Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mid-East Shock

I, like many, was shocked and saddened by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto on Thursday. Recognizing that there were concerns about her ties to corrupt forces within Pakistan, I think that she was still a breathe of fresh air politically for the nation. She was very much a Muslim and a partial product of the West. She seemed to recognize ways in which Pakistanian society and the West could work together toward a better Pakistan.

I am sorry that we will never know what she would have brought to the table. I am sorry that we will not have an opportunity to see what a female head of an Islamic state in a post 9-11 world would have been able to accomplish. But we cannot forget that Bhutto was a woman in a rare position in the Islamic world. I hope that other Muslim women will be encouraged by her example to work toward a better and more equitable Middle East.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Tad Fishy

Am I the only one wondering if there was some evidence of some crime that went up in smoke intentionally in the fire (you may have to log in to that took place in the VPOTUS' suite of offices this morning?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Damn Arrogant, Damn Tawdry

I need someone to tell me why it is preferable to have a former felon in the military, than an openly gay (non criminal) person. Have the Christianists reached that point where sense and sensability are thrown out of the window? Have we as a nation become so obsessed with what gay men do sexually (remember, women are still considered "available" to men, even if the women aren't interested) that we abandon reason?

It is high time to lift the ban on gays in the military, and it is high time for the military to return to the standards that help to set it apart from the armies and navies of the world.

It makes no sense.

On Friendship

Without fail, I become pensive toward the end of the year. Have I done all that I hoped during the year? Have I managed to progress mentally, physically or spiritually in that time? And I often consider my friends, acquaintances, buddies and cronies at this time, as well.

So often, people enter into and exit from your life, and there is neither a rhyme nor a reason that can explain why. It's just my responsibility to be respectful of the situation at hand and move forward.

This year there are two people who stand out in my mind. The first person passed away unexpectedly this summer. Her death was a blow to a burgeoning friendship, and it is a loss that I still cannot quite understand. She was indeed that person who seemed to see the best in a circumstance; that focus was her guide. She spoke to the best of us who were blessed to be around her, and I am glad that I was able to spend time in her midst.

The second person is somewhat enigmatic, fascinating. The detective in my psyche (or should I say historian) is awakened when we are together. Though we met in January, it still feels as though we are in the phase of discovery. I have no idea what to expect, and that can be both exciting and maddening. Yet, I sense that he is truly genuine, and that is a good thing. I look forward to seeing what happens in 2008.

I take friendship very seriously. These are the people we elect to have in our lives. Family (though I love mine dearly) is not normally chosen. I have been blessed with having made solid selections of friends over the years, and though I lost a potential friend this year, I hope that the new person still in the picture remains. We shall see.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oh, Y'all Got Ta Go

I would like to say thank you to all of the people who worked diligently during the Civil Rights Revolution (or as it is known in the academic history community, the Second Reconstruction). The world has benefited mightily from the righteous efforts and innumerable sacrifices that you made. However, when I read Andrew Young's comments about Barack Obama (and Young is faaar from alone in his sentiment), I was reminded that many of these folks need simply to retire. The young folks (you know, the ones who actually paid attention to your rhetoric, and have tried to live by it) need to go ahead and step up to the plate.

And I know that Young (and those other folk) has lost his mind, if he thinks that Bill Clinton is "every bit as black as Barack." Now, I respect my elders, but when they say stupid things, I would be remiss not to call them out. I mean really. That don't make no damn sense.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

"The Weary Blues"

Though I know Langston Hughes had different issues on his mind when he penned that poem, I cannot help but feel that the phrasing is perfect for what we, as a nation, have experienced under the current administration. Here in DC, there is a sense of "just when you think that they have reached the lowest point...," and then new information comes to the fore about the machinations of the POTUS and his band of merry people.

I am ashamed that our country has a leader who sanctions torture. Sen. John McCain is correct in excorriating the administration for letting torture become a tool in interrogations. Disingenuous Republicans and spineless Democrats (as is now coming to light thanks to the Washington Post) gave the POTUS a pass on this (I know that Rep. Harmon has stated that she sent a confidential letter denouncing the torture tactics to the CIA) back in 2002. In this instance one side wanted to look like it was doing something useful (not), and the other side was worried that they would be called unpatriotic and soft on defense.

I am tired of hearing the POTUS trumpet the line that there hasn't been another attack in the U.S. since September 11, 2001. Anyone who pays a modicum of attention to the loons in al Qaeda could tell you that just becuse nothing has happened between 2001 and today on U.S. soil, it does not mean that something isn't being planned. The first attack on NYC was in 1993. Nine years later, those fools came back. Since we seem to have dropped significantly our efforts to capture bin Laden, I pray that we don't see something horrible in the next administration (regardless of who wins).

I am not going to talk about Iran (which is still dangerous, and I am sure that the outing of Valerie Plame, who was working on the very issues that the U.S. is concerned with, only helped us. Please.).

Those who know me understand that I am very measured and deliberate in my pronouncements and opinions (for the most part), but I have moved into an uncomfortable space when it comes to the POTUS (I can't even come close to discussing my thoughts about Voldemort...I mean the VPOTUS). His departure cannot come soon enough, and I think that for the first time in a long while, that is the sentiment of a majority of the country. I will never understand those folks who are among the 30% who still support the POTUS. I also think that it is true that we would not have reached this point if then POTUS Clinton had done a quarter of what we know POTUS Bush has done. There is no doubt in my mind that we would have removed Clinton from office.

Perhaps when I am old, I will read a new history of this current administration, and many of the details will come to light. Perhaps I will understand a little more clearly then. I know that Bush is banking on being exonerated by history. However, I think he might need to start practicing his own version of "The Weary Blues," just in case.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The "Brown Menace"

I need someone to help me understand why the issue of illegal immigration is being framed singularly as an Hispanic related issue. I was listening to NPR a bit ago, and this very issue was the subject of the report. One gentleman in Georgia pointed out that (and I am paraphrasing from my memory) that any Hispanic owned business that lost money and customers was fine with him, because that would mean that the illegals weren't being helped.

What is with this "brown menace" mentality? I am so tired of people looking at the issue of illegal immigration through a "South of the border" lens. It's ridiculous when one thinks about the fact that Hispanic American communities date back to the 15th and 16th centuries in the Americas. It's even more ridiculous, because Hispanic are not the only group represented among illegal immigrants. Though one cannot determine that from the reporting that we have been subjected to over the years.

It's interesting that we find history repeating itself to a degree. As the masses from Southern and Eastern Europe did the Ellis Island thing, there were nativisits who worried about the "muddying" of the American populace. They were Catholic, Eastern Orthodox or Jewish. They spoke different languages, and they seemed not too interested in assimilating (though, of course, this was far from the truth). The Klan even came back into dominance at the close of the massive period of immigration, in part to express their disdain for the appearance of some many Catholics and Jews.

Perhaps some of the most vociferous spokesmen and women are the descendents of these earlier despised masses. I know that there is a growing number of African Americans who are beginning to trumpet this issue. Perhaps that is the key to black-white relations in the United States, a collective disdain for the "brown menace" (and the gay agenda).

I recognize that we need to work on securing our borders, and not just in the states along the Mexican border. No one talks about building a fence along the much larger, and less monitored border with Canada. Frankly, I think that someone who really wanted to do harm to the U.S. populace would be looking to enter the country from Canada.

I also recognize that we are not going to deport the millions of people who are here illegally (and lets not forget that that those illegal immigrants represent almost every inhabited continent on the planet, not just the collective "Mexicans"). I think that, for once, the POTUS was being thoughtful in his effort to develop a guest worker program that led to a road to citizenship. I also think that until something like that comes to pass, then we should consider fining the organizations that knowingly hire illegal immigrants; we are still talking about illegal immigrants.

What I think needs to be made particularly clear is that this issue is neither simple nor without land mines. Too many of those who are quick to prod the hornet's nest don't have realistic solutions to the problem, and they don't seem to be looking for any. Immigration, legal, illegal and forced, helped to make this country the dynamic and ever changing place it is. We can never forget that, but we do need to forget making this purely an issue about the "brown menace." That's played.