Category Archives: Current Affairs

Tragedy in the desert

Sleep does not come easy for me tonight.

It does not come easy many nights, but tonight is different. Earlier Saturday, a young man named Jared Lee Loughner, armed with a pistol, shot and killed six people at a Congressional neighborhood meeting hosted by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, including the Congresswoman, who still lives. Tragically, a nine-year-old girl was among those assassinated.

Christina Green had just been elected to student council. A ballet dancer, Christina had been invited to Giffords’ event by a neighbor who thought she’d be interested in meeting the Congresswoman.

We don’t know yet what motivated Loughner to commit this monstrous act; we’ll find out soon enough, since he was apprehended as he tried to flee the scene. At any rate, I don’t want to write about this tonight. That time will come, but not tonight.

Tonight, on this tragic day, we might ask ourselves what kind of country we are, and what kind of country we might be. We might give ourselves over to a desire for revenge, to find our cup overflowing with anger and bitterness.

We might do that. This country, at once beloved and benighted, is all too divided.

And yet, that is precisely what we do not need in America at this moment. What, then, do we need?

I ask that question of young Christina tonight, and there is only silence. In that hallowed silence, though, lies the answer to our question: what we need in America is not anger, but wisdom; not violence, but compassion; not hatred, but love for one another.

Christina Green was born on 9/11/01; in her death, could not something yet pass from her to all of us?

Tonight, we say our prayers for the dead, and we pray to keep the living; and while we pray, let us also pray for our beloved country, that we may yet achieve a measure of peace and compassion for one another. In our despair, let us pray to receive a measure of wisdom; night may have fallen, but the morning comes. And in that morning, let us redeem the fallen by redeeming the scarred, torn world we all inhabit.


Another Anti-War March…yawn…

So, apparently, there's another anti-war march today in NYC. I'm growing more and more disenchanted with the movement, since marching is the only thing most folks seem to want to do.

Back in 2004, playwright Tony Kushner, of Angels in America fame, said this in an interview. It's stuck with me, since it was such a pithy and tough illustration of the difficulties we face as progressives: 

Listen, here's the thing about politics: It's not an expression of your moral purity and your ethics and your probity and your fond dreams of some utopian future. Progressive people constantly fail to get this.


In a certain sense, Bush was right when he called the anti-war demonstrations a "focus group." We went out on the street and told him that we didn't like the war. But that was all we did: We expressed an opinion. There was no one in Congress to listen to us because we were clear about why they couldn't listen. Hillary Clinton was too compromised, or Chuck Schumer — and God knows they are. But if people don't pressure them to do better, we're lost.

So true. Continue reading

The Folly of Impeachment

Several of the mailing lists that I’m publicize the prospect of impeaching the President (and as often as not, the Vice President, too) for “high crimes and misdemeanors”. I’ve gotten into some pretty sharply-worded debates over the subject, because I happen to think that impeachment is the wrong solution, at least now, for two reasons: policy-wise and politics-wise. Rather than bore you with my take, however, I’m going to distill Josh Marshall’s take that I saw in one of his Hill columns.

It helps to remember that impeachment, no matter what kind of constitutional law construction you use, is inherently a political act. We saw this in its rawest, most primal form during the Clinton impeachment. However, in the other two ocassions in which impeachment has been seriously discussed or brought to bear (1867, Andrew Johnson; 1973-74, Richard Nixon), the situation was clearly political as well.

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Three Years Too Long; Our Voices Too Silent

It was this date, three years ago, that our war against Iraq entered a new and deadly phase. By launching missiles at a smattering of targets, we hoped to bring the war to an end, even as it began.

Of course, that gambit failed. Saddam mocked us from a hidden bunker, deep within the bowels of some vainglorious palace. But we swept his regime away, with pitiless ease, mostly because this was the martial equivalent of a grown man pounding a grade-school bully into the playground dirt.

That May Day, the President took a glory ride and with the golden sun framing him, with a stark banner strung behind him stating those fateful missionary words, the President declared the Battle of Iraq at an end. The only thing was, even as we celebrated its end, the whole enterprise was taking a malevolent, twisted turn. Continue reading

A Real Response

Why isn’t anyone on our side saying this:

These guys are corrupt and incompetent. They have screwed up the Iraq war, turned FEMA into a joke and landed the next generation with a mountain of debt. We’re for making the homeland safer, winning back our allies, and taking on the Iranian dictatorship. We’re for energy independence, universal healthcare and balancing the budget again.

Why does it fall to Andy Sullivan to tell us this?

And while we’re on the subject of responding, why aren’t more folks ripping Republicans a new one for trying to politicize Coretta Scott King’s funeral? This may come as a surprise to many, but at the end of his life, Reverend King was stoutly opposed to the Vietnam War. His widow, in fact, spoke at a massive anti-war rally only three weeks after her husband was brutally murdered.

Therefore, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Reverend and Mrs. King would be opposed to our current, star-crossed adventure in Iraq. Both of them were bold, daring, uncompromising leaders; and that’s the image that should, and will, live on–not the spavined, sanitized January-shopping-holiday version.

State of the Union Preview

So, it’s a couple of hours before the President delivers his sixth State of the Union Address, and the White House Communications Office has released some excerpts from the speech. Most notable excerpt: an admission that this country is addicted to oil. I’ve long believed that the only way we, as a country, will be able to have reformatory policies in energy and health care is if a Republican President crossed up his base, and created a “Nixon goes to China” moment.

I don’t believe, for a moment, that this President is serious about either policy area. But by opening the door and making the admission, the President is forcing us as a country to cross an important psychological and political threshold; once that threshold is crossed, it will be well-nigh impossible to go back.

As a personal note, I’ll be watching the address at the Gill Foundation Building on Wahsatch and Vermijo, starting at about 6:30 PM. There will be plenty of food and libations provided, so if you’re in Colorado Springs, join me.

The preview is after the jump.

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I’m looking at video from the Superdome in New Orleans and wondering just what in the hell is going on? You’ve got scenes reminiscent of a coup in Haiti, and all the Administration can think to do is cover its own political ass.

Sometimes, as much as I love this country, I can’t abide this government. In a just society, something like this would result in the government’s fall. The country is looking, begging, beseeching, pleading for its leaders to take bold, swift, steps, and all they can think to do is natter on about armies of compassion.

Well, I’ve no doubt that Americans will once again rise to the occasion. If only our leaders were worthy of us. But they’re not–to hell with compassion’s hosts, what about the forces to deliver succor, support, and restore civilization?

Scottie McClellan had the gall to say that this isn’t a moment for finger-pointing or blame, and that we all needed to come together, because, after all, it would take that many people to cover the Administration’s tuchis. Well, too bad. One of America’s jewels has drowned, and I hope we have the intestinal and moral fortitude to demand that heads roll–and not just the bureaucratic kind, either.

Where was George?

Playing air guitar, while New Orleans drowned.