Who ya gonna trust?

August 28, 2007 by barbara

barbara writes

The Bush administration is arguably the most divisive in this country’s history. I say “arguably,” because someone may have a different point of view. Possibly someone nestled safely in the up-to-30 percent who claim to support BushCo. I am not one of them.

Full disclosure. I am not a lifelong Democrat. I was raised in an unapologetically Republican family with deep Republican roots. As a young adult, I was active in GOP politics. In my mid-30s, I began to look left across the great divide. Over time, I crossed over, turning my back on the party of my parents forever. I have dabbled in Dem politics for many years. It was the death of Paul Wellstone that made me stand up and become a political activist again. So I’m comparatively late to the party, unlike many of you who’ve been there all along.

>>Click here to read on.

I tell you all of this as back story for my ebony mood today. The tectonic plates of politics are shifting so quickly lately that it’s hard to get balanced. Difficult to take a comprehensive look at where we are—“we” being America, Americans, cradle of democracy, land of the free and home of the brave, etc.

BushCo has taken an incredible toll on us. Unfortunately, there is no Clothes(line) Poll to quantify that phenomenon. So I rely, at least in part, on my Chertoff-gut when I say we’re a deeply wounded nation. Yes, I do read. Extensively. I talk to friends and colleagues. It’s become harder to find a Republican out and about. Most of them have scraped those little “W” stickers off their cars.

I’m aware that this summer of discontent extends beyond my little house amongst the trees and gardens.

The list of horrendous BushCo “accomplishments” is long and distressing. You know the drill. Multiple assaults on the Constitution, on personal privacy, on justice, on the Geneva Conventions, on children, on the poor, on women’s rights, on minorities, on the middle class, on the environment, on international relations, on the military, on Iraq. Last men and women standing are wealthy, white Republicans who love war, hate Mexicans, and pay little if any taxes. Well, that’s the goal, anyway.

Here’s the deal. We didn’t trust Bill Clinton to keep his zipper zipped. Fair enough. Today, most of us don’t trust George Bush to keep his lip zipped, to keep his promises, to keep America a priority, to surround himself with wise counsel. Which explains how Alberto Gonzales became Attorney General. But George didn’t accomplish that by himself. He had the approval of Congress (Republican-dominated at the time). Is it really possible that rank-and-file Republicans are proud of that choice?

We were so hopeful when the country voted majority status to Democrats on November 7, 2006. A frabjous day by every definition. Roughly ten months have passed (have passed roughly) since then. Don’t know about you, but I go to bed most nights feeling beaten down by the Bushies and betrayed by the Democratic Congress. How in the name of all that is holy has Alberto Gonzales been allowed to stay at the helm of the DOJ? How could anyone possibly be entertaining the candidacy of Michael Chertoff (part of BushCo’s inner circle of cronies) to be his successor, now that Gonzales has bailed of his own initiative (versus having his sorry butt fired)? And yet, that’s part of the scuttlebutt right now.

How could the real villains of the piece still be in place? Oh, sure, Rove has “resigned.” So has Rumsfeld. Does anyone actually believe they’re “gone”?

What is gone is trust. We have had the living bejeezus pounded out of us, individually and collectively, by BushCo. And for the most part, we’ve just been lying down, lamenting the fact that . . . well, that we’re lying down. We don’t trust BushCo, so we’re united in that. And by and large, we don’t trust Congress. Worst of all, we’re not sure we trust Democrats in Congress. And I would submit that’s not our fault. Congress appears to be doing a mediocre job at best. There are a few exceptions, but not enough. And if Congress is doing something beyond mediocre, then they’re doing a crappy job of communicating that to us. The onus is theirs.

Meanwhile, we have a passel of presidential candidates who want us to believe they are equal to the task of cleaning up after this catastrophic BushCo administration. Hnhhh. The mess continues to spread. Many of the wannabes are members of Congress, empowered to make a difference there. Too. Busy. Campaigning. Furthermore, they’ve been squabbling among themselves all year. Frankly, I’m not sure I trust any of them. The campaign is almost as divisive as BushCo.

Trust. There’s that word again. BushCo has shattered trust. No doubt about it. Politically speaking, no one trusts anyone any more. Democrats don’t even trust each other. Now you can chalk that up to Rovian strategerizing if you like. And maybe that’s true. But the end result is the same. We’re in the valley of the shadow, sans rod and with a thoroughly corrupt staff.

Now I’m supposed to circle back to my thesis. I think I had one when I started. Oh, yes. Divisiveness. We’ve got plenty of it. Nary a uniter in sight.

All rants must end. This one just did.

Posted in

Comments

Anonymous (not verified) | August 28, 2007 - 1:21pm

And just in time also. There could be a potential paragraph shortage, and you just wasted several of them.

PLEASE CONSERVE

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Poet (not verified) | August 28, 2007 - 6:34pm

Barbara where do you and Susan get those wild wierd pics for illustrations!--That just made me smile. As far as most divisive--I would nominate James Buchanan who holds the distinction of being the only Pennsylvanian and bachelor ever elected President.

Jimmo managed to sit on his fat ass for 4 years and by doing nothing facilitated the fractious atmosphere that led to the Civil War in 1860. But hey, Dubya still has about a year and a third to go so he might turn out worse.

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paul miller (not verified) | August 28, 2007 - 7:49pm

Agreed we are into some bizarre period where it hardly pays to rant at the dems - I told the aide at Klobuchar's office that her FISA vote was bullshit and then regretted barking at the messenger taker. Amy is willing to take a stand on rotten toys but not on a rotten and corrupt administration. We can't believe any emotion that comes from the dems because they ALWAYS waffle in the end. Bush's crimes are legion but we are all resigned to a year and a half more of his lunatic cheerleading for the Iraq war. Maybe the neocons are right that it doesn't pay to try and live in the reality based world.

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Poet (not verified) | August 28, 2007 - 9:13pm

Paul Millrer wrote:

Bush's crimes are legion but we are all resigned to a year and a half more of his lunatic cheerleading for the Iraq war.

************************

What is also worrisome is whether or not the Democrats will halt the war assuming they get the White House and an expanded majority in both houses of congress, also how far willany Dem go in dismantling the Big Brother staste put together by Gushco, and then there is the Supreme (Suppine might be a better descriptor) Court.

One day at a time, stop and smell the roses such has they are!.

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barbara aka babs (not verified) | August 29, 2007 - 7:09am

I forgot about James Buchanan, Poet. Interesting to speculate (or study history) on how he got himself elected. I was just a kid at the time, so I don't remember much about it. A friend of mine threatened to run for president years ago, and his platform was, 'I need a job.' Buchanan, too?

Paul, I think we have to rant at the Dems. If our belief that they're protecting their re-election prospects by hugging the middle is accurate, they deserve and need some serious butt-kicking. While we need them to hold onto their seats (so to speak), they can't keep playing it safe. Too. Much. At. Stake.

If there's actually something happening, they need to tell us sans politic-speak and platitudes. One of the principal differences between progressives and BushCo is that our leaders supposedly embrace transparency and trust the people with the truth. It's been so long since this country has been told the truth, we're desperate for some. Well, I am.

In much the same way as I looked at our fallen bridge, I look at the massive scale of destruction by BushCo and wonder how in the world anyone begins removing the ruins and restoring our government. The question I want to ask every candidate is this: It's January 21, 2009. What's on your to-do list?

Forecast today is for the sun to make an appearance here, finally. So maybe the roses won't rot after all. Gonna go smell me a few!

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paul miller (not verified) | August 29, 2007 - 7:55am

it does give me some small comfort that Nancy Pelosi will forever be tagged with her inane "impeachment is off the table" tagline - now Conyers says we don't have the time, WTF? they had time - I wouldn't have given you a plug nickle for bush to make it to the end of his second term without being impeached, I way misunderestimated the dems cowardice, MLK said it wasn't the outright oppressors that he worried about but it was the councilators, "now's not the time", blah(3)
but rest assured I'll continue to bark at the moon, meanwhile agreed a forecast of one week of great sunshine is welcomed, Rock On!

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Kerosene Hat (not verified) | August 29, 2007 - 10:48am

Ahh the ranting of the partitions is always entertaining if a bit sad. Both the Democrats and Republicans have been abject failures over the last couple, few, ALL decades and all those who support them should hang their heads in shame. From Viet Nam, the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, the War on Terror to the war on each other each side used fear to empower themselves. All but one of the current Democratic candidates voted for the war (if they were in a position to), same on the Republican side. No matter what deception was perpetrated by BushCo there was still not sufficient reason to invade Iraq. The only people that anybody would even think about supporting for any elected office are ones that came document they were against the war from the beginning. The fact that Clinton and Edwards are even plausible candidates for the Democrats proves they have no more morality than the Republicans at this point. I suppose though for the Democratic elite that write the big checks it never has been about doing the right thing. It has been about the giving appearance of making an effort to do the right thing.

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barbara aka babs (not verified) | August 29, 2007 - 6:50pm

Kerosene Hat, I think a lot of us are guilty of giving the appearance of making an effort to do the right thing. I struggle with that a lot. I have very little in my shallow pockets. So I can't even buy grace. My question for you is this: What does genuine effort to do the right thing look like? What would you have us do? Given the current reality of a two-party lock on the system, with 2008 elections looming large with much at stake, and given your take on Dems and Reps (and I'm not sure I disagree with you), what then? What is the right thing (individually and collectively) for us to be doing? I'm not just flapping my gums here. This is bedrock stuff.

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Kerosene Hat (not verified) | August 29, 2007 - 9:41pm

First try to do no harm. Supporting a system that perpetuates the Hillary Clintons and Mit Romneys is not one that will bring us anywhere. When somebody like Clinton or Franken run we should all just give a little laugh and say "I don't can how many people know your name or how much money you can raise. You have been wrong more than you have been right and that will not change once you get elected." Instead we get suckered into the "politics" and the fight between Parties and worry about picking sides. Anybody who supports a candidate just because they are slightly less awful than the the other person running is guilty of accelerating the downward spiral. The time for a little more revolution and a little less conformity has long since passed. The children of the 60s blew there shot at being honest and worth a damn. It is time the next generation realize that what they have been fed is all B.S. and to forget party affiliation and start to deal with the fundamentals first. Civil liberties, transparency in government and personal responsibility.

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perhansa (not verified) | August 30, 2007 - 5:44pm

Kerosene:
You sound just like the 60's folk did in the sixties...and several generations before them (myself included--though it was the 70's for me).

It all looks so freki SIMPLE and so OBVIOUS what the PROBLEMS are when you're young, fresh, unjaded and angry (and can rightfully say the adults in your life fed you a bunch of BS--don't the all? Isn't that what we call "culture" and "tradition"?). Let's check back in 30 years from now and see how the next generation judges yours...

First do no harm? Sounds a lot like "Make love not war"--that didn't work too well did it? The problem is human beings and I presume you're one also...those big brains, short attention spans, and "stuck-in-the-now-to-sometime-next-week excuse for foresight we have just don't work too well at solving the sociological political problems we created.

Who isn't a "fundamentalist"? You just need to find a person's "hot button" to find their fundmentalist core...another big brain glitch from the Unintelligent Designer.

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Kerosene Hat (not verified) | August 31, 2007 - 8:12am

The problem with the last generation of rabble rousers was not that they tried or that the problems were in fact hard to solve. It is that they were at almost every point wrong in there approach, solutions and philosophies. In the course of "changing" things they only made the problems worse and increased what their children will have to pay for. They truly were so arrogant that they thought it was simple, that they could change it quickly and that there was a universal "fairness" that could be achieved. They thought it could be done by using government to manipulate how people live and to manage every aspect of our lives. They thought, as you seem to, that people need to be guided by a system to do the right thing rather than using a system that takes advantage of the nature of people. Bushco is simply a result of their philosophy, just ask David Brooks. If you encourage a strong central government it is just a matter of time until the current monkey in charge will be a destructive jerk. We have all become dependent on faceless bureaucrats and government rather than each other. The 60s generation didn't do too little, they did too much that was so wrong (and often still do).

As for fundamentalism you are right to a degree that most people have that nerve to poke. It is a natural and useful thing just as is fear or love. When it is partnered with being correct it can be wonderful and world changing if imperfect. This happened with the American Revolution, Gandhi, MLK, etc..

Just because others have gotten it wrong in the recent past does not mean we can stop trying. The failures of the last 70 years mean there is even more work to do. Complying with the current party power structure will only make things worse. Remember two of the scariest phrases somebody at your door can say are "I'm from the government. I'm hear to help you."

p.s. I am not so young, closer to 40 than 30 and have been on the path to being completely jaded with politics since I was 15. I heard David "the clansman" Duke speak to a group of kids at my twin cities high-school and saw how easily he won them over. Democracy is not a tool safe enough to manage peoples lives with. It is only a check on the power of government.

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susan | August 31, 2007 - 12:14pm

Well Kerosene, you're young by my standards. And first things first.

You write Ronald Reagan's laugh line ~ "Remember two of the scariest phrases somebody at your door can say are "I'm from the government. I'm hear to help you."

You're a little young so I know education standards had slipped by your day, but you ought to know the difference between 'hear' and 'here'. It's a good image though, the government "hearing" any of us.

Second, I'm a charter member of that sixties generation that you say got it all wrong, and while I agree that we surely didn't wind up where we hoped we would, it was not due to an over dependence or belief in government. In fact, most of us, no longer trusting our leaders -- the best having been murdered and the worst having lied us deep into big muddy in Vietnam -- headed out to start organic farms and independent schools, to look into alternative energy and alternative consciousness and all manner of new age spirituality.
We gave up on government, and I'd argue that was our mistake. While we dithered around milking goats and building solar collectors, the Repubs were building think tanks and starting faith-based law schools, grooming the next generation for the take over of government. As we know now, they succeeded.
To say we shouldn't depend on government is the peak of naivete. Of course not, we should do for ourselves. And when all goes well, that's a fine and honorable path. But when levees break and bridges fall and stock markets crash, everyone, from the poorest most gubmint- dependent wash-out on Bourbon Street to the most anti-gubmint french-cuffed hedge fund billionaire on Wall Street goes clamboring for help. Where? To their bankers? Their ministers? Their insurance companies? Yes, to some extent -- though they find little relief there.
But for most, the first refuge is the government. Look no further than the recent government bail out of those who made millions off of lousy loans. (Basically. I know it's more complicated than that.) And after several grueling days of rescue and recovery work on the Minnepolis bridge, coordinated by local government, the federal government was called in to do the more difficult and demanding work. We lacked the necessary equipment and expertise.

It's the same on an individual level. We all like to think we can make it on our own, and many do. But for some there's a bit of misfortune, a tornado that wipes out your life savings or a health crisis or just a long string of bad luck, and do you condemn those folks to live out their lives in despair, begging food from the church basement or a bed from the Salvation Army? Or does the government provide a hand up until we're back on our feet?

There's good government and bad government, and we the voters are responsible for the choices we make. One of the most insidious things the Reagan/Rovian school of politics has done is portray all government as meddlesome and incompetent, while creating one that's just that. (Incompetent across the board. Meddlesome only if you're dying or gay or pregnant.)

Kerosene can blame the two party system for that, but I think that's a stretch. I think that those of us who turned away from government back in the sixties surrendered it to the ideologues while we dallied in our own pursuits.
And despite our failures, which you plaster over us, we also accomplished a lot of good -- from civil rights and gender equality to environmental awareness, including the chemicals in our food, water and air as well as energy consumption and other globe crushing practices.
We were annoying, self-absorbed, and smug, and we made many mistakes.
But to say we believed government was the answer to everything gets it all wrong.
Thinking we could re-invent the social order and reject the things government stood for -- education (stunted rote learning), health care (invasive western medication) energy policy (fossil fuel dependency) and so on -- that was our biggest mistake. We walked out on it, when we should have been walked in. Sadly, we left that to the Cheney's and Wolfies and Bushies and Roves.
And now, many historians believe, we are living with the worst government in American history.

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barbara aka babs (not verified) | August 31, 2007 - 1:27pm

You know, I can cherry-pick pieces from everyone commenting here and say, Yeah, I agree with that."

About "first, do no harm"? I don't find that disingenuous. I think it has a place in government, and a core place at that. That's at least part of what's been missing lo! these many years. I think every decision needs to be weighed against that concept.

That said, I can see where that could/has effectively immobilize(d) government, because "doing harm" seems very subjective. And while it's clear that BushCo looks out exclusively for its own (rich, white power-brokers principally), I do believe there are some Republicans of conscience. Hell, I used to be one.

Susan, we're the same vintage. But you were an activist in the 60s and I wasn't. I was a young, married Republican-by-habit, raising kiddos and I watched the rallies and protests the way you'd watch a carnival side show. Strange people, behaving strangely. Yeah, I know.

Somehow, the message didn't penetrate until many years later. And then only because I stumbled onto a community of thinkers and doers. Totally reshaped my world view.

We can talk about philosophies and history and culture and, and, and until hell freezes over (or floods, which seems the more likely outcome in this century) but crikey! We can't even come to agreement among ourselves, right here in this tiny corner of the universe that is the Clothesline.

Democrats and Republicans can't talk to each other.

Americans and Iranians can't talk to each other.

I am such a retro-60s woman (having missed all the "fun" when it was happening), I even believe there might be some percentage in talking to al Qaeda and the Taliban. I know, I know. Sedition. Rewarding bully behavior. Oh, wait, that's what we do with BushCo.

We don't know how to talk. We don't know how to negotiate. We don't know how to reason together. We don't even know how to reason separately.

We have a totally f'd up system and systemic change takes a lotta, lotta time. So what we have here is the short-term, how-we-gonna-endrun-nuking-Iran kind of problems and the long-term systemic change problems.

Oh, pfaw. Need. More. Caffeine.

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Kerosene Hat (not verified) | August 31, 2007 - 5:26pm

Susan,

I question that you were a "charter membership in that sixties generation" since as far as I can tell there was no charter. No worries though since it means I won't hold you personally accountable for the flaws of that time nor give you credit for it's accomplishments. As for those accomplishments, to take credit as a group for civil rights, "gender equity", and environmental awareness is more than a bit self involved. It would be like me taking credit, in the name of my generation, for the internet or AIDS.

Sure people go running to the government when a problem occurs. Why not? It costs very little and has a huge potential payout. What seems to have happened at a generally accelerating rate is that we are replacing real social networks and communities with the pseudo versions with so many strings attached they corrupt our personal interactions. Everybody has so much at stake in how government works because one change in the tax code, farm bill or legality of smoking can mean the difference between making a living, profit or keeping their house. That is the reason for the bifurcation of our politics.

I am not a zero government advocate but my support for government control has a high threshold. I would advocate for a strong safety net but it has to be done right. If not it will do more harm than good as we have seen. Government power must be transparent and easily accessible. Less power at the national level and more community based decisions. A problem with all of the policies you mention is not the mechanics of any one in particular but the fact the smugness you spoke of allowed the mistakes within those policies to be replicated on a national scale. The humility needed when playing with peoples lives was lacking and we are all paying the price. It was not walking away from government that was the problem it was the naiveté that once given the power the government would not abuse it.

My Reagan quote could have been replaced with the bumper-sticker saying of "God protect me from you followers." as I am not a friend of Republicans any more than Democrats.

As for my word misuse I apologize. Without spell check I would have a hard time spelling my name due to a mild yet often embarrassing case of dyslexia. My English teacher mother luckily was understanding however and gave me more ability to communicate than most in my shoes. I guess your smugness again leaves you with your foot in your mouth. Something even a pseudo professional writer should make an effort to avoid.

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susan | September 4, 2007 - 3:46pm

Okay, old news here, but I need to do this.
First, your dyslexia. I know that on blogs people are freed up from conforming to spelling rules and so on. So I was picking a nit and yes, perhaps coming across as smug. (Though anyone who knows me would tell you that is not what I am. I have many annoying traits, but I don't think most would call me smug.) In any case, I didn't feel my foot was in my mouth, as you said, because I truly hate that Reagan quote and if you're going to be using it, as you did (rather smugly it seemed to me) and say it's a favorite, it seems to me it was valid to point out that you didn't have it quite right. But I'm sorry if my criticism hit a sore spot about your disability. Really.
But, a word on disabilities like yours. And others. (You're right, btw, there were no "charters" for those rebelling in the sixties, so I was using it as a figure of speech.) When I was in grade school in the fifties, people with dyslexia or other learning disadvantages were just called dumb. Poor readers, slow. They were often boys, and often made to sit in the back of the room, kept in at recess, held up to ridicule. It was in "free schools" like the one we were part of in the early Seventies that we began to question that, to argue for other sorts of learning experiences, to demand as parents that children who had leaning problems be handled differently, that physically disabled kids be kept in classrooms with other kids, that those who learned differently no longer be labeled dumb. And we suceeded.

So, saying that my taking credit for any of the good changes is like you taking credit for the Internet or AIDS isn't fair or accurate. We weren't idly sitting by while education theorists decided to change things. We went in droves to the schools, and, as consumers, demanded changes. Did we go too far? Were the huge multi-aged open classrooms successful or a farce? As the 8-ball would say, all signs point to yes.
But many of the changes we pushed for allowed people like your mother to give you the help you needed. And kudos to her for doing so. They also paved the way for abundant choices in public schools, from Spanish Immersion to Montessori, to Math and Science hubs to Humanities and Theater schools. All good.

Here's another change we directly brought about. When I had my first child 40 years ago, I was in a spiffy teaching hospital in Madison, WI. So I was stunned that no one told me in advance that I'd be knocked out and my baby delivered by forceps, my husband pacing in the hall outside like a cartoon father. I assumed that because I was a healthy strong young woman, with a routine pregnancy, that I'd just -- give birth. I vowed that I'd never do it that way again. So when I was pregnant the second time I researched natural childbirth, discoverd and taught myself the Lamaze method, found a hospital 50 miles away that would allow fathers in the delivery room, and had a wonderful natural birthing experience.
I became part of a movement, with more and more couples demanding that hospitals change their policies to be "family-centered", to encourage fewer Caesareans and less medication, and more involvement for the father. By the time our fourth baby was born in 1981 I was being offered a panoply of options that sounded like something from a Club Med. Birthing tubs, cozy calico-draped rooms, candlelit dinners on our last night, a far cry from being slapped in the face by a nurse for getting out of bed to pee, as I was in Madison.
Do you think that all just came about because doctors decided it was a good idea? Nope, sorry, it was because there was a demand for it from the consumers, and them consumers was us. And there were a lot of us.
I could go on and on. We started the first natural food co-ops. We cut wheels of cheese and poured molasses and honey into used jars, all terribly unsanitary I'm sure, and shunned over-packaged and processed foods. Whether or not this made any difference to anyone other than a "smug" few of us at the top of the eating chain, I'm not sure, but there's no denying that the local co-ops we helped start are still thriving, as are the larger corporate organic stores like Whole Foods, and that an awareness of over-treated and chemically grown food has spread, and that smaller, organic farms and ranches are taking off all over the nation.

So, I apologize for over-reacting to your Reagan phrase, because I do strongly believe that good government does have a role to play in our lives. But I think you are off base saying that we weren't responsible for any of the good things.

And I apologize for the mess the world is in, because clearly something went terribly off on our watch. And I apologize, truly, for sounding smug, because I feel anything but.

So perhaps you should look at what I wrote as the ruminating of someone who is heartsick at how things turned out, especially in these last hellish 7 years. I feel like someone whose house has burned, and who's picking a few charred knick-knacks and old photos out of the ashes of her life saying, "See? This is who we once were. These were our dreams." Maybe as a younger person you might take a look at those dreams and not just dismiss us as smug and irrelevant.
Just sayin', as Barb would say.

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barbara aka babs (not verified) | September 5, 2007 - 9:39am

Well, Susan, we may just be chatting with each other here since it's such an old thread. Funny, how a thread that started just a few days ago is "old,' isn't it?! A sign of the times, I guess. An era when a two-year-old computer is a dinosaur. Where songs that were popular in 2004 are categorized as "classics." A kind of ADD society. Flip through the channels and pass the Ritalin.

Anyway -- about the smug and irrelevant (sounds like a soap opera) -- I guess I qualify by virtue of vintage if nothing else. I was part of a co-op startup, too. The first one south of the Minnesota River. Now Valley Co-op, which has morphed into a higher tech, more-likely-to-be-FDA-approved business. We started in what used to be a little country store in a remote little suburb called Lakeville. (For any un-Minnesotan who might catch this late chatter, Lakeville now claims some, oh, maybe 75,000 people, two high schools, and lots of wealth.)

Our goal was to bring the possibility of good nutrition, sans additives and preservatives, to the masses. Was that smug? Gosh, we didn't think so. We were trying to provide a service. Every member worked shifts. I was the financial gura for a while. It seems quaint now. But then almost every generation seems quaint to its successors.

Disabilities? Well, my brother is an adult with mental retardation. He and ARC (which used to stand for Association for Retarded Children -- we've come a long way since then) were born about the same time. The traditional world was not a warm and welcoming place for folks who had disabilities. Still isn't in many ways, in spite of elaborate pretense.

My parents duked it out with an arcane system for decades on my brother's behalf. As his guardian, I picked up that mantle and try to advocate relentlessly for my brother and his peers.

I don't know why I'm writing all of this. Except to say that when I was 40ish, I suppose I thought my parents' history was quaint (to the extent a World War II generation can be called quaint). As I age (and baby, I am aging fast), I grow more aware of the importance of what went before me. A lot of it wasn't flashy. Wouldn't even get a sound bite in today's world. Not sexy, hot, glitzy stuff.

Whatever.

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susan | September 5, 2007 - 12:32pm

We are just chatting to each other, but that's how this whole thing started anyway. So let me say, yeah and verily, we were not the venal arrogant self-aborbed dope smoking slackers that people like Kerosene paint us to be. I suppose every generation that comes along smacks down the ideas of the one before it, and gains a whiff of smuggery in doing so. (Seems to me I detected some of that in Kerosene himself.)

I think we were good people who are taking a bad rap for all sorts of sins we didn't commit. I'm tired of nodding along and agreeing that we were naieve pie-in-the-sky losers, interested only in getting stoned and getting laid, that the sixties (which really happened mostly in the seventies) was one giant orgy -- sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll -- and we had zero social conscious or seriousness of purpose.

So I'm fed up and not going to take it anymore! Show a little respeck you dang whippersnappers. Our intentions were good, our methods -- if there were any -- a bit sloppy, our results a disappointment. (Other than the things Barb and I are pointing to -- and a whole slew of others we are leaving out.)

I'd still say our biggest failure was not seeing how the Reagan conservatives and social conservatives were gaining on us until it was too late. And allowing ourselves to be defined by them, vs. by who we really are. Were. And we see this continuing in the Democratic party today. We suck at messaging and respond to most Republican assaults like squash beetles, flipped on our backs, legs flailing in the air. Pathetic.
Bye Barb, nice chatting with you. Maybe I'll post something one of these days.

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leftymn (not verified) | August 29, 2007 - 3:14pm

most divisive... Add Nixon, Andrew Johnson, Lincoln, and McKinley to the list with Bush the boyking and Buchanan... arguably Lincoln was the most divisive as it was his election that actually provoked Secession of the Confederacy....

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barbara aka babs (not verified) | August 29, 2007 - 6:56pm

Hey, leftyMN, welcome back!

Looks to me like the best thing that could happen is for Texas to secede. Seems like that's where a lot of our troubles have come from, at least lately. And now that Molly Ivins and Ann Richards are dead, I don't give a rat's patoot about that state any more. Well, except for Houston, which Babs Bush extolled as the hospitable home for New Orleans refugees, what with living in poverty where it's dry being such an improvement over poverty under water.

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Anonymous (not verified) | August 29, 2007 - 8:04pm

Come January, 2009, there will still be only two Presidents who have been impeached.

Johnson and Clinton.

Nice try though

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