July 8, 2011

AMERICAN ELECTORATE AGREES THE GOP IS UNFIT TO GOVERN

David Brooks speaks the truth!

New York, NY: The City of New York has almost 8.2 million residents, according to the 2010 census, with a metropolitan area population of nearly 20 million inhabitants. The students in city public schools speak 176 different languages, and nearly 800 different languages are spoken by local residents. New York is a melting pot of cultures, ideas, religion, races, political ideology, and some believe the city to be the culture capital of the world.


When I moved to Manhattan, it was a fairly easy transition, as I had spent so much time in the city, from the time I was a toddler, to my coming of age as an adult. When I was interviewing for jobs, I had multiple interviews with 2 companies, and it became evident that I was going to be offered both positions. I knew that one company had a large number of employees that were gay, and I knew that the other company did not. I wondered how I would choose one company over another.


I had a couple years experience hiding my sexuality, and felt that I could handle working in an environment that was homophobic. I didn't know about homophobia at that point. If you were gay, you were enculturated to hide your true and authentic self, and I was specifically told to lie about my sexuality, if the issue ever came up, by a gay head hunter. I will never forget this head hunter telling me that if I wanted to get a job in New York, that I would have to be clever about hiding my sexuality, due to the Aids epidemic, and the widely held belief that if you were gay you had Aids, which made you unemployable.

With the issues I had within myself in accepting my sexuality, and the internalized homophobia I harbored, i knew that I could be complicit and play along with co-workers or bosses, if they chose to tell ugly gay jokes. I could play straight. I would have to condone the homophobic gags and the pigs who told the jokes, because that's what we had to do, it was reality and the way life was. Like me, most of the gay men I knew had plenty of practice enduring ugly behavior, because we survived the constant taunts and bullying from our peers while growing up.


I received the  job offers within 3 days of each other. Only $1,000 separated the starting salary, and I chose to accept the higher offer, and was relieved that it was a company with quite a few gay employees.

The commuter culture is enormous in New York City, and commuters like to read. The long commutes to the city helped support at least 4 daily newspapers, plus the Wall Street Journal. Newspapers were de rigeuer in the office, always visible on your desk, or on a senior executive's credenza. The newspaper was meant to signify that you were smart, and ambitious. There wasn't a rule that said you had to read, or subscribe, to any newspaper, though the corporate culture reflected otherwise, with the paper of choice being the New York Times.


My morning routine consisted of waking up and showering, and then donning my corporate uniform of suit and tie, wingtips, and a standard issue London Fog khaki raincoat for late fall and spring, and a black heavy  overcoat in winter. I would bound down the 5 flights of stairs, in my west village walk-up apartment, and walk briskly to the corner news stand, where I would plop down my dollar in exchange for the New York Times and the NY Post.


As a child, growing up in a NYC suburb, when Sunday arrived, I always looked forward to getting my hands on the arts and leisure section first, before anyone else could mess up, ruin, and wrinkle, what I believed to be my missal and bible. I could count the Nina's in a Hirschfeld drawing with ease, and would memorize the theater listings, and fantasize about getting to see every show, just like an avid Yankee fan might dream about seeing the Yankees play in every game at the House that Ruth built. 


When my mother was wrestling with the Sunday Times crossword puzzle, which she did weekly, you knew because she'd be muttering four letter words under her breath, because she couldn't figure out a word in the puzzle, or you'd hear my father putting the newspaper on the linoleum floor, to protect it from the puppy who peed every time a living human, or cat, glanced in his direction.


I would think about the New York Times, in the context of a Sunday, because it would be as integral to a Sunday morning, as the eggs and bacon my dad would cook the family for breakfast. Aunt Minnie, the old aunt with a hormone problem, and more facial hair than an Amish farmer, would refuse to allow me to buy a Sunday Times. If my parents went out of town, my brother and sisters and I -  would stay at her home. I remember the arguments vividly. She would say that the Morning Call had the funnies, and the same news that was in the Times, and I would drive her nuts by saying the Morning Call didn't have all the news that's fit to print, and the New York paper weighed more, so it had to be better.


As an adult living in the city, buying the newspapers while I was on my way to work, became my morning ritual. The news agent would see me coming and would have my newspapers pre-folded, and would hand the two papers to me, folded and held together with a rubber band, with the Post firmly tucked inside the Times (so that no one would see the reviled Post on the subway or in the elevators at work). I paid the news agent my dollar, while still maintaining my stride, and we had a quick choreographed exchange of money and newspapers, that would have made Balanchine smile.


I was young, gay, and a very naive registered Republican, living in New York. I tried to read the Times from cover to cover, every day, and bought the New York Post for the gossip on Page Six, and Patric Walker's horoscopes. One too many anti-gay Ray Kerrison columns pissed me off, and I abruptly stopped buying the Post altogether.


The New York Times was a thread in the fabric of my life, that began in early childhood and continued as an adult. Through writing this blog post, I can't help but recognize that the New York Times was like a home town paper, even for a kid from suburban New Jersey.


Fast forward to today. This year, The Times erected a pay wall, to access their content. With the number of choices we have today, to consume news, whether online or via cable, I haven't felt it was necessary to subscribe. I've even felt resentful toward the Times, because erecting that paywall has broken my routine of firing up the computer in the morning, and going to the Times homepage to see "all the news that's fit to print." Like a lover scorned, I stopped listening to the Times podcasts I enjoyed, and I wouldn't look at their news feed on my google news page.


This bothered me, because I knew I was missing out. The Times employs brilliant writers. Even if you disagree with them, they make you think, and challenge what you know. Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman, David Brooks, Michael Gordon, David Pogue, and Paul Krugman, are all brilliant. The sad thing about this list, in my opinion, is that the editorial page is dominated by white men (with the exception of Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins).


The Waverly Diner
I'm a news junkie, and the lack of a deal in Congress,  regarding the debt ceiling, infuriates me. The Republican members of Congress obstruct every bill that seems to comes along. The haughtiness and moral authority they claim to possess, sickens me. The party of Lincoln and Roosevelt, and even Reagan, is long gone. They do not work with the opposition, there is no compromise, and they have turned into a radical fringe party, with no interest in creating jobs, or ensuring that health care is available for all citizens, and they thumb their nose at the Constitution, which guarantees that the US will pay all government debts.


I was looking over my google news page on Tuesday, and saw a blog reference to a David Brooks column published on July 4th, entitled "The Mother of ALL No-Brainers." I think that David Brooks, the conservative columnist for the New York Times, who writes about politics, is a highly intelligent guy. He is never shrill, can debate an adversary with a smile, and has deeply held conservative beliefs in small government, and free market principles, with a bit of libertarian philosophy thrown in for good measure.


You can't paint David Brooks with the same brush that you would use to paint partisan Republicans, because Brooks favors gay marriage as a conservative principle, which he first articulated in a 2003 column


I saw some more references to David Brooks column in 2 different blogs, and thought I have to break my pledge to not read the New York Times. I have to read this column.


In his piece  "The Mother of ALL No-Brainers," Brooks makes a case that the GOP is asleep at the wheel, and because of that, they are unfit to govern. Here are his major points, which I am paraphrasing where possible. Brooks wrote:
"The Republicans have changed American politics since they took control of the House of Representatives. They have put spending restraint and debt reduction at the top of the national agenda.......They have turned a bill to raise the debt limit into an opportunity to put the U.S. on a stable fiscal course.
The Republican Party.......is being offered the deal of the century: trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for a few hundred billion dollars of revenue increases. 
A normal Republican Party would seize the opportunity to put a long-term limit on the growth of government. It would seize the opportunity to put the country on a sound fiscal footing. 
This, as I say, is the mother of all no-brainers.
But we can have no confidence that the Republicans will seize this opportunity. That’s because the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative.
The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise, no matter how sweet the terms.
The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities. 
The members of this movement have no sense of moral decency. A nation makes a sacred pledge to pay the money back when it borrows money. But the members of this movement talk blandly of default and are willing to stain their nation’s honor. 
The members of this movement have no economic theory worthy of the name. 
If the debt ceiling talks fail, independent voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not. If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern.
 And they will be right."
Wow. This is a great column, and will probably prod the GOP to make a deal, I would think. Both Republicans and Democrats will be holding their noses, during negotiations, but this sort of honest assessment and journalistic integrity is what sets the New York Times apart from other news outlets. Thank you David Brooks. You have articulated what most Americans, gay and straight, think about Congress. The Republicans are holding the American people hostage, because they are beholden to an idea. It appears that the Republicans lack the intellectual capacity to understand reasoning, in order to fashion a compromise, which is completely unacceptable.


Thank you David Brooks for pointing out the obvious, and I'm glad that I was able to read your column, and happy that I could share it here.  The Gray Lady rocks, and makes me proud! You've entertained and educated me over the years, you challenged my mom with your puzzles, and helped out dad and our peeing puppy. Thanks for all of that. This week, in a logically constructed essay, devoid  of hyperbole and lofty rhetoric, David Brooks wrote the column of the year, which will be the catalyst for "Autumn in America 2012 - GOP STILL UNFIT TO GOVERN AND BOOTED OUT OF OFFICE". SWEET!


Written and posted by Haightmale on the blog "Tie-dyed Jive in the (415)"

http://haightmale.blogspot.com/

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