I opine

Words of Advice from President Bartlet

Posted in ethics, politics by jaeminuf on September 22, 2008

What if Barack Obama turned to former President Jed Bartlet of the “West Wing” for some fatherly wisdom?

OBAMA What would you do?

BARTLET GET ANGRIER! Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!

Aaron Sorkin Conjures a Meeting of Obama and Bartlet
Maureen DowdThe New York Times

Oh my god, my god (note, I used “god” in lower caps) is Aaron Sorkin! I love Aaron Sorkin. I LLLUUUUUUUUUV Aaron Sorkin. And I love President Bartlet. And oh my god, let righteous anger speak!

I loved that Biden said it would be patriotic for the wealthy to do their part at this time. Thank you, Biden, for having balls

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves!

Posted in gender, politics by jaeminuf on September 16, 2008

I chanced upon this firsthand account of the Alaskan women’s rally against Palin’s nomination. It was heartening.

Never, have I seen anything like it in my 17 and a half years living in Anchorage.  The organizers had someone walk the rally with a counter, and they clicked off well over 1400 people (not including the 90 counter-demonstrators).  This was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state.  I was absolutely stunned.  The second most amazing thing is how many people honked and gave the thumbs up as they drove by.  And even those that didn’t honk looked wide-eyed and awe-struck at the huge crowd that was growing by the minute.  This just doesn’t happen here. – ‘Alaska Women Reject Palin’ Rally is HUGE!

Alaska Women Say She Be Failin’

Posted in gender, politics by jaeminuf on September 16, 2008

Born Again But Not For Palin

A couple of hours after Gov. Sarah Palin returned to the Outside, as Alaskans call the Lower 48, her local critics swarmed an Anchorage intersection to correct the widespread impression that the whole of the Last Frontier endorses her candidacy.

“The whole thing grew out of frustration,” said Charla Sterne, one of the organizers, who like several people at the rally declined to say where they worked (several said they were state employees and feared retribution). – In Anchorage, an Anti-Palin ProtestWashington Post

I couldn’t resist including a sample of the signs:

  • Bush In A Skirt
  • Palin: She Be Failin’
  • Jesus Was a Community Organizer
  • Palin: Thanks But No Thanks
  • Smearing Alaska’s Good Name One Scandal @ a Time
  • Candidate To Nowhere
  • Rape Kits Should Be Free
  • Voted For Her Once: Never Again!
  • Community Organizers are the Real Patriots
  • Barbies for War
  • I Shall Not Be Pandered To
  • Give Palin Your Vote AND Your Draft Age Child
  • Sarah Palin: So Far Right She’s Wrong
  • Coat Hangers for McCain
  • Sarah Palin, Undoing 150 Years of American Feminism
  • Hockey Mama for Obama (on a hockey stick)

 

Alternate Reality

Posted in ethics, politics by jaeminuf on September 13, 2008

I’ve been very gloom and doom. Fretting over the election. Fretting about many things. Doesn’t help that I’m reading text after text on neo-Confucian ethics, including the memoirs of a Korean noblewoman whose husband, the crown prince, was sealed into a rice chest by his father, the king, and left to die: The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng, translated by JaHyun Kim Haboush. So, yes, I’ve been fretting about the moral/ethical failings of our world.

Then, I read this article.

The Year of the Cloned Candidates

By GAIL COLLINS
Published: September 13, 2008

We have been approaching this presidential race the wrong way. It’s not political science. It’s science fiction. Something is amiss in the space-time continuum.

The presidential candidates running now are not the same ones we started out with. It’s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” all over again. We’re watching the clash of the pod people. – The New York Times

 

Theyre here already! Youre next!

They're here already! You're next!

 

And I laughed. Lots. Gaffawing laughter.

Methinks I need to schedule in regular doses of the Daily Show with John Stewart.

If this were indeed a sci-fi horror flick, the kicker I’d like to add is this: the final scene takes us to a facility where the Republicans, unbeknownst to the American public, have been conducting secretly cloning experiments from stem cell lines. The final shot pans across glass pods of clones and zooms in slowly on the pod containing the protagonist’s clone. Mwahahahahahah.

 

Well-Intentioned But Manipulated

Posted in ethics, gender, politics by jaeminuf on September 7, 2008

In “The Mirrored Ceiling,” the latest post in her New York Times blog Domestic Disturbances, Judith Warner articulates incisively the gross insult and danger that is Palin’s nomination.

Palin sounded, at times, like she was speaking a foreign language as she gave voice to the beautifully crafted words that had been prepared for her on Wednesday night.

But that wasn’t held against her. Thanks to the level of general esteem that greeted her ascent to the podium, it seems we’ve all got to celebrate the fact that America’s Hottest Governor (Princess of the Fur Rendezvous 1983, Miss Wasilla 1984) could speak at all.

Could there be a more thoroughgoing humiliation for America’s women?

One of the worst poisons of the American political climate right now, the thing that time and again in recent years has led us to disaster, is the need people feel for leaders they can “relate” to. … it brought us after all, two terms of George W. Bush. And it isn’t new; Americans have always needed to feel that their leaders were, on some level, people like them. …But never before George W. Bush did it quite reach the beer-drinking level of familiarity… There’s a fine line between likability and demagoguery. Both thrive upon manipulation and least-common-denominator politics.”

Some of the comments to this Blog post were especially worthwhile. In particular, I appreciated Elizabeth Fuller’s comments (#5 and #387 ), as did so many others who commented, and Bill’s comment #363. They were gems. I just hope that the populace is made up of such thoughtful people who do discern the dissimulation being waged by Steve Schmidt, John McCain, Sarah Palin, and the Republican Party who, in order to put themselves in the White House, would do everything but put the country first and in fact would soil and undermine the very values upon which this nation was founded. I hope they are able to see that Sarah Palin is none other than a lipstick wearing, Alaskan iteration of George W. Bush: just as ill-prepared because they are not curious about the world in which they live, they have not dedicated themselves to challenging themselves, their hubris allows them to believe they possess all the wherewithal that could possibly be necessary to be (V)POTUS, and they lack respect for the Constitution and would violate that foundational belief in the separation of church and state.

 

Well-Intentioned But Misguided

Posted in education, ethics, gender, politics by jaeminuf on September 7, 2008

When I returned from my first year at Bryn Mawr College, I was a bit of a firebrand. Full of zeal, passionately committed to righting wrongs, to disabusing grossly mistaken notions less enlightened folks held, and so on. (Yes, cringe all you’d like… It’s totally deserved.)

One of the issues of note for me was the politics of naming. Of ensuring that we did not continue to perpetrate violence by denying people their right to self-definition. So, holier than thou I was, thumping on my soapbox (yep, this tendency is obviously not new) that it’s not merely about being politically correct (which to me meant wanting pat, easy answers so that those who were so hung up on being pc would not have to really reflect upon their own complicity in the perpetration of violence) but about putting an end to violence psychically, socioeconomically, culturally, that it was about radical change, and so on.

So, here I was, a zealous eighteen year old telling my very kind thirtysomething neighbor (who was trying to raise her son on her own after a divorce all the whilst trying to pursue a meaningful career that’d utilize the top knotch education she’d received at William and Mary) how horrible it was that people continued to say “indians” to refer to Native Americans, that this name reiterates the violence of Euro-American hegemony. At that moment, my good neighbor tried to get me to step back and question whether I might be shooting myself in the foot by being so aggressively dogmatic in “enlightening” and “raising the consciousness” of my neighbors. And to question whether I was not in my own way doing violence to Native Americans by reducing them to being nothing but dignified victims of Western hegemony, by allowing myself to regard them primarily in terms of their victimization. And to ask myself if every single person who was of indigenous descent would choose to self-identify as Native American, that might it not be that Native American was yet another externally imposed label, one that says more about those other Americans who are not Native? If I remember correctly, I think she tried to tell me that, if anything, it was a more common practice amongst those I was calling Native American to identify themselves by their tribal affiliations.

I didn’t catch it then. In fact, (more…)

Shame on the Whole Lot of You

Posted in ethics, gender, politics by jaeminuf on September 6, 2008

Senator McCain with Steve Schmidt

Steve Schmidt has transformed John McCain’s campaign into an elbows-out, risk-taking, disciplined machine. – An Adviser Puts His Stamp on McCain CampaignThe New York Times

Steve Schmidt stands for all that I find problematic about politics. His modus operandi is what most people purport to find repugnant about politicking. McCain used to criticize this type of “win at all costs, including stretching the truth so much that it bears little resemblance to itself” politicking. That McCain who was critical of dirty politics, I actually liked.

Must we resort to this to win? Are we that base? To stoop to such demeaning strategies and to devour such meat with frightening voracity that we make a pack of laughing hyenas appear civilized?

This criticism is not limited to Steve Schmidt and whichever likeminded Republicans.

Dems! Whatever happened to being the change you want, of wanting a more elevated, diginified political engagement? (more…)

Palin’s Teen Pregnancy

Posted in ethics, gender, politics, race by jaeminuf on September 3, 2008

Family Members of the Republican Presidential Ticket

I personally don’t care about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. What I object to is the hypocrisy, not just of the Palin family but of the claim that it is a subject inappropriate for public debate.

On the one hand, of course, it is entirely a private affair; however, it was made a public affair a long time ago by those who insisted on abstinence before marriage, who cast judgment on anyone who had pre-marital sex, who sneered at teen pregnancies and particularly those of black teens, who supported policies that either rendered it impossible to terminate unwanted pregnancies or eroded public forms of support for girls/women and their unplanned offspring who lack the kind of support that Bristol fortunately has, etc.
(more…)

Pretty Woman: Sarah Palin

Posted in ethics, gender, politics by jaeminuf on September 1, 2008

Imagine my delight when the hokey chick flick came out on the campaign trail, a Cinderella story so preposterous it’s hard to believe it’s not premiering on Lifetime. – Vice in Go-Go Boots?Maureen Dowd, NYTimes.com

I normally don’t go for Maureen Dowd. But this one did make me laugh. That said, I wonder at which point does critique become satire, then slur?

Yes, I still find insulting the choice of Palin as VP because she’s so grossly underqualified for that particular position. Perhaps she is a fine governor for Alaska. But 2nd in line to the POTUS? What was McCain thinking? What happened to the man who was once the Republican I Liked and Secretly Suspected Was a Democrat? (I just caught myself about to shoot off, “is he senile?” but realized how problematic that might be.)

That said, though we can critique her hypocrisy re: family values, if feminists want to argue for choice, we cannot go around criticizing her decision to be a Governor rather than the primary caretaker of her child, Down Syndrome or not.

I am a bit shocked by her hubris and audacity in thinking herself capable of being POTUS. I’d have respected her more if she’d declined.

Sarah Palin vs Hillary Rodham Clinton

Posted in gender, politics by jaeminuf on August 30, 2008
Governor Sarah Palin Sarah Palin Isn’t Hillary Clinton

 

(For full comparison, please refer to the original site.)

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • BA, Communications/Journalism, University of Idaho, 1987.
  • Education
  • JD, Yale University, 1973
  • BA, Wellesley College, 1969.
  • Media
  • Utilities
  • Professional Experience
  • Attorney, Rose Law Firm, 1976-1992
  • Faculty, University of Arkansas Law School, 1975
  • Author
  • Former Staff Attorney, Children’s Defense Fund.
  • Governor, Alaska, 2006-present
  • Former President, Alaska Conference of Mayors
  • Former Mayor/Manager, Wasilla City
  • Former Council Member, Wasilla City Council
  • Political Experience
  • Senator, United States Senate, 2000-present
  • First Lady, President Bill Clinton, 1992-2000
  • First Lady, State of Arkansas, 1978-1980, 1982-1992.
  •