Obama to-do list
It must be extremely frustrating for President Barack Obama to see our country heading for the end of the pier knowing there is nothing he can do about it. There are, however, some things he can alter and he should focus on those.
1) Change the national anthem. Nobody can sing the Star Spangled Banner outside of those sopranos at ballparks, and even half of them can't get it right. How about something by Woody Guthrie, Ray Charles or, my favorite choice, ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man"?
2) Straighten out this dollar coin fiasco. People never did warm to Susan B. Anthony. I'm sure she was a fine person but she looked like Robin Williams in "Mrs. Doubtfire." Sacajawea was an individual to be admired but the courage she displayed in going with Lewis and Clark was a bit overplayed. After all, she was living in North Dakota and married to a Frenchman. How much worse could things have gotten for her? Let's put Marilyn Monroe on the coin. Put Elvis on the flip side and people will sew leather liners into their pockets just so they can carry more of them.
3) Get rid of the designated hitter. You can mess with curling, cross-country skiing or synchronized swimming all you want to and nobody will give a flip. Change the rules of hockey or soccer if you must, but baseball is sacred.
4) One charger fits all. We don't need half a dozen hanging out of every outlet like Rasta dreadlocks. And while we're at it, let's make all those checkout line touch pads universal as well.
5) Get Christmas under control. Only an outgoing president with nothing to lose could take this on. I've heard it said that we are at war with Christmas. We are, and we're losing badly. Christmas has overrun Thanksgiving and sprinted across the open ground between there and Halloween like Hitler's Wehrmacht across the Russian steppes. Appeasement doesn't work with Madison Avenue. If we don't do something, and do it soon, we will be listening to insipid Christmas carols piped into our lives all year long.
Not a path forward
Autumn Tolbert ("Stay the course," Dec. 18) doesn't like it when some folks say Dems should back off "identity politics" in favor of a progressive economic message that will appeal to the populist right. What she doesn't seem to get is that these rural white voters see themselves as the victims, as opposed to the groups normally identified by the left as being disenfranchised in this country. These people can't be shamed into voting Democratic by pointing out how mean they are. The only chance to win their votes is by appealing to their pocketbooks. Without their votes Dems will remain virtually irrelevant, which certainly won't do much for their "identity politics" agenda.
In response to Tolbert's guest column from the web
Thank you, Autumn. I agree that we cannot compromise an inch on the value of equality or tolerance under the law, not even in the prioritization of expressing those values. When equality is threatened for any individual or group, it is immediately the priority. Aside from being a moral absolute, we have to assume that no one else will stand up for those threatened minorities. Votes can be swayed in other ways. Arguments can be reframed. An opposition party can halt the erosion of rights even in the minority. For inspiration, think of how good the Republicans have been at being a legislative roadblock, even from 2008-2010 when they were the minority in the House and Senate. Civil liberties are much harder to re-win than votes.
"It's not a matter of choosing our battles; they've already been chosen for us."
... by the Republicans, of course. Do you really think they want to do anything truly substantive or final about any of those pretended concerns? They do not, in the main because those hot topics keep Republican voters very active. To resolve any of those issues would mean to lose those myopic voters and the rhetorical (and supposedly moral) upper hand against Democrats.
In the meantime, the Democrats spend far too much time in this rhetorical twilight zone far from the concerns of the average voter. I think it can be stated flatly that people who are concerned about how to pay their bills or make the rent might not give a fuck what bathroom a transgender person has to use, even if they have nothing against transgender persons and even wish them well. They just don't care.
Democrats keep bringing knives to a gunfight. I can tell you who will win every time.
A lot of you are going to have to realize that voting Obama into office wasn't the great icebreaker a lot of us thought it was going to be. Instead we've mobilized the racists and haters as a kind of blowback for our socially progressive viewpoint. And just like Clinton before him, Obama was actually a bit to the right of center. The end result was a huge sacrifice for very little gain. In hindsight, it was probably the dumbest thing Democrats ever did. And I voted for him, too.
I am just going to state it plainly: We put a black man in the White House and we thought everyone would be cool with it. Newsflash: They really weren't cool with it!
But hey, sure, whatever, keep poking fear-motivated voters like the average Republican into always voting against your causes. That'll work for sure