« April 2008 | Main | June 2008 »

May 31, 2008

The Way Of The Whigs: The Compromise of 2008



"It’s time for the Democratic Party to go the way of the Whigs"

— Hunter S. Thompson, in the kitchen in 2000, 2001, 2004.

I was never totally sure what Hunter meant by this. Often when he said it, I’d just shrug my shoulders, or other times I’d pretend to understand.  What I learned later, and especially today, is that as usual… Hunter was right.

During the Jacksonian democracy, which operated from around the 1830s to late 1850s the Whigs formed their party in opposition to president Andrew Jackson (well, at least his policies). 

The Whigs really loved the idea of Congress having more power than the President. They remembered, or at least read the history books about how awful things could get when a jackass took the throne. So, they didn’t like the idea of a king-like executive branch — today, the Democratic party, as you know, complains about the president or a powerful corporatation having the powers of a monarch.

They also promoted the idea of a sound economy and wisely financed government (the last Clinton left a massive SURPLUS in the treasury which, as you know, was looted by 2002.)  Their name, "Whig,"was an homage to the American Whigs of 1776, who fought for independence and freedom — the kind of thing we preach to the rest of the world.

The Whig Party counted among its members such national political luminaries as Daniel Webster, William Henry Harrison, and their preeminent Kentucky born Henry Clay. The Whig Party also had a few war heroes in its ranks (even higher than Kerry, McGovern, and Wesley Clark) such as Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott. Even Abraham Lincoln was a Whig leader at one point!

The Whig Party managed to get two of its candidates in the president’s office (Harrison and Taylor) in those two decades.  In our last three decades, we’ve been able to elect Carter and Clinton.

But, the party self imploded over the question of freedom and slavery. Instead of allowing freedom for all (in our case, 158 years later, to let all the votes count), they fought and fought among themselves to the point that they managed to nominate a really cool guy named Winfield Scott to run in the national election, even though there was a much more experienced Whig already in office (President Fillmore). But Winfield was popular within the ranks of the hip Whig crowd, but Whigs will be Whigs, and they let the less experienced Winfield take the spot anyway (yes, just like the rules committee did today) and thus, the Whig party was defeated in the national election. REALLY DUMB.

 And as any self-imploding, media-driven organizations will tend to do, within a few years, POOF. The Whigs were gone.  

Thus, after today’s death by committee, I now understand what my husband meant. The Beginning of the end for the Whigs was the Compromise of 1850. Today will be remembered (I bet) as the Compromise of 2008.

Until next time, your friend going the Way of the Whigs,

Anita Thompson


P.S. Sunday morning update: Lord. Sad, but not suprising news from CNN: One of my (former) heroes, Donna Brazil, just admitted that she helped make the fateful decision with the Rules Committee on 3 hours of sleep. 

 I was fortunate enough to go the the fabulous Mountain Film Fest in Telluride last weekend to do a Q & A after Gonzo, and do a book signing (next to Samantha Power), along with watching the panel discussions on torture and human rights.  Documentary Taxi to the Dark Side deals with the issue of torture and many experts discuss the results of torture. One of which is sleep deprevation. Scientists know that sleep deprivation is the main factor in turning humans into "babbling idiots" as one of the guards noted. So sad.

All comments are subject to review before being published.

May 19, 2008

I Was Wrong

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

— famous line often quoted by Hunter S. Thompson…

Ah — home sweet home. I’ve managed to pack in about 4 months of activity into the last 4 weeks. My niece and nephew came to tour parts of Europe with me the last portion of my stay. We started in London, then went through France, Switzerland, Italy, then finished in Poland. We saw my father and family in Krakow, with the last stop being our massive family apple orchards outside of Warsaw. 

Off our eight hour flight from Europe to Philadelphia, our first step on to US soil meant me being detained by US Customs for the 3 family apples I apparently still had in my bag. They wouldn’t even let me take one last bite. Three Federal Customs officers seized them all(I guess one agent for each apple). My niece and nephew waited patiently outside. It was pretty scary, coming home to that kind of scene. As Hunter always said, it DOES matter who is running your government.

But I did make it back to Owl Farm without an apple lawyer, and Woody Creek is peaceful and beautiful, even after a record snowfall year. Writers/caretakers Andrew and Jonathan aged considerably after each consecutive snowfall which damaged the roof, porch, flower beds and almost everything else. But all is well and sunshiny now that it is Spring. The peacocks are in full character, along with the daffodils, tulips and Jasmin.  I spent half the day yesterday planting pansies, which were already taller this morning.

But yes, so much seems to have changed while I was gone. The first thing I saw on American CNN was a shot of Obama mentioning how he had been campaigning in all fifty seven (57) states. Wow, I thought. Things have changed. Even my mom immediately mentioned (with a wink) that Bill Clinton had switched his support to Obama too.

Which leads me to what I’ve been meaning to write to you for some time now.  I have been totally wrong about Barack Obama. I underestimated him completely.  To say he was too inexperienced, young, naive and hip to run for president was unobservant and stupid of me.   Anyone who has the balls to stab his mentor in the back, with the whole nation watching, must be ready for Presidential politics. Jeramiah Wright had been one of Obama’s mentors for over two decades — including his controvercial, bitter sermons. Obama called him "uncle," but, Jeramiah wasn’t needed anymore…. Obama now has Oprah, the Kennedys, and even Melissa Etheridge! Not to mention his arugala eating, latte sipping support base who not only found this betrayal normal, they actually applauded him for it.  Bizarre.

So anyway, I was wrong. Although I find that behavior despicable, anyone who can do that to friend or mentor, and still cast his colagate smile, must certainly be ready for the White House, right?

In the beginning, as in a couple years ago, I wasn’t really a fan of Hillary either. But, watching how  unfairly the majority of talking head pundits treated her, and learned that they have been for the last 35 years, I gained more and more respect for her as the months passed by.  She is tougher than I imagined. That she ran a flawed campaign can’t be denied. That she has served this country from behind the scenes and front-n-center for the last 35 years also can’t be denied. Please do keep in mind that she was outspent 4-1 in those states that she won (and most that she lost). That is pretty victorious in my opinion. That she would have been the best candidate? Only time will tell, if more testosterone enters the white house.

One thing Hillary has done is that she has created a powerful grassroots network of political camps all over the country. If Hillary really is out of this presidential race, there are going to be empowered groups of women all over the country that will need to get into local politics or SOMETHING to avoid deadly estrogen buildup. They saw her strength and class, and were not entertained by it, they were actually awakened by it. Perhaps Hillary, after taking a rest, will make a tour around the country to help organize women into local politics. That would be beautiful, and truly revolutionary. But she shouldn’t wait too long, as Sojourner Truth warned us in 1867…

I am for keeping the thing going while things are stirring; because if we wait till it is still, it will take a great while to get it going again. -Sojourner Truth, Equal Rights Convention, New York.

All politics is local anyway, right? Plus, with all the abuse Hillary has taken just for running against a young, hip, slick politician, it becomes martyrdom after a while. Perhpas it IS time to lovingly detach.

I’m no political expert, so maybe I’m overthinking. But what HAPPENED to this primary, I wondered last night as I gulped the last of my tea.  Could it be the simple fact that Obama was smart enough to listen to his wife while Hillary was dumb enough to listen to her husband? Nah. SURELY, it’s more complex than that.

Anyway, I’m going back to the garden.

Until next time, your friend in Woody Creek,

Anita Thompson 

p.s. My sincere condolences to the Kennedy family for the tough road ahead. But the Senator is a strong man, and I wish them all the best of luck.

All comments are subject to review before being published.

Hosting by Yahoo!