Thursday, August 05, 2010

Drive By Politics

I have no desire to start posting about politics again, but sometimes I feel an urge to vent - so - venting: let's say - five political opinions, barely supported, probably better suited for twitter (which I don't use, actually) or facebook status updates, if I felt like getting into pissing contests with my friends... Five:

1) Nice to see California back in the 21st century again, at least for a while... joining us here in Massachusetts, and a few other places - Vermont, NH, Connecticut, Iowa (of all places), and DC - as well as Canada, Portugal and Spain, Argentina, and a bunch of other places I'm too lazy to look up... [actually, this was a facebook update... sorry...] It's a good thing, treating everyone alike. I'm glad it's a court decision - truth is, I don't much like the idea of putting civil rights to a vote - that's one of the things constitutions are for - to define the things that can't be put to a vote. While marriage is obviously defined by the state, there's no justification is limiting the nature of the 2 people who can marry - what I read of the actual decision makes that point - that as we've knocked out the (official) legal disparity between genders, we knock out the justification for prohibiting some men and women from marrying the partners of their choice. It's a good thing.

2) I would also like to say that I really like the 14th amendment. Not just for underpinning rulings like the Prop 8 one - but for making me, for example, an American citizen. (Well - it's half the reason why I'm an American citizen.) I was reading a post about it at the Britannica Blog - this passage particularly:
George Will and other conservative commentators have tried to come up with inventive arguments that go roughly like this one: If the authors of the Fourteenth Amendment could have imagined the type of immigrants and immigrant laws that we have today they would not have favored granting citizenship to children of persons who violated those laws. Jonathan Weiler, among others, has amply demonstrated how absurd Will’s reasoning is on this point.

The HuffPo post linked there already got to this - exactly how willfully ignorant do you have to be to think that no one in 1866 gave much thought to immigration? Whole political parties were founded on resisting it - keeping the poor, drunken, Catholic masses out - heck, a lot of Republicans were Know Nothings first. (Democrats embraced immigrants, or immigrant votes; Republicans were both rivals to the Know Nothings, later absorbing a lot of them, and shared a good deal of their distrust of immigrants, especially Irish...) I dunno. The country did not lack experience in 1866 in dealing with the social, political, economic issues surrounding the problem of absorbing large numbers of people of different races, cultures, religions, languages - their experiences in those areas were, in fact, a good deal more inflammatory than anything we're seeing now. Perspective is wanted - not only are our problems now very minor compared to the situation in the 1860s, but in hindsight, all the people who have come to this country from elsewhere have, when given the chance, made the country a better place. Though resistance to these people, and attempts to deprive them of rights (this obviously includes the rights of African Americans) has brought us nothing but grief. I wish people would embrace what is the best thing about this country, its extremely low bar to coming here, its ability to absorb immigrants, without completely making them disappear. I like Chinatowns and the Brazilian neighborhoods I live next to and the Dominican kids on my softball team - I like hearing multiple languages on the subway. Etc.

3) Then there is the New York City Mosque controversy - which certainly helps show that the proud tradition of Know Nothingism (that is, open bigotry) lives on. I don't have much to say other than - when people act like unreconstructed bigots long enough, it is probably safe to say they are, in fact, simply bigots.

4) And - I guess I can repeat that in reference to the various NAACP controversies of recent weeks. Andrew Brietbart and company behave like unapologetic racists to the point where there is no point is giving them anything like a benefit fo the doubt. They have shown what they are - liars, racists, fools - fuck em.

5) Do I have five? I suppose I should sigh about the government's continued failure to do anything about unemployment - there are plenty of of things the government could build to the benefit of the nation, and it's not like we are overtaxed in this country... or our continued failure in Afghanistan... or something... But - I want to get this out of my system, not get bogged down on politics for another hour... so that's enough.

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