On 1 Nov 2000, at 10:07, Charles.Hahn@XXXXXXX.com wrote:
OK, I get it. Al Gore is a victim
of a vast, right wing conspiracy.... Bush is
the chief conspirator, Nixon's dark side,
course, I could get into Al's policies and history and challenge
him on the facts, but you'll clearly not be interested
the way. I'm voting my conscience
and my philosophy, and so am voting Harry
Browne for president: www.harrybrowne2000.org/
may not have the credentials of being elected prior and having served
in any post you think would quality him, but I'll vote for
I won't burden you with the reasons, or my attacks on Gore or
return the favor, and stop burdening me with yours.
subscribe to the Harry Browne for President newsletter (if
receiving unexpected and unwanted political rhetoric,
superior in attacking dastardly, cowardly, undeserving Bush
that it tempts the reader (at least me) to defend Bush at
me emphasize the words "unexpected and unwanted political rhetoric"
-- political rhetoric, partisanship, punditry are not
your recent political advocacy columns are akin to, if not actually,
a form of SPAM.
a writer and commentator who I generally enjoy and
abundantly available to anyone who seeks it out.
stop spamming us with exhortations to buy Al Gore and reject
Bush. Heck, don't even switch sides and start exhorting
sell me your politics, or try to save my soul by conversion ....
share your passions that are at the core of your being --
subscribed because you offered an independent and unique voice, not
to be persuaded or to listen to attacks as part of electioneering. When you
write about illness, your dog, business
your soul -- you can soar.
you fall into the trap of thinking that you should use your relationship
with me to inform, sway, persuade me regarding
still want to be friends, and to enjoy the gifts you share, and applaud
you for exercising your gifts. I know the election will
the relationship with people who do not share your point of view and might even
find your positions to be
best wishes for health and well being,
use this in any way if you care to, but do not quote my
Charles -- Very good letter. Thanks for taking the time to spew all over me. It was a darn good spew.
But now I have to defend myself. My column is about whatever interests me at the moment. I admit it, I have admitted it, I'm intemperate on this election. I keep saying, "I'm sorry." I know it's annoying to some (not all, but some), and have
telegraphed my awareness of that. So what don't you get?
Campaigns are so hideous. They scientifically rile you up and get your juices going, sometimes in two directions at once. A person like me, basically open-hearted and expressive, is sure to put off people who are more Apollonian by nature.
There is a lot of crafty, not-nice stuff going on in both camps. But I do think the Liar, Liar campaign is an especially black moment in American politics, right up there with McCarthyism and poll taxes.
But all that aside, I'm a lesser of two evils sort of guy. My gut feeling is that it is important that Bush's people -- Halliburton, Brown & Root, Eli Lilly etc. -- not be put in charge of the country, particularly because of the Supreme Court. I have a teenage daughter, and I do not want to see her freedoms
curtailed as a sop to the Moral Majority.
I don't think Bush himself has any ideology -- but he owes those cultural conservatives big time for getting behind him and keeping their dark phobic prayers to themselves.
Harry Browne is OK. I'd be a libertarian except I like public libraries. Someone called l'ism "capitalist anarchism." But a little of that ethic is very clarifying and good. If Harry Browne was the only way to prevent that from happening, I'd vote for Browne, definitely. Currently, he does not seem like the best way to prevent that.
I like Nader. He is a hero -- extreme, like a mad monk, but honorable. Let's see: I voted for Dole. I hated Clinton while admiring his gifts, but I hated impeachment even more than I hated him.
But you are wrong on your central point. I hardly like Al Gore at all. I have never said I liked Gore. I pity Gore, I think, I am enraged on his behalf because he's getting shafted. But that's not the same as admiring him or thinking he's a great man.
He's a calculating, too-clever-by-half dip. I have said so numerous times. He's crippled from a childhood as Tennessee Prince Valiant. But I am confident he would not let Roe vWade be overruled. And that is important to me.
I think the roots of my malaise are psychological -- some ancient drama of lazy rich boys inheriting the earth. When I was a kid, we rented a farmhouse surrounded by a huge apple orchard, that had fallen on hard times. My job was clearing out the apples, mowing the huge lawn, and moving snow in winter.
It was a lot to do, but we were renters and that was part of the deal.
Within 10 years, we were surrounded by new people in pastel-colored, split level homes. New cars, pressboard siding, concrete slabs, and a basketball net at the end of each one. Made us, in our cranky old house, feel like the Addams Family. This election, essentially between suburbia and the old Democratic coalition, stirs up some of those feelings. Bush to me is the kid who moved in next door and had
everything. I was very envious of his telescope, which he never bothered looking through. And I feel I am the caretaker of the old things, the drafty old houses and curious stories no one appreciates any more. In a million years, George Bush would never invite me over to his place to play -- truth.
And Gore is such a dork, like the son of the owner of the second funeral parlor in town, the one with the shades pulled down all day, that didn't do much business. Two Addams Families in one town -- what are the odds? We'd get along because no one else would have either of us. No one in the new neighborhoods would put up with him because there was something queer about him -- and how they hate the unusual. But I would, because I'm a little strange, myself.
So you see, I'd be very interested in hearing terrible things about Gore, if they were smart and telling things. New Yorker had a piece by Nicholas Lehman this summer that ripped him wonderfully. I don't want to be a whining innocent. Load me up, I can take it! You could go a long time before finding
someone as willing as me to change his or her mind. I have enough information at present to make me extremely resentful of the Big Lie campaign. Tell me why I'm wrong, and Bush is a good guy.
Anyway, I apologize. But you know what it is? This little mail list of 300 souls is about all I have. When people check out, I feel bad about it. On the other hand, I feel like if I don't tell people my side -- and yes, cash the emotional check that alienating people causes -- then I wasn't a good citizen.
Futhermore ... I've written 7 columns about politics, and, let's see -- 853 columns about other topics. Sorry these past few bugged you, but I've got a right, too!
I'll get back soon to doing what I usually do. But it seems to me that retail politics like this, from wannabees like me, is valuable, too -- quarreling over the backfence. Risky stuff -- I've lost 25 subscribers, and a major client is starting to look at me funny. All for spouting off the way informed voters are supposed to, if the system is to work! To hear the Federalists tell it anyway.
But I've said too much. Thanks again for the excellent spew --
mfinley.comCOPYRIGHT (c) 2000
by MICHAEL FINLEY
Why not bookmark Mike's columns for your weekly enjoyment?
Comments on this column:Dear Michael
Don't let you discourage by all these people who don't know anything to politics and democracy. To me, Bush is a stupid ass and a murderer and I measure my words in order not to be disagreeable to him. In France he will never win an election even in a small town, far in the country.
Go on I'm glad to read what you have to say.
Read the original and your response; I've taken a different tack to Charlie's, I just chose to delete those pieces - once I know your topic is of a political nature.
No matter, I will just continue to read all the other (800+) items that I do enjoy. The latter I'm thankful for in many ways.
Mike, I appreciate your columns and have forwarded them on to several people. Bush could be the most honest man running the most honest campaign in history but I still wouldn't vote for him because he is truly inexperienced (much like Clinton when he got elected), a fiscal maniac and dumb as dirt.
Though Gore is not my favorite person I prefer him to the alternative. At least he has a brain larger than a walnut and seems to have a basic grasp of economics. I've paid a lot of money into Social Security and would like to see some of it back when I reach retirement age.
I have no intention of canceling my subscription.
Thanks very much for the personal, quick, and well expressed response.
I'd like to continue this "back yard fence" dialog, if you've time and inclination.
Exactly - agreed. On the Gore side, he owes teachers unions in particular, anti gun fanatics (who are interesting parallels to the gun nuts), trial lawyers, and a variety of his own chosen corporate elites (those dot com execs sure admire his "no taxes on internet sales and services" position). As to Gore having a particular ideology -- well, I'm old enough to remember that some of the claims regarding his flip-flops from his days as a Representative from TN are accurate -- on abortion, tobacco, guns, etc. And I read Earth in the Balance a couple of years ago, and do recall strong arguments for very high taxes on anything that involved the use of fossil fuels, specifically to discourage and punish consumption. Recent support for release of oil from the Strategic Reserve, now, after a (historically) small percentage bump in prices, is indicative to me that Mr G and Mr B have a lot in common when it comes to values, and that commonality is a lack of any value that is not going to serve their desire to win the Big One.
And you're concerned about a society in which Roe vs Wade might be overturned by a future court made up in part of Bush appointees. Who will have to get by Senate approval. Appointed by a "get along with everyone, just don't press me to take a real position" Bush?
I'm one of those folks who has read Roe v Wade, and was intrigued by the way the trimester based logic looked way too much like the work of a legislator, or a dictator. There is a prevailing majority in the nation which supports abortion rights, with some restrictions for late term. Seems to me that the law, if any (and I think this is a case of government's involvement being so intrusive and heavy handed as to outweigh any benefit) ought to be limited to those late term issues when viability outside the womb is a matter of technical and medical decision. The sort of thing that legislatures should deal with, and write.
I think Roe v Wade should be overturned, because it is a flagrant example of 9 old men, (now that would be 9 old people) writing new law because they were arrogant enough to think that, absent Congress ruling on the issue, that a national policy -- enlightened by their own good sense of course -- should replace the will of elected legislatures responding to their constituents in their own states.
That sort of rule by edict scares me more for your daughter, and everyone's children, than overturning a case that should not have been decided at that level and by that body in the first place.
Mr Clinton, ofttimes with Mr. Gore smiling beside him, has signed proclamations and executive orders that clearly overstepped the bounds of the Executive branch, yet the Congress remains silent and does nothing to overrule. That scares me, and makes me worry about our fundamental institutions being so warped and distorted that we will wind up with all accountability pointing to a president, and therefore an increasing acceptance that a President must rightly pick his own fellow partisans for posts on that body which has so much assumed but undisputed authority, and no accountability itself, the Supreme Court.
I worry for a republic that is clearly moving away from its underlying organizational principles, moving and changing with little if any realization by the great majority of there being any change, let alone what is being lost, or what direction we might be headed toward.
Poets often learn much history, and much of human nature, as they study in their field. One more reason, that, to encourage and teach poetry to the young.
History is a minor subject in school, at any level. Yet it does provide a context for understanding current events and future trends. Internet, cell phones, email, cable channel competition, Napster like peer to peer sharing of databases, SETI like sharing of computing resources by internet connected volunteers -- there are so many emerging influences that might well mark a new Renaissance of sorts, a quantum leap to a new level of human interconnection and progress. Yet there are so many warnings writ large among the headlines, and across the "I'll be whatever you want me to be" smiles of the two candidates.
Those two main candidates, sons of wealth, inheritors of political names and traditions, neither of whom has had a mainstream job or realistically faced death in service of their country (or perhaps as important, faced personally having to kill or even physically fight to protect anyone, or in service of their country) despite having been at the edges of the central defining conflict of their generation, are evidence of a public disinterest in or ignorance of serious public issues, and a troubling gullibility and susceptibility to an ever more skillful and practiced merging of media, advertising, and opinion research.
You're ashamed of a media which you see as complicit with Bush. I'm afraid of a media which is increasingly unable to disconnect itself from entertainment, which is increasingly prone to see itself as the institution and its members as the people who are uniquely best qualified to judge for the public, and to lead the public in the "right" direction. Bad enough when the pols and religious leaders saw their roles as leaders and shapers of public sentiment and policy, now we have the merger of entertainers and journalists who have abandoned a felt need to even try to be objective, and that merger produces a "media" no less dangerous and perhaps more powerful than anything in the lives of a citizenry since the Catholic Church in pre Luther times.
Enough of the backyard fence stuff from me for now.
As much as I appreciate the tone and tenor of your response, I still wonder if a due respect for the feelings and interests of your subscribers ought not lead you to consider setting up a separate list for political columns now and after the election, and perhaps to use that list as a forum for your own thoughts and for those which strike you as worth including in your transmissions. Be editor/moderator, be political, be an advocate -- but make it easy for those who wish to opt out of the political to still enjoy the "classic" Finley. I know, I'm suggesting what might be considerable work for you, and I realize that is unfair and likely to be met with a simple "no", but figure it is worth mentioning anyway.
Just saw your posting to the list pop into my mail box. Thanks for sharing my letter with the group -- I think. I suspect you've had enough of me, but I must admit enjoying writing both responses, and a vague sense of guilt of getting "riled" enough to get into this.
And by the way, I was a fat kid who never quite fit in, who never had the toys or bike till I was old enough to work to earn to buy my own and who then bought mostly books (OK, and some Archie and some Fantastic Four comics). I suspect, based on my read of the character of both men, that neither Al nor George would have wanted anything to do with me, right up to high school when both would have sent one of their less cool friends over to convince me to vote for them for class president, but wouldn't have taken the time themselves lest they be seen talking to me. Then I would have simply envied them both their wealth and the notoriety / fame of their fathers -- now I too worry for a future in which our children may let our country and our society slip into the sort of mess that is so characteristic of so much of human society through out so much of the still short history of man.
I'm not as impressed by this letter as you were.... What next 'Mike, I'm sick of your dog stories, I'm a cat person myself, if you don't stop this specist nonsense I'm canceling'. ??? I'm one of those crippled persons who gets touched by only very few poems. I relate to your folk music columns much more. Am I to cancel because a lot of your writing deals with your poet side? Am I going to urge you to come up with more folk music related columns that we can all enjoy? Given that your columns are both free and not required by law or tradition, there isn't a real moral or ethical necessity for them to avoid any personal bias on your part.
Are we supposed to be personally enthralled and gripped by each and every column? Has your column failed if I do not subscribe to your point of view completely and wholeheartedly immediately after reading it? Are you supposed to be the alternative Rush Limbaugh? As Mr. Hahn sees quite clearly, this is your writing about your passions. You seem awfully passionate about the election, and as a result you're doing some good writing. If Harry Browne's supporters wish to attempt something like what you're doing with your column listserve, good luck to them, but your philosophy doesn't really need fixing, nor should you have to apologize.
You're right, in a week this thing will all over one way or another, and you and I can return to our previous relationship. I plan to vote for "Dubya", mostly because I'm pretty conservative and I come from a long line of anti-FDR farmers. I'll tell you about my grandfather and FDR later, if you want.
You are passionately for Gore, and see the media bash in progress. I'm much more detached from this particular election. I know that it really doesn't make a whole lot of difference who has the "Bully Pulpit", it's who's got the Congress, and therefore makes the rules the executive has to enforce.
Our current situation really reminds me of when my wife HAD to have her mother come and live with us. I got along just fine with the mom-in-law. The wife found she had a bunch of unresolved stuff, and couldn't stand to be in the same house. And she couldn't see why I wasn't emotionally involved in getting mom to move back to Dallas. But once the problem was solved (I drove her and her belongings back to Big D), we were able to get ourselves back pretty much like before.
So, I'll be patient and when this is over I'll go back to savoring the great stuff you write about teams, computers, Beau and life in general. No cancellation, no hard feelings (at least from my side). Heck, if everytinng ran smoothly all the time, it wouldn't be interesting, would it?
Gosh, Michael, you can come on strong. Don't know if that will win anyone over but as one who supports your man I did not see anything I did not factually agree with. You do know the site www.democrats.com ? Look up the smoking jet. They had some success in getting the story out about the missing year of service.
I know, its going to be a tough week. Even now, Gore has a greater chance of being President then most of us could ever dream about. He's working hard. I hope he gets some breaks. The Internet might help him yet. Why are techies not doing a better job of getting the story out about this friend of the Internet?
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