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Flower Power Has Given Way to Mob Power March 24, 2010

Posted by Dindy in barack obama, Current Events, health care reform, Obama, Politics, Right wing, Uncategorized.
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I love living in Texas for many reasons– if nothing else it’s always good for a laugh– but after listening to the furor that has arisen since the passage of the Health Plan, it’s enough to make me long to live in a place where the sun hasn’t scalded everyone’s brain. It can be dangerous, however, to make generalizations based on where people live, and it is becoming ever apparent that Texans are not the only ones in need of an icepack on their heads.

Seriously, folks, when did it become okay for one member of Congress to yell “Baby Killer” at another member of Congress on the floor of the House, as the GOP Congressman from Texas, Randy Neugebauer shouted at Bart Stupak? When did it become okay for crowds to scream the N-word at minority members of Congress? When did it become okay for another member of Congress, Representative Joe Wilson, to shout, “You lie!” to the President of the United States while he was making a speech to a joint session of Congress? When did it become okay for people to go on Twitter and call for the assassination of our president?

I have to wonder what is truly behind this increasing rancor. We’ve had political disagreements in this country before, but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen anything like this. Certainly there were plenty of ticked off people when Dubya was president, but it never rose to this level of discord. Probably the closest thing we have had to this were the war protests of the late sixties and seventies– if we’d had Internet then, we might have gotten out of Viet Nam much sooner than we did.

Much of this must be attributed to the instantaneousness of the Internet– and the anonymity. You can hide behind a fake identity, set up Facebook and Twitter accounts and whip people into all kinds of a frenzy without anybody ever knowing who you actually are. Not only that, but you don’t even have to tell the truth because it’s real hard to sue for libel or slander for things that are said on that vast frontier of lawlessness that is the Internet. Do you really think that the whackos who claim Obama isn’t a US citizen would ever have gotten a foothold if they couldn’t send their lies to everyone with a working email address?

And there are people who have a vested interest in maintaining this frenzy– the Fox Talk Show hosts wouldn’t have near the ratings they do now if they came on the air and told everyone, “Hey, Obama is really a good guy and even though we don’t agree with him on everything, we know he wants what is best for this country.” If Sarah Palin got up and told everybody the truth about issues such as the so-called Obama death squads, she wouldn’t have her lucrative new contract with Fox TV as well as crowds of people urging her to “Run Sarah run!”.

And let’s face it, these guys have a ready audience because the conservatives out there are just plain mad. They’ve been mad for a long time. In fact, I think they might have been born mad. They were mad when Clinton was elected, and they got madder when Obama was elected. They are so mad that they have forgotten that other people  have a right to think differently and vote differently than they, which is what the Liberals did in the last election because they were mad as well. The trouble is, Liberals just don’t get mad as effectively as Conservatives.

What we’ve got is a mob– a large group of crazies who are feeding on each other and getting whipped into a frenzy by savvy manipulators who are out for their own personal gain. As Deep Throat once said,  “Follow the money.”

There is plenty of room for honest disagreement in this country, but when did disagreement get to the point where we can’t even listen to each other? Where we can’t accept that other people have different views that may be as valid as their own? Okay, we get that you don’t like the Health Plan. We get that you are afraid that it is leading to socialism or that you think people should not be required to buy health care or that you think people should take care of themselves and not expect a handout from the government. We disagree, but does that mean it is okay for you to stand up and yell “N—–!” at one of us?

Whether you like it or not, the Health Plan has passed, and as the Liberals who hate the Faith Based Initiative and the Iraq War have learned, it’s real hard to stuff the crickets back in the jar after it’s been opened. (Those conservatives who have been trying to get rid of the Education Department certainly ought to know that!) I suggest that those of you who are opposed to the Health Plan come to the table to discuss what comes next in a rationale manner rather than throwing colossal temper tantrums and acting like two-year-olds. It’s here. Now you need to figure out how to deal with it.

An Increase in Whackos? September 29, 2009

Posted by Dindy in barack obama, Obama, Politics.
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There’s been a lot of talk in the press about the decline of civility and about whether or not there are more whackos now than there used to be. It’s true that emotions are certainly running high in the country right now, as we saw when the nutters, who have been frothing at the mouth since Obama was elected, went off the deep end over Obama’s proposed speech to American’s school children.

I don’t know, however, that there are more whackos than there ever used to be. What I think has happened is that thanks to the internet, the world has become a much smaller place and the nutters have been able to reach out and connect with each other in ways they have never been able to before.

If you look back, there have always been people who were just a little “different.” Every neighborhood had its resident eccentric, its Boo Radley, as it were. The house your parents told you not to go to during Trick or Treat or the neighbor who kept your ball when you and your friends were careless enough to hit it over the fence into his yard.

These people were usually isolated, and because they didn’t know anyone who shared their delusions or their paranoia or their offbeat views, they were generally pretty harmless as long as they were left alone.

The internet has changed all that because now all of these people who thought they were all alone have suddenly found other people who also thought they were all alone, and they’ve discovered that they have things in common.

Suddenly they are no longer alone and they are feeding off of each other. They are sharing experiences and stories and myths and legends. Urban legends have taken on a new life with the easy spreadability afforded by email, list servs and forums. You can find absolutely everything on the net– whatever your beliefs you can find somebody, somewhere who shares them.

Now that the nutters know that there are others who feel the same way, they are finding that there is strength in numbers. In addition, they are picking up new fans as people who do not necessarily share the more extreme beliefs relate to some of the more innocuous sentiments.

Obama’s election is a testament to the power of the internet as the grass roots movement that played such a huge role in his election capitalized on the social media available on the internet to spread his message of hope.

So now all we have to do is find a way to harness the power of the internet to counteract the whackos, and relate to the complacent middle of the roaders. We know it can be done. We just have to do it again.

The Remark Heard Round the World September 11, 2009

Posted by Dindy in Obama, Politics.
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“You lie!”

Two words. Two small words. A challenge to be sure. An insult.

And in uttering them  Joe Wilson, a  lawmaker from South Carolina may have unwittingly ensured that health care reform will happen.

The last few months have seen a real break down in civility in the American political process. Not that it’s ever been particularly civil, but since Obama took office we have seen a huge deterioration of political civility  unlike any we’ve seen before. From town hall meetings that look more like a barroom brawl to the lies and claims about senior citizen death panels, it’s enough to make you wonder if everyone remembers that we are actually all living in the indivisible United States.

What is impossible not to see is the fact that an incredible amount of antipathy and hatred has been focused against one man, Barack Obama, the President of the United States, and I am truly at a loss to explain why. After all, his detractors keep claiming it’s not because he is black, so it surely MUST be something else.

Obama  faced uncivility and rudeness long before he took office. When Obama visited a North Carolina barbecue joint in late October, a woman at the back of the restaurant yelled, “Socialist, socialist, socialist — get out of here!” Another woman actually refused to shake hands with him. Just stop and picture this for a moment. Picture walking into your local Tony Roma’s or Spring Creek Barbecue and as you do, a voice from the back yells, loudly enough for all to hear, “Socialist! Socialist! Get out of here!” Despite this you continue to walk into the restaurant. You go from table to table and stop to speak to the folks sitting there. As you extend your hand to one woman, you politely ask, “How are you ma-am?” and she pulls her hand away and refuses to shake yours.

Can you imagine that? Can you imagine the guts it took to walk into that restaurant? Yet, Obama not only went into the restaurant, but he went around and spoke to each of the diners- at least the ones who WOULD talk to him. Blazing Saddles anyone?

Since Obama was elected, we’ve been treated to the harangues by the birthers, a group of nitwits who insist that Obama is not actually a US citizen and have actually tried to file lawsuits declaring his election invalid. Earlier this week we saw a protester greeting the presidential motorcade at a school where Obama had gone to speak. The protester held a sign saying, “Mr President, stay away from our kids.” And now we have a lawmaker who broke the decorum of an address to a joint session of Congress to directly challenge the President. “You lie!”

Can you imagine sitting in a meeting with your boss and the CEO with all of the stockholders of your company watching? Imagine your CEO talking, laying out proposals for the upcoming year and all of the sudden you just feel compelled to burst out with, “You lie!”

What on earth would ever make ANYONE think that this kind of behavior is permissible? Sadly, a lot of people not only seem to think it is okay, but they welcome it. GOP leaders have been quick to criticize Representative Joe Wilson, but Wilson’s SC constituency had some different opinions to offer:

“He’s the only one who has guts in that whole place. He’ll get re-elected in a landslide,” said John Roper, an insurance agent, as he sat among patrons at a diner near Columbia. ~ AP Yahoo News

However, the remark seems to have galvanized Democratic lawmakers who seem, finally, to have realized that enough is enough. Nobody likes a bully, and Wilson’s remark, combined with images of hysterical right-wingers demonizing the President for daring to tell kids to stay in school and study hard, makes it clear that Obama’s opponents are just, plain and simple, bullies.

Now the Dems have finally found their voice- and their spine. They’ve finally realized that they are in the same party with Obama and are vowing to pass health care reform with or without the GOP. The Dems are voicing their support for the president and speaking out against the rudeness. They are finally realizing that civil discourse does not mean that anything goes.

It’s about time.