What I bring with me into the voting booth tomorrow


Thoughts one day before the election:

Months ago, I committed to voting for Hillary because of the unique threat Trump poses. I’ve been vocal about my decision to vote for Hillary and have written about why it is important to stop Trump and have asked others to vote for Hillary as well. I have also asked for tolerance and understanding for the myriad experiences taking place during this election cycle. I have tried to offer perspective on why it is difficult for many to vote for Hillary even under these extreme circumstances and those like myself who will vote for her, but for whom it is a deep and oftentimes painful and confusing struggle. I had hoped that as a liberal reaching out to other liberals, I would be met with some measure of understanding. In some instances that has happened. Unfortunately, in far too many, it has not.

Hillary is not as dangerous as Trump. I believe that with utmost certainty. That is why I chose to vote for her. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that in this final week, I have been on the receiving end of and have witnessed much that has forced me to second-guess that decision to vote for her, that has made that personal struggle even more intense.

Yes, Hillary is not as bad as Trump. However, I have found that far too many Hillary-supporters are as dangerous in my mind as your average Trump-supporter. The level of intolerance and shaming I have seen has left me feeling that the divide between conservatives and liberals isn’t as wide as we might think or believe, that we are all susceptible to being both manipulated and instigated by fear. Even though I am voting for Clinton, I have still been called “selfish” and “irresponsible” for trying to express and share with others why that decision is such a difficult one; to offer perspective for those out there struggling to understand why and how this decision could be fraught, could be immensely challenging, even painful.

This has come from people who believe they speak for and represent the party of inclusiveness, empathy, open-mindedness, equality, freedom of speech and choice, and are fighting for the “common good.” I have witnessed a level of hate and intolerance and bullying that has left me spinning. In addition to the names that I have been called, in addition to the immense intolerance I have been shown by so very many, I have also watched women attacking other women for expressing their difficulties in voting for Hillary, for having a different perspective or a different struggle. I have seen groups of women calling other women “twats” and claiming that those women don’t even have a right to be called “women.” To me, this is incredibly destructive, it is the antithesis of empowerment. It is most certainly not inclusive or compassionate. And it certainly isn’t working toward any “common good.” The phenomenon or “trend” I am witnessing, of fear and anxiety manifesting as intolerance and discrimination and taking the form of browbeating and hostility, feels like a rampant response that has only escalated as election day approaches. Hate and intolerance doesn’t lead Democrats to a different place than it does Republicans. It’s the same road.  Continue reading “What I bring with me into the voting booth tomorrow”

What I bring with me into the voting booth tomorrow

A Challenge to Democrats to be more Democratic

gavel and the US Flag

One of the more unfortunate accusations that I’ve been hearing lately is that Bernie Sanders supporters are tearing apart the Democratic Party. That Sanders needs to “back down” so we can unite. But Sanders supporters are fighting for the Democratic party to be more democratic. The media and others, however, have done a bang-up job framing real political challenges from the people (which Sanders represents) as “selfish” and “hurtful.” And a good number of Democrats are taking up those pitchforks and torches and joining the chorus without truly understanding what it is they are attempting to self-righteously snuff out.

John Nichols’ article in The Nation, A Contested Convention Is Exactly What the Democratic Party Needs, (an article widely forwarded by Bill Moyers) speaks directly to why it is so very crucial to continue to challenge not just Hillary Clinton, but the entire Democratic Party. THIS is what Democracy is all about! This is our job description! But so many people have lost sight of that – or never really knew what they could or should do beyond just casting a vote – or what the Democratic Party used to be, its history, and so they don’t recognize what it has the potential to do right now. Hillary might be the nominee in the end (though that’s STILL not a guarantee), but there’s more to be done and more to be gained by continuing to challenge her and those she surrounds herself with. At the very least to the Convention. Hopefully, a lot farther.

John Nichols:

“Prospective nominees tend to favor weaker platforms; Harry Truman would have preferred milder civil-rights commitments than were made in his party’s 1948 platform, and it took steady pressure from unions, liberals and Ted Kennedy to get Jimmy Carter to finally embrace spending on jobs programs. It will take similar pressure to get Clinton and her inner circle to accept a Democratic platform that Sanders says must include “a $15-an-hour minimum wage, an end to our disastrous trade policies, a Medicare-for-all health-care system, breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking in our country, making public colleges and universities tuition-free, and passing a carbon tax so we can effectively address the planetary crisis of climate change.” Clinton stalwarts may want to keep things vague, but look for the Sanders team to demand specifics, such as an explicit endorsement of a national $15 minimum wage instead of the $12 proposal that Clinton initially offered, and an unequivocal rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that President Obama supports and that Clinton once championed but now criticizes.”

Continue reading “A Challenge to Democrats to be more Democratic”

A Challenge to Democrats to be more Democratic

Bless the Brits: MASTERS OF CINEMA Calls it Like It Is

Bless the Brits.

Here in the States, we seem to pride ourselves on our right to be ignorant. But the British MASTERS OF CINEMA series of DVD and Blu-ray releases, like THE CRITERION COLLECTION here in the U.S., cares about the integrity of the work it puts out there. MOC takes it to the next level, however.

In reading through the booklet that came with the region-free Blu-ray of Murnau’s CITY GIRL, I came across the following page:

City Girl inside coverThat’s right. I am clearly not the only one who finds it intolerable and unacceptable when people dramatically alter the intended experience of art that so many people worked so diligently, creatively, skillfully and proudly to create. I’ve literally gotten into heated arguments with friends and family who pride themselves in simply not giving a shit.

Walk into any restaurant, bar, coffee shop, etc. with a TV on (and they ALL seem to have TV’s these days, which I find egregious, but that’s another story), and you will see images that are stretched or squeezed by folks who could either care less or, worse, don’t even seem to notice! For me, it’s more than a pet peeve. It’s a spotlight on an attitude toward art and creativity that I think puts this country culturally and educationally behind many others.

It’s also the language that MOC chose to use that brings such a joyous grin to my face: “The above images are a distortion and corruption of the original artwork, which travesty the integrity of both the human form and cinematographic space.” 

MOC doesn’t stop there, however. The bottom of the page adds a SPECIAL NOTE addressing the horrific use and overuse of “motion-smoothing” which many, if not most, HD TVs now have as their default setting. I have been preaching for years now against the atrocities of this technology that makes everything look like it was shot using a soap opera video camera. Yes, motion smoothing (aka frame interpolation), too, is both a corruption and a travesty. Even if you don’t care. Ignorance or apathy do not make good arguments in favor of anything.

Once you grossly distort an image, you are no longer experiencing the work as it was intended, therefore it no longer reflects the creativity, artistry and, possibly most importantly, the humanity that was shared and expressed via the artist or artists behind the work. You are, in essence, removing the storytellers from the storytelling. What you are left with, in such a case, is something that is false, a poor imitation prone to misinterpretation.

So thank you to MASTERS OF CINEMA for not only giving a shit, but for being willing to call it for what it is. And for the desire to educate. Something that has become somewhat of a dirty word here in the States.

Bless the Brits: MASTERS OF CINEMA Calls it Like It Is

Iraq’s Ex-Prime Minister Talks Bush

Iyad Allawi

Former U.S.-installed Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi had this to say about U.S. President George W. Bush’s policies:

“Yes, Bush’s policies failed utterly. Utter failure. Failure of U.S. domestic and foreign policy, including fighting terrorism and economic policy.

“His insistence on names like ‘democracy’ and ‘open elections’, without giving attention to political stability, was a big mistake. It cast shadows on Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Egypt, and I believe this will be remembered in history as President Bush’s policy.”

Allawi described Iraq’s current Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government as being characterized by:


…weak performance, erected upon political quotas, major government corruption and infiltrated state agencies. Four years passed … and they can’t build the police, army, national institutions…

“Ending Saddam’s regime was essential, but replacing the Saddam regime with extreme chaos was not right. I did not imagine the political process would eat itself from inside or that it would abandon the rule of law and establish political sectarianism.”

Dick Cheney

Meanwhile, Dick Cheney insists that George Bush will be remembered in a positive light 30 years from now:

“By the time of [Gerald Ford’s] passing a couple of years ago, opinion had totally turned on that. In fact, most people by then, even many who had been very critical 30 years before, were in agreement that in fact it was a good decision, it was the right thing to do from the standpoint of the country.

“I’m personally persuaded that this president and this administration will look very good 20 or 30 years down the road in light of what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

Condoleeza Rice
Condoleeza Rice

And Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice concurs:

“This isn’t a popularity contest. I’m sorry, it isn’t. What the administration is responsible to do is to make good choices about Americans’ interests and values in the long run–not for today’s headlines, but for history’s judgment. And I am quite certain that when the final chapters are written and it’s clear that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq is gone in favor of an Iraq that is favorable to the future of the Middle East; when the history is written of a U.S.-China relationship that is better than it’s ever been; an India relationship that is deeper and better than it’s ever been; a relationship with Brazil and other countries on the left of Latin America, better than it’s ever been…

“When one looks at what we’ve been able to do in terms of changing the conversation in the Middle East about democracy and values, this administration will be judged well, and I’ll wait for history’s judgment and not today’s headlines.”

In another interview, Ms. Rice continues:

“Because I think the fact that we have really made foreign assistance not just an issue of giving humanitarian aid or giving money to poor people, but really insisting on good governance and fighting corruption. I think the fact that this president has laid the groundwork for a Palestinian state, being the first president, as a matter of policy, to say that there should be one, and now, I think, laying the foundation that’s going to lead to that Palestinian state — I can go on and on…

“I think generations pretty soon are going to start to thank this president for what he’s done. This generation will.”

So, let’s do our job and not allow history to be re-written. While I believe time does allow for perspective, I do not believe it will be favorable toward George W. Bush nor his administration. And yes, while much good may come out of the actions of this administration (like putting the country in a state of mind to elect Barack Obama), I do not think credit will be given to Bush as a hero nor as a man with foresight, but as a confused little man who didn’t understand all the things he did and all the people that pushed him to do it. Ignorant. Misguided. And perhaps exactly what the country needed to take a stand and rediscover all that America can be at its best, by witnessing it at its worst.

Iraq’s Ex-Prime Minister Talks Bush