Isaiah L. Carter

Isaiah L. Carter
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Baltimore, Maryland, USA
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December 31
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Born of the Right, and Glad I Left. Politics Writer at The UB Post. Baltimore born, NYC made. You can follow me on Twitter @IsaiahLCarter, and can view my daily blurbs on my Tumblr: isaiahlcarter.tumblr.com. I look forward to great dialogue and discussing new ideas!

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Salon.com
Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 9, 2012 1:46PM

The Reasons Why We Fight

Rate: 16 Flag

Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”  --Isaac Asimov

A history lesson: Thousands of years ago, the Greek city-states of Athens and Sparta existed in a tense, mostly tolerant coexistence. Known for the wealth of ideas, intelligence, and advancing of the civilization of culture, Athens became a model for much of the modern world’s systems of government, the United States being no exception. Sparta, however, in many ways was much more barbaric, swearing allegiance to their land and their love of battle.

Sparta was useful to Athens in many ways, serving as the protector of Greek lands, revered even now for their defense of Sparta against the invading Persian armies in the Battle of Thermopylae (on which many movies have been made, most recently Frank Miller and Zack Snyder’s 300), and even fighting side by side with the Athenians against the Persians in the Battle of Plataea.

However, this co-existence would not last forever. During the Peloponnesian War, the stark differences between Athens and Sparta resulting in nearly thirty years of fighting, which the Athenians would ultimately lose.

Sparta, however, did not follow the custom of burning Athens to the ground, which would have erased their culture forever from history’s weave. Instead, Athens was allowed to remain, decimated by famine, disease, and the aftermath of their long war.

Here in the United States, we progressives are faced with our own Peloponnesian War, one that has been fought since the 1980s. From the moment Ronald Reagan stood in the place as the chief executive of this nation and declared that government was the cause for every ill in society, and the source of every problem that America faced, conservatism’s followers have been hard at work, actively seeking to prove the correctness of that statement, even if it meant creating the problems themselves.

I have listened to progressives, liberals, and folk who have paid attention to these last four years, and watched the expressions of people fall from teary, bright-eyed, and hopeful for the future that cold night in November of 2008, to weary, gloomy, and forlorn less than a month from this year’s election. It could be said that Barack Obama, in that first debate last week, truly represented the way we all felt, having to stand in confrontation against a man who is, as Jim Geraghty of National Review tried to defend against, the crossing of Gordon Gekko and Thurston Howell, III: worn-out, ill-prepared, and much grayer than he had ever been before in his life. And on the twentieth anniversary of the day when he spoke the vows of marriage to the most beautiful of First Ladies, his darling Michelle, it surprises me not, as a married man myself, that his demeanor was that of one who simply wanted to hurry up and get home to his beloved.

Many people on our side have begun a full-scale freak-out over the President’s performance, complaining about Obama’s failure to bring to light Mitt Romney’s pathological mishandling of the truth, in many cases, fully refusing to even handle it. When polls unfavorable to us come to the fore, we feel even more dejected. And as if that were not enough, conservative and Right-wing trolls pop up on Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets with raging, incoherent, often personal screeds against us and our way of life, hubris on full display as if the election was won yesterday.

Progressives, it is time to renew our strength.

We face an enemy—and I use that term without apology—that is fully invested in the failure of this nation in the name of political and financial gain. With treasonous intent, and all the enthusiasm of those who have to be right at any cost, the Far Right, by way of the Republican Party, is prepared to treat this nation as their largest put option, betting against the prosperity of the nation at large so that their pockets can continue to be fattened far beyond one lifetime’s worth of spending. Whether you call it Trickle-down Economics, supply-side, or horse-and-sparrow economics matters not; for thirty years, the United States has been forced to endure this insult to their intelligence and best interests, as if those who are fully engaged in the unimpeded accrual of money and power, would suddenly stop and give the middle class the crumbs from his table, having enjoyed three decades of lawless unaccountability at the people’s expense.

We face an enemy who cares nothing about facts, truth, or reality. In fact, they eschew it with much relish, declaring quite boldly that their campaign would not be held responsible by those who make sure they are telling the truth. When good news came from the Board of Labor Statistics last week declaring that unemployment finally fell below eight percent, did the Republican Party put their country first and celebrate truly shared prosperity? No, indeed; instead, the Right ran to their own reality, declaring the numbers fake because they directly opposed their narrative of economic failure on Obama’s watch.

In an era where farces such as Love and Hip-Hop, Survivor, and Keeping Up with the Kardashians pass as falsely-so-called “reality TV”, the Republican Party has boldly asked this country to follow their idea of leadership; to despise a dog-eating, anti-colonial, leftist, socialist, communist Muslim Kenyan with a fake birth certificate and a tree in the Rose Garden made of food stamps, with the exact same name as the 44th President of the United States.

Not surprisingly, that is the person who Clint Eastwood was speaking to in that empty stool during the last night of the Republican National Convention.

We face an enemy who cares nothing about the poor, the sick, or the less fortunate. The repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which ensured that no child would ever be rejected coverage because of a pre-existing condition, as well as make hundreds of preventive care methods mandatory under the law, has been a campaign promise for many a political candidate, even after the Supreme Court confirmed the constitutionality of the law. And instead of their candidate doing the right thing by the people he claims to want to serve as President, what was his answer to this nation’s unbelievably disproportionate need for some type of healthcare infrastructure? “Let them go to the emergency room.”  

We face an enemy who loves, embraces, and purveys ignorance, replacing it with their “Judeo-Christian” values. People wonder why Mitt Romney went after something as innocuous as Sesame Street and Big Bird, a longtime staple in homes (many of them conservative; my nephew is a huge fan of Elmo) with small children across this nation. It is because of the intrinsic despising of anything intellectual, educational, or beneficial to a child’s development that does not include anything having to do with the Lord Jesus Christ. If it cannot turn a profit, and is not “holy unto the Lord” by their standards, they want absolutely nothing to do it, reviling it as “indoctrination.”

These are the flat-worlders of our day; people who deny the very clear realities of global warming, the fact that our children are getting smoked around the globe by other countries with respect to their education, and scoff at the idea that the federal government actually has an obligation to the children of this nation to provide them a solid education. Instead, they embrace inconceivable notions of slavery being a gift from Godsponsor the murder of rebellious children in accordance with ancient Mosaic laws in the Bible, and have no problem in telling people that God will send them to hell for having the audacity to cast a vote for a Democrat. These are people who reject public transportation as socialism, and see things such as high-speed rail projects as harbingers of a one-world-order!

Douglas W. Phillips, president of Vision Forum Ministries, has no problem in telling his followers how to vote:

The fundamental question pertaining to voting ethics which Christians must ask at this presidential election is this: "What are the binding principles established by God in the Bible for selecting a civil magistrate?" All other questions are secondary or irrelevant. Once this standard is determined it is our duty to wisely apply the principles and precepts to our American context and to obey. All attempts by Christians to obfuscate our duty to repair to "the standard" by sprinkling the debate with the theology of pragmatics and partisan politics is a loss to the Church because it means that we are more concerned with manipulating a political process then simply obeying the sovereign God.

Mind you, these are the people who scared many of their followers with notions of Islamist Sharia law slowly infiltrating American law and process…

These are people who literally have allowed every narrative they once held dear to fall to the wayside. Like a freshly peeled banana, the American public now sees the extremist, theocratic, anti-education, sedition-loving monster conservatism has become, no longer hiding behind guises of fiscal responsibility, strong foreign policy, or even ensuring the “rising tide” they used to preach about would lift all boats with prosperity.

This is who they are. And we underestimate these people at this nation’s peril.

I speak as one who once stood on their shores; spit their talking points, and preached their gospel. I was a conservative. And now, I stand proudly on the side of societal and cultural advancement, and fight for the rights of all people on these shores to be treated with the same respect, and given the same rights as everyone else in this country.

Our fight is nobler, more virtuous, and more beneficial to this country than anything the Right offers now. Our view for this nation is better for this country, and sees a country far greater than those who already view government as this nation’s hindrance ever can.

We cannot give up. We cannot become weary. We must find our strength, our purpose, and our resolve in the beauty and glory of our values. We must be able to look in the mirror and view ourselves as proud to call ourselves liberals and progressives.   

And now we stand, less than a month away from Election Night 2012. Should we continue to remain in our feelings, and defer to those who revel in their wrongness, we will no doubt wake up on November 7th to hear the unbearable words, “President-elect Mitt Romney.”

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Bless you for your courage and for retaining the Audacity of Hope!

This election has been, and remains, not simply the President's to win or lose, but ours to win or lose.

Each year in the Jewish faith, on the night we call Simchat Torah, the Rejoicing of the Torah, we celebrate the completion of the reading of the Five Books of Moses with the Hebrew words, "Hazak, Hazak, V'Nit'hazek" -- Be Strong, Be Strong, And Let Us Strengthen One Another. And we immediately begin reading the Five Books anew. How appropriate that tonight is that night!
america has an enemy, but it is not a person. it is a guild, called politicians. because their power is that of the people who vote for them, it is very great. once having voted, the people have no power at all. before voting, they have very little power, being presented with a realistic choice of two, often just one.

in a democracy, it is different: the citizens do not hand over their power, because they do not vote for people. consequently, there are no powerful politicians, just administrators carrying out the wishes of the people as decided by referendum and initiative.

why would you live in an oligarchy, such as the usa, instead of a democracy? because you are born into it, and taught to submit. romney may win or lose, it doesn't matter, there will be another one along, and the republicans win often. the democrats are not much better.

i reckon if you don't fight for democracy, you deserve romney.
I would be interesting to learn what made you reject conservatism. Was it their reducing every complex problem to a simple manichaen question with an easy solution? Was it their willingness to facts which don't fit with their preconceived world view?
cannot improve on what you say here- amazed at the fear generated by one bad debate strategy against the foretold etch a sketch.
You have written so eloquently (and may I say, elegantly) what so many of us are not just seeing but experiencing. What we are living a profoundly bitter and troubling sensation. As though we are seeing the very spine of civilization run like sand through our fingers. Every minute of the day it seems, I question how, oh how, can there be people who support vile individuals such as Romney and Ryan? There are no answers to these questions. Even today, documentary movie makers, authors, philosophers and everyone in between research the Nazi's and how they could NEVER have gained power and committed the atrocities they did without the complete 100% support of at least 90% of the German populace. Therein, lies my fear.
Thank you for a wonderfully well written and powerful piece, my sentiments exactly!
Thank you for a wonderfully well written and powerful piece, my sentiments exactly!
If Mitt is elected, he'll start claiming credit for everything Obama has achieved that has been positive.
Passionate and powerful writing. Thanks for articulating this so well.

-- "the flat-worlders of our day" *NO KIDDING*
I agree with all of that and could expand on it as well. However, note that you're telling us that, not President Obama.
"Treasonous intent".
Harsh.
True.
Thank you for this post. Im glad you switched. My boyfriend used to be a Republican before he lost all his money started robbing banks and spent six years in prison. He was a Democrat when he came out and he was sad he couldn't vote. But then he found a way to register and he would have voted for Obama if he could have this time. There is always hope.
I believe the term you are looking for is anti "pseudo-intellectualism". Your problem is that you call on "Intellectuals" to "Fight" i. e ENFORCE "What you THINK " is best for us". ( Please don't sputter about the infallibility of the glorified statistics that you pass off as "Science" and therefore your "God")

If you are so smart, persuade me that I'm wrong, don't tell me that you are RIGHT, and since I'm too stupid to understand what is in my best interest, your "Mental State" has given you permission and instructed you to overrule me by force. Bad Idea.

If your ideas and arguments were convincing, you wouldn't need the whole "bist du nicht wollig, so brauch Ich gewalt" thing.

"Come, let us reason together" requires two sides that WANT to be reasonable. Obama certainly does not- Romney at least has the excuse of never having claimed to be "the smartest guy in the room". BOTH parties are owned by the multi national corporations ( Dare I say "One worlders"?)

The "fringes" of both the left and the right are the only groups that have been pointing out that both Obama and Romney are just sock puppets for the world domination of the Multi National "Globalists" ( Call them corporations if it makes you feel better- of course "S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Al Queda and Drug Cartel Inc are also "Corporations" - and the most rabid "Globalists" are currently the Islamic Fundamentalist)

The answer? I'll tend to my neighborhood, you tend to yours. Don't try to claim any "Rights" to Enforcement Powers. Convince me that I'm stupid.
Rude,
I doubt you could be convinced on what others see so easily, but you're not looking to be persuaded anyway. So, why don't you persuade everyone and show us Isaiah's crafty secret subliminal code that convinced you you're being told what to think and overruled by force.

I'm not sure of Isaiah has the proper credentials to treat your comment, but I know my knowledge of delusional paranoia doesn't rise to a professional level. It's best to ignore you.

Besides, I wouldn't wanna step on your blue pseudo-shoes.
I am glad all you people have found one another.
I did not put a Romney sticker on my car for fear of it being keyed in Boston. Three of my friends have had their cares vandalized.
When I see a Prius on the highway I laugh and wait to see if it has an Obama sticker,a Elizabeth Warren sticker or perhaps both. The Prius was going to be discountinued due to it's poor design and safety issues. A Hybrid Camry would cost less,be much safer and provide equal performance thus making the Prius a bad platform going forward. Little did they know that "Progressives" loved the Prius -How would someone know they were a thoughtful, progressive person if they were in a Camry? The Prius survives at a premium for Toyota. Yes, it is better to look smart then to actually be smart-Let you freak flag fly ! Essentially that is what a Prius has become.
The self congratulatory nature of you posts are entertaining on one level and scary on another. You will ignore all negatives by Obama as you continue your attacks on the right. How is that intellectually honest.
The administration lied and covered up events in Libya, you all ignore it. Where are the chants of "Obama lied -people died"?
Nobody died during Watergate, we still have Woodward.
.......and just when we need a word from the OS pseudo-intellectual circle jerk, along comes PJ! Whip it out for us PJ and wail awaaaaay! The Pig Wrestle is still open.
thank you Jay, great word salad, plus the amusing slip of the famous "three friends with vandalized cares". a strange fixation on Toyotas, perhaps your mother was scared by one while you were in the womb. But it is time to point out that the Foreign service submitted request for more security funds particularly in the Middle East and were not only denied but had funds cut by the Tea Party Congress an item not likely to be brought up in their investigation.
PS

For any of you who are intelligent enough to understand ( Obviously not PJ ) that "government" is en FORCE ment, have you ever tried to say "NO" to the IRS, the DEA or the BATF? If so, when is you're release date? (Hospital or Prison?) ( I presume you're one of the few to survive the home invasion, since you seem to be reading this)
Hey, everybody who wants to see Obama re-elected. Locate your local Obama campaign and get into a phone bank calling voters in swing states. Identifying and getting Obama voters to the polls is key right now.
Ken,

That is embarrassing, the funds cut were in the millions,not billions. I have no problems with Toyotas, how is your Prius running btw?
"Athens became the model for much of the modern world's systems of government"

We choose from amongst "thirteen hundred of the most electable citizens" those who will pick the members of a rotating committee whose laws will only be binding so long as the richest landowning families agree? (That was the Athenian system, in a nutshell.)

Well, I guess that last part is pretty near to where we're going, if you look at the power of investment bankers.....Will Jamie Dimon's grandkids be able to hunt human children for sport?
If in your day to day existence you can not see the encroachment of government further and further into our lives as the greatest risk to freedom then in my opinion you just aren't paying attention.
There is no doubt the Right intends to drive sane, honest people out of the debate by launching an avalanche of insane, sadistic, self-righteous lies, so intense that reasonable people give up any attempt at dialogue and go away. The intent is to discourage opposition. We must not let that happen. their positions are not only simple-minded but antisocial by any standard. They are willing to completely destroy this nation for personal financial gain. Normal people are always shocked and often baffled when confronted with people who simply don't care about the consequences, who have no conscience, and are totally cyncial and ruthless--but we must no give in or despair or drop out. in the face of these attacks. To me, that is the challenge. Thanks for this essay, Isaiaih. [r]
Yes, we fight. We have to.

I'll cop to concern, but not panic, yet. There are three more debates to go, and if Obama was going to mess up at one of them, better the first than the last.

Since Romney was looking like a dead loss as recently as two weeks ago, I regard the accuracy of these new polls with some skepticism. But if he can come up this far this fast, he also has the potential to shoot himself in the foot again well before November sixth, with his gift of gaffe.

Nothing will keep me from voting this year, and I'll tell you, no Republican will get my vote.

rated
nice post -

this of course continues the meme of obama's campaign advisors to deflect and suppress any and all inquiry into the reasons why we have astronomically higher deficits, unemployment, homelessness, and misery after 4 years of obama. the only statistic that has declined is average income.

talk about anti-intellectualism. suppressing debate and inquiry on topics of policy and economis is the poster child for this.

you rock !! and nobody got the hypocrisy. not even you.
The reason we fight because we let anger control us instead of us controlling it.
This is eloquent and physical. I love it. I posted far less eloquent or direct about a half hour ago. I don't care what people's politics, I think we stopped thinking about 25 years ago as a people. We stopped questioning and we started feeling like we had the answers. Good job with this Isaiah. If you're interested, see my piece:

http://open.salon.com/blog/dcbiddle/2012/10/11/when_i_noticed_we_stopped_thinking_over_sangria_and_marinat
You speak of disregarding truth, reality, and facts then the Democrats are certainly the party of choice and you chose well. How doesn't feel to be a useful idiot who has been badgered into being a victim instead of a viable citizen who can attain self reliance without government subsidy, sanction, or bias? You are merely exercising your indoctrinated anger and resentment against the wrong enemy. Your true enemy is the the progressive liberal agenda who want to squander free will, earned prosperity, and the dignity of succeeding without lies, and political manipulation. Do you really think that attacking self reliance, the affluent, and those who advocate Constitutional adherence by our lying Democrats puts you on the moral high ground? You are reading and absorbing the wrong influences try Thomas Sowell, Alan Keyes, Mia Love, and Allen West, and don't give me that Uncle Tom bullshit either.
Sometimes I feel like what I consider our President's greatests strengths - his willingness and ability to work toward consensis with members of the opposition - has, because of the extremism of the Right, become a weakness. I'd still not see him give it up. I think in the debate he strove to remain a gentleman, and this last week, rather predictably, Mr. Biden did what a good VP does: he took the other side to the woodshed, so that our President could retain the dignity of his office. And, let's not forget: Romney had nothing to do except campaign and prepare for that debate; Mr. Obama was preparing while busily running the country. But, not for nothing did he come out of Chicago politics; I believe we shall see Mr. Obama come out swinging in the next round. He is, however, a gentleman, in the best sense of that word, and one of the most brilliant minds of our time. Perhaps we've gotten so jaded by gotcha politics and the ugliness of reality TV that many don't recognize a blow when it's lobbed by someone with a deft touch.
Great post, Sir. R.