This was an opinion piece I wrote for the local Public Radio station,
WAMC in Albany, NY, back when Bush was first elected
My Politics Page
Being my small effort to counter the lies and infamy
of the right.......
Famously, Freedom of the Press belongs to him
what owns one. Similarly, Freedom of Expression could be said to be
restricted when you can't find a bumper sticker that says what you
Some two years back, I figured out how to make my own bumper
stickers and have been "expressing myself" (some would say making
a fool of myself) by plastering my poor car with leftie bumper stickers
A friend asked why anyone but the rich would vote Republican....I grew up in KY and have been forever been puzzled by this. Here are some of the things I've tied into that...
of the American Dream is hitting it rich, and the belief, about as
likely as an asteroid hitting the Earth and lately even less
likely, that Anyone Can Be A Millionaire...it's part of the frontier
mythos of the New World (never mind that the frontier has long ended
and that very few made it even when it was open). The American
Joe and Jill have powerful abilities to believe in this delusion.
The working stiffs of Europe have had thousands of years of being on
the short end and so are much more vocal, organized and demanding.
did happen in the 50s and 60s was the emergence of a strong, educated
(GI Bill) middle class that gave credence to making it in the American
Dream. That is being whittled away. I said in 1985 that I
foresaw the destruction of the middle class...no one would listen then.
SixPack has been viscerally programmed to hate Communism (never mind
that it really doesn't work) and its weak sister Socialism (which can
work, but gets tarred with the same brush) reflexively...and has this
weird attitude that if he, fat chance, strikes it rich, he wants to
Keep It All, never mind that uberstiffs who does generally blow it,
don't know what to do with the money and are never accepted into the
realms of the people with it.
- Joe SixPack has this touching
loyalty to the boss, who he thinks notices how hard he works and will
reward his loyalty. That may be, but when a business starts to
hemorrhage in bad times, people go over the side no matter what, and
when they succeed fantastically, the stiff rarely gets much. And
that working stiff can be a highly degreed IBM engineer, sharp as they
come...and still believe that....though the way IBM is selling them
down the river, they've started to wake up. Old Man Watson was
the exception and did treat his people well....but all that is long
Some of my favorite political commentary blogs
Some particularly choice political links
On "Intelligent" Design, that wonderful fairy tale of the religious
Shufflin' Sam Thompson
When I was a kid growing up in Louisville, KY, we had black help.
My mother was almost completely paralyzed and my father was an eye
surgeon. Our family only worked because of the kind-hearted,
substantial and committed help of Queen Esther ('Queenie') Williams (who ran
the house), Willie Mae Fuqua (who did the laundry). On occasion, Sam
Thompson would stop by to wax the floor or rake and burn the leaves in the
Sam was a target for the local (white) police...perhaps because they
learned that it was 'fun' to push his button...they would lean on him, he
would tell them to get off his back, and then they would throw him in jail
for a week or two and fine him $10 on some bullshit pretext.
I don't know that things got physical with the police...Louisville was
hardly the deep South, where a black man who stood up for himself was in
mortal danger. But there was no recourse for Sam, because the Kentucky
Cosntitution doesn't allow appeals for a fine of $10 or less! So
the police would keep pushing Sam's button and doing it to him
This happened time and again over the years, and, when I was 13 and
Sam had been victimized like this for more than 50 times, Dad got Sam
in touch with the KCLU to finally get him some recourse.
This time, Sam had been in a (black) bar waiting for the bus out of
the cold. He had bought and paid for some food, the proprietor said
he was welcome to be there, and Sam was sitting on a stool tapping his foot
in time to the music on the juke box. The white police came in and
did their usual number, and Sam was charged, fined and put in jail for dancing
(shuffling his foot) in an establishment without a dancing permit.
Since there was no recourse from the KY State Supreme Court, the KCLU
took the case to the Supreme Court of the United States of the United States,
where the Louisville DA defending the City action got his ass handed to him.
And the police left Sam alone after that.
Would to God we had a Supreme Court that cared about civil rights and
the common man now...
details of the case are here.....
An old Reader's Digest article on the case is here