A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

A Final Summary

John Kerry has conceded. I also must concede. In America we keep our freedom by the politics of persuasion rather than force. George W. Bush persuaded a clear and unequivocal majority of Americans to support him, and, for once, enough of us voted to make that completely plain--which is by far the best news of this election. I personally was very proud to be a part of this resurgence of political participation.

Now that I no longer am constrained to electioneer over the Internet, however, and no longer need to give a damn whom I persuade, I can finally be wholly frank.

The people who wish everybody to "make nice" and "pull together" in this country are febrile fools. It has been thirty years of "pulling together" and "making nice" that gave us 40% voter turnout or less.

I, personally, love more voters at the polls and hate the smarmy cant of American "unity" worse than cold boiled meat for breakfast.

In my considered opinion, the last four years of American government have been a total disaster. It was my opinion on November 1 and it remains my opinion on November 4.

In politics we must persuade, but age and maturity will teach anyone who is NOT a febrile fool that clever, sentimental, and sanctimonious lies are often more persuasive than hard truths.

That is what happened the day before yesterday.

I sharply slowed down my posting on this blog over the past two weeks because it seemed that all the issues which could be reasonably discussed had been discussed to death. I still think this is the case and that we must wait for George W. Bush and the Republican Party to try to do something new that is worth writing about. So this post is something in the nature of a final summary.

For now, I have to adjust my personal life to an America--and a world--of continued irrelevant, pointless, and militarily useless violent death; diminished personal opportunities; and nuclear armed Islamic fundamentalists. An America, and a world, largely, though not solely, the creation of George W. Bush.

So I'll be busy for the next four years.

I will repeat what I said before: enough of us voted to make the state of our country completely plain--which is by far the best news of this election. Enough people voted to finally know where we stand.

We needed to know that it doesn't matter to a majority of Americans how many soldiers die, or for what reasons, as long as we are shooting at somebody, any somebody, whether its the right somebody or not, and whether it accomplishes anything or not. And we needed to know that the mere stuffy fact that the man who planned the attack on us is free to make videotapes taunting us doesn't really matter as long as we are shooting at someone else.

We needed to know that it doesn't really matter how we treat anybody who is not "one of us" or any other country anywhere. And that all norms of treaty, law, mutual agreement, or even common courtesy toward those not "one of us" are revocable by us with no notice.

We needed to know that it doesn't matter how much money the government borrows and spends. Or what countries we owe that money to.

We needed to know that it doesn't matter how many jobs we outsource from this country, how many jobs we destroy within it, or what the ultimate consequences are for the health, happiness, and future of our people.

And we needed to know that the CEO's driving the outsourcing are worth the millions they are being paid to turn such reliably immediate cost-cutting profits to sell their stock options, quarterly, for millions more.

We needed to know that it doesn't matter how many hard-working people we let across the border to do our minimum wage grunt work without putting up a fuss in English--even when no single individual can eat, drive, and keep a roof over his head on full time at minimum wage alone.

We needed to know that it doesn't matter if medical costs rise five times faster than anybody's salaries (except the CEO's, of course) and that it doesn't matter how many of us lose medical coverage or watch our own coverage erode yearly as companies file off benefits from their plans.

We needed to know that it doesn't matter when gasoline and fuel prices skyrocket and airlines crunch in as a result. Not to mention the curbs on our own freedom to travel or the costs to live and heat our homes which this implies.

We needed to know that the only thing that really matters is that gays don't get married, that Roe v. Wade is finally overturned, and that, to quote the platform of the Texas Republican Party, "The United States is a Christian Nation".

We needed to know that the only things that really matter are God, guns, gay bashing, and shooting at some foreign nationals somewhere.

This is about what my friends in the opposite party call "values".

Not my "values", thank you.

We needed to know all this. And now we do. We finally got enough people on record that this IS how a majority of American voters view things.

Finally.

13 Comments:

Blogger The Anchoress said...

I suspect you and I would disagree about many things. But we agree on several that suggest to me we'd have a good time disagreeing.

1) George H.W. Bush is a favorite of mine, too, although I admit that when I was a Democrat, I did not vote for him. But having read his book, "All the Best", I came to like and admire him very much. And he wrote me a completely charming and sweet letter in response to my telling him I liked the book!

2) The Code of the Woosters! One of my favorite all time books and I can't imagine how I forgot to list it in my bio! I can recite whole portions of the thing and read it at least once a year, particularly if I'm feeling down. Spink-bottle! The Basset ("I call her a ghastly girl because she is a ghastly girl..."), Stiffy and Stinker! Eulalie! It's the greatest farce ever written! I'll have to update my bio!

3) Casablanca and Animal Crackers! Yeats! Sigh. At least we agree on all the important things! :-)

2:16 PM  
Blogger The Anchoress said...

I have to say though, the 'the only thing that mattered is that gays don't get married' (because everyone who voted for Bush is a dumbhickbigothater) meme is already drying up and flying away, and it's incredibly, incredibly insulting to those of us (and we are many) within the GOP who do not have a problem with these issues you think you 'need to know' and which you believe define us. Intellectually honest gays and dems are rejecting that meme, (see Andrew Sullivan, among others) and for you to hold it to your bosom is to refuse to look at some very simple truths about what has become of the Democrat party. I could tell you why I left it, myself, but I've already done it in my blog and I'm short on time.

It's really not enough, at this point, for the Democrats to hate, look down upon, condescend, and stereotype and then call that "understanding" or "knowing" all about the opposition. You guys are going to have to listen and really hear us, sooner or later, or we're lost. And I want the Democrat party to become healthy and viable again - we need a two party system.

THIS young woman sums up my own position almost perfectly, except that I was more enthusiastic in my Bush vote than she was. :-) tp://fromasadamerican.blogspot.com/2004/11/how-you-could-have-had-my-vote.html

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that Bush won. I guess he suceeded in rallying the right-wing by stirring up the myriad prejudices that lie at the core of religious fundamentalism. Gay marriage... and likening John Kerry to Jane Fonda liberalism (i.e.-communism). Politics amounts to the money and the meaness one can pour into an add campaign. And noone can do it better than the RNC. Working in marketing for 9 years of my life... marketing relies on perception becoming reality.. and that is what a good add campaign can do... skew the reality. I think had Kerry spoken to his 20 years in the Senate... in comparison to (where was GB exactly during those same years...?) and come met the swift boat campaign against him with outrage... he might have procured the vote. My hope is that we are not in for another 4 years of conservative self-righteous. It's wrong to work your agenda to the exclusion of half of America.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that Bush won. I guess he succeeded in rallying the right-wing by stirring up the myriad prejudices that lie at the core of religious fundamentalism. Gay marriage... and likening John Kerry to Jane Fonda liberalism (i.e.-communism??). Politics amounts to the money and the meaness one can pour into an add campaign. And noone can do it better than the RNC. Working in marketing for 9 years of my life... marketing relies on the magic of perception becoming reality.. and that is what a good add campaign can do... skew the reality. This campaign, obviously wasn't won on academic merit or presentation. I think had Kerry spoken to his 20 years in the Senate... in comparison to (where was GB exactly during those same years...?) had he met the swift boat campaign against him with outrage... he might have procured the vote. My hope is that we are not in for another 4 years of conservative self-righteousnes (i am ever the optimist). It's wrong to work your agenda to the exclusion of half of America.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Joseph Marshall said...

Well, Anchoress, the criticisms the young lady made are certainly fair. What I would point out, though, is that her vote (whether she thinks so or not) was a vote FOR a vision of America in which she does not believe, and which will become far closer to reality over the next four years.

It was also a vote FOR what I think, at least, were massive and systematic failures both of omission and comission by the current President.

John Kerry was, perhaps, not our best candidate. I was a Howard Dean supporter and never believed John Kerry would be the best choice. And I still would rather have lost this election with Howard Dean than lost it with John Kerry exactly because of the reasons the young lady gives: Howard Dean would have taken clearer stands about the real issues--he did so in the primaries, but could not get anyone in the media to listen.

But to the young lady I would say one thing: I hope you enjoy what you have voted FOR because you will get a great deal of it.

8:19 AM  
Blogger The Anchoress said...

Sir, No presidency is without some failures - whether 'massive' or not is a matter of opinion, I think. If Bush's failures seem "massive" it could be because he the things he is undertaking are both massive and visionary. Nothing was being done before 9/11 to weed out terrorists, de-fund them and de-fang them, and try to re-create the reality of life over there that CREATES terrorism. Had Kerry won, I really believe we'd go back to that 9/10 mentality at our peril.

You cannot do great things without some miserable failures, and for all you disagree, we are trying to do great things here. We had plenty of mistakes/failures and quiet "oops" ops in WWII, but we didn't have an immediate source of news, or such a strikingly partisan press to color it all for us so quickly or conveniently. The problem with that quickness is that thought often goes by the wayside and emotion takes over. Not good in war. I personally do not see the massive systemic failures because I'm too busy focusing on the successes the press never allow us to see - the 5.5% unemployment rate (same as Bill Clinton's at his re-election) being a small example.

Have you ever read the speech Bush gave in England, November 2003, at Whitehall? There is the vision, all laid out. Even Europe had to admit it was a good vision and they praised it. Here in the US, with the campaigns about to get serious, it was cut away from by the networks halfway thru. C-span never re-ran it. Go read it. This man is not the evil monster the press and the left are trying so very hard to make him out to be.

Btw...thanks for the book and music recommendations - I will seek them out, particularly the Ella. :-)

Best,
Anchoress

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO: Anonymous
RE: Not Quite

"I guess he suceeded in rallying the right-wing by stirring up the myriad prejudices that lie at the core of religious fundamentalism." -- Anonymous

I suspect you are rather ignorant about US religious 'fundamentalists'. May I suggest some good reading material?

As I learned in the military, "Know thy enemy and know thyself and thou shalt never be defeated." Sun Tzu, the Art of War. That's not in the book I was referring you to, but it is applicable here. Unless you KNOW your enemy you shall always be defeated.

So read your enemy's referential material and learn how they think.

"My hope is that we are not in for another 4 years of conservative self-righteous." -- Anonymous

Look who's talking....


TO: Joseph Marshall
RE: The Republican Platform

"We needed to know that the only things that really matter are God, guns, gay bashing, and shooting at some foreign nationals somewhere." -- Joseph Marshall

I thought it was all about God, Guns and Guts.... Everything else, just naturally falling into place.

RE: For the Record

"We needed to know all this. And now we do. We finally got enough people on record that this IS how a majority of American voters view things." -- Joseph Marshall

And it will likely increase as time goes by...

here's why.

It's a bit down in there, somewhere.

Regards,

Chuck(le)

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. Please define "gay bashing".

If it is what I think it is, are you suggesting that telling people their drunk driving is immoral is the same thing? Albeit, Drunk Bashing? How about pedophiles? Rapists? Drug addicts?

The question REALLY becomes one what do you base your moral code? Where is it 'written', so to say.

Then we get into that business I've suggested here before, how do you determine which moral code works best?

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.P.S. Hmmmm....

"I, personally, love more voters at the polls and hate the smarmy cant of American "unity" worse than cold boiled meat for breakfast." -- Joseph Marshall

...have you ever REALLY been "hungry"? Ever had to survive on LRRPs or MREs for an extended period? How about one meal a day of those? Ever see that movie, with Robert Young, Northwest Passage?

Visualize REAL hunger.

And then, get a grip.....

7:51 PM  
Blogger Joseph Marshall said...

Chuckles, I wasn't talking about hunger, I was talking about appetite as a metaphor for other preferences.

I must say that for a very sharp fellow you seem more distracted than you should be by literary language and less capable than you might be of coming to grips with the content expressed in literary language.

The point I was trying to make is that politics is a contact sport, and there is no reason to pretend that it isn't. My values are not quite yours--and the choices between mine and yours have real consequences, some of which I don't like. In those conditions a call for "unity" on my part is flabby foolishness. The exact same thing is true for you.

The food was just a metaphor. I think in metaphors. I just do and there's no help for it.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Joseph Marshall said...

I would also remark that the things I mentioned as being "not important" to a majority of Americans are still clearly not important to my fine commenters the Anchoress and Chuck Pelto.

What is "not important" to them are the actual facts of where our country and our people are headed OUTSIDE of three areas: the legal definition of "marriage", the legal status of abortion, and the tactical (NOT the strategic) exercise of military force.

They are important to me. ALL the relevant facts are important to me, and not just the handful in which I am emotionally invested due to my religious beliefs. This is the basis of what I can now confidently term "blue state values". Values which are pragmatic and based on results, or a reasonable extrapolation from results.

They are Yankee values. They come from New England. And, as we can see from the widely circulated Red/Blue maps (particularly the one of the counties that turned out a majority for John Kerry both north of the Mason/Dixon line and on the West Coast) they live deepest and surest in the places where Yankees hold sway, or where they migrated to the most.

It is noteworthy that Mark Twain, who was our shrewdest social observer of red state values in Huckleberry Finn, chose to live his mature life and raise his children in Danbury, Connecticut. After this election, Huck Finn is well worth a re-reading to see where we still stand.

8:18 AM  
Blogger MerryMadMonk said...

Joseph sounds a lot like Josh (that other Marshall). Joseph apparently has no concrete ideas to offer. He apparently finds it easier and more satisfying to sit back and criticize.

"Fewer terrorists around the world, exposed terrorists in America actually convicted of crimes in a fair trial that the courts uphold, an Iran diverted from nuclear ambitions, an Afghanistan that is both "democratic" AND not flooding Europe with heroin, an Iraq insurgency completely pacified with free elections, an economic recovery that brings back the millions of lost good jobs, and health care and fuel costs commensurate with general low inflation."Yes, don't we all want fewer terrorists around the world? Let me guess, you would do it better than it's being done now. How?

I want the terrorists dead. Joseph seems to have confused the War on Terrorism with the other (non-) wars: War on drugs, war on tobacco, war on this, war on that. This is a real war.

Iran will be diverted from nuclear ambitions when American or Israeli bunker busters have target lock .. or when the mullahs are overthrown -- whichever comes first. And pray tell, what would you have done to divert the mad mullahs from their nuclear ambitions?

Afghanistan, after centuries of warfare among its many diverse tribes, recently held its first national elections. The poppy fields are a problem. We'll get to it, but please have a little patience, instead of stomping your feet and demanding it be fixed right now!

"An Iraq insurgency completely pacified with free elections" -- Do you suffer from cranial anal insertion or do you just want it to be done faster? If faster, how should we proceed to make it so?

And how about the economic recovery that's taking place? Extraordinary given the damage to our economy as a result of 9/11. Not fast enough? Not enough good jobs? Faster, more, now, now, now. Any parent can easily identify that attitude. It is called the terrible-twos.

Health care costs will improve when we have tort reform.

Oil prices have been dropping. Or haven't you heard? Funny what re-electing President Bush has done for OPEC attitude adjustment.

6:38 PM  
Blogger MerryMadMonk said...

ooops. The above comment was intended for The Anchoress blog.

My eyes are playing tricks on me.

So read it in the context of a reply your comments over there.

6:44 PM  

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