Whose values?

This is Columbus Day. I just heard that there is a movement to change this holiday to Native American’s Day. Sounds like a good idea to me.

That made me think about a couple of things going on right now.  For one, one of our three parties is holding their annual “Values Voter Summit” this weekend.  For another, I was thinking about how this government shutdown and looming debt ceiling fiasco might affect my grand uncle who currently lives in a veteran’s facility.

word cloud for values

While I was pondering that, I thought about my uncle and how he has changed his ‘value system’.  At one time, he was an iconoclast, a beatnik of sorts, but one with an education from Columbia, an exceptional talent for golf, and what I would call a health-nut’s approach to diet and medical issues.  He was also I believe an FDR Democrat for most of his life.

That is, until about thirteen years ago when he began listening to Fox News and reading the Wall Street Journal instead of the New York Times, as he had done before.  He had also been, previous to this time, a great reader of the Christian Science Monitor, being a Christ Scientist himself.

My SO then pointed me toward this article:

http://www.alternet.org/media/how-talk-radio-and-fox-news-brainwashed-my-dad

I think every American should read it and see the documentary.  If you want to know why we are in the pickle we are in, this piece should give you most of what you need to know. Fareed Zakaria also addressed it in his Sunday am broadcast on CNN.

My Uncle’s experience is exactly like the author and filmaker’s dad.  As he got older and spent more time alone in his house (after my Grand Aunt died) my GU would turn on the TV in the morning and watch Fox News all day long.  How he got started on that particular channel, I would guess came from him reading the Wall Street Journal — the views in the WSJ were echoed on Fox only this time they were delivered with more anger, stronger language, more hyperbole, exaggeration and venom.  That resonates with older, white men (and others).  My GU went from being an upbeat, cheerful rather entertaining eccentric, to an angry, ranting, one-topic hater.  He blames everything on that ‘sneaky Obama’.  Much the same way some men used to rail against Clinton, calling him ‘slick Willy’.  Where do you think they got these slogans?

This patriotic holiday, honoring a man whose fame should be awarded more rightly to Amerigo Vespucci or Leif Erickson, coinciding deliberately as it does with the VV Summit really crystallizes for me the catastrophe that is brewing this particular week. Thursday, the 17th draws nearer and nearer and our so-called patriots in Washington simply cannot give in and admit they were very, disastrously, cruelly wrong to do what they have done.  They cannot man up and fix this thing before they put all of us through another week of this gut-wrench and others in desperate financial straits: all those people who depend on government for their businesses, day care, help with food, military pay, the list goes on and on and on.

values

But there in Washington are a smug group of people who have decided they have a lock on values.  Really? What values would those be? Gay bashing? Vaginal probes? Ethnocentrism? Unequal pay for women? Indifference to inner city children who might need a leg up in school, the kind pre-school programs offer? People who think every citizen, including children should taught how to use semiautomatic rifles, with 100 round drums?  A group of men and women who accuse the President of the United States of being a secret Mao Mao from Kenya, a Muslim who wants to subjugate America to Africa, a communist who is coming to get all the guns and then intern us in secret camps to be tortured?  The people who spit bile at the mere mention of universal health care that will cover those who even though they are working hard and long hours, cannot afford even one illness in any member of their family before facing complete ruin. Fiscal responsibility, really? Four trillion dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans by the Bush administration, two trillion in unfunded, needless wars, and how many trillion in a Part D drug giveaway to big Pharma.  They value that but not giving starving people a temporary helping hand?  Are these their so called values?

What is ‘conservative’ about their reckless behavior? These are radicals, not conservatives.

confederate flag waved at tea party rally

The Tea Party is also holding a rally, led by Ted Cruz, at the White House,  some of them waving Confederate Flags.  This wasn’t just an isolated incident. One speaker from a Tea Party outside group told the crowd to “demand that this president leave town […] put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up.”  This is appalling.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/10/11/values_voter_summit_2013_a_sanctuary_for_cruz_lee_and_bachmann.html

People like this profess to follow Jesus Christ yet care more about ‘sticking it to the Democrats’ (their exact words) than they do about bringing down the entire world’s economy.  So great is their avarice and animus that they can see nothing else, just this one goal: destroy Obama and return the country to the turn of the 20th century. Back when poor children worked in factories, when women had no rights and no say, when you could deny people of color human decency, a certain segment of society ruled the world and no one questioned them.  When robber barons and their corporations could run roughshod over anyone who stood in their way.  When the great idol of capitalism meant no restraints, no oversight, no moderation.

kindness

These modern day Gordon Geckos are meeting and patting each other on the back for being the ‘values’ standard bearers.  And they drag in their wake a coterie, a flotilla of angry white people, like my GU, who right now, as he fulminates against our government, is sheltered under its protection.  They commit extortion with impunity and have the nerve to accuse anyone who will not accede to their blackmail of being unfair or unwilling to negotiate (they are the ones who made compromise a dirty word, by the way).

How dare these people call themselves patriots? They bear very little resemblance to the men and women who founded this country other than rebelliousness, insurgency, and some bigotry (that could be partially excused in the cultural context of the 18th century, certainly not the 21st).  They use hatred and name calling that is beneath the dignity of intelligent adults.  They should be ashamed of their behavior, but they are too clueless to realize they have been used, their inner demons have been carefully cultivated by the likes of Ed Meese and Jim DeMint, Rush Limbaugh and Sandy Rios and they delude themselves that this appalling, destructive conduct shows courage and intelligence.  Instead it reveals them to be sheeple.

In another coincidence, yesterday I watched my DVRd episode that Anthony Bourdain did on Noma restaurant in Copenhagen.  The focus of the show was that world class restaurant and its extraordinary menu, that changes every single day.  But during the program, the chef said, that Denmark has repeatedly been voted the happiest place on earth. Yes, apparently a largely socialist country in a very limited space and frigid climate has a lot of very happy people.  Why? Many reasons including excellent and free education and health care, among others. The Danes subscribe to the enlightened notion that modern society thrives when people have a floor to their suffering and a ceiling to their excess.  In Denmark, all basic needs are met. Rather than socialism, it sounds more like the Garden of Eden, to me.  That was the original welfare environment, remember? And how many of the tea partiers are happy.  Judging from their behavior, not many, I would wager.

To that I say: get out of your own way and in so doing, out of ours.  I am sick of you interfering with the serious tasks that need handling in this country by the people we all put in those congressional seats.  And lets put more women in our government. Maybe that alone would help quell this misery.

patriotism

I think it is quite appropriate that a person like Columbus is the excuse under which these people are celebrating.  Find a good description of what Christopher Columbus really stood for and instructed his men to do when he landed in this clean, new world, that already had a group of people living quite contentedly here.  I think the people at that summit would welcome Mr. Columbus into their fold quite easily.  They seem to have similar values.

Images: duke.edu,values.test.com,dccc.org,goodneighborstories.com,depositphotos.com

POST A DAY 2013

29 Comments on “Whose values?

  1. Great article, Beth, thank you. It is truly appalling what’s going on in the US at the moment. The right wing media like Fox News have a lot to answer for. I can’t believe that some people can be so gullible as to be drawn in and act against their own interest.
    Younger people are equally easily influenced by that type of hatred spewing. A friend of mine, within a couple of months of becoming a Daily Mail reader, turned from a liberal minded interlocutor to a immigration averse conservative – it was both fascinating and scary to trace the transformation.

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    • Viki, honestly, I have never seen anything like it in my lifetime. Someone yesterday said it is as if these people are trying to roll back 50 years of progress. When will it end? They have no boundaries and the fact that people in the Senate or someone like Sarah Palin, would stoke these flames, is a very bad sign for our country. Thank you for your comment. It is good to know that other people see this and that I am not just imagining its import!

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  2. Brings to mind two of my favorite books…Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them and Stupid White Men. I’m really not a political hard-knock…just sayin’ 🙂 Oh, and Sarah Palin…did that really happen?? or, did I dream the whole thing?

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    • I never used to care about politics much. But I started becoming concerned when the Bush family engineered a job for George W. He wasn’t qualified but he did what they wanted and drained our treasury. I think what is happening now, is a continuation of that. The monster the Frankensteins created has now taken over the project and we are all in for a lot of trouble unless they are stopped. Sarah Palin is a national embarrassment and I do blame McCain for that. He should have followed his own instincts and annexed Lieberman. Thank you Kim!

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  3. I agree with all three of you (Beth, Viki, Kim). It’s frightening to watch the numbers of people (sheeple) being led down the road of vicious yellow journalism. No one seems to want to research or discover truth for themselves anymore. Sometimes, it honestly reminds of Hitler’s Germany. It all began with blame and accusation, and an entire nation either bought into it, or remained silent. I pray constantly for our president, and for congress to begin to turn their eyes toward serving those other than themselves.

    Agree, too, with the entire Sarah Palin fiasco. I was depending on McCain to stand up, but he buckled when it really counted. Talking heads are shouting over good judgment, listening has become a thing of the past, and unity is no longer a goal. Sad to say, this country is no longer a democracy.

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  4. I want to respond, but I have to go to the dentist! Plus I want to finish reading that article first. i’ve blamed Fox News for my own parents’ transformation for years. I remember my mother saying things to me like “Why don’t you think?” when I would express a liberal viewpoint about even the simplest of things, and I would say, um, really mother? Isn’t this the same child you consider to be bright, intelligent, and successful? And all of a sudden I don’t “think” because I have a political view that is different from yours? That level of meanness definitely came about when she and my father started leaving Fox News on in the house 24-7. this is also when my mother decided she loved “politics,” Fox-style of course. Before that channel, neither one of my parents considered themselves to be political. Anyway, off to get my teeth cleaned. More later.

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      • There’s something very Ayn Rand-ian about Fox News. A fictional world made up of one-dimension, black-and-white, good-or-evil characters, with no considering of the complexity of human existence. And truckloads of justification for cruelty and selfishness.

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        • Absolutely. They are acting as if they are just as twisted as she was. And still at it as we speak here – taking us to the brink. The Fitch rating agency just put the US on “watch”, the precursor to a downgrade in our credit.

          It is an embarrassment in front of the whole world that we are acting worse than a banana republic.

          Black and white – exactly: simplified for them by wily manipulators. They listen to a narrow stream of information that is all made up and they haven’t the wit to go any further or ever question it.

          As for the cruelty, how can you be a Christian and be cruel? I don’t get it.

          Ed Schultz says it is all about humiliating the African-American in the White House.

          Disgraceful.

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  5. Susan, thank you. Your thoughts reflect mine (and ours here). I heard non-partisan Norm Ornstein of the conservative think tank, American Enterprise Institute, over the weekend say that nothing like this has happened before in American history. He pointed out the narrow band of ‘information’ that this group is listening to, having little interest in going any farther. In some ways I don’t blame them, they are being brainwashed and have to be de-programmed, if only they could see the wisdom of doing that. How can anger and hatred be constructive, when it is all you are consumed with? They mistake demagoguery for fact and analysis.

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  6. Imagine: “And lets put more women in our government. Maybe that alone would help quell this misery.”

    I won’t argue. I’m a feminist. Empowering women is the key to the success of any society. When equality exists, across the board, society is better for it. There are exceptions, of course, like Jennie McCarthy. I won’t go into that here, but, for the most part – overwhelmingly – empower the woman. Give her the ability to choose, to learn, to earn… It works everytime.

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    • It would balance the ideas that are running this country. I am not saying, for example, that all women would make better politicians and lawmakers than all men, but the overwhelming dominance of men in positions of power, whether in the corporate or governmental arenas, that imbalance of perspective, perhaps has resulted in the mess we are in. I don’t want to blame all men. I just want balance and a true democracy. Not a gerrymandered corporatocracy as we have now.

      Heck, I would give a group of intelligent 9th graders the chance to run this country for awhile to see if things would improve!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I couldn’t agree more — especially with the wisdom of having “a floor to our suffering and a ceiling to our excess” and its link to happiness. Capitalism is clearly not a system that is working – so, of course, when I voice my reasons for saying so I have to duck the “communist” label (black and white thinking to the extreme!) My father and I went round and round on this one until his death.

    Sorry to hear about your Great Uncle – his former self sounded like a man I would really like to know. His current incarnation I would climb a tree in heels to avoid, however.

    My Dad didn’t need Fox to turn him – I believe he registered Republican in the womb! His oldest daughter (moi) has always been a confirmed Democrat. Not content to agree to disagree, he used to swear that I would become more conservative as I grew older. NOPE. The opposite, in fact, although I think of myself more as a humanist than a democrat these days.

    Even if I HAD grown up to become conservative, the way the R. party is going, I’d never be able to sign on over there. Shameful actions by people who seem to lack even the basics of an education (Palin — are you kidding?) I continue to wonder why a party whose stated aim is to shut down a presidency is not hauled away for treason.

    Disturbing article – but an important topic that needs voicing. Great job.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

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    • Madelyn, with each day that passes, seeing the animus and downright trickery and dissembling on the far right, I do wonder what would happen if the shoe were on the other foot. Can you just imagine if progressives had treated W that way? To me, it is far beyond policy differences. It is all about that man’s race. And now we are going to have two years (or more) of blatant ageism and mysogyny.

      You would think we have such important issues to grapple with that any serious person would not want to waste precious time and money on these adolescent schoolyard tactics.

      Oh, and my FDR Dad has become more and more conservative as he ages, but even he is embarrassed and offended and now declares himself an Angus King independent.

      Sigh! We are on the same page again, Madelyn! (Are you sure we are not twins?, LOL). Thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Obama’s race makes it easier for them to stir up nonsense – but I truly believe that ANY president that did not come with a big R stamped on his forehead would have met with similar opposition and grandstanding.

        I’m not sure what it is that they’re up to (besides no good), but I continue to be appalled at what they think they can get away with – and, for the most part, DO get away with. It is rapidly becoming the party of corporate greed – and I truly do not understand why ANY woman aligns herself with a party that is so overtly mysogynistic.

        We are of like minds for sure – but I do hope we’re not twins alone in our thinking. America is in SERIOUS trouble if so. Norway here we come?
        xx,
        mgh

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          • Denmark, exactly! Norway is more Republican in its system and outlook. I often think of Canada too.

            We are not alone but the progressives in this country are not wily and we don’t think of ways to undermine the system. For that reason, all the gerrymandering has favored the far right. They quietly took over state houses and governorships.

            I hate to say it, but Democrats cannot be elected without the same type of billionaire funding them. That is why HRC cannot come right out and denounce Wall Street. It would be handing the election to JEB.

            Liked by 1 person

            • JEB – noooooooo! That WOULD be my cue to cut and run! I adore Canada – maybe I’ll start looking at where I might move there, and what would be involved. I actually like the cold (and have always tolerated summer) – so that might make more sense than a country where I didn’t already speak the language. xx, mgh

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