Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Federally-supported gun violence intervention ...

Image via Wikipedia

While watching the news on TV a few days ago, I saw the pained faces of two mothers who had recently lost youngsters to gang violence in Newark.  What a terrible tragedy!  They spoke about wanting to motivate other moms to stand with them against those who have such little regard for human life.

I think the time has come for mothers to use the enormous political power they could have in a world that has gone mad.  Inspired by their mother’s love, they should organize against the gun lobby that assures a steady supply of guns to the street…or any testosterone-fueled special interest group that all too easily trades precious lives for business objectives.

Frankly, this world needs a hell of a lot more estrogen than it is getting and it can only come from one place.

English: Helen Keller. Français : Helen Keller.

Image via Wikipedia

While listening to the Ed Schultz show on radio, I heard an exchange with a listener who identified himself as a conservative. He offered that participants in the Occupy Wall Street movement should, as he did, take steps to improve their own lives and not blame others for their problems. That kind of talk infuriates me, because it’s an easy way for Republicans to avoid taking a hard look at issues that broadly affect millions upon millions of Americans.

Well, as fate would have it, later that afternoon I came across some words written by Helen Keller, a person who knows a thing or two about overcoming life’s obstacles. She wrote:

“I had once believed that we were all masters of our fate–that we could mold our lives into any form we pleased… I had overcome deafness and blindness sufficiently to be happy, and I supposed that anyone could come out victorious if he threw himself valiantly into life’s struggle. But as I went more and more about the country I learned that I had spoken with assurance on a subject I knew little about… I learned that the power to rise in the world is not within the reach of everyone.”  

Helen Keller became an avowed socialist and fawning apologist for the nascent Soviet Union…an unpopular position to be sure…but it does not diminish the implicit humanity and compassion in her words. She understood the influence of circumstance and, more importantly, she  felt no joy at the misfortune of others.

I confess to being ideologically driven; I find little that I am willing to compromise with those whose selfishness and greed overwhelms any sense of compassion and caring. But, more importantly, I am deeply saddened that my country’s fundamental immorality is on display for the rest of the world to see. America and Americans should be better than this.

Marketing Liberalism

Posted: February 13, 2012 in Miscellaneous
Tags: , ,

In response to your request for ideas…

Most people don’t understand the political meaning of the word “liberal.” Over the decades the Republicans have succeeded in connecting it to “tax and spend,” and they have done so with nary a fight. It is as though we are ashamed of being liberals. It is, obviously, up to us the redefine. To do otherwise is the allow the other side to continue doing it.

I recommend that a task force of liberal thinkers and communicators be assembled, its charge being to define “liberalism” for the 21st century, and to do so while being mindful of liberalism’s rich and glorious past. Liberals, after all, lifted the world out of depression, defeated fascism, and championed the cause of civil rights (a job far from done). And it will be liberals who husband our precious resources, clean up our environment, put more Americans to work, feed the millions who go to bed hungry every night, advance energy independence, provide health care to those least able to afford it, use military power more wisely, and educate our children…all our children.

And, most importantly, we need to connect our liberal mission with the same transcendent morality that gave direction to our founding fathers, one firmly rooted in the humanist tradition and directly descendent from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

Under this mantle, America can, once again, become the world’s beacon of democracy as we lead by example, humbly, with the vision of a better life for all.

I’m a media junkie, and I have enough miles on me to remember that Sunday meant, in addition to church, a pile of newspapers.  We’d pick them up at the newsstand after swinging by the bakery for crumb buns.

I read all the funnies…the Journal American’s were best, I recall…and my father read the rest.  For him, reading the news wasn’t entertainment.  It was his mission to stay informed.  I made it my mission, as well, but doing so isn’t easy in the sound-bite, spin-laden and context-deficient world we live in.  It takes work and it’s work that most people don’t care to do.

If the sound-bite world of broadcast media has done any good at all, it can be argued that it has defined the problem: most people don’t give a damn about points of view other than their own.  Rather, they want black or white ideas…never shades of gray.  Let the liberal, intellectual elite wallow around in that “shades-of-gray” muck if it wants to.  Just give me some of that old-time, right-wing political certainty…and a beer.

I spent many years in the media business…on the magazine side…but my passion was all media.  When cable TV spread across the country and the promise of hundreds of channels captivated our media-junkie imaginations, I saw the risk of an increasingly balkanized world of ideas, where like-minded consumers of information all drank from the same cup.  Then, the internet pushed the idea even further.

I recall a segment of public radio’s “On the Media,” which aired some years ago.  One guest was from the newspaper business and the other represented the, then, some-what new world of Internet-delivered news.  It was like the Christians and the Lions.  The internet guy hit all the hot spots: people don’t have enough time to read newspapers; most of what’s in a newspaper isn’t of interest to the reader; the internet is immediate and evergreen; and, best yet, internet news can be customized.  Only “your” news that’s fit to print, delivered daily, and it doesn’t even kill a tree!

Well, to me the value of a good newspaper is the same as the pleasure of dining at a good buffet.  While you may walk up to the buffet table looking for one kind of food, chances are you will return to your table with some enriching surprises.  Sadly, this view hardly matters any more.

So, what to do, what to do?  I don’t know to do anything but continue pushing the multi-source information envelope and hope that someone, somewhere uncovers a way to package it in a manner such that people won’t feel as though their cherished ideas are being attacked.  Am I hopeful that this will come to pass?  Of course.  Do I think it will?  No.

Unfortunately, freedom of speech is, for most people, the freedom not to hear…or care.