A Very Good Save-the-World Software Development Idea. Please Help Yourself! :-)

Will some brilliant programmer please step up and design a google-type software program that can linguistically analyze and determine a speaker/writer’s cooperative tone and intent?


Your new program could identify and distinguish among those writers/speakers whose communications promote a sense of division, partisanship, negativity, polarization, blame, attack, incivility, rudeness, destructiveness, unfriendly competition, bickering and hate—and those promoting a sense of positivity, creativity, life-affirmation, support, harmony, acceptance, forgiveness, productivity, civility, courtesy, equality of opportunity, caring, cooperation and unity.


Your software could have endless useful and profitable applications. For immediate profitability, please consider using your product for security purposes, to helpfully ward off unfriendly attacks and attackers (of whatever kind) upon individuals and enterprises (of whatever kind.)


Imagine leaders young and old in every field vying for their communications to be screened and certified via your software. Why not simultaneously award a “Truth-bearer” (or some other such logo) “gold seal of approval” identifying individuals and organizations as positive communicators, healers, light-bearers?


Your prestigious and desirable software “accreditation” could motivate many people to investigate and understand the important distinctions between peaceful and contentious communication purposes, and to recognize and encourage humanity-unifying goals as non-threatening and potentially beneficial to all earthlings, while discouraging communications with adversarial, hostile ends. Your software would also surely stoke national dialogue, while heightening awareness about the many distinct (although often confusingly-disguised) differences between helpful and harmful human communications. Your software would take care not to exclude any gentle, friendly, cooperative practitioner of any ideology, religion, political party, nation, organization, affiliation, etc.


One important goal of your software would be to educate. Hopefully, everyone would eventually become enlightened enough to merit universal inclusivity (by acting as good, positive communicators) according to your accrediting software, which might also be developed Wikipedically, or perhaps Amazon-style—i.e., open-sourced, by inviting motivated reviewers and voters opportunities not only to build your site, but also to offer feedback opportunities and provide needed talent to shape and debug upgrades and develop next-generation software.


Recipients of your approving nods (such as Nobel prize winners and mild-mannered third-graders) could proudly display and announce their cherished new affiliation and certification on their websites, on Facebook, business cards, in TV commercials and advertising, on coffee cups, tee-shirts, shopping bags….


Additionally, your software could assist web surfers to more-judiciously select helpfully-screened websites, products and opinions as the very ones they will most benefit from investigating. Perhaps your software could also eventually include a function which would recognize and refute inappropriate co-opters of your symbol of acceptance and stamp of approval—an iterative process that would call out abusers while encouraging more awareness and discussion.


Your software will stimulate lively dialogue; increase the impact and number of creative, thought-provoking, and controversial-but-civil exchanges; reduce (by virtue of indifference and neglect) the quantity and influence of divisive communications arising anywhere in the world; universally improve facility in verbal and mental processing of complexities, innuendo and nuances; and inspire us all to pull together cooperatively to resolve our common personal, local and global problems.


While you're programming, please give extra points for humor?


And if you're not a programmer, but merely a earthlinged, godlinged promosapient like me, please pass this idea on to any similarly-inclined programming/software folk or foundations, or to whomever might be interested!


Thank you…. 🙂


Nancy Pace





















































































U.S. Right-Wing Extremists Say “Bring It On” To Terrorists

From the looks of the many recent letters to newspapers, U.S. right-wing extremists plan to win back the presidency in 2012 by politiely offering voters a false dichotomy: we citizens will “be forced” to choose between safety and good government—i.e., “Since Bush protected us from terrorist attacks, if there is an attack on Obama’s watch, it will be Obama’s fault, so we'll have to fire him—regardless of his achievements for the people.”


The truth is, terrorist attacks are quite likely nowadays, being relatively cheap, easy to carry out, and hard to prevent; examples of such atrocities are 9/11 (which occurred on Bush’s watch), the London train bombings, and the Mumbai attacks.


Obama will defend our borders, go after terrorists, and work with all nations to confront and ameliorate the conditions which produce terrorism—lawlessness, violent cultures, lack of opportunity, political oppression and repression, poverty, inequality, easily-available weapons, and ongoing conflicts. But Obama’s job has not been made easier by Bush's disastrous economic legacy, nor by his ill-advised Iraq war, Guantanamo, and his record of torture, all of which have left Obama with an Al Qaeda far bigger, stronger, richer, and more dedicated than Bush ever inherited from Clinton.


None of these facts matter, however, to faithless demagogues like Rush Limbaugh, who trust in lies, fear—and a timely terrorist attack—to rescue themselves and their ilk from present ignominy.         




I welcome your comments! Please send them to njcpace@gmail.com . Thank you! Nancy Pace 🙂         


Ps. I am working on a memoir of my years as the military brat daughter of a highly-decorated war hero (and career officer)–about the implications of those experiences for me, my family, other military families, my country and the world in general, and about my difficult transition to peace activism.


I will return to full-time blogging as soon as ever I can, and until then, I know I will keep blogging sporadically because sometimes I simply cannot not write about reactions I have to things I read in the newspaper, like the above commentary….


I love blogging, and will post again soon…. Thank you for your patience to all my readers! 🙂

Lincoln Gathered INTELLECTUAL Rivals in his Cabinet: Can Hillary Match Up for Obama?

Not that Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t smart as a whip. Indeed, she emerged from college a cultural visionary. But is she, right now, really one of our country’s great intellectual visionaries, who can offer sound prescriptions for America’s future within a fast-changing world? Is she today one of our great leading political and social global thinkers?


Or is Clinton more a powerful partisan wonk, a good DO-er (and do-gooder) on behalf of her constituents, as well as her own political ambitions and legacy ? Because, if she is 'merely' a powerful, well-connected political operative, then an Obama decision to bring her into his cabinet at Secretary of State will be greatly at odds with, and indeed, will work against accomplishing what Doris Kearns Goodwin, in Team of Rivals, said that Lincoln himself achieved by gathering his own “team of rivals”–help in thinking through, in advance, the implications of his weightiest decisions.


During those pre-Civil War days, politicians gained national political stature through public speaking—that is: by composing speeches and then publishing them in the nation’s newspapers. These thoughtfully-wrought, persuasive intellectual arguments concerning the issues of the day included valuable original personal perspectives and prescriptions for appropriate responses to breaking conflicts and topics. Barack Obama himself has certainly fulfilled all such requirement for visionary intellectual leadership, having personally written two best-selling books during his relative youth, and having personally planned and executed an unparalleled national campaign that bent and shaped the ideas of the world through the sheer force of his intellect.


Unfortunately, Clinton’s previous particular strengths have not been in this department—with the exception of her global work for women and children.


Clinton has proved herself a very successful, bright, capable political fighter. Her greatest abilities have been in adversarial relations and political in-fighting. With Hillary as political strategist-in-chief, Bill could always outmaneuver his opponents. She has also done interesting work on her own political behalf, as well.


Admittedly, Clinton has evolved to becoming a global fighter for women and children on the world stage. Certainly she has met with many foreign leaders. But her global background and perspectives, and frankly, her previous interests in foreign relations have mostly been limited to improving life for her favorite two-thirds of the world’s population—women and children—along, of course, with their husbands, sons, fathers, brothers, grandfathers and male friends.


Hmmmm. Come to think of it, if Clinton will serve Obama wholeheartedly and loyally from this pro-family global perspective—and that’s a big if—maybe she’ll turn out to be a good choice for State after all, past ghostwriters be damned.


Clinton’s very loving heart could be wonderfully put to use in the very important role of new Senate Lion during the Obama era. Congress needs her many talents to negotiate the details and fight for passage of the coming torrent of new legislation so necessary to bring real change to America.


But Secretary of State? We definitely do not need a parochial street fighter in that role. What we need is a global visionary who will approach the world non-adversarially—not as a defensive women up against a world of men, not as an advocate of the interests of the United States 'against' the interests of 'the rest,' but as one with all others.


If Clinton has indeed evolved enough to work patiently with (and not against) all comers; if she can bring the world together to cooperatively solve our many common global problems; if she is ready to make the necessary evolutionary jump away from adversarial relationships toward cooperative ones; if she can come from her caring rather than her fears; then she could indeed be the right kind of rival for Obama’s cabinet team, and the right kind of U.S. Secretary of State to the world.


Actually, I had Al Gore in mind for Obama's Secretary of State, because of his green, global, cooperative vision and personality, and his demonstrated intellectual leadership through speaking, writing, and other political venues. But if Obama does offer State to Clinton, then I hope she will consider his offer with real humility concerning her motives and abilities perhaps gained from her recent hubris. And if she accepts, I hope she now comes from that so-necessary intellectual bandwidth which alone will determine whether both their decisions will look good to posterity.

Hillary’s Concession Speech Was So Characteristically Hillary

I’m afraid I didn’t see in Hillary’s speech what others saw. I thought it mean-spirited–for a concession speech. Mockingly dressed in funereal black, Hillary seemed full of sound and fury, conceding nothing.


Most glaring was what Hillary didn’t say, what any generous endorser of Barack who really wanted to help him would have articulated clearly: I like this man, I respect this man, I trust and admire him, I’ve worked with him and know him and think he’ll make a great president.


Far from giving Barack her wholehearted endorsement, Hillary continued to aggrandize her own status, and left her followers confused. She mentioned Barack's strength, determination, grace and grit, but overlooked the special qualities that gave him his win–his brilliance, his organizational and leadership talents, his judgment, integrity, fine record of service, vision, and patriotism. 


Hillary chose to endorse Barack at her own venue, in front of her own screaming supporters, while all of Barack's other endorsers have courteously shown up at his events. In this instance, the winner, Barack, even had to seek out the miffed loser just to gently ask her for her endorsement. What does this tell us about Hillary? That she's afraid. And when Hillary is afraid, she stops focusing on others, on goodness, on her goals, and mostly just worries about herself.


She hasn't really quit. She's only “suspended” her campaign, not “ended” it. She hasn't released her delegates. And she said loud and clear in her speech, “(N)ever listen to anyone who says you can't or shouldn't go on.” What's wholehearted about that? If she plans to campaign her heart out for Barack, I haven't seen it yet. I hope I do. So far, it all looks like waiting and hoping and being ready for a quirkily different outcome to miraculously appear.


Over and over, Hillary said only that her supporters “must” or “have to” (i.e., against their will and better judgment? kicking and screaming? for no good reason other than that Barack is a Democrat?) support Barack if they're going to realize Hillary’s dream. Hillary so wanted to be a Queen, an Eva Peron, bestowing generous favors upon her twentieth century flock. Barack is so twenty-first-century-beyond such pettiness, so ego-less (but not ambition-less.) 


I am grateful that Hillary didn’t take advantage of this staged opportunity to cry over the nasty black spider who sat down beside her and so rudely spoilt her party. I have no doubt that Hillary, like the rest of us, sheds real tears in private, but not in public yet. That's too bad–her heart is by far her best asset, far better even than her excellent brain. Whenever she's being authentically Hillary–loving, focused on others, lifted out of her fears–she's truly great. But when she's scared, angry and confused (and that's too often), well…she's like the rest of us (not good enough to be president.)


Hillary has never seemed quite comfortable being a woman, nor does she feel comfortable trusting any man, sometimes with good reason. But her lack of of a reliable and completely trusting faith–in herself, in others, in the love that works so brilliantly through her when she lets it work, in God, in life itself–that lack of faith keeps on hurting her and holding her back. I trust she will notice soon how far her faith has carried her already, and trust it more to take her the rest of the way. And I hope she will turn her back once and for all on her insecurities and fears, for we all greatly need Hillary's greatness.


She has been a courageous, pioneering feminist during a confusing time, but her continuing confusion about the whole feminist and gender and leadership thing continues to be shared with the rest of us. I recommend A Woman's Worth, by Marianne Williamson, to help her identify more consistently with her own authentic faith, love, and femininity.


Hillary has fallen far in recent days from her formerly-visionary, mighty-heroine status, to act so small, but it's only temporary. Hers has been an amazing journey, and we've loved watching her grow along with us. Hillary relentlessly stretches and challenges herself, and thus sometimes fails greatly and publicly, always a great test of faith. But even absolute power cannot corrupt absolutely. 


The corruption we're all heir to is the temptation to escape to fear, to veer away from our goal of loving oneness. Fear is the only explanation for Hillary's attempt to hold Barack back, the one person today who can lead us all over that bridge to the 21st century, the bridge she once worked so hard to build. Hillary will find the love necessary to let go of her small need to be “right” about her belief that she could have won the election, and that Barack couldn't, her wish to look back and be able to say “I told you so.” Instead, she will find the faith necessary to support him in accomplishing the goals she's been working toward her whole life.


Hillary's failure to win the presidency was not a failure of sexism belonging to all women everywhere, but a failure of faith that goodness could indeed work consistently through her–not to mention the emergence of an amazing challenger who so far has proved to be a clearer, more consistent channel for positivity. Sexism cannot explain Hillary's loss when her opponent displayed clearly superior leadership traits, and losing like a petulant child has not helped to establish her creds.


With friends like Hillary, so far, Barack hasn't needed enemies. Yes, I’m being churlish, feeling mad and sad that Hillary's speech offered only the minimum required to save her political neck and to further her (indeed selfless) agenda. But Barack needs all of our best help to make the changes we so desperately need to begin. Yes, I need to get over it and find my own faith again.


No doubt, Hillary's speech was her best effort, for now—and to be sure, her best on any given day is impressive, far more impressive than I am capable of on my best days. But I do so hope Hillary regains her faith, strength and loving authenticity, and then uses it to support Barack wholeheartedly. She has grown greatly before. Hillary can be as big as she can be small. I hope she decides to act on her love and her faith instead of on her fears and resentments, for a long long while.


Hillary and Bill have unfortunately cast themselves into the role of Democratic Party “old guard,” a role they once fought hard to overcome in others.Tragically, Hillary isn’t even aware that she's done this. She ran for president so that she could to complete her and Bill's very impressive joint-60s-vision-of-the-future, but Barack has laid out a much more complete, better, stronger and longer-range extension and enlargement of that vision which will take America assertively into mid-century. Hillary's present resistance to Barack's leadership hasn't done her any favors, but perhaps it has done Barack one or two; Barack will have so many world and national “enemies” to deal with from now on, so many fence-sitters to co-opt, that perhaps it's a blessing to have cut his teeth on a very tough old “friend.”


I pray that Hillary will regain the (very feminine) faith, love, and authenticity which brought her to the brink of success. If she will rededicate her many talents in service to Barack's vision, she will greatly serve herself, Barack, America, and the world.



Please send your comments to njcpace@gmail.com. Thank you! 🙂








Here's Why Barack Obama Is Our Most Electable Candidate.

Barack is our most electable candidate in November. Here's why.


Nearly everyone in the country already supports the changes Barack embraces.


More and more citizens are confident that Barack is a good, knowledgable, experienced, strong leader and talented politician of great integrity, a devoted family man focused on helping the American people, talented, patriotic, Christian, and very capable of working his excellent good plan for bringing about real change in America.


Nearly everyone who gets to know Barack likes and respects him, and trusts his leadership.


Barack already has tons of money to campaign with, great ad-makers, and great fund-raising ability.


Barack is winning over the hearts and minds of his media critics, regardless of their previous stances.


Barack is completely focused on winning the general election in November, and what Barack focuses on gets done.


John McCain, a good and patriotic public servant, represents the wrong agenda, and has a big set of problems and weaknesses.


Barack is a brilliant, proven campaigner.


Barack’s campaign organization, staff and volunteers are highly experienced and effective.


Barack and his campaign organization and volunteers have learned a lot.


Barack’s many new supporters will contribute in countless ways to his campaign.


Barack’s 50-state voter-registration effort will bring in many more voters.


Barack is completely focused on convincing us that (with our help) he can bring about the changes we want


Barack dominates the media every day with his thoughtful responses to breaking news.


Barack has won the wholehearted respect and support of all party leaders, including Hillary’s supporters, all of whom are willing and eager to work with him.


Hillary supporters already support Obama’s agenda.


If Hillary interferes, Democratic party leaders will work in unanimity to convince her to end her campaign.


Barack too will persuade Hillary to wholeheartedly support his campaign by encouraging her to take a strong role in his administration.


Hillary will loyally and persuasively convince her supporters to vote for Barack, and will wholeheartedly and effectively campaign for him.


Barack will handle the issues, crises, setbacks, and eventualities which will arise during the campaign in his characteristic calm, thoughtful manner.


Barack will offer strong, persuasive, effective leadership concerning the problem of racism.


Barack has prepared both the media and the American citizenry to recognize and reject campaign distractions and dirty tricks, and the politics of division, hate, and fear.


Barack will select the best possible running mate, who will balance the ticket, help the Democrats win in November, and help Barack accomplish his agenda for change over the next eight years.


Barack Obama will win the presidency in 2008.


(Please send your comments to njcpace@gmail.com. Thank you! 🙂








Hillary Begs Superdelegates To End Her Campaign By Choosing a Nominee

Hillary has stated clearly that she will not end her campaign until the Dems choose a nominee. How much more clearly can she ask the Superdelegates to please get this over with and decide in favor of Barack Obama? Hillary does not want to be seen as a quitter; does not want to let her supporters down; does not want to go into any more debt; does not want to continue the grueling campaign if she can't win; and does not want to be the one to end her campaign, as she may want to run again in 2012. 

Hillary may also want very much to help Barack win in the general election–I sure hope so. Barack is certainly Hillary's kind of candidate, this last year's competition notwithstanding. Hillary could definitely use some help in fashioning her endorsement statement to her supporters, and help in planning her future role in the rest of Obama's campaign. What she says about Barack then, and how she says it, will make a huge difference in promoting the healing of divisions. It's so important that all this be properly and creatively framed, orchestrated (and spelled)–she knows it, Barack knows it, everyone knows it. Isn't it time to get together and begin working together for change, for the good of the party and the country?

Please send your comments to njcpace@gmail.com. Thank you! 🙂







Black Styles, White Racism, and the Barack Obama/Jeremiah Wright Controversy

I was raised to think that fidgeting, shouting and mopping one’s brow when speaking in public was unrefined. My mom only meant to teach me how to act, but her instructions left me judgmental of other cultures and styles. I squirmed with her when Elvis Presley gyrated and grunted and sweated. Together we hated Hitler’s rants, and shrank in dismay from Khrushchev’s noisy shoe. Loud, angry, confrontive voices still do nothing for me. They feel rude and threatening. And I’m not alone in this.
Maybe it’s my Calvinist streak, but I like my leaders calm, cool, and collected, like my man Barack Obama. To be sure, I would wager that Barack could make any congregation anywhere jump out of the aisles and pour into the streets anytime he wanted, as Jeremiah Wright can. And certainly Reverend Wright, a caring if conflicted Christian, has demonstrated on Bill Moyers's show that he can do scholarly and cerebral analysis along with the best of them.
I was also raised to be snobbish about grammar and diction. But people learn to speak however their families speak. Changing one’s everyday speech is an unimaginably arduous, individualized, time-consuming transformation not “covered” in English classes. Nowadays, many pop and sports celebrities who've won fame with colorful urban dialects will hire highly-trained linguistic coaches to give them personalized instruction in accent, vocabulary, grammar, and cultural modifications.
Every human being alive would like to be able to switch occasionally into more felicitous professional, business and academic English dialects should occasion arise, especially if one's dialect reflects a limited, impoverished or unlettered childhood. People are just more comfortable being around people who sound like them; fewer doors slam shut, and more open. Unconscious linguistic prejudices may not always be deliberate, but they’re very real and very limiting.
I can assure you that if Barack started writhing and sweating and screaming street slang in my face, I wouldn’t be able to focus on his logical argument. No, I’d be too worried about whether he was in good-enough physical shape to let himself get so worked up, or if he might be about to have a heart attack, or fall off the stage, or embarrass himself linguistically, chase somebody around the room maybe, or shoot somebody.
And if people around me, black or white, start to sway and wave their arms and call out and fall out? Well, I’m just not used to that. There’s nothing wrong with such choices, but people in my stuffy childhood churches just didn’t do those things. Where I came from, such behavior was considered, dare I say it, uncivilized, primitive, even tribal.
But what's so wonderfully “civilized” about a culture with a long sad secret record of exploiting and even obliterating other, weaker cultures? Civilization is as civilization does. I like the way people from so-called “primitive” southern-hemisphere cultures so generously share their time, money, warmth and help with one another. That kind of behavior sounds like pretty advanced-civ to me, more advanced in many ways than the often cold, hostile, lonely, so-called “modern” cultures of today. Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of western civilization, said he thought it would be a good idea.
All I'm saying is, there is no one single “way” to “be” that is universally “right.” All cultures, young and old, techy and traditional, have much to learn from one another, and much to teach.
I’m finally getting used to all the shouting and signifying so many people delight in, and I certainly know there’s nothing wrong with it. My kids love the loud emotional unity of rock concerts, and even I have a bit of the wild thing in me at times. But my mom’s early strictures insured that I wouldn’t come around easily to accepting other people’s different stylistic expressions. It’s all about what you’re used to.
But it’s not, as my mom believed, about what is “nice” or “right” or “correct” or even “appropriate,” because styles vary from culture to culture. It's about different ways of being civilized (and uncivilized.) And it's about holding to the highest standard of respect and support for human life everywhere, the Golden Rule of treating all others as we would want to be treated. It's certainly not about some picky stylistic stuff.
I was a military brat, so my far-flung army-post classrooms were racially-integrated long before the civil rights movement nudged America toward living up to more of its ideals. My classmates were pretty much all courteous, well-spoken, middle-class students of a remarkable variety of races, because in those days, the military establishment required cultural, stylistic and linguistic conformity. Non-white families could find reasonable welcome in the military if (and only if) they could demonstrate that, aside from skin color, they weren’t any different from most middle-class whites. All my classmates back then, regardless of race, seemed indistinguishably mainstream.
I didn’t grow up around many poor or uneducated people, or around any charismatic preachers and congregations, for that matter, although happily, I've had broader exposure to the world’s diversity since then, thanks in part to more representative television programming. I try to remind myself that my own carefully-taught class and race prejudices are limitations I want to remedy, both as a Christian and as a caring citizen of the world. Fortunately for me, I’ve been privileged in adulthood to spend time with good, patient people from all backgrounds, and have become comfortable with a broader range of personal styles.
Like everyone else, I acquired my own personal and linguistic styles from my parents, peers, and “neighborhood.” My family was a WASPy, bookish clan which gifted lucky-me (through no particular effort on my own) with a style and dialect acceptable in most circles. But there are many other delightfully valid ways of being an American swirling around me today in this great country—native and immigrant styles from all over, academic and business styles, hip-hop and Hispanic, inner-city and down-home country, Islamic, Asian, Caribbean, and a whole slew of other newly-blended personal styles I can’t begin to keep up with, but my kids can.
But the thing about personal style is, nowadays, it’s a positive, fluid thing, individual, unique, interesting, entertaining, and not so tied to race or ethnicity or social class as it once was. And voters are finally figuring all this out.
It seems to me that despite all the fuss about the particular words that Jeremiah Wright used, demagogues replaying his sound bites over and over don’t really care what Wright thinks or means, but rather, they're bent on dividing us along prejudicial lines. The small-minded con-men guiding the anti-Obama smear campaigns are absolutely thrilled to jump on any available excuse to show us ad nauseum how Barack once befriended a black man whose personal style makes a lot of voters uncomfortable.
The hucksters replaying such tapes are hoping white voters will conclude that “those people” “like Barack” are different from “us,” that “we” will think we have little in common with “them, ” that Barack won’t understand us and can’t represent our interests. Dirty politicians manipulate our unconscious racism so that we will see only difference, separation and error, instead of our many commonalities, our shared American dreams and challenges.
Such politics of division, hate and fear have a long successful history of convincing Americans time and again to vote against their own best interests. But as Barack keeps reminding us, American voters are smarter than that now. We’re becoming more enlightened, more open-minded and inclusive, more loving.
Smears-by-association can no longer distract us for long from the common pressing issues we all face, the real threats which ignore borders and cannot be solved competitively, but only through global cooperation, like a faltering economy, a culture of violence, costly wars, growing energy demands, poverty, political corruption, inadequate access to education, weapons proliferation, organized crime, infectious disease, poor health care, environmental degradation, mass migrations, crumbling infrastructure, pornography, homelessness, natural disasters, addictions, injustice, hopelessness, hunger, greed, prejudice, civic alienation, and apathy itself.
Americans are finally seeing the relevance and possibility inherent in the American ideals which Jesus, Jefferson, Lincoln, Gandhi, King, Mandela and so many other great leaders have urged upon us with one voice. We are finally turning away from the mean-spirited thinking which created all our problems in the first place, and toward the higher shared consciousness of universal brotherhood that alone will save us and our tiny blue planet.

Please send comments to njcpace@gmail.com. Thanks 🙂

CNN’s Disappointing Coverage of the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary Election Returns

I was greatly distressed to watch CNN’s coverage of the Pennsylvania Democratic primary election returns. I tuned in when the polls closed, and listened until nearly 11 p.m. when I got disgusted and turned the TV off.


Not a single commentator mentioned the most glaringly obvious outcome, that Barack Obama, a virtual unknown a year ago, had used his time in Pennsylvania to gain from ten to fifteen percentage points on well-known local girl and party-insider Hillary Clinton, an eight-year first lady to a popular president—and thus added to his chances of winning the presidency. As in every other state Obama has campaigned in, people who get to know him, like him, vote for him, and go on to campaign for him. Not a soul on CNN’s political panel mentioned how, truly, in the general election in November, only the math will count.


No one brought up the important point that Hillary has played every card the Republicans will use against Obama later—except the overt hate-and-fear-of-black-people racist card—while principled Obama hasn’t even begun to untie the huge and readily-available bag of old Clinton family footage, quotes, votes, indiscretions, innuendo, mistakes, and general nastiness (think Kenneth Starr’s report, for starters) which anonymously-funded demagogues have no doubt already begun pawing through and honing, with anticipatory glee, to disgusting effect. Bill Clinton survived his campaigns because he was wildly appealing and charismatic. Hillary is neither, and her negative campaigning against her widely-liked and respected opponent only makes her seem smaller, meaner, scareder. Why didn’t CNN’s commentators point out how Barack has survived Hillary’s worst, while she hasn’t even begun to reckon with the evil that will come at her when the Republicans strike up their band?


Several other astonishingly clueless comments were voiced by the CNN bobbleheads-of-the-night. One callous voice commented in passing that, if super-delegates coldly overrule the will of the American people in November, “Sure, the Black people will be disappointed, but…”


“The Black people?” “Disappointed?” If representative government itself, the most sacred and fundamental premise of democracy, the promise of one-person-one-vote, is arbitrarily overturned…?


And only black people? What about Barack’s white multitudes? His youthful supporters? His devoted older ones? Rich and poor, women and men, party regulars and otherwise, Obama’s passionate followers are rapidly increasing in number, putting aside their long-held political cynicism and warming themselves at his bonfire of hope, a hope grounded in cherished American ideals and in trust in his character, vision and leadership.

CNN’s team did somehow manage to mention Hillary’s promise to “obliterate Iran” if Iran attacks Israel with a nuclear weapon. That’s just great; now two of three presidential candidates have casually threatened instant global thermonuclear war (see McCain’s earlier “bomb bomb bomb Iran”) in the Middle East. Not a single mouse-like CNN voice squeaked a word of protest. No one pointed out that Iran (unlike Israel) has no nuclear weapons, or that such an action would automatically condemn millions of innocent men, women and children to instant death, or how Hillary’s knee-jerk reactions automatically elevated Israel’s interests over America’s.

Hillary later would expound on her plan to return to the long-discredited cold war era. But why not bomb Iran all the way back to the stone age right now, as Rush Limbaugh has already argued? Obama’s thoughtful comment was, “One of the things that we've seen over the last several years is a bunch of talk using words like 'obliterate….  It doesn't actually produce good results. And so I'm not interested in saber rattling.”

Hillary’s appalling threats demonstrate only that she shares George Bush’s cowboy approaches to diplomacy, and we've seen where that will take us. Such foolishness has become increasingly evident in her other equally-rash and polarizing comments, such as her offhand public description of President Putin, Russia’s popular leader, as, “a KGB agent—by definition he doesn’t have a soul,” which offended Russians everywhere while certainly dashing any hopes Hillary might have harbored of successfully negotiating with Putin during any future presidency.

Hillary also thoughtlessly insulted China recently by advising President Bush to break his promise to China’s premiere to not boycott the Beijing Olympics. In these few careless words, Hillary Clinton managed to alienate one-fifth of the world’s people along with all their leaders, by cruelly dismissing the single project dearest to their hearts. She also displayed an astonishing lack of integrity, shocking in a Senator and inconceivable in a presidential candidate. This is the person we want representing us and running our country?

Marilyn Ferguson (The Aquarian Conspiracy) convinced me years ago that when a nation's cultural and intellectual leaders take hold of an idea (as American leaders have embraced Obama's hopeful message) then soon enough, the rest of the people will follow. Barack may be in a tough race against time, but it is clearly on his side.

Today's Democratic race can be characterized as a long-overdue contest between Obama’s mission to change the destructive game of American politics—a goal we can all only benefit from—and Hillary’s unprincipled insistence upon playing that old same old cynical game oh-so-cleverly. Hillary is in it to win it, and if she does—which is the most she can hope for at such an unprincipled price—then for the American people, her winning may well mean losing—our ideals, our hopes, our freedoms and maybe even our way of life. CNN could have at least hinted at these baneful implications of her supercilious campaign.


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Warning: THIS (Richardson's Crucifixion) is What Happens to Clinton Deserters!!!”

The long cruel media-bashing of Bill Richardson by Hillary Clinton’s attack-dogs, led by James Carville at his most offensive (which is saying a lot), was impeccably timed to stop cold the imminent bleeding of super delegates and other influential public figures to the Obama camp. Making an unfairly public example of Richardson–vengefully humiliating and marginalizing him–worked like a charm, though, and it’s still working. Leaders everywhere, the small and the mighty alike, are terrified now to defect to Obama, no matter how much they might want to. They’ve heard loud-and-clear the ringing message:   “This is what will happen to you if you desert the Clintons!”


Bill Richardson has shown amazing integrity, grace and courage in standing up for what he believes to be best for all concerned. The Clintons deserve condemnation for pigheadedly insisting on loyalty to persons over loyalty to country.


Like many others, I have admired the Clintons greatly, chalking up their political relentlessness largely to their Christian compassion and desire to serve others. They’ve changed. They’re in it now more for the power than for the opportunity for service, and will apparently do whatever it takes to get back in the limelight. Power corrupts….


Regrettably, had the Clintons not fallen in love with themselves in power for eight more years, they would have been the first to jump at the chance to become Barack Obama’s most famous and influential supporters, because he’s exactly their kind of candidate. That opportunity for selflessness still lies ahead of them–an opportunity to reclaim the idealism which once so drew me and others to them when they truly were, as Obama is now, the future of the Democratic Party.


They'd better make up their minds soon, though, or instead of making twenty-first century history, the Clintons will be relegated to its periphery, becoming living anachronisms who leave only dinosaur footprints.


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Obama, Like Kipling’s Kim, is a “Friend of All the World”

I wonder if Barack Obama ever read Rudyard Kipling’s novel, Kim, about a half-British, half-Indian child growing up happily, as Barack did, in an amazingly diverse culture; Kim’s world was India, Barack’s Hawaii and Indonesia. Kim’s nickname was “little friend of all the world,” and he, like Barack, drew on his hard-won expertise in navigating a mysteriously multi-faceted childhood world to later become successful in “the great game” of politics. 


Certainly, Kipling’s own memories of growing up in British Raj India influenced his own many adult contributions as an eloquent communicator and cultural ambassador.


I thought about these many fascinating commonalities while reading Amanda Ripley’s story in today’s Time Magazine about Barack’s anthropologist mother. What adventures she and Barack shared living in the fascinating mélange that is Indonesia—17,500 islands, 230 million people, 300 languages, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Dutch/Christian traditions–and later in multicultural Hawaii, where Barack attended, on scholarship, a prestigious private high school.


Among Barack’s many strengths as a Presidential candidate are his openness to different cultural and political perspectives, and his non-polarizing, accepting attitude toward people from all walks of life. No one is ever a stranger to this non-ideological, caring, international rock star.


What a fascinating youth compelled Barack Obama, our own young “friend of all the world,” to overcome petty divisions and partisan distractions, offer leadership and service to his own nation, and bring the world together to resolve our most pressing common global problems—the ravages of disease, injustice, hopelessness, hunger, greed, environmental degradation, natural disasters, ignorance, addiction, prejudice, nuclear proliferation, crime, poverty, war, terrorism, and violence itself.


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