’s perverted version of conservatism is what created the craving, the need frankly, for strong, authentic leadership. So, you are now witnessing the intense feelings of liberation that we, yes, finally have someone responsible at the helm. And it’s about goddamned time.
If our country is the overhead bin on an airplane long suffering in turbulence, we are now seeing the after effects of the shifting contents falling out. And it’ll take time to gather our belongings and deplane. (Image borrowed from Steve Morris/AirTeamImages)
(ATLANTA :: 3 Nov. 2008) This race is not just about race. Underlying threads of an "Us vs. Them" mentality have been poisoning our politics, our daily lives actually, for decades. In the words of Colin Powell, we need a "transformational figure" to dismantle and permanently dissolve that ideology:
Barack Obama is just that person to bring about dramatic change in our country. Yes, he's only one person and yes, he's just a politician... with the same shortcomings as any of us.
But as I told my relatives out West, it's not just about what he represents - it's about whom he'd surround himself with; the potential pool of those sharp, astute policy wonks - people who can problem solve and not wag fingers (that is, when they're not sitting on their hands). That made the difference for me. We need expert leadership in as many positions in government as possible, and now here's our chance.
Even Andrew Sullivan, a conservative writer and pundit, someone I watch intently, has been blogging about why Obama is the best choice. Thanks to Musty for passing along his post about an essay in the Times of London, talking about how Obama is the sensible salve for "profound national demoralization."
This is not about party affiliation or loyalty for me - this is about who presents the better solutions for our social (Supreme Court), economic (broken credit markets) and other woes.
I've already voted Obama and Jim Martin to defeat Saxby Chambliss, and will be volunteering tomorrow on Election Day. I will bring my camera along with me and record anything of interest.
As I said before... can you imagine intellectual curiosity in the White House again?
And the answer should be the same on California's Proposition 8, which limits marriage between a man and a woman... and has incited some dangerous language along with it.
Listen to right-wing nut job Tony Perkins "interview" people about this legislation:
For so long, for TOO long, we've used religion as a way of restricting freedoms instead of celebrating them. It's time for that to stop.
You have people, responsible ones, who want to "focus on the family" and have settled, safe, abundant lives and you're actually trying to stop that success? Seriously?
My committed (and now married) friends, Brenda & Julie and Wayne & Ed, are not attempting to infiltrate the nation's families. Do your family dynamics - some of them are laughable, some admirable - somehow contribute to mine?
(ATLANTA :: 13 October 2008) Do we really want to continue with the "Boot In The Ass" politics of the past? Do we *actually* want W's policies to live on past their 20 January 2009 dying day? Take a look at this clip, and then some comment excerpts following:
All the below comments, included without editing, come from the blog Macsmind. I normally don't give air time to festering wingnuts, but I want you to see and read firsthand how people have reacted to this video (courtesy of Anita sharing on Facebook):
Warden writes: "If Obama is elected you will no longer be living in a free nation."
Phipps writes: "Obama would have us show up for the gun fight at the OK corral with bare hands to negotiate! In his own words, Obama has declared this country open territory for every nut job in the world to do as they please."
Smith writes: "He IS someone to fear, and we Americans are the sheep going to slaughter if we don’t stop him."
Barber writes: "What every conservative christian in America should be doing is praying for God to have mercy on America one more time. If Obama gets this important possition, we have no hope in the values our fore-Fathers built this fine nation on."
Anonymous writes: "O’bama is a Muslim !! Anyone that will sit there and tell you that he will disarm our America definitely isn’t an American.We weren’t disarmed when our New York City exploded..We weren’t disarmed when our ships took on dynamite..Concerned,Very much so if we are lead by a Muslim.You “white” O’Bama nuts are only voting for this man because you hate george Bush so very much! He and his wife Hates White folks!!! The Blacks,what can I say more?They’re voting for him Because he is black..I don’t like the way GB has run our country either but I’m be damned if I’ll give a Muslim my vote!!!"
Assuming that many of these posters were transformed by 9/11, as we all were, fear is the guiding principle of their opposition to Obama. Fear of being left unprotected; that if we aren't always on offense we are pussies, wimps, losers, un-Christian and un-American. Fear of the great unknown.
That is a steaming pile of horse shit.
We've tried George Bush's America, his OK Corral, his anti-compassionate conservatism, and it hasn't worked. Time for something new.
But I'll go a step further: don't wave a loaded gun in my face and tell me your a peacekeeper. Fear makes everyone a gun-toting trailblazer - when you think you're protecting yourself from the angry mob in your neighborhood or if you're in the armed services. Guns, missile defenses, threats of war and phony posturing are all tools of a disintegrated masculine tirade, and it's all a bunch of crap.
If you believe radical Islam is out to get you, you should equally be fearful of radical Christianity, or radical anything. The McCain campaign has tried to instill fear in the American electorate by insinuations and wonderings aloud:
There are "leaders" who bait and switch because they don't have the chops, and there are leaders who... LEAD. There is sensible protection that doesn't inflame our friends, and then there is aggression for the sake of being a badass. We have failed on that point, and many others, over the past seven years.
If we continually operate from a place of fear, we will never, repeat NEVER, advance or learn from what happened on 9/11, as referenced in the above comments.
So, here the final thought: no more chest thumping, no more brow beating, no more "this town ain't big enough...", no more my dick is bigger than yours.
Peace will lead to prosperity and understanding. Sensible protectionism and normalized military mobilization is our best chance for freedom and world leadership.
This report is about a month old, but it puts Palin's refusal to cooperate now in better context. Flouting rules and abuse of power is exactly why we find ourselves in the messes, plural, that we're in now. Is Palin cut from that cloth?
(ATLANTA :: 5 October 2008) Step out of the shadows.
That's the message from Deepak Chopra, writing a piece called "Obama and The Palin Effect," for the HuffPost. Chopra argues that Sarah Palin represents the shadow self, tantalizing and luring us into embracing fear and suspicions rather than engaging our more integrated, enlightened and higher self.
"She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses," he writes. "In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of 'the other.' For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don't want to express them." Chopra's piece is a masterstroke in sensible reality creation and understanding where, either subliminally or directly, one can attempt to darken an otherwise bright and optimistic horizon. To turn the fear on its ear, think instead of "the other" as possibly "the one" for which we could be looking. You are not subverting yourself to believe in a single agent of change. In fact, it's the very leadership we need in the face of the three "Es": energy, the environment and our pummeled economy, to name a few.
So, because I believe so strongly in Barack Obama as a catalyst for change in this country, I ask you to stop and look forward:
...It's Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008. It's mid morning and you're into your third cup of coffee. One full month after our general election has passed; we are gearing up for the holiday season - but also, the next administration is conducting transition plans for January 20, 2009. These plans include choosing people for cabinet positions; setting critical policy direction and decisions; and ramping up other important political machinations that will shape our future.
On this day, would you prefer to be anticipating a McCain-Palin administration to take over, with much of the same philosophies and strategies and shortcomings of our current administration? Or, while in the transition, would you prefer to be anticipating a more dramatic change, with confidence that, no matter how scary the unknown may actually be, that by our own action and decisions, our country is going to fundamentally shift to a new tone, direction and priority system?
If you envision yourself on that day, awaiting the transition... which scenario fits with our collective needs as a country?
And in the broadest of terms: would you prefer to install the oldest president ever chosen, an outwardly bitter and angry person, who chose a profoundly unqualified running mate; or would you want instead to be a witness to history - led by a clearly more integrated, connected, reasoned, decent human being, the first African American ever elected? Does that last idea bring up a pang of fear or a feeling of pride?
If you answer "both," you're not alone. No change comes without preceding chaos, and Palin is sure tryin' hard to instill that in us - with a shameful accusation that Obama is "paling around with terrorists." Seriously?
Do not give in to fear. Chopra writes:
"Obama's call for higher ideals in politics can't be seen in a vacuum. The shadow is real; it was bound to respond. Not just conservatives possess a shadow -- we all do. So what comes next is a contest between the two forces of progress and inertia. Will the shadow win again, or has its furtive appeal become exhausted?" I believe the latter.
So... your future self is sitting in the presidential transition, on that fateful Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008, with the hope that we step out of the shadows as a powerful statement against the sad, manipulative pandering of both the Bush administration and what the McCain-Palin ticket has thus far stood for.
Neither party is perfect. But this year we have a clear choice. Step out of the shadows and embrace progress.
# # #
(graphic courtesy of geeksugar; chopra picture: intent.com)
Update: McCain gestures to Obama during debate last night (7 Oct. 2008) and says "that one," intending to be ironically and heroically dismissive and yet ending up looking like an ignoramus.
Whether or not Palin actually makes it to Nov. 4, the choice underscores McCain's poor judgment. If you agree that we are as good as the people we gather around us, he's starting off with one of the biggest mistakes of his career.
But there's a somewhat strong chorus of boos coming from a surprising group of people: conservatives.
(ATLANTA :: 29 September 2008) - Take a break from the financial disaster we are in for a moment. I learned a scary thing today - one of many that we can't lose sight of when we go to the voting booth. We are in the midst of an attempted religious hijacking of American politics from pulpits across the country.
We don't need more examples of this than McCain's choice of Palin; she's fired up the conservative base of the party. But here's a clear one in case you do. Many people have expressed concern about her freakishly conservative religious views that could be a "heartbeat away" from the presidency.
Are we open to that idea? Absolutely NOT.
A group of pastors are going to intentionally violate tax law and endorse McCain - the same candidate who called Jerry Fallwell an "agent of intolerance" and then a few years later embraced him and spoke at his school. (The self-proclaimed "Maverick" is a shape-shifting neo-con cypher that is a shadow of the shadow he used to be back in 2000.)
Still more dangerous is the Alliance Defense Fund (link intentionally omitted), a group that is poised to defend these pastors in court as they attempt to shape the campaign from the pulpit.
So, let me understand: you're going to break the law and then ask us to foot the bill when you are taken to court? This is not civil disobedience - you are BREAKING THE LAW. Equally bad is that you're pushing your religious beliefs in the public sector and our Constitution says it's wrong.
Let your parishioners make up their own minds and stay out of the process. Your job as spiritual adviser and advocate does not make the podium on which you speak a political bully pulpit.
Allow this trail of religion to inject itself and you'll see Roe v. Wade blown up... and our Supreme Court will start looking more like an Evangelical revival than a respected judicial body.
We can see how well we do when we see ourselves as the chosen ones. Vote Obama and quite literally block this delusional world view from infecting our political system.
As it turns out, since then, we've come to know the Bush Administration for playing fast and loose with our freedoms, our military and foreign-policy decisions, and his choices to head up key leadership roles. And that's just for starters.
"Doin' a heckuva job Brownie."
From self-aggrandizing executive signing orders to consolidating executive-branch power, he's not only a failure but a danger to our nation as long as he's in office. I'm counting the days.
I'd be ashamed if he were from Atlanta (or New York, or Virginia -- even West Virginia). The good news? We got that great CD out of the whole affair, and they were rewarded for it at the Grammys.
As you watch the above beautiful video, remember how much shit Maines and the Chicks got (remember the radio station-sponsored bulldozers running over their CDs?) and how she transmuted it into something truly amazing.
Turns out, I'm very often not ready to make nice, either.
McCain's spokeswoman is nice to look at, articulate, pedigreed, whatever.
But it's her comments about Gen. Wesley Clark that have caused Twirl Factor 10 in the Pollock household this morning.
Will someone please tell me when Clark joined the Obama campaign? Oh that's right... NEVER. Clark's opinion that getting shot down in open warfare doesn't qualify someone to be commander in chief has been contorted by Hazelbaker. Partial clip from RedLasso:
Quoting directly from American Morning: "This is not about Wesley Clark, this is about Barrack Obama. Let's drop the pretense that Barrack Obama is going to raise the dialogue and elevate the debate in this election. If Barrack Obama really wanted to do that, he would get Wesley Clark off the airwaves attacking John McCain's long record of and legacy of service to the American people."
Even though John Roberts meekly tried to explain to this hack that Clark wasn't impugning McCain's integrity, she replied (this portion is not in the clip because the interview rolled over the top of the hour):
"John, let's be clear, this is not about Wesley Clark, this is about Barrack Obama. He talks about changing this country and yet his surrogates are attacking John McCain on a daily basis. This is a pattern of going at John McCain's strength which is his military service and his long legacy of leadership in this country. And if Barrack Obama wants to really let us believe that there is truth behind his words he would stop his surrogates from attacking John McCain." So let's US be clear: Gen. Clark is not an Obama spokesman. He is on his own. He speaks from his own experience. He may be vying for a VP spot, but Obama has no control over what he says, nor should he try to exert any. This is a concerted attempt by the McCain campaign to redirect and spin political gold out of a nothing quote, a nothing event -- on behalf of a candidate that looks desperate to surf a false tide of negativity against his opponent.
Most of all, I wish Roberts would have reiterated the fact that Clark is not -- despite the frequent use of this pejorative word -- a "surrogate" of Obama's campaign.
Hey Jill, dude: stick to the issues. Our country is in the crapper and we need to focus on how to move forward.