Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful for Matt Lauer

I hope y'all dvr'd the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, because, as you know, they won't let you watch it on YouTube.  I can't emphasize enough how important the Macy's Day Parade is if you are an American.  It is a unique blend of crass commercialism and sappy patriotism where actual art and protest occasional rear their ugly heads.

Also, if you don't watch, you will miss highlights like the time a few years ago when one of the balloons got caught in a wind and landed on a group of parade watchers.

This year, if you didn't watch, you missed a song from Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.  You also missed the US Naval Academy Glee Club singing America the Beautiful on a float made up of the disembodied hand of the Statue of Liberty, which I thought pretty symbolic.  It would have been perfect had there been a word balloon breaking out beside the hand saying, "Help meeee...."

The highlight of this year's parade, hands down, however, was Matt Lauer's introduction of the next group, "...the 65 active duty men and women who compromise the NYPD marching band."

One only hopes that Matt did it on a dare.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 11, 2011

DeMint in a Vacuum

Proud to be from Jim DeMint country again today.  It was that strange Alice in Wonderland kind of experience that happens so often whenever someone from the republic party opens his mouth.

Checked my email, to find a message from Senator DeMint, dated today, Veterans Day.  In it, he goes on about how grateful we should all be to our troops who are risking their lives for us.  Blah, blah, blah.  Contemplated sending a reality based reply, then remembered that that would be like a thought being swallowed by a black hole, and hit delete.

A short while later, I was catching up on yesterday's news, and, quelle suprise, DeMint's name came up.

Seems that yesterday, the day before Veterans Day, Senator DeMint was the only no-vote on a bill to provide tax credits to employers who hire veterans.

Jim thinks this is a "democrat" plot to make him look bad.  And besides, it would be unfair to give an advantage to a guy who just returned from getting shot at defending our country.

Good to know that Jim DeMint has a sense of fair play, even though his command of the English language is questionable.

Actually, forgive my cynicism, but despite the fairy tale spun by the Heritage Foundation, many of the returning veterans are likely to be working class or poor, and many are persons of color.  If those coming back were well-connected, not only would they not be needing the government's help in getting a fair shake, but DeMint would be all over it, wanting to make sure we gave our veterans what they "deserve".

I don't believe that Jim DeMint is a racist.  I believe he is a class warrior.  He will fight and fight tirelessly for those who have, because in his mind, they (himself included) deserve what they have.

So, on the one hand, veterans, Jim DeMint thanks you for your service.  On the other hand, now that you're back, you're on your own.

Friday, November 4, 2011

To Occupy or Not to Occupy

As I listened to the founder of Occupy Charleston last night, I felt a frisson of fear creep up my spine.

This is because this movement is young, idealistic and uncompromising.  These are good things.

But I recalled the last time young people had an opinion and were willing to take to the streets for it.  In 1968, the hippies were against war and capitalist greed, and mocked the old folk who had got us where we were.  They didn't care if it was Hubert Humphrey or Richard Nixon (or Richard Daley for that matter).  They were rejecting and rebelling against the status quo, the comfortable middle class who were sending their sons to Vietnam, the corporations that were profiting from that war, the universities and the politicians that were colluding with the military industrial complex.

They didn't care who won the election; they were both the enemy.

So last night, when the speaker said he didn't really care if Obama got re-elected, or if it took ten years to reach their goals, I shuddered.

I'm older now, lots older.  I may not be around in ten years, but if I am, there is a good chance we will still be controlled by corporations that sleep with politicians and supreme court justices alike.  I will probably have had to work longer before I can collect my social security, which will be too little to pay the bills.  My kids, who are not corporate executive/financial kingpin types, will probably be lucky if they are able to support their families without having to worry about housing and healthcare, and truly fortunate if their children are well educated.

I look at our democratic party, and I see people who are afraid to stand up for democratic ideals.  I see people who are elected promising campaign finance reform, and once elected decide it's not good to bite the hands that feed them.

In South Carolina, I see a party so stuck in its rules that the corruption that was the Alvin Greene debacle of 2010 did not allow them to support a truly democratic candidate from a third party.  And democratic candidates who would not stand with that third party candidate, although we really do know that there is strength in numbers.

I believe that the hippies of 1968 would call that all bullshit, and the Occupy movement would give a downward finger wiggle to anyone running for office who defines their campaign by what is rather than what is right.

I believe Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are candidates this movement can support because they will unflinchingly support the ideals behind this movement.

And it will be a sad, sad day for us all if our democratic candidates are not able to get on board, not because that is where the votes are, but because the cause is right.