Tag Archives: presidential election

A Day to Remember

Before I be a slave
I’ll be buried in my grave
And go home to my Lord and be free.

 Greyhound bus with 14 members of an interracial group that was part of the Freedom Ride, firebombed on May 14, 1961, outside Anniston, Ala.

Greyhound bus with 14 members of an interracial group that was part of the Freedom Ride, firebombed on May 14, 1961, outside Anniston, Ala.

It’s appropriate on Election Day to remember and thank those who made the ultimate sacrifice in our military service to secure and protect the rights that we exercise today. 

Those who died in military service are not the only heroes we should remember and thank on this special and historic Election Day.

Today let us also remember and thank those whose sacrifice in the civil rights movement made this amazing day possible for all of us:

addiemaecollins2Louis Allen — A farmer shot on Jan. 31, 1964, in Liberty, Miss., after witnessing the murder of Herbert Lee, a civil rights worker.

Willie Brewster — A factory worker who died on July 16, 1965, in Anniston, Ala., from a nightrider’s bullet.

Benjamin Brown — A truck driver and civil rights worker killed on May 12, 1967, when police fired on demonstrators in Jackson, Miss.

Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman

Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman

James Chaney — A civil rights worker abducted and shot at point-blank range on June 21, 1964, by Klan members in Philadelphia, Miss.

Addie Mae Collins — A schoolgirl killed on Sept. 15, 1963, in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

Vernon Dahmer

Vernon Dahmer

Vernon Dahmer — A community leader who died on Jan. 10, 1966, from a firebomb in Hattiesburg, Miss., after volunteering to pay black voters’ poll taxes.

Jonathan Daniels — A seminary student shot on Aug. 14, 1965, by a deputy sheriff in Hayneville, Ala.

Henry H. Dee — A civil rights volunteer abducted, beaten and thrown into the Mississippi River by the Klan in Natchez, Miss., on May 2, 1964.

Cpl. Roman Ducksworth Jr. — A military policeman shot to death on April 9, 1962, in Taylorsville, Miss., after refusing a police order to sit in the back of the bus.

Willie Edwards Jr. — A deliveryman killed on Jan. 23, 1957, near Montgomery, Ala., when the Klan forced him to jump from a bridge into the Alabama River.

Medgar Evers

Medgar Evers

Medgar Evers — Civil rights leader shot on June 12, 1963, in the driveway of his home in Jackson, Miss.

Andrew Goodman — A civil rights worker abducted and shot at point-blank range by the Klan on June 21, 1964, in Philadelphia, Miss.

Paul Guihard — A French news reporter shot in the back on Sept. 30, 1962, during racist riots at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss.

Samuel Hammond Jr. — A South Carolina college student fatally shot on Feb. 8, 1968, when police fired on demonstrators in Orangeburg, S.C.

Jimmie Lee Jackson — A farmer who died on Feb. 18, 1965, after being beaten and shot in the stomach by state troopers following a march in Selma, Ala.

Wharlest Jackson — NAACP treasurer in Natches, Miss., killed on Feb. 18, 1965, by a bomb after his promotion to a job once reserved for whites.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — Famed civil rights leader assassinated on April 4, 1968, during an organized campaign by garbage workers in Memphis, Tenn.

Bruce Klunder

Bruce Klunder

Rev. Bruce Klunder — A minister from Cleveland, Ohio, run over by a bulldozer April 7, 1964, while protesting a segregated school.

Rev. George Lee — A minister in Belzoni, Miss.,who died on May 7, 1955, of gunshot wounds after organizing a voter-registration drive.

Herbert Lee — A cotton farmer and voter registration organizer who was shot in the head on Sept. 25, 1961, by a white state legislator in Liberty, Miss.

Viola Gregg Liuzzo — A civil rights worker from Detroit fatally shot in the head on March 25, 1965, by Klan members near Selma, Ala.

Viola Liuzzo

Viola Liuzzo

Denise McNair — A schoolgirl killed on Sept. 15, 1963, in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

Delano H. Middleton — A high school student fatally shot on Feb. 8, 1968, when police fired on demonstrators in Orangeburg, S.C.

Charles E. Moore — A civil rights volunteer abducted, beaten and thrown into the Mississippi River by the Klan near Natchez, Miss., on May 2, 1964, .

Oneal Moore — A deputy sheriff fatally shot after his nightly patrol on June 2, 1965, during an ambush by nightriders near Varnado, La.

William Moore — A mail carrier from Baltimore shot on April 23, 1963, in Attala, Ala., during his one-man march against segregation.

Lt. Col. Lemuel Penn — A U.S. Army reservist fatally shot on July 11, 1964, by the Klan while driving near Colbert, Ga.

James Reeb

James Reeb

Rev. James Reeb — A minister from Boston beaten to death on Mar. 11, 1965, on the streets of Selma, Ala., during a civil rights march.

John Earl Reese — A teenager slain Oct. 22, 1955, by nightriders who opposed improvements on a black school in Mayflower, Texas.

Carole Robertson — A schoolgirl killed on Sept. 15, 1963, in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

Michael Schwener — A civil rights worker abducted and shot at point-blank range by the Klan on June 21, 1964, in Philadelphia, Miss.

Henry E. Smith — A South Carolina college student fatally shot on Feb. 8, 1968, when police fired shotguns at demonstrators in Orangeburg, S.C.

Lamar Smith — A farmer fatally shot on Aug. 13, 1955, in broad daylight in Brookhaven, Miss., after organizing black voters.

Clarence Triggs — A bricklayer shot in the head on July 30, 1966, by nightriders in Bogalusa, La.

Cynthia Wesley — A schoolgirl killed on Sept. 15, 1963, in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

Ben Chester White — A caretaker shot on June 10, 1966, by Klan members in Natchez, Miss.

Samuel Younge

Samuel Younge

Samuel Younge Jr. — A college student shot on Jan. 3, 1966, by a Tuskegee, Ala., gas station attendant following a dispute over a ‘whites-only’ restroom.

Oh-o freedom
Oh-o freedom
Oh freedom over me, over me
And before I be a slave
I’ll be buried in my grave
And go home to my Lord and be free


Obama in Disneyland

Obama in Disneyland

All photographs taken in Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, Anaheim, California.













Palin As President (interactive) — with Post-Election Update!

Looking for some election eve tension release?

Check out the brilliant interactive website palinaspresident.us.


Although there is no creative attribution on the website, I discovered that it is the work of photographer and art director Sean Ohlenkamp of the M&C Saatchi advertising agency.

Be sure to click on things more than once – they change.


The website is now reconfigured as BarackasPresident.com— with a bucket of champagne and a “Yes We Can” flyer on the desk.  Click on it with the sound turned up.

You can still see the old Palin as President website here at palinaspresident/never.

I expect the site to keep changing, so we ought to keep visiting.

Don’t Blame Bush

The blame is already being dished as John McCain’s presidential campaign sputters toward a crushing election defeat and the Democrats are poised to take control of the White House and both houses of Congress.


Most of the pointing fingers are aimed at the universally loathed George W. Bush, who has become the public face of both economic catastrophe and battlefield disaster.

Other leading candidates for the role of principal victim in the Republican blame game are John McCain – he didn’t run a tough enough campaign or didn’t appeal enough to the party’s evangelical or populist base – and Sarah Palin – she wasn’t ready to be president or didn’t broaden her appeal beyond the party’s evangelical or populist base.

But George W. Bush is not the cause of the Republican Party’s looming election debacle, and neither John McCain nor Sarah Palin is the reason for their party’s 2008 collapse. 

Americans like to personalize politics, preferring to embrace or repudiate personalities rather than policies.  When we evaluate our politicians, we talk about their personal qualities – such as leadership, competence, integrity, consistency, and authenticity.  We like to say that we vote for the candidate not the party.

For this reason, our public debate on the causes of the Republican has focused on questions of Bush’s incompetence, McCain’s temperament, and Palin’s ignorance.

But blaming any or all of them for the coming massive Republican defeat misses the real culprit and lets too many others off the hook.

The cause of the Republican’s imminent electoral disaster is not the personal qualities of their elected officials and candidates, but the fundamental beliefs and policy assumptions of the Republican Party. 

It is these fundamental beliefs and policy assumptions that have caused the nation’s economic meltdown, which has in turned caused the meltdown of the Republican Party.

And every single Republican office holder, from the president to the lowest down-ticket county official, regardless of their personal qualities, shares in the blame.

The modern Republican Party, and every Republican, has embraced these two basic beliefs:

  • No to government regulation of markets and the economy.  A fundamental belief of every Republican is that the economy works best – that is, it is more productive and creates more wealth – when unconstrained by regulation.
  •  No to taxes.  Every Republican believes that taxes, especially on the wealthiest Americans, should be always lower and eliminated whenever possible.  Under no circumstances should there be a tax increase, even in order to fund necessary government program. 

These two fundamental tenets of Republican policy have created the economic crisis the nation is now suffering, and nearly every other crisis that the nation is now facing can be traced to Republican adherence to these principles – including our soaring national debt, our crumbling infrastructure, our failing schools, our ecological vandalism, our oil dependency, our exploding prison population, our shameful veterans hospitals, and our inequitable and dysfunctional heath care system.

Every other Republican talking point – from abortion to immigration to support for continuing the war in Iraq – is contingent and conditional.  There are Republicans who disagree with the party leadership on these issues.

But there are no Republicans who have not sworn eternal hostility to taxes and economic regulation.  One simply cannot be a Republican without embracing these two fundamental policies that have brought near catastrophe to the world economy, to the operations of federal, state and local government, and, finally, and deservedly, to the Republican Party itself.

What has brought America to the brink of disaster and the Republican Party to the brink of an election defeat of historic proportions?

It’s not just Bush.

It’s not just McCain and Palin.

It’s Republicans.

Each and every one of them.

Don’t let Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Chris Shays, or your local Republican senator or schoolboard member put the blame on someone else.

As another famous Republican once said, they’re all bad.

Karl Marx Would Be Offended

WFTV reporter Barbara West’s question to Joe Biden – “You may recognize this famous quote. From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs. That’s from Karl Marx. How is Sen. Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?” – would have upset Karl Marx even more than it upset Joe Biden.


The phrase “From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs” was the ideal and slogan of nineteenth century democratic  socialism. 

But it was not a slogan of Marx or a principle of communism.

On the contrary, Marx used the phrase only once, when he was criticizing the democratic socialists for what Marx believed was their naive or “utopian” hope for fundamental social change without violence or dictatorship.

In his Critique of the Gotha Program (1875) and elsewhere, Marx argued that radical change would require a “dictatorship of the proletariant” before the socialists’ ideal could be realized.  What was necessary, Marx argued, was a society based on the principle of “”from each according to his ability, and to each according to his labor power” – that is, according to their actual contribution to (the new) society.

For Marx, no one was entitled to anything based solely on their “need.”

Marx would be offended — and probably heartbroken — that more than a hundred years after his death, people are still confusing him with democrats.

Obama and the Jews

In a previous post — The Great Schlep: Why Do Jews Demean Jews? — I argued that Sarah Silverman’s video The Great Schlep both demeaned Jews and falsely assumed that older Jews are more conservative than their grandchildren or less likely to support Barack Obama.

abolishchildlaborNow a recent Gallup poll proves that I was right about older Jews’ support for Obama.

From Gallup.com:

“Obama Winning Over Jewish Vote”

“PRINCETON, NJ — Jewish voters nationwide have grown increasingly comfortable with voting for Barack Obama for president since the Illinois senator secured the Democratic nomination in June. They now favor Obama over John McCain by more than 3 to 1, 74% to 22%.”

“Support for Obama among all registered voters was fairly stable from June through September, but then rose sharply in October — in apparent reaction to the U.S. economic crisis. By contrast, support for Obama among Jewish voters has expanded more gradually, from the low 60% range in June and July to 66% in August, 69% in September, and 74% today.”


“The current proportion of U.S. Jews backing Obama is identical to the level of support the Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards received in the 2004 presidential election (74%). It is only slightly lower than what Al Gore and Joe Lieberman received in 2000 (80%) — when the first Jewish American appeared on the presidential ticket of a major party.”

“Recent support for Obama is a bit higher among older Jews than among Jews younger than 55. According to combined Gallup Poll Daily tracking data from Sept. 1 through Oct. 21, an average of 74% of Jews aged 55 and older supported Obama for president across this period, compared with about two-thirds of younger Jews.”

“The Obama/Biden ticket is poised to perform about on par with other recent Democratic presidential tickets when it comes to support from American Jewish voters.”

So much for the false idea behind The Great Schlep — that older Jews are conservative and that Sarah Silverman and her army of youngsters are needed to teach their grandparents progessive politics.

Stand Up for Your (Gay Friend’s) Rights

My friend Winter Miller wrote this piece for the Boston Globe. 

I’m reposting it here with her permission.

love-unitesIT SURE was nice to see Barack Obama stand up for Roe v. Wade in the presidential debates. It would also have been nice if he’d stood up for gay marriage. But no one mentioned gay marriage in any of the presidential debates and, what’s more, Obama doesn’t support gay marriage.

As this election unfolds, I’m trying to figure out whom I’m most angered by, Obama or all the straight people I know who haven’t stood up for gay rights. If the majority doesn’t clamor for change, then politicians have no reason to go out on a limb.

As a gay woman, it is unlikely I would need access to abortion. Still, I believe all women regardless of age, income, or circumstance should have a right to choose abortion.

The only mention of gay marriage this debate season was between Senator Joseph Biden and Governor Sarah Palin. I listened as Biden called for same sex unions with the same rights as marriage, a proposition that unfailingly rings of separate but equal. Like most liberals, you probably thought, gosh, gays are accepted now, this is progress.

Let me get this straight: My biracial candidate wants to drink from different water fountains? I looked down at my Obama T-shirt and wondered if I had the heart to go campaign for him.

Those of you who have gay friends, we appreciate your friendship; in fact, nothing says friendship like standing up for us in the face of bigoted adversity. Where is the outrage? Should I be mollified that Ellen DeGeneres’s wedding made the cover of People magazine, as did Clay Aiken’s declaration of gayness? Should I cheer when my email home page pops up a sighting of Lindsay Lohan with her girlfriend? I cheer all right; I think about all the isolated teenagers who are less likely to commit suicide or be ostracized when they see examples of cultural acceptance.

We have seen that public opinion shifts with greater nuance; that the gay lifestyle isn’t so much a hedonistic orgiastic cult as “Leave it to Beaver” where June and June swap wearing the apron and Ward and Ward take turns dropping Wally and Beaver at football and soccer.

Last month, a poll in the Washington Post showed 55 percent of California voters opposed an initiative banning a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, while only 38 percent favored the ban. In a recent Time magazine poll, 72 percent said if a presidential candidate held a position on gay marriage different from their own they’d still consider voting for him, compared with 22 percent who said they wouldn’t vote for him. The same poll showed a tie over opinions about gay and lesbians marrying and receiving the same legal rights as heterosexuals. The tide is turning. Gay marriage is a civil distinction. Whether a particular house of worship chooses to support it is a faith-by-faith decision.

Clearly, the battle is to be fought not at the federal level, but state by state. Three states have legalized gay marriage; Massachusetts was the pioneer in 2004, followed by California in 2008, and Connecticut last week. In Vermont, New Jersey, and New Hampshire, civil unions are recognized. There are domestic partner laws permitting partial benefits found in civil unions in Oregon, Hawaii, Maine, and Washington.

The must-do list is long: gay rights, hate-crime deterrents, universal healthcare, equal access to equally good schools, and more – in short, all the things each of us would want for our families, especially when we find ourselves holding the short end of the stick.

The next time you see your gay friend/relative/neighbor, think about the rights you were born into and the rights of others for which you’ve fought. Ask yourself if you can go beyond your comfort zone to advocate for the right for all of us, regardless of gender, race, sexuality, ability, or religion, to pursue and achieve liberty and happiness.

I don’t know if I will choose to marry, just as I never knew if I would choose an abortion, but our convictions mean the most when they include those beyond ourselves.

Winter Miller is author of the plays In Darfur and The Penetration Play.