Posts Tagged ‘clinton’

Third Day’s a Charm

August 27, 2008

And the end approaches to another hectic day at JSA and the DNC.  I awoke this morning after approximately 3 hours of sleep only to realize that I had overslept and had to rush to get to the bus before it left without me.  Instead of the delegates breakfast we went straight to the Cable Center of Denver for a speakers program.  Included on the list of speakers were Bob Graham, the former Governor of Florida and veteran of various Vice Presidential and Presidential races, as well as George McGovern, the Democratic Presidential Nominee in the 1972 election won by Richard Nixon.

Graham was pretty funny and very likable at one point telling us a story about filming an “MTV” (his word for music video) with Jimmy Buffett.  He was pretty candid about questions asked of him, but also seemed to be very intent on informing us about civics academic programs and their potential benefits to the future of America.  All around though he was fun, entertaining and informative while also being very interesting to listen to.

McGovern, the other very notable speaker on the list seemed rushed, as he confessed that his schedule had filled up more quickly than he had expected.  He talked mostly about his life and how he started out in South Dakota as one of the only elected Democrats in a mostly Republican state.  From there he went on to talk about his Presidential bid and some of the ways it has affected future elections, such as the extensive length of modern presidential elections.  He started his campaign much earlier than was generally accepted at the time and others have followed suit.

It should be noted that all of the speakers were not reading speeches so much as giving short unscripted talks and then answering our questions about their lives and experiences.

After the Speaker’s Program we went into downtown Denver and walked around for a while.  While there, we went to the set of Chris Matthew’s Hardball, which was really cool to watch.

What really struck me about Denver is the sheer amount of protesters, as well as the extensive police presence.  It seemed like every block there was a group of heavily body-armored police officers with dogs and automatic rifles scanning the crowd for any sign of a civil disturbance.  To match the police presence, there are literally hundreds of thousands of protesters demonstrating on issues ranging from outlandish – our government’s involvement in the planning of 9/11 – to the serious – pro-Life protesters arguing with pro-Choice protesters – to the downright funny, with one group of people marching to bring back Crystal Pepsi.

While in Denver, I continued my quest to secure credentials to the Convention, which are exceptionally hard to come by.  By the end of the day, I had become so desperate that I began cold-calling the Democratic headquarters of different states to see if they had any extras.  Finally however, through a family connection, I got credentials for Thursday night at Invesco Field and possibly to see Bill Clinton and Joe Biden tomorrow, which is awesome.

Anyway this post is getting to be a little long, but I still want to talk about what actually went on at the convention so I think I am going to open it up to you guys.  What did you think of the keynote speech?  I think Warner brought up some issues that hadn’t been raised previously in this election, but he didn’t elicit the excitement I was hoping for.

What did you guys think of the Governor of Montana – Brian Schweizter?  I loved his energy and the ease with which he spoke, he seemed like a nice, regular, normal guy who just happened to be speaking in front of a few million people on live television.

What did you think of Hillary?  Did you think she made enough of an effort to through her support to Obama?  Did she talk too much about her campaign?  Did it seemed forced, did you think her heart was really in it?

And finally, the clincher, were Bill Clintons tears real, or were they just a ploy for sympathy?
I am looking forward to your responses!

I know it’s energy week but…

August 7, 2008

So Obama commits to making this week the “all about energy week” and McCain follows suit with his own energy plan, which apparently has had something to do making fun of Obama.

This leaves me wondering, what will we get next week?

When is the last time we heard about health care?  How about education?  To the extent that any energy policy necessarily includes talk about the burning of fossil fuels, we heard a little about the environment but what about other parts of that like clean water and sustainable land use?

Fortunately, with Senator Clinton getting back into the fray, health care has a chance to re-enter the fray since, this is one of the issues in which she is more progressive and comprehensive than Obama.

But wait according to this reporting from Ben Smith, it seems, in Clinton’s view, that Obama was right all along:

Q: One of the main reasons that I voted for Hillary is her plans for health care. Can you make a comment on how health care [will be] carried out in the next administration?

A: I am so pleased that Sen. Obama shares my commitment to universal health care. Once he is elected, I will be working closely with his administration, members of Congress, health care advocates, and others — to help develop a plan that ensures access to health care for every American. I know how important this issue is and it will be my top priority.

So it looks like the intramural debate over this crucial issue is over.  But when do we get the real, Republican-Democrat debate on health care.

I’m starting to hope for those Obama-McCain debates.  Maybe we’ll hear a little more about this and other crucial issues.  I just wish they didn’t have to be “moderated.”

Wouldn’t that be something?

Off the Radar: What the candidates should be offering for the Native American vote

June 2, 2008

The last two Democratic primaries – South Dakota and Montana – also happen to be the sites of some pretty big events in the history of U.S.-Native American relations.

On that note, Politico.com’s Carrie Budoff Brown (a former Inquirer reporter who covered the 2004 race for U.S. Senate here in Pennsylvania), did a story last week about how all of the candidates have been reaching out to Native America voters and the leaders of some prominent Native American communities:

Native Americans have built clout in recent years, playing a key role in an Arizona congressional race and assisting in the 2002 victory of Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) by 524 votes. Controversial late returns from Shannon County, which includes the Pine Ridge Sioux Indian Reservation, put Johnson ahead of Republican challenger John Thune. In 2004, Shannon County delivered 85 percent of the vote to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, making it his top county in the nation. The Native American vote was also considered key in Montana’s 2006 Senate race when Democrat Jon Tester defeated Republican incumbent Conrad Burns.

Most of the article talks about the political strategies of reaching out to Native Americans in the new battleground “mountain states” but shies away from substantive issues.  While America’s legacy of slavery is often characterized as this nation’s “original sin,” the treatment of native peoples by the U.S. government and by settlers from colonial times through the early twentieth century constitute a major stain on our moral standing in the world.

The ability of the United States to take the lead on many human rights issues and move oppressive governments in China, the Middle East and Africa towards recognizing those rights are compromised by our inability to come to terms with this destructive legacy.

The March-April 2008 issue of Harvard Magazine, has a profile of Sousan Abadian, a “a multidisciplinary independent scholar” who has been studying “collective traumas” a term she uses to describe “pervasive consequences communities suffer when powerful external forces violate their physical and/or sociocultural integrity.”

[Examples] can be as random as a one-day tsunami or as systematic as the Holocaust; collective traumas can kill millions in war or genocide or enslave generations. The phenomenon can be a fairly short-lived event with lasting consequences, such as the Rwandan genocide of 1994, or it can extend over centuries—as with American Indians, whose numbers dropped from an estimated 10 million before Columbus landed to 250,000 by the turn of the twentieth century; disease brought by Europeans, and sometimes intentionally spread by colonizers, claimed the vast majority of those native lives.

Abadian’s research shows promise for treating such trauma with a sort of collective therapy:

On the tribal reserves, Abadian tried to absorb as much as she could about indigenous and alternative forms of healing. “Most of them, I’ve tried on myself,” she says. “I’ve also extensively explored Western therapies and healing modalities.” These experiences suggested to Abadian that there are ways to treat “soul wounds” like those collective trauma inflicts.

“When people engage in genuine healing,” Abadian says, “they become more accountable, and in touch with reality. Healing generates compassion and tenderness. To heal collective trauma, you must heal the individual; healthy individuals give birth to healthy institutions and cultures. It’s circular, of course, and ideally you intervene at both macro and micro levels at once.”

Perhaps the candidates for president could be suggesting a national policy for dealing with the collective traumas of Native Americans rather than just vague promises to “fight for them.”  By now, it’s unlikely that any Native Americans think that the U.S. government wants to fight against them.  Maybe we should try working with them to heal these longstanding wounds.