The Speech. I've seen the Inaugural Address, listened to the frequently played excerpts, listened to and read commentary--most of which doesn't seem to be about the speech I saw and heard. I mean from anybody.
I definitely heard the vocal timbre, the cadences and delivery of Obama's most famous speeches--his 2004 Dem convention speech and his "Yes We Can" speech after the New Hampshire primary in 2008. There were clear echoes of both in the content. So what is surprising people? I even went back to a 2005 speech he gave at the commencement at Knox College in Galesburg, where I once roamed but did not commence. It's more specific but along the same lines, and even some of the vocabulary and repeated phrases are similar: "We chose to act, and we rose together." Action, act, together--very prominent anchors in the Inaugural. Actually I'll bet he's sorry if he forgot that specific 2005 phrase, it's got the kind of music to it you'd want to play again.
I'm sure he's sincere about leading on responding to climate change. But the conventional wisdom that he's going to approve the Keystone pipeline is depressing.
The South is Rising Again. Here's the perfect example: on Inauguration Day, the Virginia senate took advantage of the absence of one of the Dems--a Civil Rights era hero who attended the Inaugural--for a blitzkrieg passage of a redistricting plan nobody had seen before, that gerrymandered the state further so the Dems would be in a perpetual minority. Then they adjourned--not in honor of the Inaugural, nor in honor of Martin Luther King Day, but in honor of the birthday of the Confederate general Stonewall Jackson.
This is where it's going: the GOP is becoming a white supremacist party located ideologically as well as mostly geographically in the Confederacy. They're busy trying to turn their deep South sections of PA, Ohio etc. into rural fiefdoms that will not only take control of the states but of the nation for the white supremacist minority. And if you try to get in their way, well, what do you really think all those guns are for? The federal government they see as the enemy is the one that enforces Civil Rights, voting rights and related laws. They're openly talking nullification even more than secession. The Party of No, the rigidly ideological party that had worked hard to make political positions out of recognizing or not recognizing facts, it's all just media prep: it's the war between the states of reality.
Roe. On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Rachel's latest report on abortion in America focused on the primary fact that has almost always gotten lost in the debate: before abortion was legal, death by botched illegal abortion was a leading cause of death for American women of childbearing age. Today, legal abortion is safer than childbirth, and isn't even in the top 100 causes of death in that age bracket. Illegal abortion was a public health nightmare, and we don't need to reacquire one. We're going to have enough public health problems in the climate crisis future, even if we don't yet recognize the ones we have in the present.
Library Days: The Hardy Boys - This is one of a series of posts on my childhood reading and origins of my relationship with books, prompted by Larry McMurtry's reflections in his book, W...
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