Perhaps the Zimmerman verdict makes all that follows from me less relevant, and if so, get on the thread and weigh in. Otherwise: The crowd still hasn't finished their martinis from last week's saloon. It was a remarkably intelligent, civil, enlightening and searching discussion; I urge you to read it. Maybe I can set up the bar for the first round by asking a few questions. Everything Soleri wrote about the racist dog whistles, President Obama's burden, the circular firing squad of the left and progressives' relative lack of power rings true. But when is it permissible to question Mr. Obama on executive decisions, rather than legislation that depends on the likes of Lieberman and Nelson? To take but one example, the Justice Department steadfastly declined to apply the rule of law to the big banks. Not one. Now I understand Newtown. About all Mr. Obama could do was give that incredibly moving address ("we have to change"). Guns are a losing issue for progressives in America. But the big banks? Even the Tea Party hated them.
In mentioning this, I am not blowing a dog whistle or accepting Republican nihilism. The Koch brothers aren't going to congratulate each other ("See, Bill, Talton's draggin' down the Democrats. Woo-hoo!") based on this. Those of us in the reality-based community aren't like the Krackpots, robotic in solidarity with power. We have to be able to discuss these things in a constructive way. How? And I would not subject Mr. Obama to the soft racism of kid gloves. He is, after all, commander in chief of the most powerful military in the history of the world. He is no fool. He is not a victim. So, again, what's the road forward simply from a standpoint of felicitous debate?
I'm also interested in your thoughts on the future. Yes, the old white bigots are dying off. But minorities have maintained power in numerous nations and empires. The GOP is trying to protect its power long-term through everything from legislative action to Supreme Court decisions, and all the while wrecking the future for everybody but the rich. The latest e.g. is separating food stamps from the farm bill in the House, a remarkable act of hypocrisy and fealty to the oligarch. The final bill will spend more giving subsidies to big agribusiness; huge numbers of SNAP recipients are in red states. Will demographics reverse the Republican/reactionary trajectory automatically? Does the "left" need a new narrative? Or must things get much worse before people wake up? The New Confederacy is not to be underestimated. This plays out even in Washington state; without Seattle, we would be Idaho. So, to paraphrase Soleri, where will our armies come from? It's a long game, sure. But many things are bearing down on us. This is not 1885. Forgive the long intrusion into the conversation. There is much, much more to spark discussion on Arizona's Continuing Crisis, the Best of the Front Page, the City Desk, and Climate/Energy.