Saturday, August 29, 2009
Dear President Obama: You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me. You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you. You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support. You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American. You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll. You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core. You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others. You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail. You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America ' crowd and deliver this message abroad.You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector. You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one. You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves. You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world. You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations. You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals. You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people. You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient. You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do. You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaughs, Hannitys, O'Reilly's and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view. You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing. Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years. Lou Pritchett This letter was sent to the NY Times but they never acknowledged it. Big surprise! Since it hit the Internet, however, it has had over 500,000 hits. All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing. It's happening right now. Can all the people who feel this way be wacko nut jobs? Wake Up America!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Written by Marcia Segelstein - I think she may be right! Living in a part of the country that is most definitely "blue" (as opposed to "red"), it's easy to begin to feel a little isolated, and certainly out of the mainstream. So it was especially fun reading Harry Stein's latest book, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican. Like me, Stein lives in the northern suburbs of New York City, in what he describes as a wildly liberal enclave of hip, culturally elite suburbanites. Stein calls himself a libertarian-conservative and he paints a vivid picture, which I can easily relate to, of what it's like to live surrounded by liberals. The book title's origin speaks volumes. Stein and his wife attended a dinner party during the most recent presidential primary season and, as Stein describes it, "the discussion turned to the glories of The Messiah." Stein had the temerity to mention Obama's lack of experience, which was apparently over the top for at least one fellow diner. "[T]he guy beside me, who'd known me all of 15 minutes, drew back his chair, cast me a savage look, and roared...'I can't believe I'm sitting next to a Republican!'" Yes folks, welcome to Blue America. I have always been struck by the propensity of liberals to attack conservatives. Tolerance, for liberals at least, seems to apply to everyone except conservatives. Diversity is about skin color, not diversity of thought. My views have been called repugnant, even by some near and dear to me, based purely on assumptions about what I believe. Stein writes about "how astonishingly little they [liberals] know about us." Beyond making assumptions about what conservatives actually believe, in my experience liberals also tend to assume everyone around them is liberal, too. The beautiful, brainy daughter of close friends, a Harvard graduate now working in the northeast, echoed similar sentiments recently. "I started my job during the election," she told me, "and people made the assumption that everyone was liberal. It was perfectly fine to lambaste McCain or Palin in public." In her experience, if you're perceived as a smart, decent human being, liberals can't imagine the possibility that you might be a conservative. What happens when people find out she is? She told me most people react with surprise, and then drop it. Much to her frustration, no one asks more about her views, or expresses any interest in them. "Liberals pride themselves on being tolerant," she told me, "but they're the most closed-minded." Stein would concur. He describes another encounter with a liberal, a guy he knew slightly, this time in the supermarket. Stein nodded to acknowledge him, when suddenly, "he spat out: 'You people disgust me!'" All this guy actually knew about Stein was that he'd written a conservative book. "'You're disgusting," he sputtered, swiping up his shopping bag and stomping away. 'You sicken me!'" Revealing your conservative leanings can be tricky, and sometimes it's easier just to keep quiet. One of Stein's conservative acquaintances, for example, didn't want his name used in the book. "'Why get into arguments with people?'" he told Stein. "'Your kids have to go to school with their kids, and it just leads to no good.'" A few years ago I chose not to allow my then elementary school-aged children to attend a school assembly promoting same-sex "marriage." After babysitting them and a handful of other children in the school library until the assembly was over, I ran into a couple of mothers who'd come to watch the assembly for themselves. One was a friend who knew and accepted my point of view and gave me her take on the series of skits called "Cootie Shots." The other made it clear that she was happy about the school's decision to put on the assembly. After all, she pointedly remarked, she didn't want her kids growing up to be rednecks. Stein asked a liberal editor at a publishing house he knows for "a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives." Without missing a beat she replied, "Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists....They hate everyone who's not a rich white guy." I have long thought that one of the striking differences between liberals and conservatives is this: liberals believe conservatives are evil, while conservatives believe liberals are wrong. Stein recounts something his friend Marlene told him, which makes the point. "[S]omeone I've known for 27 or 28 years actually said to me, 'Marlene, I know you've worked with the mentally ill, so I know you care about people. But how can you be a good person and a conservative?'" I guess this is news we can use, as the saying goes. It's important to keep in mind that the label "conservative" (or Republican) brands us, in the minds of many liberals, as just plain bad people. And while we shouldn't worry too much about how we're perceived, we should be concerned about the future of conservatism and getting its true message across. The country our children will inherit may depend on it.
Back in the early '90's - 1992 I believe - a group out of San Francisco was created called Roots Against War (RAW). The organization was committed to involving young people of color in direct action protests against the Gulf War. It grew out of the people protesting against the Rodney King verdict. It transformed into Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM). STORM expanded the membership to include people of all colors, though the majority was made up of women (60%) and people of color (75%). This organization also included anarchists, communists and revolutionary nationalists. Eventually the anarchists left the organization and STORM became an organization with a mainly communist ideology. STORM officially dissolved in 2002, but published a book in 2004 called Reclaiming Revolution: History, Summary and and Lessons from the work of Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (you can read the entire text here http://www.leftspot.com/blog/files/docs/STORMSummation.pdf). But here are excerpts from just the first two pages of this book. PREFACE: WHY THIS DOCUMENT This is the story of Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), a revolutionary cadre organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. From September 1994 to December 2002 STORM helped to re-invigorate the Left, both locally and nationally. STORM members fought on the frontlines of some of the most important struggles of those eight years. We built organizations and institutions that continue to fight. And we supported the development of a new generation of revolutionary internationalists in the Bay Area and across the country. During that time, we gained a wealth of information that offers the Left some important lessons. To ensure that those lessons are not lost or clouded by time and memory, we have chosen to document that experience now. We humbly offer this document in hopes that it may move the Left forward. As young leftists starting a new revolutionary organization, we certainly could have used such a document. Most of us had never been in a revolutionary organization. After all, STORMS membership was always more than 60% woman and more than 75% people of color - people all too often (and tragically) marginalized and alienated from the U.S. Left. For eight years, we fumbled in the dark of our youth and inexperience as we tried to build STORM and a broader movement that would finally end the murderous reign of U.S. imperialism. And with the left in retreat globally and nationally, we seemed to be starting nearly from scratch. WHO WROTE THIS DOCUMENT Many of STORMS former members contributed to the development of this document, including almost all of the people who were part of it's dissolution in 2002. Once it was completed, nineteen of STORM's former members (a majority of our membership) expressed strong support for the analysis and conclusions of this document. Reclaiming Revolution is an attempt to pull our various perspectives on our history into a single document. Although our unity is not absolute, the majority of STORM's former members felt like we could stand by the conclusions of this document. These people all remain deeply engaged in movement-building work. Many of us are building power in working class communities of color. Others are building left institutions. Still others are finding ways to "serve the people". But all of us remain explicitly committed to revolutionary politics and revolutionary organization. As you read the document, you will learn of the organization's hatred for America, which they incorrectly categorize as imperialistic. And their response to the attacks of 911 are quite revealing relative to their thinking and ideology. They are self-avowed Marxists. Now the kicker. The founder of STORM is none other than Van Jones - the "green jobs Czar" in the Obama administration. Several questions arise. How can someone who formed these "hate America" organizations now be leading an economic movement in America supported by the President of the United States? How can someone who hates American "imperialism" now embrace the government he so blatantly loathes? And how can someone who is a self-avowed communist (yes, he admits that) be a top advisor to the President of the United States, and be running a major facet of American government? And lastly, and most importantly, how can any President of the United States allow a communist to come close to the power of the American government. Obama has surrounded himself with no less than five of these ideological idiots. How can that happen in America? Why have we allowed it? Why are we still allowing it, even after we have become aware of it? Is it treasonous? I don't know, but it seems to be to me. Wake up America!