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The Pile: Thoughts, Life, and Photography of Joshua Davis

The Isms are Still Alive

Hillary Clinton, Baracm Obama, Bill Richardson, Mitty Romney, John McCain, and Rudy Giulani all broke barriers for their various ethnic, gender, race and religious groups.

This primary saw so many records broken. We had a woman run the longest and most successful primary campaign ever. We had a man who would be the oldest president if he wins. We had an African American take the nomination. We had a Latino run, and be viewed as a somewhat serious threat, and seen as a serious contender for vice president. Then there was an Italian who had a front runner campaign for many months, and we can’t forget that a Mormon ran too.

The primary season was a wonderful example of the diversity of America and a reminder that who you are doesn’t have to define what you will be. But it also was a reminder that isms (chauvinism, racism, religionism, ageism…) are still a problem in America. From the media, to political campaigns, to individuals, this hatred has reared it’s ugly head. But the times when identity became a part of politics, equal opportunity discrimination resulted.

Probably most notable in terms of media sanctioned sexism was Chris Mathews, who has also made many comments indicating his support for Barack Obama, at one time saying Obama made his “thighs tingle.” He made offensive comments about Hillary saying “The reason she’s a U.S. Senator, the reason she’s a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front runner, is that her husband messed around. […] She didn’t win it on the merits.” Then of course there is the frequent use of the word bitch to describe Hillary. We heard McCain chuckling and saying “How do we beat the bitch” was an excellent question. And then of course everyone refers to Hillary, as Hillary, highlighting her gender in a way that last names don’t.

Even though there was only one candidate with a groundbreaking religion running in the 2008 primaries, Mitt Romney, three religions still came under fire. There was a county chairman working for John McCain that blasted Romney’s religion according to the Boston Globe, “[He] questioned whether Mormons were Christians, discussed an article alleging that the Mormon Church helps fund Hamas, and likened the Mormons’ treatment of women to the Taliban’s.”

Then came attacks on Obama’s religion. Conservatives maintained that he was a secret Muslim who wanted to impose Sharia law, while those same people attacked him for being to closely attached to the black church. Then came comments from a Clinton adviser saying Obama was only good for being your “Imaginary hip black friend.” And then there where those who feel Obama’s win was an exercise in affirmative action. Geraldine Ferraro, Rush Limbaugh and others have made statements that “Obama was only winning because he was a black male.” For comparison there’s one black in the US Senate, versus the 16 white woman, prior to 2004 there was only one black, who was a female.

My point in bringing these controversies up is not to reinforce hard feelings. It’s to show that every candidate faced discrimination on the campaign trail. Being an Obama supporter I can easily say, “These race attacks on Obama where more unfair.” But since I’ve never been a woman or Hillary supporter I don’t really know how her supporters felt about the attacks. And whatever those feelings are, they’re certainly legitimate.

If Obama’s pollsters and advisers come back and tell him they need Hillary on the ticket, then those (including me) offended by her comments will need to get over them, so we can fully support the entire ticket. In identity based politics this can be hard because the attacks feel like an attack on your group. But liberals must remember the interests of women and blacks will be further eroded over the next four years if the Republicans and John McCain win, because they are still anti abortion, anti affirmative action, and want to place justices on the Supreme Court that rescind and limit rulings like Roe v. Wade, and Brown v. Board of Education.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, barack obama, , , , , , , ,

McCain’s Energy Plan Will Raise Rates

I know this a few days old, but it sure hasn’t gotten enough coverage. John McCain has proposed to create a gas tax “holiday” during the summer months. He thinks that 29 cents off your gas consumption tax would lower the prices, but it is more likely to increase consumption, and the increased demand will probably outweigh saving money from the gas the tax.

And how does Mr. I’ll Stay In Iraq for 100 years, pay for the war with all these tax cuts? Oh I forgot destabilizing the Middle East creates lower prices at the pump.

The Washington Post talked to some economists who pretty much share the same view:

“You don’t want to stimulate consumption,” said Lawrence Goldstein, an economist at the Energy Policy Research Foundation. “The signal you want to send is the opposite one. Politicians should say that conservation is where people’s mindset ought to be.”

Mr. Goldstein said that instead of freezing the federal tax, the government should help lower-income populations pay for gasoline. It would be cheaper and benefit those households that need it most.

If anything, the gas tax should be increased. This would make heating bills decrease, because less gas would be consumed. Europe has some of the highest gas tax rates, which may acount for up to 70% of costs at the pump. Coincdently Europe also has the lowest gas consumption.

Having less consumption would also lower carbon outputs, and general pollution. Besides helping the disadvantaged pay for energy, a higher gas tax could be used to fund alternatives to excess oil consumption like mass transit, and green and renewable fuels.

McCain has several lobbyists from energy companies working on his campaign, and no doubt his lobbyists would love to see increased fuel consumption, leading to higher gas prices.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, Politics,

I Am an Angry Voter

I’m an angry voter. I worry that a Clinton or McCain administration will continue the same Washington politics that are destroying our nation. Like politicians getting free vacations trips to tropical destinations for signing free trade deals at the request of lobbyists.

There are many blacks like me that share this same anger, and even bitterness. But some of us might look at the white male factory worker as getting what he deserves, because for past generations he had  a free “white male” card. Blue collar workers might look at us as lazy, destructive people and wonder why we’re surprised Wal-Mart won’t open and bring employment opportunities in black neighborhoods.

But in the end the white father and the black father are both angry when they find it hard to place food on the table. Whether as Americans, they scrape money from the grandparents or from the federal government, the shame of not being able to provide for your own family creates anger at the system.

But the media (funded by corporations) and selfish politicians are seeking to divide Americans that are affected by the same failed economic policies, so that they can rake in more money and profits. They’re creating “voter outrage” of Barack Obama’s “bitter” comments. His statement was intended to help a group of elitist California fund raisers understand what the unemployed American feels. Every election cycle presidents and senators pose against shuttered factories and promise jobs. And the January after each election cycle we see more American jobs sent to places like Asia and South America.

The Washington and corporate establishment is scared that a candidate has finally called politicians on their economic BS. The establishment is worried that blue collar America and urban America might realize our economic issues are the same. If Americans are able to look past the small differences that separate us, and exercise our right to make America  a better place, corrupt politicians and companies looking at short term and selfish gains will be forced to change or leave.

Bitter is not a bad word. I am “Marked by resentment or cynicism” as the dictionary says, when it comes to politics. When watching you, your family, your community, and your country slowly dieing because of irresponsible decision making, it is no shame to be a bitter voter.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, Black Matters, Politics, , , ,

European Aircraft Manufacturers Love McCain

Or does John McCain love European airplane manufacturers? Media Matters is out with a graphic showing who his campaign managers, advisers, and other employees lobby for. One of the immediate names that jumped out at me was European aircraft maker Airbus, who has been siphoning off airplane contracts from American companies like Boeing.

But that’s not all he will be beholden to. The telecom industry, which surely will advocate against net neutrality, for wrestling cable regulation from local government, and for even higher cell phone, cable, and Internet prices. And if you think McCain is a saint for believing in global warming think again. Shell Oil, Honda, Florida Power & Light, Toyota, and other energy gobbling companies all employ lobbyists that work in his campaign.

There are a few other entities out there that should cause controversy too. For those who care about family values, one of his lobbyists works for the Smokeless Tobacco Council. And lets not forget, another of his advisers is a lobbyist who works for the NRA, the group that wanted to legalize assault weapons used in the Virginia Tech shootings.

The problem with lobbyists is the candidate will be beholden to them, especially if they’re credited with creating the win. For a man that labels himself as the “Straight Talk Express” I would defiantly expect him to show higher moral standards when it comes to lobbyists.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, Politics, , , , , ,