Tag Archives: partisanship

Let the Other Fellow Be

I don’t talk politics down at the honky-tonk;
doesn’t seem to make much sense to me:
stirring up a hornet’s nest with some of ol’ Milwaukee’s best
and finding out just where we disagree.

We both want the same things, besides, more or less:
love and understanding with some happiness.
What’s the point of splitting hairs on points of law?
Let’s agree nobody wins, and call this one a draw

This is a free country: we each pay for our own drinks
it doesn’t really matter what the guy next to you thinks
If you don’t like my politics, don’t saddle me with yours
we’ll get along while the beer’s cold and the malt whiskey pours
What’s good about America is folks like you and me
Can put aside our differences and behave civilly
Besides, the hardest part of freedom is, it seems to me,
Being smart enough to let the other fellow be.

I don’t talk religion from a barstool seat;
doesn’t seem appropriate to me:
mixing sin and righteousness like tonic and bad gin
seems to me a recipe for trouble to begin

We both want the same thngs anyway, my friend:
Love and some security for what’s beyond the bend.
What’s the point of arguing on some old books?
Let’s agree nobody’s right, and most of ’em are crooks.

This is a free country: we each pay for our own way
it doesn’t really matter what the guy next to you says
If you don’t like my point of view, don’t saddle me with yours
we’ll get along while the beer’s cold and the malt whiskey pours
What’s good about America is folks like you and me
Can put aside our differences and behave civilly
Besides, the hardest part of freedom is, it seems to me,
Being smart enough to let the other fellow be.

30 DEC 2005

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Emergency Petition to Save the Courts

MoveOn.org has got a petition drive going that’s worth looking in to. I did, and here’s the message I sent to my Congresspeople:

Checks and balances means when one branch of the government is conservative, another is by necessity liberal. When Republicans control the executive and legislative branches of government, by necessity they MUST NOT be allowed free reign to appoint the members of the judicial branch. They should KNOW this, if they are in fact believers in democracy. If they are NOT supporters of democracy, they have no business running this country.

It does not matter whether you agree with the conservative or liberal, Republican or Democratic platforms. That is NOT the issue. It is not about who WINS. It is about maintaining DEMOCRACY, about sustaining bipartisanship, about encouraging dissent, about preserving the checks and balances which are so imperative to safeguarding the Constitution. The Constitution is at stake here, NOT some party line. And without the Constitution to back it up, without people who are willing to go to the mat, to fight to ensure that it is NOT freely interpreted except in the interest of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for ALL Americans, there is not much of a democracy to speak of. And worse off, there are a lot of people drawing paychecks for protecting that democracy that aren’t doing their jobs.

The Senate must oppose the “nuclear option” to eliminate the filibuster, and preserve the checks and balances that have kept our courts fair and independent for centuries.

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Bipartisan Blues

The fascist right … the commie left … the accusations fly,
with neither side, in truth, much worried ’bout the little guy;
they do not represent him, even though that’s what they claim,
’cause behind all their rhetoric, they’re pretty much the same:

Both sides make heartfelt speeches to a captive audience,
who, face it, have eschewed most logic and good common sense,
in thinking that these politicos, who speak of some gesalt,
have anything in mind but finding someone else at fault.

Just once, I’d like to hear a politician state the truth:
that they’d said anything to get you in their voting booth,
and that the numbers they rely on are in fact just lies,
manipulated to reduce their opponents to size.

And further, I’d like congressmen, and senators, to boot,
instead of claiming justice is their sole end of pursuit,
to simply say they’re sorry, but the way that things are now,
free speech, fair play, and honesty they simply can’t allow.

At least then I know where I stand, as if I couldn’t guess:
a once-great country trying to deny it is a mess;
a people proud of learning less and less each day in schools,
whose main interest is money-making, educated fools;

a flag that isn’t fireproof, because it does not wave
for truth, justice and liberty for all, free man and slave;
instead, by some selective wind, it chooses its flagpoles
by special interests, narrow vision, and pretense at soul.

I wonder, as I hear them speak on C-SPAN or the news,
if anyone who is in office really knows my shoes.
They do not know my first name, that I’m sure of. After all,
it’s never them in person making their fund-raising calls.

Bipartisan, bischmartisan; blue, red, and purple hues;
Republican or Democrat; evangelist or Jew —
why don’t they get it? Why not look beyond such simple lines,
and think what’s best for the whole country, while there is still time?

12 MAY 2005

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Democrats … Start Doing it for Yourselves

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
House Minority Leader

Dear Congresswoman Pelosi:

I recently received a mailer from you that included the following text:

>> Dear Friend … why don’t you take the enclosed George W. Bush Disapproval Poll and use it to me me how high (I doubt it) or low President Bush ranks with you. It’s your chance to tell me exactly what you think of the 43rd President. If you give George W. Bush grades of A or B, then I have bad news: First, you are a Republican. Second, you are going to be on the losing side of history. BUT … if you give George W. Bush C’s, D’s or F’s then you are a true-blue Democrat and I urge you to join us in our fight to hold the line against President Bush’s radical agenda and begin laying the groundwork for victory in the 2006 mid-term election … <<

I would like to offer you my thoughts on this effort of the National Democratic Committee.

I am in fact what most would consider to be a “true-blue Democrat”. I don’t think there’s any doubt of that. For 22 years I have voted a straight Democratic ticket. However, I find myself having a great deal of trouble believing what you say, despite my inclination to give more credence to junk-mailers who at least pretend to be on my political wavelength. Your message sent up a number of warning flags, I must admit.

To start with, “History” is written not by those who are right, but by those who are in power. What determines the “losing” side of history is what the “winners” determine the opposite side from their own. At this juncture, I’m not too sure that the “losing” side is going to be written in a manner pleasing to “Democrats” for quite some time. Why? Because the problem is not just that George W. Bush is doing wrong. Although I agree there is a lot of wrong-doing going on.

The problem, as I see it, is that giving George W. Bush a “failing” grade on this poll doesn’t make me a true-blue Democrat, as much as it makes me a complete and total IDIOT. Because I appear to be supporting a political party that has no vision of their own, that has not been too effective in countering these horrible policies, that is afraid of being called un-American for fighting a fascist-leaning, right-wing, neo-conservative agenda. A party that has no plan of their own, except to tell me what’s wrong with the other guy’s plan. That has in essence conceded that morality, right, truth, justice and the American Way are the property of the Republicans, and has contented itself with whining and bitching that those damn “righty-tighties” are just misusing those properties differently than a Democrat might misuse them if given the opportunity. What line exactly are “we Democrats” holding? And what good does it do to hold some imaginary line when there are so few of our so-called representatives that are willing to stand up for what they claim their constituents stand for? Further, for all these issues where George W. and his radicalized cronies have forced their way upon the unsuspecting American public, where have the Democrats been? In short, what good are they?

I’d like to see some groundwork, Congresswoman Pelosi. As you state in your letter, even though the right-wing doesn’t have one, I’d like to see a platform that unites, instead of divides. I’d like to see the Democratic Party come up with such a platform, and stick with it. I don’t think anyone can claim sole right to morality and doing the right thing. And surely, the 80% of people in the USA that claim some affiliation with Christianity (and the other 20% that follow equally valid and morally-based religions, whether Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Wiccan, Sikh, Shinto, Zoroastrian, Druid, Bah’ai or even Atheism) can’t be all Republicans. And Republicans aren’t the only ones capable of girding themselves with the mantle of the self-righteous … what about a little Democratic righteous indignation now and again? I can’t think of a better time that right now.

To be frank with you, Congresswoman, I’m disgusted with the political process. I’m disgusted with voting Democrat just because it seems like the lesser of two evils. I’d like to be able to vote, with a clear conscience and sense of accomplishment, for something worth believing in. Something that the big party Democrats are willing to state, in public, they believe in, too. Something, and a serious set of someones who are not straw dogs, but actual contenders. But remember, there’s not much point in picking who we’re going to travel with until we’ve figured out where we are going. The journey dictates the skills we’ll need, and not visa versa. So please, give us a something before trying to foist off another glad-handing someone in a suit more expensive than the average Democrat’s income can afford.

Just a suggestion: if you want a Presidential candidate to be elected “by the people”, you’ve got to be “for the people”, and whoever you put on that ballot had better be “of the people”. Not Democratic leadership people. Not Beltway Brotherhood people. Not “because anything is better than a Republican” people.

Don’t worry. I’ll keep voting Democrat until I die. However, I’m sick of knowing that underneath the surface, regardless of which candidate I choose, the bottom line doesn’t change for me, nor for millions of others who seemingly cast their votes in a seeming maelstrom of futility. After that, watching the few Democratic candidates who DO make it into office only wring their hands and cry, “oh, those neo-cons are ruining the country” is decidedly anti-climactic. And discouraging.

The bottom line is that George W. Bush’s F looks like an A to most people, and that’s why they voted for him. That occurred only because in order to give ourselves any kind of excuse for what either party is doing, the American People have been forced to grade on a curve. And the sad truth is that neither the Republicans or Democrats deserve to pass the class.

Feel free to use any part of this letter you wish to improve the Democratic Party.


John Litzenberg
New Orleans, LA

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For Stephen Stills

We have become so polarized. The lines
are drawn so black and thick between each side,
the pickets filled with stark and ugly words
that only emphasize a hate that grows

when one’s own thoughts have turned to stone
fit just for use as weapons behind walls,
where in a soldier’s stance we fear what change
would come if doubt encroached upon our minds.

Our single drops of rain gather for storms
that we would have directed at our foes;
yet as the skies turn somber and morose,
we each lament, and blame the restless clouds.

Is this the force that would improve the world,
with great lambasting vitriol and spite?
Have we forgotten that the ends become
perverted by such cold and heartless means?

With scorn emblazoned on our barbed wire hearts,
we seek to prove our way the truth and light;
but bury any hope for growth or peace
and for compassion dig a shallow grave.

04 FEB 2005

What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the streets
Singing songs, and a-carrying signs
Mostly say, “Hooray for our side”
— from For What It’s Worth,
by Stephen Stills and recorded by Buffalo Springfield
during the Vietnam War

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A Dirge for the Left Wing

So we’ve inaugurated him
the Jingo Kid, ol’ Cocaine Slim
to serve again as our great chief.

Despite the obvious belief
of many folks that he’s the spawn
of Satan. Soon he will be gone,
and who will fill his king-sized shoes?

That we’re in sad shape is no news,
and four years hence things will be worse
fed evil pap from this wet nurse.

I wonder, though, if just for spite
the constant scheming God-filled right
won’t train a Democrat or two
to follow on the Shrub, Part Deux;
and hoist some harmless seeming Left
upon a nation, now bereft,
its sense of truth and honor gone,
its holy cause, freedom, a pawn
used as a ploy to sell your way
on next inauguration day.

I’ll end with this, and make it brief:
next time you pick our chosen chief
be sure to check at your hairline
for three tattooed inverted nines.

22 JAN 2005

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Neo Politics

Neoconservatism is not a threat to the free-living, free-wheeling, bleeding heart liberal philosophy of us drug-crazed, sex-minded hippie freaks.

No, despite its definition as “an approach to politics or theology that represents a return to a traditional point of view (in contrast to more liberal or radical schools of thought of the 1960s)”, it is not the left wing, per se, that is the target of neoconservatism. It’s target is not to return us to before 1960, but before 1760. After all, the traditional point of view in politics or theology is not democracy. It is monolithic, totalitarian and unquestioned rule. It is fascism, painted with a nostalgic brush called “the good old days” — those days before liberal science gave us the conveniences that gave us the free time to sit around and reminisce without having to actually experience the minor setbacks of medicine, culture, diversity, equality, and economic well-being that were in those halycon days available only to the extremely wealthy, or extremely lucky (and luck would be defined as in the right place to benefit from the temporary whims of the current dictatorship). It is belittling, beheading, excommunicating, exiling, or executing any who disagree with your point of view. And it is the point of view of rich, white men — who have convinced, somehow, the remaining 95% of the population of this country (that’s right, 95% of the wealth is controlled by 5% of the people, remember, and those aren’t people living in Harlem, or Watts, or Chinatown) that this is the agenda upon which America should settle. The course which we must steer by. Our mandate.

Let me get this straight — our mandate, as a democratic nation, is to abandon democracy, much as the Anasazi abandoned New Mexico.

Under a banner of religious self-righteousness, jingoistic nationalism, military might and xenophobic paranoia — particularly regarding people of Semitic origin and language.

Careful with that swastika, Eugene.

You will not successfully barter the illusions of freedom and liberty for the illusions of control and safety on my watch. The former may be undisciplined, untamed and only nebulously defined, but even in that raw, feral state they are worth ten times the most alluring manifestations of the latter.

That’s what I call a Neo-Liberal agenda. Fixing the broken left wing so the eagle doesn’t have to spin in circles and wear itself out trying to leave the ground.

Or to put it more bluntly, you can have the Constitution to wipe your ass with when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

The right to bear arms is NOT the same as the right to own or use a gun.
Schools and hospitals should be a greater priority than prisons and graveyards.

The ends never justify the means.

A Democracy is more fragile, and therefore needs more protection, than a Republic. The former is an idea, while the latter is a thing. That’s why the Pledge of Allegiance is somewhat misleading. A symbol, such as a flag, stands for an idea or ideal, not a thing. A thing is a limited interpretation, a casting in the temporary stone of time, so to speak, of an idea. It is not the idea itself, only a small part — in the same way that a religion is merely a bucketful of seawater mistaken for the entirety of the ocean.

Once you disregard ideas in favor of things, you stop thinking. Once you stop thinking, it doesn’t matter what the polls say, because the opinions you are offering are not your own, anyway. Most likely they have been given to by someone who does not know of, care about, value, respect, understand, or have any responsibility for, your life.

The responsibility, at least, they can never shoulder anyway. Responsibility is the price you pay for ideas — whether your own or someone else’s.

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