Sarah and Gwen: the Two-Headed Monster

This blog is about everything involving Lexington, KY or anything else we feel like yapping about.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Land of the Free?

"Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty or security." Ben Franklin

Our president's argument that NSA spying on American citizens without obtaining a court order was necessary doesn't hold up. It was an illegal act and should be prosecuted. The president cannot be permitted to toss away the constitution and safeguard civil liberties. His vows of more eavesdropping and the lame defense of illegal phone taps must not be allowed to stand unchallenged by those who truly love freedom.

Think about the issue. Do you believe the president needed to skip the step of getting a court order before placing a wiretap? Do you think the courts would have refused a legitimate wiretap? I don't think so. There are only two reasons the president authorized the crime. He does not respect the rule of law or the rights of citizens.

We must care. We must ask the questions President Bush brushed aside. We must not allow the president to attack the press for telling the truth and exposing his lies. Free press, free speech, civil rights, and civil law are the foundation of our nation. This president has shaken us to our roots. Do not let him remove the cornerstones of democracy, or shoot the messenger who tells us he is digging up the foundation stones.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Fake War on Christmas

I find two things about this "War on Christmas" distraction frightening. First: the argument that "Merry Christmas", a shortened version of "Christ's Mass", is the greeting of choice by mostly Protestant fundamentalists instead of "Happy Holidays", the abbreviated form of "Holy Days." The latter term encompasses all Christendom and most folks who worship within other faiths, while the former is specific to only to Christians who hold mass. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that Christians don't understand the difference. The December Christmas celebration was based in an effort to Christianize the solstice holidays celebrated in many countries. If they want to return to the roots of the tradition, they need to learn what the "gifts of the season" truly are.

The "gifts of the season" were not defined as showering one's children with tons of stuff they don't need. They were also not the gifts of the Wisemen delivered to a baby. Gifts were given by those with excess to those who would face a season of hunger, cold, and perhaps starvation without help. The big feasts were the method of killing off excess livestock and using up the produce that could not be preserved. It was a time of giving of your best to those who only had such treats once a year. If you want to get back to the roots of Christmas invite everyone you know to give more to their community and hoard less for themselves. The "war" on Christmas was started when we forgot the real meaning of the season. If we allow the right to force those outside their faith into the tiny mold they are making, we will indeed have lost the meaning of the holiday.

The second thing I find frightening about this so-called "War on Christmas" is that none of us can escape the influence of Christmas on our culture. From Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, Christmas is on display everywhere. This "war", like so many other "war" labels, is a self-serving attempt to distract us from real problems. Christmas is in no danger, but there are many problems the government would like to hide by drawing out attention to this red herring. There is no "War on Christmas", but there are a lot of right wing nut cases who want us to forget about the mess their politics have made of our nation. If they can make us look askance at every well-wisher on the street, if they can entice us to doubt the good will of our neighbors, they have won their so-called "war", and robbed the season of all joy.

As Stan Lee and others in our state push to waste Congress's time on yet another distraction from our nation's real problems, I take heart in knowing not everyone in Congress is fooled. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) stood up on the floor of Congress and uttered these words "Madam Speaker, I have a little poem." With that, he entered the following tongue in cheek poem into the Congressional Record and reminded us of more important issues:

'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the House,
no bills were passed `bout which Fox News could grouse.
Tax cuts for the wealthy were passed with great cheer,
so vacations in St. Barts soon should be near.

Katrina kids were all nestled snug in motel beds,
while visions of school and home danced in their heads.
In Iraq, our soldiers need supplies and a plan,
and nuclear weapons are being built in Iran.

Gas prices shot up, consumer confidence fell.
Americans feared we were in a fast track to ..... well.
Wait, we need a distraction, something divisive and wily,
a fabrication straight from the mouth of O'Reilly.

We will pretend Christmas is under attack,
hold a vote to save it, then pat ourselves on the back.
Silent Night, First Noel, Away in the Manger,
Wake up Congress, they're in no danger.

This time of year, we see Christmas everywhere we go,
From churches to homes to schools and, yes, even Costco.
What we have is an attempt to divide and destroy
when this is the season to unite us with joy.

At Christmastime, we're taught to unite.
We don't need a made-up reason to fight.
So on O'Reilly, on Hannity, on Coulter and those right-wing blogs.
You should sit back and relax, have a few egg nogs.

'Tis the holiday season; enjoy it a pinch.
With all our real problems, do we really need another Grinch?
So to my friends and my colleagues, I say with delight,
a Merry Christmas to all, and to Bill O'Reilly, happy holidays.
Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas."

The poem above points out many problems that truly need to be addressed by our government. Let's hope that these problems rank a little higher on our priority scale than Bill O’Reilly’s attempt to distract us from both the meaning of the holiday and the purpose of government. This year, as I celebrate Christmas with my family, Solstice with my friends, and good-will with everyone who holds it dear, I ask only one thing more; could we have a little sanity in our government for Christmas, please?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Who Will Lead in the 88th?

Christopher Frost, the Democratic legislative district chair for the 88th, wrote an editorial titled "Democrats Must Get Out There and Lead" for last Sunday's Herald-Leader. I found it interesting reading, largely because Chris hasn't done much of what he says Democrats should be doing politically.

I agree with Mr. Frost when he says the party has been adrift for some time and unable to regain its footing. We have suffered a number of defeats over many years. Those defeats moved us from the majority to the minority party in Kentucky.

The trouble with his statements comes in the follow-through. As chair of his legislative district, what has he done? He complains of the lack of content on the Democratic website, but I found no contributions from him. He talks about leading, but never returned my emails to him during the last election or made any contact with several other precinct chairs in his district (I have asked). Instead, each of us formed his or her own plan for getting out the vote. Taking initiative was good, but we could have been more effective under a central leadership.

He has found a cause in funding Kentucky education, a praiseworthy goal, but his only source choice is the expansion of gambling in the state. I am not anti-gambling. Once or twice a year, I make that trip to Indiana and usually leave a few dollars at the casino. What I am against is clinging to this issue as a salvation for the Democratic Party.

There are as many reasons why gambling is a bad issue for the Democrats as there are reasons to use it. It is a hot-button issue that will give Republicans lots of fuel to fan the "Godless Democrats" charge they love to level at us.

The real question here is: Why this issue? If Chris is thinking of using his current position in the party as a launchpad for a political career, which is what his editorial makes me think, I have a suggestion for him: Do your current job to the best of your ability, Chris. One editorial does not make a good politician or legislative district chair. When you show me and the other folks in the 88th that you are the sort of Democrat who offers something more than words, we might have more respect for what you say.