Let’s get clear about something: Some things can be learned, taught and studied. They are a matter of information, memory and ideas, a matter of intelligence. Other things, not so much. They are more a matter of ‘who you are’ as a person things like personality, empathy, intuition, flexibility, patience and self-control have less to do education and more to do with innate qualities. When you think about a presidential candidate, a world leader who has to lead this country and be respected across the globe, you have to think beyond the kind of ‘issues’ that candidates debate. Those things, while important at the moment, vary from generation to generation and from country to country.
As thoughtful voters we can not afford to get stuck on single, emotional, social, political or financial issues no matter how important they may be. Because those issues change with the social and political climate. What is more imporant and what is universally ignored, what goes beyond opinion and proposals is the nature of the person’s character, morality and personality. It’s not about how smart or well informed they are – yes it’s impressive when candidates can rattle off facts and figures and pronounce the name of every leader, country and capital with searing linguistic accuracy, what’s most important has not been addressed except in passing, slurs or inferences delivered in mini-soundbites.
Here’s the thing.
In addition to intelligent, our president needs to be:
January 12, 2016 should have been a proud night for Americans. In presenting his final State of the Union address, President Obama was everything we could hope for in an American president. He was dignified, articulate, gracious, capable, well-prepared, intelligent, thoughtful, emotionally well-regulated, rational, wise and grounded. Additionally, he was socially appropriate, (and looked great, too), plus, he was linguistically elegant, poised, mature, reasonable and remarkably restrained when speaking of Congressional Republicans and current Presidential candidates. He said having different views should not, by definition, make us enemies, rather, in a free society, one expects and welcomes diversity of opinion, culture and background. His views for our country, and ultimately for the world, were optimistic and balanced. And he put his finger precisely on the problem we face as a nation: our political process or rather those who currently dominate it, is a mess. The Almighty Dollar and cultural elitism have inflated and leveraged hot button topics, and infused the rancorous political process with hate, increasing our dividedness.
This current batch of political combatants exhibit a zealous, unrestrained contempt for each other that barley stops short of snarling. It reminds me of National Geographic videos of marauding chimpanzees slaughtering rival troops. The battles on Capital Hill with their screeching and thumping, has descended to the level of primates in the wilds of Tanzania. If any of us think our American political campaign process is more erudite and sophisticated than that of many third world countries, take another look. Their hateful witches’ brew accompanied by its twin assumption — God-given ‘rightness’ have driven us to a precipice. Across the globe there are regressive, primeval, archaic belief systems competing for power on the world stage and the last thing we need is for our own politicians to regress to a matching level of un-socialized, uncivilized sloppy discourse.
This year’s Republican Presidential Candidates are, to put it mildly, distasteful. As if ‘traditional’ conservative values isn’t off-putting enough, these folks have scooped up the most alienated, marginalized and narrow-minded citizens on our social continuum.
Pandering to these extremists has candidates clustering on the brink of disaster by preaching blatant racism, divisive regionalism, isolationism, and generalized war mongering. All this makes me long for the days of George H whose big campaign slogan was “watch my lips, no new taxes” or the days of George W who garbled the English language (“We cannot let terrorists hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile”) and could never seem to get ‘nuclear’ right.
For the first time, in my admittedly long life, the campaign trail is crowded with people competing for the title of: most outrageous, most offensive, most morally repugnant, most immature, most regressive, most extreme, most insulting and most uninformed. Although each candidate is unique, their collective rhetoric is stuffed with hatred disguised as religious fervor, generalized rejection of anyone who’s different and astounding illogicality. These candidates jump to conclusions, render pronouncements unsupported by rational thought, confuse feelings for facts and lack anything resembling a moral compass.
You say you oppose abortion even in cases of rape, incest and even if the mother’s life is in danger. You say you are being compassionate and religiously pure. You think you are being good and faithful followers of God’s law because you value human life …but you’re wrong about that. You are in fact making a value judgement. You are determining that the life of a fetus the size of a cashew nut is more valuable than that of the mother, a mother who may be a 14 year old child or an impoverished mother of 4. In any event without fully seeing, perceiving or evaluating each of those situations you are making uninformed decisions that have the power to destroy the lives of thousands of women and those who love them.
Have you Right to Lifers ever paused to think about the act of rape? It’s ugly. It’s a horrible act that one human being inflicts on another. What would it be like to be raped, wounded, traumatized, terrified, injured, beaten, or bloodied by your parent, uncle, brother, or a stranger?
Reflecting on the Republican debate, I was astonished to realize how all those ‘right to life’ candidates care about ‘the value of human life’. “All life matters!” they declared! “I value life, even the life of unborn fetuses!” and so forth.
Isn’t it great that there are so many humane, caring candidates?
But, hang on a second, let me get something clear:
Do you care about the fetus just when it’s a fetus or throughout its life?
Is there a point in time when you ‘life lovers’ cease to care about those ‘valuable lives’ you’re insisting be born?
Do you care about them after they are born, abandoned and scooped up by under-funded foster care programs or after they are taken home to an impoverished, unloving home where they weren’t welcomed in the first place? Do you care if they scream from hunger or die from Failure to Thrive?
Trump is a chump,
He is one more useless hump
on the back of the overloaded
thinks he’s splendid,
He says he loves Mexico,
even as he rants with his hash tags,
that Mexicans are the problem–
weighted down by his bigot bag–
he has a long line up
of places that give him ulcers–
It flames his propaganda–
He could easily loathe its panda,
He promises confrontation,
For the sins of the communist nation,
He promises trade imbalances will be gone
in the relation,
If he were president,
If he were president,
All will be right with the USA,
Number one will be USA,
Proud will be USA,
Back to its glory days,
Ruler of the Earth,
a new and shiny birth,
Iran on the hook,
A noose for every crook,
If he were president…
BUT the backlash O the backlash,
he’s drowning in the backlash,
NOW–watch him slowly backtrack–
Mexican food is to die for,
Mexican girls are curvaceous,
Mexican bulls are bodacious,
Mexican beaches are delicious
and Mexican writers are audacious–
Trump is a chump,
overplaying his favorite cards
he’ll be hoisted by his own petard.
By Usha Srinivasan
If you’ve watched or read anything about the hoard of candidates scrambling for the Republican Presidential nomination you may have noticed a particularly obnoxious, egocentric bully elbowing fellow running-mates off center stage. With nothing more than a big mouth, a bizarre comb-over and a monstrous accumulation of wealth, the man has catapulted himself into the limelight. The Donald, as he likes to be called, overflows with unsubstantiated, extremist opinions and an exceptionally nasty, no-holds barred assortment of pejorative, combative, denigrating statements he uses to punish anyone who questions his superiority and dares not to bow down before his supreme ‘majestic-ness. With inflammatory rhetoric designed to instigate red-state riots, this narcissist substitutes knee-jerk reactions for informed resolutions and hot air for reasonable solutions.
As we move closer to the time when you can read Seeing Double and embrace a whole new cast of characters to love, I find myself drawn to the horrors of what constitutes the new Middle East. As if the violence and cruelty of Sadam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, al Queda, Hamas, Hezbollah and all the other violent radical factions wasn’t enough, we now have ISIS which has taken Islamic extremism to an extreme the world hasn’t seen for hundreds of years. This group takes us back to early civilizations when there was no regard for human life, no concept of ‘family values’ or ‘social values.’ This group has no meaningful guidelines by which to regulate personal or social behavior. Like a rage-filled, adolescent, psychopathic gang they are bent on destruction for the sake of destruction. Even our lower functioning primate cousins have more clearly developed behavioral sanctions and social rules than these guys. Protect the young would be one imperative. While there are occasions when a violent ape tribe member crossed that boundary, it is nonetheless a clearly understood principal among primates that this was bad behavior. The young are always to be protected. It’s a zoological imperative. It’s inbred; something every species has hard-wired into their brains.
ISIS as a collective seems to have a few of those brain cells missing. Actually, quite a lot of them. The news this morning reported that ISIS has ‘put a price’ on children, whole huge groups of them are now for sale. Nothing covert about these guys! Not like our sneaky pedophiles, who horrify us by kidnapping one kid at a time. Boca Harem move over, today’s award for the cruelest and most heartless transgressors against children goes to ISIS. You are now the official worst of the worst. Congratulations!
Fox News says they got it wrong. They apologized this week to millions of viewers here and across the globe for inaccurate, prejudicial statements either they or their guests made in the wake of terrorist attacks in Eastern Europe. They reported that there were ‘no-go-zones’ in Europe where ‘Islamic law supersedes local law’ and they said ‘Birmingham, England is a totally Muslim city where non-Muslims don’t go…’ Further they stated that the ‘EU poll shows that 69% of Muslims in France support ISIS…’ an inaccurate comment designed to terrify all of Europe. Their reports went on to vilify, exaggerate and yes, insult Muslims and non-Muslims across the globe. But here’s the thing. We all do the same thing. Not on the air but in our homes and jobs and minds. We cast aspersions on those we don’t know, make judgments, quote and re-quote inaccurate information and build the foundation for hatred. And we do it every day.
In Iraq we have ISIS capturing and killing Yazidis, (OK they released 250 of them mostly children and the elderly, thanks for that). But then we ask why. What is it about the Yazidis that would make anyone want to kill them? They are one of Iraq’s smallest minority populations, whose religion is considered a pre-Islamic sect that draws from Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism. That sounds innocent enough but according to CNN, they have been persecuted because many Muslims see them as ‘devil worshippers.’ Doesn’t that translate to ‘they’re different’? And so, what if they are? Aren’t we all? How many kinds of Christian churches are there? How many different types of Jewish synagogues are there? How many religions are there? Look in the Yellow pages! Read a book on World Religions!
Although political pundits sorely miss W with his idiotic misstatements like, “Those who enter this country illegally, are breaking the law!” we can rest assured that should Sarah Palin seek public office she will step into that void and provide us with endless hilariousness. Most recently Bill Maher quoted or misquoted her as saying “…my heart goes out to all those people in Ebola.” Well personally I’m glad she’s so sympathetic but it would be better if she knew exactly what, where and to whom her sympathies were being directed! Perhaps she would benefit from a geography lesson that pointed out Angola is not the same as Ebola, one is a country the other a deadly virus. Duh! We can all breathe a sigh of relief that she is not looking for a job with the World Health Organization or the Center for Communicable Diseases, the world has enough trouble without adding her to the mix! And did she really brag that she can kill her dinner before she cooks it? Let’s imagine this. There she is wearing her latest $2500 Versace creation, slaving over her recently shot goose (or wolf as the case may be) preparing a little Sunday dinner. And perhaps while her goose is cooking, she saunters into her bedroom and peeks out her window at Russia, just to check on how things are going over there, with that Ukrainian problem. And then, she gets this brilliant idea. Why doesn’t she give Putin a call, them being practically neighbors, she’ll invite him over for dinner. He’ll hop on his MasterCraft x46 and zoom right over. To make political capital from her efforts she’ll call the press to take pictures of the little peace conference about to take place at her dining room table. She’ll even ask him to bring along some of his Pro-Russian Ukrainians. They’re his neighbors, so they’re practically her neighbors too. Hell, they could bring along those hungry folks from Ebola too (they’re somewhere south of Ukraine according to her map)!