21st Century Hate

I was noodling around the intertoobz tonight, and was struck by the thought that the concept of "American Exceptionalism" may refer to our ability to bring teh stupid.

First up to bat are the down with brown anti-immigrant numbskulls. From the Los Angeles Times:

Walt Staton wanted to help people, and his tool was a water jug. On the morning of Dec. 4, he and three others drove southwest from Tucson, to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, which tens of thousands of illegal immigrants traverse each year.

But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the plastic jugs he left for the immigrants endanger wildlife, and this week Staton was sentenced in federal court in Tucson on a charge of littering. He was given one year of unsupervised probation and ordered to spend 300 hours picking up trash.

The sentence, however, does not quite capture the emotions surrounding the case — yet another testament to the volatility of the illegal immigration debate in Arizona. Prosecutors had asked for a $5,000 fine and five years’ probation. Staton, for his part, had insisted on a trial, rather than pay a $175 fine.

In recent months, as the legal proceedings progressed, each side has essentially accused the other of staging a show trial to bolster its view of U.S. border policy.

Staton, a 27-year-old Web designer and soup kitchen volunteer, viewed his actions as humanitarian. As he had done for five years with the faith-based aid group No More Deaths, Staton in December lugged water up hills and through scrub to remote, migrant-carved trails. Only this time, when he and his comrades returned from leaving eight jugs at their last stop, authorities were waiting, and he was cited by a Fish and Wildlife Service officer.

This is just sick. The Federal government, through the Arizona US Attorney’s Office, egged on by the anti-immigration movement, which is very vocal in Tucson and Southern Arizona, got a burr up its butt and spent over $50,000 to prosecute this heinous criminal who took time away from his volunteer work at a soup kitchen to try to keep some human beings from dehydrating to death in the desert. Littering. The brown hating Lou Dobbs crowd makes a lot of noise and bring a lot of pressure in Tucson and parts due south. I guess they got a trophy Dobbs can crow about now. In the immortal words of Vince Lombardi, what the hell is going on here?

Next, from my local rag, the Arizona Republic, comes the nay on gay ganglion for brains bunch up in Utah:

A southern Utah newspaper has rejected a gay California couple’s wedding announcement, saying its policy is to publish announcements only for marriages legal under Utah law.

The Spectrum in St. George initially accepted a paid wedding announcement for Tyler Barrick and Spencer Jones last week, but then changed course, Jones said. The San Francisco couple were legally married June 17, 2008. They wanted the announcement printed in Jones’ hometown paper ahead of a family party next week.

Yep, can’t have anybody knowing that teh gay get hitched. I guess they figure if they don’t print it, no one will ever know. Good grief, can’t we just move on? Please?

Well, at least the fine authorities up there in Utah decided to drop the charges against the gay couple that had the audacity to kiss each other:

The Salt Lake City prosecutor’s office says it will not pursue charges against two men who were cited for trespassing on a Mormon church-owned downtown plaza earlier this month after sharing a kiss.

The United States may have elected a black man president, but you look out there every day and have to wonder just how far we really have come. It is not nearly as far as a great many people in this country think or give themselves credit for. Imagine if that energy was channeled to a productive, instead of destructive, end.

54 replies
  1. Neil says:

    Bringing teh stupid does make us exceptional, indeed. No other political culture reveres ignorance detests intellect and respects anger like we do.

    Did you watch the Pats play tonight? Edelmen is the new Wes Welker and Wes Welker will be back in a few weeks, BooYaa. Brady had an excellent first half, 2 TDs, 1 INT. Edelmen had a 75 yard TD punt return. Talking about football, time to go watch the second half. Looks like EW is too.

  2. bmaz says:

    Heh, I just sent her an email telling her how good he looked and she got all mad at me thinking I was trash snarking. I guess I have a reputation or something….

  3. Neil says:

    Who? You? he he.

    Defense needs work. They put more pressure on the ball – passing and running – last year in the 3-4 than they did tonight in the 4-3 but I think they’ll get it figured out. One less backer to fill the whole, squeeze the cutback lane, and cover. I curious about what drove the change.

  4. Jkat says:

    “when all the broken-hearted people ..living the in the world agree.. there will be an answer … let it be … ”

    good post bmaz … thank ya very much … the guy with the water jugs is lucky they didn’t string him up on the spot ..eh ?? probably would have if they could have found a bush tall enough to do it …

    sick shit ..it is …

  5. bobschacht says:

    Parallel to the point you’re making here, I think the Town Hall meetings imbroglio going on across the country now have ripped open a scab in the body politic: It may be that most of the country has moved on, and is willing to accept a Black President, and gay marriage, but there is a Resistant Core that is terrified because their world is getting turned upside down.

    During the Bush years, the Republicans stoked the fires of fear about National Security, teaching us to fear each other and Watch Out for “terrorists,” most of whom were expected to have brown skin and speak Middle Eastern languages.

    Now that Bush is no longer in office, and we have a non-White President who campaigned on a platform of change, Republicans are stoking the fires of fear because circumstances have forced President Obama to tackle ten problems at once, each one knee-capped by the Bush administration. But the cumulative effect is to raise the prospect of wholesale change, upsetting the Status Quo and threatening the Domestic Security of the people who identified with the previous ruling class.

    So the 25 percenters who still support Bush and Cheney are whipped into a paroxysm of fear for their National and Domestic Security, and the Town Hall meetings give them a platform to express all their fears.

    Meanwhile, I heard the other day that the Secret Service is underfunded and is strained to the max providing security for the President. For example, IIRC, when Obama went to the baseball stadium to throw out the first pitch, there were no scanners at the entrance gates to make sure that no one was packing heat.

    It will be a miracle if President Obama makes it through his presidential term(s) alive.

    Bob in HI

  6. Peterr says:

    Maybe if Staton had written “Matthew 25″ on those jugs, it would have been OK, since those pushing American Exceptionalism seem all too often so enamoured with wrapping said exceptionalism in religion:

    Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. . . Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.

    You wrote: “Imagine if that energy was channeled to a productive, instead of destructive, end.” To go by Wednesday’s LA Times, some are trying to do just that.

    Remote Area Medical Foundation is a trailer-equipped service that has staged health clinics in rural parts of the United States, Mexico and South America. It brought its health camp to urban Los Angeles County on Tuesday to begin an eight-day stint that the group’s officials described as its first foray into a major urban setting.

    Organizers expected big crowds, in a county with high unemployment and an estimated 22% of working-age adults lacking health insurance.

    On Tuesday, the turnout was so large that hundreds had to be turned away.

    We’ve got a long way to go.

  7. WilliamOckham says:

    This is the most sickening side of the anti-immigration debate, the ‘throw the Good Samaritan in jail’ movement. They want people to die in the desert. I really don’t understand how people get to that point. Is it just selfishness?

    • klynn says:


      Thanks for that first part of your post bmaz. Hope you enjoyed my nephew’s blog if you had a chance to visit and read about our border policy through his young eyes.


      I’ll have to send you to my nephew’s blog.

        • klynn says:


          I think the credit goes to my parents. All their grandkids have great hearts for community action. Guess that means they did something right when raising us. It is the best kind of inheritance. Littlest klynn goes around the neighborhood with his red wagon and collects food donations for the food pantry. Got the idea at age four. Began the dream at age five.

  8. skdadl says:

    Some people really are paranoid xenophobes. They get themselves worked up into quite the tizzy about the Other, however defined, and they do become capable of almost anything. I always think that derangement must be a displacement for something else — feelings of powerlessness, confusion over a world they don’t understand, resentment, maybe even poverty — but it differs from place to place and group to group. The Tucson gang don’t sound all that powerless, although maybe they think they are in the wider world.

    About Matt. 25, which our resident ordained deacon also quoted a day or so ago: Isn’t there a problem with the sheep-and-the-goats number? The sheep go to the right; the goats go to the left? Nudge nudge wink wink?

    • JClausen says:

      I am a student of Xenophobia throughout American History.

      All contain three central themes: a racial component, a political belief component, and a religious element. Combined with the myth of American exceptionalism with its “Kingdom of God” on earth religious aspect, one has a potent mix.

      That of course makes Obama a half-black socialist who is secretly a Moslem.

      • skdadl says:

        Well, I suspect it’s a much more powerful phenom in American culture just because your myths have become more, ah, mythical than ours, but I grew up in a part of Canada where something of this dynamic is at work too, and I’ve struggled and sorrowed to understand it for a long time.

        Alberta is a rich province and has been for a long time, although mainly still dependent on resource exploitation, so boom and bust are pretty fresh in everyone’s memory. There is a lot of American money there now; Dick Cheney loves the place. And yet the same resentments against “eastern elites” that you would recognize continue to deform the political culture in ways you would recognize, even when they’ve got their own version of a prime minister in place. Many people out west still think they’re underdogs, and they’re proud of sounding like rednecks. They’re among the luckiest people on earth, but they still think they’re oppressed.

        Because I love the place for other reasons and older memories, this all distresses me very much. I guess I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to convince them all that they’re just a bit misled.

  9. pajarito says:

    Group W bench for Staton!

    “Kid, I want
    you to go and sit down on that bench that says Group W …. NOW kid!!”

    “What were you arrested for, kid?”
    And I said, “Littering.” And they all moved away from me on the bench
    there, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I
    said, “And creating a nuisance.” And they all came back, shook my hand,
    and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing,
    father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the

    –Arlo Guthrie

    • JClausen says:

      I am a student of Xenophobia throughout American History.

      All contain three central themes: a racial component, a political belief component, and a religious element. Combined with the myth of American exceptionalism with its “Kingdom of God” on earth religious aspect, one has a potent mix.

      That of course makes Obama a half-black socialist who is secretly a Moslem.

      Great to see you too. Keep up the great work. I lurk constantly and will offer more when time allows.

    • JClausen says:

      Great to see you too. Keep up the great work. I lurk constantly and will offer more when time allows.

  10. rapt says:

    I’ll share this story here since it is sort of on-topic.

    I hired a competent, well-equipped (all of his machinery looks brand-new and is perfectly maintained) tree service to remove a big tree from my front yard a few days ago. The owner-operator of this tree company is black.

    My next-door neighbor, who also has a large fresh stump in his front yard, made a point of passing on a warning he had received from a friend of his, that this above-mentioned tree guy had been known to refill stump holes with rocky soil, so I should be on the lookout. Friendly neighborly advice you know.

    So here’s the lesson: anybody who denies that racism is a (stong) factor is lying. Yes if it makes one feel better, it is often subconscious; that is, there are two conflicting emotions, a private one and a politically correct one, which I believe are mixed internally, allowing the individual to assure him/herself that he is doing the right thing while still keeping proper vigilance against danger. Or discomfort.

    That stuff is buried deep inside and it is very difficult to flush out, so one covers it up.

    • Petrocelli says:

      I recently took a group of furreners to Niagara Falls, NY to see the back of the American Falls. We walked along the roaring rapids and struck up a few conversations with other tourists and locals. There were two AA families picnicking, along with many white families. A Police Cruiser drove by and made a point of climbing the sidewalk onto the Grass and slowly crawling by the two AA groups, even stopping briefly to look over both groups.

      The people were visibly upset by the Police presence and after he drove off, they remained quiet …

      I saw the men prior to the Police presence, they were happy and animated but afterwards, they were quiet and tense.

      In my life, even in some redneck parts of Canada, I’ve never seen this display and wondered what would have happened if one of those men had said something to the Cop.

  11. klynn says:

    That sentencing for Stanton,

    The Federal government, through the Arizona US Attorney’s Office, egged on by the anti-immigration movement, which is very vocal in Tucson and Southern Arizona, got a burr up its butt and spent over $50,000 to prosecute this heinous criminal who took time away from his volunteer work at a soup kitchen to try to keep some human beings from dehydrating to death in the desert. Littering.

    Came after this meeting on July 21,2009:

    Seven representatives from No More Deaths, Tucson Samaritans and Humane Borders met with Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., today. No More Deaths received an invitation to meet with Salazar earlier in the month.

    The group talked about the urgent need to make humanitarian assistance available on DOI lands, like the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. Since 2008, 18 people have received littering tickets from BANWR officers for putting out gallon jugs of water.

    “The secretary was supportive in the issue, and his staff is working now to find a solution.” said Gene Lefebvre, who attended the meeting as a representative for No More Deaths.

    Tragic context, that sentencing.

  12. tinman1967 says:

    If people wish to come to the US perhaps they should do so via legal channels. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

    • spurious says:

      If people wish to come to the US perhaps they should do so via legal channels. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

      For most of these people there really is no legal channel.

      • Twain says:

        The 25 to 50 people I see every day standing in front of the Home Depot are not coming here for the fun of it.
        I can’t imagine anything more depressing than standing around all day, knowing that you probably won’t get any work and that you will have to do the same thing tomorrow.

  13. ThingsComeUndone says:

    The Federal government, through the Arizona US Attorney’s Office, egged on by the anti-immigration movement, which is very vocal in Tucson and Southern Arizona, got a burr up its butt and spent over $50,000 to prosecute this heinous criminal who took time away from his volunteer work at a soup kitchen

    Thanks for being on this story Bmaz

  14. cinnamonape says:

    Fish and Wildlife Service said the plastic jugs he left for the immigrants endanger wildlife

    Precisely how? Flash floods? Any animal that nibbled through this would likely be seeking the water. It might actually assist wildlife survival. I think this would be a difficult point to prove in court.

    At the same time I wonder how fast the desert heat/cold cycle would create a leak in the jugs. Evaporation and superheated water would likely play a role as well. Desert peoples cache their water underground in marked spots using ostrich eggs or other semi-permeable containers. So I wonder if anyone actually found, and benefitted from, this water?

    • Phoenix Woman says:

      The anti-immigrant crowd is trying to take over the environmental movement. They’ve staged efforts to take over the Sierra Club board at least twice in the past decade, and they’ve got a goodly chunk of the Edward Abbey/Earth First! crowd behind them. (Abbey was not a fan of immigration, especially from places where large families are the norm.)

  15. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Well, at least the fine authorities up there in Utah decided to drop the charges against the gay couple that had the audacity to kiss each other:

    The Salt Lake City prosecutor’s office says it will not pursue charges against two men who were cited for trespassing on a Mormon church-owned downtown plaza earlier this month after sharing a kiss.

    Is that Plaza just a commercial property owned by the church or actual holy ground? Still its Utah the Mormons can do anything they want including making a national story go away by not prosecuting even though I’m sure they wanted to.
    I’m guessing the Mormon have poll numbers on this and they realized they were taking a beating.
    In Washington the anti gay marriage guys are sueing to keep their names secret because of fear of business boycotts and one guy with a blog threatened them with violence.

    I think the Mormons are really more scared of a boycott in this economy. GOPers love money to control them threaten what they love.

  16. Phoenix Woman says:

    Bob, this is what I tell people who I catch fantasizing about (or people who are fellow travelers of those who fantasize about) doing grievous bodily harm to Obama or any other non-Republican political figure:

    Remember how we got the Great Society? Aka New Deal II?

    That was when JFK got martyred in a city known to be a hotbed of right-wing racist extremism. The guy who took over for JFK turned out to be much more progressive than JFK ever was, much to the dismay of the right-wing nutjobs who’d put up all those “WANTED for TREASON” posters all over Dallas in the first weeks of November, 1963.

    Remember how Bill Clinton got re-elected in 1996, two years after the Republicans — backed by a media that they or their arch-conservative financiers had increasingly bought up, bought off or scared off from honest reporting?

    That happened when some of your buddies in a right-wing Michigan militia thought it would be a neat idea to murder 168 government employees and their children by blowing up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City.

    Do you all really want to go for the trifecta here?

    • tejanarusa says:

      PW – you have actually had people express such wishes aloud? To you, a known, gasp, librul?

      That is pretty depressing.

      I didn’t know about the Sierra Club and Abbey takeover attempts, either. Imagine a right-wing, anti-immigrant Sierra Club. Boggles the mind.

      Once I might have dismissed such things as impossible – but that is exactly how the current nutsos took over the R party and got Bush elected; starting with local school boards and county offices.

      And, Petro – wow, just wow. And people wonder why Prof. Gates “leaped to the conclusion” that he was being arrested in his own home for being black. Too many white people just have no clue what it’s like being black, in just those kinds of circumstances, and the worst part, of course, is that they just don’t want to know either.

      • Phoenix Woman says:

        Oh, this is mostly to people who troll blogs like Balloon Juice and the like. The trolls typically aren’t potential troublemakers themselves, but they often have ties to those who are.

  17. Synoia says:

    “struck by the thought that the concept of “American Exceptionalism”

    What exceptionalism?

    American Hubris is upon people who believe this.

    The United States emerged from WW II with an intact infrastructure and factories. And after 20 years of domination other countries had invested in specific industries and the US retreated from many markets.

    A case study in how to loose Markets is IBM. Dominant in every segment of the computer market it is now in the business of squeezing down service cost by moving jobs to low cost countries. What happens when all its employees are earning $5 per hour?

    Welcome to 50 years of lack of investment in maintenance, and structural expense problems. Looked at the costs of health care system recently? Who’d invest in the US? The current farce in Congress clearly demonstrates the US is ungovernable, and unable to resolved blatant cost issues.

  18. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Why did the police not charge him with I don’t know conspiracy or something related to helping a crime immigration is still a crime right?
    Why did they stretch the protecting wildlife laws and make this political prosecution look like an attempt to grab whatever straw they could?
    I mean leaving water in the desert if plastic is so bad give him a warning and insist he use glass next time.
    This prosecution just smells of desperate.

  19. VJBinCT says:

    When I was a kid back in the 50’s, the mean boys would put dog doo into paper bags and set them on fire on the porches on those they disliked, then ring the doorbells. If caught they got a bit of a talking to. Today they would join the prison population and emerge with size 10 assholes. Leaving jugs of water for thirsty refugees, even if verses from Matthew 25 were plastered all over, same thing.

      • freepatriot says:

        think of all the humanitarians who get a good laugh at the asshole’s expense

        I’m real good at spottin silver linings …

    • bmaz says:

      How very rewarding to see that the mean girls you describe (they sure are not, and never will be, men) have graduated from shit pranks to helping kill humans. Very impressive.

      • VJBinCT says:

        I am very sorry not to have been clearer. I meant that the ‘offense’ is treated the same. I am absolutely appalled that anybody doing such a humanitarian act is getting arrested and convicted

    • VJBinCT says:

      I am too late to edit, but I was appallingly sloppy in writing that comment. I meant that the penalty now is the same whether dogshit or humanitarian aid. Abject apologies to all.

  20. timbo says:

    If by “American Exceptionalism” you mean American administrations taking exception to being held accountable under International laws governing war crimes, etc, I think many people get the picture. Also the wasting of tons of money just to be mean to fellow human beings? Yeah, that’s American Exceptionalism for us. A little bit of hate for anyone who isn’t kowtowing the party line…

  21. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Under your “Stupid” index, might I offer a sub-topic: failure to distinguish between corporate and private interests. And speaking of which, Steve Clemons has just written on this topic, and IMHO it’s one of the finest posts I’ve read at his blog. Ever.

  22. timr says:

    Fear of the other. Fear that is pushed by faux news daily. Fear that the white majority is losing thir position. Fear of science. Fear of the world which is moving to fast. Fear of too many choices. Future Shock, a book that I read about 40 years ago was all about this phenomenon. And 40 years ago it was just starting. Idiot America is exactly where we find ourselves right now. Always remember this, the vast majority of people in this country do not read newspapers or watch network news. Many WASP over 50 watch faux and get all their “facts” from them. Unfortunately we do not have any kind of intelligence or current events tests before people vote, that is why we got gwb as prez. Because people said they would like to have a beer with him. palin is the same. an “ordinary” american from the true america. That would be the america that is full of sheeple, the idiot america.

    • bmaz says:

      Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock is a great reference; thanks for mentioning that. I read it when I was either a freshman or sophomore in high school. Profoundly influenced me. I would like to find the time to read it now to see how it holds up in the world Toffler predicted.

  23. freepatriot says:

    I don’t object to the water, but the plastic jugs are a problem

    this is one of those “sticky wickets”

    I don’t want people to die

    but I don’t want a bunch of trash in the wilderness

    our immigration policy has to be reformed for more than just humanitarian reasons

    and now the government wants to “secure” the northern border too

    one clusterfuck, coming up …

    • PJEvans says:

      Glass bottles are a problem too. Sun shining through them can start fires (in the southwest, this is a real problem); they can break and leave sharp pieces for people and animals to step on.

  24. karnak12 says:

    I live in sunny California, the land of Gold, Avocados, and unlimited self expression (within the bounds of what’s legally permissible – for most people). There is this guy who lives in my neighborhood, who is approximately my age, and has been retired from Lockheed for as long as I’ve lived here. A period of time amounting to about 20 years. He’s been retired since he was around 45, and all these years he has done nothing that I can see. A life like he seems to lead would bore me to tears

    He likes to take daily walks around the neighborhood, and I see him from time to time and we talk about this and that. I have never particularly cultivated his friendship because early on I detected that he had a somewhat racist bent to his thinking, and rather than get into a big flap with him about it, I just didn’t invite a whole lot of interaction.

    However, the last time he came by, which was a couple of weeks ago, something must have twigged in his mind that I was simpatico to his way of thinking. He started relating a story to me about an older white woman down the street (he is white by the way, as am I, although I’m Irish) who was dating black men. At first I didn’t get where he was going with this, so I’m not saying much, as I did not really want to encourage him. Then he used the “N” word. Now I don’t know if he was just trying me out to see where I was on all this, or whether his thinking normally runs in those patterns and to him racist slurs such as this are normal thinking for him, but I stopped him cold. All these years he has made innuendos about various people who live in the neighborhood, whether it be Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian, Blacks, or whatever, but it was never this blatant. I told him in no uncertain terms that I did not appreciate language like that and that if was going to use it to just keep on walking and don’t bother to stop to talk to me.

    He turned to go, and said all huffy, “Well, I’m sorry.” I told him don’t apologize, just keep on walking, and I pointed off down the street. I haven’t seen him since. Frankly, for my money, the guy’s a waste of space and is using good air that somebody else could put to better use.

    I mean this guy lives a good life in God’s country (if you’ve ever spent time in the Bay Area, you know what I mean), gets a retirement for which he doesn’t have to do crap, never lived on the street or a foxhole, or been in dire need of anything, and yet he thinks this way. I would bet money that he has NEVER examined his life in any way. I don’t know his political affiliation either, but I’ll bet he votes Republican and thinks George Bush was God’s answer to “EvilDoers” (that is one word) everywhere.

    Whew! Sorry to be so long winded about that.

    • bmaz says:

      I see that here about Mexicans. And the same people bitchin and moanin have their yards done by the very people they hate. It is simply fucking amazing. i just don’t get it. And why, if people have to still feel that way, do they think it is okay to propagate the crap to other innocuous people?

  25. jaango says:

    Earlier today, I posted this at a military vets website. Enjoy.

    My ‘normative’ Friday Vent

    In an op-ed piece [titled, “Progress Over Perfection”] in the Washington Post of today, Paul Begala, a political operative in the Clinton administration had this to say, by way of an analogy to today’s health care debate and relative to the history of the progressive legislation for Social Security, and thusly, I make mention of this ‘context’ since I feel it’s required for an accurate understanding.

    “No self-respective liberal today would support Franklin Roosevelt’s original Social Security Act. It excluded agricultural workers—a huge part of the economy in 1935, and one in which Latinos have traditionally worked. It excluded domestic workers, which included countless African Americans and immigrants. It did not cover the self-employed, or state and local government employees, or railroad employees, or federal employees or employees of non-profits. It didn’t even cover the clergy. FDR’s Social Security Act did not have benefits for dependents or survivors. It did not have a cost-of-living increase. If you became disabled and couldn’t work, you got nothing from Social Security.”
    Obviously, the ‘point’ of all this is his Argumentation for the progressive view for moving change forward in smaller increments. And if not, it will be the 1990’s all over again.

    However, Begala fails to note that for historical purposes, Social Security has no purpose in this debate. If it did, he would not have started the above paragraph ‘preaching’ to America’s diversity. Thus, he’s conveniently tossing in the Democrats’ version of the ‘race card’ and that shuts down my open-mindedness to what he has to say. But then, he wasn’t writing to me, but to a much larger audience with his overall and historical tendency and which is to influence the “influencers” located in our nation’s capitol. As such, those of us residing in the hinterlands of America need not concern ourselves.

    And Begala goes on to add this:

    “If that version of Social Security were introduced today, progressives like me would call it cramped, parsimonious, mean-spirited and even racist. Perhaps, all those things. But it was also a start.”

    Perhaps, he is talking to me? If so, I am listening, but he is not “listening” to me or “hearing” me when I suggest and advocate that Universal Health Care should be delivered via the Indian Health Services or the Veterans Administration. And in my context, Begala has mindlessly forgotten that the ‘public option’ for which he is attempting to argue in favor of, and yet, which has no Honor or Equality embedded in the legislation. In this modern age, carefully crafted legislation must empower the individual, and if not, we must accept our responsibility for having ‘dis-empowered’ our progeny. Consequently, legislation that continues to perpetuate the inevitable surcease of either the insurance industry or the employer, should have no place in a society that has a well-recognized history for government successes in such programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and inclusive of SCHIPs and which is a program that defines and delivers medical care to children residing in low-income households. Therefore, a job loss simply means more than the loss of medical care for the employee and the affected family, but leading to an eventual bankruptcy.

    And that is why Paul Begala is indeed wrong and his propensity for being shortsighted when he articulates his “progressive” idea is not nice to see, as seen by my rudimentary lights. I, on the other hand, argue for both the long term and to include true ‘equality’, especially when the recipient has to stand in line at the admitting desk at any facility operated and managed by Native Americans. And perhaps this too will lead to even more change when we come to acknowledge that the Rez is a simplified Third World Economy inside a First World Nation. And you too can see, Paul Begala can’t or won’t go down this road, but I will. And that’s the ‘difference’ between the aggressive-moderate–myself, and the progressive–Begala. Or is that neo-liberal now?

    In this similar vein, Begala is content with revisiting the past glories while I am wanting to create tomorrow’s history today. He will settle for the lesser while I will reach higher for the ‘newer’ and the ‘better’. And since we are both members of the same political coalition, I know that I will be continuing my advocacy, and he may, ultimately, win—for today.


  26. AngelsAwake says:

    That energy cannot be channeled constructively, because it already is being channeled constructively. It’s being channeled to construct a nation where gay people and brown people- or even brown gay people- aren’t allowed in, can’t get rights respected, and are openly discriminated against.

    We just have to channel more energy to constructing a different, better nation.

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