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Archive for November 20th, 2006

One consistent theme of that Chicago tribune article on Rahm Emanuel is that this is one angry fellow. Emanuel seems to be the leftist version of reactionary radio talk-show host Michael Weiner “Savage”. Both fellows seem to operate at only one-setting: that of anger and belligerence.

Anger and belligerence has long been the preferred style of the reactionary right-wing in America. From Mr. Weiner to Mr. O’Reilly, onto to Mr. Beck and Mr. Limbaugh, over to Ms. Ingraham and Ms. Coulter, anger, belligerence, ridicule, and vitriol seemed to be the only arrows in the quivers of the right wing.

Then along came Air America radio. Launched in 2004, the network seemed to be the misguided response of the left-wing to this right-wing assault. Mimicking their right-wing nemesis, the Air America hosts that I listened to discussed right-wing failings with anger, belligerence, ridicule, and vitriol. I felt this was misguided since what had always distinguished left from right was leftist compassion for our fellow man, for humanity, and for community. Air America did its best to blow up whatever was left of that distinction.

Mercifully, Air America filed for bankruptcy last month. Maybe this suggests I was right in my appraisal that left-wing belligerence is an oxymoron, and cannot fly for long.

But then along comes Mr. Emanuel to prove me wrong. Belligerence is alive and well in what passes as the left in America. In fact, belligerence now stands triumphant. After the midterm elections, the fire-breathing, insult-spewing, expletive-filled Mr. Emanuel is a hero to the formerly meek and moribund Democratic Party.

Well, I don’t know what this says for the future of America. Now that both parties have learned that anger and belligerence pays, what does that say about the country when it begins to realize that, as I have explained in the About page, “the money has gone too far”?

My hope is that anger and belligerence remains confined within the bounds of the hard-to-distinguish center of American politics (e.g. Democrats and Republicans). Here’s hoping that the far left (e.g. Greens) and far right (e.g. Libertarians), can recognize their common ground without resorting to belligerence. Perhaps this natural union can serve as the calm eye of the gathering American political storm.

Last night, I read a long piece in the Chicago Tribune about how Rahm Emanuel engineered the Democratic House victory earlier this month. Emanuel is a Democratic congressman from Illinois who was charged with leading that party’s efforts in the recent midterm elections concerning the House races. (Chuck Schumer was Emanuel’s counterpart for the Senate races.)

Given my personality type and the bias it creates in my perceptions, my immediate reaction to this article was to blog about all the aspects that struck me as negative and therefore deserving of criticism. But having had the night to sleep on it, I woke up realizing that that is my broken-record approach to pretty much every topic with which I harbor some disagreements. That is, if I harbor little or no disagreements with a topic, I’ll say either nothing or offer praise. But for topics with which I disagree, I have always seemed impatient to get straight to the points of disagreement, rather than waiting a bit, and instead starting off by indicating my points of agreement, and only then going on with my disagreements.

Since I’d like to change this lifelong pattern of mine, and become more balanced and tempered in my criticisms, let me start by saying what I liked in the article about Emanuel.

First, I liked Emanuel’s human energy, competitive spirit, and will to win. Second, I liked that Emanuel helped give the Republicans a “good whacking”. I’d felt since at least the 2002 elections that that party had deserved such treatment by the voters. Third, I sort of liked that the Democrats won back the House.

I mean, if, as the American popular media suggests, there are only two political options in this country, and I had to pick between the two, then I suppose I’d reluctantly pick the Democrats over the Republicans. I know this because of an article I read in the New York Times Sunday Week in Review section of yesterday. An article titled A New Class War: The Haves vs. the Have Mores explains that between 1990 and 2004, income increased the following amounts for the following socio-economic classes:

  • 2% for the bottom 90%
  • 57% for the top 1%
  • 85% for the top .1%
  • 112% for the top .01%

As the article says: “That is, the richest are getting richer almost twice as fast as the rich.” Meanwhile, the masses have gotten relatively poorer.

The Democrat leaner in me says that it’s high time that the top 1% got chopped down a bit to size. Although an “equal opportunity” person, I am not an “equal results” person. However, there is much play room between “reasonably unequal results” and the above outrageous numbers. I’d favor the Democrats bringing those numbers back to Earth.

Accordingly, for the above reasons, let me say:”Yay for Rahm Emanuel! Nice job, dude.”

OK. Now, in my next few posts, where I will be criticizing this fellow’s behavior — and what that means for this country — hopefully you’ll see that I’m not condemning the man. I mean, we all have our useful sides and less useful sides. Me, you, and Rahm Emanuel too.

for the money has gone too far

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November 2006