Jack Random is the author of the Jazzman Chronicles (Crow Dog Press) and Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press). See The Chronicles have been posted on the Albion Monitor, Bellaciao, Buzzle, CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Pacific Free Press and Peace-Earth-Justice. www.jazzmanchronicles.blogspot.com
Obama, McCain and Medea Benjamin - There is no shortage of rhetoric in American politics but as for real world consequences it begins to resemble the Bard’s immortal lament: Sound and fury, signifying nothing.
President Barack Obama gave what might have been the most significant speech of his second term, proclaiming the eventual end of the Global War on Terror, over a decade long strategic blunder that should never have happened. Lest we forget, after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, the Taliban government of Afghanistan offered to hand over Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda conspirators to an impartial, international tribunal, an offer that was summarily dismissed by then President George W. Bush.
For anyone who thought that the Democrats won the last election and, therefore, the government would move in a progressive direction, think again. The Democrats strengthened their hold of the Senate, gained seats in the House and retained the White House but they did nothing to bolster their power in Washington.
The Democrats may have won a clear majority of votes in the 2012 election but the Republicans held on to a double veto of all legislative action. First, having won the critical census-year election of 2010, they devised a system by which a decisive minority could secure a decisive majority in the House of Representatives. Second, when Senate majority leader Harry Reid settled on a handshake deal rather than meaningful filibuster reform, he effectively yielded the majority power of the upper chamber of congress.
The Under-Reported Stories of 2012 - Another year has passed, another tick on the celestial clock, another moment to reflect on where we’ve been, another crossroad on the endless highway of life on the planet earth. In many ways the past twelve months have been unremarkable, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.
We have retained a moderate Democratic president. We have elected a congress that remains intractable. We have steadied our course on the path to austerity. Our economy continues to regain its balance at a painfully slow pace. Our workers remain underemployed and underpaid. Our homes remain undervalued and far too many of our people are struggling. Our foreign wars, though winding down, have not yet ended. We have survived catastrophic natural disasters and human-made tragedies.
Fall of the White Man in American Politics - “The Wasichu wore so many faces, an endless sea, wave after wave, more than the stars, and each one carried the same darkness beneath his pale skin, each afraid and filled with hate. Two thousand years of hatred and slaughter, two thousand years of death and poverty, two thousand years of genocide and white man rule yet still they feared and hated.” - From The Killing Spirit by Jack Random.
Given the gender gap and the extraordinary racial divide demonstrated in the recent election, it does not take a political genius to conclude that today’s Republican Party is more dependent on the white man than at any time since the civil rights movement under Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Guns, Taxes and other Matters - At an uncertain age and threshold of experience, something dark and cynical takes hold of the human psyche. Given any topic, event or policy, you realize that you have already engaged every argument from virtually every point of view.
Pity the poor soul who makes a living at political discourse. The quest for some fresh detail or novel nuance to keep the mind rolling must be tedious labor. Common sense abandoned, consistency discarded like obsolete technology, and passion tossed aside like yesterday’s waste, the march of punditry carries on in an endless procession to the same dull beat.
Consequent discourse is as moving as elevator jazz yet we move forward hoping somehow that it will make a difference, knowing within that it very likely will not.
“The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” - Theodore Parker, American Abolitionist, circa 1850.
“President Obama has shaken his fist…at the same God who created and defined marriage.” - Franklin Graham, American Evangelical, May 10, 2012
...Gay Marriage Takes Center Stage - Let us hope that the quote (frequently misquoted as “the arc of history”) made famous by Martin Luther King, Jr. and often cited by President Barack Obama has not reached the level of cliché. For when words, however profound or true, reach that level of familiarity they cease to possess the power of their intended meaning. They may be pleasant to the ear but they fail to pierce the heart and soul where change begins.