Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"The Bill Hicks Story"

I am in such awe of Bill Hicks that I can't find words....

There's a new movie about him -- it looks like it could be pretty damn good.

Here's a youtube video of Uncle Bill giving some career advice:

"Suck it, Republicans"

I actually know and respect many people who hold very conservative political views. My father, whom I loved and admired a great deal, was a huge fan of Ronald Reagan, although he despised George W. Bush. I also have very little tolerance for well-programmed knee-jerk "progressives" who mindlessly repeat whatever they believe the party line to be, and who are quick to resort to epithets such as "racist" and "fascist" against all arguments that they disagree with, or, more likely, fail to understand.

I am disgusted by all attempts to limit freedom of speech in the name of regulating so-called "hate-speech", and I believe that anyone who doesn't think that the Bill of Rights protects the rights of individual citizens to own guns, well, doesn't understand the Bill of Rights. And I believe that anyone who wants to monkey with the Bill of Rights is a danger to us all.

I could go on and on with other legitimate protestations about my appreciation for nuance and subtlety in political matters, and my own loathing of the poison of lockstep political factionalism. But fuck all that. The Republican Party opposed Social Security. They opposed Civil Rights. And now, as a Party, they are monolithically opposed Health Care Reform. So I have to agree with a friend who said, simply, "Suck it, Republicans." That's right. Suck it.

I mean Jesus fucking Christ. Newt Gingrich actually came right out and compared Health Care Reform to Civil Rights, like that was a bad thing:
Former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich said Obama and the Democrats will regret their decision to push for comprehensive reform. Calling the bill “the most radical social experiment . . . in modern times,” Gingrich said: “They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years” with the enactment of civil rights legislation in the 1960s.
[Dan Balz, Washingont Post, March 21, 2010]
I mean how can a person say such a thing? And Gingrich is no drooling idiot. In fact, among Republicans he is widely considered to be a towering intellect -- a scholar, even. A scholar of history in particular. And yet he can still bring himself to think: boy howdy, the Democrats have sure fucked themselves again, just like they did with the Negro Question.

I mean for fuck's sake, Civil Rights legislation was needed in order for African Americans to be able to vote at all! Before Civil Rights, Blacks who wanted to vote in the South were murdered, and the murderers got away with it. Yeah, OK, maybe the Democrats paid a political price for saying enough of that shit was enough. And maybe as a Party they took a political hit, as Republicans spent the next half a century fine-tuning their appeals to white racists, especially in the South.

Gingrich has since tried to "walk back" his comments, claiming that, oh, yeah, sure, like Civil Rights was the right thing to do and all that. But Gingrich can Suck It, too. He was following a very old script, and one that originated in the Democratic Party, by the way. Before the Civil Rights legislation of the 60's there was Harry Truman's advocacy for civil rights, including the desegregation of the military in 1948. Which led to Strom Thurmond and other "Dixiecrats" bolting from the Democrats and eventually landing in a party where racists were still welcomed: the Republican Party.

The script that Gingrich was following goes like this: these dangerous radical experiments (like desegregtion and health care for all) go too far. They represent an unwarranted and unconstitutional invasion of individual rights and States' Rights. At best they amount to reckless governmental over-reaching, at worst they are the thin end of the of the dreaded Totalitarian Wedge. I can't believe this shit still works, but on some people it apparently still does.

I know that not all opponents of Health Care Reform are raving, racist fools. But a very significant portion of them are. And even those who aren't are simply on the wrong side of history. You pay a political price for that, too.