Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

Demagoguery trumps issues.

Recovering. I spent yesterday in a haze, hardly believing how the election had turned out, feeling disconnected from the world.

I believed, and still believe, that the current administration is both the most corrupt, and the most incompetent, of the 20th century. The damage they have already done to this country will take decades to repair, and the potential for more damage is real and appalling.

A Friend reminded me yesterday, though, that Nixon had been reelected also. We have survived bad administrations before (though Nixon, while bad, was nowhere near as bad as Bush) and we will survive them again.

What I think hurts most about this election is something CNN kept repeating during the day. Their exit polls asked both Bush and Kerry voters what their most important issues were. Kerry voters’ top priorities by a wide margin were the economy, and the Iraq war, in that order. Something of the order of 40% of the Kerry voters had had someone in their family lose a job in the current economy.

Bush voters, on the other hand, cited a different set of concerns: terrorism and “moral values.” Some 70% of them still believed that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks. That despite all the evidence people still believe this is inconceivable.

On the issue of terrorism, I don’t see how the voters could believe that Bush had made this better. Al-Qaeda was not in Iraq prior to our invasion, but they certainly are now. The war has done nothing but make this situation worse. Every picture on the TV or in a newspaper is another recruiting poster for the terrorists. Meanwhile, the taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden is appearing on TV taunting the US, and terrorist attacks are a daily occurrence in Iraq, the country we supposedly liberated. Bush has somehow successfully played on the fears of the people to get them to ignore what their own eyes and ears tell them. This has been a successful strategy for every despot, tyrant, or demagogue in history. Bush is not (yet) a tyrant, but his and his campaign’s skill at demagoguery are unrivaled.

Perhaps what troubled me most the last few days, though, was the issue of “moral values.” How did an election which should have turned on the war, the economy, and the environment become a referendum on Gay Marriage and abortion? Getting gay marriage referendums on the ballot in 10 states was a masterful stroke, ensuring that supporters would come to the polls for that reason, if no other. In the issue of abortion, the two candidates are actually very close, but the fact that Kerry was not willing to force his religious beliefs on the nation was somehow turned into a radical pro-abortion stance.

That no president can actually change abortion laws, or that marriages are and always have been a state’s concerns, was ignored.

That “moral values” could become an issue in peoples minds is amazing, and evidence of the power to distract and persuade voters. It is frightening. That concern over whether someone might be able to have a legal abortion, or that two gay men might have the same property rights available to a straight couple, could somehow trump the issue of the war for many voters stuns me. That someone can argue against abortion, but ignore the unnecessary deaths of more than 100,000 innocent civilians, and consider this a “moral values” stance is staggering.

We are an easily led, and poorly educated populace on the whole. As Richard Hofstadter’s “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life” pointed out decades ago, we distrust anyone who appears to be concerned about facts, research, or critical thought. We don’t trust “thinkers”, and that was the fundamental perceived difference between Bush and Kerry.

This is the most damning indictment of american society and an invitation to rule by demagogues; an invitation that has been accepted.

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"I believed, and still believe, that the current administration is both the most corrupt, and the most incompetent, of the 20th century."

I can only attribute this absurd statement to your hysteria over the recent cleaning of the liberal clock (again). I can’t imagine why you would make such a sophmoric assertion otherwise. George W. Bush was inaugurated in January 2001, and thus had no administration in the 20th century. However, since you think that he did, your label of him as "the most incompetent" indicates that you have been more successful than the rest of us, in forgetting the administration of Jimmy Carter, one of the most incompetent boobs ever to sit in the Oval Office. In all fairness, I was too absorbed in the balance of your of your rantings to notice your confusion over what century it was. Our father pointed it out to me.

If you actually were from Kentucky, the Courier Journal endorsement would have come as no surprise to you as its endorsement of the Democrat Candidate could easily have been predicted ten or twenty years ago as they always endorse the Democrat. Thus, since you apperently think that one should respond to the question of where one comes from based on newspaper endorsements, you could have claimed to be from Kentucky long ago.

I really am from Kentucky, and have endured Democrat Governors for nearly all of my lifetime, until the current, and thus I can see your label of Kentucky as a "reactionary state" for what it is, the condescending label of a Northeast liberal, out of touch with the values, history, and culture of the balance of the country.

You are no more from Kentucky than Polish sausage.

By the way, I am of the belief that there is no more assinine doctrine taught in government schools than the theory of evolution.

I’m going to go hunting now like the good, knuckle dragging,reactionary, right wing, bigoted homophobic neanderthol-Jesus freak that I am.
;)

JRF

Hi Jim, nice of you to drop by. A little early for drinking, isn’t it?

Forgive my comment on the centuries, that was a mistake. I can definately say, without conflict, that his administration is the most corrupt of the 21st century.

During Carter’s administration the size of government shrunk, the national debt as a percentage of gross national product declined, and the country gained jobs. None of this is true for the Bush administration. Instead, the percentage of the population in this country living in poverty has increased each year for the last three, We have the three highest deficit years in history (money your kids and mine will have to pay back), a $130 billion dollar war, and counting. There are 1150+ dead american soldiers in a war which was both illegal and unnecessary, and for which the original justifications (WMD and links to Al Qaeda) have been disproved. These 1150 were lied to, and died because of the lies of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. Did Carter ever screw up and kill 100,000 people or more? Has any other president? It’s a shame Bush hasn’t lied about his sex life, since that’s the only screw-up Republicans seem to think is impeachable. You screw one person and lie about it and it’s a crime, you screw 300 million and lie about it, and you’re a leader.

I do not think that I can base where I come from on the basis of newspaper endorsements. I stated that I was willing to admit where I was born. Maybe I should rethink that.

No more from Kentucky than Polish Sausage? Thank you. Poles were some of the earliest settlers to Kentucky, and I suspect they brought sausage with them. To quote "Polish Americans and Their Communities of Cleveland" by John J. Grabowski, Judith Zielinski-Zak, Alice Boberg, & Ralph Wroblewski,

Poles were adventurous frontiersmen also; most prominent among them was John Sadowski. Settling at first in Philadelphia, he was the first Pole to venture across the Alleghenies. Sadowski was well-known as an Indian trader and interpreter prior to his trip west. In 1735 he crossed the Alleghenies into Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee and was one of the first white men to explore and settle in this region. His sons, Jacob and James, followed in their father’s footsteps and were instrumental in the exploration of what is today Kentucky and Tennessee.

You probably want to hide the fact that your history isn’t all proud white anglo-saxons, though. It must be embarassing.

Does our father share your belief about evolution, or is that something you came up with on your own? If you want to believe that God created the world in seven days, feel free. Heck, I don’t care if you believe the world is carried through space on the back of 4 elephants standing on a giant turtle. Have you also counted the generations, and come to the same conclusion as some that the world is only 3500 years old or so?

There is a fundamental difference between science and creationism. Science allows for criticism and revision. Bible thumpers will stick their fingers in their ears and run away whenever anyone gives them facts they want to ignore. There are hundreds of creation myths in the world, and I no more want yours being taught to children than I want the Hindu’s teaching my children that Brahma came from a giant lotus flower growing out of Vishnu’s belly button.

I know our father looks in at this weblog every week or so, but he’s never seen the need to comment himself. Maybe he just needs to use it to egg you on a bit.

"I’m going to go hunting now like the good, knuckle dragging,reactionary, right wing, bigoted homophobic neanderthol-Jesus freak that I am." Your words, not mine, but who am I to argue? ;)

Go kill something, it will make you feel better.

My, my. True to liberal form, you seem to be of the opinion that any one who disagrees with you must be stupid, drunk or both. It is a trait of the liberal elite that helps to preclude their success.

Yes, but you also must admit that it is the least corrupt and most competent administration of this century as well.

;)

You might reread my earlier posting and note that I made no mention of creationism. My statement was about evolution. You jumped to conclusions and started talking about fingers in ears etc.

I do not know my father’s views on the issue, but I regret that you feel that you feel it unlikely that I could have an original thought as you imply. But what do I know? I am just a dumb hick who lacks the intellectual wherewithal to become a Northeast Liberal.

I am pleased that someone could find something nice to say about the Carter administration. I wasn’t sure it could be done.

Thank you for the Kentucky history lesson. It doesn’t change the fact that your views of the world bear almost no resemblence to any Kentucky resident outside of a five mile radius of the Universties of Kentucky and Louisville. We are all reactionary, creationist hicks who go out and kill things to feel better.

Your supposition that I want to hide facts about my heritage is absurd.

I do intend to kill some things, mostly time. But I don’t need to do so to feel better. In general I feel pretty good. You are the one who by his own admission is ranting.

:)

Take a deep breath,pal. And don’t put down my state.

My, my. True to liberal form, you seem to be of the opinion that any one who disagrees with you must be stupid, drunk or both. It is a trait of the liberal elite that helps to preclude their success.
My, my, true to republican (I can’t say conservative, because there is nothing conservative left in the republican party) you think throwing labels around is the equivalent of discussing facts. I happen to not believe that "Liberal" is a negative.

And, I was not implying that you had been drinking because you disagreed with me, but rather because your post was boorish and pugnacious, and poorly worded. I did not expect that from you.

I do not imply you can’t have an original thought. For the record, I do imply that you and our father were sitting around reveling in your feelings of smug superiority as you read the weblog. How humorous it must be for you.

And I can find more to say positive about Carter, or any other president for that matter, if the comparison is against George W. Bush. It’s not hard.

You might reread my earlier posting and note that I made no mention of creationism. My statement was about evolution.
Evolution is as firmly established a scientific fact as anything can be without the ability to run specific experiments. To deny this is to deny two hundred years of scientific research.

If you do not believe evolution, and you do not believe the creationists, how do you explain the diversity of life on earth? Have you joined the scientologists and believe we are all descended from alien clams? Or, do you just prefer not to take a stand?
I do intend to kill some things, mostly time. But I don’t need to do so to feel better.

I didn’t say you needed to, I said that it would. Hunting (and by definition killing) doesn’t make you feel better? Than why do it? You enjoy it, and you feel better when you do it. Otherwise you would be home with your kids doing something else. Don’t be ashamed of who you are. ;)

It doesn’t change the fact that your views of the world bear almost no resemblence to any Kentucky resident outside of a five mile radius of the Universties of Kentucky and Louisville
Right, the people who make an effort to think and understand.

But really, not any Kentucky resident outside the universities? I checked election results for counties in Kentucky, and I’m pretty sure there were votes that weren’t cast for Bush in pretty much every one of them. But then, exageration, hyperbole and demagoguery are what the administration and it’s supporters thrive on, rather than facts.

You are the one who by his own admission is ranting.

I reread the post where I said I was ranting. I stand by every word of it. You didn’t address anything in that post, or even anything in the one you actually responded to for that matter.

Instead, you call names, fling insults and ignore facts. What the hell, it works for Cheney.

Take a deep breath,pal. Not a bad suggestion. You might take it.

It’s with mixed emotions that I read the interchanges between two of my sons.

On the one hand I feel tremendous pride that I fathered two bright, articulate and knowledgeable boys.

On the other hand is total embarassment because all I can seem to think about is XXXXX.

[editted to remove words I will not allow on my website. Suffice it to say my father still retains an active interest in the opposite sex ;) ]

Dad

An interesting point that just a modicum of research reveals: 12 counties in Kentucky, by my count, voted Democratic in the 2004 election. The vast majority of these were poorer ones in the south eastern coal regions, including Pike, Knott, Perry, Floyd, Breathitt, Magoffin, Wolfe, and Elliott. Elliott county, in fact, voted Democratic by 70% to 30%.

Last time I checked, neither Elliot County, nor any other of these, was within 5 miles of the University of Kentucky. Perhaps they still remember which party supported their health and welfare, and which sided with the Coal Barons, believing black-lung was a minor annoyance in the pursuit of profits.

Other than the fact that it’s your web site, how come you can say "Deep Shit" and I can’t say XXXXX?

Rather undemocratic

Other than the fact that it’s your web site, how come you can say "Deep ****" and I can’t say XXXXX?

Well, that’s the exact point, isn’t it? This is my space, my home, if you will. I set the rules for what is acceptable here, in my ‘home’.

The real difference, though, is that I am willing to accept emotional responses to political situations. I post that way, and must be willing to accept responses that way.

On the other hand, I am not willing to accept comments which belittle others without reason. Sexist comments, racist comments, and bigotry will get a much quicker reaction from me (and will be cut off immediately) than someone questioning my beliefs. I’ll squash the latter like bugs, without mercy, but I’ll allow the dialog. Anybody who comes into my ‘home’ and attacks me can expect no less.

:D

WOW!!!

God have mercy on the bugs.

Didn’t mean to set you off …. Thought I might lighten up a discussion that was getting pretty heavy …

Dad



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