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Posts Tagged ‘Free Speech’

Philadelphia is an interesting place, to say the least. If you’ve ever had the “pleasure” of watching your team play the Eagles at the Linc or the Vet, then you know what I mean. If you haven’t, then let me put it to you this way… Bad shit happens to you when you’re in Philadelphia. Keep your head down, get in, get out, stay safe. Your team might win, but someone will wing a snow covered battery at your head as you high-five your buddy… And a graduate student from Temple did just that to Sarah Palin as she got a Cheesesteak from Tony Luke’s. Now McCain hasn’t won anything, and this guy didn’t actually throw a D cell at Governor Palin, but he did ask her about Pakistan. The end result, however, was just as damaging.

Crazy Alaskans Love their Steaks Whiz, Wit

Crazy Alaskans Love their Steaks Whiz, Wit

As reported by CNN, this is how the whole thing went down after Palin used the word “awesome” to again describe John McCain

The governor got a more serious interrogation moments later when Temple graduate student Michael Rovito approached her to inquire about Pakistan.

“How about the Pakistan situation?,” asked Rovito, who said he was not a Palin supporter. “What’s your thoughts about that?”

“In Pakistan?,” she asked, looking surprised.

“What’s going on over there, like Waziristan?”

“It’s working with [Pakistani president] Zardari to make sure that we’re all working together to stop the guys from coming in over the border,” she told him. “And we’ll go from there.”

Rovito wasn’t finished. “Waziristan is blowing up!,” he said.

“Yeah it is,” Palin said, “and the economy there is blowing up too.”

“So we do cross border, like from Afghanistan to Pakistan you think?,” Rovito asked.

“If that’s what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should,” Palin responded, before moving on to greet other voters.

OK, let’s get a few things out of the way…

1. The guy who asked the question sounds like an idiot as he’s trying to trap Palin. Please use “like” and “blowing up” in your dissertation. Ass.

2. Tony Luke’s? F that.

3. Aside from Palin sounding like a high schooler when she says “awesome”, and somewhat awkward when she references Pakistan’s economy, her answer isn’t all that bad

EXCEPT! If you’re John McCain. Because that’s Barack Obama’s position. A good position. One the Bush administration should have adopted long before they did. In the end, this whole episode prompted McCain to retract Palin’s statement by saying

“She would not [support unilateral strikes inside Pakistan]…she understands and has stated repeatedly that we’re not going to do anything except in America’s national security interest… In all due respect, people going around and… sticking a microphone while conversations are being held, and then all of a sudden that’s—that’s a person’s position… This is a free country, but I don’t think most Americans think that that’s a definitive policy statement made by Governor Palin.”

HOW DARE YOU REPORT SOMEONE’S POSITION, MEDIA! SHAME ON YOU FOR NOT REQUESTING CAMPAIGN APPROVAL BEFORE RUNNING WITH IT! I MEAN, THIS IS A FREE COUNTRY, BUT GOVERNOR PALIN HAS NO IDEA WHAT SHE’S DOING!

So we can all see the problems here. This one simple question from a private citizen resulted in a formal response by Senator McCain, and exposed flaw after flaw with the McCain-Palin ticket. McCain’s campaign can’t stay on message; Palin is still grossly unprepared for the position she has been selected; McCain refuses to let Palin speak for the campaign, or allow any rigorous media access to her; almost any questioning of Palin has been deemed unfair; and most importantly… wait for it… John McCain would rather unilaterally invade Iraq (when the country had ZERO connection to the 9/11 terrorist attacks or al-Qaeda) than conduct surgical strikes in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden has been hiding and members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations have been operating freely since late 2001.

Country First!

But don’t you fret, America! Palin has Putin on LOCKDOWN.

Thank God for Palin's Alaskan Vigilance

Thank God for Palin's Alaskan Vigilance

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I just got in from a night out and found my roommates tuned into the most recent episode of Gossip Girl. It could be worse, I tell myself…they could be watching network news.

On my subway ride home I sat across from two black men.  One young, in a smart, slick suit and the other older sporting a worn T-shirt, paint stained jeans and a baseball cap.  I eavesdropped, as New Yorkers are prone to do amidst so many converging life stories.  They were discussing Brown vs. The Board of Education but the finer points were lost amidst the background cacophony of subway noise.  The conversation turned to the economy and I hopped off.

Heading out to 125th St. I bought a copy of “The Final Call” for a dollar from a young, sharply dressed man (I gave him two— that CAN’T be a fun job) and pondered for a moment it’s front page article: “The United States Draft: Will you answer the call?” by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. An interesting civic dilemma, no doubt.

125th is empty tonight where I had half expected to see a sidewalk filled with congregation members from our local Pentecostal church. It’s not unusual on warm summer nights to turn the corner and be waist deep in a Southern style revival with its insistent demand to be heard above the din of the city. Tonight my companions on the walk home are tattered copies of the day’s newspapers and the odd Styrofoam cup, leaving a distinct lack of saving grace hanging in the air.

This is a day in America.  Honest, hardworking people, all of them. Some just need a break from their over stimulated media rich lives, a little peace and quiet or simple entertainment. Others are just looking for a dose of human contact, a genuine conversation or debate about the broad strokes of America as they pertain to their lives. A small sampling?  No doubt.  Indicative of the whole?  Not at all.  A snapshot of America?  To be sure.

It occurs to me as I grab a glass of water back in my apartment, this is the conflict in America in so many ways.   The media is there, two faced and double edged.  News and entertainment mixed until gray then blended with ads pushing Dunkin’ Donuts “Egg-white Flat breads,” and drugs for diseases you didn’t even know existed but now fear you may have.

This is life in America— a life spent sifting daily through the noise and sorting out the devils in the details of everyday life. We walk a tenuous line between an honest day’s work, little luxuries, relationships, and our nagging civic commitment. We bring with us the myriad passions and distractions that define who we are, who we have been, and who we aspire to be.

Who DO we aspire to be? Somewhere between book reading binges, reruns of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and a healthy dose of the Blues, I recognize my own failings at asking this question. It can be tough to stop and ask yourself what you believe, why, and how to act on it. But do so we must. We must stand up and accept the responsibility of American Citizenship.

This is a great country, with great people, but only insofar as we bother to BE great people and work to MAKE a great nation.  America is NOT great because of the officials we elect and the agencies our government builds (certainly they help…sometimes).  It is great by virtue of the hard work of US, the unsung masses. It is strong thanks to the personal struggle we put into our lives and communities; this renews our nation every day, this turns the gears of American progress and prosperity.

It is my hope as this blog moves forward that regardless of our failures and shortcomings as people (and perhaps as writers!) we will succeed in showing the importance of people finding their own democratic voice and USING it.  In a world of a million voices spewing the profane and the sacred, the enlightened and idiotic, the cruel and the compassionate…sometimes you have to talk LOUD.

To raise one another by the quality of our ideas and passion of our commitment is part of what it means to be an American and it necessitates that we raise our voice.

Because we do not live alone in a vacuum, quarantined from the actions of others; we live with families and friends, in communities and cities and states which united form this one nation, this America.  Because to remain silent is to surrender your voice to someone else, is to open the door to an insidious apathy that would steal the very spirit of America from your lips.  Because we do not need to, nor do we wish to “lead lives of quiet desperation”; but would rather be bold in our pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.  Because the first step is to say “I Will” and because sometimes “Talking LOUD is the ONLY way.”

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