Thursday, April 14, 2011

Oh, THAT Civil War....

A note to Oregonian sports fans:

All this talk about the 150th anniversary of The Civil War must seem confusing.

It may come as a surprise, but the press attention to The Civil War is not to the intra-state rivalry between Oregon State and the University of Oregon.

There was this other Civil War. It was an actual WAR. You can read about it here.

More than half million Americans died in The Civil War. There were no "bragging rights" in front of TV cameras. No trophy to display. There was nothing to brag about.

Brothers butchered brothers.

There were no coaches and so-called "scholar-athletes" seeking fame and multi-million dollar NFL and NBA contracts; just generals and soldiers set upon slaughtering each other.

The Civil War now getting fleeting attention was, in fact, a blood-drenched, body-breaking national tragedy.

Oregonians (and sports writers and editors) who trivialize the carnage and destruction by naming petty and passing sports rivalries "The Civil War" dishonor this nation's history and horror.

That this good state's citizenry can't end the disrespect astounds me.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ever considered joining the Tea Party?

It was bound to happen. A liberal/radical friend told me recently that he is seriously considering joining the Tea Party.

“That’s where the energy is,” he said. True, but I think he was mostly saying that the Democratic Party is where the energy isn’t. But I took him at his word. How about joining the Tea Party?

We talked...

About populism, third parties and exploring common ground with the Tea Party.

I even brought up my occasional musings about Cascadia, a secessionist nation bounded by the Pacific and the Cascades and running from the Canadian border to Point Reyes in Northern California. (I quickly add that the boundaries are negotiable, and Ernest Callenbach’s “Ecotopia” may or may not provide a guidance.)

I confess I have given thought to finding common ground with the Tea Party. Where does the party overlap with my own brand of populism?

Could some Tea Party-ers be peeled off into a broader populist movement? Is the Tea Party interested in this country actually being at peace? Have party members considered that our economy may be welded to war? What would America at perpetual peace with the world actually look like?


Are folks in the Tea Party interested in cutting the bloated military budget? Talk about deficit reduction!

Would any of them be interested in putting a lid on obscene CEO salaries via the "T" word? Do they think it is good for political and economic power to be in the hands of the certifiably greedy?

Do they really want to eliminate the estate tax?

Are all taxes bad? (There's a "wedge" question!)

Are any in the Tea Party beginning to suspect that they are being used by the rich to further the cause of gross inequity? Have they considered that issues such as abortion might resolve themselves in a society committed to employment opportunity, excellent education and health care?

Where are they on corporations exporting jobs abroad? Where are they with corporations that evade taxes and the laws that allow them to do so?

How comfortable are they with the corporate control of the Republican Party and its agenda? Likewise the Democratic Party? Could the same "wizard" be behind the curtain of both parties?

Do they feel the need for profound changes in our constitution in order to establish a truly democratic nation?

Do they really agree with the faith-based agenda of social conservatives?

Where are they on Gay rights? On human rights?

Do they believe in supporting human rights abroad? Do the believe we should end our dependence on Middle Eastern oil? Do they realize that the dependence compromises our support for human rights?

Where is the Tea Party on spending billions to support the militaries of Saudi Arabia and Israel — to say nothing of Iraq and Afghanistan? How about trade with thug-run China and Russia?

You get the picture.

Populists and Tea Party members need to talk.

Not yell, but talk — and listen.

If that means joining the Tea Party, however briefly, it might well be worth the time.

One thing is for sure: we are getting nowhere fast in the Democratic Party. And my suspicion is that a lot of folks in the Tea Party are thinking the same way about the Republican Party.

The more we realize the present two-party political system is rigged to favor the rich and powerful few, the more energetic, strategic disaffection will increase.

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