Posts Tagged ‘Washington’

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Why the GOP is Scared of their Tea Party Frankenstein

09.17.10

I’ve been saying all along that this wave of anti-establishment sentiment made no sense.

It’s something inherently ridiculous — elect me to go to Washington because I’m not from Washington so I’ll be different.  As if simply being new means that you’re better.  Or that just because you’re “part of the establishment” that your ideas, your plans, your policies are wrong.  There’s also the fact that the minute you get elected, you then are part of the establishment, the very group of people you were saying weren’t as good as you simply because they were in that group that you’re now a part of.  It makes no sense writing this and it makes no sense doing it.

It seems to be working, though, for Tea Party candidates much to the chagrin of the GOP elites, like Karl Rove himself:

“But we also can’t make progress if we have candidates who got serious character problems … [O’Donnell] attacked [Castle] by saying he had a homosexual relationship with a young aide with not a bit of evidence to prove it.”

Christine O’Donnell won the Republican primary for Senate in Delaware, beating out GOP incumbent Mike Castle.  And if you don’t know much about O’Donnell, well, she’s quite the character.  She’s what we call an ultra-conservative, which is saying something considering how far to the political right the current conservative movement has become. (I mean if you’re too conservative for Karl Rove, holy shit.)

Just take a look at the things O’Donnell stands for:

  • Opposes legal abortion, even in cases of rape and incest
  • Against women in the military
  • Believes gays can be “cured”

And here’s the best: Opposes masturbation, also believing it’s a form of adultery.

While her win was a huge upset, it’s important to note two things:

  1. She only won by a margin of 58,000 Republican votes
  2. She’s overwhelmingly favored to lose to Democratic candidate, Chris Coons

The main players within the GOP know that she’s far too radical to win the general election in a predominantly liberal state, which is why they rushed to support Castle, who has represented Delaware in the Senate since 1993.  It seems that the unilateral anti-incumbent mentality has backfired against the Republicans after all, which doesn’t shock me in the least. Because it’s not like Democrats are the only ones who have held office for a long time in the big boy’s club of D.C.  But the anti-establishment mentality is blind to party lines, apparently.

Most observers agree that O’Donnell has no chance of beating Democratic nominee Chris Coons in November, so for Republicans, an O’Donnell win means failing to gain a Senate seat, and thus likely losing any chance of taking control of the upper house.

The GOP has supported the Tea Party because it appealed to their base — angry, older, white, Christian voters.  But now that their own Frankenstein monster has turned against them, it seems that the political right has a bit of a civil war on their hands.  While the GOP has enjoyed the turning of the tide in their favor when it comes to polls, they’re showing that they’re worried that the exclusionary rhetoric of the Tea Party won’t win major elections — why else would they go to such lengths to bash O’Donnell despite having the backing of the political right god, Rush Limbaugh?

Perhaps the reality that having no real plans for healing the country has finally taken hold.  After all, you can only run campaigns on pointing fingers for so long before those fingers come pointing back at you.

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The Senate Immigration Reform and My Case for Humanities and the Arts

04.30.10

Apparently amid all of this Arizona immigration law controversy, Senate Democrats in Washington have actually released an immigration reform plan.  It seems extraordinarily unlikely that this will go anywhere in 2010 since this is an election year and nothing is more polarizing than tackling immigration.  (Except maybe health care reform.)

You can download the REPAIR (Real Enforcement with Practical Answers for Immigration Reform) proposal here.  (I wonder how long it took them to come up with that acronym and I wonder how excited they were when they finally made it work.)

I haven’t had a chance to study this 26-page document but I stumbled upon this excerpt that caught my eye, which shot me off into a completely different topic entirely but one still worth talking about:

This proposal will reform America’s high-skilled immigration system to permanently attract the world’s best and brightest while preventing the loss of American jobs to temporary foreign labor contractors. At the moment, high-skilled workers are prevented from emigrating to the Unites States due to restrictive caps on their entry. In order to accomplish this goal, a green card will be immediately available to foreign students with an advanced degree from a United States institution of higher education in a field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, and who possess an offer of employment from a United States employer in a field related to their degree. Foreign students will be permitted to enter the United States with immigrant intent if they are a bona fide student so long as they pursue a full course of study at an institution of higher education in a field of science, technology, engineering or mathematics. To address the fact that workers from some countries face unreasonably long backlogs that have no responsiveness to America’s economic needs, this proposal eliminates the per-country employment immigration caps.

My emphasis.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the real-world necessity of having the best and brightest minds in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics here in the States working for American companies.  Our ability to compete with China, Russia, and India depends on it.  But, I have to say that the total lack of respect and throwaway mentality that is associated with the arts is appalling and depressing.

Upon telling inquirers that I was studying film in college, I couldn’t count how many times they would respond disdainfully with: “Well, what are you gonna do with that?”  As if learning about dozens of cultures all over the world through over one hundred years of celluloid art was a preposterous waste of time, money, and energy.  The change from excitedly curious to holier-than-thou tones in their voice still hasn’t escaped me to this day.  And I know that I still feel slightly ashamed that I haven’t become a successful filmmaker only because it would truly spite those people and their ignorant disapproval — and another part of me is slightly ashamed to admit that.

I have to think that our society wouldn’t be dealing with some of our current woes were we not so dismissive of the studies of humanities and the arts.  We need English majors.  We need Philosophy majors.  We need Sociology majors.  We need Fine Arts majors.  We need Comparative Literature majors.  We need History majors.  We need Psychology majors.  We need Photography majors.  These studies matter.  These studies provide value.

Perhaps they’re not the sexiest of degrees, nor do they promise immediate paydays upon graduation.  Admittedly, many of them don’t even guarantee employment in their respective fields once those students enter the workforce.  But what these studies and those who study them provide to our society and culture can be measured in countless other ways.  Not everything worthwhile in this world can be calculated by how much you bring home each paycheck.

If everyone became an engineer, who would actually assemble the product?  Who would interview the designers for the newspaper article that brings them attention and acclaim?  Who would film the inaugural release of that innovative creation, showing the whole world their success?  Who would turn that amazing story into a bestselling book and subsequently (less) amazing movie?  Who then would catalog these historical documents and relics so that this feat can be remembered forever?

(H/T The Daily Dish)
Photo courtesy of MLibrary

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GOP Not Interested in Governance, Only Politics

04.12.10

The Republican Party established itself as the “Party of No,” a unified front interested only in voting against whatever Obama and the Democrats proposed, regardless of the content of that legislation.  No to the Stimulus. No to SotomayorNo to Healthcare. No to Extending Unemployment Benefits.

And it continues.

Instead of bothering to announce anything productive for 2010, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) reiterates that nothing has changed for the Grand Old Party: repeal health care is their number one priority.  Now, I’m sure many a Republican could and would argue that repealing health care reform would be productive.  But that would mean that the status quo prior to March 21st – or their own ideas (Rep. Paul Ryan’s bill the only real document they’ve provided as an alternative) – is a step forward from the reform, not a step backward.

Boehner sounds like his background vocal track hit a snag and he’s stuck on repeat:

“I’ve never seen a bill pass the House of Representatives that the American people knew about, that the American people had discussed, debated, and had decided ‘no.'”

Sigh.

I suppose this will be the strategy until November.  If the GOP wins as many seats as they hope, then one could argue their strategy worked.  As far as winning seats in Congress goes.  And that’s just politics.  Not governance.  Which is all in which they’re interested anyway.

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D.C. Catholic Church Backs Down

12.18.09

The Washington, D.C. Archdiocese has its bluff called.

When will opponents to same sex marriage finally realize that it affects no one other than those couples who wish to bind their love just like some heterosexuals choose to do?  It doesn’t impede upon religion or cause some slippery slope into depraved pedophilia or other nonsense that some will have you believe.

It’s about love and equality.  That’s all.  Plain and simple.

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D.C. Takes Big Step Forward in Same Sex Marriage Battle

12.15.09

gay marriage

The D.C. Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill that will legalize same sex marriages.  It next will go to Mayor Adrian Fenty who is expected to sign the bill by the end of next week.

This is a big step forward in the marriage equality movement and I applaud the 11 members of the D.C. Council who voted in favor of this bill.  I must say it will be a very odd contradiction having America’s Capital allowing same sex marriages while Washington still outlaws them.

Slowly but surely, state by state, district by district, the rational viewpoint will prevail and equality will trump discrimination.  Way to set a solid example, D.C.

(Photo courtesy of Steve Bott)

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D.C. Board: No Right To Vote On Same-Sex Marriage

11.19.09

From California to Iowa to Arkansas to New Hampshire, the debate over the legalization of same-sex marriage has crossed the country.  Recently, Washington, D.C. passed a bill recognizing the union of same-sex couples married legally in one of the handful of states where it’s allowed.

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics put a stop to a ballot initiative that would’ve put the matter up to a vote, effectively clearing the way for the bill to be signed into law.  However, Bishop Harry Jackson sued in an effort to reverse the decision by the Board.

Let’s take a look at this current debate, shall we?

The Board’s reasoning:

The board ruled Tuesday that the proposed initiative on whether to define marriage as being between a man and a woman violates the city’s Human Rights Act because it would be discriminatory toward gay men and lesbians.

The opposition:

“The people of D.C. have a right to vote on the definition of marriage,” said Austin R. Nimocks, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, the conservative legal group representing Jackson. “The D.C. Charter guarantees the people the right to vote, and the council cannot amend the charter for any reason, much less to deny citizens the right to vote.”

Without knowing the law I’m not really the best person to weigh in on this topic, and I’m clearly biased in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.  Perhaps there’s something to look at in a government entity denying the right to vote to the people, but the Board is an elected group, so they’re representing the people.  Also, there is this:

[D.C] city code prohibits a public vote on a matter protected under the Human Rights Act.

Which makes perfect sense.  I don’t know where people got this sense of entitlement that made them think that they have the right to vote on the definition of marriage.  We live in a republic, not a true democracy; people don’t get to vote on every single issue.  Most importantly, no one should have the right to vote to deny a specifically targeted group of citizens rights that others have.

Here’s hoping Jackson’s lawsuit gets dismissed by the Supreme Court, that D.C. passes this bill into law, and that legally married same-sex couples from across the country will at least be recognized in our nation’s capital.

It’ll be another step closer to equality.

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“God’s Mandate” Belongs In Church

10.08.09

Take a look at this latest ad against gay marriage.  We’ll discuss afterward.

Sigh.

God’s mandate?  Really?  This is secular law.  It has nothing to do with any one god’s so-called mandate.  What a slap in the face to anyone of any other faith besides Christianity.  How arrogant and insulting.  As tough a pill it is for some to swallow, America is not a Christian nation.  And that’s a good thing.  Remember we fled England to escape religious tyranny.  It still amazes me that religion is used to back secular laws at all.  Talk about conflict of interest and a total lack of respect for the separation of church and state.

An even bigger slap in the face is to actual Bible-reading Christians because God didn’t create the bond of marriage when he created Adam and Eve.  In fact, that whole notion came much later on, and was implemented by the church.  You won’t find an explanation of how marriage works in Genesis as this advertisement would have you believe.  Talk about pandering to an audience.

Apparently, the writers of this ad didn’t feel that their original thesis was quite enough to truly drive the message home.  So, at the end, they just randomly tagged on the whole “protect our children” line while showing us kids frolicking in a pile of leaves.  Where the hell does this come from?  Is there a knife buried in that leaf pile or something?  How does God’s mandate have anything to do with protecting children?  And protecting them from what, exactly?  Children can’t get married so how are they even in this conversation?

Of course it’s a callback to those other commercials aired in Maine and California that try to scare people into believing that legalizing same-sex marriage would be putting children at risk to becoming gay.  A laughable and ridiculous claim that this ad doesn’t even bother to explain.  I can’t believe people still believe that being gay is a conscious choice and that learning about gay marriage would sway a child into joining the other team.  Give me a fucking break.

Religious bigotry has no place in secular law.  This type of insulting advertising will not stop until people recognize it for what it is: discriminatory and flat out stupid.  I hope the people of Washington state will see through this crap and vote in favor of marriage equality.