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Friday, October 4, 2013

Senator Wendy Davis to Run for Governor of Texas

From NBC News:

The Fort Worth state senator became a liberal folk hero with her 11-hour filibuster in June, sporting now-famous Mizunos and a back brace to rally against a controversial bill that would have banned most abortions after 20 weeks, along with imposing new restrictions and requirements on abortion clinics and doctors. She stopped the bill initially, but the law eventually passed in a subsequent special session. Its constitutionality has been challenged in court by Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice advocates. ...

Lamenting the rising costs of college, Davis said she would make education issues a centerpiece of her campaign in the Lone Star State. ...

Republicans have one word they’ll keep repeating to characterize Davis -- liberal.

“Senator Davis has a very thin record of legislative accomplishment, is a liberal demagogue in the Texas Capitol and is unlikely to shake the extremist abortion position that catapulted her to media and activist fame over the summer,” said Republican strategist Ray Sullivan, a longtime Perry aide and former spokesman.

“She is an unabashed liberal in a conservative state,” Sullivan continued. “She is not well-known and can be further defined.”

That’s just what Abbott’s campaign plans to do. Armed with a $25 million war chest, they have a heavy advantage early on to paint Davis as they want, in a state where she’s already at a disadvantage. ...

Read more:
Wendy Davis throws underdog hat in Texas gubernatorial ring

SuccubaSuprema writes:
The fact that "liberal" has become a word so distorted by Extreme Right Wing propagandists is tragic.  This word "liberal" comes from the Latin word liber, which means "free."  However, by the time of the 1988 US Presidential campaign, the word had become so smeared that George H.W. Bush was able to get away with dismissing the entirety of Michael Dukakis' platform by means of the use of Abusive ad Hominem, specifically characterizing the governor and his platform as "liberal," repeatedly, and with an all-too-evident sneer in his voice when he uttered the word.

In point of fact, however, Bush himself was an economic "Neo-Liberal."  Classical Liberalism in economic terms refers to far Right Wing economic theories and policies.  An example are the practices which were instituted by the Republicans during the 1920s, namely, "rugged individualism," anti-labor laws, "trickle-down" economic theories, and a mis-named "laissez-faire" attitude toward corporate excess and crime -- in short, Far Right Wing Extremist economics.

Almost all of this was revived following the Far Right Wing Extremist domination of the Republican Party beginning in 1980, along with Machiavellian appeals to 1. "traditional values" (and audience granted to Protestant Fundamentalist leaders who had helped with Far Right Wing Extremist candidates' campaigns) 2. patriotism, 3. nationalistic passions, and 4. the middle class (the careful reader will notice that I said "Machiavellian appeals to" these things, indicating that these are essentially nothing but advertising gimmicks for the Far Right Wing Extremists -- as their own behavior and incomes should amply demonstrate to anyone who pays attention).  Niccolò Machiavelli is quite well-known for having written Il Principe (The Prince), in which he offered such pearls of political wisdom as "Everyone sees what you appear to be;  few experience what you really are," and "Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them."  One of his lesser-known (outside academia) works, however, Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy), is even more explicit in stating this unfortunate truth (from Libro Primo, Capitolo 25):  "... perché lo universale degli uomini si pascono così di quel che pare come di quello che è:  anzi, molte volte si muovono più per le cose che paiono che per quelle che sono."  A rough translation of this statement is "... because the majority of men are satisfied by appearance as if it were reality;  indeed, many times they are more moved by what seems than by what is."

The results of the Classical Liberal economic (Far Right Wing Extremist) dominance in the 1920s included bubble booms which made some very wealthy and then popped, leaving many very, very poor (if this sounds familiar, it's because it should, having recurred in recent history due to the reanimation of an idea which should have stayed dead) and the Stock Market Crash of 1929, which, together with other economic hardships around the world lingering from the First World War, produced The Great Depression.  George Santayana wrote:  "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Economic liberalism is indeed bad, but economic liberalism is not Leftist, nor is it what Bush the Elder meant in referring to Dukakis and his positions as "liberal."  He was referring to social liberalism, which is the view that liberty, equality, and justice should be for all, and not just for the wealthy, nor just for the adherents of the dominant religious perspective.  Now, really, is that in any way bad?

More recently, a certain person (with his own show on Fox News at the time) launched a full-scale propaganda campaign, castigating the "social gospel" (please, people, please, read Matthew, chapters 5-7, and then think about what it says in light of this assault, because "the social gospel" is undeniably part of the message attributed to Jesus in those chapters) and engaged in semantic revisionism, trying to redefine historical "Progressivism."  Look, people, historical Progressivism had its bad points, but it also had its good points (kind of like most everything else, since nothing is perfect).  Many advances were made possible by historical Progressivism, and historical Progressivism was not a partisan philosophy;  members of both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party advocated Progressive ideals.  Focusing on the excesses and overzealous aspects of historical Progressivism, while omitting any reference to the benefits produced, will of course result in the painting of an ugly picture, but only when the painter refuses to use the full palette of color and chooses only the least attractive and most garish hues.

Enough of the lies.  Enough of being selective with the truth.  Let the people hear the whole story, not just the bits that will encourage them to support one candidate and oppose the other candidate(s).  Enough of the fallacies;  insulting a rival or his/her perspective (particularly when the word used should not be an insult in the first place) is logically incorrect and improper.  It is a tactic used when someone cannot present a logical counter or refutation to what the rival has said, an attempt to change the subject from the merits of the rival's position to the character or intelligence or spirituality (or some other personal attribute) of the rival, and it demonstrates that the person who does it is the weaker contender.

Related:
The Support of Anti-Choice Candidates by Brand-Name Corporations

And lest we forget Senator Davis' focus on Education, ...

"I believe the children are our future
Teach them well
And let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty
They possess inside
Give them a sense of pride
To make it easier
Let the children's laughter
Remind us how we used to be"
-- "The Greatest Love of All" (intro), lyrics by Linda Creed, music by Michael Masser


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