For many years the Republican Party manufactured a culture war centered around opposition to abortion and gay marriage, while attempting to obliterate the line between church and state. Sadly, fear was often been a centerpiece of this approach. Fear of the other, homophobia and religious intolerance were enshrined as "family values." This electoral strategy proved successful as the GOP dominated the politics of this country for the past 28 years. However, an outcome of this strategy was a polarization of the nation along a cultural divide.
Near the end of the 2008 Election, a familiar refrain from Gov. Palin and others on the right, concerned "real America." A classic us versus them , divide and conquer strategy, the words were used to evoke a not so subtle form of bigotry. "Real America, it seemed, only included rural, predominantly white areas of the country, where church attendance was high and Republicans dominated politics. The culture wars were again a the center of an election.
Unfortunately for the Republicans, they got it all wrong. While they have mounted a campaign over the years to convince the public that all things good are Republican, and that they are the bastion of the "values voter," in short, that all "real Americans" were Republicans, the public wasn't buying it. After a series of policy disasters and overt corruption *(see note below), wearing the vestiges of the righteous seemed only like another Emperor in new clothes.
This time, many people saw through the lies and we all laughed out loud. Real America stood up. Not the sham, "real America," where everyone looks, talks and thinks the same, but the America where we all have a right to be different. The America where you can be Muslim, Hindu or Jew. The America that is the melting pot, where people of all nations have come together, elected a President.
Obama is what real America is about. Indeed, he is a product of America. His parents were of different ethnic and religious groups. He has relatives who live in other countries and children who are quintessentially American. He is educated, and appears to be an open-minded and tolerant individual. Obama represents a different side of the nation than the caricature that we have become to the rest of the world.
Real America is not a monolithic nation where you must tow the party (Republican) line in order to belong. Real America is a diverse land where we recognize that our differences are our ultimate strength.
Real America elected a real American as President.
In saying the above, I in no way intend to disparage the 42 white men who have been President before Obama. They are real Americans too.
* Corruption Note: "Scooter" Libby, Attorney Firings, Renditions, Abramoff Scandal, Stevens Conviction, Delay, Cunningham, Foley and on and on. See "Hugh's List" for even more.
British Petroleum Gulf Oil Spill Costs
- 11 workers killed in initial blast
- Damage to Ocean Ecosystem
- 35,000 to 60.000 Barrels of Oil Per Day. That's somewhere between 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 gallons a day or 150 to 300 million gallons already spilled into the ocean as of July 27th by that estimate.
- Gulf Fisheries Industry
- Gulf Tourism (ongoing costs)
- Long Term Health Effects to Humans and Wildlife (to be determined)
Worst Oil Spills
- Kuwait 1991 - 520 million gallons: Gulf War I
- Gulf of Mexico 2010 - 206 million gallons: BP Oil
- Mexico, Bay of Campiche 1979 - 140 million gallons: Pemex Oil
- Trinidad & Tobago 1979 - 90 million gallons: Greek Oil Tanker Atlantic Empress
- Russia 1983 - 84 million gallons: Leaky Pipeline collapsed into Kolva River
- Iran 1983 - 80 million gallons: Tanker collided with Oil Platform
- South Africa 1983 -79 million gallons:Tanker Castillo de Bellver sank
- France 1978 - 69 million Gallons: Amoco Cadiz ran aground and broke in half.
- Angola Coastal Waters (700 miles at sea) 1991 - 51-81 million gallons: ABT Summer exploded at sea.
- Italy 1991 - 45 million gallons: M/T Haven Oil Tanker exploded.
- Source: Mother Nature Network. mnn.com. The 13 largest oil spills in history. by Laura Moss. Friday July 16, 2010.
Nuclear Accidents (Under Construction)
- 1957 Windscale, UK
- 1961 Idaho Falls, Idaho, US
- 1979 Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, US
- 1984 Athens, Alabama, US
- 1985 Athens, Alabama, US
- 1986 Plymouth, Masachusetts, US
- 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine, USSR
- 1996 Waterford, Connecticut, US
- 1989 Griefwald, Germany
- 1999 Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
- 2002 Oak Harbor, Ohio, US
- 2004 Fukui Prefecture, Japan
- Source: Benjamin Sovacool
Mining Disasters (Under Construction)
- China 1942 - 1549 deaths
- France 1906 - 1100 deaths
- Japan 1963 - 447 deaths
- Wales 1913 - 438 deaths
- South Africa 1960 - 437 deaths
- Source: Epic Disasters Website
- Note: Do not look at the dates herein and conclue that mining disasters are a things of the past. Every year thousands of miners die worldwide in largely unreported accidents.
OIL IS OVER! - Resources
- The Dirt People - Ray Bawarchi (yes, that's me)
- The Razor's Edge - Somerset Maugham
- Demian - Herman Hesse
- Black Elk Speaks - Black Elk (as told to R. Neimur)
- The Quiet Don - Mikhail Sholokov
- Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
- Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
- 1984 - George Orwell
- Delicious Laughter - Jallahudin Rumi
- The Sybil - Par Lagerksvitz
- The Fixer - Bernard Malamud
- Spirits Rebellious - Khalil Gibran
- The Quiet American - Graham Greene
- Midaq Alley - Nagib Mafouz
- Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
- Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
- Farenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
- We - Yevgeny Zamyatin
- John Coltrane - St. John the Divine
- Patti Smith
- The Clash - the only band that matters
- Billy Bragg
- Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band
- Art Blakey
- Death - pre-punk visionaries from Detroit
- PJ Harvey - Polly Jean, Polly Jean
- Woody Guthrie
- Michael Franti (Spearhead)
- Public Enemy
- Ray Charles - the Genius
- Bob Dylan
- Velvet Underground
- Flaming Lips
- John Doe & X
- The Beatles
opiate of the masses
- God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. - Voltaire
- I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason and inellect has intended us to forgo their use. - Galileo Galilei
- The ink of a scholar is worth far more than the blood of a martyr.- Mohammad
- If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. - Sheldon Kopp
- No one will be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. - Louisa Mae Alcott
- When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.- Voltaire
- If God were alive today, he'd be an athiest. - Kurt Vonnegut
- The god I worship is not short of cash, Mister. - Bono
- Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine. My sins they only belong to me. - Patti Smith
- God sure baked a lot of fruitcake baby, when Adam met the Eden lady. - Joe Strummer