Friday, October 31, 2008

Stories of Change: While I hear many things that should assuage my fears about Tuesday, I am still nervous.

As you know, the election is this Tuesday. As you may not know, unless you know me personally, and I've told you, I'm nervous as hell. I'm hoping that my nerves are just paranoia, but the last two elections brought with them almost unbelievable outcomes, and since that pretty much encapsulates my presidential election career, I'm a little cautious when it comes to anything resembling a prediction.

Still, there are many good signs that point to a change. And not just a change in the Executive Branch, but a change in how we approach politics. One such sign was posted last week at Guernica Magazine and is what Guernica founder and editor Joel Whitney is calling "The Obama Consensus": a list of Republicans who, as Joel put it, "are thinking more broadly than party affiliation this time." This is a sign of actual change. People thinking about what is good for the country, and not just what is good for getting them elected.

A friend of mine sent me another good story earlier this month that I think points to actual change. She is a teacher in Northeast Minneapolis and her fifth and sixth graders, frustrated by the fact that they could not vote, hit the streets to register people to vote. Now this seems like the kind of thing we need. Unlike the "mock elections" that took place in schools when I was growing up, this seems like it may actually instill in these young people a desire and an ability to be involved in the political process.

Obviously there are many other promising things to point to that should assuage my fears, but it's stories like these that are making me hopeful, even if I'm still nervous as hell.

-David Doody

From Maggie Struck, teacher in Northeast Minneapolis:

So, today, my fifth and sixth graders took to the streets and registered people to vote at the local grocery store in the neighborhood in North Minneapolis that our school is in. It was a great surge of energy...they all decided that since they could not let their voices be heard by voting, they would help get the people in their community registered to speak their voice through a vote.

I just thought with all the buzz that is going on with the upcoming election, these photos would speak to the power of that vote, and the right we have in our country. My students are definitely hopeful for a change that will impact their future. The optimism and resilience of children continues to inspire and amaze me.

Regardless of which way your vote is going to go, I hope these pictures encourage you to at least act out your right as a citizen of the United States to head to the polls in November.








Tax Questions Answered

Clear answers and examples, here>>>

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Video With Me In It

When I read the email from MoveOn with this video in it, I thought it would probably be pretty lame. But it's actually really funny, I think:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Michele Bachmann "Represents" Minnesota on Hardball

Admitting that the United States is imperfect is not the same as being "anti-American."

States like Minnesota are getting a lot of attention these days as we close in on the final two weeks of the race for the presidency. Political parties and the media alike are looking at the states that could swing the election one way or another. Unfortunately this week one of Minnesota's representatives (and I use that term loosely) Michele Bachmann found a national stage on Chris Matthews' Hardball to fan the flames of Sarah Palin's recent incendiary statements.

Steve Perry, writing for The Minnesota Independent, had this to say about the interview:

"Following Rep. Michele Bachmann's appearance with Chris Matthews [Friday], America is learning what many in Minnesota already knew, which is that putting Bachmann in front of a live microphone is like handing an excitable 15-year-old a bottle of gin and a loaded gun. The only question is when something unspeakable is going to happen."

What seems to be getting the most attention (even prompting a challenge for Bachmann's Congressional seat from within the GOP) is Bachmann's call for the media to investigate members of Congress to see which ones may have "anti-American views."

The problem with statements like this, as well as Sarah Palin's "Our opponent is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists... " is that they allow Americans to never have to learn from the past and change for the better. If something is already perfect then there is no reason to change it.

These statements are in direct contradiction with anything these leaders of the GOP might say about future change. When Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann claim to know that mistakes have been made and, therefore, changes need to be made, well, that is contradictory to the idea of perfection. Either something is perfect or it is imperfect. And (spoiler alert) nothing, including America, is perfect. Therefore, stating that you want to change what is wrong with it should not be seen as being in opposition to loving it.

When we strive for the best possible version of something, we are refusing to sell it short. When we say that the U.S., like everything else, is imperfect, that it needs to be worked on--in order to learn from where we have been and end up in a better place--that in no way should be seen negatively.

And it certainly should not be seen as anti-American. Allowing the country to continue down the same path, deeper and deeper into failure, should, however, be seen that way.



Crossposted at Guernica Magazine

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Joe Henry in Three Easy Steps

Step 1:
Read this interview by Jim Walsh with Joe Henry in Reveille.

Step 2:
Listen to some Joe Henry here.

Step 3:
Do yourself a favor and go buy some Joe Henry music.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The RNC That Should Have Been

I love the editing in this clip. Just how confused and sort of pissed off McCain looks. (Thanks for sending, Molly.)

Vote

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Way to Go America!

I just voted in every national poll asking the question "Who won last night's VP Debate." I don't think I've ever voted in such a poll, but it seems that for the time being these things play a big role in people's opinions or at least people put a lot of trust in them. So I went ahead and cast my votes for Joe "six pack" Biden. I was pleasantly surprised by these polls. Even the Fox News polls had Joe "commutes in and out of Washington everyday, proving he is not part of the boy's club that is D.C." Biden winning the debate like 59% to 40%. Maybe Americans can see through the note-card reading, tag-line saying, unable to actually answer a question, winking b.s. that was Sarah Palin's side of the debate last night. Thus, Wat to go America!!

If you feel like taking a couple minutes to respond to these polls click here>>>. Every little bit helps, right?

Ok, I wasn't going to write any more about last night's debate, because it already seems like spinning wheels (everyone seems to be on the same page), but I have to talk about the woman who was commenting on msnbc.com immediately following the debate. I think it was Geraldine Anne Ferraro, but I can't find the video. Anyway, she said something along the lines of she wanted her granddaughters to be able to look back on last night as an historic moment for women, and she thought that, given Sarah Palin's performance, they would be able to do that. I am still floored by some women's response to Sarah Palin. It really does seem that only because she is a woman they feel proud. It just doesn't make sense to me. Why is this not more of an insult? Why does any woman who actually has even a minimal amount of intelligence feel anything resembling pride when this woman speaks? I'm baffled by it. If anyone has seen the clip from msnbc.com please let me know, so I can post it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
Thomas Jefferson 1802

Point, Counterpoint

I left a response to a post Dustin put up over at Blogs Are About Ego and thought I'd put it over here as well, as a point/counterpoint post. Let the discussion continue:

Point (Question):
Why Do the Candidates Continue to Refuse to Talk About Anything

It seems like the election has been a constant contest to seem who can say the least. I'm really amazed that we are only five weeks away from this being over. It feels like they are just getting started. Obama and Biden have really receded from the headlines and McCain is either stealing the headlines with Palin's idiocy (I believe my recent favorite was that she can't name a supreme court case outside of Roe v. Wade), or he's in the news aimlessly attacking Obama. What about what's actually happening, particularly the erosion of American civil liberties. Neither candidate would touch that topic with a ten foot pole. In their defense, it's lethal. What can you say on the topic that wouldn't piss someone off? But isn't that what we really want? I leader who isn't scared of opinion polls or talking about a something that people might get sensitive about? It's a real issue. The Bush administration has slowly but surely given the executive branch increased control of torture, spying, and all intelligence routes through the government. This is a flagrant violation of our constitution, of our rights. Yet, no one really seems to want to prod the candidates into speaking on the subject.

Obama is scared of looking left wing. And McCain has voted with Bush through the entire erosion. (and Obama is not innocent here) Why doesn't someone try to make them talk about it in a debate, or why aren't reporters hitting them with these questions. Katie Couric made Palin look dumb, but Palin has nothing to do with this, she is not a national politician, in my mind she's not much of a politician at all, but that's besides the point. Why can't we actually have an open discussion about these kind of issues in an election year? I think I know the answer, and maybe I'm being naive and idealistic in hoping that this could be possible, but dammit I don't care, I want to hear them speak about this. This may be a great plan for McCain in fact. It seems as though the debate would go to Obama, because McCain has always followed Bush through this erosion of our rights, and anyone that cares would have to side with Obama. But what if Obama can't defend a somewhat patchy track record here? What if he can't speak about it as eloquently as you would imagine? It might be a good chance for McCain to win over some of the liberal vote...try it, see what happens. It won't happen, but it's fun to imagine what kind of democracy you would wish for.
-Dustin Luke Nelson


Counterpoint:
There's a book by Dana Nelson called "Bad for Democracy" that shows how over decades and decades--not just through the W years--the presidency has sought and received more and more power, throwing the balance of government completely out of whack. The position becomes more and more like that of a king, and all the while the American people have accepted this piracy of the balance originally sought after by our founding fathers. Think of the language we use: "The leader of the free world," "The most powerful position in the land," et al. This is not what the presidency was supposed to be. It was supposed to be just one branch with no more and no less power than the others, or at least it was supposed to be able to be checked and put in line when it stepped out of that line.

But, more specifically in response to this post, you're right, they won't talk about incendiary issues because they cannot afford to piss anyone off who may be on the fence about those issues. It's like when they say "middle class" but never utter the word "poverty." It's spinning what they say to get votes...a watered down version of tackling the tough topics in order to get votes.

The point is, the position of president carries too much power and importance in the average American's mind. Yes, it is important that our representatives actually discuss important issues. But it's even more important that we not rely on them as much as we do to do anything about those important issues.

The fight does not end on November 5th, even if Obama is elected. Yes, we can all breath a sigh of relief if that is the outcome, because we will have taken a step in the right direction. But, and be sure of this, he is not a savior. He cannot undo all that has been done. He will not be able to retroactively give back all the civil liberties lost over the years. And you can be sure that there will be those fighting tooth and nail to keep the powers and tactics they have become accustomed to. The president is not our king and we cannot simply rely on him to answer all of our questions.
-David Luke Doody

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I've Been Writing

Hi all,

This is kind of a redundant post, as some of you may have already seen these elsewhere, but it's been kind of a nice week for me as far as writing goes. So.

I have a story up at mnartists.org here>>>

And I have my first ever post up at The Huffington Post (It's the same one as is on Guernica, but it's at the Huff Post, which is cool.) Read it here>>>

Anyway, thanks for reading my ramblings everyone, and for letting me know what you think. It warms the soul.

About Me

David Luke Doody is a freelance writer and editor. He is a founding editor of InDigest Magazine (www.indigestmag.com), an online literary magazine and the blog editor for Guernica Magazine (www.guernicamag.com). His writing and interviews have appeared in those magazines as well as in The Huffington Post, mnartists.org, The Minnesota Twins Yearbook, and Intentionally Urban Magazine, among others.

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