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Showing posts with label Fundamentalist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fundamentalist. Show all posts

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Voting – Heart vs. Head - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

03.05.2016

Voting – Heart vs. Head

I went to my caucuses last Tuesday night. I showed up to vote for Hillary, and I did, as I said I would. I am proud to have done so, proud to be casting this vote for the person I expect will be the first woman to hold the office of the president.

The caucus site was disorganized. There were three different precincts voting at Jefferson Elementary, and there was not much clarity about where you were supposed to go. However, once I figured that out, matters proceeded in an orderly fashion.

I was expecting something different from what I experienced. I thought there would be a period to persuade and convince the other voters, but there was not.

I showed up; received my ballot, marked it and put it in a box. Many people left after that point. Fewer than one-hundred, of six-hundred stuck around. I did.

I listened to the organizers, tell us the rules of the caucus. They went over the agenda. We elected people to committees. I was elected as a delegate to the endorsing convention for DFL Senate District 61.

I listened as a number of ballot resolutions were introduced by various party activities. Most of the measures I supported. There were some that I was disinterested in. There was one that I spoke against. The measure I spoke against passed, and I was the only person opposed to it. It was a call for a constitutional amendment to reform campaign financing, the issue that was articulated seemed that it could be gotten too much sooner through the normal legislative process, or through the courts; than through the more onerous, and more dubious process of a constitutional amendment.

There was little, actual opposition, to any of the resolutions that were offered, though I sensed that there were real opposition that simply went unspoken.

Many of the resolutions had a “daydreaming” quality, “pie in the sky” realism.

It set me to thinking about some of the conversations I have had about my support for Hillary.
My precinct went for Bernie at a rate of about 4 to 1 (a little better). Minnesota went for Bernie in the final count. Here in my neighborhood, at my job, and among my friends I have definitely felt like I was in the minority.

When asked about my support; my response begins with this: “I have always supported Hillary Clinton. She is smart and capable, and will prove to be an effective manager of government.

“While I agree with the idealism that Bernie Sanders expresses, I do not believe that idealism and politics should mix.”

This seems counter-intuitive to most of the people I have spoken with.

There is a well-established, but uncritical norm; vote for the candidate you like, for the candidate you believe is right. Vote for the candidate that speaks to your heart, for the one that make you feel good.

The slogan of the sanders campaign is not: Understand the Bern, analyze it, asses it, and know it. The slogan is Feel the Bern.

 Feel it.

I am not suggesting that we should not feel good about our votes, but feelings are more easily moved than reason, more easily preyed upon, and more easily misdirected.

While the appeal to idealism may articulate the place we want our society to be, when that appeal is fueled by the power of emotions it does not leave any room to negotiate, or compromise with those on the other side of the table.

Idealism is too easily transformed into fundamentalism, the uncritical sense of empowerment based on the belief that you are right.

Fundamental-idealism is a powerful force. It can motivate a lot of people, but it also brings out an ugly and even violent aspect of our human nature. This is true wherever the arrow of your idealism is pointing.

I have heard a lot of my sisters and brothers on the left side of the political spectrum tell me:

If Bernie loses they will sit out the election.

They will never vote for Hillary.

Hillary is no different than a republican.

Republicans and democrats are the same, that’s why we need a socialist.

Hillary is evil and she must be stopped.

This is the place that fundamental-idealism brings us to in our politics. This is the power of the heart over the head.

We suffer the machinations of the fundamentalists on the other side of the spectrum all the time. They have taken over the republican party. Their idealism has led them to name corporations as people, to curtain the voting rights act, to fear the immigrant, to religious intolerance, and too many other atrocious principles to articulate.


Though I am predisposed to supporting the agenda from the left wing, tyranny can also flow from those good intentions, but it will only flow from that idealism if it uncritical and fundamentalistic.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Deal with Iran - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

01.23.2015

The Deal with Iran

The United States of America; our government did something good this week. We entered into a fundamentally new, and different relationship with the nation of Iran. Iran which has been our “enemy” for these past thirty-seven, the theocracy of Iran, Iran took our people hostage in 1979 and held them for four hundred and forty-four days, Iran who leaders refer to America as the Great Satan, Iran who we name as the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism, Iran whose people gather to shout in ritual “death to America” and “death to Israel” our ally; we struck a bargain with Iran, and we are keeping it.

The United States of America, together with the United Nations asked the Iranians to give up their program to develop atomic weapons. Their pursuit of those weapons had brought severe economic sanctions to the Iranian people, locking them out of trade and commerce, and locking us into a mode of antagonism with their government that to many observers seemed intractable.
In the United States Congress there was united opposition among republicans, together with some opposition among democrats, those office holders did not even want us to talk to Iran, let alone make a deal.

Our ally Israel lobbied vigorously against the deal once the structure was in place. Their prime minister came to America and spoke directly to congress urging them to oppose it, threatening unilateral military action against Iran, and cheered on by the bellicose right wing in our country.
Nevertheless, the wheels turned, diplomacy prevailed, the bargain was made, and the initial terms of the agreement were met by Iran, this week. Allowing the United States and all of those other nations who came with us to the bargaining table to announce an end to those sanctions, providing relief to the Iranian people, freeing billions of their assets, and creating a basis for future cooperation between them and us.

The first fruits of that new relationship came the first day, as the Iranians released a number of United States Citizens from prison, allowing them to return home, and we did the same for them. This exchange of prisoners was not formally built into the agreement on nuclear weapons, but most people believe that it was “baked in.”

What is best about this deal, as far as I am concerned is the prospect of having normal relations with Iran. “Normalizing” relations is a long term goal, no one our government will even use those words, but with these steps we are moving in that direction, whereas one year ago, we were still drifting apart.

This is what we should all hold in mind. Iran is Persia. All of the Iranians I have ever met refer to themselves as Persians. Persia is a civilization stretching back in time for thousands of years, they are cultured, they are modern, they have split the atom…of all of the nations in that region, they are our natural ally, more so than most of the Arab states, more so than the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose tribal societies are so corrupt they may as well be lawless.

The Islamic militants that we are struggling with in the Levant come from that lawless Arabian culture. There backward interpretations of the Qur’an come from the fundamentalist madrasas funded and operated, exported to the Muslim world by the House of Saud.

This is not to say that the Iranians are free from the coercive forces of rightwing militant fundamentalism, they are not, they are a theocracy. The United States is not free from the forces of rightwing militant fundamentalism, there are many in our country who believe we are a “Christian” nation, and that have a sacred obligation to wage war on the enemies of Israel (as they perceive them to be), or the enemies of Christ (as they perceive them to be), even though Jesus himself had no enemies.


What Iran does have, is a society and a culture that is thousands of years old, that is rooted in law, and order, and science and technology, which is something that our other, so-called allies in the region are not.