Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Oh, how I look forward to the new year, 2008, the year of a presidential election, when we hopefully, finally rid ourselves of the neocon generation. The newspapers and television have been re-capping major events of the past year and I just don't want to see them because so much politics (and Republican at that) pervades their perspective. It's time for a new, refreshing, and spirited generation to seek to make the world a more beautiful place, and I'll help them all I can. It's time for peace.

Some of these re-caps haven't been all that bad; indeed, we have many things to be thankful for in 2007. We finally pushed global warming to the forefront. Al Gore not only won an Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth," but also a Nobel Prize for all his work on global warming. Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House (although I'm not wowed by her service). I refuse to comment on all the "celebrity" news that dominated prime time television because I don't consider that news. I am, however, happy about the final book in the Harry Potter series. Much of the news has been depressing, including physical disasters, natural disaster, war, death, disease and poverty. But I think the one event that made me, an Idaho Democrat the happiest, was the gift we received from Senator Larry Wide-Stance Craig. You gave us an unexpected boost and I don't care whether you're gay or not, your gift is greatly appreciated.

So, Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A State Too Great for Hate?

Sweeping some of Idaho's racist problems under the carpet because it seems to belong to a small section of the populace, or because it's so nonsensical it appears unbelievable, allows the problem to persist and even grow. I believe that has happened with the racist letter that I wrote about in my previous blog (and thanks to Bubblehead for pointing out that it was eventually put on the Bonners Ferry Herald website). I was going to leave the following as a response to the other comments on the last blog, but it seemed more important to write about racism in Idaho again. I hope that many others chip in their two cents because if we want to understand Idaho, we need to understand its problems as well as appreciate its positive qualities.

Unfortunately for Idaho, although members of the Obama campaign thanked me for the information about the Herald letter, they seem to think that because the mis-information contained in this letter has been circulating for some time, and because it has been exposed and debunked elsewhere, it was not important to respond to the Herald, its publisher, and its owner. I think they missed the point, especially for Idaho if not elsewhere in the U.S. Many of the people who believe this nonsense are Republican members of fundamentalist churches who send their members in large numbers to the polls. I know for two reasons: living in a small rural town is like living in a glass house; and, I have been a poll watcher for several elections. For a newspaper to publish this kind of vitriol is encouragement for these people; thus, more fundamentalist Republicans will be at the polls voting the straight Republican ticket. But does our local newspaper, published by a Republican, and owned by a corporation whose owner and CEO is a Republican, do the citizens a service by publishing such blatant partisan letters? This paper has also published a number of opinion articles, news releases and so forth on behalf of Bill Sali. But do Democrats get their news releases published? You guessed that one. Rarely. Indeed, the publisher of this paper, in the last publication before the last election, printed an article that cast aspersions on a candidate who had a good chance of winning an Idaho Congressional seat. Did the article hurt the candidate? One cannot prove it but the candidate did lose. Not to mention the editor who supposedly was fired because he came out in favor of Jerry Brady for Governor....

But I digress... it is the blatant racism used here for political purposes that needs to be addressed. And, by the way, the Herald did not publish my response letter; instead the publisher wrote an opinion apologizing for "letting such a ill-informed, hate-filled letter run in our community newspaper." That was good. But what really puzzles me is that the letter, which wasn't on the Herald website on the printed day of publication, eventually made it there. This just provided more damaging grist against Obama and the Obama campaign. Oh, and the editor who allowed the letter to be published in the first place is still at her job....

It's bad enough that in a state "too great for hate," we do have this kind of racism. But what is really unfortunate is that we haven't addressed it strongly enough; indeed, Idaho Republicans' obsession with English as the "official language" is not only insulting to our immigrants but, I would suggest, racist as well. We do finally celebrate Martin Luther King Day in our schools, but what has occurred in the recent past with students who were educated in Boundary County (a girl thrown into a bonfire because her mother is a practicing Muslim) indicates, to me at least, that Boundary County needs more than Martin Luther King Day.... Although north Idaho has pretty much rid itself of large Aryan Nation groups, their brand of racism persists. And I believe that this occurs around the entire United States, not just north Idaho. And I think that one reason is because much of this racism comes from Republicans. A case in point: consider the action of the College Republicans at Boise State University who created anti-immigrant games and ran racist anti-immigrant ads. I have never heard nor read about a Democrat who has engaged in such racist acts. I think it's about time that the issue of racism be made a public debate, and if it takes having an Obama running for the presidency, then I, for one, am grateful he's running.

Idahoans, if you're not outraged at these acts of racism, then you aren't paying attention.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Racism in Rural America

The following letter is not only racist, but it is filled with errors, confused information, and thinly disguised hatred. It was published today in the Bonners Ferry Herald, although you won't find it in the edited, online version. Many of you may find the mistakes so ridiculous that you laugh the letter off. Please do not do this. I live in this town, this county, and have for almost 20 yrs. I try to be tolerant and objective, and although I don't know the author of this Letter-to-the-Editor, I know others like her who, in other circumstances, would give you the shirt off their backs if they could help you....and if you were white. This kind of racism finds a home in some of the fundamentalist churches in this rural landscape (and there are plenty of them). This letter is not just pathetic in its ignorance but abhorrent in its racism. And what I find even more deplorable is that the Bonners Ferry Herald even decided to publish it! Have their standards sunk as low as those of the person who wrote this letter? I have copied this letter to my blog tonight (and you can all get an original copy by buying the Bonners Ferry Herald print edition) in the hopes that whoever reads it will take offence, call the Herald, write their own LTE to the Herald, and spread the word about this kind of racism in order to bring this problem to the fore and make it a topic of discussion that we cannot ignore.

The letter:

Don’t Elect a Muslim as next U.S. President?

Barak Hussein Obama, a Muslim wants to be our next president.
How can a good Muslim be a “good American,” much less the President of the United States of America?

Politically he can’t because he must submit to the mullah (political leader) who teach annihilation of Israel and destruction of the great satin they refer to as America. Death to all who are not Muslim.

Intellectually he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes as a Muslim that the Bible is corrupt.
Philosophically he cannot because Islam Mohammed and the Iran to not allow freedom of religion. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist. Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.

Spiritually he cannot because when we declare “One Nation Under God,” our Christian God is loving and kind while Allah is never referred to as a Heavenly Father nor is he ever called love in the Iran. Muslims cannot be both a good Muslim and a good American. Their personal preference and allegiance is to Allah and not our Constitution, nor our God.

A state of our nation has already elected a Muslim (Obama) to the House of Representatives.

He is in the current session of Congress 2007 and during his swearing in he used the Muslim Iran instead of our Bible.

How dare we not recognize this as the evil it will bring on our nation if we allow Obama to be our next president.

Also four Senators along with many others voted against English as our official American language, Senators Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Obama, Boxer, Kerry, Kennedy, Lieferman and many more. Where is the loyalty to America?

None of these people should be leaders of our “Great Nation.” In our country people are free to believe anything they want to as well as their religious preference. But they don’t qualify to be the President of the United States of America when they don’t support or believe in our Constitution. They are not loyal Americans and talk out of both sides of their mouth.

Please use your voting privilege to keep these people out of the White House. Please do not elect them to be the President of the United States of America. This may be the most serious election our country has ever faced. Our government isn’t perfect but it’s the best one in the whole world. Let’s help keep it that way. Our vote may be a matter of life or death and liberty for all.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Face the Music and Dance

Oh boy, Larry Craig's Sunday is ruined. Front page of the Idaho Statesman. Front page of the Spokesman-Review (same Popkey article). Front page of the Times News (Magic Valley). Tucked into the Lewiston Tribune. Across the nation, from the Seattle Post Intelligencer (albeit without all the sordid details) to the Miami Herald (with the sordid details). Even the ubiquitous USA Today. The guys have kissed and now they're telling.... Not a good time to be a Republican in Idaho....not a good time to be a Republican....and so much for family values....

I believe that a person's private life should remain private, but it was the Senator, himself, who took it into public places and who lied and who is such the hypocrite. I have no problem with anyone being gay, but again, the lies and hypocrisies attached to Lewd-Conduct-Man have brought embarrassment to the state of Idaho, not to mention the Republican party....

Thank goodness Idaho also has some great Democratic candidates so that we can rid ourselves of the mess that the Republican party has laid at our feet. Larry LaRocco for Craig's seat and Larry Grant, Walt Minnick, and Rand Lewis for Bill Sali's seat. It can only get better!

The 2008 election is going to be very interesting, as well as great entertainment! I can't wait...