samedi, mai 03, 2008

Bend the knee

"In 1988, one of the central attacks revolved around the Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Dukakis, as governor, had vetoed state legislation in 1977 that required teachers to lead their students in the pledge. He did so on the basis of an advisory opinion from the state court, which said the legislation was unconstitutional.

Mr. Dukakis, a Harvard lawyer surrounded by other Harvard lawyers, believed himself on very firm ground. But by August 1988, his Republican opponent, Vice President George H.W. Bush, was rousing huge crowds with a contemptuous question: “What is it about the Pledge of Allegiance that upsets him so much?”

Mr. Dukakis, Mr. Bush said, was “out in deep left field on these issues.” He was also “a card-carrying member of the A.C.L.U.,” more concerned with giving furloughs to criminals — like Willie Horton — than upholding national values, the vice president asserted."

The quote is taken from an article in Sunday's NYTimes.

One has to wonder if the Republicans will have the gall to try to cut off Obama at the knees on the patriotism charge and his membership in Pastor Jeremiah Wright's former church when John McCain is tied to a radical like the Rev. John Hagee.

Rev. Hagee has allegedly called Catholicism "The Great Whore" and has been quoted saing that American policy towards Palestine is causing terrorists to attack the United States.

But what particularly ticks me off is the issue that has long perplexed America-mixing up patriotism and holiness. Our children pledge fidelity to a flag-when our loyalty is to God first. Why should we force schoolchildren to promise allegiance to a symbol? Isn't that like making our young people bend their knees to an idol?

As the writer points out, around 80 percent of us tell polling groups that they feel the country is on the wrong track. Hopefully, this time, they won't be sucked into a false arguement about who loves America more. Here's some news-they all three love America, or they wouldn't let themselves come under these kind of personal attacks.

We will have to judge who has the best plans for rebuilding our character and our government. But let's do it on the basis of policy, not patriotism.

jeudi, mai 01, 2008


I wonder if I am as cynical and jaded as I imagine myself to be. I wonder if affection can creep up on me, or desire overwhelm, or love, even love, surprise...I don't have any answers for these questions. But at least I'm asking 'em. Are you? And do you wonder, also, how on earth this young lady was able to pose with her arms around a potted plant without getting a huge crick in her neck?

mardi, avril 29, 2008

Imagining grief

Last night, before I was about to turn off the computer, I read the New York Times front page online. There was a story that had recently come over the wires about a young mom in Gaza. Whether because of Hamas or the Israelis, or, more likely, both she and her four children, all under the age of six, were killed. Her husband, who had two other wives and is a much older man happened to be at the market.

The Israelis blamed Hamas-they blame Hamas for everything that happens, said a spokesman. Hamas put the blame on the Israeli Army. And yesterday, a father buried a six year old, a 15 month old, a 3 and a 4 year old.

Last night my son came into my room after midnight. Bothered by a cough, he snuggled in next to me. "Mom, hug me," he said. And as I lay there awake in the middle of the night, I thought of that mother, and those children. Prayed for them and for their father and husband. And, frankly, hated the men who have no shame about killing innocents. What can they be like, these men of blood? What humanity have they given up?

dimanche, avril 27, 2008

More on Ledbetter

After reading Lithwick's essay (see the last post), and the commentary by Gail Collins in the Saturday NYT, I've been thinking about this decision-and reconsidering my own distaste for the confrontational style embraced by many women a bit older than me.

When we vote in the fall, women, and men who aren't living in the 19th century with regard to bigotry, will also need to consider the blatant anti-female bias revealed in the Ledbetter decision-and the choice by Republicans to block a bill that would make it possible for other women to seek justice.

Here's a paragraph from the Lithwick (Slate) commentary on the Ledbetter case:

"On Wednesday, Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have overturned a Supreme Court ruling (PDF) that sharply limited pay-discrimination suits based on gender under Title VII. In Ledbetter v. Goodyear (2007), the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 margin, held that the clock for the statute of limitations on wage discrimination begins running when the employer first makes the decision to discriminate, and does not run for all the subsequent months—or in this case, years—that the disparate paychecks are mailed. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the court, found that the plaintiff in this case, Lilly Ledbetter, was time-barred from filing her discrimination suit because it took more than 180 days after she first got stiffed to discover that she was being stiffed on account of her gender. The court agreed her jury verdict should be overturned"

Was I ticked that women would be treated as though they were a lesser life form? Yes, of course.

But I was also outraged by a decision that defies logic-how many people... male or female... know within 180 days that they are not getting as much salary as another person holding the same job?

I'm also wondering if post women's movement women like me should be so complacent.

I find Hillary Clinton's pull no punches style abrasive, and sometimes offensive-as many do.

But it seems as if, when women start to relax, they find themselves the victims not only of subtle, but of in your face injustice. Maybe some of the women who came before us were smarter than we want to admit. Maybe we can't take for granted that we are going to be treated as equals-particularly by men who have an interest in grinding their heels not just in women's faces, but in those who dare to challenge the powerful interests that fuel the highly politicized Supreme Court.