An Obama win on November 6th means providing healthcare for over 30 million people who have been going without it. It means ensuring adequate healthcare for retired people for generations to come by securing Medicare as full healthcare coverage without interference from health insurance corporations (their priority is profit, remember!). It means that women will be controlling their own bodies, and abortion will be safe and legal. It means we will be preventing the creation of an ultra-conservative Supreme Court that would influence American life for decades to come.
You can give all of that to the future! It’s a hell of a gift. So, get out there and work to Get Out the Vote. Pay It Forward!
Indeed, that is the unspoken but ever-present question still for many Americans, with Barack Obama in the White House, nearly 150 years after this ad was published in the Daily Patriot in Madison, Wisconsin in September, 1864. It is the last question in the “Then Vote for Lincoln!” column on the left in the reprinted ad below. This inchoate fear that brown-skinned people really are the social and political equals of whites is the subtext of the irrational virulent antipathy to Obama, variously voiced as him being a Muslim, a “pal” of domestic terrorists, a non-citizen, a socialist, or even “the most dangerous president in modern American history,” who is incapable of defending the country. Obama is, in this mindset, foreign, alien, and dangerous. Possessed by this paranoid mindset, one might even say “degraded.”
It is striking to see, in the ad from 1864, that the political rhetoric of that time is almost identical to that in the 2012 presidential election. You will notice, though, that some issues have migrated from one party to the other a century and a half later. The ad is reprinted from David Mollenhoff’s Madison: A History of the Formative Years.
This is the candidate I remember. He has been more patient than many of us. But it looks like he is ready to start punching now, having been playing Rope-a-Dope for what seemed to me like an interminably long time.
Clint Eastwood is still an iconic alpha male figure in American culture. His appearance in this Chrysler commercial during the 2012 Super Bowl looks to me like the tell in the Presidential election this year, the sign that Obama will win again in 2012. Eastwood was at one time the Republican mayor of Carmel, California. The commercial functions in an unconscious way as an epilogue to his 2008 movie, Gran Torino. His character in that movie, Walt Kowalski, was a transformative symbol for an America starting to overcome its own racism and embracing, not resisting, the reality that it is a multicultural society.
The tell in the 2008 election also took place in February, almost exactly four years prior to the Chrysler Super Bowl ad. I documented that positive omen for Obama, a remarkable statement from an elderly white man from a small town in Wisconsin, in this blog:
The full quote from an NPR interview, aired February 14, of residents of Bloomer, Wisconsin:
“Change my mind every other day. Ya know, I’m leaning toward the black boy now. Yeah, just a little bit. Yeah. It might stay that way. Like I say, I don’t know for sure ’til I get there. It seems like he’s got it up here. Somebody that could straighten this out, this big mess. It is a big mess. Biggest mess we ever been in as long as I lived.”
–Leon Harings, retired trucker
Walt Kowalski and Leon Harings sound like the same man to me.
This idea is being promoted in England, and as its first cousin America will of course want to follow the lead of the Brits by implementing the Robin Hood tax in the United States. The Robin Hood legend was one of my favorites from childhood, and it is an emotionally compelling story that resonates with many people. Here is one specific example of a Robin Hood tax, although there can certainly be more than one:
A Financial Transaction Tax (FTT):
The best of the lot. A tiny tax of about 0.05% on transactions like stocks, bonds, foreign currency and derivatives. Could raise £250 billion a year globally. Well-tested, cheap to implement and hard to avoid.
In fact, there are already lots of different transaction taxes implemented by many countries, including in the UK. They all work on the same principle: taxing every transaction a very small amount. We think there should be a lot more of them, particularly in areas not yet taxed, like currency transactions and derivatives.
Importantly, transaction taxes are also good in that they would reduce the amount of the most risky transactions, the gambling which helped to trigger the financial crisis.
A fascinating aspect of Steve Jobs’ life, which lends credence to Stanislav Grof’s theories about the influence LSD on the creative life:
He told a reporter that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life. He said there were things about him that people who had not tried psychedelics — even people who knew him well, including his wife — could never understand.
CUPERTINO, CA—Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple Computers and the only American in the country who had any clue what the fuck he was doing, died Wednesday at the age of 56. “We haven’t just lost a great innovator, leader, and businessman, we’ve literally lost the only person in this country who actually had his shit together and knew what the hell was going on,” a statement from President Barack Obama read in part, adding that Jobs will be remembered both for the life-changing products he created and for the fact that he was able to sit down, think clearly, and execute his ideas—attributes he shared with no other U.S. citizen. “This is a dark time for our country, because the reality is none of the 300 million or so Americans who remain can actually get anything done or make things happen. Those days are over.” Obama added that if anyone could fill the void left by Jobs it would probably be himself, but said that at this point he honestly doesn’t have the slightest notion what he’s doing anymore.
One of the reasons I launched this blog was a sense that the world is moving faster than our thought about the world. The newly fluid international landscape in places like the Middle East, the accelerating disintegration of the economic underpinnings of the blue social model, the increasing effect of technological progress on white collar as well as blue collar employment and incomes through automation and outsourcing, the collapse of public faith in establishments and elites in so much of the world: these dramatic and fundamental changes require a re-examination of some basic assumptions and the reconstruction of many of the basic institutions of both US and global society
A few months after the Statue of Liberty was unveiled in October 1886, the New York Times referred to the thousands of immigrants streaming into New York as
“Europe’s paupers, criminals...lunatics and vagabonds.” For many of us, those would have been our great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, and other family members.