SooperToosday

Suffrage_universel

But it’s so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy’s? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me. 

– Vizzini

The day is upon us.

Super Tuesday: the day on which we all get to decide whether it’s more important to win, or whether–perhaps–there is more to our voting choices than that.

At the end of the day, this election isn’t about ideology, it isn’t about conservative versus liberal. This one’s about basic human decency, about respect for one another and our political process. This one says something, profound and revelatory, about us as a nation and a people.

I’m not endorsing one party over another here. There are Republican candidates who have a lot to offer (well, candidate, anyway: Kasich–although I’ll take Rubio in a pinch). There are Democratic candidates who also promise at least some level of progress, and who have talked, not about the “evil Other,” but about the good we can do together as citizens of the United States.

And then there is the One.

The guy whose whole platform is built on putting down pretty much everyone, who has all but endorsed whatever form of torture serves him most conveniently, who has refused to distance himself from the KKK (with which historically inconspicuous organization he claims to be unfamiliar), and who has bullied his way through a series of debates without ever actually talking about anything, really, at all.

The guy whose plan is having one.

I’ve heard of several conservatives who, given a Trump nomination, are planning to abstain. Fine. But you could vote now, instead; vote, thoughtfully, for a more thoughtful option. Which is pretty much ANYBODY ELSE.

To my fellow Democrats, same goes for you: winning isn’t everything. In fact, in some cases, it isn’t anything. “Electability” is for the cynical and cowardly. Our problem, politically speaking, is that we’re not willing to swing for the fences. Everything is “strategery”: how do we get our guy (or gal) in, and then, how do we keep them there?

And we wonder why nothing ever changes.

We have one candidate who has told us what could be accomplished if we try, and we have another who has told us, consistently, that so little can be done that trying is a waste of time. Yoda is great, but I don’t really want him in the White House. Progressivism (real progressivism) is all about the “try.” Anything else is stagnation. And we’re all too familiar with that.

Let’s be clear: Hillary tells us that the root of “progressive” is “progress.” Fair enough. The root of “socialism” is “social.” And that has nothing to do with the Soviet Union, or Karl Marx, or bread lines and sovkhozy.

It’s not about the state at all, really. It’s about how we look at each other, about who our neighbors are, about what kind of neighbors we intend to be. The true socialist society is a reflection of its people. That the USSR got it backwards doesn’t mean it can never work. It just means that it hasn’t worked yet.

So, stop fearing the labels and catchphrases, and listen to what Bernie has to say about the things that are holding us back as a nation. Which is ourselves.

Every generation needs a “moonshot.” But that means embracing the big ideas, remembering that the moon is out there in the first place, waiting to be shot at.

So, two suggestions:

Democrats, let’s vote for the candidate who’s willing to shoot for the moon.

And Republicans…

For the love of Pete, don’t vote for the guy who might accidentally blow it up.

#FeelTheBern
#DumpTrump

TrumCruBio: A Drama in Three Hacks

Donald_Trump_2_March_2015

…it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth

Rubio: (scratching head): But, sir, might I inquire as to what your plan entails? You say, ‘Smite the enemy,’ and yet you offer no strategy, no line of attack.

Rump: What, sir, is my plan? What is my plan, you ask? My plan. (Stares in defiant confusion)

Rubio: (nodding) Yes, good sir. Your plan.

Rump: My plan, sir, is simply this: good. It is the best plan. And it will succeed, sir, because it will. Doubt me not, sir: I cannot tell a lie, because I do not know the difference, sir! I challenge you, sir, to dispute with me!

Rubio: (pointing) But what are the details, sir, of your plan? How exactly do you propose we proceed?

Rump: The details of my plan, sir, are as follows: it will succeed, because it is good. Please, sir, desist from this odious repetition of words! My plan, sir, is good. It is good. My plan is good, sir! It is, I daresay, great. The greatest. My plan is the greatest plan in the history of talking about plans, sir!

Rubio: (still scratching head) Might I also inquire, sir, as to who the enemy is, sir?

Rump: It is simple, sir! The enemy is the bad people. Unless, at the time in question, they are the good people. In which case they’re our friends. Indubitably, some of the best friends I’ve had. Great advice, all of them; great advice! The best advice!

Cruz: (Looks up from the fire, where he is roasting a machine gun) Would anyone care for a morsel of bacon?

Rubio: But surely, sir, we cannot pretend the enemy knows not what he is doing? Away with this myth! Away! He seeks to change us, sir! And I will not be changed! My diaper is not yet dirty, sir! Son of a motherless goat! I will not be changed!

The light level increases abruptly. Two large shoes are observed entering stage left.

Cruz: (Proffers machine gun) Bacon?

Voiceover: Naughty children, how have you cluttered the nursery so? I dare not leave you to your own devices again! Naughty! Naughty children!

Rubio: Do not change me, Nanny! I will not be changed!

Rump: You are but a lobbyist, madam, with your boos and bahs! Leave this room! I will not be tidy, however loudly you crow! I am the best listener! I will not listen! I will not listen. I am the best. The best…

Rubio and Rump are hoisted from view. Their words turn to undefined wails, and slowly fade away. Cruz sits in the corner, chewing reflectively.

Fade lights.

Apparently, We ARE with Stupid

Donald_Trump_2_March_2015

Momma says stupid is as stupid does.

– Forrest Gump

I would very much like to say that I’m surprised at yet another Trump victory in Nevada yesterday. I would like that so much.

But I can’t.

Nothing we ‘Muricans do surprises me anymore. Horrifies, yes; angers, most definitely; renders apoplectic, indubitably. But surprise went out the window with the Double Down and the wiener-stuffed crust.

So, I’m announcing my candidacy: Toad for President, 2032.

Sure, it’s a little in advance. And I’m a virtual unknown. But it gives me 16 years to hone my xenophobic, nationalistic, ugly American rhetoric. Plenty of time! By then, I should be a perfectly acceptable horrible excuse for a human being. I’m a shoe-in!

Because if Donald Trump can become President of the United States, any old jackass can…

Dollars and Nonsense

donkey-and-elephant

High hopes were once formed of democracy; but democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.

– Oscar Wilde

There are thoughtful voters on all sides of the political aisle: Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal, and independent. The problem is that those thoughtful folks are trapped between two (much louder) extremes:

On the one hand are the corporations. You know, those people. Money talks. Loudly. And, when money is up for grabs, your average politician’s its mouthpiece.

On the other hand are the clueless. Let me be clear: I ascribe this label to no particular ideological category. They stand both to the left and the right of center. These are the people whose vote is decided before candidates even begin their campaigns, before they even know who will be running. Who say things like “Voting for a ___ is unthinkable.”

This kind of cocksure attitude speaks at a dull roar. In my experience, anyone who says something is “unthinkable” really hasn’t thought about it at all. In this scenario, a vote isn’t a decision; it’s a reflex. And blind certainty is the birthplace of volume. Generally speaking, the more someone yells, the more he thinks he knows, and the more a person thinks he knows, the less he really does.

So, we’re stuck between dollars and nonsense, and like John Kasich and Martin O’Malley, we find it hard to get a word in. The deck of democracy is stacked against us.

It’s hard not to feel that, in the midst of so much sound and fury, we really do signify nothing…

 

An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders Supporters

If you need a little encouragement after Saturday…

Kurt Hackbarth, Escritor y Dramaturgo Writer and Playwright

Dear Friends:

Happy Monday and here’s to a new week. Yes, the Nevada results stung on Saturday. But it’s a testament to how far we’ve come that we are disappointed we didn’t come out on top in a state we were given absolutely no chance of winning a few short weeks ago  – and one whose popular vote Obama lost by 8 points in 2008.

After Nevada, the score stands at 1-1-1 and we are tied with Clinton in the pledged delegate count at 51 each (the superdelegate issue is a whole separate story). That’s 51 each, with a total of 2,032 delegates necessary to win the nomination. There are 47 states to go. Clearly, we are in the very early days of what is the ultimate long game: an American presidential nomination.

Bernie_Sanders_by_Gage_Skidmore

Photo: Gage Skidmore

State by state, stitch by stitch, Bernie is weaving a new progressive coalition in…

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Bernie: The Issues

A nice summation, I think…

In Saner Thought

I have heard his opponent say that he is a one issue candidate….I disagree….his foreign policy leaves me a bit dry….but he is spot on when it comes to what this society needs……

 

I have also heard that Bernie has NO idea how to pay for the proposals that he has offered……in case you would like to know…….

 

Woot!  Dere It Is!

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Trump wins debate by fatality

If you can make it through this without falling out of your seat, then more power to you. I, however, am on the floor…

The Mud Lake Proboscis

By Reba Colander, Proboscis Political Correspondent

wedgie Trump set the tone for the debate early on, giving Jeb Bush an “atomic wedgie.”

GREENVILLE, SC—After months of bitter debate, divisive campaigning, accusations, and name-calling that would embarrass elementary school children, the most recent Republican debate took a turn for the gruesome, leaving Donald Trump the Republican candidate by default after the aging tycoon brutally murdered his primary opponents.

The debate started like any other. The candidates filed onto stage, smiling and waving amongst scattered applause and boos. The moderator began with a question about the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and the candidates weighed in. After that initial exchange, the debate heated up as the candidates threw increasingly vicious personal attacks at each other.

“Donald Trump is a stinky poopy pants!” exclaimed Jeb Bush.

“I’m rubber,” replied Trump, jabbing his finger at the podium, “you’re glue. Bounces off me…and…

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RadicalEyes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARed, white, and blue, gaze in your looking glass
You’re not a child anymore
Red, white, and blue, the future is all but past
So lift up your heart, make a new start
And lead us away from here

– Styx

In Chapter Two of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna: “He lives in wisdom who sees himself in all and all in him.” The same might be said of the good global citizen. She is one who sees herself in all peoples and all peoples in herself.

The problem is that we are not trained to see things in this way. In fact, we are trained actively to not see things in this way. We view the world through nation-state-colored glasses; anything else is but a cataract begging for removal.

This is a singular form of myopia, characterized by an inability to see ourselves as a part of, rather than apart from, the rest of the planet. It is not restricted to any one nation or nationality; we all suffer from it to one degree or another. D.T. Suzuki, the great Westernizer of Zen, explained that “it is in the nature of the intellect to set up a series of antitheses in the maze of which it loses itself.” And the greatest antithesis of all is “us against them.”

We understand ourselves by categorizing the Other. This in itself is not a bad thing. But we tend to go farther than that, and imbue those categories with moral significance, as if we cannot conceive of our own importance without calling into question the importance of our opposites. Insert whatever label you like–white, male, European, Christian, heterosexual; the point is the same: knowing one’s place and defining it as more.

National borders serve a similar purpose. There is some benefit, of course, in fellow feeling and shared identity that has nothing to do with imaginary political delineations: to be “American” (or “South African,” or “Iraqi”) is to share a journey, to participate in a greater vision born of multiplying one agent by many. We are part of a whole, larger than ourselves and cumulatively purposeful. Nationality is not in itself a bad thing: it can show us who we are, where we’re going, and give us an inkling of how to get there.

Difficulties arise, though, when nationality bleeds into nationalism:

Nationalism gives rise not only to the affirmative mischief of exceptionalism and the various paranoid doctrines of “un-Americanism” by which our modern history is so unfortunately disfigured, but also to narratives of patriotic sovereignty and separateness that are inordinately bellicose about enemies, the clash of civilizations, manifest destiny, “our” natural superiority, and, inevitably (as now), to policies of arrogant interventionism in politics the world over, so that, alas, in places like Iraq, the United States today is synonymous with a very harsh inhumanity and with policies whose results are particularly and, I would say, even perniciously destructive. (Edward Said)

Keep in mind that Said died in 2003. He wrote these words with relatively little reference to post-9/11 history. And yet…a decade later, the prophecy in his words could not be more evident. In the midst of an election cycle defined by one man’s wall, and in the wake of Paris and all its implications for our national morality, it’s hard believe Said didn’t pen these thoughts last week.

Speaking of Trump’s wall, one of the truisms often voiced by presidential candidates from both major parties is that, for a country to be a country, it must have strong borders. This suggests, incorrectly, that national borders are real. They are not. If they were, we wouldn’t be spending so much time talking about walls.

At the end of the day, national borders are lines drawn on a map, and we’ve all been taught the evils of coloring outside the lines. The Fun Pad is not just a toy; it is a tool of indoctrination. Rather than embracing the creativity of broad and reckless strokes, we instill the aesthetic of prescribed limitation. Overstatement? Perhaps. But consider the utter joy that characterizes the liberal scribblings of a crayon-wielding child, before the authoritarian imposition of “lines.” Is it any wonder that the accomplished artist in the adult world is one who succeeds, at long last, in pushing past the rules governing a lifetime of expressive orderliness?

Talk of wall-building also suggests, sadly, that in order to be a country, a nation must vigorously decouple itself from the rest of the world, to avoid, as George Washington counseled, any “foreign entanglements.” I think we can all agree that the isolationist ship has sailed; for better or for worse, there is no returning that genie to its bottle. And even if we could, should we?

Perhaps the day of the nation-state, like that of the city-state in ancient Greece, is passing. We boldly went where no corporation had gone before–everywhere–without considering the logical outcome of the process: having gone everywhere, it is now incumbent upon us to be everywhere. Be there as if we belonged there, as if we had a true stake in the places we are. “In but not of” is not a sustainable model, either for business or for citizenship. Not anymore. Not in the 21st century.

It is not enough to think in terms of natural resources as materials dug out of the ground and loaded onto airplanes for transport. We cannot just get our stuff from “other countries” anymore. People are resources as well, not to be used up but to be learned from, worked with, respected and cared for. Our profit must be their profit as well, or it is no profit at all.

We do not need walls, Mr. The Donald. We need doors. Lots of them. Open doors, through which relationships are formed, through which people come and go as neighbors, not doors that are closed and fastened against “the rest of the world.” The rest of the world is really the rest of Us, and without it we cannot be strong. Not really. Fear is never strong. And we are afraid. Of everything. And fear breeds enmity.

We need new eyes. Radical eyes. Eyes that see past the false logic of strong borders to the real strength of fair, honest, and equal relationships. We must be brave enough, human enough, to color outside the lines drawn for us by the process of industrial globalization, which insists that we spread our nets for our benefit alone. To seek out the softer, more graceful lines of a shared globalism, diverse but united, that is not a threat to our national identity but its complement.

We need to stop fortifying our borders and learn to cross them. We need to stop creating enemies by way of recognizing our friends. We need, simply put, each other.

Enough with the walls. What we need is a bridge.