Tag Archives: politics

on hope

the president elect

“Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is; who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.” -Barack Obama, after winning the Iowa Caucus

Four years ago, I cast my very first presidential ballot. I was 19, living in one blue state and voting absentee in another, and there was something vaguely unsatisfying about putting a little X next to John Kerry’s name. I was voting against George W. Bush—who terrified me, a memory that’s hard to reconcile with our 2008 keep-as-low-a-profile-as-possible president. Bush’s first term marked a strange time to grow into a thinking member of the electorate: September 11th, the hyper-patriotism that followed, the lead-up to the war in Iraq, the invasion of Baghdad, the Patriot Act, and Abu Ghraib. I didn’t think we could afford four more years, but a slim majority of the American public disagreed with me. I cried on election night, and when I woke up the next morning, I wrote an editorial for the campus newspaper that basically endorsed resigned disillusionment. There was hope and there was fear, and the latter had prevailed. Reading over the piece now, this passage stands out:

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parables and princesses

“‘Wall·E’ can’t help but send out a powerful and even frightening environmental message. Though G-rated, its dystopian vision of what the perils of consumer excess have in store for the planet is unnerving without trying too hard, bringing to mind the old truism that Walt Disney and his company (Pixar’s parent) have scared more people than Alfred Hitchcock.”       -Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Note: Minimal spoilers in this post – not much beyond your standard movie review. But really, you should go out and see “Wall·E” immediately!

There was a group of snarky children sitting behind me in the movie theater the other day. We had come straight from happy hour to “Wall·E,” and I wasn’t in the mood to listen to sullen kids shouting, “Lame!” during the previews. “Wouldn’t it be weird if you grew up watching so much computer animation?” my coworker whispered as we suffered through the fifth trailer for a sub-par movie about talking animals. I thought that if the children behind us were any indication, we’d have incredibly high standards for animated films. Nothing would dazzle us; the bigger and flashier, the better. They whispered loudly through the charming short film that preceded the main feature. But as the screen darkened with the first expanse of outer space and the strains of “Hello, Dolly!,” (“Out there, there’s a world outside of Yonkers”) the kids finally fell silent. 

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you’re not helping

“A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.” – Thomas Jefferson 

A few weeks ago – right around the time that he and Nancy Pelosi ordered superdelegates to rally around Barack Obama – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid came to speak at the Commonwealth Club. He has a new book out, one that chronicles his journey from a ridiculously impoverished childhood to success on Capitol Hill. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen or heard the senate majority leader; he just might be the most unassuming, mild-mannered (meek) politician in Washington. Plugging his book on “The Daily Show” a few days earlier, the senator was weirdly unresponsive; Jon Stewart had to stop short of waving a hand in front of his face and asking if he was still awake. Basically, you wouldn’t expect him to invoke the vitriol of the far Left. You’d think that they’d save that for one of the Club’s (many) conservative speakers. If that’s the case, maybe you’ve never heard of Code Pink.

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this ain’t news

“The assumption that it was done to conceal a crime is just that: an assumption … This ain’t news.” -Attorney General Michael Mukasey  

Where have these people been for the past six months?  Tap dancing at John McCain rallies?  Butchering Tom Jones classics?  Or maybe they’ve been reveling in their perceived political irrelevance and slipping in the same old policies under the radar.  At this point, it can’t be all that hard: no one seems to be paying any attention. After all, would you rather hear about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or the way Barack Obama likes his eggs?  Some of us have been tired of George W. Bush for seven years; just about everybody’s tired of him now.

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