I've become increasingly uncomfortable with how we debate important issues in America, and yesterday on CNN.com Ben Ferguson personified exactly what is wrong with our national discussion. He hears something he doesn't like, interrupts and starts shouting accusations - changing the subject, and changing the environment from one of honest disagreement to angry mud slinging.
But what really blew me away was his saying that he didn't "need to know four cities in Afghanistan" to know what the President should be doing. In other words he thinks ignorance should have a place at the table in determining foreign policy and in sending our troops into harms way.
I try to respect my adversaries. I don't assume that my critics, people who disagree with me, are enemies with dishonorable motives. But this kind of rhetoric is the enemy and, yes, it is dishonorable. We need to have better conversations in America and we must work for democratic dialogue that is ennobling instead of engaging in angry, ignorant shouting matches.
As for my performance, I accidentally said "Gen. McClellen" when I meant to say "Gen. McCrystal." Dang it.
Submitted by Gina on October 6, 2009 - 09:13.
today, the White House took the "Call 'Em Out" game to a new level with a blog post, on the White House website (not the DNC site), targeting Fox News, an entire media organization, for what the White House calls "Fox lies."
Read Jesse's Call 'Em Out blogpost here.
Submitted by Gina on September 30, 2009 - 20:28.
The point I was trying to make was about the complexity of dealing with an Iran whose leader threatens surrounding countries, while within Iran itself we are seeing a growing democratic movement challenging, as best and peacefully as it can, that theocratic leadership.
Anne Applebaum in Slate also notes the two Irans
On the one hand, there is the Iran of the nuclear issue, the Iran analyzed by security experts, the Iran covered by the White House press corps. This is the Iran that made the news last week when President Barack Obama revealed the existence of yet another hidden Iranian nuclear reactor...
At the same time, there is another Iran—a completely different country, as it were. This is the Iran of the democracy movement, the Iran analyzed by human rights activists, the Iran covered by the sort of journalist who takes covert photographs with a cell phone. This is the Iran that made the news last week when protesters turned a government-controlled anti-Israel march into a spontaneous anti-government demonstration.
She continues, noting the opportunity:
What if we therefore told the Iranian regime that its insistence on pursuing nuclear weapons leaves us with no choice other than to increase funding for dissident exile groups, to smuggle money into the country, to bombard the airwaves with anti-regime television programming, and above all to publicize widely the myriad crimes of the Islamic Republic of Iran? What if President Obama held up a photograph of Neda, the young girl murdered by Iranian authorities, at his next press conference? What if he did that at every press conference? I bet that would unnerve President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and even the supreme leader far more than the loss of some German machine tool imports or Dutch tomatoes.
She's right, and that's not just some hippie talk. That's the world taking the side of the people who are working to take him out of power.
Read the whole thing. It's righteous.
Submitted by Gina on September 30, 2009 - 20:07.
I am uncomfortable with the rampant accusations of racism against anyone who opposes or challenges President Obama. But it is not because I think that racism isn't an issue. This AP piece explains it well:
That's an easy charge to make against the rare individual carrying an "Obamacare" sign depicting the president as an African witch doctor with a bone through his nose. But it's almost impossible to prove — or refute — assertions that bias, and not raw politics, fuels opposition to Obama.
"You have to be very careful about going down that road. You've cried wolf," said Sean Wilentz, a Princeton University professor who studies U.S. political and social history.
"Crying wolf." Exactly. And in crying wolf we diminish the term and it becomes harder to battle the real racists. If everyone is racist, then racism is mainstream. Mainstreaming racism empowers those who would act out, maybe violently.
The words we choose matter. Those who recklessly use the term racist will be just as guilty for what could follow as those who exploit racism, fear and hatred on a regular basis to achieve political ends.
This moving video of Speaker Pelosi sums it up. Noting the parallels between today and acts of violence in the 70's, the Speaker notes, "This kind of rhetoric is just, is really frightening and it created a climate in which we, violence took place and ... I wish that we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made."
Submitted by Gina on September 18, 2009 - 11:21.
Me on CNN.com 091409 - Reaction to the President's Speech on the Anniversary of Leahman Bro's Collapse
Submitted by Gina on September 16, 2009 - 09:25.
I've been giving a lot of thought to Joe Wilson's "You lie!" and the liberal response of labeling him a racist.
I think calling someone racist, or a liar, for that matter, is immediately gratifying to people who would rather be righteous than right.
That doesn't mean that Wilson is not a racist - his association with groups and symbols seen by many as hateful doesn't help those who would argue differently. But what is also unhelpful is not acknowledging that the programs that so many liberals see as evidence of America's progress throughout the last century have left behind an entire region of the country. Why should southerners have faith that this program will be any different? For those left behind, the promises have been lies.