Monday, August 27, 2012

Week of 08/27/2012

The GOP’s Crazy Uncle Problem
– by David Matthews 2

Did you ever have a family member that you weren’t really proud of?

You know the one.

That family member that is so obnoxious and so outspoken that you really wish didn’t show up for the family outings. Usually it’s the “Crazy Uncle”; the guy that wears loud clothes, smokes cheap cigars, has on that cheap cologne, and will be happy to discuss with you every single crazy theory he comes across. He’ll tell anyone who will listen to him about how the world is controlled by five ultra-rich Jewish families living in Barbados and that fluorine in the water is a Communist conspiracy. If there’s a crackpot rumor, then he not only knows it but he is responsible for emailing half of them around the Internet. He’ll always have that one embarrassing moment in your life and wait until the right moment to remind everyone of it.

Think of the movie “Uncle Buck” with the title character played by the late John Candy. Then multiply his character by twenty, and delete the last half of the movie where he wins over the family.

Yeah, that uncle. The one whose jaw you really wish you could wire shut.

This week the GOP has their National Convention going on. This is essentially their biggest political commercial for the 2012 Presidential Election in November, and they need to get their message right if they want their champion, former Governor Mitt Romney, to defeat President Barack Obama.

In order to defeat Obama, the GOP’s message needs to be about the economy, and nothing but. They need to channel the ghost of Ronald Reagan and ask what he asked in 1984: is America better off than it was four years ago. And they need to make sure that the answer is a resounding “No!”

This is where the crazy uncle comes in.

The GOP’s crazy uncle thinks that the party’s message needs to be about abortion. Their crazy uncle thinks the message needs to be about banning birth control. Their crazy uncle thinks that it should be about shutting down Planned Parenthood and banning same-sex marriages. Their crazy uncle thinks that it should be about restoring “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. Their crazy uncle thinks the message needs to be about religion; specifically the crazy uncle’s religion.

Basically the GOP’s crazy uncle thinks that the message should be about the crazy uncle.

Crazy, isn’t it?

Of course, the GOP’s “crazy uncle” isn’t a person. It is a faction of their party. It’s the quasi-stable, irrational, dangerously narcissistic faction that complains about being characterized as clinging to “their bibles and their guns” while at the same time boasting about it.

So you have Congressman Todd Akin as part of that GOP Crazy Uncle contingent recently claiming that what he deemed to be “legitimate rape victims” have some sort of super-human biological power to prevent getting pregnant. And this tale, he said, was told to him by doctors.

Now if this was some freshman Congressman that came in from the last mid-term election, then that would be one thing. Then at least his pompous ignorance would be understandable. Condemned, but still understandable. But Akin has been in the Congress for over ten years now. Not only that, but he sits on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. In other words, he sits in judgment of people with intelligence far greater than his. It’s like putting a member of the Flat Earth Society in charge of NASA.

While editorials will characterize him as being foolish or “an idiot” (and some with even more colorful terms), Akin is actually the smarter one when compared to his constituents, who will mindlessly go along with what he says simply because he’s their Congressman, and because he’s their non-expert expert through the very committee he sits on.

Bear in mind that Akin isn’t alone. He isn’t the sole “Crazy Uncle” of the GOP. He’s just the latest to make his crazy known. He’s just part of that whole contingent of GOP members that are beholden more to C-Street than to K-Street or Wall Street.

And, yes, Akin’s “crazy uncle” moment puts a snag in the GOP’s strategy for November. They need to have the discussion be about the economy, because that is Obama’s weakness. They know that they will lose if the message morphs into being about social issues.

So you would think that the GOP would put a little more pressure on their “crazy uncle” faction to tow the line, right? You know; remind them of the “prize” and how they need to be less “crazy”.

Unfortunately, the party bosses really can’t do that, because the dirty little secret of the GOP is that they need their “crazy uncle” contingent in order to survive more than the “crazy uncle” needs to GOP.

Let’s get brutally honest here… the very reason why the “crazy uncle” is invited back to those family functions time and time again is because he can be counted on showing up every single time! That’s why the “crazy uncle” doesn’t change. That’s why the “crazy uncle” is not pressured to change. The crazy uncle knows that the family needs him, and as long as he keeps getting invited and keeps showing up at those functions, there’s no real reason for him to do anything different than what he has been doing. He continues to be as crazy as ever because he knows that no matter what, they will invite him to the next function. They continue to invite him because they know that they can count on him to be there.

And the same certainly holds true to the GOP’s “crazy uncle” contingent. They’ve known for a long time that the GOP needs them more than the other way around, so why should they change? The GOP needs them for that power they all crave.

The sad part for the GOP is that they have another “family faction” that would be perfectly-suited to champion Romney’s economic message. A faction that supports the very things that people like Romney and the other GOP members claim to champion like “less government” and “more businesses”. They’re not screaming about “secret Muslim conspiracies” or clinging to their “God and guns” or staging jingoistic crusades to benefit Chick-fil-A. They’re actually sane and rational and willing to work with the GOP; and yet, they are herded to the sidelines time and time again because of the GOP’s “crazy uncle” contingent.

In fact, they’re going to be at the GOP convention this week in Tampa, looking for some modicum of respect in exchange for the delegates that they have. History has shown, though, that they will get short-changed and screwed over.

I’ve met some of that “sane uncle” contingent. Once upon a time, I used to actually be part of that contingent in the GOP. I left because the GOP would rather cater to the “crazy uncles” than to the “sane” ones, and the party obviously has not changed a thing since.

This is one of the key reasons why the GOP has an uphill battle this coming November. As long as they pander to their “crazy uncle” faction, especially to the detriment of their more “saner” factions, then that is all that they will eventually have.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Week of 08/20/2012

Not Safe For Pedestrians
– by David Matthews 2

I remember when I went to school in both Connecticut and New Hampshire of two things:

First was that I hated the big yellow kid-pool service known simply as “The Bus”. Or, as one obnoxious and overbearing neighbor used to call it, “BUUUUUUS!”

I hated the school bus, mostly because of the people on it. Kids used to torment me relentlessly and I was not allowed to pound them into oblivion simply because they refused to allow me to sit down next to them.

That led to the second thing about going to school, which was that I loved it when I would be able to ride my bike to and from there. I couldn’t do it all the time, and certainly not in the winter, but as soon as the weather allowed it, I was riding my bike instead of waiting around for the yellow torment machine.

Of course, it wasn’t really safe. Even when I followed the rules of the road, the roads in those little towns were never meant for bikes. Still, they were put in with plenty of room for a bike rider to use without putting himself or herself in too much danger.

The same, however, cannot be said of roads here in the Southeastern United States.

A basic fact of America’s roads since at least World War II is that they were never really designed for anything except automobiles. While many of them came from old horse trails, today’s roads are designed, graded, and leveled primarily for cars and trucks. You can see this with the amount of “shoulder” they give for certain roads. In many places here in Georgia, you’re lucky if there’s enough road for two vehicles, never mind two semi-tractor trailer trucks, never mind provide any kind of “shoulder” if there’s a problem with a vehicle and you have to pull it aside. And while many suburban and urban areas will have some kind of sidewalk for pedestrians, that kind of consideration is not even an afterthought for most rural areas.

No, if Mister and Missus America want their precious little Johnny Dimple and Suzy Purebred to go to school, there’s really only two choices for them: drive the kids to school themselves and cause the systematic traffic jams that everyone hates, or have them take the big yellow “kid-pool” service, which the kids hate. Neither are really good choices.

In fact it is the source of much of Atlanta’s commuter misery year-in and year-out. Traffic becomes a problem only when school is in, and it stops being a problem during the various holidays and summer vacation.

So one has to wonder what school officials in the greater Metro-Atlanta area were thinking – if at all – when they decided to tell all the kids that live at least a mile from their schools that they now have to find some other way to get there besides the bus. Be it inside the City of Atlanta, or the suburbs, or even in the nearby rural areas, the school boards all seem to come to the decision that bus service should be only for the kids that live outside of a mile from the school (or even a mile-and-a-half for teens).

Bear in mind that the original decision was actually made years ago, but that school boards went ahead and allocated for the extra service anyway. But with school budgets shrinking thanks to the still-ongoing Great Recession, these local school leaders decided to discontinue the “convenience”, catching some parents completely unaware that they now had to drive their kids to school or else had them walk like the so-called “good old days”.

Now I could understand and appreciate the arguments that they could make about this decision. They could point to the waste of taxpayer money to have kids that are only two blocks away getting a bus ride. They could point to obesity numbers to say that the kids need some kind of exercise every day. Walking to and from school would certainly help.

There’s just one inherent flaw in any rationality they could come up with in telling the kids to “hoof” it: unless there’s a sidewalk, or unless you’re ready for even more traffic in that one-mile radius, the roads in Georgia are simply not safe for pedestrians.

Let’s get brutally honest here… these school boards are just inviting danger by having the kids walk to and from school, because Georgia roads are not equipped for anything except cars and trucks!

Believe me, I would otherwise be all for this decision if not for that simple reality about the roads here in Georgia. If every school had sidewalks within a two-mile radius, that would be one thing. Then I’d say “Get-a-steppin’”! If every road leading to and from schools had at least an eight-foot shoulder on each side, then I could go along with the decision and suggest even riding a bike. But these things don’t exist for most rural areas.

Urban parents worry about their kids having to walk past areas that could have hookers and drug dealers and gang – oh my! I’m sure those are legitimate threats, but those are far more manageable than the dangers of suburban and rural pedestrian travel.

How about having your kids walk along the side of the road barely wide enough for a normal vehicle to travel on, with a steep drainage ditch on the side that normally isn’t mowed and could have anything between broken glass, rats, and snakes hiding underneath? How about walking past yards where the neighborhood dog roams free and may or may not have a violent past? How about the semi driver trying to complete his all-nighter, hitting a turn and not seeing your kid until it’s too late? How about the working mother in the urban assault vehicle trying to rush her kids to daycare before going to work, with half her mind on her cellphone, half her mind telling her kids to shut up and watch the “Spongebob Squarepants” DVD, and none of her mind on who would be walking alongside the same road she’s on?

Hookers, dealers, and gangs can be managed. The over-stressed suburban mother in the SUV, not so much.

Speaking of which, now that you’ve eliminated the taxpayer-funded “kid-pool” service, guess what that means to parents that live inside that “no bus” range? If they don’t want their kids to get turned into roadkill, then it means that they have to drive those kids to school themselves. That adds to your traffic problem, and I have seen first-hand just how bad that can get when you have impatient parents being pressured to chauffeur their kids about.

And by the way, why should their taxes go to pay for a bus service that they will not be able to use? Why is their tax money subsidizing a convenience that they themselves are not able to use for their children by matter of geography? How long do you think it will take before some of your “Tea Party” people start asking that particular question? You want to split hairs about the budget? Trying to determine which family should pay for the bus service should be a real hum-dinger!

I know the budget-conscious officials will start screaming about where the tax money would come from to pay for that continued bus service, but I wonder if those same officials have also taken into account how much money they would have to fork over in insurance and legal costs if one of those new pedestrians end up getting maimed or killed while walking to or from school? All it takes is one bad driver to ruin your precious education budget, especially should the news come out that the only reason why that student was being put in harm’s way in the first place is because some school politician decided to cut the budget for bus service.

And, believe me, neither a grieving parent nor the local media would limit pointing the finger of blame on just the bad driver.

This subject is part of several larger problems that are systematically not being addressed. The continual economic death spiral from the Great Recession is only hastening the issue. A much larger problem deals with the roads and our over-dependence on gas-powered vehicles and not putting any emphasis on alternative methods of transportation such as walking or bicycles. Unless state and local officials are willing and capable of dealing with that situation first, then school officials here in Georgia are, in this commentator’s opinion, engaging in criminally negligent behavior by making these kinds of mindless financial decisions. And should that reckless decision result in tragedy, those officials should be singled out and be made to shoulder the full burden of accountability for it. “Sovereign Immunity” be damned!

“The Bus” may suck, but it gets the kids to school, and it is a better alternative than playing Russian Roulette with motorists that are only looking out for themselves.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Week of 08/13/2012

Token Enemies
– by David Matthews 2

What is it with both liberals and conservatives? With all of the faults that each side has, why do they feel compelled to manufacture enemies? And, more specifically, why choose enemies that are dead?

Let’s start with the liberals. The liberals seem to have an obsessive fixation on denigrating objectionist author Ayn Rand. Ms. Rand, of course, cannot defend against these accusations because she died about thirty years ago. But that doesn’t stop liberals in their continual assault on Rand, and libertarians, and linking them to the GOP and both conservatives and neo-conservatives.

The problem started when conservatives, and especially neo-conservatives, began referencing Rand’s book “Atlas Shrugged” as arguments to selectively slash government services. Congressman Paul Ryan, the GOP’s head “right-sizer” and new Romney running-mate, invoked Rand’s book as the supposed reason why he joined public service in the first place. Certainly the so-called “Tea Party” crowd has been quick to invoke Rand’s works in their demand to “fix government”.

Apparently that brought Ayn Rand into one of the key tenants of political warfare: Find the other side’s gods and then kill them. Of course the liberals were a few decades too late to literally do that to Ms. Rand, but they can quickly denigrate her name and her positions.

But if Ms. Rand were alive today, she probably wouldn’t be happy about the people using her words for their causes. She challenged many institutions, including and especially religion, one of the key pillars of the conservatives. She denounced statism in all its forms, but she also denounced libertarianism, which she attributed to being anarchism. She condemned same-sex relationships, but she also condemned the laws prohibiting it. She condemned a military draft, but she also considered draft-dodgers to be “bums”.

Now for libertarians, these contradictions make sense. But to simplistic black-or-white minds in liberal-versus-conservative world, these contradictions are confusing.

In fact, when faced with the truth about Ms. Rand’s paradoxical positions, Congressman Ryan immediately condemned the late Russian immigrant and invoked his own Soviet-style historical revisionism about his love of her works and words. Don’t worry, though, Congressman Ryan will have a few months to try to get that sorted out.

Listen up liberals, I’m going to give you the dirty little secret about the conservative and neo-conservative fascination about Ayn Rand: like everything else they claim to support, cons and neo-cons only have a selective love of Rand’s words, and that’s only for the stuff that gives them political power.

They love the part of cutting government, but only for the programs they personally don’t like. They’ll use her words to decry socialism and communism, but they won’t touch the parts that also decry fascism and theo-conservatism. They love the part of her hating draft-dodgers and condemning homosexuality, but they forget about her wanting to bar the draft and repeal the sodomy laws. They love her love of true laize-faire capitalism, but they despise the part where she believes it’s a better god than religion could ever provide.

In other words, they don’t really love Ayn Rand or truly support what she believed in. They only love power.

And it’s not just Ayn Rand. They’ll do the same thing to just about any book that would help them in their love of power. They would cite line and verse from comic books if doing so gave them that power. Come to think of it, comic book villain Lex Luthor did get elected President of the United States back in 2000.

Oh, but don’t get so hoity, conservatives and neo-conservatives, because you’re next! The liberals are rank amateurs compared to the character assassination and false-god tactics that you guys practically invented.

Let’s talk about Charles Darwin, a man who died back in 1882 but is still being blamed by both evangelicals and conservatives for all of the evils going on in the world today.

Darwin established a theory of natural selection, of which plants and animals came to be as they were in the 19th Century. It is a theory that is put in practice today by pet breeders, animal trainers, and botanists. Much like Copernicus and Galileo, Darwin was castigated by religious leaders for noticing something that went contrary to the supposed “established religious doctrine”.

And yet evangelicals will still spend countless hours on the pulpit condemning a man that has died over a hundred and thirty years ago. Conservatives will spend time on television and radio and in newspaper columns talking about crime rates and mass-murder sprees, and then point to Mister Darwin and pompously proclaim that all of it is “his” fault! How dare he make an observation about plants and animals that led other people to create a process known as “evolution” that is now taught in schools instead of the sanitized Book of Genesis! How dare he!

Even today, conservatives and theo-conservatives are waging war in the school boards of the South over that very subject; constantly reliving the Snopes Trial of the 1920’s in the vain hope of finally getting it right. After all, they won the original court case, but they lost the argument. And no doubt they’ll blame that on Darwin as well!

And yet, while they deride Darwin, they will also cheerfully embrace one of the offshoots of his observation of evolution; namely Social Darwinism! They argue even to this day that their successes, and the successes of the business world, are all a matter of just being better than rest of the people. They claim that they work harder and better than other people, so they prosper while the “weak” fail. That’s Social Darwinism, guys! You are embracing the benefits of a theory that you categorically object to in the name of politics!

But their token hatred of Charles Darwin pales in comparison to the passionate hatred conservatives and neo-conservatives exhibit towards German-born Karl Marx, who died in 1883.

Conservatives and theo-conservatives and neo-conservatives all like to beat their chests and claim that they like to compare the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and “The Communist Manifest”; a book written by Marx along with Friedrich Engels.

So let’s see, you have on your supposed reading list:

1. A declaration of separation and war that includes a list of charges made against the King of England which are not entirely the truth or have been exaggerated for effect. (Read the part about the Indians if you don’t believe me.)

2. A framework for establishing a new country based on principles that the authors themselves were not yet ready to fully embrace, including a list of amendments that the conservatives and neo-conservatives and theo-conservatives are guilty of sabotaging at every opportunity.

3. A speculative book written by two 19th century authors about how they see society eventually becoming.

No, I’m not kidding. That is all that “The Communist Manifesto” really is. It is speculation about social evolution beyond the 19th century timeframe. It is fiction!

You could substitute Aldus Huxley’s book “Brave New World” or Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” or H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” for all the good that it will do! In fact you would find more accurate social trends using Bradbury’s book along with the works of George Orwell and Robert Heinlein.

But, again, they’re fiction! And you’re trying to compare them to historical documents? That’s like complaining because the world didn’t turn out the way Gene Roddenberry painted it in the 1960’s for his TV series “Star Trek”! Yeah, where’s the Eugenics War and Kahn Noonian Singh? Where’s the Mars Colony? The “Great Bird of the Galaxy” said we should have done those things by now.

And yet conservatives and neo-conservatives and theo-conservatives want to get on their soapboxes and get in front of the radio microphones and cable news cameras and talk about Marx, a man that has been dead for almost a hundred and thirty years, and blame him for all of the ills in society today.

You can’t even apply Marx’s theories to world affairs today! The failure of the Soviet Union proved you can’t force society to suddenly “evolve” which was what Lenin and the other leaders of the Soviet Union tried to do. And it’s easy for other nations to embrace tyrannical dictates when they never really had a democratic system to supposedly “evolve from”. All you’re doing then is just swapping one dictatorial form of leadership with another and then calling that “communism”. It doesn’t make it so any more than claiming that democracy in and of itself produces freedom.

Let’s get brutally honest here… much like what the liberals do with Ayn Rand, the conservatives and neo-conservatives and theo-conservatives are fixated on Karl Marx and Charles Darwin because they are nothing more than token enemies. It’s like picking a fight with Godzilla, knowing full well that Godzilla won’t just come up behind you and stomp on you.

You can’t even call this the “straw man argument”. This is the “Dead Argument”. Dead people can’t fight back. Dead people can’t call you a liar or challenge you to back up your claims, or to take you to court for defamation. Perfectly suited for stagnant political parties with nothing to really offer society, except to waste their time and a lot of our money.

And that’s really the whole purpose of focusing their energies on token enemies that happen to be dead. If liberals are wasting time and energy harping about Ayn Rand, and if conservatives and neo-conservatives and the evangelicals are wasting their time and energy harping about Charles Darwin and Karl Marx, then they don’t have to spend one scintilla of energy or effort on today’s issues and today’s problems.

Liberals don’t have to answer for their spineless incompetence when they could go on and on about whether or not Ayn Rand accepted government assistance in her final years. Conservatives and their allies don’t have to deal with the problems of a broken economy or their own role in wasteful spending if they’re harping about Darwin’s theory of how plants and animals got started, or if they’re calling people “Marxists”.

Nothing gets done because both groups are busy bitching about dead people.

Ayn Rand is dead. She died long before the movers and shakers of big industry would screw over the rest of the United States. Her only “sin” is that she wrote books that espoused ideas that are currently being used to further screw over the nation.

Charles Darwin is dead. His only “sin” is that he had eyes and a mind and made some simple observations about how the world really operates as opposed to what the statist religious doctrines pronounced. And while he wasn’t the only one that made those observations at the time, he certainly is the one that gets the undeserving attention from those that are quick to castigate it.

Karl Marx is dead. His only “sin” is that he wrote a piece of fiction that other people think should become reality. He provided an idea that sounds appealing to those that have little, but it really is no different than the delusional fantasies you see on those “Get Rich Now” infomercials on late-night TV, or, for that matter, of the promises made by religious leaders of kingly rewards for fidelity and loyalty.

Both conservatives and liberals need to stop wasting time harping on dead people and start focusing on the problems affecting those currently alive. And if it is the ideas of those dead people that is what truly frightens these political groups, then the solution for them is simple: prove those ideas wrong.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Week of 08/06/2012

Two Wrongs Still Do Not Make It Right
– by David Matthews 2

I have a message for Boston Mayor Thomas Menino:

Thanks for nothing!

I want to believe that you meant well, Mister Mayor, I really do. But I have to laugh at your attempt to do something to speed up the same-sex marriage issue.

And by “laugh”, I don’t mean jokingly. This is not the “funny” laugh. It is more along the lines of “what the hell were you thinking if you were thinking at all” kind of laugh.

So Dan Cathy, president of the Chick-fil-A cheap chicken sandwich chain comes out and says that he supports the supposed “biblical definition of a family”. Let’s set aside the fact that the actual “biblical definition” of marriage is pretty broad and includes things that no modern-day Christian would ever attach their name to. It’s pretty obvious that Mr. Cathy is opposing same-sex marriages, and he’s using the Christian bible as his justification for it instead of just admitting that he’s bigoted.

For this, Mayor Menino, you decide to roll-up the city’s “Welcome” mat and publicly tell Chick-fil-A to find another city to expand to, citing Boston’s, and I quote, “long history of expanding freedom”.

You have got to be kidding!

Are you aware of the phrase “Banned in Boston”, Mayor Menino? It’s not just the title to an album by GG Allin.

“Banned in Boston” was a saying that got started in the 19th century when your predecessors began following the dictates of religious leaders in criminally banning anything that was deemed “offensive”. If there was a theatrical play they didn’t like, your predecessors would chase it out of town for them. If there were books they didn’t like, your predecessors would have those books seized and the authors and distributors arrested. Movies would supposedly be shut down the minute some minister deemed them to be “smut”.

I’m sure the famed Baltimore writer H.L. Mencken could vouch for Boston’s supposed “long history of expanding freedom”. He certainly wasn’t afraid to express his thoughts on the subject. Oh, wait; Mencken was jailed by your predecessors for selling issues of his magazine, “The American Mercury” in Boston.

How about Lillian Smith, whose interracial romance book “Strange Fruit” dealt with a rather taboo subject? Certainly that would qualify for “expanding freedom”, right? Oh, wait, that was also “Banned in Boston”.

How about the late author William Burroughs? I’m sure he could have recalled those fond times when his book “Naked Lunch” was being celebrated in your city. Oh, wait, it wasn’t celebrated in Boston. It was banned.

So much for your city’s great and illustrious history of “expanding freedom”!

But let’s put aside the evangelical-style revisionism of your city’s history, Mayor Menino, and get to the real issue.

You don’t like Dan Cathy’s statement or his opposition to same-sex marriages. Fine. As a citizen of the United States, you are more than welcome to express your dislike of his opinion.

But that does not entitle you, as Mayor of Boston, to then tell Chick-fil-A, as a business, to not set up shop in Boston! Your position does not entitle you to pick-and-choose which businesses you’ll pompously “allow” into the city based solely on the personal opinions of its executives!

It would be one thing if the chicken franchise had explicit policies preventing same-sex people from working there or preventing them from walking into those restaurants. If they hung up a sign that says “Deviant Sinners Keep Out”, then that would be one thing. But here you have a company executive expressing his personal and political belief, and for that, you are wielding your authority as Mayor of Boston to punish the whole franchise.

It was wrong when the Boston Watch and Ward Society did it in the 19th and 20th centuries, and it is wrong when you do it today!

But even worse is the consequence of your pig-headed action, Mayor Menino. You’d like to think that you were doing the gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered populace a favor.

You haven’t.

In fact, you may have sent their cause backward, not forward.

Let’s get brutally honest here, Mister Menino… by your words as Mayor of Boston, you have made Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A, and evangelical Christians in general into the victims on this issue! And if there is one thing that evangelical Christians are so sickening skillful at, it is milking the “poor helpless victim” card to the fullest possible extent, even – and especially – when they are the true agitators.

Thanks to you, Mayor Menino, the rest of the nation will have to endure weeks of jingoistic rhetoric from talk radio and cable news stations about how “big bad government is silencing God-fearing Christians for exercising their First Amendment rights!” And, no, the irony is not lost here, since it has been the “God-fearing Christians” that originally used the government to silence people like Mencken and Smith and Burroughs for exercising their First Amendment rights. It was the “God-fearing Christians” that invented the moniker “Banned in Boston”.

Even worse, this is jingoism for the sake of capitalism! From the same people that once argued that we all need to shop after 9/11 “lest the terrorists win”, the supposed “faithful” are now being told they have to spend as much money they can on Chick-fil-A “lest the gays win”. The evangelicals will do everything in their power to make sure that Chick-fil-A reaps record profits from this point on, “lest the gays win”. How’s that for a political legacy? You’re now the man behind the “don’t let the gays win” crusade for Corporate America.

Like I said in the beginning, I’d like to think that you meant well, Mayor Menino. You just don’t know who you are dealing with here. You cannot use guilt and shame against these people as you would, say, a Hooters restaurant or a bookstore that decides to sell “naughty” magazines. They have no guilt and they feel no shame over what they do and who they support. Not to mention they wrote the book on that kind of tactic.

The old saying is true, Mister Mayor; two wrongs certainly do not make a right. You don’t overcome the mindsets of people like Dan Cathy by using their own tactics. You do it by letting them demonstrate to the world how their own positions are wrong.

That, by the way, was how my predecessors - Mencken, Smith, and Burroughs - overcame yours, Mayor Menino.