Christmas in public
there was a story on fox news last night about a class of second-graders putting on a school Christmas, er, non-sectarian ecumenical holiday music celebration. troubled by a reference to "Christmas" in one of the songs, the director replaced it with the word "winter" and had the children sing the secularized version instead. in that same story, it was reported that a fox news poll found that 96% of americans celebrate Christmas in some fashion.
i know what some of you think about fox news, so spare me. but i think we can all agree that the vast majority of americans do indeed observe Christmas, and that 90% is a not unreasonable figure.
1. this is censorship. real, honest-to-God, no-holds-barred censorship. i won't hold my breath for apoplectic fits from the left because they have no clue what censorship is. to a liberal, censorship is what happens when free citizens of this great land tell them "we don't want to hear your crap." examples include people booing the dixie chicks, cbs pulling the reagans, tim robbins/babs/celeb-du-jour wailing about the hostile climate, etc. it's so rare that an acutal authority figure removes or revises thought and forbids deviation from the state-approved version that one might feel inclined to give the libs a pass for not noticing. don't. when censorship does happen, it's the usually liberals doing the censoring. remember: if you liberals want to argue that public school teachers can't lead kids in prayer before class or say "under God" in the pledge because it would establish a state religion, then the removal of religion from religious customs by these same teachers is state censorship of religion.
2. there is nothing unconstitutional about the word "Christmas," within or without the public school system, spoken or sung. the irony of religious purging within the context of a school musical that wouldn't even exist were it not for Christmas seems lost on the music director, who is no doubt another fine product of our public schools.
3. from a cultural standpoint, america is a predominantly Christian nation. our laws, customs, and, of course, holidays, are saturated with Christian ethics and imagery. this is an acknowledgement of reality, not an establishment of theocracy, but it is a reality that a tiny minority resents and will stop at nothing to change.
4. if you are offended by second graders singing the word "Christmas" in a school musical then don't go or find another country. the other 90% of us like it just fine and don't see what gives you the right to force your views on everyone else.
5. total secularization of public life is nowhere to be found in the constitution. if you think that american public life ought to be utterly Godless, you are a) an extremist operating in the margins of american political/religious thought and b) as much a religious zealot as the phantoms you think you see arrayed against you.
6. given that censoring Christmas from a Christmas musical and leaving it in are both bound to offend some, i fail to see why the 10% should get their way while the 90% gets screwed. is this or is it not a democracy?
7. there are public schools which forbid nativity displays while simultaneously permitting menorahs and islamic displays, no doubt arguing that the latter constitute exposure to culture while the former constitutes religious indoctrination. this is a self-defeating argument since it acknowledges that religion forms a vital part of culture while denying that it has anything to do with our own. there is a sense in which nativity scenes and Christmas stars are religious symbols, but there's also a sense in which they are american symbols. they form a part of the shared cultural experience that nearly all americans participate in--consider the various conceptions of santa claus throughout the world. they say a helluva lot more about their parent cultures than old saint nick.
8. american liberals will defend any culture but their own. european liberals hold american culture in equal disdain, but hate jews as much if not more.
9. too bad most of those old songs are public domain, else the owner of the rights could sue.
10. atheists (and i think it's mostly atheists doing the whining: jews are usually cool with Christmas and, while they rarely observe it, generally don't want to tinkle in anyone's egg nog) are so gosh-darned concerned about the well-being of our children and the havoc saying "under God" or "Christmas" could wreak on their fragile psyches, yet give no thought to the consequences of their own actions. what makes a more powerful impression on the mind of a child: leaving a mention of Christmas in a Christmas carol--something so much a part of the status quo that even a second-grader would find it old-hat, or at least an expected part of holiday ritual--or the sudden, forceful removal of it by people they have been trained to regard as authority figures? if the status quo tells children that Christianity is good, how does its negation not send them the opposite impression--and to a far greater extent since change is always more noticable?
locdog is a proud member of the most discriminated-against class in america today
campaign finance reform: a rant
before i begin, let me acknowledge that CFR was passed by a republican congress, signed by a republican president, and upheld by a supreme court with 7 out of 9 republican appointees. this is why i'm a conservative first, republican second.
now then, brace yourselves.
first of all, "compelling national interest."
what in the blue hell is a "compelling national interest?"
it's like They unearthed some Secret Tomb of the Founding Fathers. there, ensconced in the inner-most chamber of the tallest pyramid of the blackest wilds of virginia, lies the surprisingly well-preserved remains of thomas jefferson. leathern skin stretches tightly over long, bony finger, and from within the hands clasped across our father's chest beckons a glimpse of ancient parchment. pry it loose and see what's written, if you dare.
'neath the hands that built a nation, penned in the author's own blood, lies the REAL constitution! you know, the one They never told you about. it's exactly the same as the one we've got, the one that's been good enough to turn a primitive wilderness into the greatest nation in the history of the mankind in a few scant centuries, except that at the end there's this little asterisk followed by some very, very fine print which reads:
the preceding is great and all, but shall be rendered null and void in the presence of a Compelling National Interest, which Interest is the sole province of the lucky bastards who happen to be sitting on the supreme court at any given moment.
need to do a little social engineering at your university but that pesky fourteenth amendment keeps getting in your way? Compelling National Interest! it's a magical little catch-all that can not only negate the constitution on demand, but can also thrust the country decisively in the opposite direction in the same swift stroke. we can't give minorities more points than whitey, after all. we can't have quotas. that would be, er, unseemly. no, we'll come up with a solution which ensures the damage done by tangible modes of discrimination will be amplified ten-fold, for diversity is a Compelling National Interest--so just make your admission requirements sufficiently vague and you can discriminate as heartily as the day is long! whitey won't even know what hit him!
are you hamstrung by what little accountability there is in current campaign finance law? are your lawyers bashing their heads against the brick wall of the first amendment? turn that frown upside-down, bucco, because a Compelling National Interest is about to dawn. why, we can revoke the first amendment and obliterate the few remaining shreds of disclosure at one fell swoop. piss-ant mom'n'pop donors have been slapped back into place, but don't you worry, my rich friend, because their loss is your gain. we've wiped out what little competition yet clung to your heels and flung the doors before you open wide. no, mr. soros, you can't give fifteen million dollars to howard dean per se--but why would you want to? people would find out about that. give it to moveon.org! hell, raid your sofa cushions and give 'em fifteen billion if you feel like it. a few standard legal mumbo-jumbo soft-money boilerplate phrases stuffed here and there, and they can run all the ads you want. and the best part is, hardly anyone is checking their books!
want to uphold an ages-old sodomy law but the constitution keeps dragging it back down--well, sorry, you're screwed. after all, there's no Compelling National Interest in states, um, passing laws to, uh, regulate their citizens. yeah. the constitution, you know. it's very important. it says something in there about...uh...not doing...stuff. privacy and whatnot.
secondly, and more importantly: YOU PEOPLE.
i blame YOU PEOPLE for this mess. not the politicians or the supremes (may they rot in hell.) the rabbit doesn't blame the hawk for being a hawk, he simply avoids the hawk. no, i blame you. you short-sighted saps with your petty class-envy egged on by the very people you think you're screwing over. why don't you just shove one of those turkey timers up your butt so they know when your ass has been sufficiently smoked?
do YOU PEOPLE honestly believe that politicians would willingly bleed themselves dry? don't YOU PEOPLE understand that whenever they take something from you and give it to themselves, they always say they're taking it from themselves and giving it to you? are YOU PEOPLE really this dumb, or did some advanced alien race wipe out all knowledge of human history while i wasn't looking?
aw, who am i kidding? YOU PEOPLE don't give a damn. YOU PEOPLE don't care that your first amendment rights have been shat upon by the ruling class because the ruling class told YOU PEOPLE that it was their own rights being sent down the crapper. hey, who cares if i get screwed as long as the rich guy gets screwed more. and how do i know the rich guy got screwed more? why, because he told me so!
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back-side of forested mountain, MT
al gore vs. the democrats
yesterday, fellow frayster RicNCaric called ozone al the most interesting personality in american politics. it's true in the sense that water is the most interesting flavor in the pantheon of tastes: interesting as it maintains interest despite its total lack thereof.
al gore has no personality. he's pro-life/pro-choice, pro-gun/pro-brady, pro-tobacco/pro-lawyer...there's barely an issue he believed as a blue-dog tennessee senator that he didn't abandon as a help-me-win-the-south veep. we've seen what's-his-face al skulking in the shadows of a colossus for 8 years, environmental al publishing screeds that genuine tree-huggers must have found laughably trite, soccer-mom al swearing tearful oaths never to rest until he saved every child from the dangers of tobacco, angry al the fighting liberal leading the horde against big business, john f. gore playing football on the lawn with the fam, brutha-man al swayin' to that funky ol' soul in a harlem church, academic al with bushy beard and tweed coat (leather elbow patches and academic al ivory tower dream house sold separately)...his accent has changed from cheverolet-mom-and-philip-morris south to straight-outta-harlem gangsta dawg to new england pointy-head academic to...suffice it to say that the NSA is basing their staunchest encryption algorithms on the permutations of al, years 1980-2003.
everything everyone knows, or thinks they know, about al gore boils down the simple question "just who is that guy, anyway?"
no one knows for sure, least of all gore. looking back over his life thus far, the one clear pattern that emerges is that al gore is whoever he needs to be at any given moment. that's a skill every politician should have, but it's different with al. he needs to be who he needs to be--wants to be--longs to be. clinton, by way of contrast, simply was. slick could get busy with arsineo hall and fruit of the loom one moment then trade earthy hyucks with the good ol' boys the next, but through it all, you got bill clinton. his magnetism stemmed from his self-knowledge and from his belief in that self. clinton was the consummate liar because he knew the truth, with gore, well, his lies are just plain sad.
al gore is a remarkably small man who was born, lived, and will probably die in the shadow of greatness, yet whose life has been a success by anyone's standard, except, apparently, al's. and how could it be, when gore has never learned to exist as anything other than the boy who would someday be president?
it should come as no surprise, then, that al gore climbed up on that stage and flipped the bird to the clintons/DNC (what's the difference?), gephardt, lieberman...basically all the people who made him who he was, er, wasn't. he could have waited until after iowa and new hampshire, by which time dean's nomination would have been a lock, and gore's approbation would have patched a democratic front chipped by a rather nasty primary. instead, gore pole-vaulted himself onto the front page of every paper in america by driving a wedge into the ever expanding clinton/dean schism, thus ingratiating himself to dean and ensuring himself a cabinet-level appointment in a hypothetical dean administration, and, oh by the way, stealing all of hillary's press.
"i am on howard dean's side," saith al. "let them who serve The Gore follow me."
The Gore screwed up. saddam hussein has better prospects than howard dean. but al's got this bug up his butt about proving he's his own man--and brother, has he got a lot to prove--so rather than bide his time and back hillary (who, if defeated, would do little damage to gore's aspirations), he's put all his chips on the table with dean.
al gore, we hardly knew ye.
locdog can't say he'll miss him