Dear Glenn Beck : When Did We Lose Our Honor?

Dear Mr. Beck:

You say that you want to restore America's honor?

Wonderful! Let me help you! 

When exactly did Americans lose their honor?

Did they lose it when a black man was elected President? Or did they lose it when the Republicans first voted for their own self-interest rather than for the American people? Did we lose it ten years ago, we elected a man of Bush's exemplary paragon of intellectual caliber?

Did we lose it when Obama tried to save the country from total economic collapse with a stimulus, or did we lose it when Bush the Younger destroyed an economic surplus, and gave us a deficit, compounded with two unnecessary and unaffordable wars, a housing bubble, Guantanamo, and the worst economic disaster since The Great Depression?

Did we lose our honor because we finally have a healthcare system that is a good beginning for the many poor who will be needing it in the years to come? Or did we lose it when businesses began to downsize, and outsourced jobs abroad for cheaper labor? 

Did we lose our honor because some people did not like the way President Obama handled the Gulf oil spill, which incidentally started through the criminal negligence of BP and Transocean? Or did we lose it during the Bush administration's inexcusable and atrocious response given to Katrina? Or was it when FEMA became gutted and privatized by Bush?

Did we lose our honor when the Democrats saved the auto industry, or did we lose it when we stopped building things in this country, and now depend on cheap slave labor from abroad?

Mr. Beck, we need to restore our honor, it's true. But you are far wide of the mark on the cause for restoring our honor. You speak of fluffy generalities like "faith, hope and charity," But your rally was funded by men who lied, cheated, stole and killed for money.  

I thought we turned the corner on January 20, 2009. We are trying to restore our nation's honor. You just don't want to see it!

Dear Glenn Beck : When Did We Lose Our Honor?

Dear Mr. Beck: You say that you want to restore America's honor?

Wonderful! Let me help you! 

When exactly did Americans lose their honor?

Did they lose it when a black man was elected President? Or did they lose it when the Republicans first voted for their own self-interest rather than for the American people? Did we lose it ten years ago, when we elected a man of Bush's exemplary paragon of intellectual caliber?

Did we lose it when Obama tried to save the country from total economic collapse with a stimulus, or did we lose it when Bush the Younger destroyed an economic surplus, and gave us a deficit, compounded with two unnecessary and unaffordable wars, a housing bubble, Guantanamo, and the worst economic disaster since The Great Depression?

Did we lose our honor because we finally have a healthcare system that is a good beginning for the many poor who will be needing it in the years to come? Or did we lose it when businesses began to downsize, and outsourced jobs abroad for cheaper labor? 

Did we lose our honor because some people did not like the way President Obama handled the Gulf oil spill, which incidentally started through the criminal negligence of BP and Transocean? Or did we lose it during the Bush administration's inexcusable and atrocious response given to Katrina? Or was it when FEMA became gutted and privatized by Bush?

Did we lose our honor when the Democrats saved the auto industry, or did we lose it when we stopped building things in this country, and now depend on cheap slave labor from abroad?

Mr. Beck, we need to restore our honor, it's true. But you are far wide of the mark on the cause for restoring our honor. You speak of fluffy generalities like "faith, hope and charity," But your rally was funded by men who lied, cheated, stole and killed for money.  

I thought we turned the corner on January 20, 2009. We are trying to restore our nation's honor. You just don't want to see it!

Small Government: When 307,999,999 People Can’t Agree

A funny thing is happening on the way to the ballot box. Voters of all stripes decry the excesses of big government. The reflexive complaint from both ends of the political spectrum, although voiced most loudly by conservatives and tea drinkers, is that big government is inherently bad, a foregone conclusion needing no evidence for proof. It’s a lot like religion that way. “I believe in God, so therefore there must be a God.” “I believe big government is evil, so therefore it must be true.”

It’s curious that the louder the screams about government size, the fewer practical suggestions the screamers give regarding how to make it smaller. There’s the all or nothing crowd – the government shouldn’t do anything but maintain an army. Or, the “limited” governmental types who want to lop off entire government departments, like the Department of Education, Federal Reserve, or Department of Homeland (In)Security. But, there’s precious little in the way of a platform to explain how we’ll reach this government nirvana.

Saying No is Fun
You might expect voters wouldn’t clamor for details. After all, it’s great fun to go watch Glenn Beck scream political science screeds or wave protest signs or accuse people of being anti-Christ socialists. It’s also great to campaign and hear the yelps of Grizzly Mommas in full-throated rapture about how wonderful you are. But the day in and day out grind of actually governing or even setting goals … not so much. In other words, the universal Republican “plan” for everything – “NO” – gives voters, candidates, and sitting politicians the chance to be righteous without the responsibilities of righteousness.

Come to think of it, that’s a little like some religious folks too.

There are roughly 308 million citizens in the US. That means there are at least 308 million opinions on how to reduce the government. Farmers kind of like crop subsidies, especially if their name is Farmer ConAgra. Some people are really behind “drill baby, drill”, without the inconvenient fact that without government regulation, a well might one day pop up in their backyard.

“Take that you NIMBY bastards!”

The “local levelites” don’t want an Islamic center in Manhattan, but are unwilling to accept the decisions of the local planning commission. And Reaganites complain, for example that transportation decisions be made on a state-by-state basis. However, they don’t seem to realize that building a road is building a road whether Uncle Sam funds it or your state increases taxes to offset the downsizing of Federal tax dollars. And, the private enterprisers would be the loudest to complain if RoadCo ran the highways and every country lane and freeway in their state started charging tolls.

Immutable Laws of Government
Americans need to understand a few immutable laws of government and human nature. First, nobody wants a bigger government. Second, everybody wants a smaller government so long as it gets smaller at someone else’s expense. Third, everyone wants the government to work. And fourth, those elected will become “inside” professional politicians as soon as they take their hand off the swearing-in Bible. They will be in your business for good and ill from then on as a result. This is especially true if you want the government to decide who gets married, who serves in the armed forces, who gets government assistance, and dozens of other meat and potatoes governmental decisions that must be made to support your idea of how smaller government should stay out of your life.

American individualism is a great strength. It’s the engine that drove the idea of American exceptionalism in the last century. But, when individualists forget there’s such a thing as shared goals and common needs that strength becomes a drag on the country.

Especially when you and the other 307,999,999 of us can’t agree on just what small government means.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

Twitter and the Cowardice of Sarah Palin

Originally posted at Cagle.

When I joined Twitter in July 2006 I was the 3,365th person to sign up for the 140-character message streaming social network. Now, with more than 190 million users having taken the plunge, I guess you could call me an early adopter of sorts.

See, I've always believed that the Internet -- and by extension new online tools like Twitter -- have the ability to create change because it levels the political playing field tearing down walls that have traditionally separated the powerless and the powerful.

It turns out I may have been wrong -- at least when it comes to a certain half-termer from Alaska.

There's more...

Video Asks GOP: "Ayn Rand or Jesus?"

Ayn Rand has been actively cited in recent months as an inspiration for many leading conservatives with politicians such as Sen. Ron Johnson proudly endorsing Atlas Shrugged as his “foundational book.” Most famously, perhaps, Rep. Paul Ryan, author of the GOP Budget, extolled Rand, proclaiming that she “more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism.” It is surprising, however, that Rand’s vehement opposition to conservative values (e.g. she was ardently pro-choice) and Judeo-Christian morality has not even been addressed by the media or religious leaders across America.

The American Values Network (AVN) recently released a video debunking the innocuousness of Rand’s philosophy (Objectivism). It drives home the point that one cannot be a Christian and be partial to Rand. For one, Rand was not merely advocating specific political actions, but rewiring the human conscience so that pure and unrepentant selfishness that leaves no room for altruism is foundational to human existence. In an interview with Mike Wallace, she went so far as to assert that altruism is “evil.” No helping the poor, the sick, the voiceless. It is all about the holy trinity of me, myself, and moi.

 

Rand’s philosophy goes well beyond simply rejecting faith (which many do) to directly challenging the morality taught by Scripture of loving ones neighbor and promoting the common good. Rand made the choice clear, you can follow her or Jesus, not both. For years Republicans have been cloaking their policies in the mantle of faith and values. But the priorities laid out in the GOP budget – ending Medicare as we know it, attacks on the middle and working class, gutting programs for the most vulnerable – reflect Rand’s philosophy, not Jesus’. This inherent contradiction needs to be forced to a head because it could drive a massive wedge within the ranks of the right. The GOP must be forced to explain to its Christian base whose values it really stands for. They must be forced to choose Ayn Rand or Jesus. Because at its heart this debate is about our values.

AVN’s video begs us to ask ourselves what we envision America to be. Do we want a self-obsessed America who leaves the disadvantaged by the wayside, who passes by the downtrodden on the other side of the road? Or do we want an America who, as John F. Kennedy has declared “… shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty?” Indeed, AVN’s video makes clear that these two visions of America are entirely incompatible with each other.

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