Ben Sen's Blog

Politics, Culture and Religion Without Projections

Ben Sen

Ben Sen
New York, N.Y.,
December 31
I'd rather be judged on the basis of my posts than anything written in my bio. It's put down and gathered as a record of my experience and a response to what I see as the important issues in the world today. I don't pretend it's anything other than subjective. The purpose is to analyze, interpret, express opinions, challenge the status quo, open a few doors, and entertain. I heartily welcome ratings, comments and dialogue. That's what makes this media unique and valuable. It also keeps me honest and encouraged since I'm not getting paid. Take a risk and say something; it feels better. A "conversation" is essential for the growth of the individual and the collective. I have faith it extends beyond the confines of what is said here. "For it is necessary for awake people to be awake, or a breaking line may discourge us back to sleep, the signals we give--yes, no or maybe--should be clear: the darkness around us is deep." From A RITUAL TO READ TO EACH OTHER by William Stafford


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NOVEMBER 7, 2012 3:58PM

America's Best Day in My Lifetime

Rate: 4 Flag

     Obama won his first term by a fluke, premised by the moral outrage at the sordid nature of the Bush presidency.  It brought out the young, and the idealistic, taking the old guard by surprise.

     His second term is an entirely different matter.  His opposition had the time to re-group, his cards were on the table, the big bucks were pouring in, and "independants" cut and ran.  If he'd lost, he'd be considered a fool, but having won means they'll call him one of the greatest political strategists in the history of the country.

     The best news of all, now that it is for sale, is that the Presidency of the United States was not bought.  They came close, very close.  As long as Citizen's United is on the books, I don't think "conservatives" (depending on how the term is defined) are going to change their fundamental approach.  They'll blame Romney, the campaign, the media, anything but their assumptions.  Unless things go really awry these next four years, it'll be the same battle next time around with new names.

     The victory is that much sweeter coming in the face of the recession, unemployment, an ideological and culturally entrenched establishment fanned into mania by their media, and the demagogues who prey upon the fearful.  That's not to bring up the worst fear of all--the "browning" of America. This election says more about the character of those who call themselves "American" since the time of Honest Abe, when Republicans were the reformers.

     That's not small change.  It sends out a message to all the world about what is possible for a people living in a democratic union.  The rivalries of the past do not need to dominate the future.  If we can do it, why can't they?

     The politics of inclusion have won over the politics of exclusion, prejudice, and privilege, at least for now.  I'm not sure many have understood how great a victory that is for the future of the country.  There is perhaps no more powerful message that could be sent, and certainly not anything shot by a gun, or detonated from afar.  The neo-cons didn't get their way.

     I think it's America's best day since Viet Nam led to a questioning of the post-WWII order.  This is the watershed those of us who came of age in the 60's have been waiting for.  I mean the liberals, not the perfidious close minded faux liberals who haven't participated, thumbing their noses at democracy as it exists in this country rather than their naive fantasies.  They've been lost to their own disillusion, but a new hope and majority has been found.

      Policies we wished for have been confirmed, and that is to say more is possible, not less, which is certainly not what would have happened if Romney had won.  The Republicans are either forced to adapt to the changing nature of our national demographics or threaten themselves with total irrelevance.  They may not still have to get along as we do in the cities, but they're going to have to recognize it's necessary. The need for another thrashing, however, is likely, and is their dependence on sugar daddies.

    The national disparity between rich and poor, which is truly the most divisive issue in real terms, rather than ideological, now has a chance to be addressed.  The likelyhood of people dying of hunger and lack of medical care in the richest country on earth has been diminished, not increased.  The union has in fact been strengthened rather than weakened.  Chances are, given his primarily moderate leanings, Obama may be able to sustain that majority in the future.

     My greatest hope, when it comes to foreign affairs, is that Obama will not make the greatest mistake of his first term again.  That was his failure to address the people of Israel as he addressed those of the Arab nations.  It's time to confront Netanyaho by supporting those in Israel who know they are being led toward self-destruction.  He certainly has no compunctions lecturing us--now it is time to go around him.

     If perhaps today, that is ten or fifteen per cent of the Israeli population, not under the control of the fundamentalists, which may be akin to the numbers of Arabs who sought democracy in the Middle East for a few generations, perhaps that number can be increased to 30ty per cent, so there is the possibility a government will be elected that will bring an end to the oppression.

      That is what I would call a legacy, wouldn't you?  Now that we have seen the strategic capacity of this President, and his ability to carry that strategy out, I don't think it's out of the question.  Israel can no longer remain a rogue state if peace is ever going to be achieved in that part of the world, and possibly the entire "third world".  How much longer can the ruse go on?  Obama's support among Jewish voters only dropped by eight per cent.  He doesn't owe Bibi a thing.

     Sure, there are going to be disappointments during this term.  He will continue to have to make compromises, but far less than his first term, and knowing him, he will NOT do so in a way that will increase the power of the right when it's time for him to leave office, and will stand next to the next Democratic candidate for president, rather than hide ignominiously. 

     The difference between the parties is becoming a matter of which is appealing to those talented politically and intellectually, vs. those driven solely by personal ambition and greed.  The GOP in its current configuation is running out of viable national candidates.  Who wants to stand for what they are being forced to stand for outside their local precincts?  Their own remaining intelligencia seems to realize this, especially after this election.  Conservative "values" are not anything Obama thumbs his nose at--if the observer is not ideologically blinded, paying attention, and playing fair.

     Obama will purposely lead by increments, dragging the reactionaries all the way.  How many more guns can they buy?   We may have finally entered a new epoch in American history as Obama intended. 

     We are no longer adolescents--beating up the weak and pounding our chests triumphantly--the nation may have grown up-- at  least for four more years.

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You are quite right about this being a historical moment even greater than the election in 2008. Hate to use the word, but this is a paradigm shift -- or more properly the recognition (at least by the cognizant) of a shift that's been taking place for some time.

America is a very different place than it was in 2000, and even then it should be remembered that Al Gore won the popular vote by more than half-a-million votes. As I put it in my post today, this election wrote the obituary for the Southern Strategy.
Perhaps we should welcome those who have been lost to join this millenium.
If there are bright ones among them they will heed the call. Those who don't will fade into obscurity.
I could not have said it better myself, Ben, and I agree with your analysis in every particular. I don't think I've ever been prouder of the American people than I was Tuesday night and I don't mind saying I shed a tear. Every effort was made by Republicans to appeal to their darkest instincts and gravest fears and they resisted every one. And then Republicans had the audacity to attack Obama for running a relentlessly negative campaign. Shameless. The Democrats invited 10,000 Americans of all colors to take part in their election night festivities, whatever the outcome. Romney's was a by-invitation-only affair in which the Secret Service kept the press from mingling with supporters. That is exactly the way my wife described the difference between the atmosphere between the Republican and Democratic conventions, both of which she attended for work. One was a block party the other a gulag. I am also told that we had over 100 corporate jets fly into Boston's Logan Airport to decamp the well-heeled disappointed revelers. I drove by Romney's election night "victory" headquarters at Boston's convention center on my way home from work and it was like an armed camp. Perfect symbolism for the kind of country we might have had, I thought, had the vote gone the other way.
I feel like an extra in a movie about a gangland showdown between old money and new money. Oh darn, that was a bullet in the eye.
I feel like an extra in a movie about a gangland showdown between old money and new money. Oh darn, that was a bullet in the eye.
I feel like an extra in a movie about a gangland showdown between old money and new money. Oh darn, that was a bullet in the eye.
things be changing quickly.

"We are no longer adolescents--beating up the weak and pounding our chests triumphantly--the nation may have finally grown up-- at least for four more years. "

there is no going back to gorilla ways, alas.

and anyway! we are more chimps than gorillas.

tricky lil primates.

Israel ?
maybe : "those talented politically and intellectually, vs. those driven soley by personal ambition and greed.?"

there is the religious component of course.

and the horror show of a nuke attack, no matter how small.

then again, look at us over here.

we are hardly in a better place than we were
at the beginning of the "civil"

How many more guns can we buy? Lots and lots! I'm starting a "Buy a Gun For Jesus" drive here in Backwoods county. The goal is buy 1000 guns for the needy-those who cannot afford guns.

We are 100% sure that Obama wil not finish his term. Once that real Birth Certificate comes to light, he'll have to resign and the Supreme Court will declare Romney the president. We see Romney as the president in exile.

If you spend all your welfare check on guns instead of food you will starve to death.
Ben...I missed this when it first was published...and I am sorry I did, because I would have posted a huge:


So let me do so now.


Terrific essay.