Archive for May 12, 2012
Monday three Iowa judges (Marsha Thurness pictured left, David Baker and Michael Streit) received the prestigious Profile In Courage Award from Caroline Kennedy for their part in the Varnum v. Brien decision legalizing marriage equality in Iowa. Wednesday President Obama comments that he can see no reason that same sex couples can’t marry. Yet two more small steps in the on-going drama as another group inches toward human equality in a nation which touts equality of all citizens in many of its founding documents.
One of the greatest struggles in the United States is the struggle between what we as a nation profess to believe and what we actually practice. The stated equality for all citizens is sadly still an unachieved goal in many areas nearly 240 years after the Declaration of Independence and almost 225 years after the adoption of our Constitution.
One can safely say that African Americans are still not treated the same before the law as caucasians. Latinos have recently had laws passed in several states that are drafted specifically to treat them differently. Women as a group continue to be treated by many state legislatures as second class citizens. The poor have their rights trampled on daily. And the rich not only are treated differently, but they do not hide their open attempts to buy legislative votes for their interests.
I applaud and thank President Obama for his statement supporting marriage equality. But as noted above, true equality will be a long time coming yet.
And a question for those who are fighting so hard to keep so many groups in less than first class status. Do you really want to live in the society that you are working so hard to create? Remember, those who take away the rights of others can easily take yours away also.
It just occurred to me that the Republican Party does such a great job at twisting the truth that they have carried themselves for years by turning what used to be horrible failures into their embodiments of strength. While doing that they have also been able to turn the accomplishments of their opponents into their opponents weaknesses.
Probably the greatest single failure in American history is 9/11. This is as I recall the only time that we have ever been attacked (and successfully so) in the contiguous 48 states. This should have been a miserable failure for the administration in power, especially when it was later revealed that they had sufficient advance warning to have been much better prepared. In case you choose to forget, let me remind you of the August 6th memo that Bush dismissed with a curt “You’ve covered your ass.”
Perhaps the worst failure in statesmanship ever is the invasion of Iraq for no real reason. The Bush Administration ginned up stories of Weapons of Mass Destruction and delivery systems that could penetrate deep into the heart of America. They knew these were lies, but used them to take America into a war of choice that has seen over 4,000 Americans die.
Yet the Republican Party and its allies in the media, especially Fox, were able to take these failures and turn them into a triumphs where the Republican Party is feted as the Party that is serious about defense. Seriously? For eight years and more following the disaster of 9/11 Republicans bragged about how they stood up to the terrorists, never mentioning that their own failure was responsible in major part for the disaster happening.
With this twisting of events and the media’s compliance or better yet aid in pushing the Republican narrative we should not be at all surprised that the newest attack on Barrack Obama is another amazing example of the twisting of the truth. What should be one of the brighter moments of our history since the 9/11 attacks, President Obama sponsored relentless pursuit of Osama Bin Laden right up to giving the order to pull off a raid that saw Bin Laden executed.
Now the Republican Party through a super-PAC headed by Karl Rove (Crossroads GPS) are retelling what happened only a year ago and trying to make Obama look like a chump. Even the ever truthless Mitt Romney is joining in, claiming that he could have done what Obama did. We can only hope that the American public learned its lesson on trusting media reframing of events. The public believed the media on John Kerry, on the failure of 9/11, on the invasion of Iraq. Will the public finally understand that they are being used like a bunch of first graders?
It is time for the American public to rise up and demand that the Republican Party quit sponsoring and condoning such distortions of the truth. It is also time that news sources quit acting merely as stenographers and go back to what they used to do. Find the truth behind the spin and report that. There was a time not long ago – pre-Fox News – when we had a few news sources we could depend on to find and report the truth. It is time for these news sources to return to their roots. I hold little hope for corporate news sources to do this, but there is still time for NPR to move back to its glory days.
And for those of you who may have forgotten, last year as he was making jokes at the Correspondents dinner, President Obama knew that he had set in motion a raid that would place his administration in jeopardy should it fail. He also knew that the consequences could be catastrophic in the international scene if the raid were not carried out to precision.
The raid was quite successful. The President gave credit to the SEALS who carried the mission out though he could not reveal any by name. And the world was rid of the greatest terrorist of the times who had been left alone by the previous administration in yet one more of its great failures.
On Friday, in a commentary in the Washington Post, Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein finally accurately reported that the reason Washington has become so dysfunctional that government is not working for the American people is because Republicans are the problem.
The gridlock in Washington is entirely the fault of Republicans who were all too anxious to take any steps to deny President Obama a second term and oppose every initiative unanimously, and at the beginning of the 112th Congress sought to repeal any achievement to delegitimize the President and his policies. America’s first credit downgrade in its history arrived because Republicans were unwilling to take a balanced approach to debt reduction by raising revenue in conjunction with spending cuts, and Republican budget proposals reflect that unbalanced approach will be the order of the day if Republicans win the White House and both houses of Congress. The ideological gap has been blamed on extremists in the teabag caucus, but the GOP was already lurching to the extremist right before the 2010 elections by refusing to govern; even from a minority position.
It is evident that Republicans are not inclined to govern this country, and instead are willing to hand control over to wealthy industrialists who have no other intent but to subvert the Constitution and its procedures that dictate how the country is governed. Americans who do not follow politics may believe that both sides are guilty of creating gridlock and a dysfunctional government, and it is due to the media’s lack of reporting and the constant barrage of right-wing media support for extremists. The Post article’s authors cannot be accused of being liberal pundits because both are political scholars who have observed and studied Washington politics for 40 years and they represent both sides of the political divide.