Oct 17, 2008

A Blog Reply: Oh man, here we go ...

My good (e-) friend Mottel posted an interesting blog post that sort of devolved, in my opinion, as it went along regarding his beliefs about the current political state and Barack Obama and the election and the Left. I had waited two days to read his words, knowing that he was working intently on it. I was originally going to post my comments in his comments, but I think -- to get more people involved and perhaps liven the discussion -- I would post my comments here, in the form of a Reply to his Blog Post over at Letters of Thought . Please, comment here, comment there, let me know what you think. And, we begin.

Mottel, in response to "Four Reasons Why Liberals Scare the hell Out of Me:" 

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, I think where you and I differ intensely is on whether the ENDS justify the MEANS. I'm referring to Iraq here and even though Hussein was a bad, bad man, I don't know that our efforts, ditching Afghanistan (which has become more violent), and the wounding of 30,702 U.S. men and women. And your number is off, the U.S. death toll is at 4,185. This doesn't include the tens of thousands of Iraqis that have died, either, not to mention the forces from other countries -- the U.K. and otherwise. And what do we have to show for it? The country is unstable, not to mention that Afghanistan is equally unstable. Democracy is a facade there. I support the troops -- I know several who have served during the senseless violence. I do not, however, support the government that drove them unnecessarily into harms way to serve a selfish, idealistic purpose of democratizing the world. It was necessary to remove Saddam, but this was not, I repeat NOT, the way to do it.

Secondly, Barack Obama has associated with many of these "questionable" individuals becuase they're his neighbors. Barack lives in an affluent area of South Chicago near the University of Chicago near the Farakahn compound. He also lives just down the street from a professor I formerly worked for who I think is a vile individual and they are friends, this professor even supported publicly Obama's education package, but I'm not judging their friendly association. Why? Because about 90 percent of the time we can't help who we "associate" with -- be it on school boards or public councils (cough, Ayers, cough) or otherwise. I'm sure there are individuals in my past -- and your's -- who you'd like to dissociate with, but unfortunately you can't. If the spotlight were put on you, would there be a questionable friendship? A curious encounter? An uncomfortable association?

You also fail to mention that of all members, John McCain has missed the most votes -- 64.1 percent to be precise -- compared to Barack's 46.3 percent. McCain has missed more votes than Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), who, might I add, had a brain hemorrhage. What's McCain's excuse, eh?

Your claim that the "Great Schlep" resembles Nazi propoganda makes me horribly uncomfortable. I'm familiar with Nazi propoganda -- in print, reel, and radio forms and I don't see the connection at all. In fact, I think that's prett outlandish. Please elaborate if you will.

As for global warming? Feh. It's a problem, and it'll affect our children's children more than it will affect us, for sure. I'm doing my part and that's really all I can do at this point. I don't really have an opinion on it, but I think the Democratic party has more of a handle and is pushing more of an effort than the Republicans who essentially don't think anything is wrong at all (and anyone who says there isn't *something* going on is naive).

My comments are too lengthy already, but I just have to say that I can't see how someone -- particularly someone religious -- can be okay with the idea of the Evangelical support of Israel. Sure, they're all excited and throw money at Israeli causes and fight for the state, but their MOTIVES are scary, frightening and unnerving. The point, Mottel, is that they want to get all the Jews to Israel, to protect it, so their Messiah will come and the rest of us will go to hell. Now, you can't tell me that that is sane or okay or remotely worth supporting from our end. If your'e taking "the good where you can find it" from that, then I don't know what to say.

And lastly, your comment "the Left is the biggest group of the most foul and disgusting racists in the world" completely contradicts your "I do not dare to stoop down to name calling" comment in the Obama portion of your thoughts. I find offensive because, well, I am in that lump that you've created called "the Left." Unfortunately for you, I'm not a racist and I know few racists outside of my parent's generation, but they were raised (and are Republicans like yourself) to loathe blacks and Asians because of their role in the 20th century. I think that up until your last point you were doing a pretty good job of maintaining your cool, creating valid and interesting points that elaborated your sentiments about the current political situation and election 2008.

But after that?

Well, this comment proves that you are no better than those yelling "terrorist" and "treason" at Palin and McCain rallies. People who maintain a small-minded approach and define themselves by what they are not, rather than by their convictions and beliefs. You'll note that I'm not name calling here, unlike what you did in your post, but I am rather stating my take on your assessment.

And now, a bit about my perspective: 
Listen, I didn't grow up in L.A. and I don't live in New York -- two places I know you are very familiar with. I grew up in Joplin, Missouri, in the Bible belt where I didn't encounter a black classmate until 5th grade. Everyone was white. Everyone. I then moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where I spent my teen years and college years. Once again, very much a Republican state with traditional Christian, hard-working American values. I understand what Middle America is like, and I understand the values that these people cling to (though, how such right-wing, devoutly Christian states produced a Jew like me, we'll never know). I know that Sarah Palin talking in her "regular people" speak is offensive to me -- even being someone who says things like "crick" and "ruf" and whose father says things like "warsher" and "Warshington." These people are simple, but they're not stupid. The videos of people at Palin and McCain rallies who spout things about Obama as a Muslim and how he smokes and is a terrorist and bad man are ignorant, and those aren't my people. When the campaigning first started, my mom sent me an email forward about Barack Obama being a devout Muslim who wanted to declare Jihad on the U.S. I read the entire email, did some research, and sent my mom an email with the facts. Her response? She was shocked at the fallacies floating around.

The problem? These people don't get the facts because they're constantly thrown generalizations and soundbytes and see these people at these rallies shouting obscene and vile things.

I admire John McCain for his efforts, for his risks and his incredible life serving this country. And I admire Sarah Palin for shooting for the stars and for trying to relate to the regular "Joe Sixpack." But that isn't enough.

Listen, these lower-middle-class people are my people. I grew up with kids who wore Carhart jackets to class and steel-toed boots in the blazing humidity of summer. I watched kids go to work on their parents farms on the weekend and people who spent every Sunday in church. I know how these people think, and I know that they're not stupid. I also know that the American they envision is not the American that we have today, it's not the "Old-White-Guy" America. It's something more beautiful and more alive, something very American and traditional, yes. It's about jobs and family and religion and food and friendships and peace and fighting for this countries core values that I just mentioned.

Anyhow, that's my two cents.


SusQHB said...

Well thought out. I'm preparing my own election blog post describing how underwhelmed I am by both candidates. I'm just not feelin' it.

Leora said...

Chaviva, I admire you for writing this post without name-calling. Seems so hard for either side to do in this election!

Just want to call you on one teeny tiny one:
"and anyone who says there isn't *something* going on is naive"
So am I naive? I like to think of myself as skeptical and inquisitive, as many of the programs proposed to combat global-warming, if it can be combated, would cost A LOT of money.

chaviva said...

Leora: I don't think stating that individuals might be naive is name-calling, though I suppose it does contain a negative connotation nowadays. I guess what I meant by that statement is that anyone who would deny that the way we live in re: to the environment -- our landfills, our mass use and production, dumping oil, litter, etc. -- affects the world around us is living blindly. I mean, we learn at a very early age not to litter, right? That the garbage we place on the sidewalk will end up littering the streets and affecting the beauty and health of our environment, right? I don't think you'd deny that.

Mottel said...

Thanks for taking the time to read my inane rantings . . . In general the longer I write, the less interested I get, hence the weaker ending.
In general I would like to point out how nice it is that people can maintain a civil and friendly relationship whilst differing on various matters . . . Somebody told me that it seemed wrong to post what I did, as it creates discord amongst the Jewish people - I disagree. By being proud of who we are and our opinions we create true diversity . . . we don't try to meld each other into our own images, but rather respect each other for what makes us unique . . . Even if we know the other guy is dead wrong :-)

Anyhow, on to my rebuttal.
Firstly I fixed the number, thank you for your correction. You are right that the war was mismanaged -things could have been done better, but I don't think that it makes it entirely wrong . . .
I'm surprised that you consider Democracy to be selfish! All means of government are flawed, due to the very fact that they are made by man, who is by his very nature flawed (here is where you can ignore English grammar and, perhaps properly say, had they been made by women . . . .), but Democracy is the best thing we've got going! Removing Facism from Germany was of great importance, so was, albeit by a different means, removing Communism from Russia -had things been done properly then perhaps the bloodshed in places like Cambodia could have been stopped! How would Saddam have been removed otherwise? I am no prophet, but had things been left otherwise, he may have faded out over time . . . and directly into far more frightening Iranian hands! (You didn't mention your opinion on the Iran Issue -one that is far more important to me)

There is a difference from being around other people, and associating with them! Someone who is offensive I make an effort to stay away from -I may live near a wacko, but I wouldn't go to his house, I wouldn't hold parties there, nor invite him to mine -that is where the problem lies, and saying I didn't mean it doesn't work.
-John McCain's career extends over a much greater period of time, so to compare numbers from years ago today is questionable . . . I'll have to do more research into which issues were dropped etc. The Great Schlep? Blaming Jews for Issues is scary, is Naziesque in my mind -it may have been over stated, but it is still problematic. Telling your grandparents that you won't visit if they don't vote Barack is not funny -it's cruel and frankly un-democratic. Look at Jacky Mason's response.

Global Warming is not the issue it is made to be -there is preponderance of evidence to at the very least suggest that we do not understand what is going on.

Evangelicals aren't my best friends, but again, I use them for the good they offer while remaining cautious of the rest . . . they beat out people that support Hamas any day.

My comment about the left was meant to be ironic . . . perhaps it was not made clear enough . .. I'll have to fix it after shabbos.
Which leads me to conclude . . . Good shabbos to us all Right Wing gun nut and tree hugging lefty alike

chaviva said...

Mottel: There were chances to remove Saddam, they've been well documented. We've removed other leaders without leading bloody wars, if I'm not mistaken. It can be done.

As for McCain, that percentage is just from this session ... once again, he's missed more votes than a guy with a brain hemorrhage. Please, let me know what you have to say about that.

The "Great Schlep" video doesn't blame anyone for anything. Mason's response is, to be honest, embarassing for him. It shows how out of touch he is, and it was a rushed video and the creators just wanted a rebuttal with an older Jewish figure. You can read a variety of sources on the internet who say his video did more to hurt than to help the situation. And if you take the video that seriously -- that people will not visit their grandparents? I mean, really. Come on, you're being WAY too serious about it.

It's unfortunate that your comment didn't come across as ironic at all ... though I don't even know that ironic is the appropriate word you're looking for (so sayeth the copy editor within). It was just offensive.

As for Iran? Captain "There was no Holocaust" makes me uncomfortable, yes. At the same time, I firmly believe in the State of Israel and its abilities as a defense force -- it is the most powerful, well-trained military in the world. Saddam wouldn't have been any help to Iran -- at the point in his career, he was more or less a washed up dictator with a history of genocide. Maybe I'm being far too nonchalant about it, just maybe. I do worry about their weapons, of course. Who wouldn't? But you know my stance about talks with Iran. You know that I don't agree with your blood over words philosophy on the crazies. It isn't that I think they can be negotiated with, necessarily. But I also know that if we are supposedly living in an evolved, intelligent society, there should be better, more efficient ways than blowing the hell out of people because of their warped views on the world. If we went around killing everyone who said the Holocaust didn't happen, we'd be killing a boatload of Germans who can't seem to cope with the 1940s. Should we do that, too?

I don't know. We differ, and that's obvious. I'm voting Obama, you're going McCain. Politics aren't perfect, nowhere near it, and they definitely create divisiveness between friends (like us), which is too bad.

Luckily, I like you too much to hate your guts :P And that, well, it makes me glad for us.

Nemo said...

Um, I may be stating the obvious, but weren't both McCain and Obama running around campaigning for the last congressional session? Doesn't that make it a little hard to vote ...

Is there a difference between "abstaining" and simply missing a vote?

Schvach said...

Like, hey, I wear a Carhart jacket and work boots, and I live in the Bible Belt, although I grew up in NY
attending the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the NY Philharmonic. People are people - we're all pretty much the same. Most I avoid. As for the election - I'm just not into it; I don't see much of a distiction. They're both ambitious, they both demand success, and I doubt either one will make a difference.

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