Ramblings of Charles Prier – Writer-Insomniac-General Know-it-All

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Political rhetoric hurts us all

While sitting in a medical facility waiting room the other day I overheard a casual conversation between others also waiting concerning the Presidential campaigns currently in the news. It seemed that everyone was welcome to comment. Most of the comments were negative about the current Republican candidates. One man suggested that the right person to vote for could be determined by figuring out who you didn’t want to be President.  To that a lady announced, “I sure don’t want Obama to win.”

I asked why she was so against the President. “Is it because he is Black?” She denied that emphatically and said, “Race has nothing to do with it. I just don’t like him.” Another man said that for him race did matter but that was a personal matter.

Another asked why I was for him. I admitted that I was just trying to learn why the current candidates would be better and wanted to be sure that my vote would not be against my own best interest.

A man behind me said, “He is head of the armed services and has never been in the service himself, so he is not qualified to be the Commander and Chief.”

It is true that he has never been in the military service, at least until now, but he ended the war in Iraq and took out Osama bin Laden. Do these accomplishments merit any consideration as qualifying factors?

The man to my left said, “He has never had a job and don’t know what it means to really have to work.” I wondered how that was different from the current leading Republican candidates.

“He’s a Muslim, and I think only Christians should be President, we are a Christian country and every citizen should strive to keep it that way.” He added, “Besides he wasn’t even born in America.”

I remembered that some believe that Mormons are a cult and not Christians.

“He believes in abortion and appointed liberal judges that passed on Roe vs. Wade” said the man to my left.  Actually he appointed none of those judges and five of the seven judges concurring with that decision were appointed by Republican Presidents.

Since many of those waiting were senior citizens and obviously had some interest in health care, it would have been good to ask opinions on policies affecting Social Security, Medicare, and Healthcare. My business was concluded before I had the opportunity to raise the questions.

That encounter convinced me that many hard-working, down-home, folks are falling prey to the hateful and deceitful rhetoric so prevalent on the minds and lips of Georgia’s elected politicians today.

Charles Prier

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In Their Defense

A scotoma is a visual defect or blind spot. People with this condition cannot see objects that fall within the affected area in their visual field. It’s as though the objects are just not there. Fortunately, in most cases, slightly shifting one’s point of view brings the objects into view.

The term scotoma is also used in psychology to refer to an individual’s inability to perceive, often bothersome, personality traits in themselves that may be obvious to others. They are blind to these; they do not exist.

I believe that there is yet another condition; a powerful ideological scotoma that presents its victims with a distorted view of the world. Facts and truths that fall outside the bounds of their ideology do not exist and are not processed as part of their reasoning and logical thinking. This condition, suffered by many Right-Wing and Tea-Party Conservatives, is a kind of mental illness giving rise to their illogical behavior and the creation of elaborate campaigns filled with fabrications and sometimes cleverly stated misinformation.

It’s not their fault; we have to be tolerant they just can’t see what is right before them. Confronting them with credible facts furthers their disillusionment resulting in more bizarre fabrications.

I do not know of an effective treatment for this condition; for friends and family; perhaps time and achieving a higher degree of personal maturity will alleviate some of the symptoms. Asking questions is risky but in a private forum sometimes allows them to get a glimpse at how out of touch they are and lead to a shift in point of view. Searching for common ground is hazardous but sometimes an effective strategy. Otherwise it is always best to keep your mouth shut, hide your pain and pray.

I wonder and worry about our world often – but then sometimes I just wonder what’s for supper; these are the best times. –CP

“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”  — Flannery O’Connor

Good Citizenship – Write your Congressman

Although they do not often write back, it is important to email, write or call your congressmen with your concerns and encouragement. If you appreciate what Congressman Paul Broun is doing for America you should tell him; tell him that although Georgia’s 12% unemployment is a problem he should continue to fight to lower the nation’s debt limit even to the point of allowing the government to default on its bills; he should again shout that proposal from the House floor – jobs can wait.

Encourage him to stand firmly on his no-tax pledge because preserving the tax loopholes for gas and oil companies is certainly more important to America than preventing the layoff of 280,000 teachers and keeping cops and firefighters on the job. Don’t forget to remind him that preserving the corporate-jet tax benefit is preferred to helping our service veterans find jobs when they return from war.

Tell him to forget about modernizing 35,000 schools and instead fight to cut taxes for the very rich. Also, say to him, don’t give much thought to maintaining or improving our roads, bridges, and airports. They are good enough and we don’t need to put thousands of construction workers to work. What we need to do is lower taxes and to eliminate all regulation; free enterprise industry can take care of public safety and protect consumers. Besides, everyone should look out for himself, government regulations just get in the way of profits.

I’m sure that Congressman Broun will be happy to hear that you are in favor of these items; after all we elected him and have remained silent while benefiting from all that he has done. We expect that his politics will provide great benefits to our children and grandchildren for generations to come.

Then again… if you disagree with him you need only write six words: “Pass the President’s Jobs Bill now.”

Charles Prier

Brownout in Georgia

As citizens of the Georgia 10th Congressional District, it is good to know where we stand with our Representatives in Washington. During recent weeks Representative Paul Broun has demonstrated that the wellbeing of “we the people” is a very low priority with him. His participation in the gridlock, national frustration, and actions resulting in lowering of our country’s credit standing is certainly jeer-worthy.  The troubling fact that he actually proposed lowering the debt limit, putting the government immediately in default speaks loudly about his priorities. In my opinion he ignored the first item of his four-way test when considering how to act concerning the debt limit crisis. He apparently believes it would be morally right for the country to default on the debts incurred by money already spent by Congress. He devoted a lot of negative energy to this issue and no positive energy toward JOBS or anything else worthwhile.

On a broader scale, it is apparent that because he signed the Grover Norquist Pledge he is incapable of being a competent legislator. By signing this pledge he became accountable to Grover Norquist not to the citizens of Georgia. It is time he renounces that outlandish pledge and instead pledge to listen to all sides of the issues with everything on the table, compromise while working toward balanced tax reform, jobs, and the benefit of everyday citizens. Our elected officials should be able to rely on their intelligence to assess the merits of any proposal encountered instead of being blackmailed into goat-like following dictated by Norquist’s pledge.  Any idiot can stand in the crowd and just say NO to everything; we need elected officials to actually represent the interest of the country not just their political party. CP

What could be wrong with Bob?

I once knew a guy who talked about building a machine using an electric generator and an electric motor connected in such a way that the motor would spin the generator and the electricity it generated would power the motor. He further suggested that through a belt and pulley arrangement the wheels on a go-cart could be turned to move the go-cart along. He was adamant that his theory would work. Unfortunately he did not have the manual skills or financial backing to build a model.

Bob has stopped talking about his perpetual motion powered go-cart. Today he is a Tea-partier proclaiming that reducing taxes for everyone making more than $400,000 a year, continuing corporate welfare to the oil companies, and cutting Medicare while privatizing Social Security will end unemployment, eliminate the deficit, and fill the government’s tax coffers.

Bob elects and blindly supports legislators that make foolish pledges that limit any innate intelligence, judgment, or problem-solving ability they could bring to their job. Bob is too busy and ill-equipped to understand or keep up with the political issues. He is easily confused and will likely continue to fall prey to the Tea Party blather and vote against his own best interest.

The debt problems facing our nation are serious, yet Bob’s heroes, in blind defiance, are refusing to take a balanced approach to dealing with the issues. If they keep this up we all lose, even those making more than $400,000 a year will suffer significant loss.

(Originally published as a Letter-to-the-Editor The Hartwell Sun July 7. 2011)

There is danger in voting your anger

Republican and Tea Party policies are not about reducing the abuse by big government but destroying the role of government in our lives, thus allowing private centers of power (special interest, big business, and Wall Street) to operate unimpeded by laws and regulation. The losers are everyday citizens who believe in working hard to get ahead, to educate their children, to live the American Dream and to retire with dignity.

 Congressman Boozman just voted against the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, once again proving that he stands with big Wall Street banks and his Washington party leaders rather than the small businesses and everyday citizens in Arkansas. Pandering to special interest is becoming the norm for Mr. Boozman

 His leaders are the same advocates that want to significantly increase the deficit to continue a tax cut for 2% of the population (the richest) yet adamantly opposed extending unemployment benefits to everyday citizens who lost their jobs because of their reckless fiscal policies.

 There is danger in voting your anger. Someone has said “Speak when you are angry – and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” Take a “Timeout” think about what needs doing and who is more likely to do it. Everyday citizens should not be bullied into voting against their own best interest.

Low Information Voters

Arkansas voters are in danger of falling prey to politicians who have discovered the New Demographic, i.e., Low Information Voters; those citizens, who can quote historical statistics on major league sports and have thoughtfully formed opinions about the players and teams, yet have chosen to accept a low information diet dished out by the Party of “NO”, Fox News, and conservative radio talk shows.

Short memories and misinformation are close allies of these mountebanks who want to dismantle the progress being made and return to the policies and politics that brought on the worst recession since the great depression and nearly bankrupt our country.

Aside from the economic issues is the moral imperative to elect honest candidates who will actually participate in the legislative process other than through delay and obstruction.  

We should not forget Tim Griffin’s role as Karl Rove’s closest protégé and his involvement in many of the most significant episodes of Republican sleaze over the last decade. Close to home is the U.S. Attorney scandal where, despite his lack of prosecutorial experience he was appointed interim U.S. Attorney thanks to Mr. Rove. He replaced Bud Cummins who was asked to resign although he was highly regarded.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) included Griffin on their list of Crooked Candidates for 2010.

What do you think? Do you want this kind of political operative making laws in Washington?

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