Wednesday, June 17, 2009


"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

I am very much pro immigration. I believe that our nation does, and has always drawn strength and resolve from its immigrants. I don't understand how people can be so intensely opposed to the single greatest source of renewal and growth present in our country today. The millions of men, women, and children that enter our country everyday are a vital part of our economy that work hard digging ditches, washing dishes, and doing other manual labor that even the unemployed citizens of this country feel are below them.

Opponents of immigration would have you believe that for this reason, we shouldn't welcome immigrants. They would have you believe that there are legions of unemployed white ditch diggers and dish washes roaming the streets. This is a ridiculous assertion, not far removed from the scapegoating that has been used by the blood thirsty regimes of the past to justify unspeakable crimes.

This idea steams from an irrational fear that has been present in this country from its beginnings. The belief that an incoming culture will replace our normal way of life terrifies us and has lead to reactions against waves of immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, China, Poland, (Jews from) Eastern Europe, China again, Checkloslavakia, (gentiles from) Eastern Europe, Italy, Mexico, Cuba, the Caribbean, Vietnam, and Finally Mexico once again. All in only two hundred years. Yet somehow, despite the fears of the many older established immigrants, our American culture has never been obliterated, if anything, it has grown stronger.

The convoluted process we expect our immigrants to go through to become citizens is ridiculous at best, and purposely discriminatory at worst. We are asking more now of our immigrants then we ever have before. How can we expect those who enter our country to establish any kind of life when we systematically separate them from us through outdated and ill advised immigration codes that vary radically from state to state? We have a religious, moral, and patriotic duty to do more for our "huddled masses." Anything less is blatant hypocrisy, a disgrace to our immigrant roots.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In Memoriam

"The dead soldier's silence sings out national anthem." ~Aaron Kilbourn

For the last ten days, the Riverside National Cemetery has been the scene of a roll call of hero's. 148,000 names have been recited by 300 volunteers working 24 hours a day in 15 minute shifts. This amazing show of patriotism and respect has made me think about war. It's causes, its effects, and what we should learn from it. And I think I have come to a realization. That is, I believe that all of our efforts to memorialize our honored dead have fallen short.

Lincoln had it right when he said, "We can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground." So the question remains, if our marble monuments and the little flags planted every memorial day by the graves of thousands aren't enough, if they aren't a fitting tribute to our heroes then what is? What are we to do? I think our biggest problem is one of inactivity. We are quick to erect a memorial to our fallen but we are slow to do what is much harder. We are slow to truly change our ways.

We built a Vietnam memorial, only to go after another invisible enemy in the deserts of Iraq, we erect an World War Two monument and then form bonds and became allies with dictators from Egypt to Panama and everywhere in between. We construct memorials at Antietam, Gettysburg, and for President Lincoln, but today we are as divided as ever by our party ties and personal ideologies.

If we don't do more in the memory of our dead, if we don't take bold steps toward fixing our problems then can we really say we deserve them? Was their service and sacrifice wasted on a populous that doesn't care? I hope that possibility is as frightening to those who read this as it is to me, and I hope we do something about it.

"We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudging for the cause of war. There is no task that is more important or closer to my heart."
~Albert Einstein

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Michael Steele: A Conservative I Can Stand.

A few days ago I noticed something that frightened me a little. While watching the news, I realised that Michael Steele the RNC chairman, isn't as nauseating as many of his colleagues. Yes, I'm saying I like the chairman of the Republican National Committee. If the Republicans had enough sense in their collective minds to run him for high office, as opposed to the normal mindless drivel, I would even seriously consider voting for him. Please, before my regular readers storm off (all 3 of you) let me explain why.

First off, Steele has stood up to his clueless comrades in a way that hasn't been seen in decades. How so? On Wednesday, the RNC is meeting to vote on a collection of pressing issues, foremost, whether or not they should label the Democratic party as "Socialists." With two wars raging, the economy receding, and the very notion and purpose of government changing before our eyes, the RNC is deciding what they should call the Democrats. (I think they're split between Democratic Socialists and leaf eatin' flag burning Lenin lovers.) Steele has the foresight to realize that not only should they focus on these bigger issues, but this whole controversy will only make the Republicans seem childish and out of touch. I can imagine the press conference now,

Concerned Citizen: I recently lost my job and my son ships off tomorrow for Afghanistan. Do the Republicans have any ideas to help me get a new job and to protect my son?

RNC Member: Well... you see... the thing is.... ummm.... no. But we decided what to call those good for nothing so an so's across the isle! Wanna hear?

Concerned Citizen:.....

Secondly, he has impressed me during the recent split in the Republican party. For those of you you who don't know, the RNC has been divided because Colin Powell had the audacity to suggest that his countryman shouldn't listen to Rush Limbaugh. He also pointed out that Sarah Palin was a negative polarizing figure (Do I agree? You betcha! As Palin would say.) In these few sentences, Powell effectively split the party into two camps. Steele chose to side with Powell. More impressive then that, he used reason and logic to explain why. Pointing out that Limbaugh was an entertainer, someone of little consequence outside of those who listen to him. While Powell was an extremely competent four star general widely respected across party lines, someone who could save the party.

This puts me in quite the predicament, on the one hand, I want Steele to fail. I am convinced that if he does, the Republicans will flock to Rush and fade into obscurity, hopefully taking him with them. (It's probably the only way to get rid of Limbaugh, short of an exorcism...) However, I don't want a one party system, so I guess my only option is to hope Steele continues to lead competently, and that his fellow Republicans have the common sense to follow. I'm not hopeful....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Arch Nemesis: Rush Limbaugh!

For those of you that missed it, this last week saw one of my favorite political events of the year, the White House Correspondent's Dinner. Basically its a fun, light hearted event the White House throws every year featuring a dinner and speeches by a comic or famous actor and the President. I love this event because you get to hear what the president would say if he was at liberty to speak his mind. This year's was especially entertaining.

Unfortunately, every year someone also gets bent out of shape about something that is said. I can't stand this. It's a joke people! This brings me to my good friend Rush. (Is that really his name, Rush?) Naturally he was the butt of many jokes from both Wanda Sykes (the night's featured comedian) and President Obama. And naturally many on the right are bent out of shape, claiming the jokes went too far. (I still don't understand why the right stands by Limbaugh, let him go already...) The joke in question:

So, the question is whether or not comparing Rush Limbaugh to Osama Bin Laden is unfair? On January 14, 2009 Bin Laden released a message challenging the Obama administration. Questioning whether or not America "is capable to keep fighting us for more years," two days later Limbaugh, when asked to write 400 words on the new Obama administration said, "Okay... but i wont need 400 words, I hope he fails." He repeated and defended his stance on February 28.

Am I seriously implying that Bin Laden and Limbaugh are secretly working together to bring down this administration? Of course not, but in this instance, their ultimate goal is the same. One motivated by selfishness and greed (and Oxycontin) and the other dangerous religious fanaticism. So perhaps Sykes's sentiment, that Limbaugh in his remarks was borderline treasonous, wasn't such an exaggeration after all. Maybe we should report him? We could lock him up with Ames. That would be the single greatest deterrent to crime we could create, having to be imprisoned with Rush Limbaugh. Imagine the possibilities...

Welcome to The Proud Progressive.

Welcome! I've decided to start a blog. I never thought this day would come, especially as I have spent more then my fair share of time making fun of those that blog. However, hidden behind the jokes and one liners I've always wanted a blog of my own. Now I find myself sitting at home unemployed and bored waiting to leave on my mission. So, with literally nothing better to do, i decided that it is time to enter the blogosphere.

It seems like a good idea for my first post to explain this blog, and to give you a reason to read on. The Proud Progressive was inspired by this quote given by President John F. Kennedy on September 14, 1960 feel free to substitute Liberal with progressive as they are synonymous:

"What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollar, then.... we are not that kind of "Liberal." But if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind..., someone who cares about the welfare of people..., someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroud, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a liberal." (John F. Kennedy, 1960)

I plan to do my best to thoughtfully and insightfully comment on current events and share what I'm thinking and why you should agree. More importantly then that, I hope to explain why I am a proud progressive and why you should be too. I hope you enjoy reading this blog, but more than that, I hope I enjoy writing it. Enjoy!