Fasten your seat belts or get off the ride.

It is a frightening world out there. And the Conservatives are more scared than anyone. That is understandable. It is a world that is changing profoundly and rapidly every few seconds it seems. Conservatives don’t like change: it is in their DNA. Why do you think they are called “conservatives?”

Communication and global networking on the web now means that every lonely, bitter and angry nut can find solace and company with fellow “outsiders” to make mischief. The recipes for nuclear bombs are easy to find on the web. Terrorists of every shape and size can plan, plot and gather across borders and across politics.
Globalization ties our planet together in unforeseen ways. A few diabolically ingenious bankers concoct a plan to sell off worthless bundles of bad debt around the globe, while “betting” against the very products they sell, and the whole world is plunged into a crisis that all but carries us all over a cliff.
Whether man made or not, the planet is getting hotter ( and please don’t tell me that it is getting colder because ” look at all the snow we had this year!” If you melt millions of tons of polar ice into the gulf stream, the weather might well get colder; but that’s because the planet is getting warmer. OK?!) Deforestation, pollution, over-use of natural resources….these are all powerful engines of change.
The old ways are not working. Friedman’s, free-market policy has been debunked as naieve and dangerous. Markets will NOT self-regulate because MAN cannot self-regulate. Isolationism keeps us in a backwater, where we would rapidly become even less relevant or useful than we already are. And it would be dangerous. As a nation among a family of nations our responsibility is to ALL our citizens, not just the rich and privileged. The Wild West is done, it is not “every man for himself,” we are too inter-dependent now and, unless we get with a new program, we will not be around to see the next millennium. The age of the Conservative is done. To cling to narrow views of exceptionalism or “manifest destiny” is as absurd as it is fatal. The only way forward is through progress: and that word is at the heart of the Progressive agenda.
Despite the “Right’s” insistence that Obama is the anti-christ, his progressive agenda has made us safer in the world:
-through ruthless prosecution of the war against terror in Afghanistan ( actually, even more ruthless than Bush as he has taken out many more AlQuaeda leaders and is much more prolific in his use of the controversial drone attacks . Though I still refute the use of the term “war” rather than treat this whole terror thing as a criminal activity!)
– through his clear grasp of the nuances and subtleties of the roots of terror and disaffection as well as his geo-political savvy that zeroes in on the Indian sub-continent as the most dangerous place on earth NOT IRAQ!!!
-through his recognition of the futility of any kind of International MADD policy re nuclear weapons and is busy trying to make sense of a threat that puts nuclear weapons in the hands of a person and not a state. A most pressing re-think that is well overdue.
-through his bold and unpopular economic remedies, necessitated by the last administration’s incompetence, that not only saved half the modern world falling off a cliff, but actually stemmed the bleeding and have begun to turn the tide well in advance of the predicted ten years.
(Retail sales are back up, unemployment has steadied, investment is up, …but now Obama wants to put in the kinds of regulations that will prevent this kind of de-regulated stampede from happening again, who is back at the table yelling” NO!” ? ….that’s right the Conservatives, who are angry that their croney-capitalist orgy might be curtailed.)
-through his breathtakingly focused success at insuring over 30 million Americans who suffered from the inability to take care of their own and their children’s health in one of the self-declared “leading nations of the world,” which was also overdue.
-through his tireless efforts to re-instate our credibility in the world community by shoring up old and creating new alliances and partners has reversed the last administration’s disastrous policy of withdrawal and isolationism.
Look, you get my point…. this is a good President. He is doing a prodigious amount of good things. The muddled and confused anger among tea-baggers, militias, libertarians, and Republicans is stoked by ignorance, misinformation and self-interest. Of course, you are not all going to agree with me, but when I see these people talking about everything from Obama being a muslim, to a socialist, to an anti-constitutionalist, to the leader of a world wide conspiracy, I wonder at how so many out there still think Bush was a better, safer, smarter President!
Oh, and by the way, remember my friends, Only Connect!
Charles Shaughnessy
Additional Comments from Charlie on
15 April, 2010 at 15:44
15 April,2010 at 22:58
17 April, 2010 08:53
18 April, 2010 18:44

65 thoughts on “Fasten your seat belts or get off the ride.

  1. I love Obama, and if it were up to the “conservatives”, I’d be a single mother without hope instead of a a single mother graduating this spring with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Marketing, plus going to graduate school next year pursuing a M.B.A. This hopey changey stuff is working out for me. You are so right about the conservatives. They are only limiting our potential:)

  2. Anytime that people use prayers in such ways and then refer to themselves as religious or patriotic are just full of BS. Kidding or not! Can not think of much more hypocritical than this.

  3. @Karen..I do agree with you there..stupid move. The political climate is just too volatile, to be making jokes about wishing death on ANYONE. All this will do is feed the monster. I've received this "joke" over email many times this year, in various forms. Sometimes it's "my favorite Speaker", other times a sports team or Dancing with the Stars contestant. I don't think anyone is seriously praying for the death of another, but it's not funny.

  4. I forgot to mention that the creator of the page indicates that they wish no harm toward the current president but want to express their disapproval of the President Obama through humor. Does anyone else think that there is a better way to indicate your discontent than to create a Facebook page that could attract the attention of Secret Service? There's now 570,000 fans and counting…

  5. I know this might not be the right place to bring up this topic, but is anyone else on this blog troubled by this Facebook page:DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMENAside from the fact that the creator misspelled Patrick Swayze's and Farrah Fawcett's names, I think that this page demonstrates some of Charlie's concerns about the direction of this country. It currently has over 500,000 fans (well, now over 500,000 people "like" this page–and I'm certainly not one of them).

  6. Gitel, you are comparing apples and oranges here. Let us compare a student that has an IQ of 135 in public school, private school and home school and you will find that there is NO difference. Those who want to learn, learn regardless of those disruptions, those who are just passing time will do it regardless of those disruptions and use those disruptions as an excuse and those that are disruptive, well let's just toss his/her arse out of school and put them to work. My husband and his family were migrant farm workers and they relied on his wages to survive. There is absolutely NO reason that a family should have to rely on the wages of a six year old to survive. Altho I respect your perspective, I do firmly disagree with you. lotsalu

  7. I don't support illiteracy. However, I also don't support "students" who have no interest in learning sitting in a classroom taking up space and disrupting those students who do want to learn.And if you look at studies of home-schooled children, you will find they do better than their government school-educated counterparts, regardless of the education of the parents.

  8. So, Gitel, you would support illiteracy? You said you would rather have the children working than going to school, now if they do not learn to read and write, how are they going to teach their own children when the time comes? Tetsa, have you looked at your own state laws to see what health care laws are already in place? most states have even more stringent laws than what this new insurance bill has. Nanabev, there were many different proposals by the republicans that went totally and completely unheard. Every says they were just saying no, but they were providing other alternatives, but those suggestions were falling on deaf ears. It really surprises me that President Obama gets both the praise and the blame for this insurance bill when it was Max Baucus (D-MT) that authored the majority of it.lotsaluv

  9. (continuation of previous post)And, if we want to bring Thomas Jefferson into the conversation, he probably would be supporting the Constitutionalists today. The modern-day Democratic Party can be traced back to the party created by Thomas Jefferson in the 1790s (then known as the Republican Party, because Democrats were those crazies chopping off the king’s head in France) in opposition to Alexander Hamilton (leader of the Federalist Party) and his loose interpretation of the Constitution in creating a National Bank. The Jeffersonians opposed the formation of the Bank because it did not state in the Constitution that one could be created—in other words, they had a literal or strict interpretation of the document (one that obviously has relaxed over the years, as nowhere does it state that the U.S. could buy land from another country—such as Jefferson did with the Louisiana Purchase). So, in many ways, Jefferson would have supported the folks who want a strict interpretation of the Constitution today and would have opposed an extension of the federal government into people’s daily lives. After all, he would have considered that to be quite similar to what the colonists had faced in the decade before the American Revolution (had to throw that in on Patriots’ Day). He would not, however, have supported the notion of the United States as a Christian nation, because he really considered himself more a Deist than a Christian—plus endorsing one particular religious belief is contrary to his views on religious freedom. Jefferson was so proud of this accomplishment that it was one of just three things noted on his tombstone (in addition to writing the Declaration of Independence and founding the University of Virginia).Now if the question was what would Jefferson think if he were alive today, I'm not sure if I would trust the opinions of someone who would be 267 years old. I certainly would welcome the challenge and adventure of talking with someone who was present when this nation was formed and who is considered to be our most intelligent president.

  10. (sorry, I needed to edit something)Charlie: If you are wondering where the “Constitutionalists” were when the words “under God” were added into the Pledge, they probably were in hiding. The early 1950s were the time of McCarthyism, when civil liberties were limited, people took loyalty oaths to hold jobs, and the “Hollywood Ten” were blackballed because of communist sympathies. Questioning how the government was interpreting the Constitution would have been considered treasonous, and you could have lost your job, been imprisoned, or forced to flee the country.The only place in the Constitution where religion is even mentioned is in the 1st Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….” Nowhere does it state “Christian religion,” nor does it require a person to follow any religion. Several states refused to ratify the Constitution without the inclusion of this protection (among other guarantees in the Bill of Rights); Virginia had already adopted The Statute for Religious Freedom (authored by Jefferson in 1779), and Pennsylvania had included religious freedom as part of its colonial and state constitutions since its inception in 1681. Connecticut and Massachusetts, however, continued to require church membership (as in membership in the Congregational Church, formerly Puritan Church) in order to vote into the 19th century. The words “under God” were NOT “arbitrarily written” into the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954. They were added by a Joint Resolution of Congress, with President Eisenhower (raised a Jehovah’s Witness, but a recent convert to Presbyterianism) endorsing the change. Including the phrase “under God” had its inspiration with the Gettysburg Address (in which Lincoln stated, “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth). The pledge itself was originally written by a Baptist minister and first used in public schools on October 12, 1892—the 400th anniversary of Columbus “discovering” America. The idea of adding “under God” to the pledge came from the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Knights of Columbus began including the phrase in 1951.How many of you have looked at the money in your pocket lately? Does it bother you that your coins and currency state “In God We Trust”? Did you know that “In God We Trust” is our national motto, adopted in 1956? This, along with “under God,” comes out of the Cold War, when the United States was “fighting” against those irreligious Soviets (and other communists) who abhorred religion. We were making a statement to the world, in a sense, that we were ready to fight the good fight and save the world from the forces of evil, and that God was behind us. The inclusion of “In God We Trust” on money and “under God” in the pledge, incidentally, has survived numerous court challenges, even though they clearly can be construed as violating the 1st Amendment.

  11. I would much rather see children working alongside parents than going to school for a few years, not learning anything, being disruptive, then dropping out to hang out on a street corner.

  12. What exactly is worth conserving in this great country? Is our Constitution worth conserving? I believe very strongly in social programs as every nation that has neglected their weak poor and infirm has failed. Is there waste, fraud, and abuse, most definitely, and it needs to be addressed. Unfortunately it will not be addressed because there are too many officials that are benefiting greatly from said waste, fraud, and abuse. There is no way to stop that abuse as long as the program is a viable source of income. It is sad that with every social experiment in stopping 'welfare' it has cost society a lot more than these entitlement programs have. As for charities, history has proven that even the best funded of the bunch cannot provide for the poor on donations alone. Jo, how would your church handle it if 30,000 more people came knocking at the door for assistance? For those of you who claim that we had it better before this so called 'welfare state': Why did we have the uncontrollable rise of Worker's Unions? They literally became a civilian government. I detest unions, but agree with the purpose of them–to hold corporations accountable to their employees. Altho well intended, they too became corrupt. Major corporations would fire tenured workers, avoiding paying retirement, and those were not isolated incidents, they happened by the hundred's of thousands. Then came the crash and millions were on the street, and it wasnt just irresponsible, greedy corporate execs. it was everybody, they add severe drought and a massive cat5 hurricane along the east coast and with all of that, it was proven that charities were unable to keep up with the demands. Now as for generational welfare recipients, stop to think what kind of mentality it takes to live in abject poverty. When I was on welfare 22 yrs ago, I received $470 cash and $260 in food stamps, can a single parent raise a child on that? NO!!!! I would rather see a person with food stamps buy lobster then pre-prepared meals, those that are buying the lobster show more of a sign of knowing how to cook and plan meals. And do be careful, not all that flash that Quest card are on food stamps, I know several that get their child support payments that way. Schooling is soooooo necessary. Some claim that is the responsibility of the parents alone, no it is not. The reason we went to the socially supported schools is because too many people were not educating their children. It was more important for the child to work along side parents in order for the family to survive. With today's drop out rate, could you imagine if basic schooling wasn't mandatory? Cheating on taxes, either legally or illegally is an age old tradition. just think of where our deficit would be if everybody payed the taxes they owed. lotsalu

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