Tuesday, June 2, 2009

An Open Letter to the Republican National Committee

Dear Mr. Steele and RNC,

Thank you for another in your series of entertaining letters asking me to contribute my opinion, but more importantly my money, to your cause. Upon reflection, I have a response prepared to your request for information on the "blueprint - a plan of action" for the Republican Party.

My response: Leave me alone!

I am not going to give money to the RNC. All I needed was to peruse the names running across your last letter - Michael Steele, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. Sorry, but this does not represent the leadership I'd prefer to follow. I'm not running out to cheer for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, either, but that is not the worry you should have. I don't want to recieve your letters anymore because I don't care to be associated with the Republican Party.

Since the elections in November I've checked out of politics. I took a little break to get away from it all, but as I nose my way back in I see that things have only gotten worse. This has nothing to do with the budget (a document that would have only looked different under Bush and the Republicans because they weren't honest about just how much money they were going to spend). This has nothing to do with wanting more tax cuts because I don't want any; I just don't want them to go up. This has nothing to do with defense spending because a 20% cut seems fine to me; we aren't going to do anything meaningful with the money other than keep some congressional districts afloat in government contracts. This has nothing to do with principles because both parties cashed in any principles they had a long, long time ago. My problem is tone.

Mr. Steele, I see that you called Senator Spector an opportunist. This is ironic coming from a black man elected to the chairmanship of a notoriously white organization after a black man was elected president. Besides, the Republican Party didn't like Sen. Spector much anyway. It was just a matter of time before he was pushed out of the party. Wouldn't it have been better to say you were disappointed with the Senator's decision, but he did what he felt was politically expedient and the voters have to judge whether that makes him more or less capable to represent them.

Meanwhile, Rush is calling people reverse racists. Ann Coulter is saying whatever it is she feels will get people the most excited. The direction of the party seems to be to belittle all the small minded people that disagree with the vociferous talking heads that now control the party. As one of those small minded individuals (and wasnt' the party once a proponent of the individual) I've decided to call it quits.

I approve of gay marriage, I'm against the death penalty, I'm not offended that Latinas might be smarter than white men, I have no compunction about destroying every embryo in every lab for whatever sinister scientific purpose we can find, I rather like immigrants and want more of them in the country, I think a fence is a waste of money and horrific symbol (may as well tear down the Statue of Liberty, or at least remove the plague), the Patriot Act was overkill, torture is torture is torture no matter what name you give it, Israel can maybe do what we say since we are the only reason it even exists, I do not believe in God and though Obama is a big spending liberal he hasn't upset me more than any Republican that has sat in the same chair.

With that said, I'm also not a big fan of government intervention, federal bailouts, gun control, tax increases, regulation, interventionist foreign policy or well, the government if its doing anything much beyond keeping me safe, my roads passable and maintaining equal opportunity to do whatever I please without hurting the next guy.

This does not make me a Republican. This would get me expelled from the party, in fact, so I here and now willingly relinquish any association with that label.

I am an American. I am an individualist. I don't need my talking points from Rush Limbaugh. I don't need to be belittled by the Chairman of the RNC. I don't need to agree with Dick Cheney to maintain my membership in any organization. Most importantly, I don't want anything to do with a group of people that have nothing more than name-calling in their bag of arguments. Be it Democrat or Republican the death of the American dream will come with a membership in a political party. I don't need that kind of blood on my hands.

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Budget

The comfort I take in President Obama's budget is this: it seems honest and no budget has ever passed in the form it was originally conceived.

So much money...so many programs created and expanded...all of it on rosy outlooks for future growth and elimination and consolidation of underperforming programs.

I had fears during the election about candidate Obama's true nature. Was he a big government, tax and spend guy disguised by moderate rhetoric? Was he a true pragmatist who'd look around and say this just can't keep going like this?

Turns out that after a month of being a moderate, relatively bipartisan president, the tide has turned. President Obama is Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Roosevelt. After 8 years of a Republican president increasing the size of government now we have at least 4 years of a Democrat that will put President Bush to shame.

$1.75 trillion deficit.

Tripling of the national debt in his first term.

Dramatic social re-engineering.

Flaccid opposition.

I've managed to stay fairly optimistic about the new president and the prospects for the future economy until the last few days. Sadly, as is often the case, the more we get to know a person the more we find not to like.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

I'm with you, Lindsey Graham

Sen. Barbara Boxer would not be my friend. Would it only be possible she not be my senator? Anyway, I stumbled across this video clip and I say, Thank you, Sen. Graham for putting Sen. Boxer in her place.

My only wish is that the Republican Party were as passionate, effective and thoughtful in power as they have become in opposition.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tribes of Man

It is historic. No one like him has ever been president. So they gathered. In hordes that couldn’t be counted standing on frozen ground able to see the event only on jumbo flat screen monitors along the mall they watched.

We have our first black president. For many, the media most of all, these last couple years have been largely about race. It is the narrative with the easiest grasp while equally capable of being divisive – conflict being the key to good storytelling.

Of course, it couldn’t simply have been the history. Celebrity is far more fun. Celebrity makes people gather in frozen bunches to watch television half a mile from the thing they are watching. That and sports. While the race of our new president is both historic and groundbreaking I doubt that it is all that is involved. I think it is tribalism.

Mankind and tribalism – the two cannot be separated. In modern society we’ve gotten creative with our tribes. Mostly we have sports teams – the tribes of the Steelers and Cardinals, the tribes of the Lakers and the Dodgers and the Red Wings, Gators, Cornhuskers and on and on. Our sports teams allow us to suffer and triumph in controlled physical clashes replacing war and possibly the need for a caged death match with the neighbor from time to time. Of course, we have constructed other tribes, for good and for ill: birth state, hometown, religion, college, career, hobby, gender, ethnicity, race and sometimes the noxious little gang of hoodlums that decide a part of the neighborhood should be run by them and them alone.

The tribes of man are many, but the presidency has been held by so few over the years. We’ve had young and old, Southern and Northern, poor and wealthy, rural and urban, but always male and always white. While Barack Obama has some of the “elite” and requisite traits that mark the presidents of old, Harvard Law for one, he also has those that are less common. As we all know by now he has a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya. He was raised by a single mother. He moved around the country and the world throughout his youth. He wasn’t rich, but he was gifted and took every advantage offered him.

Some of the joy and hope and anticipation is for the history. Some of the crowds and craziness are for the celebrity. Yet I remain convinced that most of it has more to do with the tribes of man looking upon a new face and seeing more of themselves than they have ever seen. Barack Obama is accessible. He looks like what America has become. He’s from some many places that almost anyone can claim him as their own. While he is a black man, he has a white mother. While he is a product of the south side of Chicago he is also a product of the plains of Kansas. Since his election he also proven himself to be far more moderate and mainstream than I had expected him to be. He is easy to like, easy to listen to and he isn’t more of the same old thing…not yet.

The expectations are beyond the capability of just one man and especially from within the office now held by this one man. The tribes are restless and fickle and when this moment passes and the real work begins, I hope we continue to see in President Obama the best of what we see in ourselves.

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