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Exports and Imports

While the economy is still struggling, the United States is successfully exporting democratic ideals, and motivating citizens in oppressed countries to stand up to their oppressive governments and secure a measure of liberty and stability they have not yet known.  Unfortunately, via our capitalist and conservative political spheres, the United States is also importing authoritarian oppression at a fast pace, too.

In Tunisia, a republican movement of citizens and disenfranchised people voted with their feet and their hearts, toppling a dictator.  In Egypt, kindergarteners, children, adolescents, young adults, older adults and mature citizens gathered in peaceful protest, filling Tahrir Square in Cairo and in other cities, and pushed “President” Hosni Mubarak off their necks.  In Libya, Iran, Bahrain and Yemen, government of the people is becoming a popular refrain, where citizens fatigued with oppressive and corrupt regimes choose to lay down their lives by standing up for their rights to receive their due.  Democracy, it seems, is being exported.

Here in the United States, however, Republicans with a capital R seem to believe that the rights and responsibilities that citizens across the globe are exercising are “UnAmerican”.  In Wisconsin, public employees are being denied by the elected Republican governor and legislature their right to assemble (collective bargaining) and their right to petition for the redress of grievances.  Governor Walker has exaggerated a budget deficit in order to nullify their contract, and at the same time attempted to quell the voices of the workers by stripping them of the right to bargain collectively.

Much like the thugs hired by the Egyptian president, who stole US State Department vehicles in order to attack the peaceful revolutionaries in Tahrir Square, Governor Walker’s associates have bussed in thousands of actors, disguised as concerned citizens of the Tea Party Movement, to berate, confuse and antagonize the protestors (read: teachers, nurses, etc.) in Wisconsin.

The parallels – large numbers of economically challenged lower and middle class workers struggling peacefully to receive their just due from economically advantaged politicians and political actors – between the exported democratic ideals and the imported authoritarian oppression are clear and striking.

It’s important to realize, then, that in order to continue espousing our democratic ideals and speaking about the rights of the people, we must fight here in the United States to insure that they are not usurped by people whose priorities are money before people.

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” – Thomas Paine, 1777

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I hate THEM, Vote for me

All politics are local, which means that there are two contests right now being contested that I have to take an interest in.  The battle for the executive office in California is being framed as the good white folk against those dirty illegal Mexicans (much like the Senate race in Missouri). With a snide smile hiding his fangs, Candidate Steve Poizner is running ads against Candidate Meg Whitman for the Republican nomination which focus solely on “services for illegals” and “just like Obama” and Governor Schwartzenegger, swinging at immigrants, women, brown and black people all in one fell swoop.  There are no positives in the ad except for the question, “Don’t we deserve a Republican?”

The Face of Hate

These politics of division were most recently on display in Virginia, when Governor Bob McDonnell officially forgot there were black people in that state during the Civil War.  And in his desperation to pick up the Orange County vote, Poizner is hating loudly and often, hoping that he will gin up enough anger to get those white hands to the voting booth.  Our state, though, cannot afford his divide and conquer attacks.  Like Carly Fiorina, who is trying to lie her way into the Senate seat for California currently held by Barbara Boxer, Poizner is doing his best to change his political dress by following John McCain into the Tea Party right wing.

Poizner hates THEM.  Unfortunately for him, there are more of us THEM than there are of him.  While I’m not crazy about Meg Whitman buying the Governor’s mansion, I’m staunchly opposed to the “subtly” racist, hyper-xenophobic and oppressive campaign that Steve Poizner is running.  It doesn’t bode well for how he’d govern.

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