OK, so whoever said Actors aren't opinionated??!!! I figured it was about time you got an earful of my opinions on any number of subjects, but being the fair person I am, I thought it only right that I gave you a Forum in which to agree, disagree, or, plain ignore. Hence Charlie's Soapbox. This will be a "sometime" feature of the Website and I invite you to write in with your own comments.
So. The inaugural subject just HAS to be Election 2000! Some may feel that actors have no right to voice political opinions; that, being in the public eye, they should remain neutral. Perhaps that's because they run the risk of alienating their potential audience and, thus, losing popularity. I, however, give my audience more credit than this, and expect them to be able to separate the actor performing, from the person speaking their mind. As I said, my intention is to stimulate, educate, elucidate and irritate.
I find it almost incomprehensible that this race for President is as close as it is. I have a deep-seated belief that the American People, when they have to step up to the plate, will "Do the Right Thing." It is therefore perplexing that anyone is giving serious credence to the campaign to elect Governor George Bush Jr. as the next President of The United States.
Right off the bat: here is a Governor who espouses "compassionate Republicanism" and yet has rushed through a record number of executions, some of which had serious questions concerning contradictory DNA evidence. He talks a lot about education, Health care and "a better place for our children," and yet, as Governor of Texas, holds the country's worst record on education, Health and the Environment.
How can anyone take him seriously when he talks about "giving America back to the ordinary folk" when both he and Dick Cheney have made millions out of an industry that rapes the land, air, waters, and our pocketbooks at the pumps? Does anyone really believe these two could ever serve the needs of anyone other than the Oil Companies? They're on their Boards, for Heaven's sake!! Isn't this enough!
Do I really have to go into his lack of knowledge of World Events or players, his tenuous grasp of the simplest economic formulae, his total inability to speak to any issue off the cuff and without extensive preparation. The man would be a DISASTER.
I'm not saying Al Gore is an Angel sent down to save us all. Far from it. He is a consummate politician. He has his faults. But PEOPLE, come on!! There's no comparison. The man wrote a Book on the Environment. He knows exactly what the problems are and how to fix them and has the passion to do so. He has been part of the Team that ushered in the greatest prosperity this country has seen for decades. He KNOWS economics. He has been closely involved in the complex web of International Politics. He knows who these people are and what their issues are with this country. When he talks about "compassion", he is referring to a Universal Health Care package that covers every man, woman and child in this country. About a higher minimum wage for the lowest on the rung of success.
Al Gore's passion is to take the wealth that we have now (and can expect for the next few years) and use it for the good of our country. So that America need not be ashamed by images of poverty, hunger and deprivation, side by side with images of conspicuous consumption and pornographic greed. Because, let's not make any mistake here, what is Pornographic, what is morally unacceptable, what is sinful, here, in this most powerful and prosperous Nation, is not the picture of a naked human body or sex, but the picture of one starving or homeless child. Vice President Gore will do something about that. Governor Bush, in the form of tax-cuts, would have the well-off throw themselves a party!! Now, you tell me which of those is "Doing The Right Thing"!!
Is anyone truly concerned with Al Gore's character? This is a man who felt deeply that the Vietnam War was wrong. That it was being fought for the wrong reasons and causing unnecessary suffering. Yet he was also a man of such character that he signed up anyway because his country was at war, like it or not, and if he didn't go, someone else from his town would have to go in his place. Yes, he served as an Army journalist; it would be too much to ask a man to kill in the name of a cause he did not believe in. But he was there, he was "in harm's way." His opponent, who had no such reservations about the War, chose to fly planes in America! Given Governor Bush's checkered and less-than-legal past, I think the Republicans would be well advised to leave the matter of "Character" out of the debate!
Finally, and for me, most importantly is the matter of The Supreme Court. For anyone who holds the Constitution of The United States in any kind of regard, how could you even think of adding to the Scalia/Rhenquist majority? These men have vowed to actively re-interpret everything that was written to protect individual Rights. The biggest losers would be women and, once again, the individual trying to seek justice from the State.
Well, there you have it. I never promised you a balanced, unbiased commentary. I just told you how I see it. I did promise you your chance to rant back.
So......now it's your turn........
OK so we are coming down to the wire and I have been getting some great responses from you all on this Election business...both For and Against. I especially appreciate the "Against" mail as "Free debate" is what it is all about....even if I think, as I DO, that you are wrong, wrong, wrong!!! So here are some final thoughts and then, I promise, we will move on to other, equally provocative, debates.
Here are Five succinct and simple reasons why I could not vote for George W. Bush.
Also, FYI. . . Quotations from Bush's Circle of Friends--
30 october, 2000
OK I lied.....that wasn't the last word on Election 2000. But I figure, with the stakes as high as they are for our future and that of our children, you can indulge me a bit of an exaggeration. This one goes out to the Nader 2000 supporters.
Make no mistake, a vote for Ralph Nader on 7th. Nov. is NOT a wasted vote! Do not believe anyone who tells you it is. You will be hearing that from a lot of Democrats, and it is simply, dangerously, untrue. It is quite clear now that a vote for the Green Party is a vote endorsing our Right to drill for Oil throughout the Alaskan wilderness, it is a vote that endorses our Right to electrocute fetuses, not before birth, but some few years later, after a short, miserable squalid life of deprivation, alienation, and crime, it is a vote that endorses the Right of every American to carry a concealed weapon on the streets and in public places, it is a vote that endorses the Christian Faith as the one and only True Religion of this great Nation, it is a vote that ensures our Right to affect the political process by as much as we can and are willing to spend, it is NOT a wasted vote. History will record only the numbers at the polls, it will not record your consciences. I can only hope your consciences will be able to live with the consequences. The damaged wildlife, the human misery, the oppressed and excluded will pay little heed to your cry of "But I didn't vote for him!" They will know only that he is there and you could have prevented it.
29 november, 2000
OK here is what I think of this mess.
This was clearly the closest race in history. I don't think even 1960 could have been closer. There will be no winner, whoever is in the White House. It will be impossible, given the inadequacies of the system, to know who really got more votes than whom. That said, we have to put someone in the White House.
Here's how I think things went down. Late evening, Nov. 7th. the exit polls in Florida clearly gave Gore the State. The Bush family reacted in horror and sent Jeb to the phones to find out what happened. He was then assured by his "people" there that he was "not to worry" because even though people were leaving the polls saying they had voted for Gore, tens of thousands of ballots were going to be thrown out or not counted. A few hours later, with instructions from the family, Bush's cousin, who works at Fox news pre-emptively "called" Florida for Bush. The other Networks, terrified of being "scooped," jumped on the Bandwagon and declared Bush President.
Despite the fact that there were thousands of ballots uncounted, thousands of irregularities on both sides, thousands of outstanding questions, and a few hundred votes between the two candidates, the Networks saw fit to declare a winner, thus condemning the other candidate to the role of "spoiler" for the rest of the process. As we have seen, this is just how it has played out. When the MANDATORY recount started, Bush's lead was instantly cut by more than half. At this point, the Bush side pulled out all the stops to halt a recount and stall the statutory process. As I have said, because of the Media being duped into it's false call, the "spin" was always going to be Gore trying to "steal" something from the President Elect.
Was it not George W. Bush himself, who said in Texas that Manual recounts are the ONLY FAIR WAY to determine a close election? Was it not George W. Bush who had his legal team hard at work to throw out the electoral vote when it looked like he might lose it, but win the popular vote? The hypocrisy of the last three weeks has been the most depressing part of this whole sordid affair. The shenanigans of the Secretary of State ( Bush's campaign manager in New Hampshire!!) was shameless. The Statutes of Florida clearly demanded hand recounts, and her efforts ( and success ) in stopping these was nothing short of illegal. This mentions nothing of the flagrant abuse in Seminole County, where the Election supervisor has admitted to letting two Bush volunteers spend days, illegally amending thousands of rejected Republican Absentee Ballot requests so that they could be resubmitted and counted. None of this is surprising in a State run by the candidate's brother, but let's not just brush it aside as if it wasn't relevant!!
Personally, I hope Bush sits in the White House. I think it's time the Republican party are revealed as the mean-spirited, selfish, bullying thugs I believe the core of them are. Look at the way the Florida legislature is talking if you want any proof of that. Then look at how Trent Lott has talked about Hillary Clinton's chances of being heard in the Senate. Look at Dennis Hastert's threats if Gore should, in fact, win. These are not "wronged" patriots. They are dangerous, self-interested zealots who will twist and turn to get their way. They have been allowed to vent their venom for too long in the shadows. Let them reveal themselves in the spotlight of world opinion and see how long they last. Two years from now the "House" is up for grabs and the Democrats will have plenty of credit to take it back. Another two years and we will have a chance to right this current wrong and take back the White House too. Only this time there will be a fair and consistent voting process. Then let the Republicans be afraid, be VERY afraid, because their worst nightmare is large turnout and "valid" votes.
Whatever the outcome, this election has revealed two things : the utter disingenuousness of a pandering and "credibility-challenged " media and a shocking polarization among Americans that none of us suspected was there. It has nothing to do with economics, as we thought, but everything to do with how we see ourselves and those that hold different views. The blind passions that engulf us when we see images of Bush or Gore, and the fervent "belief" in the justice of our cause are the kinds of partisan reaction we haven't seen in this country since the Civil War. I hope we will be able to find our way to heal the wounds and bridge this huge cultural divide in the next few months, but we will not soon forget that it is there.
From time to time, I will also have "guest commentaries." My first guest commentator is Fran Drescher who wrote her thoughts to me about the Democratic National Convention and this upcoming election. Fran has given me permission to put it on my website. The following comments are written by Fran.
Hi friends and loved ones. I'm writing to fill you all in on my first experience at the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Well I've been to the Staples Center many times to see concerts and sporting events, but on Thursday night the 17th of August, the place was hardly recognizable.
Crowds of people waving banners and American flags everywhere. Voters represented from all over the country. I'll tell you it made me proud to be an American, proud to live in this great country of ours. I was moved to tears the night before when I watched Jewish Joe give such a soulful and compelling speech. To see his wife put her hand on her heart and call him the love of her life! People so directly affected by the holocaust and the struggles of life make them one of us in such a real way.
And Gore and his speech, wow! We will not find a politician more caring about the environment, more concerned about education and healthcare. Tipper taking snapshots from the audience just like a real mom! They are our future; they are the "New Left"!
When he brought up the rights of victims, I got chills because though it is not on the top of most voter's lists, for me, who was a victim of a violent crime, to hear him; show he cares. He remembers us, I thought. This man is a saint. OK, well maybe I've gone too far, but as far as politicians go, these two men are more caring, feeling and in touch than anyone who has come along in a long time.
Like Gore said in his speech, in the long run, an expensive education is a lot cheaper than a cheap one! We cannot afford to have enter our White House, anyone but Gore. Even if you have money you must vote Democratic to insure every American gets the benefits of better healthcare and education, as well as tax cuts to go to college, preschool to all children so that parents can work and health insurance to every child in America. Way to go Al !!!
After the speech, thousands of red, white and blue balloons fell from the sky, drawing the evening to a close. At that point, I put back on my heels ( my feet were killing me ) and we moved through the crush to find our limo and head to the big "DNC after concert" with Barbra Streisand!
Whoopi Goldberg hosted the event and urged everyone to get out and vote for Gore. She said he is truly a nice man, a caring man, and a good man.
When Babs spoke, she said there are three top reasons to vote for Gore and they are; the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court, and........the Supreme Court. During this next administration, at least three, possibly four, seats will open up on the Supreme Court and if you care about a woman's right to choose, equal rights for all (especially gays) and environmental and health legislation, then it is your privilege, your right and your duty to vote DEMOCRATIC in this upcoming election.
Afterwards, tired, hungry and hot we headed home. But not before the driver gave me a heart attack getting us lost on Central Street in downtown Los Angeles, in a limo no less! OY! All things considered, it was a great night.
One last word, Gore said it's going to take everything we've got to win this one so on behalf of AL, I beg you to urge everyone you know to vote and spread the word to everyone they know as well....
Regards and Think Peace, Fran
Knowledge is Power
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