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Thursday, November 16, 2006


I'm still recovering from my hectic week, and I'm behind on school work. Ah, well, I'll be caught up soon.

I kind of got pulled into My Space. It's interesting. I get music, which is rather nice. Other than that...not sure what the point is. However, my dad has a site there and that's why I joined.

I'm really enjoying the free music! I haven't figured out how to blog there, and I'm not sure I want to add another blog to my to-do list anyway. We'll see.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Guard the Borders Blogburst

By Heidi at Euphoric Reality

Last Tuesday, the Democrats won the majority in both the House and the Senate. Within a day, President Bush was gloating on national TV about how he could now finally pass his Amnesty bill with a Democrat-controlled Congress. This galling statement by the President was reinforced by the White House spokesman:

White House spokesman Tony Snow reacted to the change in House control by allowing they’re disappointed, but that it presents some intriguing opportunities, such as passing comprehensive immigration reform which failed in the previous Republican House.

Meanwhile, conservatives are shocked - SHOCKED! - by this open defiance of the vast majority of Americans' wishes. "What on earth is Bush thinking?!," they wonder. Howard Sutherland says there's no need for such surprise, and here's why:

If George W. Bush has been consistent about anything it is his determination to keep the United States open to the mass migration of Mexicans and other Latin Americans.
George W. Bush is a true believer in amnesty for illegal aliens, at least for Mexicans, and perhaps in some sort of EU-style shotgun marriage of Canada, the United States and Mexico as well.
That he is sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, not the welfare of Mexicans, does not faze him. The amnesty/guest worker program is President Bush’s lodestar, the legacy he sincerely wants to leave America. In the teeth of all the evidence, he believes that we would be better for it and it’s just the right thing to do. It is more important to him than Iraq, so important that he jettisoned the GOP’s best chance to hold on to the Congress rather than back away from it.

So with the President dancing on the political graves of the massacred GOP, it looks like a plan for amnesty is a sure thing. Now pundits everywhere, on both sides of the aisle, are breathlessly calculating where millions of new voters will fit into the political landscape of the future. I've watched and taken part in several debates on which party will end up scooping the Newly Amnestied Immigrant vote.

Here are a few viewpoints I've seen expressed about the powerful new Latino voting bloc:

  • A conservative sees it as political suicide for the Republicans: "It’s still baffling why Bush wants to legalize millions of potential Democrat voters."

  • A liberal who believes the Republican loss of power will be permanent: "Good luck getting it back after we give citizenship to 10 million new Democratic voters and annihilate you in the Southwest."

  • An independent conservative is convinced that the Latino voting bloc will vote along traditional family values: "They’re mostly very traditional catholics. When the Dems overreach on gay marriage, completely unrestricted late term abortion, etc., they’re going to hit a brick wall in that demographic."

  • A Hispanic-American voter ascribes his own values to the new voting bloc: "Hispanics are not a monolithic voting bloc that can be easily manipulated with this one issue. We’re too fragmented for that."

  • And a conservative Hispanic-American in NY doesn't believe that all Latino votes will automatically side with the Democrats: “If ever there was a constituency that voted with its wallet, and with an eye on social issues, it’s the Hispanic.”

  • Suffice it to say, an unprecedented and massive influx of voters presents a vast unknown. Before either party gets too excited counting their chickens before they're hatched, I'd like to offer some personal insight into how this demographic shift will impact the American political landscape.

    Any stereotypes of how second, third, and fourth generation Hispanic-Americans have voted in the past need to be discarded. The Latino trends in America prior to amnesty will not apply. There are currently 20-30 million illegal aliens inside our borders that Bush and the Democrats would like to give citizenship to. Among that number, there are exceptions to what I'm about to say, but I won't be discussing those exceptions today. I will be discussing the largest majority of illegals, most if which come from Mexico, Central, and South America - and my experience living in Mexico and observing the Mexican election system.

    The vast majority of illegals are, to a very large extent, semi-literate, poorly educated, and unskilled laborers. They come to America to take what they can get, and most really have very little interest in American citizenship, and the duties and responsibilities thereof. Thus, they will not be dashing to the polls in the first election after their amnesty, either to vote Democrat out of gratefulness for their brand-new citizenship (which they don't care much for), or to vote Republican because they have an urgent religious objection to same-sex marriages. They will, in fact, not be too interested in voting at all - unless they can get something out of it. Even then, they will have to be shepherded to the polls by their Latino leaders; at best, lured by promises of freebies, or at worst, covertly paid for their vote.

    I lived in Mexico in 2000, the year that Vicente Fox was first elected. The week of the election, the little town that I lived in was a-swarm with poll workers and party volunteers. I'll let you in on the dirty little secret about elections in Mexico: they are bought and paid for at the local level by party workers. Twenty pesos and a cerveza could buy a vote from the day laborers. Those with a little more education were lured by the promise of government programs and hand-outs. Those with the most education believe in Mexican reconquista and will vote for anyone who can stick it to the U.S.

    Fox was largely voted for because he actually campaigned on the issue of his access and influence with George W. Bush. There was a lot of talk about how much cooperation and concessions Mexico would be able to squeeze from the U.S., and how much it would benefit Mexico. BINGO - jackpot for Vicente Fox!

    Why was the status of Mexican influence over American affairs of such paramount importance to the voters of Mexico? Because a full 20% of Mexico's population is already residing inside America. It is crucial that the billions of dollars of free money flowing into Mexico be safe-guarded, and the promise of more realized.

    Once elected, Vicente Fox’s election promises to his people were published in a five year plan called the Plan Nacional de Desarrollo 2001-2006. I need to make something very clear here: this plan is NOT for implementation in Mexico, it is Mexico’s plan for AMERICA. The Mexican government has been implementing this plan for the past five years. They've met many of their goals for forcing concessions from the U.S., and for manipulating and controlling how the issue of illegal immigration is defined and presented to the American people.

    Here’s a sampling:

    The issue of migration, especially in the United States, needs a new focus over the long term to permit the movement and residence of Mexican nationals to be safe, comfortable, legal and orderly, and the attitude of police persecution of this phenomenon must be abandoned and it must be perceived as a labor and social phenomenon. This requires a complete negotiation that strikes at the structural roots of [migration], its manifestations and consequences, and that considers migration a shared responsibility. (Section 4.8., page 61)

    This element of the plan indicates how Mexico wants to be sure the debate over illegal immigration is never framed around the issue of law enforcement, but instead focused on the social aspects. This is where we get the emotional but fallacious arguments of "racism", "forced mass deportations", "forcibly separating legal children from illegal parents", etc.

    There’s more:

    Make Mexican sovereign decisions with respect to migratory flow and movement count, and offer and demand decent treatment for our countrymen who travel or reside abroad.

    Encourage a long-term international migration policy …, with other nations and international organizations, that defends the rights of Mexicans abroad and strengthens their sense of belonging [to Mexico]. Play an active role in ensuring the labor rights of our countrymen [abroad], in the context of international competition.

    Devise and implement government programs to recognize and value the contributions that migrants make, as much in the societies that receive them as in their societies of origin, insisting on full respect for their rights during their transit to and from Mexico. At the same time, raise the quality and efficiency of migration services. (Section 7.3.1(g), page 132)

    The second point indicates Mexico's realization that to keep their exported laborers sending money home, they need to remain strongly connected to Mexico. With that type of determined focus on retaining nationalistic pride, which country do YOU think will hold the loyalty of the Newly Amnestied Immigrants?

    Furthermore, Mexico has implemented a plan to create programs - not in Mexico - but in America, that recognize and honor migrants. It also speaks of raising the quality and efficiency of migration services. Thus, we now have train loads of illegals trucked to the border gratis, and the Mexican government has published and distributed pamphlets on how to break into America and remain undetected.

    Listen, Mexico’s plan has already been successfully implemented for five years now while we Americans wallowed. But don’t take my word for it. Juan Hernandez is a Mexican official in Fox’s cabinet. He is supremely confident, even cocky, in recent U.S. op-eds and television appearances. On June 7th, in USA Today, he said what is all too obvious to anyone who will pay attention:

    “Mexico knows where it wants to go even more clearly than the United States knows where it wants to go.”

    That evening, on Nightline, he made it even clearer for us:

    “We are betting that the Mexican-American population in the United States … will think Mexico first.”

    Mexico first. Thus, we come to my final point. When the 20-30 million illegals are finally amnestied, they will be voting en masse for the party that best benefits them and Mexico. That will have to include concessions, hand-outs, special programs, and entitlements at all levels. Thus, either party that can devise and deliver advantages especially for them and their native country (remember that they still won't think of themselves as Americans, despite their cheap citizenship), will "buy" their vote. A few free cervezas won't hurt either.

    So please, party pundits, don’t hold out hope that you will woo scads of new voters with your traditional party platforms. You'll have to get busy devising ways to buy the Newly Amnestied Immigrant vote. You Republicans won't recruit millions of Latino voters with family values and tax cuts (they don't pay taxes anyway!). And you Democrats can't just pose as the Enlightened Party of Brown People - you'll have to deliver billions in pork to this very specific demographic in order to buy their vote. We'll see how well that goes over with Real Americans.

    Remember, those newly amnestied Mexican voters will NOT loyal to the U.S., and they won’t care what is best for the U.S. economically, politically, or socially. Nor will they be vested in the communities that are supporting them. They won't have any interest in performing the duties and responsibilities of citizenship out of patriotic pride, because their dual-citizenship will ensure that they remain loyal to Mexico.

    Last thought: the influx of tens of millions of new "citizens" will be unprecedented in our history and has the potential for breaking our system of government beyond repair. So any politician that naively thinks he will reap a windfall of uneducated voters needs to rethink his strategy. Because unless he's working for Mexico, he'll have little to offer. A canny Azltan politician, on the other hand, acting in the best interests of Mexico, will have a willing base of millions of drone voters. How long do you think the Reconquista will take, considering the projected population explosion due to unchecked illegal and legal immigration? So Mr. Senator and Congressman, you'd better be careful what you ask for. ¿Hay alguien aqui que hable inglés?

    This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we're going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our Blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to admin at guardtheborders dot com.

    Void Sticker

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    ...and baby makes three!

    Well, it's done. Today I went in for the feedback session of Ben's diagnostic process. And, he qualified as autistic, moderately so. The process to get him access to services is begun. Okay, so that consisted of a phone call, but still...it's begun. I also found a new source for material for my book, that in the doctor who diagnosed Ben. She seemed congenial to my goals, as well as understanding of the problem I see in communication between the different peoples involved.

    I'll expound upon that at a later time. Right now, this is going to have to do. I've still got school work to do.

    Void Sticker

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    Blue in Wisconsin

    If voting was anti-climactic after all the research time I'd invested into my decisions, then the part where every campaign that I had any emotional investment in at all lost really sucked. Even slimy corruption doesn't necessarily get in the way of incumbents *ahem*DOYLE*gag*. The one incumbent I voted for won, but then again her opponent was against abortion because it killed consumers. I'd never heard a real person use that lame-ass excuse for a position, but now I have. Of all the reasons to be pro-life, that's the worst.

    Anyway, Wisconsin is dramatically, and despicably blue...again. 'Cause, well, it did sooo wonderfully for us for the last few years. Now we get to repeat it all. I cannot tell you how much I wish Mark Green had won.

    Anyway, ironies being what they are, the Marriage Amendment survived its first round. So, while Wisconsin may be blue, the sanctity of marriage is a strong belief state-wide. Also, it looks like there's a thumbs up for the very limited version of the death penalty. And, the local high schools got their funding. So, while the people-portion of the ballot sucked from my perspective, some interesting results came out of this election cycle.

    Though, my overwhelming feeling is still the bitter, bile-ick-stic nature of Doyle's triumph. I really, really didn't want to deal with any more of his double-fisted, back-handed, deceiptful, government-for-sale crap. But, on the bright side, the Attorney General election hasn't been called, so we still might get a an attorney willing to investigate Doyle's shady dealings, let alone prosecute if possible.

    Void Sticker

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006


    Today is the day to vote, unless you've already voted absentee. Most of the time I advocate becoming an educated voter. However, today I don't really care. Go. Vote. I don't care who or what you vote for, just vote. It's more than a right, it's also an important responsibility of a citizen of every democratic republic. If you don't vote, you hardly have reason to bitch about it afterwards. If you don't like who's on the ballot, write someone in. Show you care and vote.

    Void Sticker

    Guard the Borders Blogburst

    This Blogburst is also available as a Podcast.

    Why the United States Has Lost So Much in Latin America

    By LomaAlta at Linknzona

    The facts are not in dispute. During this Administration’s “watch”, the geopolitical situation in Latin America has deteriorated well beyond the tragic losses of any previous Administration. Communist tyrants rise in Venezuela, Bolivia, and now Nicaragua and socialism is on the march in other countries. President Reagan’s successes in spreading democracy and freedom in Latin America appear to have been stopped. Let’s examine some of the possible reasons.

    Negligence. This Administration appears to be focused on the war on terrorism, particularly the Middle East and has neglected the problems arising in the countries of our neighbors to the south. Indisputable evidence of Middle Eastern terrorists increasing their presence in Latin America and illegally crossing our southern border with help of Latin American gangs is readily available [1]. These facts have been well known for years but emphasizing them goes against President Bush and his Administration’s open border, pro-illegal immigration policies as well as against most of the Democratic leadership and their Mainstream Media. Thus, little is heard about this growing threat. Even less is heard about its impact in Latin America. This leads directly to the President and his Administration’s relationships with Latin American leaders and through them, its people.

    Submission, not Partnership.
    Latin Americans, and particularly Mexicans, like most people, respect power and its just and successful application. In addition, the cultural implications of power and weakness are viewed through the lens of machismo throughout Latin America and especially in Mexico [2].

    The USA, as the world’s undisputed Super Power, must look weak and ineffectual to the rest of the World and downright mariposa-like to our friends south of the border as it panders to Presidente Fox, leaves its borders open during war time, and sacrifices the security and well being of its citizens to foreign invaders. Such weak and foolish behavior engenders disgust and dislike of the USA throughout Latin America in proportion to how much they take advantage of us. Mexico is first in line, of course, but can you imagine a president of any South American country calling our President the devil at the UN in New York? Hugo Chavez, the dictator of Venezuela did exactly that this fall. There were no repercussions. This will embolden other thugs and bullies to spit in our President’s face and regard the USA as a weak, stumbling, and blinded paper tiger.

    Bumbling. How unsuited for representing the USA is Secretary Condi Rice? With the exception of John Bolton at the UN, I have yet to see any diplomatic courage and vision from this Administration. It seems Secretary Rice has fallen into the trap of so many of our diplomats. She sees her clients as other diplomats, world opinion is of paramount importance to her, and the national interests of the USA appear to be lost in the swirl of trips, functions, receptions, parties and all types of activities we call “form over substance”. A good example of this is diplomatic meddling in Nicaragua [3].

    This is a brief overview of how the Bush Administration has mismanaged USA activities and interests in Latin America. Why is this Administration so much worse than previous ones? Previous administrations have bumbled, submitted to Mexican presidents, and neglected Latin America. But President Bush is the first president to put the interests of a foreign power – Mexico, above the interests of the USA.

    How can a foreign leader respect a President who does not put his country first in negotiations? We all grew up with bullies. The vast majority of us learned that the quickest way to stop a bully from attacking or extorting something from us was to resist, and, to fight back if necessary. Sure it was scary and rough to be hit or beaten; but just the knowledge that you would not submit was almost always enough to send the bully in search of weaker victims.

    Bullies are cowards and seek out the weakest victims they can find. The weaker you are, the more the cowards bully you, and the less they respect you. This is true on every school ground; and it is true among nations as we have learned over and over. To be weak is to invite attack.

    For a nation to submit is for it to surrender its freedom and sovereignty. This is the principal reason our relations with Latin America are so bad and why communism is on the rise again there. The USA, through President Bush and the political leadership of both parties, has submitted to Mexico. Illegal immigration is the occupation of one peoples’ country by another people. President Bush not only submits to Mexico, he encourages and supports their continued bullying.


    [1] For example see: Daniel Sheehy’s 2005 book, “Fighting Immigration Anarchy”, AuthorHouse, Bloomington, IN, 329 pp, and J. D. Hayworth’s 2006 book, “Whatever it Takes”, Regency Publishing, Inc., Washington, DC, 230 pp.

    [2] ma•chis•mo
    Pronunciation: (mä-chēz'mō, -chiz'-, mu-), [key]
    1. a strong or exaggerated sense of manliness; an assumptive attitude that virility, courage, strength, and entitlement to dominate are attributes or concomitants of masculinity.
    2. a strong or exaggerated sense of power or the right to dominate: The military campaign was an exercise in national machismo.

    [3] More freedom lost in Latin America?

    This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we're going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our Blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to admin at guardtheborders dot com.

    Void Sticker

    Monday, November 06, 2006

    Critical Thinking vs. Constructive Listening

    Again with the textbook... Right now I'm learning about the steps of listening. Very important and valid for a public speaking course. But, a thought occurred to me: Most people who dabble in politics (or do more than dabble) realize that critical thinking is very important. We read and listen to messages very critically, because, frankly, there's a lot of deceipt going on, both intentionally and subconsciously. Critical thinking is very important, and I'm not one to deny that (though I do think far too many people apply it without understanding it very well, but that's not my point here).

    However, progress (not the progressive progress, but general progress) requires more than critical thinking. Critical thinking is what pits adversaries against each other, creating an atmosphere of duelistic mentalities. It's them or us, baby...which side are you on.

    For those of us who do not want to be on either side, for whatever reason, this gets very tiresome. I'm not a Democrat, and I'm not a Republican. Yet, if I stand against the one, it's assumed that I am the other. When I visit liberal blogs, it's often assumed I'm a Republican. When I visit conservative blogs, it's often assumed I'm a Democrat. And, that's kind of funny...but the point is that I'm neither, nor do I wish to be either. I'm past that.

    What I want to do is find the middle ground that the majority, the real American majority can stand on comfortably. None of us are going to be 100% satisfied with that situation, but most of us will be more comfortable and better situated than we are now. It seems like a very logical place for us all to want to get to, because our government would be fulfilling its Constitutional purpose. And yet our reality is far from this middle ground despite all the critical thinking that so many people try to do.

    What gives? Really. It makes me wonder if too many people are stuck in the critical thinking duelistic mentality and haven't moved onto the point of compromise and common ground. For instance, as long as the other person is willing to continue a discussion in a civil manner, I can usually find some sort of common ground with most of the people I run across. It's also common for friendships to develop between this people I disagree with, or, at the very least, friendly nods to acquaintanceship. This doesn't mean I agree with the -- sometimes ever -- but it does mean there is a willingness between both people to acknowledge the value of the other's opinion, and the potential uses that opinion may have. Worst comes to worst and there's no common ground on any particular issue, remaining civil can, at the very least, help both people strengthen their arguments by watching where the other finds holes in the self same argument. Ideas can be strengthened, can become more sound, or can be discarded and re-thought through civil, constructive debate.

    I do wonder how much better our country would be if constructive debate were a more sought-after pastime. It makes me think that perhaps Inclusive Debates could accomplish even more than I originally expected. T'were it only nearer at hand.

    Void Sticker

    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    Stumpless Bush

    This article made me laugh: Bush stumps in red states to save House.

    Can you say "counter-productive?" I knew you could!

    The best thing Bush can do to "save" the House is to sit quietly in a little room and practice his duck and cover technique. Many people are not happy with Bush. Many people are not happy with the House's complacent response to Bush. Emphasizing how buddy-buddy he is with some of these people are not going to help their case. It's just not a good idea.

    Bush so doesn't care what people think, so why does he think people will care (at least in any positive manner) what he thinks about a particular candidate? (Not-so-silent nod to Prague Twin of, well, Prague Twin; I've enjoyed our recent debates.)

    Anyway, I'm not saying this because I think Bush will listen to me. It's not like he's exactly good at that. Nor do I say this because I want the House to be "saved" in that manner. Nope, I want the Dems to take back the House. Not because I like the Dems (repulsive shudder), I do not. I especially dislike the Dems of my own state (and I do mean the politicians, not the voters). However, I do hope that the Dems winning Congress is the next step to a viable, middle-of-the-road, fiscally conservative, people-minded third-party. And that is something I do want.

    So, Bush, go stump, please. Just don't be too stumped when it backfires.

    Void Sticker

    Dead Writer Society

    I've obviously made a minor *ahem* adjustment to my blog. I'm going to try and get it fixed so it doesn't repeat the way it is, but other than that little excessiveness -- what do you think? Hmm?

    Anyway, I would also like to introduce y'all to a new blogging friend of mine (new blogger, not new friend) named Rick. He has a baby blog called Dead Writer Society and from what he's done so far, I'd say he's about as eclectic as I am when it comes to "what to post about." I hope y'all will take the time to check him out and welcome him to the blogosphere! Thanks!

    Void Sticker

    Saturday, November 04, 2006


    A funny thing happened tonight. I was going through my husband books, the ones he intended to sell at his now closed e-Bay store, and found that there were actually some books that I had absolutely no interest in reading...ever. This kind of caught me by surprise. I'm a bibliophile, and so I was not prepared to actually look at a book in my possesion and decide I did not want to read it. It's unheard of! I mean, sure, there's books that I want to read later, I mean, way later, but there have not been books that I simply don't want to read at all. Until now.

    It's funny, really. An archaic book on surgical procedure. Ew. Why would I want to read that? Why would anyone who's not really niche-y want to read that? How did we ever get it? People have been giving Mark old books, so we've got tons of them. Unfortunately, most are books nobody wants. Thus, the closing of the very unprofitable store.

    So, now, we have to figure out what to do with all these old, worthless books. And, that's surprising, because I've never really considered any book worthless. There've been some really bad books that I've read, and I've enjoyed destroying them for their badness. But, there's worth in that. These books are not even books either of us can take pleasure in destroying. They're not bad, they're just worthless. Obsolete.

    It's strange. Our bookshelf space is very limited, and I do want to reclaim the space these books are currently occupying (remember the bibliophile part?), but what to do with them? Ah, well, we'll think of something. We always do.

    Void Sticker

    Friday, November 03, 2006

    Amendments, Referendums and Voting

    One of the fun things about our Republic is that we occasionally have the opportunity to cast some singularly special votes. We tend to call these Amendments and Referendums. Amendments are rare, but I have the opportunity to vote on one in just a few days. It's an Amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution that will, if passed, limit marriage to one man and one woman, while also limiting the recognition of non-marital relationships. We also have a state wide "advisory referendum" that will begin the process to consider reinstituting the death penalty in Wisconsin. One of my favorite things about this referendum is that it has "DNA evidence" written right in there, which is the only way I'll even consider the death penalty after some lengthy debates with my friend Lisa Renee. Yet, these two are not the only specials I have the opportunity to have a say in. On the local level, I also get to vote as to whether or not I want to fund additions onto the high schools in my city. Oh goody!

    Now, maybe I'm just strange. I mean, I'm rather used to that. But, I find all these specials rather fun. Somehow it seems so much more democratic when we voters actually get a say in what happens, not just who decides what happens. So, I'm really looking forward to voting next Tuesday, and I hope you are to, even if you don't have specials. And if you don't have specials, maybe voters can find a way to ensure a special is included in every elections. Who knows, it just might help boost voter turn-out!

    Void Sticker

    Paul Ryan

    Okay, so here's the problem. Due to my association with VOID and my own conscience, I cannot/will not vote for Paul Ryan. It's not that I think he's a bad guy, I don't. I've met him and he was very nice, very personable. I met his wife, and she has deep and abiding concerns for individuals with disabilities, which is always a heart-warmer for me. He's also friends/associates with Mark Green, who I am voting for. As a Congressman, Paul Ryan has not served us poorly, however he has not served us excellently either. He's a staunch Republican, and leans more towards the classic conservative. Which does win some points with me, but he's also too much of a political party man. Which loses lots of points with me. He's not a yes-man to Bush, but he hasn't exactly been effective when it comes to standing up for fiscal conservatism, though he has tried. So, my "no" vote for Paul Ryan is less against Ryan and more against the incumbency that dooms our system to corruption. Ryan's a party to that, but he's not a big-wig in that.

    The problem is that his opponent, the only opponent I can find information about (not even a name for anyone else) is Jeffrey Thomas. Thomas, as a candidate, is totally yawn-worthy. Apparently he has just the two issues: Ryan had dealings with Abramoff and health care. His ideal solution for our health care crisis is for the government to administer it and for employers to bankroll it, all on a national level. And frankly that scares the crap out of me. I've seen government administered health care. It's the only health care we currently have access to, and while it's better than nothing, I guarantee y'all who have access to something else don't want it. Admittedly, Abramoff is icky and I don't like that Ryan can be at all associated with him, and health care is a concern. But, c'mon. All the problems in America, and this is Thomas' sales pitch? Please. This is not someone who imbues confidence. This is not someone I want representing me or my area in Congress.

    So, the incumbent is out. His opponent, apparently his sole opponent, is out. What to do? Well, I haven't exactly decided yet. And this is the only thing left to decide by Nov. 7. I could vote for Thomas, because it's not like it'd hurt anything seeing as he doesn't stand a chance. But, that seems kind of dirty, considering I think this district should put up a better candidate. I could write in someone, but who? Ah, it's late and I'm still hoping I'll discover another candidate.

    Void Sticker

    Wednesday, November 01, 2006

    The Melting Pot vs. Ethnocentrism

    One of the things I really don't like about college is all the textbooks that just can't seem to help but insert their own political bias into subject matter where it does NOT belong. For instance, public speaking. It's a class I don't particularly want to take, because I'm not inclined to be a speaker -- I'm a writer -- but taking the class is all the more difficult when I find myself arguing with the textbook on just about every page.

    I'm not against other people having political opinions, however I am against people using inappropriate venues to assert their political opinions as facts. Then again, I'm generally against people asserting their opinions as facts, no matter what the venue is, however that's just a persuasive tactic that's widely used -- and I know I've been guilty of it more than once. A textbook is not the venue for it, however, especially when the politics involved and the subject matter are completely irrelevant to each other.

    I'm reading Public Speaking by Michael and Suzanne Osborn (relation unknown) for my speech class with Herzing On-line. Here's the quote that sparked this little rant: "In the first half of the twentieth century, the idea of America as a "melting pot" suggested that as various groups of immigrants came to this country, they would be melted down in some vast cultural cauldron into a superior alloy called "the American character." This metaphor reinforced enthnocentrism and expressed cultural arrogance."

    I'm sorry, but no. This has no place in a public speaking textbook. This is not about public speaking. This is a particular point of view, that basically says (which is reinforced further along in the text) that Americans are not allowed to have a culture of their own, because it is disrespectful. And so, I've got to say, What they hell!?!

    Having a culture of your own is not ethnocentric. You can have a culture of your own, and still value other cultures and sample the experiences of those cultures. They are not mutually exclusive. While I grant there is a mediocre movement towards a global community, which people typically flout until their cultural identity is threatened, this idea that a global community is somehow better than, superior to, and inevitable from a hodge-podge of national, regional and local communities and their various identities is not "fact," it is "opinion" and valuing this opinion over all others could be called *drum roll please* ethnocentric, because one is putting the global "ethnicity" above any singular ethnicity.

    This is not to say that I don't respect the cultures of other people. I do. Very much. That is not to say that I believe that America and all Americans have a single culture. I don't. That's ridiculous, and if you don't know that's ridiculous I suggest you try going to Texas, then to Nebraska, then to Vermont and see it for yourself. However, I do suggest that claims that America neither has nor is entitled to a cultural identity that is American is equally false. While going to Texas and Nebraska and Vermont you'll see many differences. You'll see a wide variety of culture. However, you'll also see bits and pieces of the American culture that ties us together. The American culture is part of the reason why the whole nation, or at least most of it, mourned when the World Trade Center was attacked. The American culture is part of the reason why the whole nation, or at least most of it, aided the victims of Katrina and Rita, and it is also why so many people are still helping those victims and still outraged that the government did not do more to help/prevent/reconstruct that area of our nation. Were it not for the American culture, most of us would have no more concern for "those people" in New York City or "those people" in New Orleans (and many other communities) than we do for the people affected by the tsunamis across the ocean. The reason we do care more is because "those people" are our people.

    The melting pot isn't necessarily about making a "superior" alloy of the many people involved, it's about making an American alloy with the many people involved. It's about having a national culture, a national identity, a nation that is stronger than its individual parts. And that melting pot, that national culture, that national identity and the nation that it produced has made us into the last remaining "superpower" of our time, for good and for ill. We're not perfect, but we are American. That is what the melting pot is about. And that is something that is worthy of our interest and our effort.

    Again, I'm all for valuing other cultures. If we did a little more of that, we might not have made quite so many mistakes as a nation as we have done. However, valuing other cultures does NOT mean throwwing our own away. The more I learn about other cultures, the richer my own becomes, because it's easy to take your own culture for granted when you've got nothing to compare it to, however I'm not going to give up my own culture because I value that of another person. I'm not going to give up Halloween and Trick-or-Treating with my children, just because other people throughout the world celebrate the holiday differently, or don't celebrate it at all. That's not avoiding ethnocentrism, that's avoiding culture altogether. De-valuing culture de-values humanity. De-valuing one's own culture is just as bad as de-valuing the culture of other people. Of course, if there's aspects of one's own culture that are negative and/or derogatory, then fixing and changing that aspect of one's culture is appropriate; but it is not necessary to "throw the baby out with the bathwater," so to speak. Culture is important. It's a uniting element that brings people together when things seem to be (or actually are) falling apart. The American culture will save us in our times of crises.

    The melting pot isn't an example of ethnocentrism. The melting pot is an example of American culture. Claiming American culture is better than French culture and the French should act just like Americans is ethnocentrism. Expecting the French immigrant to become an American is not ethnocentric, that's the choice the immigrant made; expecting the French tourists to be American is ethnocentric; expecting the French to be American when you're the tourist is ethnocentric; but having a culture that is American is not ethnocentric, and expecting immigrants to embrace and develop that culture is not ethnocentric...that's how America came to be.