Thursday, September 4, 2008

Barack Obama and the Compromise with Evil

I thought Barack Obama gave a pretty good speech when he accepted the Democratic nomination for President last week.

That is, I thought it was pretty good up to the point where he started to speak about "our sense of common purpose" with the enemies of freedom in the Neo-Con and Christianist right wing that represents the core of the Republican party.

Here are the dangerous words from Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech, with my comments inserted in the place of the pauses for applause:

"America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices. And Democrats, as well as Republicans, will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past, for part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose, and that's what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country."

(APPLAUSE: The Republican party is in the thrall of Religious and other "social" conservatives who have no respect for the rights of women, particularly women’s reproductive rights, unless the sole expression of those "rights" is to "choose to have babies." The Republican party and its standardbearers in this presidential election, John S. McCain and Sarah "Barracuda" Palin, are both sufficiently "social conservative" enough to oppose the quite sensible Roe v. Wade decision, to oppose any sex education oher than "abstinence only" education that leads ignorant teens into accidental pregnancies. The "social conservatives" in Congress have passed barbaric laws that curtail women’s reproductive rights. Seeking "compromise" on this vital issue is a weakness. But now that the applause has died down, back to Senator Obama . . . )

"The -- the reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals."

(APPLAUSE: Hmmm. I won’t argue too much on the Second Amendment – just this year, the Supreme Court has spoken, quite unconstitutionally and somewhat irrationally, on the subject (at least IMO, but they're the ultimate arbiters of "what the Constitution really means", and I'm not), divorcing the right to bear arms from its attendant constitutional responsibility and purpose – that of providing for a well-organized militia.

I’d like to see Washington D.C. pass a law that requires those who are licensed to have guns also take mandatory militia training and help patrol the streets of the City, and see what the Supremes think about that. But that isn't presidential campaign stuff - the nation itself, as a result of the Second Amendment, really is a bit gun-crazy, unlike the civilized folks over in Europe, who don't need to see too much news to view most Americans as ignorant cowboys, anyway. So, let's see what sort of "compromise" is out there . . . and now back to Barack for the scariest "compromise" item . . . )

"I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination."

(APPLAUSE: This raised my ire just as much as the idea of compromise on women’s reproductive rights. The idea that we should play politics with basic human rights that should be beyond the "right" of the oppressive majority to impose on the oppressed minority by a so-called "democratic majority vote" sickens me, especially when it comes from the very people who should be the strongest allies of the poor, the weak, and the oppressed. When will friends like Barack realize that we should be entitled to the same rights as his parents? When will friends like Barack realize that we are getting tired of beign oppressed? When will friends like Barack get ready to take us seriously?

I’d like to see Barack Obama supporting a full civil rights law for LGBT people, and not the sad caricature of an employment non-discrimination act that Rep. Barney Frank (D. Mass.)keeps watering down because he wants to pass something, anything, in the spirit of compromise on civil rights. It’s not just about repealing the Defense Against Marriage Act (something Barack Obama does support, and the one point where he had a better position than Hillary Rodham Clinton, the person who really should have been the Democrat’s presidential candidate . . . )

I’d like Barack to reverse the October 2002 change in Social Security regulations that leaves transitioning transsexuals and non-op transsexuals in limbo, without proper identification documentation.

I’d like to see Barack reverse "don’t ask, don’t tell" and I’d like to see immigration rules for gay and trans people be put on a par with the rules for straights. I’d like to see the bizarre rules banning people with AIDS from entering the country lifted. I’d like to make sure that tax dollars are not spent to support religious discrimination in the providing of social services and medical care. The applause has died down again, time to see what Barack has to say next . . . )

"You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers."

(It would have been nicer if Barack had mentioned the separation of people in same-sex relationships here, too. There wasn’t a pause for applause here – but the immigration issue is more like the Second Amendment issue – one that might well be amenable to compromise, but not with the hard-core white supremacist right wingers. It isn’t just about Mexicans "taking American Jobs" by crossing the border. American businesses these days steal American jobs by using the current version of NAFTA to exploit cheap Mexican labor.

It seems like Republicans support NAFTA so that jobs can be exported to Mexico, and Democrats (these days) seem to oppose it. I think that NAFTA needs fixing – there should be a level playing field on the issue of minimum wage (in equivalent currencies among the trade partners, which would not free-float against each other, ultimately leading to a common currency), worker’s rights, and other sisues, so that it will not be any more advantageous to locate an industrial plant in Michigan, or Tennessee, or Sonora, or Manitoba. If we were to improve NAFTA to bring the standard of living for Mexicans, Canadians and Americans to equivalent standards, maybe there wouldn’t be a need for a Metal Curtain on America’s border with Mexico.

An improved NAFTA could also bring along other friendly nations in our hemisphere, and perhaps we could encourage South American nations to form a SAFTA - with a view toward eventually entering into a hemispheric treaty and an economic union that would go beyond the borders of the United States. Such ideas aren’t forthcoming from any of the candidates – Democrat or Republican. Let's let Barack sum up this segment of his speech . . . )

"But this, too, is part of America's promise, the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer, and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values.

And that's to be expected, because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters."

(APPLAUSE --- Despite these qualms and misgivings, and since Hillary Clinton isn’t running any more and she's also supporting him, I will support Obama for President. Even if he isn’t perfect, he represents the best available hope for keeping the darkness and oppression of "social conservatism" at bay.

Postscript: Listening to Sarah Palin this evening, I realize that if it weren’t for the scary "social conservatism" aspect of the McCain/Palin ticket, the part that makes them totally wrong for the country, they wouldn't seem terribly different from the Obama/Biden ticket. This explains why Americans "in the middle" often seem to have such a problem identifying the better candidate - they aren't hurt by oppressive "Social conservative" Republican policies, so they're more likely to be unaware of it, or perhaps they don't care. (Hard core Republican conservatives either don't care or they're the types who aren't terribly different from their Islamic fundamentalist jihadist counterparts - ready to stome people like me in stadiums.)

Both sides are pushing for winning against terrorism (though Obama actually understands that it’s Osama bin Ladin and Al Qaeda who are the enemy, not the people of Iraq), both sides want America to be energy independent (though Democrats appear to be divided on the oxymoronic "clean coal", and Republicans add more nuclear and oil drilling to the mix), both sides are "patriotic" (though the Republican version of patriotism is a scary sort of McCarthyite, jingoist, Orwellian thing, while Democrats know that one really doesn’t have to wear a flag pin to be patriotic).

The rhetoric of "Bush's Third Term" or "Hero, Not Zero" doesn't impress me. My choice is based on what's Right for America, or at the very least, to stave off the people I know are Wrong for America. I don't need scare tactics to be afraid of McCain/Palin. I already know what they think of me, and what they're likely to do to my people.

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