Tag Archives: hate groups
“After years of tickling the dragon’s tail, flirting with the demagoguery of America’s right wing and egging on a growing rage within a core constituency of disaffected, working class white Americans, the dragon has started to breathe fire, and the flames have spread in all directions. The result is the maddening success of raving nativist Donald Trump and to a lesser extent, Senator Ted Cruz.”
“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Time slips quietly into the past and the lessons of yesterday are often forgotten or misunderstood today. It is unfortunate that the greatest lessons that have been taught to us are frequently whitewashed, sanitized, and distorted. When Dr. King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech on the Mall in Washington in 1963, he was a pariah to much of white America, a troublemaker and a threat to the establishment. The FBI had a file on him, Southern Democrats hated him and the Klan had him in their cross-hairs.
Today, a statue of Dr. King will be unveiled on the same Mall where he gave his speech. Politicians and pundits will laud his memory and sing the praises of a world without discrimination. That world only exists in the minds of those naive enough to believe that the cause that Dr. King died for has been realized. We live in a country where discrimination is still rampant in our daily lives. While the Dream lives on, there is still a great struggle to be fought before freedom can truly ring for all people – regardless of race, color, creed, gender or sexual orientation.
It is a simple photograph: the stump of a tree that was felled due to a summer storm, its roots surrounded by tiny saplings trying to grow, trying to be like the tree that once was.
William Stephenson Clark
(Photograph by the author.)
If the truth is told, I have to confess to being somewhat of a moderate. I lean to the left, hard to the left some would say, but many of my positions are decidedly more moderate than far left. On social issues, I am decidedly liberal, as if it is a “liberal” position to consider equal rights for all and “giving” women the right to decide their own medical decisions.
I believe in giving folks a hand up, not just a hand out. Most definitely a hand out is warranted at times, but it is my belief that most folks would just as soon have an opportunity to make a place for themselves and their families in this life. I believe in the intent of the Second Amendment, a pro-gun position, but I also believe in strong laws to punish those that use a gun in the act of committing a crime. I am against the Death Penalty but I believe in life without parole for those convicted of heinous crimes. I believe in fiscal responsibility but embrace Keynesian economics. I believe in low taxes, but only when they make economic sense. I believe in war, but only when it is in the (true) national interest of the United States.
So why am I “accused,” sometimes in vile terms, of being a far left socialist that is anti-American?
The positions that I have noted should be mainstream, not positions that are vilified as somehow being “fringe or radical.” Recently, I read on another blog that moderates, or independents, are cowardly and ill-informed. Eh? Somewhere, I got the “radical” idea that we are to educate ourselves on the issues and make an informed decision for ourselves. In 2010, apparently it is not enough to label liberals as evil, but moderates fall into that category as well.
The pendulum always swings right when the left is in control politically, and visa versa. This election season the pendulum is not swinging right, it seems to be stuck on far right. The Tea Baggers are purging RINO’s while attempting to win state-wide general elections without moderates and independents.
There is certainly something strange tainting the waters these days.
William Stephenson Clark
Unless Sam Brownback gets caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy, he will Kansas’ next Governor, and all of us may come to regret it. Sam makes no bones about his “faith” and he has every intention of imposing that philosophy on the rest of Kansas.
Sam doesn’t believe in abortion – under any circumstances. That’s right. No abortions, no exceptions. That means no abortions even in cases of rape, incest, the viability of the fetus, the health or even the life of the mother. Let that sink in for a moment – even if a fourteen year old gets raped and is impregnated, Sam doesn’t want her to have the option of having an abortion. Even if the prospective mother is likely to die if she carries the fetus to term, Sam doesn’t want her to have the option of having an abortion. The same goes for cases where there is no signs of life from the fetus or if it is severely deformed or even brain-dead.
Sam also believes in the so-called “Fair Tax.” I used the term “so-called” because it is anything but fair. Under the “Fair Tax” program, lower-income people would see an immediate increase in tax rates of a monumental proportion. One of the numbers I have seen tossed about is 22%, that is, everyone would pay that tax rate with no deductions. Pretty good deal, right? Then, of course, the higher income tax payers would see a reduction in rates as much as 13% points, from about 35% to the previously mentioned 22%.
Sam has a lot of great ideas for Kansas – eliminating corporate taxes and drastically reducing regulations, especially those that affect the environment. “Protecting families” is another of Sam’s pet projects. Presumably that means taking what few rights they have away from gays and lesbians. Sam also says that he is going to create jobs for Kansans. Why he hasn’t done that yet is a mystery, never to be solved.
So, just when you think that Kansas could not be any worse off, along comes Sam.
Thank God for I-70.
William Stephenson Clark
For the past two years, I have TRIED hard to be a reasonable observer of the national political scene. Politics are politics and sometimes you need to take it with a grain of salt. Sometimes, it takes a truckload of salt to get through the day. Republicans = good, Democrats = bad seems to be the minority party’s mantra, regardless of facts and logic.
After today’s lack of vote in the Senate, I am seriously pissed off. The majority of Americans want to see DADT repealed, despite an ongoing dismissive attitude towards gays and lesbians. By any logical reasoning, gays should be allowed to serve in our all-volunteer Armed Services without having to lie about their orientation.
Today’s non-vote was the last straw for the Republican’s “Party of No!” agenda. Granted, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a political idiot and he handled the repeal vote very poorly, as he has with many procedural and political issues.. That is hardly an excuse for not dealing with a fundamental right for gays and lesbians in a manner that would discard an antiquated and unnecessary statute.
The Democrats are going to be the minority party in at least one of the Houses of Congress come January. The first order of business for the Democrats must be to replace Reid with someone who can play the game of politics with an equal measure of skill that the Republicans have done.
The next on the agenda is to obtain a spine – either grow one, steal one or pick up one on eBay. The time for playing nice ended long ago, but the Democrats have never shown the nerve to fight fire with fire. The Republicans have no compulsions about taking an obviously partisan stance, defying logic and fairness.
The Democrats need to become the “New Party of No!” despite any misgivings about appearances. Largely, the Republicans have not suffered ill effects from their obstructionist policies. When the Republicans are in charge, the Democrats must take a page from the Republican playbook.
When the Republicans push their right-wing agenda, every Democrat must stand united, as the GOP has, and resist any and all attempts to push through a new version of the same old platform that got us into this mess in the first place.
After all, if it is fair for the Republicans, it is fair for the Democrats.
William Stephenson Clark
Your’e not happy. I’m not happy. Most us are not happy. The only ones that seem happy are those on the far right that see our current struggles as a means of returning to power without having to admit to previous failures.
Imagine a world if the progressives and liberals, the rights activists and supporters, the liberal commentators and bloggers were to concede to the right. Imagine, if you will, if we were to give up the fight – the daily fight – and allow the other side to win.
Has Barack Obama been a perfect president? Of course not. For starters, he begin Day One with most daunting set of circumstances of any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Add to that mix a politically inept Senate Majority Leader, the worst environmental disaster imaginable and an attack dog mentality opposition.
It’s difficult to be a liberal these days, but it is not impossible. It is difficult because it is just so easy to say “no” and critcize those that say “yes.”
Spending? Of course it looks bad, and it is difficult to explain to the “Tea Party” mentality why the spending is necessary, even though it has not produced many jobs.
The Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? We are pulling out of Iraq on schedule, but you would have a hard time getting the GOP to admit that. Afghanistan? Obama listened to his Generals – COIN was their plan – yet the “armchair generals” have a better idea since they got “anti-war religion.”
The list goes on. McCain wanted the administration to listen to the military leaders regarding “DADT” right up to the point when they expressed an opinion that it should be repealed. Cut taxes? Obama did cut taxes for a great number of us, yet the right wing machine insists that he has raised taxes and is doing in again in January, despite the “sunset” provision in the original Republican bill.
We have to imagine a better world than this one, but that means will have to be willing to stand up and be counted as a progressive that is willing to fight for our principles.
Politics is a full contact sport – it’s not for the faint of heart or the easily discouraged. “It could be worse” is scant consolation for those hit hard by the Great Recession or the lack of progress on social issues, but the fact is, it could be much worse.
Just allow yourself to imagine it.
William Stephenson Clark
I am a straight white man, so my view of discrimination is only what I can observe or read about. The closest that I have come to experiencing discrimination was in my “Hippie” years, when my long hair prompted an increase in attention from the local gendarmerie.
Perhaps it is because of that, or maybe in spite of that, I have little understanding of the thought process that leads to discrimination. I don’t think that I am in the minority, yet I see anti-gay marriage constitutional amendments regularly passed by seventy percent margins.
Truthfully, I do not understand that level of bigotry in a country that makes a claim of being “a beacon of freedom in the world.” Perhaps most hypocritical to me is DADT.
“You can fight and perhaps die for our freedom but you just sure as Hell can’t have any of it for yourself?”
It has been often said that discrimination against gays is the last acceptable form of bigotry. That is pretty close to the truth. Anti-gay rights people and politicians have a host of excuses for their bigotry that they can hide behind.
“The Bible says being gay is an abomination!”
“I am not anti-gay, I am just for traditional marriage!”
“Gay sex is so disgusting!”
Well, gay sex may be disgusting to you, but it is not to those that practice it, and, by the way no one asked you to join in. The Bible, Leviticus in particular, makes a lot of rules that are not regularly followed. When was the last time you heard about someone being stoned to death for working on the Sabbath? When is the last time you read about a man selling his daughter into slavery?
Leviticus is the often quoted passage for being anti-gay rights, but choosing that verse and ignoring the others is strictly hypocritical. So is quoting Corinthians, written by the so-called St. Paul, who many biblical historians think was gay himself.
Using the Bible to justify discrimination is a direct contradiction of the words of Jesus who said:
“Love your neighbor as you love yourself”
Does that not mean, also, extending to your neighbor the same rights that you too enjoy?
Ironic, that a 33 year old never married man, that traveled the country with twelve also single males and a female prostitute, would most likely be considered by today’s Christians to be gay.
Hypocrites, one and all.
William Stephenson Clark