The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘LBJ’

Bono, shut up!

Posted by keithosaunders on January 20, 2011

Sargent Shriver died yesterday.  I mostly remember him as George McGovern’s vice presidential nominee in 1972.  McGovern had originally selected Missouri Senator Thomas Eagleton, but when allegations of his mental instability were leaked (he had been hospitalized some years earlier) he was forced to resign from the ticket.  Shriver was a desperation choice; the McGovern campaign had already offered the vice presidency to Hubert Humphrey, Ted Kennedy, Edmund Muskie, and Walter Mondale, all of whom declined.  It was in this light that I was exposed to Sargent Shriver.

It turns out that Shriver had an illustrious career.  He married Eunice Kennedy, the sister of John Kennedy and under the JFK administration he served as the first director of the Peace Corps.  After JFK’s assassination,  Shriver became the chief architect for Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, founding several programs, most notably Head Start, VISTA, Job Corps, and the Special Olympics.

This morning I was reading the Times and there was an editorial remembering Shriver’s life.  Imagine my surprise when glancing at the byline I saw…Bono.  Couldn’t they have found anyone slightly more qualified?  I don’t need to read about Shriver from a dime-store hipster whose singing voice has all the charm of a cat in heat. 

The Irish saw the Kennedys as our own royal family out on loan to America. A million of them turned out on J.F.K.’s homecoming to see these patrician public servants who, despite their station, had no patience for the status quo. (They also loved that the Kennedys looked more WASP than any “Prod,” our familiar term for Protestant.)

So far so good — a little Irish perspective.  Not sure what it has to do with Shriver, but fine.

I remember Bobby’s rolled-up sleeves, Jack’s jutted jaw and the message — a call to action — that the world didn’t have to be the way it was. Science and faith had found a perfect rhyme.

I will now address Bono personally:

OK, first of all, shut up.  Second of all, SHUT UP!  You do not get to call John Kennedy Jack.  You were three when he died!  As a matter of fact, we’re the same age and you don’t see me writing editorials as if I used to summer with the Kennedys at the Cape.  How come I grew up in Los Angeles and hardly even remember Bobby, yet you, from all the way across the pond, have vivid recollections of his attire and mannerisms?  Remarkable. 

To sum up, Sargent Shriver did great work, and Bono has done admirable humanitarian work as well.  I wonder when the time comes who the Times will choose to write McGovern’s obit.  Hopefully not Taylor Swift. 


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Dostoievsky is rolling in his grave

Posted by keithosaunders on November 11, 2010

On Monday, on the way to pick my daughter up at her school,  I turned on a public radio station and I stumbled upon a lecture.  I do not know who the speaker was, although I suspect it may have been Thomas Frank, who is the author of “What’s the Matter With Kansas?,” a book that examines why conservative voters tend to vote against their own interest. 

I tuned in just as the speaker quoted the great Russian author, Fyodor Dostoievsky.  “When the liberal class ceases to function we enter a period of moral nihilism.”   The lecturer went on to assert that liberals should be blamed even more than conservatives for the state that we find ourselves, for it is they who allowed the concept of ‘liberalism’ to be co-opted by the Republicans as a slur.  The speaker asserted that the failure of liberals to defend their policies, and when necessary, to take a firm stand, is reprehensible.

He went on to discuss the economy, noting that Youngstown, Ohio was once a thriving steel town.  Now its main industry is correctional facilities and it is home to three prisons.  He was making a correlation between rampant unemployment, poverty, and the prison culture.  A case in point was noted in Joni Hudson-Reynolds’s blog.  She wrote pf the case of the Scott sisters, who were involved in a robbery that netted $11 and subsequently sentenced to life in prison.   

I wish I had heard more of the lecture and that I could name the speaker.  It was a fascinating listen, at least for the 10 minutes I heard.  What is disillusioning to me is the rampant denigration of government.  I would argue that in the past several years conservatives have demonized the word government, much as they did liberal beginning shortly after LBJ’s enactment of civil rights. 

Democrats have no one to thank but themselves.  Time and again they have failed to refute these charges of socialism and excessive spending.  There is plenty of good that has come out of our government and Democrats have no reason to be ashamed of the legacy of liberalism.  If certain programs are abused then they can be modified, but the idea that government should not spend money to the betterment of society, and to prevent large-scale poverty is one that I do not subscribe to. 

It’s hardly original to note the Orwellian nature of this doublespeak but I believe it bears repeating.  Conservatives rail against the evils of government without offering a viable alternative.  By ignoring the good that has come from liberal ideas — and there is plenty to be proud of — the Democrats are contributing to the degradation of society.

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Health care reform: It’s time.

Posted by keithosaunders on March 20, 2010

After months of political wrangling and machinations the Health Care Reform Bill will be voted on in the House tomorrow, March 21st.  People, it’s time.  I understand that this is a flawed bill and that an absence of a public option is huge blow.  The bottom line is that 32 million more Americans will be insured (1 million more than originally thought) and 138 billion dollars will be pared from the federal deficit in the next ten years.

There is no moral reason to oppose health care reform.  The Republicans have yet to offer a valid plan, save for their feeble talking points — being able to buy insurance across state lines, and tort reform.  The last administration had eight years to deal with this and did not lift a finger, tort reform and all.

A year ago, when health care reform was first presented, I figured that this was an issue in which Obama’s bi-partisan efforts would be a plus.  Why wouldn’t the Republicans want to do what is humane and necessary?   How naive I was. 

I have reached the conclusion that there exists a Darwinian sense of entitlement among people of wealth and means.  Their rational is that they have worked hard for what they have achieved and they are deserving of privilege by means of their talent and drive.  The tacit implication is that it is the uninsured person’s own fault for not having had the perseverance and the ability to succeed in a competitive world.

Of course these is a racist component to this. What is the term “big government” but a euphemism for a welfare state.  It is hardly subtle.  The Republicans have spent the better part of 40 years deriding the gains accomplished through Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement, as well as LBJ’s Great Society programs.  All of this is a way for the rich, or middle class white person to feel good about where he is in society, and to alleviate the guilt that comes with knowing there are people being denied access to health care and a better life.

Posted in health care, Obama, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »