Archive for the politics Category

i don’t know what to say, really.

Posted in Church, faith is action, me, politics on November 4, 2008 by drbolte

in case you had totally missed it, i am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

that’s important for what i’m about to blog.

please watch this, which will be running in select markets in california, including airings on MSNBC and CNN:

this is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that the church is skewered or used as a joke, a hiss, a byword.  if you don’t know this, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints DOES NOT TELL ITS MEMBERS HOW TO VOTE.  the Church does not use membership lists to campaign for Church-chosen candidates. it does not endorse candidates, even the high profile Mormon ones.  members serve faithfully in both parties, embracing a wide spectrum of political philosophies. the extent, in my long years of membership, of political discussion by Church leaders is a plea for members to prayerfully consider their civic responsibility and to vote in line with their conscience.

what members choose to support, monetarily or with their time, is entirely up to them. i think that, if you really ask yourself whether or not this has been true in your experience–that the Mormons that you know are bigoted, unkind, manipulative ogres who are ready to invade your home so that they can advance their own agenda–you would see that it simply isn’t true.

i could tell you how i felt when i saw this, how my immediate thought was that i worry for the missionaries in california who are contacting today, how i got angry.  i could talk about how during most of the last half of my three mile walk this morning, after voting, i thought about blogging this and what i would say.  i could go on and on about how if this was any other religious group a whole host of groups dedicated to protecting civil rights would be up in arms, railing about the unfairness and discrimination inherent in such a move.  bless them, the catholic conference has done just that.

where is everyone else?  when will we all have the courage to stand up for the other people, those that don’t necessarily share our views but who are being unfairly victimized?  have we not learned our lesson, that when we don’t stand up bad things happen?

i can’t wait for tomorrow, but i fear the fallout of such a divisive, vicious campaign.

yeah, i live here. sigh.

Posted in blogging, gators, Life, politics, School, the joys of living in Florida on September 19, 2007 by drbolte

Yeah, so if you haven’t, please watch the video. It’s quite likely to annoy you and perhaps disturb you, maybe on multiple levels, so don’t say you haven’t been warned.

So, UF is all abuzz over this. Apparently, the thing made the Today show, the front page on AOL.com, and has gotten its fair share of media attention. I totally get it. It seems a sexy story–kid wants to ask Kerry a question, kid gets his civil rights all trampled on because the campus police try to stifle his right to speak his mind, they brutally taser him in order to keep him quiet.

As sexy as that version is, it’s not really what happened at all.

What you may not know is that Q&A had already ended. Kerry was attempting to move on with his speech, and this kid wanted to ask 14 insipid questions that made no sense. He kept going on and on and on…with no merciful end in sight…and then, when campus security attempted to escort him from the microphone once they got the signal from someone else, he resisted arrest with the fury of a thousand drunk undergrads.

What exactly were they SUPPOSED to do? He was attempted to run away from them, he would not be subdued, he was screaming “help” before they even really touched him.

Exactly what would be the better option? To let him walk out of there, to let him get away with resisting police officers and causing a monumental disturbance because he is a huge egocentric blowhard?

I think not.

But, of course, there is one big fat brouhaha a brewin’. Rumor has it that there was a protest march from the Plaza of the Americas to UPD to demand not only that the officers involved be suspended, but that tasers be removed from UPD usage and that the charges against the kid be dropped.

Don’t be alarmed. People march here for everything. They march so much that when I see a march, I’m not even surprised. Amused, sometimes, yes. Surprised? No.

Don’t get me wrong. I am the hugest believer in nonviolent protest. I have huge respect for people who stand by their beliefs and do what they can, no matter how small their sphere of influence, to speak out. If people are genuinely alarmed at what happened, by all means…please protest.

But I really don’t think that’s the case here.

See, UF tends to be a bandwagon school. It’s like they’re itching for something to get all worked up about, something to protest. I want to call it the Election 2000 syndrome–once you feel shafted, it’s almost like a chronic pain that flares up when there’s scandal in the air.  Whenever anything happens here, there’s a march. Or a protest. Or someone sending up-in-arms emails to the entire department about how our rights are being violated. Or someone showing their face on TV, all righteously indignant about something.

Listen, life’s too short.

Do I get shafted as a grad student? Absolutely. I, frankly, would expect nothing less. It makes no (fiscal or pedagogical) sense for my university to actually pay me what I’m worth right now and, on a more eternal scale, it’s good for me to struggle and try to earn my way to where I want to be someday. If it all came easy, I wouldn’t appreciate it.

That said, I’m glad for the union that agitates for me to get my meager raises and the huge blessing of health coverage.  But they don’t march down Museum Road with signs. They work quietly, skillfully, subtly through the channels available to them.

And they get results.

Do I think that the University Police are ridiculous? Sometimes. I think it’s preposterous that our campus speed limit is 20 mph. I think that some of them like to give out tickets for ridiculous reasons. I wish that there were not quite so many of them everywhere.

But I also think that they are just people doing their job, doing the best that they can do. And what rankles me is the potential for two of them to go down for a policy they had no power to make or change just because Matt Lauer is talking about it on NBC.

I just wish everybody would just take a deep breath and consider the whole thing logically.

But instead, there are protests, 50 emails from the Administration, angry phone calls from parents (really?  this is college!), and a myriad of Facebook groups supporting the idiot who resisted arrest.

Welcome to Florida.

que es esto?

Posted in etcetera, politics on January 26, 2007 by drbolte

yeah, i’m watching univision.

i’ve been slipping into spanglish more and more lately, particularly when i’m looking for something or annoyed.  instead of “where is it?” under my breath, i find myself saying “donde esta…?” a lot.

it’s weird.  i like it.  i’m glad that my six years of spanish are worth something.

the reason i stopped is that they were doing an interview with bill richardson, governor of new mexico, who has apparently announced that he, too, is running for president.

it was a good interview, from what i could translate, and told me more about him than i knew.

i’m looking forward to 2008.

anything’s gotta be better than now.

have you heard about this brilliant idea to make taxable the benefits received from your job? the amount, i’m sure, will be entirely fair, despite being arbitrarily and governmentally determined. then, apparently, everybody who has to pay out of pocket for health insurance would get a tax credit.

pfft.

i shake my head at this.  is bush kissing up to the democrats in order to get them to let him do what he wants in iraq?  it’s like “ooh! look at me! look over here! i’m being magnanimous to the masses! look at the shiny tax credit plan!” while he’s siphoning off more money for a war that we’re not winning.  not that we should just pull out either–it’s a mess. we ought to clean it up.

i’ll admit–i voted for him.  i couldn’t vote for kerry.  i would have voted for edwards, and i would have voted for mccain.

too bad one was out and one was just pretty-boy, southern tag-along baggage for kerry’s wooden and emotionless train to electoral destruction.

yeah, i voted for bush. i’d probably do it again, too.  i have a few hot-button issues that drive me insane. morally, i feel an obligation to ensure that the people that i vote for will stand up for those issues.  just because i voted for him, though, doesn’t mean i don’t get to complain a little.

at least i voted.

but, seriously?  does this guy listen to anyone?

i mean, i think we’ve pretty much exhausted the whole military option in iraq. it’s not working.

but have we really exhausted ALL our resources?  our scholarly ones? maybe we could talk to some people who actually know the middle east.  our diplomatic ones? is there someone else, maybe, besides a woman (i mean, i’m all for chick power, but i’m pretty sure that the fundamentalist muslim community is not going to be all that happy taking orders/negotiating with a woman)?  someone they respect? maybe someone…i don’t know….not American?

but i digress.

i’m looking forward to 2008.  not looking forward to hillary, but certainly to barack, to bill, to milt, to john mccain, to dear country-boy john edwards, and to the scrappy political streetfight that will ensue. the more the merrier. maybe i’ll find someone i actually would like to vote for.

may the scrappiest, smartest, and most moderate win with a mandate from the people.  and may s/he actually listen to his/her advisors and not think that s/he knows everything singlehandedly.

and can we talk about the fact that it’s freaking time for a woman vice president, if not president?

and, please, please, please…can that person NOT be hillary clinton?  oy.  heaven help us all if i have to listen to her pontificate for four years.