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Thursday, April 08, 2004
"A Rude Awakening"
I was awakened by a ringing phone sometime after 3 pm. The caller claimed to be from the Family Values Coalition, or something like that.
He asked for Hart Williams. I responded in the affirmative.
He asked me if I would answer one question. I responded in the affirmative.
He asked: "Would you support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman?"
I responded in the negative.
Well, somehow I don't think they'll endorse me.
But later, when I was fully awake, and wondering if I'd made a tactical error, or should have been more politic, since being honest here could only harm me ...
I don't have any problem with my answer:They might as well know that I'm not their boy, right now.
Exhaustion. OK: It's hump week. Seven days hence, the tax season marathon, the endless sodas and cups of coffee, the late nights, reading glasses, computer screens, whirr of ten-keys cranking out tapes -- all will be a memory. I nearly said "fond." No. No one does taxes because they LIKE them.
People do taxes because other people DISLIKE them so much that they pay us the big bucks to do their taxes FOR them.
Tonight, I stared at a tax return for half an hour before I realized that I hadn't done ANYTHING.
It's that last week. Zombie time. Get in there and crank out them returns. Dot every 'i' cross every 't' and think about politics as little as possible. NEXT week we'll do politics. This week, we work and sleep and work and sleep and work.
So if the blog seems a tad ... unelaborated ... well, now you know why. :-)
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
The Christian Coalition Strikes
This morning I was awakened by the Christian Coalition. They had not received my candidate questionnaire and needed to get it by tomorrow afternoon. They wanted to give me their fax number. I wrote it down, so as not to be impolite. Then the insistent she-of-the-CC hung up.
I crumpled the piece of paper into a ball and threw the number at the wastebasket. The Quintessence of Michael Jordan was with me, and it went in. Three points. I decided that ANY day one is awakened by the Christian Coalition [who don't actually seem to embody EITHER quality] one really OUGHT to hide.
I went back to bed and slept for another three hours.
Here is their questionnaire (note the clever framing of the complex issues of the day into sentence fragments of three to eleven words, answerable only with true, false, don't know):
Hey! I know. YOU take it, and see how you feel, as a Democrat, about their three-to-eleven-word issues.
This survey is designed to help educate voters on some of the views and guiding principles of candidates for public office. Candidates are asked to mark the appropriate box indicating a general reaction to each statement.
What? No questions on Secular Humanism? No questions on Evolution? No questions on the Homosexual Agenda? What gives?
There. All filled out. How do you like my responses? More importantly, do you think that the Christian Coalition will endorse me?
Er, I took Republican Jeff Kruse's advice from the other night at Sacred Heart and didn't fill it out. Somehow, I think they'll manage to find someone to endorse just as easily with me out of the mix.
blog glob bolg oglb
Monday, April 05, 2004
Thought and Deed
There is a slippery slope that we see in law and legislatures a lot. It's the difference between thought and deed.
As far as I'm concerned, you ought to have the right to think anything that you like, no matter how "weird" or "sick" or "different." Why? Because we value the sanctity of the individual, and once you open the doors to mind control, the concept of privacy vanishes. And without privacy, where is individuality?
It is when you try to ACT OUT your thoughts that it becomes the purview of society. You have the right to fantasize about setting fire to some person that offends you. In fact, I would imagine that a lot of us have has fantasies of, say, sticking our worst enemy in a giant soup can and rolling them off a cliff into the ocean. The fantasy was probably just fleeting, and we quickly dismissed it.
We probably even felt guilty about having those thoughts, or we might not ever tell anyone we had them, and that's absolutely fine. We might feel blameworthy about thinking those kinds of things on occasion, but until someone's ACTED on those thoughts, it isn't any concern of government's. Unless there's a clear public danger -- like the famous crying of "fire" in a crowded theater -- people even have the right to talk about those kinds of fantasies.
Why do I say that? Because I knew a man, right here in town, who lost a huge chunk of his business because somebody sued a musical group for having made a record that glorified bad thoughts, and, it was alleged, someone acted on those bad thoughts, harmed another person, and they were suing the musicians, the record company, and the store that sold the record ... and the musicians' lawyers and the record company's lawyers decided it was cheaper to settle.
Unfortunately, what was cheap for the record company and the musicians was, in his share, nearly enough to bankrupt the local man who'd sold the record. And, defending himself alone against the charges that he was to blame because someone had gotten a bad idea from a record would have cost even more. So: what I'm talking about isn't theoretical. And I think it's wrong. You can entertain any thought that you care to think: it is ONLY when you act those thoughts out that you become a matter for law.
Thousands listened to that record without ever harming anyone. I think the blame clearly has to rest with those who did the harming. There is a difference between deeds and daydreams.
Because that's all that they are: daydreams. And nearly every adult understands the difference between a daydream and reality. Government should only be concerned about reality. People's daydreams, whatever we might think of them, aren't our concern.
There is an alternative model of political thinking that I think works a lot better than the old model of conservative/liberal. Instead of just two poles, there are actually four. The contrast of authoritarian/libertarian forms a spectrum as well. You can have a libertarian conservative, or an authoritarian liberal. I happen to be a libertarian liberal. (By contrast, George Bush is an authoritarian conservative.)
Authoritarians -- of both liberal and conservative persuasions -- want to regulate not only the reality but the daydream as well. I don't. What you think is your own business. It's only when you make that thinking into a reality that I think government has a legitimate concern. But you can think whatever you want. That's what underlies the First Amendment, and I, as a writer, have always been a passionate defender of the First Amendment.
Your deeds are your responsibility, and you will have to answer for them, in one way or another. But your thoughts are -- and always should be -- your own.
A Parallel Universehart williams
This is a strange sort of blog entry.
Because it relates to something outside of the campaign but utterly about the REASON I'm running for this office in the first place.
I am a member of a group that has become suddenly very popular, and our numbers have swollen recently, doubling nearly every month.
We decided to hold an event. That was when the trouble really started.
One of our members, a self-appointed “Alpha” male type has suddenly decided, without any encouragement from anyone whatsoever, that he’s our “leader,” and is barking orders left and right.
Rather ironically, many members of our group have spent a lifetime fighting against the various manifestations of the ultimate and utter authority of the White European Male, but when confronted by this ... self-important fellow, they are intimidated and bullied into silence. This is his forte: verbal intimidation.
So, for the past couple of weeks, but most ESPECIALLY since the middle of last week, He, Himself, the Imperial “I” has been on a rampage of order-making, authority-taking, and agenda-setting. He insulted three of our women members, who, as volunteers, EACH had done at least as much as he ever did. In each case, he belittled their contribution, pooh-pooh’ed their input, and wouldn’t even allow them to finish their comments before ...
Let’s just say that he would have been quite an asset to any ship before the invention of self-powered propulsion. This individual seems to have no thought whatsoever for anyone but himself, and “lawdy lawd, he DO go on!” Certainly, this is the first individual I have ever met who could single-handedly inflate a hot-air balloon with his own exhalations.
The point being, that, as with the Democratic Executive Committee imbroglio (simply left hanging in an unembarrassed silence), without intervention, this sad state of affairs will continue to the detriment of all.
I could not confront him directly -- again, ironically, because the membership of the committee is more against confrontation than injustice. What is wrong with us that we in Oregon would rather accept indignity, iniquity and injustice rather than face the honest confrontation of saying: “WHAT THE HECK IS THIS?”
We MUST speak up if we intend to preserve our rights, else said rights will disappear in silence.
This is a prescription for tyranny. The First Amendment exists for us to voice our displeasure, and voice it I have. But I have had to -- as one often does -- voice it diplomatically, in a less than above-board and straightforward manner. Not because I wouldn’t prefer open process, but because sometimes people seem to fear that more than injustice.
Well, we can have justice AND discretion.
And that’s what I’ve been doing these past several days.
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* O T H E R S T U F Fo There is no other stuff at this time. There might be someday, though. One can always hope.