May 2013


Lou Dobbs loves good old American individualism.  He loves it so much that he recently spent time on his show singing the praises of the 3D printed gun, which can pass unnoticed through metal detectors.  What a wonderful way to stand up against those pro-gun restriction folks who want to control our lives, right?  The guy who produced the gun is a self-proclaimed anarchist, and Lou hurried to note that “In that view, which is to assert really individual freedom … it’s not entirely, well, dissident with American exaltation of self-reliance and independence.”

So, yay libertarian anarchy!  Except for that one…very *special* group of people.  You know the one I’m talking about.

Yep, now Lou Dobbs is discussing the Pew Research study which shows that the number of women in the United States who are the sole or primary breadwinner of their household is increasing, and he is singing a very different song.  After all, women’s traditional role is to stay at home and take care of the kids, so…these results are “troubling” and “concerning”.  Lou even thinks that “we’re watching society dissolve around us”.

But Lou, I thought society dissolving was kinda cool as far as you’re concerned?  Or is it only cool for the guys to exercise all that individual freedom, while women have to stay in their prescribed roles?  Wouldn’t it be exciting to see the ladies shrug off those aprons and step out of the kitchen, maybe while toting some of those 3D printed guns?  No…?  Okay, I guess the fear of teh vagina!! continues.

So…which ones are conservatives?  The people who love civil rights?  Or the people who…maybe…kinda…prefer the time before the civil rights movement came along?

According to Glenn Beck at his NRA convention speech earlier this month, Tea Party conservatives are the new civil rights movement.  He even went so far as to adopt the “We Shall Overcome” motto.  On his show, Glenn has told the story of the NRA as a civil rights organization created to empower blacks in the South.

Historian David Barton on Glenn’s show:

“The NRA rises up in 1871 with three Union officers who had fought to end slavery, fought for civil rights, fought for civil rights for blacks…  And part of the reason is, they want blacks to defend themselves individually, use their individual right of self-defense against the Klan.”

So far, so good.  After all, conservatives want to reach out to minorities, right?  But ruh roh, wait!  Here is James Porter, the new president of the NRA, and here is how he feels about how the NRA started:

“It was started by some Yankee generals who didn’t like the way my Southern boys had the ability to shoot in what we call the War of Northern Aggression. Now, y’all might call it the Civil War, but we call it the War of Northern Aggression down South.”

Of course, Porter doesn’t say anything outright about how he feels about black people—if he did, he probably wouldn’t have a job anymore—but my guess is that anyone who refers to the Civil War as the War of Northern Aggression is likely not that excited about following in the footsteps of the civil rights marchers.

Ouch.  Every time conservatives try to look a bit more, well, normal…one of their own comes along and completely ruins that PR job for them.

As our government continues down its path of paralysis, now embroiled in endless scandal hearings, I’ve been struck by an interesting contradiction.

We know our country is polarized.  In fact, we hear about it all the time.  We’re polarized polarized polarized.  We’re divided like we’ve never been divided before (although that’s not entirely true…I can think of a time in our history when were so divided we were at war with each other).

And yet we’re unable to acknowledge reality–that in order to get anything done in a polarized country, we have to force ourselves to do that dirty deed:  compromise.  Instead, it’s a battle–on both sides–to convince the rest of the country to think like us.

It’s amusing to hear both conservatives and liberals go into complete denial about this.  The majority of red-blooded Americans agree with the Tea Party, it’s just a small liberal elite that brainwashes them into believing lies.  The average working man supports the Democrats, but a small wealthy elite helps the Republicans push their agenda.

But the truth is, the country is split about half and half right now.  This means that neither side will get exactly what it wants.  And good luck persuading the other half to think like you do–I’ve seen enough online political debates by now to know that it’s impossible to change anyone’s mind.  The only solution would be for us to try to meet each other halfway.  And that is just not happening.

So instead, the futile struggle to overpower the other side goes on.  Some of the crazies on the conservative fringe seem to harbor fantasies about taking out everyone who disagrees with them–either deporting them, or shooting them, or…making them go away somehow.  Even that wouldn’t work.  Civil wars are messy and complicated, and in the end, you won’t be able to make everyone with a different opinion disappear.

I believe in my principles, and would love to see a society based on progressive ideas take shape.  But right now, that’s not reality.  Failing to acknowledge reality causes what we see in Washington.  Stalemate.  Nothing.  And since there are people who can use stalemate to their benefit, that probably won’t change anytime soon.

Why not?  Conservatives are obviously salivating for this to happen, no matter what the reason.  Don’t get me wrong–I don’t actually want President Obama to go away.  For the most part, and despite some disappointments, I still like the job he is doing.  No, I have a different reason for my impeachment cravings–nostalgia.

I’ve lived in the States since 1991, and the Clinton years were quite simply the best years I have ever seen in this country.  For a short while, America really became the land of milk and honey I’d always heard about.  The abundant jobs, the peace and stability….those days when our biggest problems consisted of Jerry Springer and Monica Lewinsky.  Ahhhhhh.  Since Clinton, it’s been a depressing downward slide into the war on terror and austerity.  Is it really too much to hope that an impeachment rerun might bring back some of that mid-90s deliciousness? 

The story would be pretty much the same this time around, except without the adultery.  Once again, only half the Congress is Republican, so the House would vote to impeach, and the Senate wouldn’t.  The President would remain in place.  If the American people got too irritated with all the time and money spent on the investigation, as they did during the Clinton debacle, the President’s popularity might go up and the midterm elections might bring more votes for the Democrats.

So I say, bring it on, Republicans.  If you do, I might be able to say with a straight face: “My favorite Presidents always get impeached.”