I’m going to go out on a limb here and say if you’re reading this, you have read at least one book that changed the way you looked at the world. In essence, it changed the world. There was some point, maybe halfway through, or at the end, or maybe even in the first paragraph, when you realized the place you were when you picked up the book was not the place you found yourself in as you laid it down.
Or maybe it was a film with subtitles seen on lazy Saturday afternoon. Or maybe it was one intoxicating night in a strange land hanging out drinking with a few people who had been strangers on a train a few hours before.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
One of those moments for me was as a young lad was coming across James Burke’s PBS series The Day The Universe Changed which was about, well, that moment when culturally, collectively, we had some of the moments when the world when, well, the universe changed.
And with all the focus these days on Congress, the White House, and the beltway-wall street complex being corrupt and inept, I think we do need to put some focus on the people. And right now, I would say, that the nation of United States, as fragmented as it is, need to have its universe change. Until it does, we can’t expect much more than more of the same. Keeping in mind what Ellen Glasgow said: All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.
Here is Burke in the first part of the series
I stumbled upon two good pieces today at Washington Monthly’s “Political Animal” that I’d like to share. In a way, they are related, and in a broader sense they both touch upon some recent discussions we’ve had here at Once Upon a TPM and elsewhere.
Seems to me that many far-left progressives have been threatening to stay home in November, or vote Green Party (which, much as they hate to hear it, are one and the same thing). Steve Benen addresses this concern in his first piece, here:
In fact, a lot of the Obama administration’s accomplishments were pipe dreams.
A near-universal health-care system? Why would Obama and the Democrats succeed when Truman, Nixon, Carter, and Clinton had all failed, and politicians as adept as FDR and LBJ refused to even make the attempt? They’ve seen the numbers, right? The health-care industry is bigger now, and richer, and there are no more liberal Republicans. There’s no way.
A $787 billion stimulus? Yes, it was too small. But everything Washington does is always too small. And within the confines of that stimulus, the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress managed to make a host of long-term investments that would’ve been considered huge accomplishments in any other context, but are largely unknown inside this one. Huge investments in green energy, in health information technology, in high-speed rail, in universal broadband, in medical research, in infrastructure. The Making Work Pay tax cut. The Race to the Top education reform program. No recent president has invested in the country on anything like that level.
If the ten days which have just ended had a message for this Jew, it was in the Hebrew word Hineni: “here I am.” This space will not dwell on the spiritual meaning of the word or its significance in a religious sense. This is not the place for such essays. Here is such a place, if you are interested, and, indeed, it is that sermon (including some comments with which I do not agree and not simply the ones about a horrible baseball game from 1978) is one of the reasons the word has particular resonance at this moment.
In the world of the less mystical, though, hineni means that punditry and hand wringing aside, we remain dedicated to the causes that have brought us together here and elsewhere, that elected Franklin Roosevelt to alter government’s mission in 1932, that elected Harry Truman to tell Republicans that the immediate postwar period was not a time to turn back, but to move forward into the greatest period of prosperity the nation has ever known, that elected Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to carry that mission to its next logical place, and, finally to elect President Obama to restore our country as the place of hope and dreams and progress and the example to the world of what can be done when people work together.
Over the past weeks, the President has (belatedly, yes) made that point as forcefully and as clearly as it can ever be made, and his comments this week were the most direct we have heard in a long time.
Uh-Oh, don’t look now. There’s some more indoctrinating a-coming!
Lost in all of the hatertainment of the last few days was the announcement yesterday that President Barack Jomo Kenyatta Obama was planning another back-to-school sermon to brainwash our little patriots-in-training.
One would think that with all of the evils he’s perpetuated on America, this would be a bigger story. But I guess the protectors of liberty are just worn out after a particularly jingoistic couple of weeks. That, and the NFL season has finally begun. Alas, I feel it’s incumbent on me to remind everyone of the dangers of allowing the President of the United States of America near our children.
Many of you may have forgotten some of the horrible things he said in last year’s address, so I thought I’d dig up and recycle an old entry to freshen people’s memories.
For those of you who do not prefer their news pre-masticated, here is the Marxist’s missive in its entirety. But I warn anyone with the proclivity toward tea-bags and tri—corner hats to beware; reading the words unfiltered can cause subliminal programming that is antithetical to liberty and freedom. Please exercise great caution.
Don Draper may have decided against a quickie last night, astounding the Mad Men voyeurs, but here is a little post for a Monday morning. It is based on this and a similar entry on the New Republic site which I cannot access in full and don’t care to given its editor’s comments of the past week.
But keep this in mind: the “Franklin Roosevelt” who we correctly honor was dragged into the New Deal by his “brain trust” and wise heads in Congress (Glass and Steagall for instance). As Krugman has pointed out, he had this budget balancing thing still in him until after 1938, when he made a big mess trying to do just that.
A presidency is full of fits and starts. The current one said they would make mistakes on their way to getting it right. That he has done so hardly justifies the hand wringing we are seeing.
While perusing the web today, I stumbled upon these two articles that really scared the hell out of me. I think every right-leaning Independent and every Republican should read these. So please share them with whomever you know:
Right around the time President Obama was presenting his vision for the economy at a White House press conference, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), the vice chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, spoke to disgraced lobbyist Ralph Reed’s right-wing confab, and offered a vision of his own.
If Republicans take back the House, Westmoreland said, they would use their new majority to force a budget battle akin to the fight staged by former Speaker Newt Gingrich with President Clinton and shut down the federal government. Westmoreland cautioned that he was fully aware that such a move would close down hospitals for veterans and shut down National Parks. But, Westmoreland argued that taking down the government is worth “the pain” because health reform and government programs are like a “gangrene” that “need to be cleaned out.”
I mention this for two reasons. The first is that the mainstream American electorate probably has no idea just how radical the Republican agenda would be next year. By one credible estimate, the GOP now has about a two-in-three chance of claiming a House majority, and it’s very likely that much of the country will ask themselves, in early 2011, “Wait, we voted for what?”
…. At yesterday’s White House press conference, Bloomberg reporter Hans Nichols asked President Obama about the likelihood of appointing Elizabeth Warren to the new consumer financial protection bureau. The president certainly seemed to be leaning in that direction. Nichols followed up, asking if Obama’s concerned about the Senate confirmation process.
“I’m concerned about all Senate confirmations these days,” the president responded. When the reporter chuckled, Obama added, “Hans, I wasn’t trying to be funny. I am concerned about all Senate nominations these days.”
What the heck – show these two stories to your left-leaning friends, your fellow Democrats, too. Be sure they all understand why it is to important we get out and vote this year. If you can volunteer for a local campaign, or make donations to one (or several), that’s even better. But please, send these articles around so that everyone you know understands what we’re up against.