Archive for November 2008

Honor, Duty, and Sacrifice

No, I’m not re-hashing the themes of John McCain’s presidential campaign. Rather I want to pause and just say THANK YOU on this Veteran’s Day to every single veteran and current member of the armed forces for serving the USA.

You all make us proud every day.

And for the rest of us, please consider giving to the USO or Operation Gratitude, which provides care packages for the troops overseas.  (See also this item from Operation Gratitude on the difference that org makes.)

Happiness in Obamaca

The economy might be crashing, automakers are seeking government aid (hey why not? Let’s just socialize them!), and Obama is set to reverse certain executive orders that will be a definite set-back for those of us who care about bioethics, but WHATEVER.

People here are super-happy. But serious too. I actually walked down toward Grant Park on Election Eve on my way to a party for the, uh, other side (which was, ironically, literally ON the other side of the street), and felt myself enveloped by the smiles and general good mood.

If I was a sophomore in college, I might say the experience was “surreal” — and hey it really was!

After at least six years of Bush-hatred and people who angrily disdained the American flag because Bush was prez and the GOP was in charge, I walked past street vendors happily hawking t-shirts (‘Yes We Did” T-shirts! Two for Ten!), and cardboard fans sporting Barack’s smiling face. American flags were passed out to children, who waved them un-ironically. People sweeping behind me discussed how it was their first time voting, or it was their friend’s first time voting.

“This is the closest this country will ever get to revolution,” said one young man. (I hope so, I thought.)

There were happy giggles. It felt like the Fourth of July, except a more patriotic Fourth than I’ve actually ever experienced in Chicago. And overall there was an extreme and surprising sense of CALM.

It was in a way extremely refreshing to see so many people engaged in the political process, but so very, very sad to know that the man in whom they had invested such “hope” for “change” is, after all, a pretty typical socialist. I was reminded of the Evita museum in Buenos Aires, which commemorated a woman who  was revered almost religiously for giving out welfare from the back of a truck  (and yes, yes, she died tragically young…but so do lots and lots of people.)

Lane said below that we’ll survive… I hope so. We must remember that even in a terrible year for Republicans, McCain got 46% of the popular vote. And I don’t think that’s just from racists.

I’m happy Obama won, in a way. The best teacher, they say, is experience. May we learn lots the next few years.  And can everyone finally accept that we ARE post-racial?  (Though I suspect a Michael Steele or Condi Rice election would not have produced the same weeping reactions from Jesse Jackson and others.)

But for now I’m going to enjoy the good mood, even if I can’t share it. And I’m going to savor the last couple months of having a president who, though I disagreed with how infrequently he used the veto pen the first 6 years and some other things he did or didn’t do, has worked to keep our country free of attack since 9/11. Thank you, Mr. President.

Who else thinks Chicago will be a MAJOR target now?

Thought of the day…

If Bush is a “lame duck” president at the end of his term, what will we get to call Obama at the end of his term? An asthmatic squirrel? A deaf pigeon? An arthritic butterfly?  

We need to decide on this right away, so we can continue the Kumbaya-singing and hand-holding that the libs keep whining about wanting. I’ll be happy to hold hands with an arthritic butterfly any day.

So Now What?

First, remain calm. I’m not the first and won’t be the last to remind us that this is not the end of the world. We survived Clinton and Carter (egad!), we’ll survive this.

The Republican Party has two tasks, one immediate and one more medium term. The first task, set out some red-lines. There have to be some things they stand for and they better have them identified and well understood before January 20th because the Dems are going to try to hit the ground running. The Republicans need to pick the issues they will not surrender on and start getting their message and their talking points down so they can withstand the media onslaught and not come across like a bunch of idiots.

Suggestions:

Border Security. The Dems hate it, most of the establishment Republicans do too, but it’s a winner with voters and the vast majority of Americans. It’s also simple and easy to articulate. If people are coming across, so are drugs, criminals and possibly terrorists and weapons. Secure the border.

Missile Defense. It’s a winner with voters and it’s a good thing, a necessary thing in a world where Obama is going to be tested by every idiot with a SCUD and a dream, read Iran, N. Korea and from the looks of the saber rattling today, Russia too. Missile defense is already working and Democratic attempts to scuttle it should be shot down like a tumbling piece of space junk. Again, easy to articulate and understand.

No Action on Climate Change. In the twenty years since Hansen started his hysterical screed for world domination the globe has warmed exactly 0 degrees. Not a whit of warmth despite the massive amounts of CO2 we have continued to dump into the atmosphere and the extra massive amounts added by China and India. Do not allow the Democrats and misguided Republicans to ram through expensive and idiotic regulations to control a problem that doesn’t exist. Again, it’s a simple argument; the planet hasn’t warmed. The evidence does not support the extremist’s conclusions. Paint them as extremists because the only “scientists” who support the Gore/Hansen understanding of climate change are exactly that.

Others might include stopping any federal action on gay marriage (although I don’t think that will be a problem), defending the Bush tax cuts, defending the 2nd Amendment…

The point is to have several clear, easy to understand positions that Republicans in Congress can fight for. Senators can filibuster but they are going to need a game plan, a strategy to do it effectively and to fight both the Democrats and the media, so they have to pick their battles. Maybe we can’t make them drill, but we can keep them from taxing CO2 (a huge goal of the greens that would be a huge nightmare for all Americans).

So that’s part one. For part two they are going to need a new “Contract with America”, a statement of principles and specific legislative actions they are going to take to advance those principles. They don’t need that before January09, but they will need it pretty well defined before January10 because it will be a necessary component of their campaign to take back the Congress. The American people simply don’t trust the Republicans to act like Republicans anymore, that’s why they lost. They have a lot of work ahead of them to re-establish that trust and only 24 short months in which to do it.

So, no time to sulk. Let’s get to work.

A few more thoughts on the election…

Well, it’s over. Thank God. It had to end one way or another, but it’s over. At last, local channels can finally reclaim their airwaves and run more Luna Carpet commercials instead of those awful political ads. I can’t say I’m happy about it. Pretty darned upset, actually, but now the Dems and libs finally have what they wished for. And we all know how that saying goes. “Be careful what you wish for…” Indeed.

I am still scared about an Obama presidency. Lots will happen, not much of it good. We as a country are certainly in more danger than ever before. With great dread I predict at least one terrorist attack on our soil before 2012. Since I can’t do much else to change our foreign policy, let’s all say a prayer for Israel, who needs more luck than we do at the moment. It may not be around much longer. I fear greatly for my savings and my 401K, now in the clear sights of the Democratic Congress. I fear for the vitality of my business and the financial future of my family. I fear for the personal safety of my home and loved ones.

But, on the upside, now we get to watch the Dems run the country and self-destruct when their Obama-god turns out to be a human after all, and not a great one at that. I for one will be first in line to say “told you so” when the economy continues to tank, gas goes back up, and the financial industry smolders. Somehow, we must control the damage as much as possible by getting some backbone into the GOP left in Congress. How? No idea. I leave that up to smarter, wiser men than I. In the meantime, I seek to take extreme perverse pleasure in watching the liberals drive the Democratic party into the ground. Good luck guys! And have fun! See you in 2012!

I voted, yay!

Go, Fight, Win!

Ezra Levant is optimistic.  I am less sanguine than he, but we can win this thing, so get out there and vote!

Voting en masse

While in the predicted long line at the poll this morning, I should have been happy to see so many citizens excited to vote (well, as excited as you can get at 6:30AM), and in a way I was. This is the ideal of a democracy — people eager to cast their ballot (even if it means getting good-naturedly bullied by the woman at the door ensuring everyone was in the right line).  I remember how excited Iraqis were when they got the vote. (I also remember that that would not have been possible for them had we not gone in, but anyway.)

And though I was pretty certain that I was the only one in my precinct voting the way I did, it  is always a good day when we can exercise our rights. Would I like it better if people understood the issues, and had reasons other than “change” for their vote? Yes.

But that is less the problem of politics, and more of our cultural zeitgeist opposed to real debate  – it’s so yicky and confrontational and in love with soundbites.  But this is our responsibility as citizens.  And we must consider what we share — a love of country and a desire for justice.  We just have different approaches.

I hope.

Apocalypse Eve (not now, please)

Chicagoans are PSYCHED. Well, 95% of Chicagoans and 100% of academics are (obviously).

I spent the last day and a half in Hyde Park (HYDE PARK) listening to one academic after another (who, may it be noted, have NOTHING TO DO professionally with political philosophy or government work, but when does that ever stop anyone), get all glowy and happy and hopeful at the very thought that one of their own could be in charge of the USA.  Maybe even the World.

Why do I torture myself this way? I don’t know … why do I live in Chicago?

But I need to smarten up. Once Obama is elected, everything will be better. Our racial wounds will be healed, energy will be free (hey, wind is free!), and perhaps MOST importantly, the NEH will be funded the way nature intended -  to the same degree as the Defense Department. Someone (a student) actually said this. I am not making this up. Even the NEH guy thought that might be pushing things a bit too far.

One humorless academic from a university in a nearby state (hey these were nice people so I’m not going to name names), was even careful to make sure that all the photos in his presentation featured African Americans, in order to honor what he said he was sure would happen tomorrow. That’s nice. Then I looked around the room and there was not ONE African-American in attendance. That’s what we call…ironic. But everyone smiled and felt sooo good about themselves.

And then it was announced that the school I attend will close at 3 tomorrow, so that faculty and students can be sure to vote and to make it to the rally on time (okay they didn’t say THAT, but talked traffic. Whatever). Other offices are closing early — heck didn’t even Obama say that no one should have to work tomorrow — let it be so.

The port-o-lets are all set up in Grant Park, and the CTA will be running until at least 2AM. Chicago is ready — are you?