Family First in Face of 2016 Horrors

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.53.38 PM

*Diamond Reynolds Graphic Video-Police Killing Castile Philando

Given today’s and yesterday’s police-brutality news, the O’Briens’ family-first policy will soon revolve around a First Amendment freedom search. And by search, I mean a journey. What this means is that each member of our family unit (4) will explore or figure out what we individually mean when we say we are all for freedom of expression (speech, press, assembly, association, and expression).

Fred and I will undoubtedly disagree. We reside on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Yet I know this does not mean we will be disagreeable, or even uncivil, in our dinner-time discussions. We’re not shy about searching for core primary values (i.e. substantive values, not due-process ones, like hollow terms such as meritocracy, freedom, liberty, or fairness). No one in this family sees eye-to-eye on fairness, since it depends upon each person’s perspective.

Now, the other two members of our nuclear family will be more reluctant to write it down. Being age-appropriate argumentative teens, I suspect, they will not “necessarily” think this is a good dinner-table discussion, and will argue throughout the meal how onerous (and unfair) a demand Fred and I are imposing.

At least it beats my “design your own dystopia” request of a few summers back. Being in Italy at that time, I thought it only fair that the junior members of this nuclear family should think about this topic. After all, they could feel the presence of Antonio Gramsci, Machiavelli, or even the ghost of St. Augustine. Alas, no one followed up on their dinner-table assignments, but we did have a lively discussion about political utopias and dystopias — enough of a discussion to know that we’re leaning more toward the dys- than the u- in these long, hot summer days of 2016’s horrors.

*Click on Link as You Tube Took Down Live Video

Where’s the Bus to Philly? (July 25 at the Convention)

BTPlogoScene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States  Talk about a real Tea Party!  Or should I say an improved Tea Party, one that will practice only civil disobedience Henry Thoreau style?

Elizabeth Arnold, who started EDGE*, and Nina Turner, a Sanders surrogate, got it right, whereas Harry (Senator Reid, NV) and Roberta Lange** (NV Democratic chair) got it wrong.

Barbara got it even wronger (Senator Boxer, CA).  She doesn’t want the Sanders supporters to protest because “it’s distressing.”  Really!!?!*&?

Our youth are finally practicing Occupy Wall Street–like tactics for the upcoming Democratic convention.  I doubt that many “chairs will fly” in Philly, so why doesn’t the Democratic party stop whining?

A candidate cannot be opposed to Citizens United while others are staging a demonstration that enacts the real protest against Citizens United and not be labeled a hypocrite.  Yes, HC, that’s you.  Hillary Clinton’s got to win this primary election the fair way if she expects to win the general election against Donald Trump.

Otherwise, what always happens will happen again — voters will turn away from the American polls the American way (with their feet), and the rest of the world will get to call us an “apathetic nation.”  For our enemies, the emphasis is always on the root: pathetic.  I, for one, would like to be free of that.

* End Dirty Gas Exploitation, an environmental-justice group.

** No one should threaten death, and especially not death to one’s family, who believes – really believes – in our First Amendment


A Few Square Feet of Common Ground

Y-YAvataqr-Thumbnail Fred and I disagree on almost everything “substantive” about American politics*, especially in 2016. But we do agree on ten things:  Here’s the list:

  1. Nate Silver is a political scientist, and a social engineer, given that during election #3 he categorically failed to predict Trump (538’s prediction was in the margin of error, according to their statistics or data crunch).
  2. Anthony Weiner is a man’s man within the male-dominated political world of scandals, no matter how many scandals people postulate Hillary Clinton is embroiled in.
  3. Neither the 2016 presidential election nor any early election is tantamount to fascism, let alone the Nazi empire or the Third Reich.
  4. Men, and women, and all genders, who act like men, are self-serving egotists who will hopefully begin having their own public scandals while in public service, thereby achieving parity of all sexes.**
  5. Former NY Representative from Queens Anthony Weiner should get a Ph.D. but not teach ethics or the politics of scandals, let alone practice the latter, unless it is an extension course on the politics of the need for more men in childcare and parenting.*** (Alec Baldwin’s interview deserved an A of sorts for his interview of Weiner)
  6. All the views above reflect our freedom of expression (First Amendment).
  7. Academic freedom is a subset of First Amendment freedom of expression.
  8. The pen is mightier than the sword, even if it takes a few years for the youth to read enough (or for middle-aged rednecks to read enough) to get incited.
  9. Bullies like Trump make great social-movement mobilizers.
  10. Barack Obama’s transgender passports also unleashed a world of opposition.  Yay for my civil-rights causes.

* within bounded rationality — two-pole ethic — right in representational democracy, the operative word is representational. (“Bounded rationality” is one of my current favorite social-ethics terms.)

** but more likely to be fixers (like Shonda Rhimes’s protagonist in Scandal)

*** Bodies in Revolt, Gender, Disability and the Workplace


Note: This message is sponsored, in part, by Fred Schwarz/Fred O’Brien (and no, I am not a bigamist but we reside in a bi-bounded rationality informal institution)