Posts Tagged ‘patriotism’

Ongoing Opposition and Alternative Voices

May 6, 2013

Announcing the Green Shadow Cabinet … intended to provide an ongoing opposition and alternative voice to the dysfunctional government in Washington D.C. It includes nearly 100 prominent scientists, community and labor leaders, physicians, cultural workers, veterans, and others. As with shadow cabinets in other countries, the Green Shadow Cabinet of the United States plans to respond to statements and actions of the existing U.S. government, and hopes to demonstrate that another government of these United States is possible, practical, and beneficial. The Cabinet is currently led by the 2012 Green Party presidential nominees: Dr. Jill Stein, and Ms. Cheri Honkala. It is explicitly not a project of any political party, however, and invites participation by all who support sensible government politics and policies.

This may not be the first instance of such an idea, but it’s the first one I’ve ever heard of, and it’s a great one.

Now there stands a real possibility that some or all of the bought-and-paid for, short-sighted, small-minded, self-serving, and wrong-headed statements and decisions by the “official” U.S. government can be seen in the light of smarter, better ideas and policies put forth by experts and specialists who have a larger view and a predilection for helping the vast majority of Americans rather than the wealthy and privileged few.

Here’s a link to a list of current Shadow Cabinet members:

Here’s a link to some early statements by Shadow Cabinet members:

Here’s a link to where you can sign up for the Shadow Cabinet’s electronic newsletter:

Here’s a link to where you can donate to support the Shadow Cabinet:

Fortunately, contributions are not tax-deductible. If they were, and if the Shadow Cabinet were to obey the tax laws, it would be barred from trying to influence government policies or elections. Plenty of right wing organizations and religious organizations claim their tax deductibility, but go right ahead and lobby, advertise, and otherwise try to peddle their influence. At least the Green Shadow Government is starting from a position of honesty.

With thanks to Winston Churchill: This Shadow Cabinet may not be the be-all and end-all of efforts to reform and revitalize our broken U.S. government. It may not even be the beginning of finding the be-all and end-all of such an effort. But it may be the end of the beginning!


The Cat’s Out Of The Bag

February 17, 2009

Now that we’ve got (we hope) law-abiding adults back in charge of our federal government, there are so many urgent and important issues deserving of public scrutiny, debate, and decision that it’s difficult to put them in priority order. Nevertheless, I’m going to try and focus on some of the bigger ones first.

Today: the question of patriotism and loyal opposition.

As you probably know, one of the big Republican/Conservative slogans during the run up to last November’s Presidential election was “Country First!” Partly intended as short-hand for the “If you don’t like the way we run things here, why don’t you go back where you came from?” sentiment that was so popular during the Nixon Administration, “Country First!” has an explicit meaning that’s difficult to mistake. Simply put, it says: “I put the welfare of my nation ahead of my own selfish interests.”

That’s a sentiment every American can appreciate and applaud.

But when used to disguise a selfish attitude, the slogan and the person spouting it are both despicable.

That’s what we’ve got with one of the country’s leading Republican/Conservative voices, Rush Limbaugh, and with all the ditto-heads who follow him, when he openly admits “I hope Obama fails.”

That’s treason, pure and simple.

He’s not saying he hopes Obama loses an election. He’s saying he hopes Obama’s policies do not work out well for the country. And his reasoning is explicit: If Obama helps Americans weather this economic storm, Democratic (not Republican/Conservative) party candidates will be rewarded with votes and election success for decades to come.

As bad a President as Bush was, I never heard anyone hope we’d lose the war in Iraq (although Republicans/Conservatives accused Liberals of that sentiment at every opportunity). I never heard anyone hope that terrorists would succeed in striking America again and killing another 3,000 innocents, or more. I never heard anyone hope that Bush’s policies would produce massive deficits, or that FEMA would be unable to rebuild New Orleans, or even that violating Americans’ basic civil liberties would fail to produce useful information. No. The Left argued that Bush’s policies and practices were wrong-headed, or criminal, or ineffective. But no one hoped they would produce extra misery for Americans to experience.

That’s a horse of a different color.

And it’s not a one-time thing. Back in 1993, David Gergen famously wrote a memo explaining to Republicans/Conservatives that they ought to oppose President Clinton’s health care reform initiative — not because it was a bad idea — but because if it improved health care for millions of Americans, the resulting happy voters would keep the Democratic Party in power far longer than if health care remained as problematic as it was — as it still is.

For their own reasons, we can see, Republicans/Conservatives root for misery, for problems, for ineffective government. That’s the opposite of what I want from a political party. How about you?

Politics is a subtle business, and it’s not always obvious who’s your friend and who’s not. So when you get a clear sign that someone is out to put a knife in your back, it’s smart to pay attention and remember what they’re up to the next time they smile and throw an arm around your shoulders.

In my view, the Republicans/Conversatives have more than obviously revealed their major agenda: grab power, even if you have to lie to the American people to get it, and then use that power not only to enrich the few at the expense of the many, but to turn the clock backwards on science, on peace-making, and on social progress.

Now that this cat is out of the bag, it seems to me, anyone who considers Republicans/Conservatives to be ordinary, patriotic Americans who simply hold a few different beliefs and values is asking for that knife in the back.