Rich vs Right by The Other Katherine Harris

The Other Katherine Harris

by The Other Katherine Harris
Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

The Other Katherine Harris’s blog
April 13, 2008

It’s become fashionable to rail about how dumb Americans are – and, yes, we do tend to share some collective impairments (notably in world geography and languages) – but I’m struck again and again by the collective wisdom of my compatriots.

I often learn more from comments on a blog than from the original essayist, even if highly credentialed, and some who call talk show hosts on AirAmerica and NovaM reveal similarly transcendent insight. Radio being such an ephemeral medium, I can’t attribute this remark to a particular speaker or even recall precisely what show was airing, but here are perhaps the pithiest words ever spoken about our nation’s partisan disjuncture: “Republicans want to get rich and Democrats want to be right.”

That nails it in one, doesn’t it?

For some, personal gain is quite simply the highest value. We on the other side find this hard to believe – but it’s demonstrably clear that we’ll never win an argument with them, by appealing to their better nature. It isn’t that they don’t possess a better nature, but it’s kept firmly in its place, restricted to benefiting kith, kin and self-aggrandizing philanthropies. The only occasions on which they’ve ceded any advantage on a broad basis have been when they’d weakened the rest us so much that they’d effectively killed the Golden Goose, so had to fatten it up for a while. (Think Great Depression, for instance.)

By contrast, those of the greed contingent have grasped that the majority of people honestly place principle ahead of wealth. That makes us suckers, in their book, and they’ve managed to play us like suckers by mincing it up – extolling a few token precepts to gain followers. Mind you, these have no bearing on their all-important financial aims. Trumpeting biblical strictures costs them nothing and fools believers into thinking they also buy into the rest of the doctrine (those icky parts about service to others, fairness, peace and the spiritual perils of privilege). Likewise, it costs them nothing to bray about “the right to bear arms” and fools believers into thinking they also buy into the rest of the Constitution (those icky parts about governmental checks and balances, restrictions on war-mongering, even-handed justice and the primacy of individual freedom and conscience).

Thus, our would-be Masters of the Universe have exploited their fellow-citizens ideologically, as well as economically. In high political circles, it’s now considered bad form to point this out, but Barack Obama has been doing it – more gracefully when he spoke of our need to unite against the real enemy than when he spoke specifically of impoverished Americans clinging to God and Guns. In each case, however, he was expressing essentially the same thought. I’d like to see him broaden it to embrace these people as persons of principle, who were deliberately misled by being tossed a scrap of what they value. There’s a great affinity waiting to be tapped into, in that they placed something higher than their own pecuniary best-interest – which you’ll never see a True Republican do.

19 thoughts on “Rich vs Right by The Other Katherine Harris

  1. Pingback: Bush attacks Obama for trying to exploit ’our rednecks’ by R J Shulman (satire) « Dandelion Salad

  2. I was joking about you voting for Reagan Lo, hence the rash of winking smileys in my comment. Of course, he was an extremely successful yet polarising figure just like his Hayekian friend, Mrs T. over here in the UK. Hence, I would strongly imagine that someone of your political persuasions would have rather been hauled over hot coals rather than vote for him!

  3. Good point, Paul.

    I thought Reagan was the worst president we ever had (until Bush Jr). I so disliked his administration. But you are right in asking the question, because many democrats did indeed vote for Reagan, twice.

  4. “I actually was rather afraid of Democrats at the time, thought they’d be more likely to get us into war.”

    The evil Brzezinski again! 😉

    Who’s he advising now? Obama!

    Why didn’t you vote for Reagan Lo? 😉

  5. Well, I think it was SWP, it was a long time ago, 1980 election. Carter lost to Reagan. I actually was rather afraid of Democrats at the time, thought they’d be more likely to get us into war.

    There’s not that much difference between the two major parties once you start looking at the voting records/laws passed, etc. The corporate lobbyists control Amerika and both parties succumb.

    Please see: War Is A Racket – US Lawmakers Have As Much As $196 Million Invested In “Defense” Companies

  6. Pingback: Bitter Truth by Michael « Dandelion Salad

  7. You voted SWP Lo? Don’t you get lynched for that kinda thing over there? 😉 They’re like the Jehovah’s Witnesses of radical politics over here in the UK.

  8. Paul and Lo, I’m talking about US — real Democrats in spirit — not necessarily those who carry the party’s banner at any given time. I don’t like the triangulating DLC cabal any more than you do.

    The Clintons sold us down the river in the ’90s with NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO, PNTR with China, media conglomeration and even the financial industry deregulation that sparked this latest meltdown.

    Obama shows enough signs of being different that I believe he deserves a shot.

  9. Thank you, Terry. I’m delighted that my reply to your post on the Moyers blog brought you over here. I agree with you about our profound “hunger for connection” — and that Obama is a rare ability to evoke our better angels . He’s by far the best choice the media left us (although Edwards was my first choice).

    Thank you again for your insights and for finding me over here. Please come back again!

    Warmest good wishes to you and yours,
    Erin (short for Katherine, which takes explaining once)

  10. Haha, that’s pretty funny, Paul. I have voted Socialist Workers Party, and Nader a couple of times, as well as caucused for Jesse Jackson, then later voted for the Dem candidate.

  11. “I left the Dem Party when the Dem Party left us.”

    Lo, if you’re as anti war as you say you are, that must have been before you started elementary school. 😉

  12. I left the Dem Party when the Dem Party left us. That’s why Nader running is so important. He’s in it to move the Dem Party back to what it used to be and to the left, not the center. The Dems running right now are Republican light, imo. Just look at their platform and their voting records.

    Political Compass by Lo (survey)

  13. The inconvenient truth is that Democrats have a history of being just as violent and amoral as the Republicans, and that includes recent history too. Sadly, there’s little difference apart from a veneer of slick hypocrisy.

  14. Thank you Katherine for saying it so nicely. also per your comment on Bill Moyer’s, I also hope the majority understands and feels we can be a better country, better people. Realizing we are part of a much bigger picture then our own personal material gains. But we have to overcome the continual fighting and realize it is not about ego but is about survival and we are all in this together. When a rare person like Obama comes along and speaks to us on an intelligent and honest level, fulling understanding the problems and needs, it sickens me to hear Clinton sneer and belittle the message implying he is talking down to us when it is she who is assuming we are ignorant. I expected nothing less from McCain. My hope is people can look forward and see we can solve the problems with fair trade based on need not material desires. This life of gaining things somehow makes us better has proven to divide and does not feed the soul. There is a hunger for connection, a hunger for the labor of life, a simpler life with progress that includes the earth which sustains us. My hope is people wil vote without ego and vote for the betterment of all.

  15. Pingback: Barack Obama at the Compassion Forum (videos) « Dandelion Salad

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