by Japa

As many of you know, especially since I basically begged for Chips to give a FLOTUS birthday present, I turned 65 this past week. Although birthdays as a whole don’t mean much to me, this particular one does. After all, from now on I know that I will be able to afford excellent medical care, even if I am still under private insurance.

But this particular birthday also presents me with an opportunity for reflection, but not just about where I have been, where I am and where I may be going. With all the important things this country is facing, it also gives me an opportunity to reflect on where this country has been, particularly in my life time, where it is and where it may go in the future. And this last is particularly important this year because a Republican victory may result in an America that won’t be able to be turned around for many years. Just like in terms of climate change there is talk of a tipping point, beyond which we may never recover, the same is true for this country politically this year. This is indeed a tipping point election.

Before I go into the results of my reflecting, I want to bring out two statements that I have seen and heard. Both of these have a bearing on my further discussion so bear with me.

Last year John Boehner said, “All I want to see if the United States I grew up in.”

Just in the past couple weeks, P. M. Carpenter has been making the point that in this current climate, progressives are really conservatives and what passes for conservatism is really radicalism, and that it might be important to start calling ourselves conservatives because we really do want to conserve things like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, women’s rights, freedom of and from religion, etc.

I want to look at Boehner’s statement first. I would like also to return this country (to some degree) to the country I grew up in. I was born in the 40’s, truly came to awareness in the 50’s, grew to adulthood in the 60’s, married and started a family in the 70’s. Which brings to the 80’s, Reagan, and the start of the decline of the middle class, the initial feelers put out concerning Social Security, and even a rather obvious attack on the civil rights gains of the 60’ and 70’s. I suddenly found myself in a country that was turning away from what I always was taught were some of its main principles.

I am not going to bore you with all of the beliefs that I really believed were basic underpinnings of this country I loved then and still love today. I am really only to focus on two. The first was something that I was taught was the critical difference between us and those godless communists. Simply stated, Americans did not believe in the principle that “The end justifies the means.” We believed there were right and wrong ways to go about trying to achieve goals. MLK was a perfect personification of this. The main thrust of the Civil Rights movement was peaceful resistance. Sure, I suppose breaking into armories and having a violent revolution was an option, but not really.

The second principle was a statement, basically, about our justice system. I was taught our system was predicated on the principle that it was better to let 10 guilty men go free than to have one innocent man punished. We realized a jury system was, by its very nature, open to mistakes, but the mistakes were to be made, if anything, on the side of leniency.

As I look at things now, I see that both of those principles have either been ignored or simply thrown out by many Americans, and not just Republicans (although very few of those believe in them any more). We see in the Romney campaign and in the Citizens United decision and in the decision to use torture, to name a few, the basic believe that to achieve a goal I can and will use any means available to me, no matter how wrong, how immoral, how it makes other people less than human. And in Congress we see how the one goal, to make President Obama a one term President, anything goes. If the economy goes down the toilet and takes millions of people with it, if thousands of people die because they don’t have access to affordable health care, too bad. There is no moral compass anymore, especially on the right. There is no regard for real human beings. The citizens of this country have become chattel to the self-defined lords of the manors.

The second principle, that of letting 10 guilty men go free to avoid punishing one innocent one has a slightly different counterpart today. The motto of the current Republican/conservative/Tea Party is “Better to keep a thousand legitimate voters from being able to cast a ballot than to let one maybe, possibly, if we imagine hard enough, illegitimate voter cast a ballot.” This is, of course, part of the reduction of the first principle as well, but it goes further than that. It is a total denial of one of the basic ideals of this country when it was founded. And yes I know all the classes of people that weren’t allowed to vote originally, but it still is an affront to the founding fathers who wanted a representative democracy based upon an educated public.

This is already getting longer than I anticipated, but I wanted to touch on Carpenter’s point about liberals and progressives being the true conservatives today. And we are. Unfortunately the purists don’t see that. We are in a battle to save what has gone before and avoid turning back the clock like the Republicans would like us to do. Believe me, the Republicans would like nothing more than to have the President and the Democrats push for single payor right now, because they can then point to us and call us the true radicals. And then they win the power to wipe out decades of accomplishments.

First we must make safe that which has been gained from the assault it is under. The Republicans know if they can’t do it now, they never will be able to. This is their last chance. If we get distracted by what we would like to do going forward, we can easily lose the really important battles right now. However, if we can turn back the Republican assault on what most Americans really consider holy, then we can move forward.

Back to Boehner. Like him I too want to see more of the country I grew up in. Not all of it. Not the periods of times before the Civil Rights movement or even the struggles since then. But I do want to see a country again where those two principles had meaning. Oh, I know they were never totally pure, but they were there and people did believe in them. So Mr. Boehner, if you want to see the country you grew up in stop trampling those principles into the dirt.

88 Responses to “Reflections”

  1. 1 susanne
    June 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    aloha and good morning!

      • 3 susanne
        June 23, 2012 at 6:12 pm

        ooooh!!! mahalo nui loa, dear chips! looooove this one! (okay, i love them all, but seeing this good man at play really warms my heart!)

    • 4 susanne
      June 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      full disclosure: i didn’t real japa’s wonderful post before jumping in ‘first’!

      now i’ve read it, and i’m gobsmacked by the powerful reframing of the word ‘conservative’. yes, we’re trying to conserve what’s right about america, like civil rights, voting rights, human rights. we’re working to conserve the environment, the gains in women’s rights, and girls’ access to equal education, and on and on.

      our agenda is not radical or outrageous–we are claiming our rights, and the rights of our children. it is the rethugs who are attempting to dismantle the nation we know and love. all they are interested in ‘conserving’ is their money and power. that’s not conservative; it’s anti-american.

  2. 5 amk for obama
    June 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm


  3. 8 vcprezofan2
    June 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Missed ….again! 😆 😆 I think I’m going to start saying I WAS aiming for whatever position I land in. 😆

    • 9 vcprezofan2
      June 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      In this case I was aiming fo rthird, and my goal was attained. At least until I get bumped by those coming to congratulate 1st place, Susanne of the islands. 😉

      • 10 susanne
        June 23, 2012 at 6:13 pm

        please do share my prize, dear vc! joy is best shared!

        • 11 vcprezofan2
          June 23, 2012 at 6:19 pm

          ‘joy is best shared!’

          And once shared, it grows magically. Weird! Really weird. 😉 😉 Thank you, Susanne.

      • June 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm

        I was aiming for last, and I’ve obviously exceeded my goal. Tee-hee… 🙂 🙂

        Congrats vcprez on meeting your goal, and congrats susanne on #1!!

        • 13 vcprezofan2
          June 23, 2012 at 6:30 pm

          Hf, you’ve got something going here, and it works as you will have exceeded your goal wherever you end up! 😀 Hmmmn. I may have to borrow this approach sometime into the future.

  4. June 23, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    A million thanks to Japa for this beautiful piece. The re-defining of ‘conservative’ really struck me – “because we really do want to conserve things like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, women’s rights, freedom of and from religion, etc”. So true. If I live to 500, which is likely, there won’t be a more important election than this one, not just for America but the world. And you captured just how critical it is Japa. Thank you again.

  5. 20 amk for obama
    June 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    stolen from lamh at BJ.

  6. 21 a4alice
    June 23, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Very thoughtful and well done piece Japa! Tweeted! And Chips…..did you change the font on your header?…..

  7. 23 amk for obama
    June 23, 2012 at 6:22 pm

  8. June 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    I’m liking this “reflections” piece very much. Thank you Japa.

    When will Mr. Boehner have the guts to stand up to the Tea Party and say “ENOUGH?”

    • 27 vcprezofan2
      June 23, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      Is this the same Hf that shared a moment of insight above? 😉 Boehner having guts to stand up? John has revealed his core over and over in the last 4 years – it’s corrupt.

      “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
      ― Maya Angelou

  9. 30 amk for obama
    June 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm
  10. June 23, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Bain plane lands near Romney retreat

    // (CNN) – Democrats kept up their offensive on Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney, on Saturday. A Democratic operative snapped photos of a jet registered to the company that was parked at an airport near Romney’s fundraising retreat in Park City, Utah. The Bain plane photos came just hours after the primary super PAC supporting President Barack Obama’s reelection released a new television advertisement criticical of the firm’s practices. //


    • 33 amk for obama
      June 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Love it that the campaign is sticking with the plan despite a week of poutrage noise from the thugs and msm and hand wringing from corporate dems.

      • June 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm

        Yup. I was so happy to hear our President double down on the Bain outsourcing in his Tampa FL speech yesterday. PBO will not be intimidated by ANY ONE.

      • 35 nathkatun7
        June 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm

        Yes indeed, amk! I answered a survey today sent by Messina. The last question called for suggestions to help the campaign. Mine was that they should keep on exposing Bain and ignore the media and Democrats like Booker, Clinton and Rendell.

        • 36 Cha
          June 23, 2012 at 8:41 pm

          I just finished that survey, nathkatun. My answer when they asked what worries us the most about a mitt presidency was..

          “The fall of our country into fascism.
          I’m one of those who are aware that willard is a sociopathic, pathological LIAR. Ain’t no way to sugar coat that.”

          And, the one for Suggestions was..

          Just that we greatly appreciate the incredible work that you and everyone else who’s out there are doing to fight the LIES 24/7!

          And, knowing how very important it is that PBO is taking the messaging away from the corporatemediawhores who back romney. We not only have billionaires for romney to fight..we have the corrupt US corporatemedia system.

          We need more Dems out there who have PObama’s BACK!”

          I love your suggestion, nathkatun7!

          • 37 nathkatun7
            June 23, 2012 at 9:49 pm

            Well put, Cha! With Romney, corporate capitalism will totally dominate our government. By the way, Romney is not bashful about this. For him the only people qualified to be Presidents are businessmen. And as you said, corporate media are, for the most part, aiding and abating Romney’s lies while masking his corporate agenda. Here in California, we were able to counter the massive corporate money unleashed, in 2010, trying to buy the governorship and a U.S. Senate seat. Let’s hope the majority of American people will be do the same in 2012 to stop the billionaires who are determined to buy the presidency. In California, in 2010, we demonstrated that money is not everything when people are informed and mobilized. Besides, just imagine if 2 million of us Obama supporters pledged to donate $5-10 a week to OFA, from now until Nov. 6. We may not out raise the billionaires but we can raise enough money to make President Obama competitive.

      • 38 Cha
        June 23, 2012 at 8:34 pm

        YES! The Dems didn’t fold to those would whine and vomit. And, look at all the information that has come out!

    • 39 susanne
      June 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      meanwhile bain is busy buying a japanese media conglomerate with plans to expand into china. of course, robme would have no knowledge of what’s going on in his ‘blind trust’–oh, except they fly in to meet with him and his political buddies.


  11. 43 Ladyhawke
    June 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm



    As the issue of immigration takes center stage, and the political world watches the dueling speeches at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) conference between Mitt Romney and President Obama, the Republican echo chamber seems to have settled on a set of talking points. Together, they add up to yet another attempt to obscure the GOP’s obstructionism, paper over the GOP’s extremism, and cover up the GOP’s deep divisions on the issue.

    Below are several of the frequent Republican attacks, arguments, and misinformation that cry out for context and accuracy:



  12. 44 amk for obama
    June 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    In recent weeks we’ve watched the Vatican try to stifle a vital part of the Catholic Church: the nuns. Indeed, the Church fathers seem to have become quite unhinged in their efforts to quiet women who have dedicated their lives not only to Catholicism, but to betterment of all.

    Why is this? Its simply because the good Sisters have the ability to redirect the Church to a place where conservative men do not want to go.


    Nuns have also been at the forefront of a potential Catholic remonstrance. Is it any wonder that the hierarchy and their friends on the Catholic Right are trying to reign them in?

    The Vatican has revealed itself in the current spectacle as more reactionary than conservative. Even the suggestion of discussing progressive takes on dogma is often denounced as heresy.


    These clerics apparently recognize that the nuns could become a rallying point and potential leadership for reform for those of us unhappy with the turn away from Vatican II’s Aggiornamento – “bringing up to date” that has occurred since the ascendancy of Pope John Paul II.

    In fact, that is exactly how many of us who oppose the reactionary doctrine and culture trickling down from the hierarchy see the nuns’ potential for leadership. They are not a dissident lay group such as Call to Action, but part of the institutional Church. It would be a change from within.

  13. June 23, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Pleased to see CBS news covering the Billionaire Party in Utah, going into lots of details about the participants and secret bundlers etc., also showing the Koch boys and reporting on their mtg in San Diego and pledge to raise $400 million for Willard. Some light is beginning to shine on some troublesome truths.

    • 46 carolyn
      June 23, 2012 at 6:58 pm

      ABC News did too. Used words like “exclusive” “secretive” said their producer was sent away because he or she talked to a Senator! As you say Finally!
      Frankly, I don’t think the average American likes this kind of stuff. It may be okay for Hollywood, but not for people who want to lead the country.

  14. 49 amk for obama
    June 23, 2012 at 6:48 pm

  15. June 23, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    LOL! Obama 2012 – Parade by the Black Hawk County Dems 🙂 Too cute by a half!


  16. 57 donna dem 4 obama
    June 23, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Very well said Japa and I concur!

  17. 58 amk for obama
    June 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Spain 2, France 0: Spain Beats France to Reach Euro 2012

  18. 59 susanne
    June 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    robme’s claim that he’d increase military spending, eliminate the deficit, and cut taxes goes beyond fuzzy math–this oped questions whether the rethugs have actually done the math at all, and calls for robme to get specific about his plans.


  19. 61 carolyn
    June 23, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Japa, I liked what you said. I’m just seven years older than you, so my experience is very similar. I liked and hated the same things…..I grew up in the north and the west, so did not know about separate restrooms, drinking fountains, soda fountains, etc, until the Civil Rights struggle started. That was a righteous fight, and we canNOT go back on that, which, to me is what the Rick Scotts, etc. are trying to do.
    I LOVE your reframing of Conservative. Yes, WE are the ones who want to conserve the wonder of America. THEY are the radicals who want to destroy it. They would even destroy our wonderful National Parks and make them for profit! What a travesty that would be.!
    Bravo Japa.

  20. 62 forus50
    June 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm

  21. 65 ChristiMTL
    June 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Tell us more! RT @shushwalshe: Spotted walking into the Romney retreat evening reception: Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan plus their wives, and a few mins later Craig Romney.

    • June 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      So did Ruby’s invite get lost in the mail? Was he so busy drafting his very own Nightmare Act, that he forgot to check his mailbox? So is he being vetted from afar, instead of up close and personal like the other potential VP wanna be stooges? And are they keeping Crispie Creme away so that there’s enough to go around, or is he still trying to find a cargo plane big enough to transport him across the country from Jersey?

    • 67 jackiegrumbacher
      June 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      What a smarmy little group–all under the heading of people you would least like to be in a room with, let alone eat with.

      • 68 theo67
        June 24, 2012 at 4:13 am

        Just think: the tax cuts those rich buggers are enjoying (plus Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan’s salaries and benefits) came out of our pockets and go straight into theirs. Interesting that Romney is frolicking with those public workers instead of hob-nobbing with “real Americans”.

  22. 69 vcprezofan2
    June 23, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    CHIPS! Chips! Stop messing with the furniture! I don’t want to be stumbling over stuff when I wake up in the dark! Have you any idea how long it took me to ‘find’ the latest posts when I came on just now to hunt up a quick something to use in a tweet? Of course, you don’t. Well neither did I because I didn’t have time to time my search, but in any case, I like my house as is and don’t want to be hunting up and down for STUFF. Mumble, mumble, grumble. 😉 😉

    Okay. Alright. (grudgingly) Once I found it, I really do like the new location for the list of last 10 posts. Could you give the right panel a slight shade, tinge, or a light background so that it’s a wee bit set apart from the post itself?

    • 70 susanne
      June 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      am i crazy, or was it blue a minute ago?

    • June 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm

      “CHIPS! Chips! Stop messing with the furniture! I don’t want to be stumbling over stuff when I wake up in the dark!”

      😆 😆 😆

      Sorry VC! I’ve nearly stopped fiddling (well, in a few days), and then democracy will rule – if 50.01% hate the changes I’ll unchange them!

      Will fiddle with that right panel now 😉

      • 74 susanne
        June 23, 2012 at 7:57 pm

        well, since you’re taking suggestions–i like a nice cheerful color on the panel! just sayin’–cheerful!

        • June 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm

          On the right panel Susanne? I just figured if it was the same or a similar color to the main background the blog would look, I dunno, cleaner and a bit easier in the eye? No??

          • 76 susanne
            June 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm

            yes, soothing is good for the eyes. i do hate the sites with fluorescent or high contrast framing. but the nice blue was, to me, more pleasing than gray. pickypickypicky!

      • 77 vcprezofan2
        June 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm

        OMGosh! Is that time on your response correct? I’ve been sitting before this screen without moving since 4pm, dancing back and forth between twitter, my twitter notification and TOD!!! I haven’t had any hunger pangs so totally forgot to check the time. Good Lord, I HAVE TO GET A LIFE!!
        Anyone have a extra ‘LIFE’ to donate?

        • June 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm

          I have NO life to give you VC! 🙂

          • 79 vcprezofan2
            June 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm

            How could you, with all the extra little tasks we add to your already overfilled agenda? I think I’ll just settle down comfortably beside you in the no life aisle. At least we each won’t be alone, and I’m sure there are a few others who could join us. You ever notice how Df, Hf, Jov and some others practically sleep under the TOD bridge? As November approaches I’d wager you could start charging them rent and donate the amount to OFA! 😉

  23. June 23, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    I just watched Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible, The White House Edition, where FLOTUS challenged the host to renovate a center for kids in a food desert community that did afterschool care, cooking/nutrition classes, and mentoring. FLOTUS also wanted a garden like the one at the WH. It was such an inspiring episode from talking to Sam Cass, the WH ass’t chef to FLOTUS herself showing up to surprise the kids and the staff. It was a rerun, so I must have missed the original episode. Check it out, if you haven’t seen it. The show was inspired by her new book.

  24. 81 Linda
    June 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Oops! Fox News Plays Footage Of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels During Sandusky News


  25. June 23, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Hey there Chips! I can see that you’re working away on a new look. Did the right side panel shrink in size cause as I’m down at the bottom of my screen and there’s only a wide white space, then a thick black line, then a light blue blank space. Of course, it could be me, I’m not the most proficient user.

    • June 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm

      Cookemom, I think I’ve just added to the glitches today. 😳 It actually looks fine for me in Firefox, but was a bit wobbly in Safari. I’ll get back to it tomorrow or Monday and try to sort out any weirdness – hang in there!

  26. 84 majiir
    June 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Thanks for this beautiful reflection, Japa. I’ve actually begun calling myself a conservative because I do want to preserve what is good and just about America. I refer to the GOPers as radicals because that’s exactly what they are. They want to change our country from one in which everyone has an opportunity to succeed into one where only the rich have all of the perks. They’re some of the most selfish, lying weasels I’ve laid my eyes on in 50 + years, and they have no shame about it. Boehner and the other high-level GOPers only care about two things: money and power, and they’ll do anything to get them.

  27. 85 whatisworking
    June 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    HI Japa

    Late to the party. Wonderful post, thanks so much for your insight. I too believe if we can hang on this time the next 10 years will be much better.

    Once again I will suggest you contact Deniac and join LL in making blog posts, you have it in you if you have the time.

    • 86 japa21
      June 23, 2012 at 8:47 pm

      Thank you so much for those kind words. To be honest, I would feel unomfortable approaching Deaniac.

  28. 87 virginia
    June 23, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Really liked what Japa had to say. I’m puzzled though. Boehner is about 62 or 63 years old. What America is he talking about? He grew up in one of the most violent periods in American history domestically–civil rights movement, Vietnam war, political assassinations, shootings, bombings, Nixon years, shots taken at Ford and Reagan, gas crisis, hostage crisis, raging inflation, unemployment hit 11% under Reagan–AND, I read somewhere that Boehner was one of 9 or 11 children, and had to work as a boy is his father’s bar (probably where he started drinking), and I notice every time he recalls those days, he cries like a baby–and they never appear to be tears of Joy. What’s he talking about, who’d want to go backwards?.

    And, Besides all that, the world is ALWAYS changing and will NEVER be the way it was before. It is beyond foolish to try to govern as though you can stop the march of progress, or return to some mythical time that Never Was.

  29. 88 nathkatun7
    June 24, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Happy belated birthday, Japa21. Turning 65 years is indeed a major milestone that’s is worthy of major celebration. I hope you hand a wonderful birthday with family and friends.

    As my daughter told me when I turned 65, a year and a half ago, you can now legitimately qualify as a “wise” senior citizen. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your reflection on history. It’s filled with wisdom that can only come from both knowledge and experience. After reading your post I had to reevaluate my views about conservatism. Clearly people who want to do away with things like Social Security, minimum wage, collective bargaining, and bank regulations to protect people’s savings, can’t legitimately claim to be conservatives. These are all policies, enacted before you and I were born, that have been an integral part of this country’s history. The same is true of policies enacted when you were a teenager that outlawed race segregation, denial of voting rights for AA and guaranteeing women rights including the right of privacy when it came to their bodies.

    Unlike you and pm Carpenter, I am not sure that I would be comfortable calling myself a conservative because I still have fundamental issues with both the conservatives of my time and those who came before them. What I do I agree with you is that the current crop of GOP, and especially the tea bag wing, can not be classified as conservatives in the same league with Dwight Eisenhower, or even Goldwater. They may wish to take the country to the pre 1932 period, but some of their policies and practices sound as radical as those engineered by Mao’s cultural revolution.

    In any case, Happy Birthday, and thanks for a very thought provoking post.

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