Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Finding Nits to Pick For Elections

By now the entire state of Illinois and a largish number of citizens from the rest of the country know that former Governor (He was impeached.) Rod Blagojevich of Illinois was convicted of lying to the FBI. On 23 other counts the jury was hung. Apparently one or two of the jurors couldn't find it in their hearts to convict Mr. Blagojevich on corruption charges just because he was on tape blatantly demanding money for his campaign fund in exchange for favors rendered. Now Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois is planning for retrying the other 23 counts, hopefully with better results next time around.

Rod Blagojevich was elected as Governor of the State of Illinois after the previous Governor, George Ryan, a Republican was convicted of taking bribes and was subsequently sent to prison. (I suspect a dedicated Illinois wing of the Federal Correctional Facility in Terre Haute, Indiana is in the works for all of the convicted politicians.) Now he certainly face the same fate as his Republican predecessor, even if the process is taking a little longer than expected. The Illinois Republican Party is positively salivating. (Foaming at the mouth? Only a few of them.) Now that Blagojevich's very public trials will be extended well into campaigning season, this can and will be used as evidence against the Democratic Party so the Republicans can attempt to retake the Illinois legislature, Governorship, assorted Washington Congressional posts, and maybe even President Obama's former Senatorial post.

This is how politics are played in America, Home of the Brave, Land of the Free, and the place where attack politics play out in 30 second commercials on TV in between sitcoms, reality shows, and yet more shows where cops try to stop violence and mayhem while occasionally creating more violence and mayhem. Find something your dumb ass opponent did that is very embarrassing to himself, his family, and his political party and exploit it for your own personal gain. Take a guess as to which American political party excels at this kind of politics? Hint: Starts with an R-e-p-u-b-l-i-c-a-n. Know who we're talking about? Good.

On the national stage the Republican Party is busy making hay from xenophobia, racism, and general hatred of all things Muslim. The proposed Islamic Center to be built two blocks from the sight of the 9/11 attacks have become a lightning rod for every right wing nut in the country and the Republican Party is using this as leverage for the upcoming national elections, in an all out effort to regain control of Congress. Our President, in a reasoned response, said that Muslims have a right, as do all religions, under our Constitution to purchase property and build houses of worship wherever they wish. This includes Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and even Wiccans.

Sadly, a large number of Americans fail to differentiate between the moderate group of New York group of Muslims who are proposing this Mosque and the radical Islamists who perpetrated the 9/11 bombings that precipitated a worldwide emergency. Now America is being split into liberal and conservative camps, based on your response to what is being called "The Ground Zero Mosque." The President and by extension, his political party and all citizens of a liberal persuasion are being branded as anti-American by a media lynching party headed by, hmmmm, who would that be? You guessed it, the Republican Party.

Then there is the immigration issue, brought to the public's attention by the passage of a law in Arizona that basically legalized racial profiling. Fear of illegal immigration running amok and specifically Hispanic illegal immigration has reached epic proportions in America recently. Why? The Republican Party is pandering to the cultural conservatives in their ranks who, despite real facts, insist that illegal Mexican immigrants are living large at the expense of American taxpayers. These same cultural conservatives seem also to be convinced that hoards of illegal Mexican immigrants are at the core of a massive crime wave in America. Recent data show that all of those states along the border with Mexico are experiencing a very low crime rate compared to other areas within the U.S.

Across the border in Mexico that's another matter. If you check closely, you'll find that the Mexican government is busy blaming Americans and their demand for illegal drugs and their easy access to high-powered weaponry for the shootouts in Mexican streets. It is not in America that these shootouts are occurring. It's in Tijuana, Juarez, and assorted other cities on the Mexican side of the border, but the money and means to carry out these shootouts, murder, and mayhem are coming from the American side of the border, not the other way around.

And then there is the issue of gay marriage. The Republican Party has also enlisted the faithful in the "Homosexuality is a Sin Against God" campaign. A Federal judge in California recently overturned Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage. A large portion of conservative America is opposed and appalled by homosexuality in general and the idea of gay marriage specifically. They are outraged and want to Just one more issue being dredged up by the Republican Party to unite as many ill-informed and bigoted citizens as possible against the rest of us.

The bottom line is that the Republican Party in America is willing to unite all of the most extreme conservative elements in America in any way it can to benefit itself. They are willing to exaggerate, invent facts, and pander to the most racist, xenophobic, illiterate, and ill-informed sectors of our society to get votes, votes that ultimately benefit a wealthy minority of Americans, a group that continues to live by their own rules despite the image they project to get the votes needed to further the process of giving all of America's wealth to the 1 or 2% who currently control 90% of the money.

This is, of course, nothing new. It is of concern, however, because the furthest left elements of the Democratic Party are also busy picking apart the current efforts by the Democratic Party to repair what was thrust upon us by the previous 8 years of Republican stewardship nationally. No our President and our Democratic representatives in Congress, our Democratic Governors and Representatives in various state governments have not gone far enough to the left for me either. But sometimes in a democracy, it is necessary to compromise. Sometimes the tenor of the entire society, taken as a whole, makes it necessary for a group to temper their, perhaps just impulses, in order to make any progress at all. If we wish to make further progress, it will be necessary to once again unite all of those progressive elements in American society to offset the unity of the nuts, the unity of the right. Don't kid yourselves. Vote Democratic if you want to benefit all Americans.

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