Monday, September 29, 2008

A Message To America's Banks

Today I decided that it would be appropriate, given the state of the economy to which they have driven us, to give America's banking executives the bird.

A Florida Scrub Jay. Like the free-spending American consumer, a threatened species

A Grey Pelican, heading in the general direction of the economy.

A stealthy great egret, heading out of town like a congressman fleeing Washington after the bailout vote.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Liberty, Justice and Slugging It Out in America

I am not a political blogger, though my undergraduate degree is in Government -- and the old interest is sometimes sparked by current events. I spent quite a bit of the last week in bed or on the couch (mostly sick as a dog), afforded the rare opportunity to catch up on the popular media's take on presidential politicking in this most important election year. I watched both major party conventions with interest, paid reasonably close attention to the Sarah Palin interviews on ABC, and have been exposed to a barrage of partisan ads from both sides that raise the fine art of mud-slinging to new levels of audacity.

I have friends and acquaintances who come down on all sides of the debate, including at least one who believes that both parties are the devil incarnate bent only on increasing their own power at the expense of all that the rest of us hold dear. We hear about a nation divided against itself -- how much deeper the divide is than it used to be -- and how wonderful life would be if we were all on the same united page, one side or the other depending on the advocates personal political proclivities. But I have to tell you that this is nothing new...and perhaps most surprising, it's the glue that holds our grand experiment in democracy together. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Factionalism. Our party distinctions, and our willingness in America to tolerate them - to bend without breaking - is what makes this all work. It has since 1789 when Thomas Jefferson (my personal hero) and Alexander Hamilton split Washington's second administration into America's first political parties -- Federalists (Hamilton) and Republicans (Jefferson). IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not confuse the "natural rights" Republicanism of Jefferson with the modern Republicanism George W. Bush....

The personal sniping was in fact, much worse back then -- recall that Hamilton was killed in a duel by fellow New Yorker and political rival Aaron Burr. At least now, the ammunition is limited to the lies leveled in the press, in campaign ads, and on the internet. Other than the guns and pixels, things really haven't changed much, which, back to my original point, is a good thing. Had we not had the factional focus of organized and recognized political parties to act as the shock absorbers of philosophical animosity we would have very likely ended with a Revolution that ended much as the French Revolution did -- the guillotine, firing-squads, rampant armed adventuring around Europe, forsaken treaties, a shrieking Citizen Genet, Napoleon, and alas, Elba. In our case we would have fallen to England from the sea and the north, and Spain from the south. 

So it is our factionalism, amidst the blessing of our national diversity that sustains us. Political parties are a good thing...and there's one for every American -- just check it out here

Now there remains that small issue of the uninformed electorate -- and therein lies the great danger... But I shall leave that to another day. Hey! I never said that this blog was going to be a focused thing.........

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Brief Time Out

Sorry for the prolonged interlude. I have been traveling and more recently sick as a dog. As soon as I get my wits back (give me a couple of days), I shall resume posting at least a couple of time per week... Thanks!