Saturday, August 27, 2005

A Frightening Analysis Indeed

I got this email from a good friend the other day. I wanted to post my response here, because I feel so strongly about the message. My comments within the post are in brackets. I love my friend for taking the time to consider; whether she ends up agreeing or not is beside the point.

Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2005 19:53:21 -0400
Subject: [FWD: Fw: America's Future]

Whaddaya think? I, frankly, have to cogitate on it a while. Perhaps even ruminate.

To: "A Friend"
From: "wild rider"
Date:Sat, 27 Aug 2005 21:38:20 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: [FWD:Fw"America's Future]

Mexifornia - A Frightening Analysis

> We all know Dick Lamm as the former Governor of Colorado. In that context > his thoughts are particularly poignant. Last week there was an > immigration-overpopulation conference in Washington, DC, filled to > capacity by many of American's finest minds and leaders. A brilliant > college professor named Victor Hansen Davis talked about his latest book, > "Mexifornia," explaining how immigration - both legal and illegal - was > destroying the entire state of California. He said it would march across > the country until it destroyed all vestiges of The American Dream. [Sounds like he's trying to sell his book to me.]

> > Moments later, former Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm stood up and gave > a stunning speech on how to destroy America. The audience sat spellbound > as he described eight methods for the destruction of the United States. He > said, "If you believe that America is too smug, too self-satisfied, too > rich, then let's destroy America. It is not that hard to do. No nation in > history has survived the ravages of time. [So why does he think America will be any different...? or ever should be?] Arnold Toynbee observed that all > great civilizations rise and fall and that "An autopsy of history would > show that all great nations commit suicide.'"

> > "Here is how they do it," Lamm said: First, to destroy America, "Turn > America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country. History > shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of > two or more competing languages and cultures. [I beg to differ; how about Rome? It thrived on multiculturalism that made it the greatest empire ever.] It is a blessing for an > individual to be bilingual; however, it is a curse for a society to be > bilingual. "The historical scholar Seymour Lipset put it this way: "The > histories of bilingual and bicultural societies that do not assimilate are > histories of turmoil, tension, and tragedy.' Canada, Belgium, Malaysia, > Lebanon all face crises of national existence in which minorities press > for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. > Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with > Basques, Bretons, and Corsicans." [Unlike the melting pot of America, these are all countries with large segregated populations. Our strength lies in the fact that we have integrated as completely as we have. I also take exception to Mr. Lipset's use of 'bicultural'; it is just this side of us vs. them mentality (i.e., racist)]>

> Lamm went on: Second, to destroy America, "Invent multiculturalism and > encourage immigrants to maintain their culture. I would make it an article > of belief that all cultures are equal. [Aren't they?] That there are no cultural > differences. I would make it an article of faith that the Black and > Hispanic dropout rates are due to prejudice and discrimination by the > majority. Every other explanation is out of bounds. [His vitriol is showing.]>

> Third, "We could make the United States an ' Hispanic Quebec' without much > effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity. As Benjamin > Schwarz said in the Atlantic Monthly recently: The apparent success of our > own multiethnic and multicultural experiment might have been achieved not > by tolerance but by hegemony. Without the dominance that once dictated > ethnocentrically and what it meant to be an American, we are left with > only tolerance and pluralism to hold us together.'" [Tolerance and pluralism are bad. Hmmmm.]>

> Lamm said, "I would encourage all immigrants to keep their own language > and culture. I would replace the melting pot metaphor with the salad bowl > metaphor. It is important to ensure that we have various cultural > subgroups living in America reinforcing their differences rather than as > Americans, emphasizing their similarities." [This is such a specious argument. After several generations, immigrants become indistinguishable. An example might be Irish and Italians in New York. Jeesh, what a fear/hate mentality.]>

> "Fourth, I would make our fastest growing demographic group the least > educated. I would add a second underclass, unassimilated, undereducated, > and antagonistic to our population. I would have this second underclass > have a 50% dropout rate from high school." [Only Republicans cut education budgets. And tax cuts for the rich just increase the divide between the rich and middle/poor classes.]>

> "My fifth point for destroying America would be to get big foundations and > business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic > identity, and I would establish the cult of Victimology. [This is the pot calling the kettle, black. These rich white men want to keep the power. Minorities threaten the status quo. I remember when Kennedy was suspect because he was Catholic. Puleeeez.] I would get all > minorities to think their lack of success was the fault of the majority. [I grant there are some who do believe this. But this argument can be turned back to the writer of this article -- "We are victims of the immigrants. If it wasn't for them, everything would be fine." Ugh.] I > would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the > majority population."

> > "My sixth plan for America's downfall would include dual citizenship and > promote divided loyalties. I would celebrate diversity over unity. I would > stress differences rather than similarities. Diverse people worldwide are > mostly engaged in hating each other - that is, when they are not killing > each other. [Is that how the writer sees this country? Maybe we should just exterminate all of them so we won't have to figure out hard answers to hard problems.] A diverse, peaceful, or stable society is against most > historical precedent. People undervalue the unity it takes to keep a > nation together. Look at the ancient Greeks. The Greeks believed that they > belonged to the same race; they possessed a common language and > literature; and they worshipped the same gods. All Greece took part in the > Olympic games. A common enemy Persia threatened their liberty. Yet all > these bonds were not strong enough to over come two factors: local > patriotism and geographical conditions that nurtured political divisions. Greece fell. [This little tirade has nothing whatever to do with the topic...the writer is using scare tactics and boogeymen.] > "E. Pluribus Unum" -- >From many, one. In that historical > reality, if we put the emphasis on the "Pluribus" instead of the "Unum," > we can balkanize America as surely as Kosovo."

> > "Next to last, I would place all subjects off limits ~ make it taboo to > talk about anything against the cult of diversity.' I would find a word > similar to heretic in the 16th century - that stopped discussion and > paralyzed thinking. Words like racist or xenophobe halt discussion and > debate." [Not halt, but those words sure as shootin' should make us sit up and take notice. This smacks of the Weirmar Republic. We really do still have free speech in America. This writer is a case in point.] "Having made America a bilingual/bicultural country, having > established multi-culturism, having the large foundations fund the > doctrine of Victimology, I would next make it impossible to enforce our > immigration laws. I would develop a mantra: That because immigration has > been good for America, it must always be good. I would make every > individual immigrant symmetric and ignore the cumulative impact of > millions of them." [I'd like to know where his ancestors came from. That's the big problem...if we were lucky enough to be born here because our people came over on some boat, we now have the power to deny the same dream to all those other "tired and poor masses." It's a horrible trade. I guess I'm willing to give up some of our -my- exceedingly high lifestyle so that someone else can have a little more. I'm sure here is where people would say I 'should leave the country then,' but I counter by saying that those who have that 'not enough' mentality, could go somewhere else and set up their own little country based on 'I have' and 'you don't'. I sure wouldn't want to live there.]>

> In the last minute of his speech, Governor Lamm wiped his brow. Profound > silence followed. [Remember that Lamm is playing to his own crowd here. These people all agree with him.] Finally he said, "Lastly, I would censor Victor Hanson > Davis's book Mexifornia. His book is dangerous. It exposes the plan to > destroy America. If you feel America deserves to be destroyed, don't read > that book." [So who's censoring this book? Where is this threat he seems to be intimating is lurking somewhere off stage. 'They' could get us at any moment!]> > There was no applause. A chilling fear quietly rose like an ominous cloud > above every attendee at the conference. Every American in that room knew > that everything Lamm enumerated was proceeding methodically, quietly, > darkly, yet pervasively across the United States today. [ Oh, pullleeeeeez.] Every discussion > is being suppressed. [Gag reflex.] Over 100 languages are ripping the foundation of our > educational system and national cohesiveness. Barbaric cultures that > practice female genital mutilation are growing as we celebrate diversity. > American jobs are vanishing into the Third World as corporations create a > Third World in America - take note of California and other states - to > date, ten million illegal aliens and growing fast. It is reminiscent of > George Orwell's book "1984." In that story, three slogans are engraved in > the Ministry of Truth building: "War is peace," "Freedom is slavery," and > "Ignorance is strength." Governor Lamm walked back to his seat. It dawned > on everyone at the conference that our nation and the future of this great > democracy is deeply in trouble and worsening fast. If we don't get this > immigration monster stopped within three years, it will rage like a > California wildfire and destroy everything in its path, especially The > American Dream. [Wow. I'm surprised we've made it this long letting 'them damned immigrants' in.]

People who see the world this way have a 'not enough' view. We have worked hard in our own lives to become people who see that abundance can replace lack if we call it that way and work to make it so. The world would be such a better place if we accepted difference as okay...because there will always be something different to beat on. These people are selfish first, and hate-mongers, second. An old song comes to mind, 'Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.'

Please send this rebuttal to the person who sent this article to you. I mourn that this could be the mood of our country and wonder where it will take us.

Your loving friend in vehement opposition to this writer's view,

This Wild Ride -- A blog for the conscious

"A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." ~~Edward R. Morrow

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Great site for the thoughtfully religious...

About This Site: I am deeply concerned that, to many, Christianity has come to stand for preemptive war, the death penalty, and social Darwinism [sic - creationism?]. St. Francis once said, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” In our current political climate where an anti-poor, anti-gay, xenophobic right-wing agenda is draped with the cloak of Christianity, we need to use words to change the debate to promote our progressive social justice agenda.

Do visit, you'll be glad you did.
Wild Rider

...questions of power...

Having kept the secret a secret for thirty-three years, W. Mark Felt at the age of ninety-one emerged on May 31 into the sunlight of network television to say that it was he, Felt, employed in the summer of 1972 as associate director of the FBI but operating undercover as the notorious "Deep Throat", who had set up the hit on the Nixon Administration.

...Felt's return to a world far different from the one in which he had tipped the Washington Post to the criminal modus operandi of President Richard Nixon's Praetorian Guard, furnished Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with lines of inquiry that led from a burglary at the Watergate complex to a congressional investigation, to the arrest of twenty-seven federal bagmen, and eventually, in August 1974, to the president's resignation. The story unfolded over a period of two years, the nonpartisan anger of an aroused, citizenry sustained by the boisterous freedoms of a not yet muzzled press, supported by the actions of the Justice Department and by a ruling from the Supreme Court, grounded in the belief that a democratic republic could defend itself against the arbitrary abuse of power.

But that was long ago and in another country, and who now can imagine, much less pay to see, a politician (any politician, Democrat or Republican) coming into Congress, as did Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina in the winter of 1974, to speak for three hours on the topic of the Constitution; or an attorney general resigning his office, as did Elliot Richardson in the autumn of 1973, rather than carry out an unethical order from the White House...

President Nixon was forced from office in 1974 because democratic government was thought worth the trouble of preserving...Thirty-one years later, the Bush Administration commits crimes of a much larger magnitude - tampering with the last two presidential elections, a war of imperial conquest in Iraq marketed under the labels of holy crusade, America's civil liberties systematically disassembled or destroyed - but it doesn't occur to anybody to suggest that maybe the president should be impeached. The American people might know (on their own reconnaissance if not from court documents) that their government is both incompetent and corrupt, but who among them wishes to be reminded of the fact? The story of a democratic republic confronted with a mortal threat to both the letter and the spirit of its laws doesn't draw a crowd, gets in the way of the regularly scheduled programming, doesn't sell the high-end soap.

The television anchorpeople knew that the Watergate story once had been important, but they were hard-pressed to remember why. The cable news channels rounded up opinions from Nixon's prominent and still surviving associates, among them Henry Kissinger ("I don't think it's heroic to act as a spy on your president when you're in high office") and Charles W Colson, who wanted "kids to look up to heroes" and thought it shameful that Nixon (that wise prophet and noble statesman) had been airlifted out of Washington in a cloud of undeserved disgrace...Nobody cared to make the point that Kissinger in his capacity as Nixon's national security adviser routinely tapped Nixon's phone, or that Colson, as a White House special counsel, once proposed bombing the Brookings Institution and served seven months in prison for his work as a moonlighting thug.

The newsweeklies approached the story from the perspective of film critics. Time [Magazine]observed that Deep Throat as played by Hal Holbrook in the movie All the President's Men was more impressive than the theatrically impaired Felt...Newsweek questioned the movie's integrity, describing it as a far too simple tale told with a too sentimental emphasis on right triumphant over wrong. What the story really had been about was Washington office politics, ambiguous and sly, a run-of-the-mill bureaucratic intrigue blown out of proportion by a "Great Scandal Machine", giving rise to "antiauthoritarian excesses" that undermined everybody's faith in the wisdom of the White House, the fair-mindedness of the intelligence agencies, the good judgment of the Pentagon. President Bush, thank God, was doing his best to restore the people's trust in government. If sometimes he didn't succeed in his efforts (occasionally careless with the facts, often "too cocky", almost arrogant in his attitude toward nettlesome subordinates), at least he knew the right direction in which to steer the ship of state.

...from an appropriately anonymous source identified as "a senior advisor" to president George W. Bush and quoted last October in the New York Times Magazine..."That's not the way the world really works anymore ... we're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

The second observation, borrowed from Theodor Adorno's Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life, I came across (as one of the texts cited in a book proposal submitted by two scholars at the University of Illinois):"Things have come to pass where lying sounds like truth, truth like lying ... The confounding of truth and lies, making it almost impossible to maintain a distinction, and a labour of Sisyphus to hold on to the simplest piece of knowledge ... [marks] the conversion of all questions of truth into questions of power".

Joseph Goebbels [of] Nazi Germany taught the same lesson in what we've since come to know and love under the headings of aggressive marketing and corporate knowledge management. The propaganda minister understood that arguments must be crude and emotional, instinctual rather than intellectual, endlessly repeated...The language facilitates the transformation of a democratic republic into a military empire, moving on from a world in which words once were held accountable for their meanings, to a land of make-believe, securely defended, as is customary with empires, by "the conversion of all questions of truth into questions of power".

Excepted from the article, Moving on
by Lewis H Lapham

Harper's Magazine (August 2005)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I love historical trivia!

On this day in history in 1554, the earliest letter known to have been closed with sealing wax was sent from London to the Rheingrave Philip Francis von Daun in Germany by his agent in England, Gerrard Herman.

There, now you know!