As the Supreme Court Considers Gay Marriage

Growing up in Richmond in the ‘50’s in a lower middle class neighborhood blocks away from black neighborhoods, I have no memory of class conflict between whites and blacks. I don’t remember it being anything I was aware of or ever considered. Things seem then so much simpler.

 What connection is there between this and gay marriage you may ask. Perhaps little. However, I do see so many parallels. When the Warren court ended segregation, abruptly, there was a dislocation and disruption of many cities and communities – particularly in the South. Forced bussing, white flight, were just some of the consequences. It could be argued that the desegregation process should not have been abrupt, but gradual, allowing society to adjust.

 But a gradual process of desegregation or integration would deny that then generation of blacks the equal rights that the court was now deciding had been denied. There was no real process or law providing a gradual desegregation option.

 Gay people have o…

Democracy - A Second Look

I’m noticing in myself that after a decades long personal evolution to wrest myself from my early Southern Baptist indoctrination and even question the basic tenants of faith, I have in my twilight years also begun to question other sacred cows. And one of those is democracy itself. And this is at a higher level than implied by such Churchillian quotes as, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried”, or my favorite, “"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." My journey has brought me not only to just question religion, or to question free will, but to now question democracy. To question the very sacred tenets upon which democracy is supposed to rest: that the people can or should govern themselves, that the majority really should rule, that men do really have inalienable rights, that the “will of the people” is really the will of the people.

In any event, Ame…

Lost in Conversation

Lost in the midst of the largest economic downturn in generations, lost in the 1% versus 99% realizations that there is an historic and growing divide between rich and poor, lost in polarized images of the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party phenomena – lost in conversation is the reality that although the rich have the power, the less rich have the votes, at least in the democratic countries.

Protests from either side that refers back to our original democratic founding seem to miss a very important point – democracy requires citizen participation. Democracy is and was a grand experiment in governance in which instead of citizenry being ruled by a king or dictator or emperor or pope, the people would for the first time govern themselves. That basic assumption has become an utter failure.

The peoples’ electorate in the early colonies so undemocratically included only white men over the age of 21, and those elected were by and large already the prominent, respected, and . . . often rich a…

Is Eric Cantor Now The Face Of Virginia?

OK, I’m a Virginian who doesn’t reside in Virginia, however, I do follow the news from my home state and the news mentioning Virginia is seldom pleasant. And the news mentioning Virginia is only Virginia news because it all too often only focuses on Virginia 7th District Congressman Eric Cantor.

Now, I’m not a fan of Eric Cantor. To me his smarmy, high-pitched voice and condescending demeanor make it hard to actually hear what he is saying. And when I do get past that I find his arguments insipid, unoriginal, and hollow. He merely speaks talking points – he plays word games cleverly calculated to resonate with a national conservative audience. He doesn’t even have to consider the resonance with his own constituency, as his seat is about as rock solid as any in Congress. Why? Because the progressives in his district seem incapable of fielding a credible opposition to his candidacy.

So can anyone suggest a living Virginian who is better known nationally, than Eric Cantor? I cann…

A Reasonable Solution To The Impending Political Impasse

The scenario: a deadlocked Congress more so than seen in our lifetimes. Continuing economic demise in the face of a myriad of possible unfortunate events (acts of nature, acts of terrorism, etc.), and a gleeful Asia that is ascending while we are descending. Against this unfolding picture may I again suggest a possibility out of this mess and one that might actually work.

As prologue may I use the analogy of the closing of military bases. This has perennially been a no-winner as the representatives of impacted regions cry loud enough and are passionate enough to disrupt any required action. No elected official of any such affected state can possibly view the larger interest of the nation against the needs of his/her constituency. The solution: Congress very cleverly came up with the method of protecting these politicians while at the same time achieving the necessary closing of redundant bases by agreeing to have an impartial commission, mandated to make a recommendation as to spe…

Apartheid in Virginia

A very brief history: Europeans arrived in Virginia in the 17th century to find a bountiful land occupied by indigenous peoples. Upper class Caucasian males soon came to dominate the land and profited in an agrarian environment that depended on indentured servants and slaves. And white males were a major source of the intellectual and passionate force that arose to create American independence and found modern democracy.

Slavery, which helped to accrue power and wealth to upper class whites, was abolished only after a very bloody civil war, however this white class maneuvered second-class status to blacks economically, socially, and politically. Evangelical and fundamentalist Protestantism that had a distinct ingrained intolerance also heavily influenced Virginia’s culture.

Government mandated discrimination or segregation of the races was eventually dismantled by the courts in the 1960’s; however, white upper class males with a long legacy of superior education, hereditary wealth, …

I Am Ashamed That Eric Cantor Is My Congressman

I understand that most don’t have the leisure I have, as a retiree, to follow issues, to stay tuned to political debates, to spend time and become involved in local politics. However, it is appalling that those fellow citizens of my 7th District in Virginia have such a knee jerk reaction to this current financial crisis such as to swallow the political rhetoric of Congressman Cantor and to not see this partisan politician for who he is.

To see Congressman Cantor spotlighted on national news holding up House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s floor remarks and using this as the reason that Republicans failed to pass their administration’s backed financial crisis bill was nauseating. Cantor was playing politics. Cantor was petty. Cantor was being used by his party handlers to try and shift this failure to reach accord onto the Democrats for political gain. Cantor was seen as a safe spokesman who is from the brightest red district of a red state with little formidable opposition to push this mal…