The World As I See It.

I am the honorable flamingo. What you read here might make you smile, make you think, or make you wonder. This is the world as I see it, from the view of a pink, long legged, slightly awkward bird.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Living Up To A Promise: Some Thoughts On The Election

I wasn't going to write anything on the results of this election, as I suspect that just about everyone with access to a computer, a pen, a piece of paper, or even a scrap of tree bark and a sliver of charcoal will have something to say. There will be blogging, text messages, and Youtube comments to add to the newspaper articles and television newscasts. However, as I was watching Barack Obama give his victory speech, I felt compelled to write down my own thoughts on this historic day.

I honestly hadn't thought a whole lot about the racial factor of this election. I had seen Barack Obama as a qualified, thoughtful, well-balanced, intelligent candidate who wanted to lead the United States as best he could, and several weeks ago he earned my vote. But, as I watched the video from Grant Park in Chicago, something struck me. As the camera panned over the crowd, I saw that the vast majority of African-Americans had tears in their eyes (and yes, some attendees of other races as well). That was when the gravity of this election hit me. We are not just electing another well-qualified President. For many people, particularly African-Americans, it means far more than that.

We live in the United States of America, a country where the Constitution says that everyone is guarenteed equal protection of the laws, and everyone has a right to liberty. We wrote a Declaration of Independence that says that everyone is created equal, and each and every one of us has a right to be free.

Yet, for much of our history, and in many ways to this day, we have failed to live up to these creeds. We write that each person is equal under the law, and then execute three times more minority citizens than white citizens. We write that all men are created equal, and then pass laws guarenteeing that they are not. We write that everyone has a right to be free, and then we keep others in chains. Yes, We the People have often fallen short of our obligation to live up to our promises to one another, but if this election can teach us anything, it is that it doesn't have to be this way.

We the People have the ability to get up each day and face the world with the promise to mold it into what we desire it to be. We can envision an America in which the laws protect everyone; in which full equality is realized, and then we can make it happen.

As I watched those pictures of African-Americans weeping as the election returns became certain, I realized something. For perhaps the first time in their lives, there are parents who can look at their children - look them right in the eye - and say honestly, that if you work hard, if you persevere, if you believe in yourself and your fellow people, you can become whatever you want to be in the United States of America.

For most of our history, we have promised that each person is created equal; that each person is born with liberty; that each person deserves to be free from violence and discrimination. And, for most of our history, we have failed to fully realize these promises. Today, and each day in the future, it is up to us to make sure that these promises are fulfilled, that they are not idle phrases penned hundreds of years ago, but living committments that we carry forward with each passing generation.

President Obama has my good will. I sincerely hope that he will be a great 44th President of the United States of America.

Friday, May 30, 2008

John McCain: Too Young, Too Old, or Just Right?

This Presidential election is perhaps one of the most unique and exciting in history. Never before have the media had so many superficial and shallow stereotypes on which to report for hours, days, and indeed weeks on end. Usually, Americans know exactly what to expect, rich white guy, nice head of hair, penchant for fine cheeses, you get the idea. This year, however, people will be able to look at the debate stage and say things like "hey, it's a black guy," or, "look, a woman with a haircut that looks like it belongs on one of those guys in Full House," and, of course "Oh my God! Is that a walking corpse!"

It is no secret that John McCain is old, decrepit, riddled with physical maladies, and aside from that, healthy as an ox. However, John McCain is most certainly not too old to run for President, in fact, he is far from even being the oldest person in the Senate. He is only the 24th oldest Senator, with the youngest being the spry John Sununu of New Hampshire, at the tender age of 38. For a little comparison, I've decided to run down a few of the oldest members of Congress in order to make my case.

Ralph Hall - Representative-TX (R)

Representative Hall is the oldest member of the House at the age of 85. He was a Democrat from his election in 1981 to 2004, but then switched parties. He is also perhaps the only person who actually joined the Republican Party since then. Although it is still only a rumor, claims have been circulating for years that Mr. Hall is, in fact, immortal, and is attempting to prove it with this change of party, along with his survival after his ties with infamous lobbyist Jack Abramhoff surfaced in 2006. After all his years of service, Hall finally earned a coveted spot as the ranking member on the
House Science Committee, an accomplishment that includes his participation in the piece of legislation known as the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act, whatever the hell that means. He is 14 years older than John McCain, but claims to be at least 10 years younger looking in the neck.

Frank Lautenberg - Senator-NJ (D)

At 84 years of age, Lautenberg is 13 years John McCain's senior, and acts like it. In the year of our Lord, 2006 Lautenberg displayed the type of logic that would make nursing home bound old men proud when he said of the Dubai Ports deal, "We wouldn't transfer the title to the Devil; we're not going to transfer it to Dubai." When pressed on this, he defended himself by remarking that the UAE had not supported U.S. policies toward Iran and Israel. Policies which, as I'm sure most are well aware, Satan was highly critical of. Lautenberg is currently running for reelection in New Jersey, and if he succeeds, he would be 91 by the time his next term expires. When asked if he was too old to run again, Lautenberg quipped "Just ask my wife..." I'm not sure how that sentence finishes, but, at least on the part of the interviewer, I assume it is with vomiting.

Robert Byrd - Senator-WV (D)

No list of shockingly old public servants would be complete without the Archbishop of Agedness, Robert Byrd. He is 90 years old, and born in 1917. No, that isn't a typo, Byrd was born during World War I. About the only title he didn't have a chance to hold was Holy Roman Emperor, but most have agreed he more than made up for that when he became the "Exalted Cyclops" of his local Klan unit, a position that lies just above the "Elevated Chupacabra" in the Klan's mythological creature hierarchy of leadership. Luckily, Byrd has told us that his Klan didn't engage in or preach violence. Instead, it is assumed they spent most of their time doing charity work at local orphanages. His love for non-violent racism may have led to the statement he made in 1945, saying that he would never fight in battle "with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels." However, to be fair, his ideas on race seem to have changed some by 2001, when he said "There are white niggers. I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time. I'm going to use that word. We just need to work together to make our country a better country, and I'd just as soon quit talking about it so much." I suppose no one thought it right to tell Mr. Byrd that one way to quit talking about it so much is to refrain from using racial slurs that happen to be quite offensive to large portions of the population.

So, as I think you can clearly see, John McCain is practically too young to run for President. Old people tend to show signs of racism, jingoism, and fatigue. McCain, however, exhibits none of those traits. That is, unless you count the time he said that he "hated the gooks" and would hate them as long as he lives. Or perhaps the time he insisted upon occupying Iraq with U.S. military forces for decades to come, or that time he changed the Beach Boys lyrics to "bomb Iran." Hey, at least he hasn't fallen asleep during one of the debates yet!

Never mind. Don't ask questions, just vote for John McCain. And get off my porch!!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Halftime Show Wardrobe Malfunction?

Despite my anguish over the New England Patriots losing the Super Bowl last night, I did notice that there was some interesting imagery during the halftime show. Call it a "wardrobe malfunction."

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers put on a good show, but I think Fox may be a little more careful about allowing bands to use outlines of their "instruments" during future performances.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Huckabee Wants To Up-End, Er, Amend The Constitution

Mike Huckabee has been the darling of many conservatives, particularly those who consider themselves evangelicals. With his eloquence and ability to seemingly escape any tough question looking even better than before, it seemed Huckabee could do no wrong. However, even he may have crossed the line with the comment he made a couple of days ago.

That's right, he wants to amend the Constitution to fit "God's Law". Let's put aside for a moment that people in the United States happen to have a few different views of what God's Law is, or the fact that the Constitution was never meant to conform to "God's Law". Where does that leave us? It leaves a candidate whose blatant desire to inject his views on religion into the life of every American would make James Madison cringe.

But maybe Mike Huckabee is right. I've always thought the Bible was right on in its condemnation of animal sodomy. On the other hand, this is an area where the Constitution has always been a bit soft. Or how about that whole freedom of religion thing? That was for a bunch of pansies back in the 1790's who didn't know what was truly God's Law. Luckily, we can elect Mike Huckabee, who knows exactly what it entails. There is no reason to allow people to attend Mosques, or Synagogues, or worship how they choose, for goodness sakes, it's right in the Bible! How did we miss it for so long?

The only real question to ask is: why is this candidate still in the race? Even if he were to somehow gain the Republican nomination, this will be played as an attack ad so often that even God will be against him by the end of the race. Although I had never gone this far before, I will say it now: Mike Huckabee will never be President. Not after that comment. Nor, I dare say, should he.

In one fell swoop, Mike Huckabee took the Constitution; the Supreme Law of the Land; the one document that guarantees every American the right to life, liberty, and property, and turned it into "some contemporary view of how we treat each other". In that thirty second sound bite, Mike Huckabee mocked and spit on everything that our nation stands for. Not only would Mike Huckabee change the Rule of Law, but he would change it in such a way that would force everyone to conform to his view of God's Law. Viva Le Fascismo!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Finally, We Can Ignore Iowa For Another Four Years

Well, the Iowa caucuses are finally over, and that can only mean one thing...we can all stop caring about Iowa. In fact, our fascination with Iowa has more to do with their refusal to join the majority of the nation in voting like normal people than anything else. Instead, they choose to gather in a small middle school cafeteria, as our forefathers did. The throngs then gather themselves together based on candidate preference, if they are Democrats, or choose their candidate on paper, if they are Republican. Basically, the Iowa caucuses are a bunch of white people gathered together in a strange smelling room where the chairs are bolted to the tables, or as it is known elsewhere, bingo night.

It is unreasonable to expect much more from Iowa, however, considering they gave us Herbert Hoover, who destroyed American's faith in humanity by bringing us the Depression, and Ashton Kutcher, who ruined American's faith in humanity by bringing us Punk'd. Luckily, now that the candidates are moving east, Iowa's enormous failings as a state will be again be swept under the rug. On another note, the state will finally be able to remove that stop sign they put in to control all the traffic.

Perhaps the best thing for the U.S. to do is to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iowa. In fact, I think it could be the new President's first action. To help him out, I have drawn up a little map for him. That ought to bring those pesky Iowans back in line. Just think about all the good we could do in that area. The United States could help to rebuild their infrastructure, and bring their economy into the 21st century. We could even teach them to vote, like Americans, and bring democracy to that part of the world. We would be greeted as liberators.

We'd probably also have to give Iowa a professional athletic team to represent them, if we really wanted to grant the area full statehood. Perhaps they could field an NFL expansion team. The nickname, of course, would have to be one that Iowans can relate to, based on something they are familiar with. Perhaps a popular corn growing state game...ah, I've got it.