Progressive Programmer

Progressive Politics or idle geek banter. What's on my mind when I'm irked, intrigued, bored or up too late.

Location: Michigan, United States


'ism's, in my opinion, are not good

I did have a test today. That wasn't bullshit. It was on European Socialism. After all, I'm not European. I don't plan on being European. So who gives a crap if they're socialists? They could be fascist anarchists and it still wouldn't change the fact that I don't own a car. Not that I condone fascism, or any 'ism' for that matter. 'ism's, in my opinion, are not good. - Ferris Bueller

Ferris has a point. If we're not one of the people practicing a certain philosophy, then why should we care? But, when that philosophy rises to power and attempts to remake society in its image, much to the detriment of all of those not practicing the philosophy, even impugning and demeaning those that refuse to, we must care.

George W. Bush has several 'ism' problems.

This is the one we all agree on. Terrorism is a serious threat to the safety of our nation and our way of life. But not only because we could all be killed by someone that infiltrates our borders to do us harm, or strikes us while we are abroad. Also because terrorism can be used as a rallying cry by our leaders, and as a distraction from their less-obvious policies.

Bush uses terrorism as a hammer. He uses it as a blunt excuse to ram policy down our throat. He used it to push us into an unnecessary war for phantom reasons that continue to evolve. He invokes its name--and related phrases like "9/11" and "national security"--as though he gets points for doing so.

But he does get points. In some ways, terrorism got Bush reelected. Bush/Cheney was able to turn terrorism into a single-issue vote-getter. Tell the voter that a vote for the other guy will mean that a terrorist will kill them. You'll be surprised how many votes you can pull in. No matter that you didn't push through a single policy that actually helps the Americans you are trying to scare.

Bush has recently come out for the cause of "Intelligent Design". This is the most recent mask put on the theory of Creationism. The theory states that life exhibits complexity that is so vast, certain types of organic formations preclude the possibility of evolution, and therefore lend themselves as evidence of "design".

It is as though they went to Calculus II and realized that Calculus II was so difficult for them to comprehend, that, surely, an invisible being of incredible intelligence must have invented it.

True. Two dead guys. Newton and Leibnitz. Both are currently invisible but were quite intelligent.

I believe in God. Most humans believe in a god of some form. But the problem with creationism is not that it hints at a God (without actually mentioning the Judeo-Christian version by name). It is that it ignores science. It disregards thousands of studies and thousands of scientists and lays its own unprovable theory atop their work. It dares science to prove a negative. Its "respected" proponents number in the single digits.

Bush coming out to say that he thinks both the ID theory and Evolution should be taught together, as though they are both "theories"--on equal planes of plausibility--is bad for science. To make this point, one can investigate the Invisible Pink Unicorn or the Pastafarians of Flying Spaghetti Monsterism for reasoning on the foolishness of such an assertion.

Bush and his ilk already avoid or ignore vast areas of science. Economic theory. Global warming. The affects of arsenic and mercury. Even sociology is a foreign textbook to his Administration. Imposing faith in the face of science insults us all, whether we share the faith or not.

I think this has always been there, but the aftermath of hurricane Katrina has brought it back to the forefront of our national discourse. I wrote:
New Orleans, as much as any city, represents distinctly American Culture. A melting-pot of language, music and revelry unlike any other. But it is desperately poor. Over 50% of the children in the state live below the poverty level. But no matter. Mostly black folk down there. They shouldn't have lived there in the first place. They should have gotten out while they had the chance. It's their own fault.

Many Republicans have stated crassly that those that "chose to ignore" mandatory evacuations as Katrina approached were themselves to blame for their plight. This is a one-two punch of racism and elitism. None of them can fathom the concept of not being able to gas up and leave town at the drop of a hat. They don't understand that people can't, won't, or even FEAR to leave their own homes. But this Katrina victim-blaming is such a perfect example of racism mingling with the Republican "I got mine you shoulda got yours" mindset its almost painful to think about.

Bush's brother Jeb, in Florida, helped purge thousands of felons, mostly-black, from the voter rolls in his state leading up to the 2000 election. The problem was that the list was so erroneous that thousands of innocent people, and thousands more that had their rights reinstated prior to moving to Florida (and thus had the right to vote without question) were also purged. The purge was allowed to stand even after Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush were made aware of these errors.

Had these black voters been allowed to cast their ballots... well, suffice to say that differences would abound, but we are where we are.

I would wager one guess, though. That Al Gore would have been willing to meet with the NAACP both before AND after he was elected. Not Georgie. He has to be just racist enough to get elected, and just considerate enough to appoint minorities to high posts in his cabinet. But those appointments have more to do with another 'ism' than they have to do with refuting this one.

"Some call you the elite. I call you my base", Bush once said. White tie around his neck. Polished silver on tablecloths. Raised dining platform. He was speaking to a room of similarly-dressed men and finely-dressed women. How right he is.

Bush's brand of economics favors the wealthy and then leaves the Republican mindset to the rest. After all, if rich people got rich, why can't everyone else? I got mine you shoulda got yours.

For Bush, he was born into it. He didn't do a damned thing his entire life except abandon the National Guard, run off to college and fail upwards. It never mattered to him whether he did well or not. He didn't need to. Daddy, and Daddy's friends, would bail his ass out. And they did.

But Bush's policies don't make it easier for everyone else to get rich, they make it impossible for the wealthy to ever stop being rich. Repealling the pejorative 'death tax'" is not going to help ease the poverty in New Orleans or anywhere else. But to Bush that doesn't matter. His priorities are what they are.

Once you're rich, Bush will give you a hand. Until then, I got mine you shoulda got yours.

Many have been pointing to the World Bank, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Ambassador to Iraq, and others in the Bush Administration as evidence of cronyism gone haywire. But not until Arabian Horse Lawyer Michael Brown was forced to step back from his duties (but not resign) as head of FEMA 10 days into the tragically-bungled Katrina aftermath did Bush seem to flinch to any criticism.

But, Bush doesn't understand a world where cronyism is a detriment. He has never been on the losing end of a cronyism transaction. Because of his elite upbringing, the only cronyism he ever encountered benefited him. He never lost a job to a lesser-qualified candidate. He was the lesser-qualified candidate.

This is a problem for the rest of us, as many of us have been screaming, because cronyism favors the less-favorable. It favors the unqualified. The familiar over the capable.

Did Condoleezza Rice deserve to be Secretary of State after her lies and half-truths? Why is Alberto Gonzalez our attorney fucking general, when he penned the arguments for torturous tactics and called binding treaties quaint? Does Rumsfeld deserve to stay after deliberately slimming the army or getting bogged down in Iraq (not to mention agreeing to the torture strategy blessed by Gonzalez!)?

Bush likes to have his friends all around him. The more loyal the better. If you are loyal to Bush, you can not be fired. Only those that betray him are dismissed or even admonished. No matter whether you are responsible for thousands of lost lives or you hump his mother's leg, so long as you keep your mouth shut about all the no-good Bush is up to (and how incapable Bush himself really is) you will be fine, and you will be promoted. Bush has always failed upwards, and he's just passing along the mojo.

It is this 'ism' I fear most. This is the 'ism' that I think Bush dreams of. Being elected is "hard work" for Bush. It is a nuisance. He looks down on the voters, and frankly can't relate to them. It would be a lot easier for him to be in a dictatorship, so long as he's the dictator. Isn't that sweet.

fascism: A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

Let's see here. Centralization of authority: check. Under a dictator: still wishing. Stringent socioeconomic controls: check and check and check and check. Suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship: check, check and, super-recently, check. Belligerent nationalism: check check. Racism: check.

Not all 'ism's are bad. Prisms are nice. Organisms are good. I'm fond of Liberalism. But Bush's 'ism's are harming America. Not just in terms of policy, but in rhetoric. Those that ardently support Bush are forgetting much of what I still believe America stands for. And those that follow him blindly are pushing away from America. Pushing towards the scariest 'ism' of all.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


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