TONY'S ONLINE TIPS for Wednesday, November 10, 2004
This is what I wrote - in several forums - after the election tragedy of last week:
I can't look America in the eye. If I see it coming towards me, I cross the street to avoid it. I don't pick up the phone when it calls. I don't want to give it a chance to hurt me again. The pain is too fresh.
That pretty much covers it for now.
Tomorrow's another day.
After John Kerry conceded (which I believe was an appropriate response given the numbers), after the realization hit that 51% of my fellow voters had returned the worst president of my lifetime to office, I couldn't read a newspaper for three days. I hadn't been this depressed since the night I spent two hours in a closed garage with my van running, the life-changing event that forced me to face a horrible truth about myself and take steps to battle those inner demons every day of my life.
It would be presumptuous to say I won *that* war. But I most certainly contained the enemy and put it in a place where it could not do me or anyone else any harm. And it was the memory of that dark night that gave me back my fighting spirit.
The war goes on. The challenge is greater and the stakes are higher, but the war goes on. Because 51% of my fellow voters were on the wrong side last Tuesday.
They might be well-intentioned. They might be in the grip of the fear which the neo-conservatives wielded so well. They might be hanging on to the "moral values" which, in truth, do not stand the test of true morality. Whatever the reasons, they were on the wrong side and they remain there now.
It's up to us to lead them out of the darkness.
To define the nature of this war, here's a starting point from Michael Kinsley, editorial and opinion editor of the Los Angeles Times. He wrote:
It's true that people on my side of the divide want to live in a society where women are free to choose abortion and where gay relationships have full civil equality with straight ones. And you want to live in a society where the opposite is true. These are some of those conflicting values everyone is talking about. But at least my values -- as deplorable as I'm sure they are -- don't involve any direct imposition on you. We don't want to force you to have an abortion or to marry someone of the same gender, whereas you do want to close out those possibilities for us. Which is more arrogant?
The abortion issue remains a hot button for most voters. The truth be told, I'm against it except in cases of rape - especially rape of a minor - and to protect the health of the mother. My pro-choice credentials pretty much end at the point where a consenting adult - male or female - chooses to have sex. After that, to me, it's a simple matter of accepting the consequences of the decisions we make. Life is sacred...though the life of the unborn is not and should not be held more sacred than the life of the woman carrying that child.
I part company with the so-called pro-life movement because, more often that not, its loudest voices fall silent once the child is born. A complicated world calls for "big picture" thinking and the strident ones are looking at thumbnails.
But I digress.
The point Kinsley makes so well is...the mostly common values he and I share don't require anything of those who don't share them with us. They can live their lives as they see fit.
Their so-called "values" demand that we also live our lives as *they* see fit.
Which of us is imposing on the other? Which of us is at odds with the essential freedom of choice upon which these United States were founded?
You can read Kinsley's column in its entirety by visiting THE WASHINGTON POST website:
For the rest of *this* column, you're stuck with me.
The cover at the top of today's column is from GIRLS' ROMANCES #106 [January, 1965] and is pencilled by Gene Colan. He might have inked it as well, but neither the wondrous Grand Comics Database or the less-wondrous yours truly is sure about that. The cover story - "I'll Never Love Again" - is also pencilled by Colan.
The other stories in this Jack Miller-edited issue are "Stand-In For Love" and "I'll Be Around." The GCD has no credits for the former, but the latter is pencilled by Mike Sekowsky and inked by Bernard Sachs.
WHAT I'M READING
Assuming you've read this far, rest assured that I will return to reviewing comic books and other entertaining items of interest within a day or two. Here are some things I'm reading or will be reading this week.
From Jon Stewart and the Daily Show comes AMERICA (THE BOOK) [Warner Books; $24.95], a "Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction." It looks like a civics textbook, well, kind of sort of, and it has me laughing through the tears every few pages.
Here's a taste:
Negative advertising turns the spotlight on the other candidate in an attempt to lower his standing in the eyes of voters. Once seen as a last-ditch effort to salvage a flagging campaign, "going negative" has proven so effective, today's political candidates rely almost exclusively on it. Some say this cheapens the political discourse and turns people off to the entire process, but really, once you've portrayed a one-armed, no-legged war hero as a traitor to his country, what process is there to go back to?
I'm reading Jeff Smith's BONE, the one volume edition in trade paperback format. It's over 1300 pages of some of the best comics ever and, as such, worth every penny of its $39.95 price. It's so thick that it doesn't fit into my scanner; I had to grab this scan online. I get a rush just holding this book.
COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE #1600 [Krause; $5.99] arrived on Monday. It did my spirit good to see Superman - and not solely a Hollywood version of the character - on the cover.
When I resumed reading my daily newspapers, catching up on the editions I had put aside after Kerry's concession, I jotted down a few notes and thoughts.
"A CLEAN MANDATE" was the Akron Beacon-Journal's headline for Thursday, November 4.
How is 51% a clear mandate?
While it's unquestionably a MAJORITY of the votes which were cast and counted, calling it a mandate does considerable disservice to the remaining 49% of the electorate. Are we to be ignored for the next two years? Are our concerns to go unanswered?
"I do miss PMS - it was the only time of the month I could be myself" (Roseanne on turning 50)
Prior to the election, the Akron Beacon-Journal kept in touch with four area residents who had voted for Bush in 2000. Only one of them voted for him this time around.
From that newspaper:
Waleed Nemer, an Akron physician who has been leaning toward Bush for weeks, followed through on his feelings.
"I voted for Bush, and I'm glad the results came my way," Nemer said. "Even though I do share some difficulties accepting his opinions on the Middle East and the war on Iraq, I think the president has learned from some of his mistakes, and he's going to mellow."
This is the sort of illogic that drives me crazy. When asked about his mistakes, Bush denied making any...save for appointing a few people who didn't fall into step with his agenda. If he won't concede that he has made mistakes, how can the President possibly learn from them?
I took zip comfort from the victory speech in which President Bush called for Americans to work together. The spin had started early. First, a mandate was claimed where none existed. Then, there was the half-truth that more people had voted for Bush than any candidate in history, ignoring that more people had also voted for John Kerry than had voted for any candidate in history save for Bush in 2004. Just to further play with numbers, Al Gore is number four on this list of "getting the most votes." Bush's electoral college margin of victory is one of the smallest ever. In short, I'm not inclined to give Bush the benefit of the doubt when he proclaims:
So today I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust. A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation. We have one country, one Constitution, and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America.
One way Bush could try to earn my support and/or trust would be to follow up on his pre-Election Day "civil unions" remarks and put his "political capital" to work by supporting equal rights for gay couples. But, of course, he won't.
To prevent states from recognizing equal marriage rights, Bush is willing to write bigotry into the Constitution, this after Karl Rove, on the President's behalf, ran the most virulent anti-gay campaign in history. But he won't intervene to urge the states to allow civil unions. How can he have it both ways?
Bush doesn't want to reach out to the whole nation. He wants the whole nation to fall in step with his agenda.
I hope I get sent to a nice re-education camp.
The good news to come out of last week's election tragedy is that young people chose the Kerry-Edwards ticket over Bush-Cheney by 55% to 44%. That's far more of a mandate than the one claimed by the President. If you're wondering how that stacks up to other recent Presidential races:
Al Gore: 47.6%
George Bush: 46.2%
Bill Clinton: 52.8%
Bob Dole: 34.4%
Bill Clinton: 43.5%
The other George Bush: 34.3%
While many Bush acolytes have undoubtedly brokered deals with unnatural powers to extend their natural lives, we can still hope for the young people to put our nation back on a more compassionate and wiser track within the next decade.
I have further thoughts on this election, but I'll spread them out over the next several columns.
Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.
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