H2O ManH2O Man's Journal
[ Note: When Onondaga Chief Waterman and I would meet with US/NYS/local government officials, we opened our presentation with what is known as a thanksgiving speech. There are many variations of the basic format of this opening talk. The chief (or chiefs) at the meeting determine who will deliver it; because it is properly delivered in Onondaga (or one of the other closely related Six Nations languages), the chief will also have someone translate it into English. Depending upon the circumstances, it may be the same person who delivered it in Onondaga.
The message of the words spoken is Good, but reading them really cannot compare to listening to an Elder reciting this prayer of thanksgiving. Something is always lost when words are translated from one language to another. Still, this is the approximate thanksgiving that has been said to open meetings between groups of people here in the northeast since the time of the ancestors ancestors, since at least 450 ad. I hope my friends here at DU enjoy it.]
I want to greet you, and to ask that we all put our minds together as One, to give thanks to the Creator for bring us together on this day. I hope that we are all well, and appreciate this opportunity to spend this time together. The Creator has intended it this way: that we take the time to consider all the Good around us, and give thanks for the many things that sustain life around us. Now it is my duty to give thanks.
The Creation includes the Earth, the Sun, the Moon, and the stars. We give thanks for these. The Earth contains many entities that carry on their duties each day: these include the air, the water, the soil and rocks, and all that live on and within them. We give thanks for these life-sustaining forces.
The Earth is our Mother, and provides nourishment for all who live here. The Earth intends that we give thanks for these, and appreciate that her bounty is intended to be shared by all. When we honor our Mothers intention that we share, we find there is enough for all of us to enjoy our turn to be alive here, today, and to participate in the ceremony of life on Earth.
We give thanks for the air we breath, for breathing clean air is an important part of life that we must never take for granted. We give thanks for the clean water that sustains all life on Earth. When we see the water, from the largest river to the tiniest stream, we learn about the flow of lifes energy here on Earth. From the rain to the great lakes, water provides Life. For this we give thanks today.
We give thanks for the soil, and all that grows from it. When we walk, sit, and sleep on the ground, we are aware that we share it with the plants, and the two- and four-legged beings that live around us. We appreciate that the life cycle depends upon the gift of the soil; we give thanks when we plant seeds, and harvest the foods that sustain our lives so that we may enjoy our turn to be alive here on Earth. For these things, we give thanks.
We give thanks for the plant-life on Earth. We appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. We give thanks for the trees, the shrubs and bushes, and the grasses that live all around us. We give thanks for the food that they provide, and for the wood that allows us to build a fire. We give thanks for all of these things, which participate in the miracle of life on Earth.
We give thanks for the fish in the waters; for the birds and insects that fly in the air; and for the many two- and four-legged beings that live on the grounds around us. We appreciate that they are participants in the miracle of life here on Earth, and we give thanks to them for carrying out their duties each and every day.
We give thanks to those who lived before us; they lived their lives in such a manner that we are allowed to live our lives today. We thank them for the lessons that they have passed on to us, so that we can enjoy our turn in the miracle of life on Earth today.
We give thanks for our families and friends. We appreciate that they enrich our daily lives. We give thanks for the opportunity to be alive with them here, today.
Now, let us put our minds together, and to see how we can hand down the opportunities to participate in the miracle of life on Earth to the generations to come.
This morning I woke up in a curfew;
O God, I was a prisoner, too - yeah!
Could not recognize the faces standing over me;
They were all dressed in uniforms of brutality. Eh!
How many rivers do we have to cross,
Before we can talk to the boss? Eh!
All that we got, it seems we have lost;
We must have really paid the cost.
(That's why we gonna be)
Burnin' and a-lootin' tonight;
(Say we gonna burn and loot)
Burnin' and a-lootin' tonight;
(One more thing)
Burnin' all pollution tonight;
(Oh, yeah, yeah)
Burnin' all illusion tonight
-- Bob Marley; Burnin and Lootin
I stopped by an associates house this evening, to pick up a legal document pertaining to one of the handful of cases that Im currently involved in. I hadnt seen her husband since early summer, and I enjoyed the opportunity to chat with him before heading home. He is in his mid-twenties, a clinical social worker, and has been active in a couple of the conflicts that his wife and I work on. We stood out on their porch as he smoked a cigarette; looking up at the sky, he said that the whole world seems to be crazy right now.
It would certainly appear that way to anyone reading a newspaper or watching the news on television. And even more so, to anyone surfing the internet. The attention being paid to events in Ferguson alone show how unresolved conflicts that polite society attempts to cover over will always rise again. After the 2008 election of President Obama, there were such attempts -- in discussions of how a mature America had reached a post-racial age. Yet, however well-intended or sincere those discussions were, in reality they were but fancy words, that at most defined a thin film covering our culture.
Beneath that thin film, our society still has the ingredients of social pathology brewing: poverty, racism, sexism, and crime. Each one of these is large, indeed -- for example, crime includes everything from domestic abuse to police violence, white-collar crime to armed robbery. More, each one of these ingredients has overlap with others, creating synergism. And, as we witness in Ferguson, one event can spark an explosion.
The events in Ferguson in the past several months raise numerous questions that have to be answered, in order for the United States to move to the higher ground of social justice. And while race and racism are not the only ones, they are definitely central. Racism, much like sexism, can be uncomfortable to discuss in a meaningful way -- even here, on a liberal/progressive democratic web site.
Related issues include police brutality; a multi-tiered justice system; property being valued above human life; and options for grass roots activities, both positive and negative. These, too, can be difficult to discuss in a meaningful way, especially when emotions are raw.
I can only speak for myself, of course. I am opposed to burning and looting for a variety of reasons. The first has to do with ethics: I am opposed to the use of violence, with self-defense being the only exception. Yet, I certainly understand why people engage in these destructive behaviors.
Tactically, rioting does not accomplish much. It is not going to bring about positive change; in fact, it is likely to hinder, even prevent, potential positive change. Imagine if that same energy was harnessed by disciplined community leaders. A peaceful protest -- perhaps involving civil disobedience -- could have made a profound statement. More, an organized voter registration drive would provide the numbers needed for the community to elect officials with shared values. A new district attorney could still charge the cop with murder. Its not unheard of for a prosecutor to present a case to a second grand jury. Theres not a statute of limitations, or double jeopardy involved here.
There are a lot of communities where the people are disorganized. Even more neighborhoods are. Although it is hard work, a couple of people -- or an individual, if need be -- can start the process of community organization: voter registration, public education, and active participation. Its really odd how that is more difficult than, say, instigating violence in certain situations.
When I was young -- in my mid-thirties, as I recall -- a Clan Mother told me that the world, and many of the circles/cycles within it -- were entering a phase where they would begin to move very fast. And cause confusion, mistrust, and frustration. She told me to remember that as we went further in this era, that it would be important that some people -- those who are awake -- make the effort to move slower. Not avoid responsibility, nor withdraw. But use patience, and resist the momentum of the circles/cycles that were moving so fast that innocent life suffered.
I think we are there now.
In the past four weeks, I have had the support of a large number of the Good People from here, in the DU community. On October 27, in a case of road rage, John Guzy shot my cousin, Derek Prindle, and his son, Derek Dylan Prindle, in Bainbridge, NY. My cousin watched sin son bleed to death as he held him in his arms, waiting for an ambulance. Derek then underwent emergency surgery that saved his life.
Since that day, Ive posted a series of OP about issues ranging from the legal process to the impact this tragic event has had on my extended family. I think that the fact that Mr. Guzy is a retired NYC cop, who had recently begun working as a part-time deputy for the Chenango County Sheriffs Department, has made this case go from one familys tragedy, to a part of a larger issue of concern for the public. The combination of being able to vent here, and having so many of you providing emotional support, has helped me to maintain my sanity -- or at least to remain as close to sane as I normally am.
Now, I have another favor to ask of you.
In these dark and dreary days, a number of people have said that if there is anything that they can do to help my family and I, they would be willing. So here goes:
On December 5, there is a hearing to be held in Chenango County Court, in which Mr. Guzy will be seeking to have bail set. The District Attorney is strongly opposed to bail being set. I had the opportunity to speak with the DA and the two lead detectives on this case yesterday, at a memorial service for Derek Dylan. One factor that the judge will take into account in deciding if bail is to be set will be if the public voices strong opposition to it.
Obviously, my family, friends, and neighbors will be writing letters to the court, opposing bail being set for Mr. Guzy. Students at our high school are taking up a petition, asking that bail not be set. And if people from across the country take the time to write a letter to the court, it improves our chances of keeping this violent thug exactly where he belongs -- behind bars.
I would very, very much appreciate it if people here would help with this. Such letters should focus on any one or all of the following three reasons to deny bail:
 The brutal nature of the crime: John Guzy murdered a 26-year old man, shot the father, and attempted to kill him execution-style while the father tried to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to his son (Guzy placed his hand gun at the back of my cousins head, but the bullet lodged in the chamber);
 Mr. Guzy threatened to kill both of his victims, and clearly attempted to do so. My cousin and his family are afraid of him, and for good reason. People in the community, including the students at our school, are afraid of Mr. Guzy. This is not an unfounded fear, based upon their wondering what Guzy is capable of. We know exactly what he is fully capable of;
 Mr. Guzy poses a substantial flight risk. The District Attorney has a solid enough case, that it is extremely likely that Guzy will be convicted. He faces a life sentence. He has the resources that would allow him to take flight.
Letters can be sent to the District Attorney by way of mail; by fax, or by e-mail. In cases such as this, those sent by snail-mail carry the most weight; faxed letters are next; and e-mails carry the least weight of the three. But all are important. (The judge does not read these communications before the hearing for bail, or similar letters before trial. Thus, they go to the DA, who absolutely does read them, and then provides the judge with an overview of the public opinion.)
Here are the addresses for sending a message to the court:
Joseph A. McBride, District Attorney
The Eaton Center
26 Conkey Avenue
Box 126, 2nd Floor
Norwich, NY 13815
Again, on behalf of myself and my family, I want to say that your support has been greatly appreciated.
Pat (H2O Man)
Learning without thought is labor lost;
Thought without learning is perilous.
The concept of critical thinking provides us with the best way to make sense of the world around us. This is true in terms of the social, political, and economic reality that confronts us, as individuals, groups, a nation, and part of the human race. Perhaps at no time in history has there been such a need for critical thinking than today -- a time where an increasing number of resources is available for consumption, and we continue to poison the very environment that is required for human survival.
People define critical thinking in a variety of ways. For sake of this discussion, lets go with a fairly general description: a mental discipline that involves open-minded gathering of relative information; a systematic manner of organizing the information; and an objective, rational analysis of that body of information. It is, not coincidentally, similar to the process that was taught as the scientific method when I was in grade school.
It requires that one be, to a large degree, emotionally detached from the issue at hand. Indeed, emotions are but one of the stumbling blocks that can derail critical thinking. Another stumbling block -- one that I have frequently wrestled with -- is, well, arrogance. Believing that you are pretty darned smart. This can lead to an unfortunate dynamic in the context of discussions .one that is known in the world snaky.
Lets consider the recent discussions on DU:GD about the death of President John F. Kennedy. Leave out any thought of who may or may not have been responsible for the assassination. Instead, focus entirely upon how people here think about, and discuss, that important event in our nations history. It is my belief that good and sincere people, capable of critical thinking, can and do reach very different opinions about Dallas. Likewise, people who exercise something less than critical thinking can and do reach very different opinions.
One school of thought puts great faith in the Warren Commission, and a wonderful book by former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi. The opposing school of thought has concluded that JFK was killed as the result of a conspiracy; even among this group, there is an extremely wide range of belief regarding who was responsible -- the CIA and/or other military and intelligence groups; organized crime; Cubans in Florida who opposed Castro; big oil; and even, to some extent, the next two US Presidents (LBJ and/or Richard Nixon).
The Warren Commissions Report was 26 volumes. Bugliosis 2007 book supporting the Commissions conclusion is over 1,500 pages long. A resulting tactic of people who believe this version often ask those who are opposed to it, Have you read the entire Warren Commission Report? (Or Mr. Bugliosis entire book.) This tactic, incidentally, was made popular by Vince Bugliosi; it contains the unstated implication that anyone who hasnt read one or both is incapable of having an informed opinion on them.
Now, lets apply this same logic: there were literally hundreds of potential valuable witnesses the Commission never interviewed; agencies including the FBI and CIA withheld documents that had to do with things such as Lee Harvey Oswalds connections with the said agencies; and literally tens of thousands of documents have been made public since Bugliosis book was published. Hence, literally everyone who holds or expresses an opinion does so, based upon an incomplete foundation (note: thousands of documents remain classified, and others were destroyed decades ago). Thus, either no person is entitled to forming an opinion, or we should be able to agree that people are capable of reaching a conclusion based upon what they have read.
There is a tendency to label certain schools of thought as conspiracy theories, and dismiss them as wild speculation or paranoid thinking. Yet, as we know, a Congressional investigative committee concluded that President Kennedy likely dies as the result of a conspiracy. More, Vince Bugliosi, shortly after retiring as a prosecutor, was involved with a civil law case that was based upon his belief that Senator Robert Kennedy was murdered in 1968, as the result of a conspiracy.
Thus, if we apply critical thinking -- and this isnt about any one potential conspiracy -- we find a two-sided coin: because one case is not a conspiracy, does not indicate all others are not; and because one case is a conspiracy, does not indicate that all others are. Indeed, each individual case has to be considered and evaluated on its own merits.
The benefits accrued from critical thinking are not, of course, limited to considering conspiracy theories. An obvious example would be US military actions. Lets take the nations response to 9/11. If one believes that our country was attacked by a foreign entity (I know not everyone does), then the response in Afghanistan was correct. But that hardly applies to the Bush-Cheney attack on Iraq. Indeed, by definition, the Bush-Cheney administration engaged in a conspiracy to fool the American public into supporting an action that literally had nothing to do with 9/11.
More, the example of Iraq highlights that stumbling block which can short-circuit critical thinking: emotions. In that example, the Bush-Cheney administration played upon the publics fears and hatreds, in order to gain support for an immoral war. On top of that, they ushered in a set of laws known as the Patriot Act, that not only restricts freedom, but discourages citizens from critical thinking.
A common appeal to emotion that has too frequently been part of discussions on DU:GD is the insult. One need not use a magnifying glass to find examples on a daily basis here. Yesterday, for example, one OP implied that the belief that there was a conspiracy in Dallas is equal to a belief that the Clintons murdered Vince Foster. Discussions leading up to this months elections likewise contained numerous attempts to insult those with differing opinions. Threads with support for President Obama, and/or support for Hillary Clinton in 2016, almost always have some insults in them.
It can, of course, be fun to score debaters points in an argument. Its something that I am as guilty as anyone else here, in resorting to at times. Its one thing to do, if a post is clearly the unintellectual property of a troll, and DU has had plenty of this species over the years. But it is a tactic that never enhances the value of a discussion or debate of serious issues among those who are here for the right reasons.
In my opinion -- for what it is worth -- the DU community would do better to focus on critical thinking, because the issues that confront us -- as individuals, a community, and a nation -- require our best efforts. Over the years, in a number of instances involving very serious issues, DU has acted as a grass roots think tank. Indeed, the quality of research, analysis, and discussion on this forum has reached far further than most people here are aware. The Plame scandal is perhaps the best example of this.
Any how, this is just the type of think that this old man thinks about while reading through the threads on DU:GD.
The only true wisdom lives far from mankind, out in the great loneliness, and it can be reached only through suffering. Privation and suffering alone can open the mind of a person to all that is hidden from others.
-- Igjugarjuk; Eskimo shaman; 1922.
A couple nights ago, I was on the internet site Face Book, when one of my cousins asked if it was okay if she called me. She is much younger than I am, and lives in a different part of the country. Two months ago, we had the opportunity to talk on the phone, and get to know one another. So I was happy to have another chance to talk with her. (She called at 9:45 pm, and we talked until a little past 2:30 am.)
She was aware that, on the other side of my family, my cousin and his son had been shot. We talked about that, and another murder case from Binghamton, NY, from years ago. A 12-year old girl was collecting on her paper route; a sociopath, James Wales, invited her to step inside his home while he got the money. You can guess the rest. Currently, the girls parents are petitioning the parole board, requesting that Wales not be paroled.
My cousin, who lived in the area at that time, had had her life changed by that event. Her father (my uncle) was the detective who solved the murder of her young friend. She had contacted the girls parents earlier in the day, to offer support in lobbying the parole board. The father told her that I had sent a powerful letter of support earlier in the day. Although I had been employed in a different county, my work at the mental health clinic had an area of overlap with that case; my letter to the parole board detailed why the murderer would always pose a threat to the community if released.
We talked about the ways in which people respond to tragic events. I told her that I try to be thankful for what life deals me. She said that she was going to call the bullshit card, as it was not possible to be thankful for a friend or relative being murdered. I agreed that I am not thankful for such a thing. Rather, when confronted with such a horrible events, I am thankful for the opportunity I had to know the person. Im thankful for having had that relationship to enrich my life. And Im thankful that I have the chance to be supportive of others, who are going through the pain and suffering from their loss.
We also discussed the concept of forgiveness. Not some sappy type of emotion. But she and I come from a large extended family, and there are some members who dont get along. And people who hold grudges as if they are a treasured family heirloom, long after the memory of what ever caused the hostility has faded. Maybe its that way in lots of American families these days. But I have a hunch that Irish-American clans hold the national championship for such things. There are advantages to be accrued, I told her, in letting go of these conflicts.
Again, my Wonderful Cousin called the bullshit card -- for she knew that I have family members who I have not spoken with in many years. So I told her a story -- a true story that is a bit humorous, though pathetic: Last year, I encountered an old friend, a man I had not seen in over twenty years. After we talked for a bit, he said, Youre a hard man to get a hold of. He had tried, perhaps a decade earlier, by calling my mothers house. My mother told him that I had died, and hung up. He felt terrible, so bad that he tracked down one of my sisters. He told her that he felt horrible, that he surely would have attended my funeral, had he but known.
My sister explained that I was still actually alive, and dead only to our mother. My friend asked her how to get in touch with me? She said that she didnt know, as we hadnt communicated in over a decade.
Forgiving doesnt translate into being close to the other person. Rather, it means divesting in the acrimonious feelings that hold one back in life. It means accepting that the other person is who s/he is, and moving forward from there. There are some family members that you may have a cyclical relationship with, and others where it is best to simply let go of. My cousin said, But thats hard . I replied, It isnt harder than continuing an unhealthy relationship.
Family feuds are anchors that hold us in dark and bitter places. Acceptance allows us to move forward, and to re-define what family means. Our societys current family systems have only been in place for a very short period of human history. They are a reaction to our economic system, which seeks to dictate the boundaries of human relationships. (Agricultural societies = extended farm families; industrial = nuclear; high-tech = single parent/ blended.) Do not allow the plastic definitions dictate your options.
Again, we discussed how hard it can be, especially when those with whom we should be close turn against us for reasons that we dont understand. Yet, it is more difficult to hold on to those wounds. We benefit from accepting life on lifes terms. And when circumstances bring us to that great loneliness, we benefit from looking inside, rather than outside of ourselves. Its only that which can allow us to begin to heal, and return to our attempt to make our lives as normal as possible.
Tomorrow afternoon, Ill be spending time with the maternal side of my extended family. My cousin who was shot on 10-27 was in the hospital when his sons funeral was held. So we are having a memorial service and meal, with about 125 people. Luckily -- as far as I know -- I get along well with all of them. Im hoping that it will be the last funeral-type of gathering that I have to attend.
Good evening, Friends:
Ive got to drive my daughter home from basketball practice, then attend a school board meeting. Im often at these until after 11 pm, so I wanted to update people on my cousins case.
This morning, the Chenango County (NY) grand jury heard testimony about John Guzy, 56, of Bainbridge, who shot my cousin and his son in a case of road rage on 10-27. They returned indictments for the following:
-- murder, 2nd degree;
-- attempted murder, 2nd;
-- two counts assault, 1st;
-- two counts criminal use of a firearm, 1st;
-- two counts criminal possession of a firearm, 3rd;
-- tampering with physical evidence;
-- operating a MV at .08 or more BAC, misdemeanor;
-- six counts possession of firearm, 4th degree.
Also, I had another op-ed in the Norwich newspaper; it is not available on-line. And yet a third should be in another area newspaper this evening, again not available on-line (for a week).
Off to pick up my daughter.
Lets try a little mental exercise here. Suppose that you were competing in DU Jeopardy. You pick Democratic Presidents for 1,000. The question requires that you provide a name for Grover Clevelands presidency.
The New Freedom? New Deal? Fair Deal? New Frontier? Maybe the Great Society? Nope. These were, of course, the names associated with the democratic presidents that followed Cleveland, up through 1968. (The republican scoundrel Richard Nixon is, of course, remembered for Watergate. )
After winning the presidency in 1976, Jimmy Carter became the first democrat in the White House since Cleveland to not have a name for his overall program goals. I think it is fair to say that both at the time, and looking back, his presidency did not have the focus of those before him. While neither Clinton or Obama have had labels for their agendas, it has been easier than with Carter to identify what their focus has been.
Thus, I am curious if you think there is any advantage to having such descriptions of intent? Does it help the various factions within the party to identify with what an administrations goals are? Might it highlight what the true agenda of the republican opposition is all about?
There is no right or wrong answer. Rather, it is simple a matter of opinion.
Saturday, November 22, at Macau, Chine; on HBO PPV:
Manny Pacquiao vs. Chris Algieri; 12 rounds; for Pac Mans WBO welterweight title.
On paper, when an undefeated , 30 year old who stands 5 10 tall, with a 72 reach fights a 35-year old, who has been knocked out in three of his five loses, and is 5 6.5 tall, with a 67 reach, Id say the young man will enter the ring with some significant advantages.
But when hes fighting Manny Pacquiao, those advantages may be meaningless. Despite the evidence that Pac Mans uncanny skill set has declined in recent years -- he hasnt scored a knockout since 2009, was beaten twice in 2012, including being devastated by Juan Manuel Marquez -- he is an all-time great, who is still a great fighter.
Manny returned after the consecutive loses in November of 2013, and easily decisioned an intimidated Brandon Rios. Five months later, he avenged the controversial loss to Timothy Bradley. While its hard to look good against a guy who is merely trying to survive until the finally bell, Pacquiao was impressive in decision Bradley. Although Bradley won 4,4, and 2 rounds on the judges scorecards, and most rounds were competitive, Manny appeared in control throughout the fight.
There is a saying in boxing that a fighter can get old in the ring during a fight. Bernard Hopkins has stated that fighters actually get old in the gym, although the fans first see the effects during a fight. Those familiar with Mannys training routine are aware that he has aged in the gym. Two former sparring partners in particular -- Amir Khan and Ruslan Provodnikov -- came to give him problems in sparring. Khan due to his size and speed; Provodnikov due to his strength and power. Both of these men have reached a point where they have expressed interest in fighting Manny.
Algieri was an undefeated, though parochial, contender who was brought in by promoters to highlight Provodnikovs skills in June. In the first round, Algieri was floored by a hard punch, one that caused his eye to rapidly swell closed. A few seconds later, he voluntarily took a knee to clear his head. It appeared that he would be stopped by the brutal Provodnikov within a round or two.
However, by the second round, his head had cleared, and he began to anticipate what his much stronger, but slower opponent would do. It became a close, very competitive fight, that could easily have been scored in favor of either man. Algieri was awarded the 12-round decision, and became the WBO junior welterweight titlist. That victory would earn him the opportunity to become Pacquiaos next opponent.
Other than the win, however, there is little in Algieris past to suggest that he belongs in the same ring with Manny. He did decision Emmanuel Taylor in February of 2014, and Taylor is a top ten contender. Taylor beat Karim Mayfield in his next fight, then lost to Adrian Broner; both are top ten contenders. But there is more than a hint of set-up here: Pac Man needs an impressive knockout, in order to turn the tide of his decreasing PPV sales. Bob Arum picked Algieri as a low-risk opponent, hoping to prepare Pacquiao for a big fight next spring.
If Floyd Mayweather choose to fight Algieri, he would be attacked by boxing experts and a large cross-section of the boxing community for picking a lamb for slaughter. Mannys trainer, Freddie Roach, is predicting a one round knockout. Few people think that Algieri has a chance of winning.
I think that Manny should be able to close the show by the seventh round. If I were to focus on Algieris best chance, though, Id look at two things. First, he does have the height and reach that could translate to big advantages, if he knows how to capitalize on them. Second, while he hasnt fought at this level before, Algieris last two victories were against quality opponents. More, he has shown the intelligence and heart required to come back from adversity. He hasnt displayed the punching power to pose a threat to knock Pac Man out, or hurt him seriously with any one blow. But he might be able to keep Pacquiao at arms length, make a rather slow-paced fight, and come out on top after twelve rounds.
There was an valuable OP/thread on DU:GD earlier today, that focused on the 1984 democratic primary, in an interesting attempt to shed light on the upcoming 2016 primary season. There were a range of opinions expressed on the thread -- raising what I consider valid points. However, the author of the OP shut the thread down; I think this was due to some disagreements regarding the article he cited in the OP.
As there werent arguments, fights, or hostility in the thread, and because the overall theme of the discussion was good, I thought that Id attempt to kick-start a discussion on what (if anything) we might benefit from looking at 1984 for insight on 2016. Like the old saying goes: those who do not learn from history are likely to repeat it; while those who do learn from history seem to end up watching other folks repeat the same mistakes, over and over. Or something akin to that.
As we might all agree, Walter Mondale won the democratic nomination in 1984. He then made a historic choice for his VP candidate, by selecting Rep. Geraldine Ferraro (NY). The two would eventually be defeated by Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. I think it is fair to say that rarely, if ever, did the American voters make a worse choice.
Mondale was an honorable man, with solid democratic credentials. He had become active in politics at the age of twenty, as an organizer for Senator Hubert Humphrey. Like Humphrey ( the Happy Warrior), Mondale served with distinction and conscience as a US Senator, and went on to become Vice President of the United States.
Mondale -- like President Carter -- knew that their 1980 election loss to Reagan-Bush had been, in significant part, due to underhanded and illegal republican activities (regarding the hostages in Iran).Again like Carter, Mondale recognized Reagan as an inferior man, who benefited from Hollywood-style image-making. He entered the 1984 primaries for good reasons.
There were other democratic candidates in the primaries. These included Gary Hart; Jesse Jackson; John Glenn; George McGovern; Alan Cranston; and Fritz Hollings. Now, old-timers like myself remember that this field of candidates actually offered voters some very real choices. Good choices, too. Any one of these candidates would have been a thousand times better than Reagan. (Former Florida governor Reuben Askew also entered the race, though it was widely assumed his goal was to be considered as a potential VP.)
The most important controversy had to do with potential splits in the Democratic Party. Indeed, such splits had proven costly in three of the previous four elections: 1968, 72, and 80. There were at least three wings of the Democratic Party in 1984: the Kennedy Democrats; the social moderates; and the progressive, left-wing. The year 1968 was unique, and relatively few of the lessons from it applied to any other year. In 72, McGovern was widely and incorrectly portrayed as the candidate of amnesty, abortion, and acid; although he was actually a WW2 hero, his stance on ending the war in Vietnam was portrayed as weak. A substantial portion of democrats in Washington failed to support him. To be fair, his campaign was not particularly well organized.
Jimmy Carter did well in 1976. This included selecting Mondale for VP. Although the two were not close, Mondale was an effective vice president. Then in 1980, the primary season saw an ugly division between the Kennedy and moderate wings of the party. It is fair and accurate to say that the Jimmy Carter versus Ted Kennedy contest reflected a wide split within the party in Washington.
After everyone but Mondale, Hart, and Jackson had dropped out of the 84 contest, the former VP began to separate himself from the other two, with an increasing lead. Where I would disagree with the article linked to in the earlier OP was its claim that the party bosses said that Mondale was inevitable; rather, it was his campaign that projected that image. The major concern of the party bosses was that if the contest became bitter, it would polarize the various camps. This included what many thought could be a third-party run by Rev. Jackson.
In fact, that years Democratic Party Convention proved to be outstanding. Mondale, Hart, and Jackson all got respectable numbers of delegates votes. (Thomas Eagleton, George McGovern, John Glenn, Joe Biden, and Martha Kirkland also got at least one delegate.) There were two speeches that towered above all of the others; these were delivered by Mario Cuomo and Jesse Jackson. Those two speeches hold up well today. And, of course, Mondale picked Ferraro as VP.
Things seemed to be going very well, especially after the first televised debate between a relaxed Mondale and a feeble Reagan. In the second debate, Reagan delivered a few glib lines, and Mondales reaction appeared to be polite and more focused on issues. He also was honest in addressing the issue about potential tax increases. And the media worked overtime in trying to convince the public that Reagan represented a new morning in America.
The primary contest and general election were, obviously, far more complex than what Ive said here. There were valuable lessons to be learned from it. I think it offers a fascinating topic of conversation, including how it might apply to the upcoming 2016 contests. Others will remember different aspects -- or interpret some parts differently. But that is one of the best things about this forum.
The family and friends of the fellow who recently shot two of my relatives have been spreading a handful of lies, in an attempt to justify his violence. I understand that they are attempting to make sense out of a senseless act. More, I can appreciate that there can be a level of discomfort when the media reports that one's family member or friend committed a brutal, unprovoked attack upon two innocent victims.
Their original story went like this: Two non-residents, passing through the area, selected their family member to rob. They forced him off the road, and confronted him with weapons -- a gun and a knife. It was only after being stabbed three times that their hero -- a retired NYC cop and current part-time deputy sheriff -- acted in self-defense, shooting the father and son hoodlums.
While this is an extremely weak work of fiction (he was arrested literally 5 minutes after telling this to the detective interviewing him), my relatives find it insulting and hurtful. In an era when rumors and lies spread by way of social media, unchallenged all too often, the fact that no newspaper, or television/ radio station has reported on it, hasn't stopped it from spreading.
Hence, I have submitted four "guest op-eds" to the four most important newspapers in our region. Today, the first one appeared in the Binghamton, NY newspaper. I was pleased to find that the editors had included a photograph of the murderer with my essay; while I do not favor judging based upon appearances, I think that photo captures the guy's essence.
Below is a link to the op-ed. I've had a pretty positive response from people who have read it. In each of the four essays, I tried to focus on a different aspect of the shooting incident and the legal process. I hope that they serve the intended purpose: to provide education to the general public.
Also, I recognize that I've been posting quite a few times about this case. I suppose that you've figured out that it has been occupying a lot of my time recently. I really do want to thank all of you who read what I'm posting, and express your support for me at this difficult time. DU's grumpy old (water) man surely does appreciate it!
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