Friday, September 22, 2006

Smart Words from Smart People

Well, I’ll be out-of-town for the next week and probably will do very little or no posting. So, as I always do when I go away, I’m leaving you with some great posts by other writers.

My post on the non-existence of the vital center has given Amba pause as she contemplates the unthinkable: joining the Republican party.

Ann Althouse takes a look at Democratic efforts to abolish or at least find a way to avoid the electoral college system. Ann’s take is very interesting and a good commentary on the Democrat’s problems with winning elections.

Paul Silver of Austin Centrist tells us why he’s voting for independent candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn for Texas governor. He makes some excellent points. I’m leaning towards Kinky Friedman myself, but I could be persuaded to Strayhorn’s side.

Charging RINO examines the recent Warner/McCain/Graham confrontation with the White House. The RINO believes Bush conceded more than expected thanks to the courage of these three Republican senators.

Dean Esmay, who’s often wrong on issues of civil rights and liberties pertaining to the war on terror, has always been right in his honest, full-fledged support of the Muslim faith and its followers. In this post he calls many conservatives to task for their two-faced view of terrorism and its perpetrators.

Now let’s pause for some liberal bashing. O.k., not bashing because, really, in this post by Callimachus, he barely comments. He just posts the words of so-called liberals making excuses for and even praising such snakes as Iran’s Ahmadinejad and Venezuela’s Chavez. I know, I know … not everyone on the left thinks this way. Great. Fine. So why are these leftist bloggers and their readers so regularly courted by Democratic party leaders? I mean, if they aren’t representative, why do the Democrats want to be associated with them? Just a question.

Done With Mirrors’ other writer, Reader_Iam, gives us a disturbing and sadly overlooked story about a moderate Muslim journalist being persecuted for his views in Bangladesh. Really, if you aren’t reading Done With Mirrors everyday, you’re missing out on two of the best writers in the blogosphere.

Pastor and blogger, Denis Sanders, makes a good point about Christians and views on torture. As he asks: Who Would Jesus Torture? I think you know the answer but Denis’ words, as always, are worth reading.

Chesty, of the Russell Record, has a couple posts you should check out. The first examines what winning the Cold War can teach us about strategies for the War on Terror. The second post is just a quote from 100 years ago, but it could have been said today about Iraq.

If you haven’t done so already, you really need to read blog-friend and drinking buddy, M. Takhallus’ very own international policy plan which M. Tak encourages the Democrats to adopt. Tak has some really great ideas but, as of yet, Nancy Pelosi hasn’t called.

And finally we look north of the border to Walrus Said, who has some approving words to say about new Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. You know, down here in Texas we get a lot of news about Mexican politics but very little about Canadian politics. Wish we heard more because us North American nations are only going to become more and more important to one another in the coming decades.

And, that’s it. If I didn’t link to it here, it’s probably not worth reading. O.k. That’s not true. All the blogs I link to are worth reading. And this blog will once again be worth reading after I return in a week or so.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hugo Chavez is a Self-Aggrandizing Clown

Some people are embarrassed that George Bush is our president. Well, I feel sorry for the Venezuelans because, as evidenced by yesterday's juvenile antics in front of the UN, their leader clearly cares more about his own international persona and far-left celebrity status than he does about his country.

If he actually cared about the poor and oppressed as he claims, he wouldn’t be making alliances with some of the most oppressive regimes in the world and he wouldn’t be spending his time advancing his pop idol anti-Bush status by delivering junior-high level speeches at the UN Assembly.

Hey Chavez, you can feed the starving hate and call it nourishment … but they’re still going to bed hungry.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

There Is No Vital Center

You read it right. I deny the existence of the vital center, the radical middle. It doesn’t exist.

Oh, there are centrists, believers in the fighting middle who espouse centrist ideas. But there is no political reality behind these people and their thoughts. There is no coherent philosophy or charismatic leader. Centrism is an amorphous idea – a fervent wish.

Which is why I think us self-described centrists are so often labeled frauds. I mean, after all, we still exist and debate and live in the world of left and right. Sure, we can say “there is another way,” we can even offer up new ideas but, at the end of the day, we have no foundation. We centrists are all air and no earth.

We aren’t even definable. Some centrists are merely partisans who disagree with their party on one or two issues. Some centrists are elitists who use promises of unity and harmony to calm the passions of the unwashed masses. Some centrists are knee-jerk compromisers, frightened of conflict. Some centrists, like yours truly, are fed up with the whole damn system and are looking for bold new ideas and serious change.

The only thing all centrists have in common is an aversion to extremism and blind ideology. But we have no unifying ideology of our own. We don’t even have a unifying objective.

There are only two teams in American politics. Those of us who refuse to play for either side are left standing on the field alone. And what do you call those who are on the field but not part of either team? Referees. And that’s exactly what too many of us centrists try to be. We point and say “that’s a partisan foul. That’s a political trick. That’s ignorant thinking. That’s wrong. That’s bad. Now play nice.”

Oh, there’s certainly a need to call out the fouls of both parties. You can spend a lifetime doing so. But to what end? Centrist scolds have no real power. Our criticisms are taken not as the wise words of people above the fray, but as background noise in the political cacophony.

If there is indeed “another way,” we’ll never get there by pointing out that Ann Coulter is an idiot and Michael Moore is a fool. We know what we’re not. What we don’t know is who we are.

Centrist groups spring up all the time and declare a need for such things as “leadership before partisanship” while demanding an end to the manufactured disunity propagated by the two major parties and their media coconspirators. But what the hell is leadership before partisanship? What the hell is unity?

We don’t know because we centrists keep trying to build the ship before we’ve cut the planks or even felled the trees. No one will take us seriously until we have a defined ideology we can point to and say: that’s me, I believe in that.

I’m not talking platform positions, pro life or pro choice. Pro Iraq or anti-Iraq. I’m talking the fundamental ideas that drive decision making. The left is rooted in Marxism and the belief that the conflict between the haves and the have nots is the axis on which the world spins. The right is rooted in self-determinism balanced by Judeo-Christian traditionalism.

What is the centrist ism? Who are our intellectual guides? What are our texts?

You could argue that we don’t need any. That our ism is individualism and thus each centrist need not agree with any other centrist. You could argue that our strength is our welcoming of diverse ideas and honest disagreement.

But that’s not an ideology. That’s a temperament. Many people on the left and right also welcome diverse ideas and honest disagreement. We call them moderates. And while they tend to be less partisan than their party brethren, they nonetheless play hard for their team and buy into their side’s ideology.

If centrism is just a desire for moderation, then so be it. Centrists should join one party or the other and work to moderate it. But if centrism really is a yearning for a new ideology, then we need to stop trying to organize and start thinking. Seriously. You can’t create a movement unless you know where you’re going and what car you’re taking. Centrists know neither and that’s why our nascent efforts fail and will continue to fail.

So, this is the choice as I see it. Centrists who want to make a difference can either 1) suck it up, join a party and try to moderate it from the inside. Or 2) can find their ism or isms and build the intellectual framework and deep ideology necessary to form an important, rather than tangential movement.

What will I do? I don’t know. I’m not going to be the guy who writes the key centrist text. But I might be the guy who tells you about the key text once it exists. We’ll see. I may join one of the parties after this year’s election (once I see how it all shakes out). I may not. I don’t know. I wasn’t expecting to write this. It just kinda showed up in my head and it made a lot of sense.

Now that I’ve shared, I need to think.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Who Needs Reason When You Have Rage?

From CNN:

The Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization of Sunni Arab extremist groups that includes al Qaeda in Iraq, issued a statement on a Web forum...

The group said Muslims would be victorious and addressed the pope as "the worshipper of the cross" saying "you and the West are doomed as you can see from the defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere. ... We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose head tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion (to Islam) or (killed by) the sword."

So, the Pope quotes a 14th century Byzantine emperor who believed Islam was inherently violent and evil. To protest, radical Islamic groups threaten to conquer us and then either kill us or force us to convert. Because, you know, that proves them to be people of peace and love.

This whole thing doesn't just border on insanity, it frolics freely in the fields of crazy.

Our Old Ideologies are Not Enough

Amba has an excellent post examining the seductiveness of the liberal view of Islamist terrorism. She quotes from a very well-written, thought-out piece by the left-of-center writer Jack Whelan of After the Future.

Whelan’s view is by no means “far left-wing.” It is a very mainstream view held by many, many Americans. Read Whelan’s and Amba’s posts to get the full sense of it. But, to boil the argument down, Whelan is contending that, yes, there is a threat but that threat is from a very small minority of crazies who can be stopped through solid intelligence and law enforcement work.

The larger problem of Islamic angst and anger can only be solved through ending our aggressive, colonialist-like relationship with the Middle East. Basically, if we stopped being such overbearing jerks, the vast majority of Muslims would stop hating us and the threat of terrorism would greatly subside.

This is, as Amba says, a seductive worldview. For one, it puts all the power in our hands and very little in our enemy's hands. It's a worldview where our own actions determine our fate completely. If we want to protect ourselves from terrorism, we need only change our actions towards the societies from which terrorists spring. Our enemy’s actions are merely subsets of our actions. If we change, they'll change.

This is, not surprisingly, just about the opposite of the neo-con worldview which believes that changing ourselves is unnecessary and even pointless. Neo-cons contend that we need to force or at least strongly encourage changes in the societies that breed terrorism.

And here’s why I so often get labeled right-of-center on this issue: when I read Whelan’s view, I react by thinking: Boy, it’d be pretty to think so. Because, unfortunately, this is about so much more than a standard colonialist conflict. This exists outside the Marxist paradigm of the oppressed rising up against the oppressed. Our actions are only a small part of the equation. Changing ourselves and even our actions would not do nearly enough to ensure changes in the Middle East.

The problem is, the alternative view, the neo-con view, has been misplayed and mishandled and now seems even more naïve than the standard liberal view. Key neo-cons like Rumsfeld and Cheney have too often minimized the consequences of our own actions while maximizing the villainy of our enemies. To make it worse, this administration chose a very military-centric path towards changing the Middle East. A path that has created a great deal of bloodshed and is still very far from success.

But just because the neo-cons seem to have been wrong does not mean the liberal view is correct. We simply cannot afford to lay back and avoid real confrontation with the forces of radical Islam. We cannot make this just about law enforcement and intelligence gathering. To win, to survive, we have to actively try to change Muslim society.

At the same time, we cannot ignore the consequences of our actions. We cannot create strife and anger and then just shrug and say, well, that’s their problem. We have to address the situation with a mature, multi-faceted approach that directly confronts the Islamists while not needlessly pissing off the average Muslim. We can neither excuse terrorism as a reaction to our misdeeds nor excuse our misdeeds as a necessary reaction to terrorism.

Easy to say, right? Well, I’ve always contended that this conflict is one of immense complication. But success will become far more likely when we adopt a more nuanced, less ideological view of the situation. If the left could lay down its Marxist reasoning and if the right could lay down its “might makes right” predilections, then maybe we can really get somewhere.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Pope, The Mullahs and Planks in Eyes

So the Pope, in his infinite wisdom, recently saw fit to quote some anti-Islamic sentiments spoken by a 14th century Byzantine emperor. While the Pope did not intend listeners to interpret the quote as something he personally agreed with, it’s unclear why he would choose to reference a quote that basically called Islam an evil and violent religion.

Now, the Pope has apologized for offending Muslims. Unfortunately, we do not yet know whether this apology will be enough to quell the rising anger in the Islamic world. Many Islamic leaders seem to have latched onto the Pope’s statements as the perfect excuse for a new round of disproportionately angry protests like the ones held in response to the Danish cartoons.

It’s beyond me why any Muslim would want to use violence as a means to protest being called violent. But it’s also beyond me why any Christian would think violence has not oft possessed our own religion. The sad and unavoidable truth is, Muslims and Christians and Jews (and Hindus too) have been killing each other for a long, long time.

As far as I’m concerned, leaders of all religions should spend a lot less time denouncing the ignorant words and violent actions of other religions and spend a lot more time denouncing the ignorance and violence within their OWN religion. Too many religious leaders give a pass to the radicals in their own flock while crying out in rage about the radicals found in other religions.

And this is hardly a new idea. After all, it was probably best said by a religious man 2,000 years ago. Matthew 7:3-5 is where it appears.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Not Successful? Maybe You Should Drink More.

A new study has shown that people who drink alcohol socially make more money than those who don't.

The reasoning is that those who enjoy a drink after work with colleagues are making connections and forming bonds that those who avoid drinking simply never make. Therefore, drinking=success.

See, I always said going to happy hours was a worthwhile investment. And here everyone thought I was just there for the 2 for 1 margaritas.

Repeat after me: I'm not a drunk, I'm an upwardly mobile professional.

I Think I'm On Their Side

I have not given a lot of in-depth thought to the issue of military tribunals. But Sideways Mencken makes a great point regarding on which side some of the most clear-thinking, well-respected Republicans are coming down.

Read the post and see if you don't agree with Sideways.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

She Was One of the Good Ones

One of my political heroes, former Texas Governor Ann Richards, has died at the age of 73. She was a true leader who knew how to slice through political b.s. and tackle problems head on. She may have only served one term as governor, but her legacy stretched far beyond those four years and reached well outside the Texas state line.

She of course had her flaws. But her humanity simply made her a better leader and more endearing to the people. I’ve often been asked by non-Texans how it was that Texas could ever elect a woman Democrat to be our governor. I could only smile and say, you have to know Ann.

She was a true-blue Texan. The type of smart-witted, big hearted, tough-minded person we Texans hold dear. And while some strongly disliked her (for her politics or for her history of alcoholism or just for being a woman in a man’s job), many more respected her, even loved her, because she spoke her mind and spoke sense.

Ann was one-of-a-kind. But she did come from a tradition of Southern Democratic politics that has since washed away. You can no longer find the Ann Richards type among Texas Democrats. And that’s a shame.

Her voice, her views, her humor and her heart will be missed.

Rest in peace, Ann.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

That's Not Writing. That's an Ad.

I am a writer. I spend my day in front of a computer writing brochures, websites, advertisements, direct mail and the like. So, technically, I am a copywriter. But, in the more general sense, I am a writer.

Being a writer is not like being a physician or a lawyer or even a teacher or a mechanic. Almost all other professions require some sort of specialized training—many even come with their own certificates. But us writers don’t possess any special skill set. We are no more literate than any other educated professional. In fact, it’s not that we can WRITE (everyone can write), it’s that we can write better.

Why can we write better? Because all good writers have an artistic leaning—a control over language that elevates the form. Unfortunately, this artistic aspect is not readily acknowledged. In many ways, writing is still at the cultural stage that visual art was at a hundred years ago—if it’s not a traditional sculpture or paint on canvas (if it’s not a dense novel or short story) then it can’t be art.

I know, from experience, that being a copywriter is the ass-end of the writing scale. At parties, if I say I’m a writer, people will get excited and ask me what I’ve written. When I explain my job, they look like I’ve spilled my drink on their shoes.

Why is copywriting held in less regard? Usually, in America, those who make more money get more respect. And copywriters are just about the best-paid writers outside of celebrity columnists and bestsellers. My theory is that most people still see a divide between commerce and art. If writing is art, then copywriters are not real writers because all they do is feed the engines of commerce.

But such views on art and writing do not end there. It is a long, sliding scale with commercial fiction like that written by Dan Brown or John Grisham being just a notch above us copywriters and the most inaccessible novels being at the top—and there are a lot of levels in between. Writers tend to get pigeonholed on this scale and declared “good” or “not so good” based as much on the commerciality of their work as on the quality of their words.

This is nonsense. Some of the most brilliant writing I’ve ever seen has been on advertisements. While some of the worst has been in so-called “important” novels. “Good writing” is not a clearly definable achievement—but neither is it constrained to a few genres or forms.

I’m not looking for any more respect for copywriters (really, most of what we do is crap). But I would love it if we could foster a greater understanding of what makes good writing good. If we could open our minds to the idea that, like the visual arts, form does not make the artist, then I think more writers would have an opportunity to make a mark.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

We Can't Let Him Get Away With It

After several days of deep and serious posts, I really felt like writing about this bit of pseudo news.

Apparently, Brad Pitt has threatened to never marry Angelina Jolie unless America starts permitting homosexual marriage.

All I can say is, SAY IT AIN’T SO! How will I go on if Brad and Angelina remain unmarried?

What a terrible turn of events. What will happen next? Will George Clooney refuse to shop at Wal-Mart until they provide better health care? Will Sean Penn refuse to speak until more anti-cell phones laws are passed? Will Jessica Simpson refuse to expose her midriff until Congress does something about belly button lent?!?

I don’t know how I can live in a world where celebrities dish out meaninglessly self-serving threats. Damn you, Brad Pitt. You’ve ruined everything.

Trying to Find 9/11

For the first four anniversaries of 9/11, I avoided the news coverage. I had no desire to relive a day that cut me so deeply. But yesterday I ended my avoidance and absorbed as much 9/11 news and commentary as I could. I read blog posts and news stories. I watched a documentary. I looked at disturbing videos posted on-line—images that the network news never showed us because of their horror.

I don’t really know why I felt so compelled to absorb so much from that day. Maybe I was seeking some form of catharsis. Maybe I wanted release. But no release came.

Oh, there were moments yesterday when a flash of raw emotion, like static electricity leaping from a door handle, would hit me. But then it was gone. I cried some, but not the kind of tears that cleanse. Just the stuttering, unbidden tears of a man trying to keep his composure.

Something about it all still seems like a terrible dream. All we have to do is will ourselves to awaken and those towers will still be standing. Those people still alive. If we just could find a way to wake up.

And perhaps that’s why I immersed myself in the coverage. I simply had to remember the reality of it all. Five years has gone fast but it is still time enough to forget the details. It’s still time enough to twist narratives and change outlooks. So easy is it to view that day through the prisms of what’s happened since that I felt driven to go back and remember it for how it was.

But I failed. Everything I saw, all that I read, I did so with the pressing knowledge that 9/11 is not just one day anymore. It is many days with many meanings to many people. We all might hurt but we don’t hurt for the same reasons anymore. Then again, why should we? Our nation thrives on our ability to not just contain but to permit and even encourage infinite viewpoints—even ones that are terribly wrong.

There will be no closure to 9/11. That day tore down the very notion of closure. This will never be an event we can put in a box and store on history’s shelf—not in our lifetimes, at least. We live 9/11 still. And these anniversaries are about more than remembrance. They are also about acknowledgement of the forces now pulling and pushing our day-to-day lives—and how differently so many of us feel about those forces.

Maybe someday September 11th will just be a day of memorials. But for now and for years to come, it is also a day for talk, for thought and for debate.

Monday, September 11, 2006


We pray for those we lost that day.

We pray for those we've lost beacuse of that day and because of decisions made since that day.

We pray for those who survive.

We pray for those who serve.

We pray for our nation and our people.

We pray for all nations and all peoples.

And we pray for our enemies, may their hearts open and may their hatred be washed away.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Rethinking Afghanistan

Sideways Mencken has been examining the increasing problems in Afghanistan, first here and then here. The Taliban is far from defeated and our ultimate success is far from certain.

Meanwhile, a anonymous commenter on this blog has made the claim here that, before the invasion of Afghanistan, “many on the left understood EXACTLY that Bush would screw it up.” The commenter is greatly mistaken or at least greatly exaggerating. Given the nearly unanimous national support for the Afghanistan invasion, including all but one congressional Democrat voting in favor of retaliation for 9/11, it is clear that very few on the left (or anywhere on the political spectrum) understood exactly that Bush would screw it up.

And that’s the problem. Afghanistan has always been the “good war.” The war we all supported. Iraq, on the other hand, was opposed by a great many from the moment it began. As such, the media and citizen activists have never stopped giving Iraq immense attention. Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s story has ended up on page 2.

Some of this is because Afghanistan has been much less deadly for our forces than has Iraq. But I think most of it is because there simply has never been an anti-war movement in relation to Afghanistan. With no one screaming that we must withdraw immediately, there’s little focus on all that has gone wrong.

But now, the Taliban is resurgent, Pakistan has given up policing their border and lawlessness across the nation is on the rise. Something different needs to be done. But before we can marshal the will to change course, we need to stop viewing the war as unquestionably necessary.

I have often argued that those who initially opposed Iraq should not reflexively oppose our continued involvement there. It’s a whole new matter now. In the same way, those of us who supported Afghanistan (and that’s most of us) should not reflexively support our continued involvement there. Now, I’m not advocating withdrawal. In fact, I’m not advocating anything at the moment. I’m just saying: let’s start paying attention to Afghanistan and let’s start debating what our mission is now, what it should be and how we should achieve it.

I don’t actually think Afghanistan will get any renewed focus. Most people either assume we are on the right course or, like the anonymous commenter, assume failure was predestined from the moment Bush made the decision to invade. But maybe a debate can be sparked. And maybe we can solve the problems in Afghanistan while we still have the will and presence to do help.

Every time...

Every time the sky is a brilliant blue, I remember 9/11.

Every time I see a plane flying low, I remember 9/11.

Every time I smell a building burning or see a nearby plume of smoke, I remember 9/11.

I remember that day a lot. I really don't need an anniversary to make me sit and think about those horrors. But we are a people of anniversaries and so I cannot fault the immense coverage we are now experiencing. But I can ask, are we really at the point of "remembering" when, in many ways, we're still living and reliving that day?

Some things seem distant 5-years on. This still feels like yesterday.

Amba has some good thoughts on this as does Callimachus.

Friday, September 08, 2006

9/11 Has Not Changed Us Enough

Five years later, my memories of September 11, 2001 are as crisp and bright as was the sky that day. I remember not just the beats of the day—the unfolding national horror of it and my own personal dramas—but I remember the emotions, the sorrow and fear and rage. If I think too hard of it, my eyes still well with tears.

I was working at an office just outside the Washington Beltway. I had forgotten my cell phone that day. Friends couldn’t reach me. I couldn’t reach friends—I didn’t even have the number of the one person I knew who worked in the Twin Towers. I thought she worked on the 80th floor of Tower One, right where the first plan hit. Later I learned she worked on the 8th, and had not even made it to work before the attack.

I remember the drive home, NPR filling in details of the day. And I especially remember the small group of men and women standing at an intersection near my home in the heart of Washington, DC. They held up homemade signs reading “No retaliation.” I was shocked. As these people’s own neighbors lay dead and burning in the Pentagon, their first instinct was to call for restraint.

Restraint? I wanted bombs to rain on Afghanistan that night. I wanted vengeance, not just because we deserved it but because our future security depended on it. I couldn’t fathom how even the most ardent pacifists would react to such a day by asking that we spare the evil bastards who planned these attacks.

That was the moment that my sturdy, unquestioning liberal beliefs began to crack. More fissures would appear in the days to come as I read articles in The Progressive and at online leftist sites that blamed American policies and economic imperialism for the attacks and demanded we refrain from retaliation. Instead they wanted a UN police force to go into Afghanistan and arrest Osama bin Laden.

These writers were wrong, of course. Not just strategically, but morally as well. I stopped reading The Progressive, stopped visiting the leftist websites. But the transformation from unquestioning leftist into a question-it-all centrist was not immediate. I’ve paused and taken stock of my beliefs many times over the last five years. I ask myself all the time: is what I think I know right? Do I believe this because it is true or because it fits tidily into a nice little ideology?

Unfortunately, I do not think many Americas have changed or even adjusted their outlooks and beliefs since 9/11. On all sides of the political spectrum, people have failed to stop and rethink the world. They’ve simply taken the new realities and crammed them in to preexisting and ill-fitting ideologies. Blue. Red. Left. Right. Everyone righteous and angry. But no one is right. The “answers” are hollow.

On the 5th anniversary of 9/11, the day itself still resonates with a resounding crash. But we ourselves are, for the most part, mere echoes of what we were that day. United. Committed. Brave. Compassionate. It has washed away.

Yes, we could never maintain such unity, such commitment of purpose. But there was no reason we had to descend into ideological tribes fighting to persevere two equally flawed world views. Could we have not used that unity to forge new outlooks? Could we have avoided the bitterness and the cynicism that now pollutes our nation?

What has passed has passed and though I wish we had walked another path, I know we cannot go back and mend the many errors. We can only pause and assess where we are and why we’re here. And what we do now.

This is a time for Washingtons. For Lincolns. For Roosevelts. This is a time for leadership. So it is my deepest hope that Americans stop reflexively agreeing with “their side” and start questioning all sides. Only then can we hope to elect leaders from outside the vapid political system that so ineffectually rules us. Only then can we find the new visions for the changed world.

I fear that this is just rhetorical bullshit. I fear nothing will change. I even fear that my fears are misplaced—that the system is fine, that America is flourishing and those of us who believe otherwise are just overwrought thinkers with too much time on our hands. I fear I may be a fool.

But, then again, I don’t let my fears rule me. So I write and will continue to write in the hope that people are listening. That people stop and think and realize that we are not on the right path—and that neither left nor right has a roadmap that will work. We need change. Five years later and we still need change.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Katrina Memories and Blogging Fatigue

A year ago, I stopped writing at my previous blog, The Yellow Line. I'm not shutting down Maverick Views, but I have been taking a bit of break.

Last year, I became terribly disillusioned by the world of blogs in the wake of hurricane Katrina. I would read these posts about how the people of New Orleans were to blame because they were too ignorant to leave -- as if there is no moral imperative to help those who are having trouble helping themselves. If a man walks in front of a bus do we just leave him in the street because, hey, he should have been smart enough to look both ways?

And then there were those claiming the government response was more than adequate ... that the horror was a media exaggeration. These writers were more concerned with defending an outdated bureaucracy run by semi-incompetents than they were with examining how the system failed and what could be done to fix it.

And finally, there were those who cared only about using the tragedy as a political hammer with which to beat President Bush. While the President certainly deserved some of the blame because, after all, he is in charge of the executive branch, it was wrong for certain people to pretend that local and state officials weren't equally to blame.

So I threw in the towel and shut down my blog. I no longer wanted to be a part of a community that held such cynical views of the world.

Of course, I realized at the beginning of this year that I did want to be a part of one specific blog community--the centrist community. While I don't always agree with the writers listed on the right side of this page, I respect them because they don't just repeat the party line. They give the world thought. And that's a nice rarity.

So, as I take my little break, do go read the blogs to which I link. It's worth your time.