Thursday, January 28, 2010

Scott Brown’s truck

The Republican Scott Brown won the Senate seat in the dark blue state of Massachusetts. For those who did not follow the election closely, one of his main talking points was he drove a truck. It seems silly, but it was highly effective. President Obama even went to Massachusetts himself and told the citizens that driving a truck was not a big deal, but it had little impact, and Obama got back into his limo and went home.

After the election of Obama, there was a lot of talk about the uncertain future of the Republican party. After a defeat like that, Democrats would have found a nice cozy rock to hide under for the next six years, but not the republicans. They are firing back in a big way, and have maintained quite a bit of control in congress despite being the minority party. Now with 41 seats in the senate, seems Democrats are scared, and are giving in to every Republican demand.

Republicans are brilliant. A year ago their party was broken. Now Fox News is pushing this tea party Astroturf movement, taping into this phony populism, common people are really upset that the richest people might have a tax increase. They are taping into the Palin approach and getting people elected with campaign ads featuring a candidates truck.

What really gets me about Senator Brown’s truck is that it is so contrived. It is Republican strategists with degrees in PR and advertising, sitting around as a think tank, and coming up with ways to get the American public to support a party that is set out to hurt the, and they come up with a truck. It is insulting that this is their conclusion, and even more insulting that it works. Democrats should be scared, if that is all it takes, it looks like republicans are coming back. The Republicans set the pace, and democrat react. Republicans hold their positions and democrats step to the right. Republicans are unilateral and the Democrats keep attempting to negotiate. Doesn't work.

Anyway, it appears that the majority party is in trouble and is being bullied by the republicans. It might not even matter too much now that corporate contributions to campaigns are protected as free speech. Justice Scalia wrote “We should celebrate rather than condemn the addition of this speech to the public debate.” However it is no longer a public debate, it is a private one. I can not afford a voice. I will just vote for the guy with the truck. I sure the American car companies will be giving millions to each candidate anyway.


The great Howard Zinn has passed.

If you only read one book in your life time, it should be “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn, and you should read it at least twice. As a society, we have lost our historical memory, and it makes us fall for the same mistakes over and over. We rely on the powerful, the elite, the victors to supply us with our historical narrative, and without our own historical memory we are left to take their word for it. History cannot be told objectively. You can not be neutral on a moving train. When one claims to be neutral, they really are taking a stance in favor of the status quo.

I was introduced to Zinn in boring 100 level college history class. The professor assigned one chapter from “A People’s History” and a reaction paper. I was so struck by that chapter, I went on and read the book cover to cover, and did not pick up my main text again. I ended up failing that class, because I didn’t hand in any of my papers because I was too busy reading Zinn. The class did not help my GPA, but it shaped who I am.

The book changed me, and is a very important part of who I am today. Howard has his place in history, and it is history that makes us who we are today.