I didn’t mention it the other day because I thought that it might get some national press, but, so far, there don’t seem to be a lot of people interested in reporting the fact that the first felony convictions for vote rigging in the 2004 election have been handed down in Ohio… Maybe those people claiming that Kerry really won might not have been that crazy after all.
I realize this might be Chris Hedges overkill, but I just stumbled onto some more of his stuff (via Metafilter), and I thought that you might be interested in. This is an excerpt from an article entitled, “The Radical Christian Right Is Built on Suburban Despair.” If you think you can handle it, try reading it while listening to Hedges being interviewed on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation”… Anyway, here’s a cilp:
…The engine that drives the radical Christian Right in the United States, the most dangerous mass movement in American history, is not religiosity, but despair. It is a movement built on the growing personal and economic despair of tens of millions of Americans, who watched helplessly as their communities were plunged into poverty by the flight of manufacturing jobs, their families and neighborhoods torn apart by neglect and indifference, and who eventually lost hope that America was a place where they had a future.
This despair crosses economic boundaries, of course, enveloping many in the middle class who live trapped in huge, soulless exurbs where, lacking any form of community rituals or centers, they also feel deeply isolated, vulnerable and lonely. Those in despair are the most easily manipulated by demagogues, who promise a fantastic utopia, whether it is a worker’s paradise, fraternite-egalite-liberte, or the second coming of Jesus Christ. Those in despair search desperately for a solution, the warm embrace of a community to replace the one they lost, a sense of purpose and meaning in life, the assurance they are protected, loved and worthwhile..
[Our last MM.com thread on Hedges can be found here. It contains quite a bit more background.]
I wanted to go to the big march on Washington this last weekend. I wanted to take Clementine. As much as I liked the idea of taking her, however, I just didn’t think that she could handle the 12 hours on the highway. So, we didn’t go. A few MM.com readers did, however, and it sounds as though they had a great time. (The images above come from Oliva.) And, here, in case you didn’t see it, is a clip from Bob Herbert’s op-ed in today’s “New York Times”:
…You can say what you want about the people opposed to this wretched war in Iraq, try to stereotype them any way you can. But you couldn’t walk among them for more than a few minutes on Saturday without realizing that they love their country as much as anyone ever has. They love it enough to try to save it…
The goal of the crowd was to get the attention of Congress and persuade it to move vigorously to reverse the Bush war policies. But the thought that kept returning as I watched the earnestly smiling faces, so many of them no longer young, was the way these protesters had somehow managed to keep the faith. They still believed, after all the years and all the lies, that they could make a difference. They still believed their government would listen to them and respond…
The public is way out in front of the politicians on this issue. But the importance of Saturday’s march does not lie primarily in whether it hastens a turnaround of U.S. policy on the war. The fact that so many Americans were willing to travel from every region of the country to march against the war was a reaffirmation of the public’s commitment to our peaceful democratic processes. It is in that unique and unflagging commitment, not in our terrifying military power, that the continued promise and greatness of America are to be found.
Over the past few months, we’ve been talking quite a bit about Congressman John Dingell, the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and what it might take for him to look beyond the immediate interests of the Big 3, and start to address energy policy aggressively, mandating better fuel efficiency from American automobiles, increasing the funding for alternatives, etc. As you might recall, I wrote to him about an idea that I had for how we might be able to pitch a gas tax to the American people in a somewhat palatable way, and his office promptly replied… with a completely irrelevant form letter on the war in Iraq. Well, to their credit, some time after our exchange of notes, a comment was left here by someone claiming to be a District Administrator in the Dingell office. (I have no reason to believe he isn’t, but I suppose it’s possible.) He wanted to let me know the following:
…You should however be receiving a more detailed response to your letter, with Mr. Dingell’s position and legislative record on gas tax legislation, in the next few weeks from our Washington, DC office. In general though, Mr. Dingell has been supportive of increasing the tax on gasoline…
I haven’t done a great deal of research yet, but there is evidence of the Congressman having supported gas taxes in the past, so I suppose there’s at least some reason to remain optimistic that he could do the right thing and institute a significant tax that would decrease consumption, spur technological breakthroughs, and channel money into alternative energy research. That “Washington Post” article really had me doubting whether he was willing and capable of driving through any significant policy initiatives, but I suppose there’s always a chance. And I suspect that it doesn’t hurt that Nancy Pelosi is threatening to move in on his legislative turf. I suspect that will light a fire under his ass. Hopefully, something will come of it. (If you’d like to contribute a few flames of your own to his ass fire, you can send Dingell an email here.)
I’m looking forward to getting whatever his office sends on the subject of a gas tax, and I’ll be sure to share anything I receive here.
There are two storage units before you… They look identical… Which one do you open?
The contents of one will likely make you rich and give you a boner. The contents of the other will cause you to question everything you thought you knew about your family.