paladin - a trusted military leader, a leading champion of a cause
intransigent - uncompromising
invidious - tending to cause discontent, animosity or envy
The insidious hate and fear-mongering engaged in by the extreme right wing of the Republican Party (the only voice they seem to have at present) and the equally insidious penchant for fear-mongering (and outright "dis-informing") by almost every "news" outlet is profoundly destructive to the well-being of our nation. Whether it be "we don't mean to frighten you, but..." news reporting on the swine flu, the repeated airing of politicians and ignorant "men/women on the street" distorting the truth by asserting that Obama is raising taxes, minute by minute obsessing about the state of the economy... most of what alleges to be news is closer to gossip and ends up spreading more fear and confusion than information. It is invidious as well as insidious.
(Just as an aside: when someone announces that they don't want to frighten you.... know that indeed they do in fact mean to frighten you. It may or may not be a conscious intention, but those kinds of apologies are red flags that tell you to be frightened and at the same time try to deny responsiblity for the impact of their behavior. My demented brother used to start many of our conversations with the phrase, "I don't want you to worry, but..." It took me a while, but I eventually realized that he did in fact want me to worry. That was the whole point. People who don't want you to worry find non-worrysome ways to tell you things. People who don't want to frighten you present information in ways that doesn't sensationalize it. )
But I digress. I used to consider myself an independent voter. I've always been liberal, more likely to vote Democratic, but I wasn't always a political bigot. I am now, though I have, on rare (and even fairly recent) occasions, voted for Republicans who seem to be capable of thought rather than intransigently spewing the party line. That they have driven a life-time moderate Republican Arlen Specter from their ranks with their intransigence seems not to have given them pause for thought. Some of them actually seem proud of themselves for it.
One thing that really bugs me in the discussion of Obama's budget is the failure of those on "my" side of the aisle to answer the questions (or perhaps pose the counter question) about the burden Obama's "rash spending" (on things like education and health care and the environment) will put on our children and grand children. Why doesn't anyone mention the burdens that the continuing deterioration of our health care system, the continuing decline of our schools and our educational system, the continuing rape of our environment, the contuing neglect of our infrastructure will put on the shoulders of those same children and grandchildren. Ultimately, fixing these massive problems - which are profoundly expensive in both dollars and human life - will pay for itself. Letting things continue to spiral down costs us in both the short and the long term. Part of the reason these problems require such expensive fixes now is because they have been continuously put off for decades. If we don't tend to these problems and soon - even if the put us deeper in debt for the moment - we will face much more expensive fixes down the road and many will suffer as well. It's much cheaper to fix a leak before your ceiling collapses from it than after. Obama - who is usually so articulate and eloquent - has sort of said this but has not said it with true clarity. What is WRONG with Democrats?
I think President Obama is a man of vision, a paladin of sorts for the rights of the average person and the poor. I love that he is doing more than just talking about the rights and needs of the poor and middle class, he's taking steps to help us. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that he doesn't assume we're a bunch of morons who aren't capable of understanding complex concepts and must only be spoken to in 20-second sound bites. Granted, it has only been 100 days, but I think this is another reason that he remains popular; he's telling us what he thinks and why he is doing what he's doing. He's explaining economic and political concepts in depth. How cool is that!
Anyway, guess I'll stop here except for....
I ran across this on Huffington Post this morning. It has gotten little (no) coverage on any news I've listened to... Last night President Obama stepped almost to a place he doesn't want to go to and said the words that "waterboarding is torture." It's an area where I'm disappointed in him, though I understand that to pursue trying people when he already has so very much on his plate must feel nightmarish. We aren't a nation that likes holding our leaders responsible for their crimes. It's uncomfortable. These people violated international law, though. They twisted the law to justify torture and they lied about it... It shouldn't be swept under the rug. I didn't want the boy who stabbed my sister to death executed, but I sure wanted him tried. Would it bring my sister back? No, but maybe it would protect someone else's sister. Torture violated the Geneva Conventions and it violates human decency. Ok... I'll stop ranting. Here's the video. It features Condalesa Rice saying it wasn't her fault and that since the President said it was ok, it must have been legal. Hmmmm.
Day late addition : Check out Dianne's (Forks Off the Moment) post on Swine Flu.
That's it from me for now. Sorry I'm so ranty today.