Saturday, July 9, 2016

Scott Walker's partisan crap, and other thoughts from a bad week in America

It's been an awful week in America, between the killings by police of innocent black men in Baton Rouge and the Twin Cities, followed by the ambush of five Dallas police officers at a "Black Lives Matter" rally by a disgruntled Army vet (extra chilling when you realize that Lee Harvey Oswald was also a disgruntled, radicalized Army vet in his mid-20s in 1963).

What feels especially awful about this is that it feels like there will be no resolution to these awful incidents beyond these deaths. That there is no solution that can be worked out because politicians and the media rely on this type of conflict to get contributions and ratings. It is telling that despite the recent massacres in Orlando and Dallas, Paul Ryan and the NRA-owned House Republicans refused to consider proposals this week on rapid-fire guns or in trying to keep those killing machines out of the hands of unstable people who were amassing a huge cache of weapons.

It's also telling that the day after the awful killings of Philando Castile in the Twin Cities and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge hit the nation's attention, our Fair Governor's tweets (on his "dark side" Scott Walker account) were a series of anti-Hillary Clinton posts like this

But then when the police officers got killed in Dallas, he writes this.

One problem Scotty. We have this thing called the Google, and you sure weren't calling for national unity after the deaths of cops in the past. Instead, you used it to make partisan swipes at our President, and lie in the process.

It's so transparent, and shows that Walker and other Teabaggers that control power don't really care about this awful violence as long as it doesn't touch them or their allies. And they certainly won't do shit to try to keep it from happening again, either in their tone of argument or in working to get bills passed that might SOLVE THE PROBLEM. That's why I feel such gloom with this, because it feels like our country's political system has been rigged so terribly in favor of the forces of evil, big money and a desire to maintain power over improve society. And unless this country votes en masse to install politicians that will demand this change, I don't see how it changes. With so many Americans trapped in their own Bubbles of self-interest and delusion, and a media that either won't give them the facts necessary for them to wake up, or worse, partisan media which lies and buries those facts in the name of propaganda and ratings, how does enough of a groundswell happen so this country can finally break out of the inertia that's crippling it?

The great Charlie Pierce had an article on the 4th of July (a holiday that seems long ago today, but was just 5 days back), and he used the words from the civil rights struggles from 50 years ago as an example of how the promise of the Declaration of Independence isn't something that stopped in 1776 but must be something that continues and requires eternal vigilance.
In 1963, in his great speech on the Mall in Washington, in that part of the speech that many people find it convenient to forget, Martin Luther King, Jr. looked over at the great hall of the National Archives and saw an old bill, still unpaid.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
A year later, on July 2, in the middle of the holiday weekend, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In doing so, he said, he was seeking to fulfill the unpaid debt that Dr. King said had come due at last.
One hundred and eighty-eight years ago this week a small band of valiant men began a long struggle for freedom. They pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor not only to found a nation, but to forge an ideal of freedom—not only for political independence, but for personal liberty—not only to eliminate foreign rule, but to establish the rule of justice in the affairs of men. That struggle was a turning point in our history. Today in far corners of distant continents, the ideals of those American patriots still shape the struggles of men who hunger for freedom. This is a proud triumph. Yet those who founded our country knew that freedom would be secure only if each generation fought to renew and enlarge its meaning.
So, here's to Marcy Otis Warren, and to Frederick Douglass, and to Susan B. and MLK and poor old LBJ, too, kickass women and kickass men who understood that we are children of Revolution, but that this Revolution was based on an enormous bluff that demands to be called by every American generation in its own way. And on this weekend, as we celebrate our independence with bright explosions across the night sky, take a moment and listen for the low rumbling of that land mine in history, detonating again and again, in a thousand places, like a heart that grows stronger with every beat.
We have innocent people of color being mowed down by bad cops, and good cops being mowed down by fuckheads with rapid-fire guns. These are real problems, and they require something beyond "thoughts and prayers" to figure out. The liberty of those individuals is gone, and much of the liberty and security that we as Americans have an inherent right to seems to be endanagered. And instead of expanding liberties such as the right to vote, or the right to be free from fear (one of our most dear freedoms as Franklin Roosevelt noted 75 years ago), we have politicians who rely on division, hate and repression.

They must go, or we go down the drain. It feels like there is no middle way.


  1. Well said. I'm feeling the same thing, trying to put it in words soon. When Ron Johnson said employers could refuse insurance for employees with cancer, it hit me; Walker and others don't solve problems, they carry out tax/spending cuts and reduce government. Pure ideology. Helping Americans, solving their problems, infringes on the freedoms of businesses. Still framing the ideas and concept though.

    1. I don't even think it's ideology, but that they rely on the chaos to use "divide and conquer", and get more votes from scared white guys on issues like guns and racism.

      This enables them to pass the tax cuts to their campaign contributors, which starts the cycle all over again. They don't care how many of their constituents are hurt in the process.

      It only stops when enough of us call out the inaction (and especially those politicians who fan the flames) and REMOVE the politicians who don't want to see this country get better.

  2. It all starts with overturning Citizens United imo

    1. Definitely it has a role. It's how the NRA can buy politicians, and how a few narrow interests grab power at the expense of the public good.

      Which results in non-responsive puppet politicians like Walker.

  3. Jake -- very eloquent post. You put into words what I am either too angry or too stunned (see any of James Rowen's posts on the WI DNR) to say myself.

    BTW I too am a longtime fan of Charlie Pierce. A national treasure.

    1. Thanks Peter. I can't give into despair, but I also hate that I have to rely on people to wake out of their comfortable stupors.

      And yes, Charlie Pierce is a treasure, and one of the few honest people left covering politics