My Facebook posts in the days after the 2012 election provide a glimpse into how and why I reacted the way I did to what happened.
Storified by Domenico Bettinelli · Mon, Nov 12 2012 12:00:47
On the Wednesday after the election, I woke up in a very bad mood. While we’d won the Question 2 assisted suicide vote in Massachusetts (just barely), we’d lost nearly everything else: Senate, presidency, marriage votes in three (and later four) states, legalized marijuana. Everything.
Fair warning to everyone I encounter today: I’m in a piss-poor mood. America has embraced lies, economics of envy, destruction of family, blindness to extremists and terrorism, rejection of religious freedom. Is it any wonder when we are at historic lows for people who profess a religious faith and adults who are married? When you have lost family and faith, the only institution left is government. I hope you all are very happy together.
Why was I so angry, though? It’s not like the people I’d voted for hadn’t lost elections before.
Fr. Matt said I should co-host on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TheGoodCatholicLife" class="">The Good Catholic Life</a> today instead of him. That would be a very, very bad idea. Entertaining for others, but only in the "car crash at Talledega" way.
I concluded that it must be precisely that reason. We keep losing elections and we keep losing them with candidates we’re not all that excited about in the first place.
People keep saying that Obama won the "Catholic" vote. Does having some ancestor who once worshipped in a Catholic church regularly make you Catholic? In what meaningful way can someone who rejects the faith be called Catholic?
And we keep losing the elections with Catholics voting for candidates that should inimical to them, candidates who support positions that should be unacceptable. So I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been fooling myself all this time. I used to tell myself that however bad things are, there is a silent majority of conservatives, that when push came to shove a majority of Americans wouldn’t support marriage, morality, and an economics of common-sense. I believed this despite the evidence of that past several decades which clearly show the United States moving in the exact opposite direction. And so I conclude that this was a phantasm of my own wishful thinking.
"If you’re discouraged today, it’s because you don’t have enough faith or don’t trust in God or you put your trust in the wrong things." <br> Screw that attitude. I’m discouraged because the love of God doesn’t mean our country isn’t going to go up in smoke. God loved the Romans in the Roman Empire. He loved the Carthaginians. He loved all the Catholics in North Africa.<br> <br> Yes, God is faithful, but man is not and our country just gave him the big middle finger. We haven’t just passed the tipping point. We passed the point of no return. There just aren’t enough people left who believe in traditional morality, traditional work ethics, traditional self-sufficiency.
I was thus discouraged not by a single election, but by the realization of what we’ve truly lost. We’ve passed the point of no return where it will take a major catastrophe to bring people to a point to realize what we’ve done.
More adults in the US are unmarried than married for the first time. No offense to single folks, but people are who are married with kids think differently and form the stable, conservative foundation against wild swings. We have the highest rate of people who have no faith in history. That’s another massive difference. Even people we used to think as conservative are okay with homosexuality, with contraception, with all the other crap. This time I think it’s too far gone to come back without everything going to hell. Until we’re stripped of everything but God, we won’t wise up as a people.Domenico Bettinelli
What I’ve learned in the past 48 hours is that if I’m disappointed in the results of the election and the direction the country is headed in I’m a hater who lacks faith in God and/or the American people, who’s unwilling to compromise and who’s being whiny rather than rolling up my sleeves to make the change I want to see (because I don’t get to have a moment to be disappointed or angry) and who should stop being blind in my political preferences and "nanny nanny boo boo, you lost and we won." <br> Or so I’m told.<br> <br> Does that about cover it?
Of course, there are those who were quick to label people like me whiners and haters. They said we couldn’t get past our dislike of a particular politicians and move on for the sake of America. They just don’t get it. It’s not about Obama or any one politician, but the whole lot of them: Democrat, Republic, third-party. You have to search very hard to find a true conservative and even then they’re outliers. What upsets me is that it’s all gone to pot. And so now the disappointment and anger I felt on Wednesday has hardened into determination. I’m not going to turn into a conspiracy theorist who sees black helicopters and concentration camps in our future, but neither am I inclined to mollycoddle or mince words.
The doctor recommended a prescription for a medication that could radically improve my life. It’s not directly life sustaining, but it would make an amazing difference in the quality of my life. <br> Unfortunately, it’s $200 per month and our insurance doesn’t cover it.<br> <br> In the New America, shouldn’t I demand this by right from the 1%? If Sandra Fluke can get free birth control from her Catholic university employer so she can bed down with whomever she wants at no (fiscal) cost to her, should I demand my Catholic employer give me whatever medication I want to improve my quality of life? Granted I’m a middle-aged white male and thus by definition somehow one of life’s great privileged few and de facto member of the 1%. <br> <br> Nevertheless, the lesson from our latest election is that my wants and needs trump the common good, so …. GIMME!!
Dom, I was out of work for a year. My meds that I DID NEED TO SURVIVE cost $2700 a month. I was bringing in $1100. Thanks to a govt. program I was able to get them at reduced cost, but since that happened under Obama I guess that’s a bad thing.Bob Duncan
Bob, but you did need them to survive and were out of work. I don’t need them to survive and have a job, thus I am one of the privileged. Still, we live in the era of the handout so maybe I can get one now. We’re giving away everything for free now, so why not?Domenico Bettinelli
The government programs that provided your meds well pre-existed Obama and they’re there just sort of situations. Obamacare opens up the goody bag so now any horny co-ed who’d rather not spend the weekend beer money on the Pill can get free ones from her Catholic employer. It’s a brave new world!Domenico Bettinelli
I’m going to say what I think and damn the consequences. I’ve already had some people unfriend me on Facebook and other social media. (Although this new attitude seems to be popular because I’ve had an unusual number of friend requests too.
The "Man who killed Bin Laden" will brook no dissent from the men who actually killed Bin Laden. After SEALs criticized him and campaigned against, Obama will
retaliate against all Navy SEALs. BEcause if there’s one thing that defines the Chicago way it’s revenge and payback.
This is a new era we’re in. This lame-duck lame president is going to be driving us to new lows in our country. Maybe that will finally wake up the sheep who thought we should give this incompetent, self-important boob from Chicago four more years because four years just isn’t enough to fix… well, anything. (Never mind that Reagan and even Clinton were able to do it.) And so while I sit up nights trying to figure out how to pay the oil bill and buy food and pay the mortgage, I can console myself that at least I didn’t vote for this situation, but have fought it all along for the past twenty years. I wonder how the idiots who voted for all this will console themselves.
ELizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate for US Senate in Massachusetts, was recently embroiled in controversy over indications that she has claimed in her academic biography to have minority status because of Native American heritage.
Storified by Domenico Bettinelli · Sat, May 05 2012 11:30:13
The story began with a report in the Boston Herald that Warren’s employer, Harvard University, included her on a list of minority faculty because of supposed “Native American heritage”, which the candidate rarely mentioned on the campaign trail and which the campaign scrambled to substantiate.
Harvard trips on roots of Elizabeth Warren’s family treeElizabeth Warren’s avowed Native American heritage – which the candidate rarely if ever discusses on the campaign trail – was once touted…
As the story progressed, it came out that Warren had listed herself in directories of minority faculty at several universities as far back as 1986. Warren defended her actions by saying she simply wanted to meet other people with “tribal roots”.
Warren: I used minority listing to share heritageDemocratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, fending off questions about whether she used her Native American heritage to advance her ca…
Of course, the idea of “tribal roots” is pretty farcical considering that it’s her great-great-great grandmother who was Cherokee. That makes her 1/32nd Cherokee, which is so diluted as to be dismissed by most geneticists as anything more than a genealogical curiosity.
How to Determine Your Native American PercentageMany inhabitants of the Americas have Native Americans heritage. Many people would like to know the percentage of their bloodline for gen…
In fact, I would have more claim to being Irish, English, Scottish, Russian, French-Canadian, or Jewish, than Elizabeth Warren has to being called Native American. On the other hand, if her background were the Kaw tribe, she’d be okay as that’s the only one of all the US tribes that goes as deep as 1/32nd.
Blood quantum laws – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaBlood Quantum Laws or Indian Blood Laws is an umbrella term that describes legislation enacted in the United States to define membership …
Which brings us to the latest jokes and humor. A Facebook friend posted a funny status update about how the Warren campaign was addressing the controversy head-on and linked to a “campaign ad” which was really this video.
Tim McGraw – Indian Outlaw (official music video)timmcgrawnumber1hits
So of course, I posted it on Twitter because it was so hilarious.
Which resulted in this humorless liberal’s response.
Look #ScottBrown they have an ethnic-name-tag #fauxcahontas. Good luck w/that ugliness. You’ll get all the IndyVote @bettnet #masen #mapoliSuzanne Williams
@SuzanneWilliam4 And yet it was Elizabeth Warren who decided to use a fake ethnic heritage to pump up her biography. Which is uglier?Domenico Bettinelli
She tried to play the elitest academic card.
@bettnet How familiar are you w/academia, not including student? Genuine question. Not criticizingSuzanne Williams
But I could counter that easily.
@SuzanneWilliam4 My wife worked as a college professor until she had our first child 6 years ago.Domenico Bettinelli
@bettnet Then u kno culturally diverse facultiesr rspctd & ntwrkng for it is COMMON. For learning. She didn’t lie. U just want her to have.Suzanne Williams
This left my jaw agape. Was she really suggesting that Warren was justified in her outrageous claim because it helped with her academic career? This is a lame defense.
But it’s all part of the liberal academic elite idea of identity politics. What’s not important is whether your claim to victim/oppressed/minority status is truly valid, so much as that you claim it. Yet this Suzanne Williams seems it’s justified on the grounds of helping with faculty networking.
@SuzanneWilliam4 Telling a lie with a reason is still a lie. If she can be native A, then so can I along with most Americans. Stop spinning.Domenico Bettinelli
@bettnet Not spinning. Don’t accuse me of it. Do U really blv she tried to get a pass as a NatAmer? It sounds outragous bc it is. It’s crazySuzanne Williams
@SuzanneWilliam4 U said it urself: She wanted respect as a native American when she has no real basis for calling herself such.Domenico Bettinelli
@bettnet Not what I said. Ethnicity & culture are a very big part of academia Not sure how to explain that to you but I don’t really care toSuzanne Williams
I do understand what she’s saying. The problem is that she can’t understand why I would think it’s wrong. It’s wrong because claiming an ethnicity and culture of a minority status doesn’t help that minority group but disenfranchises them by watering down what it means to be them. Real native Americans suffered for decades (and continue to suffer in many places) from discrimination and disenfranchisement. But if someone with a golden spoon in her mouth like Elizabeth Warren can claim to be native American, then she would be a sign that things aren’t as bad for native Americans as they really are.
There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage, but trying to capitalize on it as part of identity politics is wrong. I’m proud of my Jewish grandfather who escaped the Cossacks in Russia as a young boy and came to America to found a successful business, but I’m not going to offer my name for listing in directories of Jewish faculty or businessmen or anything else. Likewise, I’m proud of my French-Canadian Acadian heritage which I can trace back to French nobility that escaped the guillotine during the Revolution, but I’m not going to fly to Paris and walk into Versailles as if I own the place.
Elizabeth Warren may not have done anything illegal, and it may not even rise to the level of unethical conduct, but it’s unseemly, especially for someone who wants to be a US Senator, and it smacks of an attitude and mindset that our country can do less of.
In fact, it reminds me of our current senior Senator from Massachusetts. And we already have one of those.
There’s been a lot of furor over the Obama administration’s implementation of universal health care, specifically the provision by Health and Human Services department regulation that every health insurance plan, without exemption for religious reasons, must include coverage for contraception for employees.
The Catholic Church (and I don’t mean just the bishops) has reacted very strongly against this intrusion on our religious liberty. Some have said that this is just the chickens coming home to roost; that it’s the result of years of backing down from conscience violating laws when the institution, but not individual Catholics, gets an exemption.
And then last week, Obama claimed to offer a compromise—one that didn’t include anyone but his own team in the “negotiations”—that wasn’t really a compromise at all. In fact, Nothing has changed:
But the rule HHS finalized on Friday actually put in place nothing like what the president announced. On the contrary, the final rule enacts the very same terms that HHS had announced on January 20th.
But I think there’s a wider issue here as well. Under the President’s plan, the health insurers for Catholic organizations would be required to provide contraception to employees at no cost. But not a word was said about government reimbursement. In fact, it looks to me that what the federal government has done has ordered an industry to provide a product at no cost, with no reimbursement.
What’s next? Doing away with food stamps and ordering grocery stores to provide food to the poor out of their own pocket? Telling local fuel oil providers to give heating oil to customers who can’t afford it? Free college educations for all?
This is essentially nationalization of industry. I’m no constitutional scholar, but it seems to me that this is unconstitutional. Why isn’t the insurance industry howling? Why haven’t they been fighting Obamacare tooth and nail? If this law was really going to reform healthcare in this country and make it less expensive, you’d expect they wouldn’t like that at all. Maybe they aren’t protesting because in the end they know that with the federal government being the bad guy—mandating premiums, limiting treatment options (except where it’s requiring them like this)—they’re going to end up with even fatter profits.
The HHS mandate is just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s not really news for any of us who objected to four years of extreme policies from this White House. While I have great hope that come November we’ll have a new president, I think this thinking goes beyond one president and even one party. I have a hard time imagining politicians mustering the will to walk back all the Obama-era excesses. If so, we are on a very bad path indeed.
“A lot of us are already in debt and we haven’t graduated yet. A lot of my friends, even though they work 20 hours a week, that is not enough to cover their expenses,” said Rick, a 19-year-old psychology major. “A lot of us can’t even afford to get sick.”
Hey, Rick, join the club. You’re not the first generation of college students who had to go into debt. But here’s the thing: You made a choice to go to college. You knew what the tuition was. You knew you’d have to take loans. But you made a value-judgment weighing the cost versus the benefits. (At least I hope you did and you didn’t go to college because you were aimless and lacking in direction or you just wanted to extend your adolescence.)
You could have taken a job or enlisted, saved up money, gone to school later. 20 hours per week? I know people who worked 40 hours per week or more on top of a full schedule. Sure, there’s isn’t time for partying (or street protests), but for them the hard work and sacrifice will pay off. Or you could have looked for a full-time job and gone part-time at night. It might take you longer to get that degree, but you’d have the satisfaction of knowing you didn’t have to take a handout to get it.
Bottom line, Rick, is that life’s not fair. There will always be somebody with a bigger salary, a better car, a nicer job. So what? Get over it. Stop worrying about what the other guy’s got and start making your own way. Think of anyone you know who’s a success (someone who worked for it, not had it handed to them in an inheritance or they cheated their way into it). I’ll bet they worked hard, didn’t complain too much about what the other had that he didn’t and took advantage of every opportunity. That’s the American dream, baby, not sleeping in a makeshift hobo camp, complete with WiFi and catered smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels for breakfast (from actual news reports).
The thing is most of the rest of America agrees with one key aspect of your protest: We, too, are sick of politicians in bed with corporate executives who get special access to influence and our money. But the difference is that most of us want to fix it with less government, not more. More government, in the form of bailouts and special industry regulations and arcane tax codes, is what got us into this mess.
Hopefully, someday you’ll realize all this, when you have your own family and mortgage and job that occupy your time. When that time comes, let’s have a beer and I’ll show you around the Tea Party rally where you can meet the rest of us. The 99% you so fondly speak of.
I may not have agreed with many of President George W. Bush’s policies in his eight years in office (although compared to the current occupant of the office, Bush and I have the same mind), but his strength as president was how he handled 9/11 and its aftermath. Each speech, each impromptu remarks, each moment with those affected by the events was always pitch perfect, never merely weepy and emotional, but always evoking the best of America.
The president’s speech in Shanksville, Pa., on Saturday at the Flight 93 memorial are another example of that.
Update:Thanks to a commenter for pointing out an error. I wrote oil production and consumption in terms of “billions” of barrels, not “millions”. However, the underlying ratios were correct as is my point. And the president is still wrong.
The President was at a town hall meeting last week where he received a question about rising gas prices. His answer was full of misdirection on oil production, the causes of gas prices and outright snark at people who find it necessary to buy big vehicles for their big families. It was, in effect, another “bitterly clinging to their guns and religions” moment.
So the questioner asked him what Obama was going to do about high gas prices, and then the President gave him an impromptu supply-and-demand lesson that sounded good, but was—unfortunately and predictably—wrong. He said that a few years ago, when the economy was going great and individuals and industry were buying lots of oil, the high demand drove oil prices up. Then when the global economy tanked and demand dropped, prices dropped. And now that the economy is recovering—he claims—the prices are going up again because demand is up.
For one thing, oil prices are not driven primarily by supply and demand. Oil prices are driven by oil production, which is controlled by the consortium of oil-producing countries known as OPEC.
That sounds like a nice pat lesson from a freshman economics textbook. Unfortunately, it’s completely inadequate. For one thing, oil prices are not driven primarily by supply and demand. Oil prices are driven by oil production, which is controlled by the consortium of oil-producing countries known as OPEC. They decide how much oil will be produced and thus how much we must be willing to pay for it. For another thing, oil prices are also affected by politics, like, say, our little adventure in Libya, attacking Quaddafi on behalf of the al Quaeda rebels seeking to overthrow him.
Rather than higher oil prices being simply an indication of a recovering economy, it’s also an indicator of political turmoil and decisions by a group of non-democratic nations with varying levels of animosity toward the US.
Math is hard
At this point, Obama isn’t done showing what is either appalling ignorance or an appalling cynicism toward the intelligence of his audience.
We have about 2, maybe 3 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves; we use 25 percent of the world’s oil. So think about it. Even if we doubled the amount of oil that we produce, we’d still be short by a factor of five.
It seems reasonable at first, but look deeper and you see that he’s comparing apples and oranges. The United States has 2 to 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves. That’s a static number. That is not production, or supply, a dynamic number. Our consumption of 25 percent of oil is dynamic. His comparison makes it seem like the US produces a minuscule amount of the world’s oil.
In fact, the the United States is the third-largest producer of oil behind Russia and Saudi Arabia. (We produce 8.3 millions of barrels/day; Russia: 9.8 million bbl/day; Saudia Arabia: 11 million bbl/day.) Meanwhile, our oil consumption is 18 million barrels of oil per day.
If we doubled our oil production, we wouldn’t be short by a factor of five as he claimed. We’d actually break even and be producing all of the oil we need and would no longer be beholden to the OPEC oil cartel.
Consider that. If we doubled our oil production, we wouldn’t be short by a factor of five as he claimed. We’d actually break even and be producing all of the oil we need and would no longer be beholden to the OPEC oil cartel. Is the President lying, is he stupid, or is he cynically banking on a lack of education on the part of his audience?
Bitterly clinging to our gas-guzzlers
But he’s still not done. He then goes on to talk about increasing efficiency in vehicles. He takes to task the people who drive fuel-inefficient SUVs and other large vehicles.
“If you’re complaining about the price of gas and only getting eight miles a gallon… [inaudible comment from the crowd] … you may have a big family, but it’s probably not that big. How many kids you have? [inaudible] Ten kids, you say? Ten kids? [snarky smirk on his face] Then you definitely need a hybrid van then.”
It’s not like big families are out there driving gas-guzzling, giant vehicles because we want them. We drive these vehicles because none of the automakers have been producing vehicles for us over the past 20 years. When I was a kid, families bought station wagons and just piled in as many kids would fit. Now, not only do we need to be belted in, we need massive car seats that ensure that you can’t fit more than 2 kids under 12 into an average sedan. There are essentially no more station wagons and once you get up to five kids, you’re looking at either a full-size van or a full-size SUV.
And in my general experience, number of children is inversely proportional to the amount disposable income available for the purchase of new hybrid vans, if they even made one that seats 10. (Do they?)
It’s just another out of touch pandering moment by Obama. He ends by suggesting that his interlocutor think about a trade-in for his eight-mile-per-gallon gas guzzler. Can we get a trade-in on our ideology-guzzling president instead?
Boston Mayor Tom Menino has signed an executive order than bans the sale, promotion, or distribution of sugary drinks. That includes vending machines, school cafeterias, and concession stands at city-owned property.
So what constitutes a sugary drink according to the food police? “Calorically-sweetened beverages,” including non-diet soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, pre-sweetened tea and coffee drinks, juices with added sugars, and sweetened water products. But it also includes milk, except for skim or 1%, and even then you can’t buy more than 12 ounces at a time. So much for parents like us who are strong believers in the importance of whole-fat milk for growing kids, which is just fine if you’re also not giving your kids lots of juice.
This is the point. As parents, we’ve made the choice that we’re going to balance the nutritional needs of our kids by emphasizing the benefits of whole milk and de-emphasizing fruit juices. But in Menino’s liberal worldview, elected politicians and their bureaucratic policy wonks (not to mention the lobbyists standing behind them) should get to make those decisions. And so if our children were to attend Boston public schools, they could drink 100% fruit juice, but they can’t have whole milk.
Make no mistake: This is the same liberal viewpoint that treats citizens as stupid cows unable to think for themselves.
“I want to create a civic environment that makes the healthier choice the easier choice in people’s lives, whether it’s schools, worksites, or other places in the community,” Menino said in a statement after the ban was announced.
But then, that’s no choice at all, right? That’s the endgame. Look at trans-fats. They banned them everywhere in the city already. So the healthy choice—at least according to them—is your only choice. And it’s virtually certain that they intend to make this citywide. Just look at the language used:
“Economists estimate that medical costs for an obese patient are about 42 percent higher a year than for a patient with healthy weight,” said Ferrer in a statement.
If this is the rationale, then they will ban sugary drinks citywide eventually, just like they did with tobacco and trans-fat. Then it will be fast food and then unhealthy food—goodbye pasta and pizza and red meat.Oh we’ll all be so healthy, but completely lacking in the freedom to choose for ourselves.
Yes, this seems alarmist and extreme. Are they planning to force us to eat nutritional blocks of tasteless “LibChow” in the future? No. Not yet anyway.
But think of how far we’ve been dragged down this path in so many other ways already. Just look at 50-year-old newspapers, magazines, movie, and TV and see how casually they approach so much that seems foreign to us now. It’s a gradual change for sure, but before we know it. We’re there.
In the grand scheme of things, is it a great loss of our personal freedoms to be denied the ability to buy a Coke from a vending machine in City Hall? No. But it’s part of a larger trend, one small brick in a wall that is being built between us and that freedom.
The immediate (and ongoing) assumption of a political ideology on behalf of Jared Loughner, the killer in Tucson who injured Rep. Giffords and injured and killed other bystanders, not only does a disservice to those who are seeking the real motives behind the killings, but also injures the freedom of political discourse in this country.
By all accounts, Loughner was not motivated by an ideology so much as a psychosis, if his public rantings are any guide, but a rush to judgment by politicians and pundits laid the blame for the deed on the heads of all those right-wing Tea Party Republicans with their “inflammatory” speech and combative imagery during the last election. Never mind that tough talk and war-like comparisons have been a feature of politics for all of human history. After all, it was the 18th-century Karl von Clausewitz who dubbed war as “merely the continuation of policy (i.e. politics) by other means.”
Never mind that political discourse used to be much uglier than it is even now, such as when Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina attacked Sen Charles Sumner of Massachusetts in 1854 over Sumner’s ridicule of Brooks’ uncle, Sen. Andrew Butler. Even as Butler lay in bed recuperating from a stroke, Sumner was accusing him of having taken “the harlot, slavery” as mistress and then denigrated his home state of South Carolina and the whole of the South as being entirely immoral. Brooks took exception to Sumner’s words and attacked him on the floor of the Senate with his cane.
But this is not what happened in Tucson. Given 72 hours to let the facts come out, the reality is that Giffords was probably targeted because she is a public person who represents the authority of the federal government, which Loughner’s fevered imaginings had rendered a Big Brother-like bogeyman.
Yet the true ugliness of our current climate of politics was on display when so many saw not a tragedy, but an opportunity to score political points by draping the blood-drenched bodies upon the backs of their political opponents.
The true injury to our Republic comes then, not from strong political speech, but from cynical demagoguery. What else can you call it when so many so quickly equate a crazed conspiracy theorist with average middle-class Americans who want their political representatives to be more responsive to voters and their government to be less intrusive in their lives? How can anyone feel free to stand up for the entirely peaceful, yet passionate political beliefs when they must fear being painted with brush of insane violent acts with which they have no connection in reality?
If the political and pundit class wants to change the political climate, perhaps they can start by looking at themselves first.