Posts Tagged ‘Republican Party’

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The Tea Party: Fight the Future – Starring Michele Bachmann and Paul Ryan

01.28.11

If you missed President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union speech on Tuesday, then you probably also didn’t get a chance to see the GOP and Tea Party’s rebuttals, presented by Rep. Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin and Rep. Michele Bachman (R) of Minnesota.

Don’t worry: you can just rent it on DVD at your nearest Blockbuster (if those are still around in your neighborhood). Check out the cover:

Jokes, people. Jokes.

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Senate Set to Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Legislation

12.18.10

For nearly two decades, homosexual Americans haven’t been able to serve openly in our armed forces due to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” legislation passed in 1993.

Despite opposition from much of the Republican Party – spearheaded by a cynical Sen. John McCain – and the glacial moving by the Democrats to act in the way that a majority of Americans want them to, the Senate voted today, 63-33, to move toward a final vote on the discriminatory law’s repeal.

Enough has already been said, at length, about this.  Suffice to say that it’s time.  It’s beyond time for this law to be sent into the history books.  It’s frustrating to feel like we’re so behind the times with these things — compared to other first-world countries like Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom — who already allow gays to serve openly in their militaries.

I’ve heard the reasoning against repeal, namely that we’re at war and that we need to make sure that we can do this without affecting the troops in combat.  To which I reply: how could repeal possibly affect anything? It’s pathetic that some people truly believe that gays will all of a sudden show up in drag to the front-lines or something, as if the repeal would cause people to stop being the extremely well-trained, professional military troops they are and have been due solely to the openness of their sexuality.

What’s going to happen is that these men and women who fight wars for those politicians who choose to go to war will be able to do so without having to pretend that they don’t have loved ones for whom they care deeply about simply because they’re of the same gender.  The indignity and emotional trauma of having to call their partners “friends” to avoid losing their jobs will finally come to an end.

It’s about time.

Image courtesy of vassego’s Flickr Photostream.

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Think for Yourself: Political Affiliation Not Determined Solely By Pundits and Extremists

12.16.10

With our polarized political climate comes the inevitable cases where specific groups lay claim to being the “true” party, leaving others as being “in name only.”  Not only is this annoying and arrogant in principle, it also leaves a wide swath of people in political no-man’s land wondering: what party do I belong to?

Boiling complex issues down into a strictly “Democratic” or “Republican” viewpoint losing much of the nuance that is required when dealing with real-life scenarios.  And unless you’re just a blind follower who agrees with everything that your chosen party tells you to believe, you’re going to disagree with some aspects of their policies.

Let’s say you’re fiscally conservative but socially liberal — you want low taxes on the rich and low spending all around but are all for gays getting married and gays serving openly in the military.  You’re going to find yourself finding it tough to vote for a representative that shares those views, who would be willing to truly implement policies to those ends.  (Then again, finding anyone to actually lower spending is quite a feat these days.)

Everyone claims to be the “right” version of something.  It’s like middle school all over again and I take no part in it.  Who am I to say that you’re not “really” a Republican or not “really” a Democrat, as if I am the Definer of All Things Political? Who does get to determine?  Rush Limbaugh?  Glenn Beck?  Olympia Snowe?  Ben Nelson?  Keith Olbermann?  NPR?  Fox News?

Suffice to say if anyone tells you what you are or aren’t based simply on themselves as the defining characteristics of a group, they’re not worth listening to. People like that are the geocentrists of political theory, thinking that whatever they’re version of being a Republican/Democrat/Centrist/Libertarian is the right one — and only one. It’s closed-minded, exclusionary, and based on fear. Fear of being wrong and not being able to handle the reality that life and thoughts exist on a spectrum.

It’s why I prefer to voice my stances on issues, not on broad strokes. I do consider myself a Democrat because that is how I tend to vote and usually with whom I relate the most in terms of both fiscal and social issues. But it doesn’t mean that I agree with everything the Democratic President says or the Democratic Congress does.  It also doesn’t mean that I can never agree with anything a Republican says or wants to do politically, either.

Same for most people who choose to think about the issues and not just listen to what’s being told to them to believe.

Another thing: it’s okay to not be sure quite where you stand. In fact, I find it extremely refreshing when people say, “I don’t know about _____” because it means they’re thinking about it, and not just regurgitating what they think they’re supposed to say.  I haven’t yet written about WikiLeaks and the whole Julian Assange saga for this very reason: I’m still trying to wrap my head around it, trying to figure out quite where I stand.  It’s not easy.  It’s not cut-and-dried. There are valid points to all sides — except for the ones who call for his execution without so much as a trial.

It’s okay to have wavering ideas. It’s okay to change your mind on things.  It’s okay to be skeptical of those who so clearly think they know what’s right or what’s wrong.

Don’t let someone tell you that you’re not something just because they don’t think you’re up to par. In fact, I’d say defend your stance and say that is your party and that you can be one yet also agree with ______ or ______.  Too much of our society right now has lost all sense of nuance in favor of straight-line ideology.

The more people who bring the reality back into it, the better we will all be for it.

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Pointless TV Survey Offers Only More Polarization in Current Political Climate

11.13.10

Much has been said already about the recently released Experian Simmons survey that shows which TV shows are most popular according to the political affiliation of their audiences.

If you know me, you know I don’t put much stock in surveys or polls.  Blogs and articles aplenty have done their own parsing of the data to come to their own conclusions about the average psyches of Democrats versus Republicans.  I’m not going to continue it here — look at the chart and form your own opinions on what it all says.

To read into this, I think, is a colossal waste of time.  Almost more of a waste than actually bothering to survey people with these questions to begin with.

In fact, I find it extremely unhelpful in taming the absurd polarization in our current political climate.  Instead of focusing on our differences – yet again! – why not illuminate that middle section of the Venn diagram where Republicans and Democrats agree?

I know, I know: a tall order these days, but it’s not.  It just seems that way when all we do is point out where we appear to be vastly different species. And it will only continue if we indulge in actually giving topical, shallow, pointless crap like this honest discussion as if it means anything worthwhile.

Then again, it’s a survey about people’s television-watching habits — not exactly a medium which promotes deep thinking. Sigh.  I guess I’ll go back to watching Countdown with Mad Dexter Taking on 90210’s Private Brothers’ 30 Good Damages to Community Law – Episode 13: Friday Night Parks Breaking… Bad.

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GOP Doesn’t Want Bipartisan Health Care Bill – They Want Nothing

02.08.10

Republicans keep crying about how the Democrats didn’t even allow them to participate in the drafting of the health care bills, trying to undermine Obama’s push for bipartisanship and make it look like the Democrats are the ones who aren’t team players.

Republicans claim that the health care bill is socialist, a government takeover of the health care industry.

So, what do they propose in return?  According to their website, the GOP lists what they would like in the health care bill:

  • Number one: let families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines.
  • Number two: allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do.
  • Number three: give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs.
  • Number four: end junk lawsuits that contribute to higher health care costs by increasing the number of tests and procedures that physicians sometimes order not because they think it’s good medicine, but because they are afraid of being sued.

Ezra Klein points out that all of these are already in the bill that every single Republican Senator voted against and continues to rally against today.

The Republican Party has no interest in any type of health care reform despite what they might say or type up on their website.  They have nothing at all to gain from it passing even if their constituency would, which is why they are the Party of No and are only in the business of self-perpetuation rather than governing or representing the real needs and interests of Americans.

Let’s go Democrats.  Grow some stones and make history.

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FOX Nation: Not Fair, Not Balanced (Just Like Fox News)

02.06.10

Many of you probably have seen the unedited clips from Jon Stewart’s recent visit to Bill O’Reilly’s show, The O’Reilly Factor, where he contends that Fox News is essentially the media arm of the Republican Party.  O’Reilly disagrees.

Fox News posted the unaired segments from the interview on their Fox Nation website, where I went to watch.  Here’s a screen capture of what I saw when I first got there:

Out of all the possible related advertisements from the multitude of companies that pay for ad space on Fox, the one that appears next to Jon Stewart is a smear campaign run by politician Dana Walsh – who opposes health care reform and favors the War on Terror, even going so far as to call it “Islamic terror” – and who is looking to oust Nancy Pelosi from her seat in Congress in this fall’s election.

Before you even get that far, you can take a look at the items on the banner called Hot Topics.  I know it’s probably pretty small to read in the image so I’ll write them out for you: National Budget, 9/11 Terror Trial, Detroit Airliner Terror Plot, tea parties, Sarah Palin, Tim Tebow, The Constitution and Freedom.

Yes, one of the hot topics of February 4th, 2010 is the Constitution and Freedom, which if you click, will take you to a page with 8th-grade-history level videos that shows President Ronald Reagan (twice) as it talks about how the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and then when it asks the question about what would happen if a president or legislature passed a law that ran contrary to the Constitution, it of course shows President Barack Obama signing what looks like a bill into law.  Really subtle, Fox.  Really subtle.  I’m sure no one picked up on that.

You can guess that the rest of the Hot Topics all have a very Republican slant on them.  I clicked on the Tim Tebow link and was greeted with this at the top of the page:

Really? That was the screen capture of the Planned Parenthood ad that they chose?  Nothing riles up the base quite like a half-asleep-at-best-looking black man complaining about the ad from white, virgin, Christian athlete posterboy Tim Tebow (who happens to be a quarterback, a predominantly white position in football).  C’mon, Fox.  Every single article on the page is about liberal groups like the National Organization for Women (NOW) bashing both Tebow AND Sarah Palin.  Because of course she’s involved in this.  Why wouldn’t she be?

After doing a little research, it seems that while Fox Nation is owned and run by Fox News Channel, it’s a slightly different entity.  When Fox News launched it on March 30th, 2009, they ran this introduction on their site:

Here at FOX Nation, the American people will be the stars. FOX News Channel, and Foxnews.com, will continue, of course, to provide fair and balanced news coverage, but FOX Nation is different. It is about you, what you care about, what you care about enough to post and comment upon. nything [sic] you want–just keep it decent and legal!

Of course, that’s not really true since it ends up being a forum where Fox editors compile Republican slanted articles from other political websites like NewsBusters.org – whose stated goal is to neutralize the liberal media bias with its own GOP bias apparently – and post them to the Fox Nation site, and then open up comments for people to post their bile and ignorance for other like-minded ilk to feed on and repeat as if simply agreeing with each other gave credibility to their views.

At least Fox News got it right in their own description of their new site: “Foxnews.com will continue to provide fair and balanced coverage, but FOX Nation is different.”  If by different you mean not fair or balanced and is a blatant news-sponsored propaganda machine for the GOP, then actually no, it’s just like Fox News.

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Obama Teaching Students? PLEASE GOD NO!

09.03.09

This Yahoo! news article comes out at a perfect time.  A day when statuses all over Facebook have been posted announcing the desire for health care reform.  A day when Rudy Ruiz writes a commentary arguing that the problem with America is the demonization of those who change their opinions or stances on issues after learning new information.

President Obama will be giving a speech about education directly aimed at students and that has caused a giant uproar from the political right.  When the president speaks to a small group at a town hall meeting, it’s okay.  Or when he announces his plans, goals, and hopes on national television, it’s okay.  But the minute he speaks to our youth, to those who will be running the country in the very near future, then it’s indoctrination.  Worse, it’s brainwashing.

Really?  Oh right.  Having an extremely well-educated man who finished at the top of his class all the way through Harvard Law and who also just so happens to be the overwhelmingly elected President of the United States clearly shouldn’t be speaking about the state of education to those who are actually participants in our education system.

So what’s the issue? That our children are so impressionable as to completely change their beliefs to blindly following whatever it is that Obama has to say?  That’s laughable.  It’s pathetic, really, and it shows just how clueless we are.  Kids are smart.  A lot of kids like to question authority.  How many kids do you know just blindly follow whatever their teachers say?  If they did, administration sure wouldn’t have much to do when it came to discipline.

This makes it obvious that it’s just more of the common and absurd partisan politics:

“The address scheduled for September 8, 2009, does not allow for healthy debate on the President’s agenda, but rather obligates the youngest children in our public school system to agree with our President’s initiatives or be ostracized by their teachers and classmates.” – Jim Greer, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.

Since when does listening to a speech obligate anyone to agree to everything that person has to say?  On the contrary, this speech precisely allows for a healthy debate about the state of our education system.  In any discussion, someone needs to bring it up, and here our president is being proactive about getting the ball rolling since we all know just about all Republicans will automatically disagree with him just because he’s a Democrat.

The reality is that Jim Greer speaks for the Republican Party by essentially admitting that the youth will agree with the president’s ideas, which are contrary to those of the conservatives.  The younger generation helped give Obama a landslide victory and the GOP knows that this isn’t an anomaly. And again the attack is against Obama himself and not even the issues at hand.  We don’t even know what Obama will say!  He hasn’t even given the speech yet and the Republicans have already – by this outrage – announced that they completely disagree with what he has to say.  If that’s not indicative of what’s wrong with our political environment, I don’t know what is.

Also, since the speech is only recommended, not required, viewing, not all classes will be seeing it.  Sadly.  I’m sure many public schools in highly conservative areas of the country will cave to the pressure and not air the speech, which is so contrary to the whole idea of education.  Whether or not you agree with all of his positions on hot button issues, it’s still the President of the United States.  Listening to his speeches can only be good for education – it’s a chance to discuss the American political system, the power of the media, the role of the president.  The numbers of things that could be learned by this event are countless.  To not use this as an opportunity to teach our youth would be an ironic outcome of this event and one that speaks pretty loudly to the state of our educational system before Obama even says a word.

Let’s keep focused on the issues.  Let’s debate them with educated opinions based on facts and reality.  Let’s make it okay to have common ground again instead of this notion that one side always has to concede some things to another group just for the feeling of saving face and scrambling for power.  We aren’t all black and white on these issues.  The sooner we realize that, the better we’ll be.

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Utah Actually Surprises Me

02.28.09

Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman might actually be onto something… well, something that the rest of us have known about for quite some time but he’s just now finally admitting it.

Q: Why do you think winning back the intelligentsia matters?

A: I think we’ve drifted a little bit from intellectual honesty in the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt, for example, where they would use rigorous science to back up many of their policies, and in this case many of their environmental policies. Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. We declared the war on cancer.

A lot of intellectual rigor went into the policies of those days, and we’ve drifted a little bit from taking seriously the importance of science to buttress much of what we’re doing today.

No way.  Science and intellect are important in policy making??  Shocking.  I’ll believe it when I see it.  Especially considering this is coming from a state whose policies pretty much urinate on intelligence, equality, and tolerance.