Activism, elderhood, and public shaming

Source: Activism, elderhood, and public shaming

I’m still trying to put my own thoughts into words over this issue, and they are not coming easily. In the meantime, here’s someone else’s point of view on the matter.

Taking Offense, and Being in Pain


It seems my article (Hey go look at it, it’s right here: ) is getting a reaction (And yes, I am listening to The Heavy’s “Love Like That” right now) and the issue that always fascinates me the most is when arguments rest on how everyone is angry, offended, scared, and confused by whatever it is being talked about.

And I see the same refrain of people being offended by other people’s offense.  Even the term ‘offensive’ is offensive these days to a lot of people, but rage makes it hard to see that irony.  Which I get – rage makes it hard to see anything except potential targets, because I imagine that anger really is about our brains and bodies trying to solve a problem by fixation that is sometimes quite helpful, and sometimes entirely unhelpful.  (I’ve read a lot on the subject in Psychology, Cognitive Science and…

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I found this post on bullying saved as a draft from last year – looking it over, I probably had more to add, including some of the referenced links from my Facebook page – which by then had been deleted and since rejoined. But I decided to post it because of the comment from Kipling, and deleted most of the remainder of my blather.

You can find references to bullying in the most odd places. Following links from the Wikipedia article on H. Rider Haggard (at which I had arrived via a circuitous route from the article on Goldman’s ‘Lord of the Flies’) to Kipling, describing his childhood after being brought to England from India:

Kipling remembers, “Often and often afterwards, the beloved Aunt would ask me why I had never told any one how I was being treated. Children tell little more than animals, for what comes to them they accept as eternally established. Also, badly-treated children have a clear notion of what they are likely to get if they betray the secrets of a prison-house before they are clear of it.” [Kipling, Rudyard (1935). “Something of myself”]

poli=many; tics=blood sucking creatures*

I recently received an email forwarding a political piece by Wayne Allyn Root.

Included in the email was a link to confirming that Wayne Allyn Root’s statement below has been “Correctly Attributed” – but of course, “correctly attributed” does not necessarily mean “factual statements”, and as with most political pieces, including my own, there is a bias reflected in it.

The last part of the link at reads:

Some versions of this piece are entitled “Obama’s college roommate speaks out,” but that heading reflects a misreading of the word “classmate,” as Wayne Allyn Root never was (or claimed to be) Barack Obama’s roommate. Wayne Allyn Root merely attended Columbia University at the same time as Barack Obama did (and later claimed that neither he nor anyone he knew was familiar with Barack Obama at Columbia).

I guess it all just lends credence to the notion that if you want to believe something, you can make yourself do it, despite lacking any personal understanding about the subject. Wayne Root somehow derives a bona fide, informed insider’s perspective about the president’s motives because they attended the same college 29 years ago. 

He neglects to mention they didn’t know each other, and has questioned publicly in the past whether Obama really attended Columbia at all (since he was there at the same time and *didn’t know him*). 

This is from the same play book the Swift Boat Vets used to impugn John Kerry’s military service record. (As if there weren’t enough actual problems with John Kerry otherwise.) 

Why  make stuff up and imagine far-fetched conspiracies to demonize those with whom we disagree?

That said, there are a few points in the piece with which I do agree:

Barack Hussein Obama is no fool.  He is not incompetent.
To the contrary, he is brilliant.  He knows exactly what he’s doing.

I agree completely with this. Obama’s primary problem is that he has been successful in his policies despite an obstructive GOP House of Representatives who have steadfastly refused to promote legislation that actually does something to help the country (and roughly 70% of the US population agrees with that statement*). As several commentators have mentioned, if Obama was a Republican, the GOP would be shouting it from the rooftops as a great success story.

In comparison, what has Congress done? (and by Congress, I mean the people who actually make the laws; the President doesn’t get to do that.) I’m part of that 70% who fault both parties in Congress for their failures, it’s not all the Republicans or all the Democrats fault, it’s both.

*My note from above:


“Do you think that Congress so far this year has done something to address the problems facing the country today, or do you think Congress has done nothing to address the country’s problems?”
Something Nothing Unsure    
% % %    


28 69 3

I’m not an Obama cheerleader. I didn’t vote for him in the last election, and don’t plan on voting for him in the next, but compared to the idiots that the GOP is fronting (and the Libertarian party – which includes Wayne Root, by the way –  isn’t much, if any, better), he’s by and far the better, more qualified choice, and of all of them, he has the clearest understanding of “the average American citizen”, even if he is now far removed from the average.

The problem we as Americans face is one which has people running our country who know nothing about the average Americans. If our country is struggling due to a weakened economy yet our political leaders feel none of the economic strain in their own pockets then they cannot be focused on fixing the problem. After all, if the truth be told, they created the situation which caused the problem. 

Ask yourself  – have you ever caused a problem doing something you THOUGHT was right (or at the very least doing what you wanted) and then had to fix it yourself without being humbled and saying “Well, I broke it, guess I should fix it.”? 

Now ask yourself if you’ve EVER heard of a politician saying he/she was WRONG about ANYTHING?

Well, there you have it! Those who broke it can’t fix it because they don’t think they have done anything wrong. 


But our election process has made it next to impossible for anyone except the very wealthy to even run for higher office, let alone actually get elected (prove me wrong, please!)
The Center for Responsive Politics has crunched the numbers and released the results on its Open Secrets blog:
About 47 percent of Congress, or 249 current members are millionaires. … In 2010, the estimated median net worth of a current U.S. senator stood at an average of $2.56 million,” according to the Center’s research.
Beckel is talking about net worth, the total amount of money and assets lawmakers have, according to their own financial disclosure forms. In fact, there are probably many more millionaires in Congress, since lawmakers don’t have to include the value of their family home and other details.
“We don’t know how many political donors are millionaires, but we do know that it takes a certain amount of disposable income to make contributions,” Beckel says.
Campaigns are expensive. In 2010, says Beckel, the average winner of a House race spent $1.5 million. The average Senate winner spent close to $10 million. Closely contested races are much more expensive. And about half of that money, on average, comes from an elite group of very wealthy donors.
People who get a lot of attention from politicians and people who have plenty of opportunities to tell lawmakers how they feel about a new millionaires’ tax.
“Wealthy Americans have more access to lawmakers than most regular voters and constituents do,” Beckel says. 
In contrast — only 1% of Americans are millionaires – explaining that whole “We are the 99%” business.

Vote your conscious! 

* and yes, I know the word “politics” comes from the Greek word “Πολιτικά” (politika) .