Meet the Press, Crossfire, Face the Nation

I do not normally watch any of these shows, but “Meet the Press” was on while I had breakfast this morning and I had an amazing revelation.

First a brief description about these shows. It seems the formula that works is to put opposite views (Republican, Democrat) on each side of the table and then they debate various topics such as Iraq. However, what occurred to me is that they are always different American views! The revelation was that I have never ever seen a citizen of the country being debated actually participate!!!!!

In this age of technology, wouldn’t it be great to have differing views from citizens of the country in question included!! As there is no representation now, even two college students would do. From my experience abroad, I am always awestruck when I learn about how the other side thinks and what they teach which is always completely different from information I received in America. Take Vietnam for example,, even though I spent a large part of my life in American education I never once learned about the positive aspects of Ho Chi Minh and why he believed what he did. It was always one sided. The debates these shows have are simply two sides of the coin from the same American viewpoint. I’m sure a debate between educated Iraqis’ about the American invasion would prove so much more enlightening than people in Washington DC defending the Republican and Democrat viewpoints and would garner a huge audience.

The only time I can think of that an extreme opposite view was given the chance to speak was that of the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was allowed to speak at Columbia University. The fact that he was even allowed to speak was EXTREMELY controversial and to play well with the home audience the President of Columbia University disparaged Ahmadinejad before letting him speak.

This quote really drives my point home.

“Think of the irony,” said Mitch McConnell. “Columbia University, home of the core curriculum that prizes an in-depth understanding of Western civilization and the free exchange of ideas, is bringing to its campus a state sponsor of terror.”

Think of the irony of using that statement and “the free exchange of ideas” then saying it is wrong to allow the President of another country to express his ideas. Mr. McConnell apparently does not understand what the word “Irony” means. It would be “ironic” for an institution that values “the free exchange of ideas” to NOT allow the ideas of an individual to be expressed!!!!!! But perhaps the telling phrase here is “an in-depth understanding of Western Civilization, which therefore only includes Western ideas and not that of any other. In which case his use of “Irony” would be correct in that “the free exchange of ideas” only encompasses those ideas which come from the West and therefore does not include any ideas from Iran.

To be sure, the President of Iran doesn’t seem like such a good guy and the people of Iran hate their own government but he was democratically elected and the mantra of the USA has been to promote freedom and democracy. It just doesn’t work out very well when the “free people” elect a baddy. I’m sure the politicians in Washington are at one moment very pleased with themselves and then after the election is over are quite consternated. At that point it would seem much better to revert back to the other quiet policy of supporting an American friendly dictator like Musharraf (Pakistan) who overthrew an elected government!!!

Message to the creators of these shows:

You would do well to include citizens of the countries you debate in your shows. To me, it currently seems like you include people who have achieved PhDs’ on the subject but neither speak the language nor have ever been to the physical location of the subject of their studies. To simplify, it would be like a non English speaking Japanese who has studied about San Francisco but has never walked one of it’s many hills. Why would I listen to him???

Issues of the Day – Gay Marriage

1. Proposition 8 – Gay Marriage

There was an article in the Wall Street journal about a “black list” of businesses that gay people were protesting due to their support of Proposition 8. It seems like these are extremists and such extremism isn’t really supported by the community. The article told the story of a Mormon woman who although she employed quite a few gay people in her restaurant had supported Proposition 8. As her establishment was being protested she thought it a good idea to offer an apology but could not renounce her belief and thus was shouted at. It’s good to hear however, that most of the gay population does not support this type of behavior and she is absolutely within her right to vote according to her beliefs.

I myself voted No on Proposition 8 (Gays have the right to marry = No vote) and it got me thinking about how we define marriage? I am still unclear on the answer.

Marriage is a traditional custom that transcends culture and is a custom found in almost every society. For tribes without a nation the marriage is upheld by the rules of tribal elders. In our society, the state recognizes marriage and affords married couples special privileges (and penalties). Another authority, Religion, also recognizes marriage.

Gay people are afforded special “domestic partnerships” in California which is very close to the rights of married couples. I’m not sure on all the details but to me it seems that it is simply a change in the word used to define a couple who have made their relationship permanent and public. Religion on the other hand comes in all shapes and sizes and spans every nation. Most religious leaders will not condone gay marriage.

However, if a gay person does not belong to a religion that does not condone gay marriage then who really cares what rules religion imposes. The only thing that matters are the rights afforded by the state and gay people have these privileges in more enlightened nationals and states (USA).

Thus, isn’t this whole debate simply about a word which defines the relationship between two people (Marriage)? What if the word was simply changed? Or perhaps it is simply a matter of having the same exact privilege that straight people have and the gay population wants equal rights.

To demonstrate the point, I am in a straight relationship called “Marriage.” However, I could care less if religious elders did not condone of it. The only thing that really matters is that the state affords me the benefits associated with it, should other people have special privileges as well. If the state provided no benefits, I could also care less if the state recognized it since it would give me no advantage. “Marriage” to me is a commitment I made to my wife and I could care less what any third party thinks unless it was disadvantageous in some way. We could call it something else like “the pact,” “the bond,” the promise,” “you and me babe,” etc.

However, this is from the mind of someone who studies language and the impact it has on mentality, thus may seem quite absurd to non language students. Further, it must hurt to not be included when the rest of the population is afforded something (even if it is only a word). In other words, Marriage is a long tradition and the word “Marriage” defines it and if everyone else is entitled to it then to not be included is discriminatory. But in the end, isn’t it just a word if the same benefits can be received (religion excluded)?

2. Israel and Gaza

Israel has started bombing Gaza again. I listened to the Prime Minister of Israel and can understand his frustration. But haven’t the policies of the USA and Israel been extremely unfair to the Palestinians? There are no jobs and the only thing that flourishes is the resentment of Israel. I have spoken with Israeli soldiers and even they have said policies towards the Palestinians have been unfair. It is such a mess there that countless intelligent people have failed at trying to find a lasting solution. In the end, Israel has the right to exist and not be shot at while the Palestinians have the right to prosper, be free and flourish. Seems to be a downward spiral and very hard for American policy to be balanced as it is shamefully pro-Israeli now. It is my opinion that America should not get involved in this mess or if they must then castigate both sides equally.

3. Christmas movies

To end the post on a trite note, I recognized this Christmas that there are still no good Christmas movies coming out. Hollywood continues to spew forth garbage with no end in sight. I’m dying for another good Christmas movie like one of the following:

1. A Christmas Story
2. A Christmas Carol
3. Old animation Rudolph, Frosty etc.
4. It’s a Wonderful Life
5. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
6. Elf

I could do without the following:

1. Anything with Vince Vaughn
2. Bad Santa – The worst movie ever made
3. Tim Allen’s Santa movies – I started watching the third in the series as it was the only one I could stream from Netflix but turned it off after 15 minutes.

a.) Since when does Santa get people pregnant
b.) Santa’s wife isn’t happy but instead a whining middle class woman who just has to have her way.
c.) All the elves are just little kids with elf ears stuck on.
d.) They just run around from one catastrophe to the next — Christmas is supposed to be full of happiness!!!!

Message to Netflix,,, please stream any version of “A Christmas Carol” to make your viewers happy. Hollywood monkeys running around screwing everything up is not a good Christmas movie.

—————Message to myself from 2014————-
– Netflix still doesn’t have any good Christmas movies available for streaming.