Saturday, January 13, 2007

 

The silence is broken

OK, so I've been reeeeaaaalllly bad about keeping up this blog. I guess after Nov. 8's excitement died down, I chose to be quiet for a while. Now let's talk about this and that.

First Hundred Hours
The first 100 hours of Democrats' reign in Congress have passed with little fanfare. I've heard little analysis or even basic reporting of what actually was accomplished during this time. I'll look into that. If nothing else, I'm sure it was far more successful than the first hundred hours of the Republicans' Contract with America, which fizzled into a lot of ideological hot air and almost nothing of substance. Stay tuned...

Have you noticed the virtually complete lack of letters on newspaper opinion pages since November by Democrats telling Republicans to quit whining and get over it? Such discourse has often been the afteraffect of Republican victories, but has been noticeably absent now that the shoe is on the other foot. It's one thing to be pleased with one's own victory. Gloating and poor sportsmanship, however, are something completely different.

The NPR Alternative
This morning I tuned into KWMU, our local NPR station, to find it drowned out on our radio by KSIV, a local purveyor of right-wing "Christian" talk. I left it on, hoping to learn more about how to live a Christian life.

First I heard St. Louis' own Phyllis Schlafly rail against the dangers of bilingual education, using it as a springboard to attack the National Education Association and its alleged promotion of secular humanism, explict sex ed. and even support of the Equal Rights Amendment, something I thought had been been a dead issue since 1982. For the record, I'm an NEA member, as they provide me with legal representation, representation before an educational establishment often indifferent to the concerns of rank-and-fil teachers, and representation before our own local school administration. I believe that if I were to face unfair criminal charges or lawsuits or an unjust termination, NEA would have my back. Last time I checked, Schlafly's Eagle Forum, based just across the river in Alton, Ill., was not providing these services or any support to embattled teachers, nor was any other conservative organization. So given a choice, I'll cast my lot with NEA.

Schlafly was followed by Tony Perkins, founder of the Family Research Council, one of those organizations that sound good in theory until they open their mouths and speak. Perkins today interviewed Oliver North on his recent vist to Iraq (North says we should stay the course. Shocking, I know). What this had to do with family values, I don't know. What I especially don't understand is the Right's unwavering support and canonization of someone who sold weapons to Iran, probably the most dangerous nation on Earth, then funneled the funds to a band of terrorists in Central America. Not only that, but here's a guy who lied to Congress and whose conviction for doing so was thrown out only by a technicality. What Oliver North has to say about anything means nothing to me.

Finally, before turning off the radio and praying for a some wind or weather pattern that would send KWMU back our way, some guy whose name I didn't bother to catch went on a discourse on the dangers of abortion. To believe this guy who painted a picture from The Jungle, abortionists are butchers who work in unsanitary holes. Come on. I'm sure abortions are by and large safe (for the mothers that is), and universally performed in clean, modern facilities. However you feel about abortion - and it is morally wrong - spreading transparently misleading propaganda and disinformation serves no one's cause. This kind of garbage is exactly why an entire generation of druge users 30 years ago found it so easy to disregard the alarmist and flatly untrue information distributed about drug use. Believe what you want, but at least be honest and truthful.

KSIV is owned by the Bott Radio Network, an Overland Park, Kan.-based chain of Christian radio stations, mostly located in the Midwest. Their website proclaims, "Strengthening your family with God's word - all day, everyday." Oddly absent was God's word anywhere throughout this. Rather than enlightening Christians on how to be better Christians, I heard nothing but partisan political discourse, mainly preaching to the choir about how everyone else in America is the problem, but of course not the listener to these shows. Being a Christian is easy when you're told that everyone else is the problem. Focusing inward, however, is a real and not always pleasant challenge, and one that's strangely absent from broadcasters like KSIV.

The War Chronicles
It's been a bad week for President Bush. Once again, as he's done several times throughout this war in Iraq, he has sought to speak directly to Americans about why this war is important. He did so during the summer of 2005 with a series of speeches. He did so again last year. This time, he says, not only should we continue to follow through on this huge mistake, but now we should escalate with 20,000 more troops. The polls consistently show that two-thirds of Americans see this immodest proposal as "been there, done that." Most of us believe that things aren't working out in Iraq. When one begins wondering if maybe Iraq really was better off under Saddam, you something is very wrong. As a group, however, we're not sure about the alternative. I know I'm still not sure, although I lean toward a pullout.

Yet, the dire predictions rage if we do so. We will set the stage for World War III, as Neville Chamberlain did for World War II. Americans will never be safe at home again. Nobody believes that a pullout will lead a breakout of peace in the Middle East. In fact, probably whatever happens will be really ugly and bad, thanks largely to the further destabilizing effects this war has had on this region. I say "further" because the Middle East has been a mess for at least 40 years; it certainly was long before Sept. 11. It will continue to be a mess regardless of what America does. Terrorism of course will continue to be a threat, but maybe we'll learn to start treating terrorism as a law enforcement and intelligence issue with more precise and limited military involvement - not as something we can "fix" through a conventional war with an unseen and frankly unknown enemy.

I have to seriously question whether a pullout truly will heighten the endanger that we inarguably face. Instead, is it quite possible that our leaving Iraq will result in some de-escalation of tensions in the Middle East? Our presence there is such an incredibly incendiary flashpoint, I can't help but believe that a pullout will cool down the passions of billions of people who will probably still hate us but will be less inclined to actually cross over to the dark side of terrorism. Many of the insurgents and terrorists see themselves as fighting for their homeland against what they believe to be an occupying force of anti-Islamic infidels. When that kind of urgency is removed, people's passions tend to cool.

Nobody is denying that the terrorists are bad people and that the threat against our nation is extreme, although many war supporters would like to use such a characterization against people like me. But is our country any safer by insistently continuing on the same course we've repeatedly learned doesn't work?

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The Equal Rights Amendment is not dead! Check out what's happening with efforts to get it ratified. www.4ERA.org
 
The anonoumous bloger is correct. The Equal Rights Amendment is not dead. In 1992, Congress accepted the ratification of the "Madison Amendment" regarding congressional pay raises. The Madison Amendment is named after the President that proposed it in 1789. Tha't right 1789. It finally got the necessary three-fourths votes in the states in 1992. That's a period of 203 years. This acceptance of the Madison Amendment has lead to a new strategy by ERA supporters called the Three-state Strategy. We believe that we only have to ratify three more states. For more information go to www.ERACampaign.net. Elsie
 
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Good to have you back, Mouth. You are so on target with this blog. The conservative's world view is sooo idealistic and so far from reality. Dethrone Saddam and freedom will come !!!! Laughable. Allison loved the line about "it's easy to be Christian if everybody else is the problem." Keep it coming !!!
 
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