Thursday, July 31, 2008

Re Democrats and Race

For molecularshyness :


Wasn't it the republican party that was founded in part on an anti-slavery platform?


Wasn't it the *republicans* who propped up Abe Lincoln and strongly favored ending slavery?


Wasn't it the *republicans* who championed civil rights legislation while democrats filibustered it?


The republicans support business because business (including businesses owned by blacks and other minorities) are the backbone of our capitalist economy which preserve our other freedoms. Hard to preserve anti-discrimination laws in hiring if there are no businesses. Hard to preserve anti-discrimination laws in property purchases if no one has money due to a poor economy.

On the other hand, the democrats support giving away the US treasury as much as possible to those they view as needing help from the government- and largely that has been people they look down upon as helpless or ignorant (blacks, immigrants, etc).


As I discussed in my previous post, freed slaves were mainly republican. It was only in recent history that the black vote migrated en masse over to the democrats- when democrats in the 60s started handing out massive portions of the treasury for social programs.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

History of the American Political Parties

First party system:

inception to 1836


Federalists - broad central power - Hamilton. supported England in French- England war. Stronghold in New England.


Anti-federalists - limited federal power. anti-national bank. supported the French revolution. Thomas Jefferson. supported France in 1793 French English war.

...also called democrat-republicans.


Second party system:

1837 to 1852


Federalists disappeared.


Anti-federalists split into multiple parties- [1] Jackson democrats who were against the bank of the united states b/c it was too centralized and too corporate. farmers and common/poor man were in this party from the start. Believed in appointing friends/supporters of like mind when becoming president instead of letting the previous executive employees stay in tenure. [2] bankers and businessman therefore fell together into the Whig party. They supported public works programs and subsidies to businesses and high taxes on imports to protect American businesses.


Third party system:

1853-1895


Democrats remain. A lot of white racists in the south joined the party having left the republicans who wouldn't tolerate their racism. These new democrats were pro business but didn't agree with the republicans on race so they found a home with the democrats instead. Lots of unskilled laborers and catholic immigrants in party also. Generally wanted govt to stay out of moral/social issues like prohibition. On slavery democrats were split in that some were racist and pro slavery and some were against slavery- mostly the northern democrats. They supported low tariffs on imported goods to keep costs low for common people and wanted less federal spending overall so that the common man could keep more of his own money.


Whigs dissolve. Some Whigs come together-mostly middle class anti-Catholics to make the American party (which eventually dissolved as most 3rd parties do). Many other former Whigs come together to form the Republican party and put up Abe Lincoln for president. Businessman and white collar workers flock to the Republican party. Freed slaves also in the party. Mostly protestant. Wanted the government to condemn sin - supported prohibition and other heavy handed govt intrusion into moral decisions. Still wanted high tariffs to protect business owners and lots of federal subsidies to businesses.


Fourth party system

1896-1932


More of the same from both parties, except that republicans became even more business oriented as some republicans thought the party went too far in supporting business over environment and commoners and left for the Democrat party. Also most of the poor immigrants coming into the country joined the Democrat party. Democrats are generally anti-war, anti-imperialism and anti-world policing and definitely anti-business. They support direct democracy versus electoral college and support broadening the vote to as many as possible except the blacks. Began to support strong govt regulation over business to protect people from businesses.


Fifth party system

1933-?? (some same 1960s, some say 1990s, some say still under this system today)


More people begin to support Democrats as the Republicans were in charge near the depression and some see them responsible somehow so the Democrats got even more poor, immigrants, and minorities to come over to their side. Republicans still support business and subsidies to business. Republicans FINALLY adopt free trade platform under Reagan, realizing that their previous anti-trade policies hurt the nation and businesses ultimately. Besides, now that US businesses were selling more and more overseas, free trade was more beneficial for them so they were now happy to support it too. Ironically, this is about the time that most Democrats driven by the labor unions- come out against free trade b/c it risked their jobs. Job security suddenly became more important than the little people being able to buy things affordably. Here we have a reversal of both party platforms on free trade.


Important notes:


From my research, it seems that since their inception, Democrats have always held tight to pushing direct democracy and having the common man become very involved in and directly benefiting from the federal government including govt funds. Republicans have always been pro-business and push representative democracy and the electoral college. A healthy debate that is likely to continue in perpetuity.


On the other hand, the parties switched ideology on free trade. I'm glad the Republicans finally came around to the winning strategy of supporting free trade. I believe its best for the global economy and will eventually lift most countries out of poverty. It's too bad the democrats adopted the anti-trade stance. Would have been nice to have unity on the issue.


Clearly on the black race issue, democrats have the longstanding pattern of being on the wrong side. This does make me feel good about my Republican party.


Finally, I don't see how democrats have the audacity to claim Thomas Jefferson as *their* president (go look at dnc.org - they state he was a democrat) when really he was the father of the party that BOTH Democrats and Republicans ultimately branched off from. I dare say that Jefferson, had he been alive, would have been more likely to go off with the Whigs than the Jackson Democrats when the split occurred.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cooking

One thing I really appreciate about our trip to Belize earlier this year was the way in which it broadened our culinary vocabulary. We just got done eating some homemade garnaches for lunch– it was the first time I've used my tortilla press to make the masa cakes. Garnaches are basically like a shredded chicken taco on corn cakes with sautéed onion, cabbage, and tomato and cheese topping. And of course doused with tons of Marie Sharp habanera sauce. This morning we had fried plantains as part of our breakfast. Last week I ate Belizean coconut rice and beans almost every day for lunch and last weekend I made a coconut pie and managed to precisely duplicate the taste of the ones served by the street vendors on Caye Caulker. It will be interesting to see what culinary contributions we adopt from Paris, London and Brussels on our Christmas trip this year.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

oil market and today represents more than 50% of oil purchases on the commodity market. Speculative purchasing involve buying a whole lot of a commodity you don't actually need with the anticipation that someone else does need it eventually and will pay you more than you bought it for to get it. Think of it like domain squatting, but with commodities like oil, oj, etc. I definitely agree that speculation can drive commodity prices up. And I agree that it sucks. But is it moral for the government to step in and tell people who is allowed to buy a commodity and when they can sell it and how many times you can sell it? That's micromanagement control. I realize it may be constitutional since the trading crosses state lines, but is it moral?


Edit: More researching on the fact and discussing it with economic types brings new information. Its just a *theory* that oil speculation is driving up costs. The counter argument is that if the oil speculator middlemen were not buying the oil from the oil companies and reselling at a higher price to those who need it [airlines, etc] then the oil companies themselves would just be holding it longer and selling it at a similar higher price to those that need it. Because in the end, the market price is the market price and speculators just change who gets the benefit of the markup more the original oil company or the speculator middlemen, but they don't actually change the market price. Only demand or shortage can really do that. And the speculators don't really create any shortages - they're not buying oil and holding onto it exclusively and refusing to sell, they are pretty much buying and turning right around when the oil delivery is ready and selling it.


Your thoughts?


It was Mommy and Me day in the town square near my office bldg. Lots of cute kids running around with their parents and it makes me stop and think about all the different paths my life could have taken and how different my life would be. I try to imagine what it would have been like if Jon and I decided to be parents and it is hard to imagine. At 32 I realize, had we conceived our first year of marriage, we could be raising an 11 year old right now. Can you picture it? Seems so strange to me to envision myself as a parent.


Are you putting your mind to the upcoming presidential election yet? What about the economy? Does it seem as bad to you as the doomsday crowd makes it out to be? We seem to be doing ok, except the recent $100,000 drop in our townhouse value stinks. Really stinks. Prince William County got hit the worst in Northern VA, but the housing bubble pop drove down values across the region. Watching our friends who are buying now makes us want to kick ourselves. For the same money we paid 3 years ago they're getting huge single family homes. We can only hope that we don't have to sell for some reason before the full recovery occurs [which could be 5-10 years down the line].


Lots of reflection on life and death this week with the passing of Tony Snow. Jon and I admired his talent and met him while wandering around downtown Alexandria a few years ago. To see him on TV after that was pretty neat, you feel like you have a connection. And to hear of his death at only age 53. Wow! That's less than 20 years older than Jon. Scary business. With 3 kids left behind its going to be tough for his family. Pray for them.


What's new in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Mirrors

Genevieve had carried her deepest secret close to her for more than three decades, clutching it tightly in the same way reluctant mothers hold their boys going off to war. A small wooden handled mirror, she often gazed into it wide-eyed, her sense of wonder edged with revulsion. Usually she stepped through this ritual in the quiet hours just after dawn when the house itself seemed still to be sleeping.


This morning was no different. She slipped out of bed and walked along the cold cherry planked floor to the side table against the opposite wall. Opening the center drawer, she removed the mirror and held her breath. She allowed her focus to move to the image in the mirror and she sighed, releasing her breath in a rush of moist air and lost hope.


When she was six, Genevieve had turned to her mother and asked "Mother, am I beautiful? Do you love me mother?"


This was because Genevieve had seen many faces on little girls and boys at school, but never her own. The world knew few mirrors at that time, and Genevieve had never seen one. So it was entirely natural that she should wonder after her appearance. In response, her mother had handed her the now familiar mirror.


"This is how I see you, inside and out. It is who you are. It is how God made you."


That was the day Genevieve learned about mirrors and ugliness. She had looked at and then into this shiny glass and all at once had seen how truly ugly she was. Her eyes contorted, her nose misshapen, her entire face seemingly disfigured when compared to the lovely faces of the other girls she'd seen at school.


Genevieve never asked anyone again if she was beautiful. Instead, she carried the hidden knowledge of her disfigurement quietly, shedding tears over her ugliness only when she was alone with her mirror. She could only look at her reflection in that tiny miserable mirror for moments before she would break into sobs that left her heaving and sick when they finally left her. Her worthlessness and ugliness were overwhelming when she focused on them, so she learned to distract herself with other pursuits. She was drawn to the beauty and bright spirit she saw in each person she became acquainted with and for reasons that did not entirely make sense to her, acquaintances seemed drawn to her as well. Often her friends would compliment her on her charm or her beauty and it angered Genevieve because she knew they spun lies with their sweet words. Her anger was not quick to last; it always softened when she remembered that they did this out of kindness and a love for her. They simply did not know that she was aware of her ugliness and that their words rang hollow.


Putting the mirror back into the drawer, Genevieve thought this morning's distraction should be a quick visit to see Elizabeth. A woman of intense soul and wisdom, Elizabeth been introduced to Genevieve many months ago at a dinner party held by a mutual friend. Since that time, the two had become close and spent increasing amounts of their time together. Genevieve adored Elizabeth's humor and wit and Elizabeth claimed that she was brightened by Genevieve's seemingly endless energy and kindness.


Genevieve showered and dressed and quickly walked the short distance to the cottage Elizabeth called home. As Genevieve approached the front gate and passed the lovely white rosebush that adorned the entrance, she could see Elizabeth sitting in the window, her long beautiful blonde hair resting on her delicate shoulders as her face was turned away from the window. The window was open and Elizabeth's quick and steady whimpering carried into the yard and pierced Genevieve's heart. Elizabeth was crying, her sobs intensifying as Genevieve came closer. What could be wrong? What could cause such pain for Elizabeth?


Without hesitation, Genevieve opened the cottage door and walked directly into the sitting room. Elizabeth lay crumbled on the window seat, trembling. The tears continued to stream down Elizabeth's face who had not yet noticed Genevieve had arrived.


"Elizabeth!" , Genevieve cried out to her. "Whatever is the matter?"


With horror, Elizabeth turned toward Genevieve and sharply drew in her breath. Genevieve waited for a sign of recognition, of explanation, of anything, in Elizabeth's beautiful eyes. Anything but the pain she saw registered there now. Elizabeth's brow furrowed and her sorrow turned to anger.


"What are you doing here? You cannot just breeze into my home like this! Get out! Get out now!"


Elizabeth snarled at Genevieve as though she were a wild animal. Genevieve had never seen anything like it before.


Genevieve noticed that Elizabeth seemed to be hiding something behind her back.


"What do you have there behind you Elizabeth?"


"Please just leave . Just go."


Elizabeth began to cry again. Genevieve approached and kneeled down before Elizabeth and took Elizabeth's hand, pulling it away from her body. In it, Elizabeth held a small wooden mirror similar to the one Genevieve had herself gazed into earlier that morning. Another mirror! The excitement at such a discovery was tempered by Genevieve's concern for Elizabeth. Standing up, Genevieve moved behind Elizabeth, sat down on the window seat beside her and embraced her.


"I do not know what is the matter Beth, but I want you to know I am here ."


"Don't pretend you don't know Genevieve. I know about the lies. I know. I've always known."


Elizabeth was crying so forcefully now that she began to cough.


"Not long before I turned to adulthood", Elizabeth began, "my father gave me this mirror. He was leaving on a long journey and he told me that he had always wanted to go but had stayed to watch over me until I could take care of myself. Then he handed me the mirror and left me standing in the hall. I had never seen a mirror before. I had heard of them, of course, from books and such, but never seen one myself. To see yourself as you truly are, as others see you, was the gift of honesty my father gave me. "


Genevieve listened intently as Elizabeth continued.


"I looked into the mirror and I could not understand at first what I saw. Such ugliness, such horrible ugliness. To think that my father had been forced to look at me every day in such condition. I couldn't bear it. I thought I might end my life. At times I realize I hate myself and I wish that I could give him back all those years he lost looking after me. "


Genevieve stood speechless before Elizabeth. Nothing she said was making any sense. Elizabeth was beautiful. Her eyes were seas of blue, her smile contagious.


"The worst part is that everyone pretends. All of you. Even you, you must feel so smug, thinking of your own graciousness in allowing me to believe I am beautiful. "


Elizabeth held the mirror up to her face and Genevieve peered into it to see Elizabeth as Elizabeth saw herself. She was shocked at what was before her. Genevieve's face revealed its ugliness as expected but Elizabeth's beautiful eyes were contorted into a slant, her nose bent and her entire face distorted in the mirror. Genevieve looked away from the mirror and directly at Elizabeth's face again. It was unchanged and as beautiful as always.


The mirror. It must be the mirror.


All at once the tragedy of Elizabeth's situation, as well as her own, hit her. Genevieve joined Elizabeth in tears. Joy welled up in Genevieve's heart and blended with sorrowful regret. How many years had Elizabeth gazed into that strange mirror which lied to her and hidden her beauty from her? How many years had she mistakenly believed in an ugliness that wasn't? And how many years had Genevieve possibly done the same using the mirror her mother gave her? Genevieve did not fully understand why or how the mirrors they had relied on could so distort truth and beauty (she did not understand that the cracked glass caused the distortion) or why their mothers and fathers would give them these mirrors. She did know that life would be different, very different, for Elizabeth and herself now that she had discovered the lie of the mirrors. What a gift to be able to give Elizabeth! She steadied herself and turned to Elizabeth to begin to explain her discovery.