Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Not-So Golden Age

Conservatives and Christianists are always nattering on about the Golden Age of the 1950s. Everything was wonderful in the 1950s. WASP males ruled the world, with their exclusive privileges and perogatives enforced by law and custom. Drinking and smoking were universal. Nobody cussed (except the Good Ole Boys in their exclusive boardrooms). Sexuality was repressed...as, indeed, were virtually all other human emotions. Everybody went to (Christian) church, and collection plates were overflowing. To hear the Conservtives and Christianists speak, the 1950s were Heaven. And the wrold would be much better off if we returned to the values of that era.

Odd, then, that they never mention one more fact of life in that Golden Age.

Throughout the 1950s, the top income tax rate was 91%.

Wonder how many Conservatives think we should return to that?


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Monday, December 20, 2004

This Yahoo story says that "Nearly half of all Americans believe the U.S. government should restrict the civil liberties of Muslim Americans, according to a nationwide poll."

According to this survey by Cornell:

44 percent favored at least some restrictions on the civil liberties of Muslim Americans. Forty-eight percent said liberties should not be restricted in any way...27 percent of respondents supported requiring all Muslim Americans to register where they lived with the federal government. Twenty-two percent favored racial profiling to identify potential terrorist threats. And 29 percent thought undercover agents should infiltrate Muslim civic and volunteer organizations to keep tabs on their activities and fund-raising.

Folks, this is exactly why you can't put the civil rights of minorities up to vote. It's why we let "activist judges," rather than mob rule, decide questions of civil rights.

Some day, some pollster is going to think to ask if people support restrictions on speech by fundamentalist Christian groups. I'm guessing that a majority of the population would answer "yes."

And when that day comes, the Ivory Madonna will be waiting to hear impassioned choruses of "Let the voters decide!"

...but she won't be holding her breath.


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Homegrown Democrat

The Ivory Madonna has been reading -- and savoring -- Garrison Keillor's Homegrown Democrat. This marvelous little book is a meditation on Democratic values, and the nature of the Republican threat to the United States.

Here's a reflection on riding the bus:

In the new privatized low-tax minimal-services society the Republicans are striving to lay on us, public transportation will offer no pleasure whatsoever. The bus will be for losers and dopes. The driver will sit in a bulletproof box and there will be no conversation with him. The bus will be full of angry and sullen people who have lost hope that their kids can rise in the world and have a better life, which is the hope that makes it possible for me to turn to you and say something about the weather. Civility leads to civilities. In Republican America, you will not enjoy public life period. The public library, that great democratic temple, will become a waiting room for desperate and broken people, the alkies, the wacked-out, the unemployables, and the public schools will become holding tanks for children whose parents were too unresourceful to find good schools for them, and politics will become so ugly and rancid that decent people will avoid expressing an opinion for fear of being screeched at and hectored and spat upon.

I don't know about you, but from where the Ivory Madonna sits, that last part is already entirely too real....

Here's another quote:

America is not a religious country, no matter how many Americans say they believe in God. I've been in religious countries and this is not one of them. There is no Sabbath, no fasting or prohibitions, every day is a feast day. You can buy liquor on Sunday almost anywhere, find pornography in any Marriott or Wal-Mart, say any ugly, profane thing on the radio or anywhere -- we're fat and sloppy and as disciplined as a battalion of cats, an impulsive, dreamy people walking around eating ice cream cones and eyeballing the girls' sweaters and dreaming of a big hit in the lottery. If God is looking for a nation to carry out His will on earth, it isn't this one. And it wasn't leftist professors who led us into the sins of the flesh: it was capitalist entrepreneurs. If the Pharisees really wanted to make this a God-fearing nation, they'd be taking up their cudgels against fellow Republicans.

In this connection, my friend Don Sakers has posted this reply to a Republican Party letter asking him to change his affiliation from Democrat of Republican.

The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.