Dec 10, 2005

The Triangulation of Hillary

I decided to help out Hillary Rhodam Clinton in her strategy to position herself as a national candidate for the presidency. Given the current occupant of the White House and his cohorts, there is no doubt in my mind that Hillary would be an improvement. If it came down to her and any Republican nominee, I wouldn't hesitate to vote for her. Let me explain what I mean though.

I don't believe there is a "silver bullet" that would take care of the beast--the regressive, authoritarian and kleptocratic policies as expressed by the Republican party today. Also, I think that the country will have to be moved gradually to the progressive side, because there are just too many conservative Americans unwilling and unable to take bold steps in that direction. So, I'm content, for the moment, to try to help the country move forward, toward a more liberal society. [see the definition of liberalism at the bottom of this blog's page] It's like trying to put out the fire that has engulfed our house due to the incompetence and criminal negligence of the current housekeeper that we elected to be in charge! I have been arguing this for a long time now, that first we have to save our house and then debate the finer points of how to make it more beautiful. Unfortunately, it has come down to this, a dire situation, thus we don't have the luxury of inaction because we can't agree on the color of the paint.

Where was I? Ah, helping Hillary.... Yes, I'm going to blast her for being such as hypocrite when it comes to the flag-protection measure. She's co-sponsoring new legislation to criminalize the "desecration" of the United States flag. The bill originated by Utah Republican Senator Bob Bennett, and it is a new effort to by-pass the Supreme Court's decision [Texas v. Johnson] in 2003 that upheld the right of a free people to burn their flag as a form of political protest. Hillary says she opposes a constitutional amendment, though I wonder whether this is just another stance of convenience since it would be extremely difficult to amend the constitution--a fact understood by the politicians who've used this path as seekers of cheap political thrills.

Why would Hillary co-sponsor a Republican bill? Because she wants to get traction in the so-called red states, to boost her patriotic credentials, to appeal to the emotions of so many Americans who, indeed, vote emotionally, often against their own interests. Where is the triangulation, you ask? Ah, it's obvious, as the discussion among her staff and supporters indicates: that is, she expects the "left-leaning," the progressive liberals will make enough noise in protest and thus give her "credence" of a "middle-of-the-road" politician! This blog is happy to oblige. Hillary may get her triangulated political position, but I suspect she will face stiff opposition within the Democratic Party. I suspect that she will soon be making clear her more conservative positions since she'll assume that, first, her senatorial race in New York is in the bag, and, second, that in order to fulfill her national aspirations she'll have to move to the center. I expect her to take tougher stances on immigration, and on the role of the US military/foreign policy--you know, America's duty to civilize and democratize the universe! Oh, not to forget that some bad people need to be "persuaded" to talk even if this means ..rendition. All in the name of safety and national security of course!

Appealing to the lowest common denominator is not a good trait of a politician who's a true leader with a vision for the future. But, it seems that Hillary has chosen this path for now. Things may change, though I very much doubt it as many Dems in Congress are afraid to be bold; otherwise there would be many more calls for the US to quickly withdraw from Iraq for example.

As for the flag-protection law, yes, this national symbol deserves respect, but the flag is not a sacred object in itself but rather a representation of our country, which, up to now, includes free speech. This great country won't be diminished if some idiot burns some material with the American flag on it. Gosh, we are already disrespecting our flag in many ways, as we use it for any imaginable purpose, much of it for commercial exploitation. It would be hypocritical if we allowed our flag to be used and abused for any other purpose other than as a form of political protest!

I teach a course on Democracy & Dissent at a university in New York and I've been urging my students to be politically informed and active; that dissent is a very important part of the democratic process because it is necessary to keep the dialogue going without fear that the authorities will persecute anyone for any speech they find objectionable. Unfortunately, Hillary today weighs in favor of fascist tendencies, the silencing of dissent, supporting the Big Brother's knows-best attitude, and the notion that Americans have to be protected against "evil" speech because they are not mature enough. No, Senator, even if some Americans aren't behaving like adults, having a Big Brother will only perpetuate immaturity and stifle the air we breathe. The flag it's a symbol with different meanings to different people--as it should be. We shouldn't try to force respect; it has to come from within for what the flag represents. I see our flag desecrated when it flies over any facility (like GITMO) where human rights are violated, or anywhere it is used as an excuse or a "reason" to curtail freedom & democracy! If you Senator want to talk about respecting our national symbol, then show it by making this country more egalitarian, and a heaven where human & civil rights are protected.

The proposed legislation appears to be no more than another cheap political thrill as I understand the bill currently in Congress. Destroying private property is already a crime, just as it is, if you trespass on federal property and burn a flag. Another provision is based on the vague language that flag burning is illegal if it's done for intimidating purposes--and Hillary equates this to the cross burning by the knuckle-heads of the KKK. This is ridiculous, just as ridiculous is the attempt of a blue-stater to become part of the red-staters group of bullies. There are a few courageous Dems who hail from red states who have voted against such cheap legislation even if this hurts them back home. I would have expected more from a senator who hails from New York. I guess she has been impressed by former Clinton presidential adviser and prostitute-toe-sucking Dick Morris's ability to triangulate. [Though she might want to check out a sample of Morris's views about her]

I hope that this post has been helpful to the reader, for its informational value. Hillary's adoption of this disgraceful piece of legislation hasn't gotten the appropriate attention and critique, except in the alternative media and the progressive blogosphere. If, by any chance, Hillary expresses her appreciation for our help, I will post her thanks here as soon as I receive them. Meanwhile, without having a need to triangulate myself, I'm declaring that Hillary's latest act removed any chance that I'd vote for her in the primary. I wonder if she believes that burning her effigy should be a punishable offense as well... you know, like disrespecting, or, trying to intimidate a US Senator! Humbug, I say, humbug!