My daughter told me that I’ve become too political. That set me thinking. It is true that I pay much more attention now.
I hardly paid any attention in the 70s and 80s. I was too preoccupied with small children in the first of those decades. Graduate studies, two teenagers and an inter-city commute took over in the second decade. In the 90s, Clinton and his impeachment, his relentless pursuit by members of the political establishment who abandoned even the pretense of commonality, riveted my attention.
When an unprecedented, horrific attack on a complacent nation spurred the newly installed triumvirate of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld to curtail our civil liberties with the Patriot Act, I was galvanized. I warned anyone who would listen to me that proud and prosperous German Jews were decimated because they believed “it can’t happen here.” It can happen here. History has taught us that no government, no society, is immutable. I was afraid we were falling down a slippery slope, and indeed, that was when Americans lost not only their privacy but their faith in the impregnable fortress America. The same powerbrokers plunged us into a war we couldn’t win. Surveillance, fear, and torture insinuated themselves into the American experience.
In the Obama years, blind hatred and the corrosive antagonism between Democrats and Republicans further undermined American democracy and paved the way for the clownish but unfunny despot who is doing his best to undermine and sabotage the institutions that made America powerful and just.
How can one not be “political”? How can one ignore Trump’s peevishness, his enthrallment with himself and his desires, his reckless onslaughts on long-established norms, his ignorance, mendacity and deliberate sabotage of arduously wrought pacts to rescue the planet and provide care for the poor and the sick?
American democracy is under siege. Only activists, roused by anger and fear, can sway the politicians who have the power to save the Republic.
In the 64 years from the end of WWII to 2009, jobs under Democratic presidents have invariably increased at double the rate of growth under Republicans. Prof. Robert McElvaine compiled the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Reading McElvaine’s graph of job gain/loss by administration, it’s clear that the inauguration of a Republican president signals a drop in new jobs that will last until a Democrat takes the helm. This holds true even under the much-maligned Jimmy Carter and the sanctified Ronald Reagan. Only in the special case of 2009 did the number of new jobs plunge under a Democratic president. That was the year following the crash at the end of the Republican administration of Pres. G. W. Bush and before Democratic Pres. Obama’s stimulus could take effect. Remarkably, though, as weak as the recovery is, we have seen a net growth of more than 1 million jobs under Obama, more than twice the number under Bush. McElvaine crunches the numbers: Continue reading
Photo: Pensito Review
President Barack Obama delivers a statement in the East Room of the White House on the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Andrew Sullivan, conservative pundit:
What’s staggering to me is how the right insisted, immediately after Obama’s inauguration, that all responsibility in the war on terror was now his, just as responsibility for the debt was now his, and the near-depression was now his. Any errors, even minor ones, were plastered on his face.
But more than two years later, the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden is primarily George W. Bush’s doing.
Unfuckingbelievable. Except, of course, it isn’t.
The economy, having been pulled back from the brink, grew for the seventh straight quarter, we haven’t suffered a terrorist attack and now, eight years to the day later, we really do have “Mission Accomplished”— albeit not dramatically announced from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.
President George W. Bush delivering his "Mission Accomplished" speech, May 1, 2003 (Photo: Wikipedia)
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
Yesterday in Arizona, a conservative, traditionally Republican state with a good share of angry Tea Party members, a young man went on a shooting rampage, killing six people, including a federal judge, and wounding 14 others.
The main target was Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who criticized Arizona’s tough immigration law and voted to support Obama’s healthcare reform, thus enraging the Tea Party. Giffords is in critical condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head that passed entirely through her brain.