Wednesday, September 12, 2012

We should all be able to agree ... inappropriate reactions

We should all be able to agree that in the immediate wake of tragedy, before we know all the facts including who has been killed and by whom, all politicians should be expressing is sadness.  Certainly, we should be able to agree that it’s a little too early to start lying.  We should, but apparently we can’t.  Or at least Mitt Romney can’t.  Before the Ambassador’s death had even been reported Mitt was on the attack.  The US Embassy in Egypt had condemned those who would assault the religious beliefs of others.  How dare they!  Now this was an attempt to respond to Muslim indignation over a You Tube film.  It came before the attack on the Libyan consulate.  After the attacks on the Libyan Consulate and the Egyptian Embassy, the US Embassy in Egypt condemned these attacks, as did the Department of State.  That was not important to Mitt, because he could just pretend that the attacks had happened first.  He had to say something, I mean how dare US Representatives sound like they appreciated anyone else’s perspective!   America should erupt into righteous indignation anytime anyone is angry at us.  God help us if we start caring why folks are upset … or if we start waiting for the facts to react.  They’re all evil and we’re good, so we’ll shoot them.  It’s just easier to yell at folks then to be patient and understanding and aware of the greater context.  It’s easier, but it’s not the right thing to do.  And we should all be able to agree on that.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Yes, I am better off than I was four years ago

I am better off than I was four years ago.  There is absolutely no doubt about it.  I now live in a country that has rehabilitated its international image.    I live in a country that no longer sanctions torture nor writes off whole countries and even religions as evil.  I live in a country whose leadership seems to have rediscovered the value of conversation, compromise, and collaboration in foreign policy and placed them back alongside confrontation as legitimate alternatives.  I live in a country that is no longer involved in two wars, and is on the path to being involved in zero wars.  I live in a country that now allows all of its citizens to serve in its armed forces without hiding who they are.  I live in a country where health care is available to more people than has ever been the case before.  I live in a country where much of the leadership takes climate change and other environmental issues seriously.  I live in a country whose top manufacturers of automobiles have been saved from ruin and placed back on the path of profitability and success.  I live in a country that is crawling back from a crippling economic downturn as housing markets begin to rebound and unemployment stops going up, despite the best efforts of many politicians to stall economic recovery for their own political gain.  I am saddened at the hate that has accompanied the election of a Black President.  I am outraged that a financial crisis caused by ineffective regulation has spawned calls for deregulation and small government.  I am worried about the slow creep of an intolerant form of Christianity into the places of power.  I am maddened by the politics of ad hominem attacks and appeals to fear and hate.  I am dismayed at the increasing rejection of science.  The bottom line ... we are not in a good place, but it is far better than where we were four years ago and the way to move forward is to reelect Barack Obama.