Between Tom Coburn’s not-so-subtle racist reference to Ricky Ricardo yesterday, and all of the other ethic references this week, it’s painfully apparent that the Republican Party has pretty much confined itself to being the party of whiny white men. And not particularly well-informed white men, at that.
Not white women, mind you. There’s precious little thought of that. It’s white men who are the victims here. The Joe the Plumbers of the world, the guys the GOP has little respect for outside of election years.
White women? Well, not so much.
There has been some speculation that Coburn may pay a political price for his Ricky Ricardo impression.
In Oklahoma? Are you kidding?
Quote of the Day
have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers. - Kahlil Gibran, "Sand and Foam"
Farewell, Lucas Roebuck - a chance for Jay Cole, Jr.?
Well, the stuffy and fact-deprived Lucas Roebuck has written his last column for the Northwest Arkansas Times. Hang on a moment while I grieve . . .
Okay, that’s done. Now that Roebuck has gone, there exists an opening for one of my favorite letter writers to finally blossom and come into his own - Mr. Jay Cole, Jr.
This would give him the room to expand upon some of the themes that he has only been teasing readers with, like the dangers posed by gays, femists, liberals, and all of the other demons that terrify him nightly.
We’ll all be better people for it.
I mean, come on, NWA Times! This would be great!
The America Question - C.F. Roberts
In the ongoing series about America’s place in the world, and whether we are actually the “greatest” country in the world, we present C.F. Roberts, who is a writer, videographer, visual artist, living in Fayetteville.
Is America the greatest country on earth? The answer could vary wildly based upon your ideology alone.
I think, as a people, we tend to suffer from a "grass is always greener" syndrome. I remember a few years ago, my then-girlfriend was worried over the amount of gun violence in the U.S. and she kept throwing the idea of moving to Canada in my face....there are ways in which that initially might look like an attractive option...yeah, whatever's in the water here in the US of A that causes all the gun violence apparently hasn't affected them up there, and of course, that single payer health care system looks pretty attractive to some of us po' folk. But I also know free speech is a sticky wicket up there...so it was an idea extended in the best possible intent, but I had to say "no" to Canada.
There are a lot of places in Europe we like to laud for their more progressive values and wish America might catch up with those ideas as well....but they have their downsides, too. One thing worth pointing out is that in a lot of the European countries, fascism and Nazism are very much on the rise, and there's a lot of ethnic violence on the increase.
Largely, here in America, organizations like the KKK and the Nazis are looked upon and dismissed as clowns. What we have over a lot of the European and former Soviet Bloc countries as far as this goes is that we don't feel the need to restrict these people or keep them from speaking. Hitler feels a lot fresher over in Europe, and America's lack of institutional memory might not be a virtue, but we understand that suppression doesn't work---the suppressed element ferments and explodes. Besides, as Machiavelli pointed out---if you want to get rid of an idiot, give him a platform. Our friends in Europe might benefit from that lesson.
We have plenty of other problems, but in what other country are the citizens so engaged in the decision-making process as they are here? Look at what's going on in China. Look at what's going on in Iran.
So people could stand to look beyond the "Grass is always Greener"syndrome...and in the end we might be the best possible place to live in. Are we perfect? No. But the best and most patriotic Americans are probably the ones who realize that, care enough to criticize it and try to work and make it better---that might be the true definition of Agape Love. Too often, these people are cut down as America-haters, but I think not....more often than not they care the most. The need to demonize people who want to fight for change might be seen as where America has gone wrong.
As a prescription for change, a recommendation to make this a better country, I might suggest a lot: As a superpower, we might care more for all of our citizens. I know that brings up the dreaded S-Word, but so be it. Some people might wonder where the money might come from to house the homeless, provide health care for everyone, etc. Heaven forbid we pay TAXES, right?
There are plenty of taxes I'D rather not pay. An end to the war on drugs seems like a good start. Too many Deadheads are festering in prisons for no good reason...the average pot smoker isn't endangering anyone, except maybe a bag of Funyuns. Addiction needs to be looked at as a Health Crisis, not a Crime Crisis.
All drugs, even the really dangerous ones, need to be decriminalized; If you legalized marijuana outright and taxed the hell out of it, you'd probably be able to turn the economy around in no time. In the meantime, a good chunk of what we now spend to keep people in prison for no good reason could be spent on health education & prevention. If we recognized that a certain percentage of the population are always going to want to get fucked up, the money we waste prosecuting them could go a long way to preventing further addiction, disease and damage---it could also go toward keeping crime down(imagine all those gangbangers having to become legit entrepreneurs!) and keeping the drugs people do consume safer and better-regulated. Ditto prostitution. World's oldest profession, right? Legalize it, tax and regulate it and make it safer for the consumers who will always pay for sex and the workers who will inevitably provide the service...that's no different from providing safety regulations for food production or industry,
and again---more $$$ into the economy.
Wanna reduce our burden even further? Despite their rep as the anti-big-government faction, no one has grown government more in the last 20 years than the neo-cons and the Bush Administration...the Homeland Security Cottage Industry has become enormous. You could probably fight a smarter, more cost-effective "War on Terror" by ending the War on Civil Liberties. How much unnecessary expense has gone into turning America into a Junta? It's time to roll all of that back.
So a government geared more toward caring for its constituents and more cultural permissiveness are a couple of big things I'd want to do to make America a better place.
Now, here comes the paradox: For any person that might read my prescription and think it's a good idea, there will be at least one other person that sees it as a sign of the apocalypse. The people who disagree with me love their country, too, and want to make it a better place. So, what do you do?
This state of conflict, where we're always in contention about said issues, might be the crux of the American Experience....one might say it's the American PROBLEM, and it might forever prevent us from making any real, solid progress. How do you work with people you disagree with about EVERYTHING? Is there any way to find a sane middle?
After all, I'm not going to back down from my position---the guy on the other side probably won't, either.
Ideologies, either of my stripe or the other, might need to step back from their passion a little bit and realize that it might be a good thing that the majority of people are moderate. That most decisions being made are coming from the middle of the road, not either extreme, might be best for all of us. It's no fun that progress takes so long to occur, but that's also a part of the American Experience.
The above is a response that probably creates more problems than it solves and I don't know whether it creates a result people will like. That's okay---I don't trust pat answers to anything. Sometimes it seems like the struggle is more interesting than the resolution---the question is more interesting than any answer that could be given. Again, I consider that very American.