Friday, March 12, 2010

Feed-Your-Head Friday

Some very cool demonstrations here on how charges work.

Editorial: Aim sign anger to do some good

The unnamed Courier editor takes the opportunity afforded by the antics of Councilmen Hanna and Blair to polish his rightist immigration credentials, managing in a couple of hundred words both to characterize removing the Spanish banner as "an extreme reaction" and to urge readers to elect more extreme reactionaries.

Along the way he betrays his lingual chauvinism (or is it racism?), calling it "an unfortunate fact of life that many legal American citizens still speak primarily Spanish in their daily lives," as if speaking Spanish is some sort of developmental handicap.

But he really kicks it into gear when he demonstrates that he really doesn't get the issue at all: "we at the Courier don't like an expression that encourages illegal residents to participate in the census," as if it's an illegal act, or participation in the census confers some sort of legal privilege.

Editor, we, all of us, including you, really do want illegals to participate. If they do, we have a clearer idea of how to apportion public spending (like roads and infrastructure, say) for the actual number of people in our community, as well as ensure that we get enough votes in Congress to account for that real number. More illegals on the census is an advantage to our communities, and does not change their status or public benefits one bit.

But I gather that's really hard to see through race-tinted aviator sunglasses.

ToT: Corporations don't count as people

My good friend George Seaman posits that the expansion of corporate freedoms awarded recently by the Supreme Court is a danger that we should be able to see equally from across the political spectrum. He's right, we should. So why don't we?

I have to wonder whether a lot of people who identify with the right are enthralled by corporations in much the same way a battered wife continues to defend her abuser. They've deluded themselves that the abusers really love them, despite what all their friends tell them, and if they can just be loyal enough and do the right things, the abuse will magically stop.

You can't penetrate this sort of self-delusion by stating the obvious. George's argument is cogent and clear to those of us who already understand, but our problem is that a whole lot of us don't or won't buy it.

George sensibly asserts, "Most of us don't have to think very hard to find evidence of this kind of collusion in today's 'unfree' markets," but fails to provide any examples to back that statement and help lead unconvinced voters to water. "Presidents from Jefferson to Obama, and many in between, have warned of the dire consequences of elevating corporations to an equal footing with the people," true enough, but the people we need to persuade do not understand what those consequences are.

We have to more clearly articulate the very real danger inherent in giving corporate interests unfettered license to use their financial and propaganda resources to influence elections and public policy. Many, perhaps most, voters already think that corporate influence is so deep that this ruling won't matter. The predictable difference might be expressed as a little water in your basement once in a while against a flood taking the house away. But this is not an easy sell against decades of daily corporate propaganda. We must be persuasive, persistent, factual and elementary if we're to have any hope for change.

I got a chuckle in the comments from one that characterizes ol'-hippie George as a rightwinger trying to pass as a libertarian. It's funny, but also illustrative of how people can read all sorts of things in that not only aren't there, but are completely opposite of reality.