Friday, October 10, 2014

Have You Noticed ...

Have you noticed … a certain sameness to the rhetoric coming from the political left and right? Both want to take the country back.

Here’s what U.S. senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told Bill Maher last Friday: 

“We now have a government that works for millionaires and billionaires and Fortune 500 companies, but it’s leaving real families, real people behind. And so, what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to get over there and we’ve got to be willing to fight back, to take this country back.”

A conservative, retired friend of mine sent along a right wing screed that contained the following:

“We didn’t fight for the Socialist States of America; we fought for the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” … Yes, we are old and slow these days but rest assured, we have at least one good fight left in us. We have loved this country, fought for it, and died for it, and now we are going to save it. It is our country and nobody is going to take it away from us. We took oaths to defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that is an oath we plan to keep. There are those who want to destroy this land we love but, like our founders, there is no way we are going to remain silent.”

It’s an “us vs. them” attitude that has overtaken much of our political dialogue. Solutions are rarely advanced beyond “throw-the-bums-out.”

I pointed out to my conservative friend that the fighters of WWII, Korea and Vietnam “fought to defend social security, the GI Bill, Medicare and Medicaid, the FDA, national parks, Civil Rights, and other progressive programs, all of which were passed and in place by 1965 at the latest and many pre-WWII. 

“If we want to blame Obama for anything, let’s blame him for reducing unemployment to its lowest levels in about a decade; for saving the domestic car industry; for extending health care to millions of uninsured; for having the longest run of positive job growth; for following through on Bush’s contract with Iraq to remove US troops (he’s now being blamed for doing what Bush signed on to do, another mess W. left).”


Have you noticed … that despite daily reassurances by broadcasters, doctors and government officials that it is hard to contract Ebola even from an infected carrier, many Americans are panicking, believing the deadly disease will invade our shores and kill thousands, even millions, of us? Why? Because there are too many dumb people living among us. 

First, let’s note the obvious—more people than you care to believe don’t wash their hands before leaving the bathroom. Second, and perhaps more important, Americans are mostly ignorant about stuff that really matters. We choose political leaders based on emotions not reasoned thinking; we prefer mindless TV shows and movies over thought-provoking performances; we celebrate and emulate celebrities with no talent. I could go on but the point is, we are a shallow people, easily led by media that has an agenda that is anti-Progressive.


Did you notice … the article in Thursday’s New York Times about expensive watch collectors and their weekly Red Bar meetings to ogle and fondle time pieces worth the down payment on a Manhattan co-op? http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/09/fashion/for-luxury-watch-buyers-one-just-isnt-enough.html?_r=0

I couldn’t believe one attendee admitted to regularly bringing half a million dollars worth of watches to the gatherings. That sort of ostrich-head-in-the-sand attitude toward crime just invites foul deeds. I’m reminded of a post I did back in 2010 about a metal detector enthusiast whose house was burglarized after I profiled him in The New Haven Register and, by newspaper policy, had to include his address story (http://nosocksneededanymore.blogspot.com/2010/07/too-much-information.html). As with my story, sometimes too much information is too much.


Have you seen … the new Republican Party TV ad that tries to soften the image of the GOP by portraying “Republicans are people, too”? With a # IAMaRepublican in the lower left hand corner, the ad shows various shades of “Republicans”—a black woman, a woman with a tattoo, a man with a tattoo and beard, a young professional-looking white man reading The New York Times in public, and other activities not generally associated with conservative types, such as recycling, shopping at Trader Joe’s, using a Mac, driving a Prius, listening to Spotify and putting together Ikea furniture.

A warm and fuzzy ad, only all the pictures are stock photo images. There’s no assurance all or any of them are Republicans or even U.S. citizens. Heck, as Stephen Colbert pointed out, the man standing next to a Prius is a Swede. Given that country’s social welfare system it’s highly doubtful he has much in common with Republican, especially conservative Republican, values.


Let’s end on an amusing note about the differences in our national society, sent to me by my aforementioned conservative friend:  

You may have heard on the news about a Southern California man who was put under 72-hour psychiatric observation when it was found he owned 100 guns and allegedly had 100,000 rounds of ammunition stored in his home. The house also featured a secret escape tunnel.

By Southern California standards, someone owning 100,000 rounds is considered “mentally unstable.”

In Michigan, he’d be called “The last white guy still living in Detroit.”

In Arizona, he’d be called “an avid gun collector.”

In Arkansas, he’d be called “a novice gun collector.”

In Utah, he’d be called “moderately well prepared,” but they’d probably reserve judgment until they made sure that he had a corresponding quantity of stored food.

In Kansas, he’d be “A guy down the road you would want to have for a friend.”

In Montana, he’d be called “The neighborhood ‘Go-To’ guy.”

In Idaho, he’d be called “a likely gubernatorial candidate.”

In Georgia, he’d be called “an eligible bachelor.”

In North Carolina, Virginia, W.Va., Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina he would be called “a deer hunting buddy.”


And in Texas: he’d just be “Bubba, who’s a little short on ammo.”

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