Review:Gems from WaPo2007-09-03 00:00:00
So I happened to be browsing the Washington Post web site today, and found three - count ‘em, three! - articles worth excerpting.
Bob Novak brings up the fact that GOP donors are fighting mad about amnesty, and it’s showing in donations. He gives an example that sounds all-too-familiar to me:
During the summer, a female acquaintance of mine in her 70s who had been a faithful Republican during her long life received a GOP telephone solicitation as a previous contributor to the party. Not this time. She informed the fundraiser that President Bush’s position on immigration was the last straw. She would not give the Republicans another dime.That’s what I’ve been telling the RNC for several months now. And yet, rabid amnesty backer Mel Martinez remains the head of the party…
Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey poignantly explains why he and Larry Craig were so uncomfortable with their homosexuality:
As a child, recognizing my difference from other kids, I went to the local public library to try to better understand my reality. Back then, many library card catalogues didn’t even list “homosexuality” as a topic. I had to go to “sexuality, deviant” to learn about myself, and the collected works were few and frightening: “Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases,” “Homosexuality: Its Causes and Cure,” “Sexual Deviance & Sexual Deviants.”I’m thrilled that Larry “AgJobs” Craig can no longer attempt to destroy America from a perch in the US Senate. But I’m saddened that we live in a world where people are forced to live a lie because society chooses to condemn what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms. In a generation or two, stories like Craig’s and McGreevey’s will hopefully begin to sound like antiquated anomalies.
If you haven’t experienced it, it may be hard to understand the sinking feeling most every gay boy or girl of my generation experienced upon coming across that section of the library. All I could do was slam the drawer closed and leave, steeped in hopelessness.
No relief was forthcoming from my then-Catholic faith, which said the practice of homosexuality was a “mortal sin” subject to damnation.
In the way that teenagers do, I came to the conclusion that my only options were suicide, something for which I could never find the courage, or “closeting” my homosexuality. After all the whispering, fights, insults, reading of academic journals and lessons from the church, you simply say to yourself: This thing, being gay, can’t be me. Everything and everyone told me it was wrong, evil, unnatural and shameful. You decide: I’ll change it, I’ll fight it, I’ll control it, but, simply put, I’ll never accept it. You then attempt to place “it” in a metaphorical closet, keep it separate from open daily life and indulge it only in dark, secret places.
The danger of this decision is the implicit shame it carries. I was convinced I was worth less than my straight peers. I was at best inauthentic, and the longer I went without amending that dishonesty, the more ashamed I felt. And the third shame, for me, was my behavior. From the time in high school when I made up my mind to behave in public as though I were straight, I nonetheless carried on sexually with men.
How do you live with this shame? How do you accommodate your own disappointments, your own revulsion with whom you have become? You do it by splitting in two. You rescue part of yourself, the half that stands for tradition, values and America, the part that looks like the family you came from, and you walk away from the other half the way you would abandon something spoiled, something disgusting. This is a false amputation, because the other half doesn’t stop existing.
And then there’s this article which explains why America will still be No. 1 for the foreseeable future:
I get the sense that even the most even-keeled observers are so disillusioned by Iraq, official sleaze, corporate greed, fiscal madness and so on that they fear the whole American enterprise is fundamentally diseased. Ask your friends which country will be most dominant in 50 years, and you’ll be unlikely to hear anyone say “the United States.”Happy Labor Day!-- PoliPundit
But if global power is measured by military might, no other country is within light years of America. Our military expenditures, according to Cullen Murphy, are about equal to the defense expenditures of the next 15 nations combined.
North Korea spends approximately $5 billion a year on its military. That is what the Pentagon leaves as a tip for a waiter. That’s what we spend on condiments! That’s our ketchup and mustard budget!
The gross domestic product of the United States for 2007 probably will be in the vicinity of $13.2 trillion. China is right around $2.6 trillion – in fourth place, after the United States, Japan and Germany.
China’s rivers are sewers. Environmental problems make the Chinese economic boom unsustainable. That’s the recent assessment of China’s deputy minister for the environment in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel: “This miracle will end soon because the environment can no longer keep pace. Acid rain is falling on one third of the Chinese territory, half of the water in our seven largest rivers is completely useless, while one fourth of our citizens does not have access to clean drinking water.”
Moreover, China will be the first country to get old before it gets rich. China’s one-child policy, so rigidly enforced in the 1980s and 1990s, will haunt the country as it finds itself without enough workers to support a geriatric population.
My colleague Joel Garreau recently surveyed global demographic trends for Smithsonian magazine and concluded that the United States is in far better shape than any potential rival. By 2020, there will be only one German worker for every German pensioner. Japan is rapidly aging and having few babies. Russia combines a low birthrate with decreasing life expectancy. Every year, 700,000 more Russians die than are born.
Americans are blessed with a durable Constitution, cultural diversity, abundant resources and an open society. I think we’re capable of solving our problems. That’s the position, too, of Murphy, whose America/Rome meditation ends on a hopeful note. He writes that a fundamental characteristic of Americans is the belief that improvement is possible. Sure, we’re making many of the mistakes the Romans made: “But the antidote is everywhere. The antidote is being American.”