No Ordinary Princess

...anything but ordinary...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Lest I Mislead Anyone

Lest I mislead anyone, don't assume I know what I'm talking about here.

I received a lovely comment from the mystery man who blogs at Refugee from Reason in response to my posts about not wanting Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic candidate for the presidency in 2008. Here is his gracious comment:

I'm a yellow dog Democrat whose worst nightmare is Hillary versus Condi. For the record, I covered the Nixon impeachment proceedings for one of the nation's leading newspapers (not the Post). And, dare I say it, Nixon's not looking too bad these days. It would be marvelous to impeach Bush, but then we have Cheney. And if he were gone, we'd have Hastert.

The nation is in dreadful shape, as you are so clearly aware. Notwithstanding the polls, I'm not entirely certain that the citizenry has the will or the understanding to effect the changes necessary to place us on the correct course, whatever that may be at this point. Yes, I wouldn't at all mind seeing Al Gore in the White House, or Bill Richardson or John Kerry or even Joe Biden. But even then I wonder if our political system is so rife with rancor that we'll recover in the next decade; certainly it'll be tough for whoever is President next to undo what's been done.

I take solace, however: I was fortunate enough to cover Washington when the likes of Proxmire, Mansfield, Dirksen, Scott, et al were there. Those memories of sharp policy driven legislation give me some hope that there'll be a new cycle one day. Further, we are, after all, a young nation, relative to Western Europe and still have much maturing to do.

Keep it up.

Refugee from Reason
Here is how little I know about politics...I had to go Google "yellow dog Democrat" to find out what it is. Of course, it makes perfect sense once you read it, but I had no idea.

I don't want anyone to think I'm some wise political pundit. I'm an ER nurse. I will soon be a Nursing Informatics nurse or an ER nurse in a different ER pursuing a degree in Nursing/Health Care Informatics or Law (can't make up my damned mind!). I stretch out here from the corner of my sofa and spout off. I'd like to think I do that fairly well. I have keen instincts and intuition and I can "read" people well
but I am not someone with immense political know-how or savvy. If that's what you want, you'll have to look elsewhere.

What I am is a woman with opinions, with a strong sense of fairness and of right and wrong. I am a moral woman who tries to live her life by The Golden Rule. I am a woman with a big mouth who's learning to use it. What I am is sickened, saddened, disgraced and alarmed by what I've seen happening in our country (because whether the right wing likes it or not, middle-class, progressive or liberal folks like myself have every bit as much right to claim it as they do) and the direction we've taken in the past several years. Need I mention a start date for my disillusionment? Suffice it to say I have finally been motivated to put an actual bumper on the actual bumper of my car (not in the back window) and here is that bumper sticker:

Cafe Press Beat Bush Gear

I'll be danged if I could figure out how to put the link to Beat Bush Gear in that photo. I'll get it yet, though. I'm still learning. I'm learning about a lot of things. I'm learning about American and world politics. (I don't want to hear any smart-assed "old dog, new tricks" comments, please!) Are you surprised that a middle-aged woman who has just become a grandmother should be talking about learning new things, about going to college or law school? If so, shame on shouldn't be. I have the rest of my life ahead of me. Shall I throw myself into my child and family and stagnate until I die or shall I push ahead into new, uncharted territory and take a chance of making a fool of myself? I'd choose the latter. As the old song says, "It's better to burn up than to fade away." I just can't picture myself fading away.

In answer to the points raised by my much more politically savvy amigo...

To be honest, I hadn't considered the real-life implications of a Bush impeachment and the presidential line of succession. I don't approach even a remote level of comfort in that list until I get to the vicinity of Dirk Kempthorne, and I haven't seen enough of his action as Secretary of the Interior to have a firm opinion. I know the environmentalists were not happy about his appointment but some of them wouldn't be happy unless Rachel Carson herself returned from beyond and ran the department with Al Gore as her deputy-secretary. Let's just say that those Idahoans are quirky and libertarian enough that I might be able to meet them in the middle somewhere.

The fact of the matter is, there's not a snowball's chance in hell that Bush will ever be impeached, unless all their dirty, little secrets [here's another one...Bush lies! ("Oh, my!")] are leaked out of the closet. And, although I have wet dreams about just that, it's not real likely to happen. So, I feel safe leaving my "Impeach Bush" ribbon up there. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has a better chance of making it through Congress than do articles of impeachment against George W. Bush.

I am in near complete agreement with the second paragraph, especially the part about Joe Biden. I've long been a fan of the senior Senator from Delaware. He seems a stand-up guy. I've been surprised he hasn't been considered more seriously for the presidency but then I've known about him for a long time having always lived in a neighboring state. Whoever crosses that threshold next will have his work cut out. (I told ya I don't think it will/can be a woman this time.) The horrendous damage done to the Supreme Court alone, in the form of Samuel Alito (text of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Third Circuit opinion and Alito's partial concurrence, partial dissent) and John Roberts
could leave us scraping off Bush's droppings for decades to come though I insist on maintaining a slender thread of hope that the overwhelmingly conservative tilt of the current court might push Roberts toward a more moderate position.

I can only recall Proxmire, Dirksen and, of course, Nixon from the passel my commenter named. It's not important to me that I remember exactly which great, democratic leader performed which Herculean task. What
is important to me is the impression I had of the government of the United States during my early and formative years. Senators and Congressmen/women were civil to each other. Strenuous debate and open dissent were accepted, even encouraged, yet an opponent's viewpoint was not denigrated. There was respect in both houses of Congress. There was dignity and civility in the White House, as well.

I think back as far as I can and always envision grace associated with the presidency. Kennedy was elected when I was three-and-a-half, was shot when I was five-and-a-half but I can remember the Kennedy years. Civility. Johnson...well, maybe civility isn't quite the word for him but a certain sort of 'decency,' in a perverted sense of the word, might do. 'Decency' in the sense of advocating for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Medicare amendment to the Social Security Act. Nixon, though a sneak and liar (is that a Republican thang?) was still a civil man. Gerald Ford...can't say anything about his presidency stands out for me except for the fact that he fell down a lot and that a "Squeaky" woman tried to kill him. At least he wasn't an asshole.

James Earl Carter, Jr. is one of my all-time heroes and must be one of the most civil, decent souls on earth. If I could meet any person alive today, I think it would be him, just to say, "Thanks." Carter got a bum rap in '80. (Here's the official, White House site for Carter.)


G. H. W. Bush, aka Bush I...civil.

Clinton...always courteous and civil...maybe not quite
always 'decent.' just when
did utter arrogance; total disregard for the will of the greater portion of American citizens; complete disrespect for international laws, treaties, conventions and governing bodies; a messianic call to complete the task God has set before Him...I mean him...and a zero-tolerance policy toward dissent and reasoned debate replace civility in government? All hail George, Holy American Emperor. It's hard to believe it's only been five years. It feels more like a lifetime.

We can do better, America. We need to be able to openly disagree with our elected (shall we remind them they
are elected?) leaders without fear that our wive's security will be compromised. We need to stop our own human rights abuses before we call others to task for torture, inhumane treatment and 'disappearing.' We need to staunch our own full-tilt hurtle toward fundamentalist religious statehood and restore true democracy here at home before we can successfully export it.

Well, I've rambled long enough this night-into-morning. The nightingales have been replaced by cardinals and robins and song wrens and I must get to sleep. My body must think I'm back on night shift.

I just wanted to dispel any impression that I actually
know anything about this. I am, after all, a simple ER nurse. I can only save one life at a time, not a whole country. Keep on tuning in if you want to hear the opinions of a quirky middle-aged woman with great instincts who has a computer and a big mouth and is not afraid to use them. Grab a cup of coffee and a scone and pull up a chair. If you're looking for the sagacity of political people "in-the-know," well, there a whole list of them over to your left. Surf your socks off!

Technorati tags: blogging
/ life / US politics / world politics


Blogger Sandra said...

I enjoy your quirky sofa delivered opinions. Of course, that could be because I agree with them....

3/6/06 9:15 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Hey, what's not to agree with? ; )

Thanks, Sandra. I enjoy reading you, too, because you make me think I could be a little better, kinder, you know? Then I get to thinking more about it and conclude,"...NAH!" But I still enjoy reading you!

Thanks for stopping by!

3/6/06 11:30 PM  
Blogger Refugee from Reason said...

When Joe Biden moved to Washington in late '72 he was only 29 and fortunately, would not be sworn in until '73, at which time he would be 30 and eligible for the Senate. Interestly, and extraordinarily remotely, he was completely out of the line of Presidential succession for five years (one must be 35 to be President).

Biden lived across the street from me (Barnaby Street in upper Northwest DC) and was somewhat of a tragic figure at the time, as if I recall correctly, his first wife died in an auto accident just after his election.

His life on that block (a lovely neighborhood, incidentally) was made more challenging by my oldest son, then 4, who rode his bicycle over the Senator-elect's foot. And, of course, as a reporter covering the Senate, I couldn't resist using the neighborhood as a platform to use him as a resource. He got from both sides, as George Will lived a couple of doors down.

As to Nixon, he's looking pretty good these days, eh?

Stay well.
Refugee from Reason

5/6/06 7:37 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Hi RR: Poor Joe! I'm glad he stuck it out despite the early adversity living directly between left and right!

Yes, Nixon looks like a saint now, as does Johnson. Anything looks better than what we have now.

I did put the "January 20, 2009...End of an Error" bumpersticker on my car ut I also want to get a red, white and blue one that reads, "Proud to be an inclusive American!"

People should always remember that those that dissent are the real voice of democracy in America. We are a great democracy because we have, in the past, always maintained the right to object, protest and otherwise call the powers that be idiots.

These powers are idiots, scary ones.

5/6/06 11:24 PM  
Blogger Refugee from Reason said...

Master of the Senate-The Years of Lyndon Johnson, by Robert Caro and and Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream by Doris Kearns Goodwin are excellent works on the 36th President.

The Vietnam war was dreadful and Johnson's "place in history" is clearly impacted by it. However, it's important to remember what he accomplished in the Senate as well as in his Presidency. He was a classic politician in the Senate, both as a representative of his state and as Majority Leader. The man knew how to "deal," how to build concensus and most importantly, how to fill the holes that required filling for the nation.

With regard to his Presidency, there's the almost banal contention (to which I adhere) that he was able to effect the legislation that Kennedy wanted; though under his own imprimateur, "the Great Society."

It's always a challenge to be objective, but I've always been quite fond of old time Southern politicians. Notwithstanding their proclivity for self-dealing, they weren't avaricious and they seemed always to put us ahead of them. (It's a bit like corporate bankruptcy attorneys: if you're a creditor you simply don't care how much the attorney makes, ifyou're made whole.)

And, by the way, as interested as you are in the news and media, you might visit Media Matters
Have a wonderful holiday.
Refugee from Reason

6/6/06 8:41 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Hey Refugee...thanks for stopping by again and thanks for the suggested reading. I would like to know more about LBJ, having only a very faint recollection of his presidency and no memory of his tenure as Senator. Now you've got me wondering where I know Dosir Kearns Goodwin from. Thanks for making me think!

My understanding of the Vietnam war and Johnson is that he inherited it from Kennedy (and, ultimately, from Eisenhower) and considered it a quagmire in which he really did not want to wallow. He was kind of stuck with it and bore the wrath of the anti-war movement despite his own grave misgivings. Correct me if my perceptions are wrong.

My qualified decency comment stems from a story I heard about LBJ doing, literally, what so many leaders of the free world have done only metaphorically. The (fabulous) story I heard involved presenting ones male member on top of a desk for comparitive measurement. I wish GWB would stick to a literal interpretation of "mine is bigger than yours" and spare us all trying to prove it for him metaphorically.

7/6/06 8:55 AM  

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