Archive for Politics

Whatever Happened to Free Speech?

This link will take you to a video of a student being dragged away, held down, and tasered for not shutting up when he was told to by Univeristy of Florida campus police. Only one person openly questioned the police’s actions and tried to help the student. The kid was a little bit obnoxious, but he wasn’t violent and he wasn’t dangerous. He had the same right to free speech that we all do. Or do we? What will you do when you find yourself watching a fellow citizen being tortured for speaking out?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE76LQwT6qA

Thank you to Ask-Steve for bringing this to my attention.

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What To Do?

A poster outside Green Park, London UKWhile in London recently, I had a conversation with a Muslim guy working in a mini-mart. I was clearly a tourist, on a quest for camera batteries, so he asked me where I was from. He hadn’t heard of Portland, Oregon so I told him it was above California. “Oh, you’re American then!” was his response. As with everyone I talked with after that, this revelation immediately initiated a conversation about George W. Bush. While he was glad George couldn’t run in the next election, he was dismayed that he’s being allowed to “destroy the world in the meantime.” He was aware that the American people aren’t happy with him and he thought Hillary might do a better job. The fact that a London mini-mart cashier knew more about American politics than most Americans was mortifying.

Civilizations rise and then they fall. Sight-seeing in London brought home for me how young America is, but also how precarious our place in the world is. I suggested to a friend that we’re the bratty teenager of the world, arrogant and inconsiderate. They countered that we’re more like the bratty two year old. We’re certainly willful and on the whole, ignorant. That part, I understand. My struggle lately is what to do about it?

I have yet to come across a pundit or a politician with a sensible plan. I see plenty of smokescreens and sirens but no solutions. How much preaching to the choir can we do before it’s all meaningless? I’ve reached the point where I need to DO something, something meaningful.

I’ve been checking out the moveon.org site lately to sign petitions but I’d like to hear some other ideas…

Today’s Head in the Sand – “An Inconvenient Truth” Proves to be, well, Inconvenient

truth.jpgI got a link this morning from Iggi pointing me to an article in the Washington Times about a school district that banned Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” I followed the link and was somewhat horrified to discover that the school district is Federal Way, Washington, my own former stomping ground!

From the article,

Frosty E. Hardison has made things a little chilly for Al Gore: The father of seven had Mr. Gore’s global warming film “An Inconvenient Truth” banned from his local public schools.

“Al Gore’s video has no place in my kids’ public school classroom any more than condoms,” Mr. Hardison told The Washington Times yesterday. “It is nothing more than an opportunity for him to grandstand and take more potshots at the Republicans for repeating his own error — of not doing enough. … Al Gore is not about finding solutions to the problem. Al Gore is all about getting his party re-elected.”

Federal Way is a suburb ensconced between Seattle and Tacoma. Most of the kids I went to school with had parents who were engineers at Boeing. At least, that was the case in my science and math classes. Perhaps the demographics have changed in the last 15-20 years, because it’s hard to imagine those people tolerating this nonsense. The school district banned the film until such a time as an opposing viewpoint is available. That’s like saying they’re not going to allow kids to watch “Eyes on the Prize” (a great PBS documentary about the civil rights movement) unless the kids also watch videos put out by the Aryan Nation!

I find it interesting that Mr. Hardison equates showing that film in school with allowing condoms in school. Apparently, if you don’t accept that something is happening, then it doesn’t exist. What does sex ed have to do with global warming? I would say that it’s all a part of the religious right’s campaign against science and reason. We’re supposed to be good shepherds of this earth. Science has the ability to help us do that. Sticking our heads in the sand so big oil and industry can take us up our collective asses is hardly likely to get us into heaven. But, it’s a good way to bring hell on earth.