California Democratic Convention: Day Two
Day Two of the convention, and it's a real bash – on the Governor. Arnold has managed to unite the far-flung tribes of the California Democratic Party.
Howard Dean fired up the troops tonight. He spoke about moral values and talking in a language that ordinary Americans could understand. The audience went wild.
There is something strange, though, in this rush to “morals.”
Morals represent tradition and custom. In this brave new century, tradition and custom are replaced by fashion and hype. The past is for reactionaries, we are told. Science, technology and the ever-expanding GDP will solve our problems. Yet, no society can hang together without a proper balance between stability, respect for the old ways and openness to the new. In our time—2005—we are way out of balance. Question: who gets it?
April 16, 2005 | Permalink
Hey Jerry --
Please read thsi and talk about it -- it's really scary:
Posted by: jr | Apr 16, 2005 10:29:37 PM
Bloggers get it. All elected official should blog for the people every day. Thanks for blogging Jerry Brown.
Posted by: Doug Kenline | Apr 17, 2005 10:22:41 AM
Great statement: "no society can hang together without a proper balance between stability, respect for the old ways and openness to the new."
But not quite as true as: "no good society can survive without confronting, and stopping, evil actions." Usually it requires force.
Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad | Apr 17, 2005 1:37:34 PM
Dear Mayor Brown,
That's a great question. I'm glad Dean is talking about values; for too long, it seems to me, the Democrats have defined themselves by what they aren't, and not what they are. I have no idea what they are, except the party against Arnold Schwarzenegger and for -- well, for what? Indian gaming?
I need more.
Bush's strength is that he stands for something. Many Americans may not agree with what he stands for, but he's taking action. He's not a great communicator, but he's forcing the Democrats to react to him.
It's bigger than charisma.
Posted by: Fred Schoeneman | Apr 17, 2005 2:37:02 PM
Thanks agian for blogging Mayor Brown.
I supported you in the 1992 primaries. Primarily because of your ideas to reform the tax code. As the years have passed I find that your opinions and observations are always poignant and insightful.
It was your interest in Wes Clarke that first led me to look into who he is. I still feel that if he had started his campaign earlier the results of this election would have been much different.
Posted by: SkyHunter | Apr 17, 2005 3:09:36 PM
Morals represent tradition and custom? Slavery was the tradition and custom for a couple of centuries. How moral was slavery? Isn't taking care of the "least of us" what should be the moral direction for our country? Shouldn't the words that are in the Declaration of Indpendence and the Constitution be what guide us and forms the basis of our moral authority as a country? To do that would certainly defy recent "tradition and custom" since you Democrats have twisted yourselves into pretzels to be as conservative and selfish as the GOP.
What don't you get? Money and power is what motivates people. People who have money and power will by any means necessary do what they must to preserve their status. If you have it, you work to keep it. If you don't have it, you strive to get it. Kris Rocks explains it all for you.
Posted by: Kris Rocks | Apr 17, 2005 3:21:13 PM
Jerry, I'm sure you have considered the notion that it is the institution of capitalism that in the end corrupts democracy and strays government. What are your thoughts on it?
Posted by: X Factor | Apr 17, 2005 7:15:23 PM
Fred Schoenmen - in response to your semi-coherent sputterings about the Democrats, I offer this ironic nugget from today's New York Times: "In Washington, federal investigations of Mr. Abramoff, a close ally of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have revealed that Mr. Abramoff paid Mr. (Ralph) Reed's consulting firm more than $4 million to help organize Christian opposition to Indian casinos in Texas and Louisiana - money that came from other Indians with rival casinos."
Posted by: reg | Apr 17, 2005 10:45:15 PM
aolers should rant about coherence. :rolleyes:
try harder, jerry!
Posted by: sheesh | Apr 18, 2005 12:34:41 AM
Dude, I'm not a Republican.
Posted by: Fred Schoeneman | Apr 18, 2005 11:21:13 AM
What is your view of “a proper balance”? What underlies this gloss?
With respect to tradition, there must be a formula or gauge to decipher what is to be discarded and what is to be retained. With respect to the new, we must differentiate between what could be of assistance and what could lead us irreparably into the abyss. Before one varnishes a piece of pottery, one must know what form it should take, what would be most beautiful, what is most useful, what we want and why. Core elements are critical. Substance should prevail over the deceptively smooth phrases spewed by Democrats or Republicans who often say no more than that which is politically innocuous or expedient.
Who gets it? Few. Most people are caught in the tornado of consumerism, mesmerized by so-called advancement and the Prometheus-like aura of science; we have forgotten that great meaning can be found in other ways. We frantically endeavor to be “Type A” people and participate in and endorse a “Type A” society. We are busy; the question is “What are we busy with”?
But all is cyclical. The trend will reverse itself after stomachs are over-stuffed with (arguably) nugatory and spiritually damaging junk food; the real question is…Will it be too late?
I just read a book called “Our Final Hour” by Martin Rees. He is a well-respected Cambridge professor and England's Astronomer Royal. Some would call him prescient, while others would interpret his words as alarmist, resembling a layer cake with environmental fears on top of nuclear fears on top of biothreats, ad infinitum. Like a sci-fi movie, he worries that computers will take over. He hypothesizes that we may eventually be able to insert memory sticks in our brains. (Of course, I fully support this. Even signed up!)
He says there is an only 50/50 chance human will survive beyond the year 2100 and that the most knowledgeable experts are the gloomiest about our future. His thesis is that scientists should be policing themselves to a much greater degree.
Other pessimists include: H.G. Wells, the Chicago scientists of the “Bulletin of Atomic Scientists”, Brandon Carter, Lee Silver et al.
In his book “Remaking Eden,” Silver argues that within a few generations people may be divided into two species: those who are “naturals” and those who are genetically altered. Which one are you again?
Just kidding...everyone knows you’re genetically altered!
Yeah, yeah...I know I’m writing too much for your hand-held device. By the way, it told me on Sat. that it has plans to rule the world!
Posted by: Charlotte Laws | Apr 18, 2005 2:38:09 PM
Kris Rocks writes:
"What don't you get? Money and power is what motivates people. People who have money and power will by any means necessary do what they must to preserve their status. If you have it, you work to keep it. If you don't have it, you strive to get it."
Hmmm, last I looked, the anti-slavery movement had no power and little money, while the pro-slavery movement had lots of both. The slavers lost. The people who'd led the anti-slavery movement didn't get any money or power out of that victory, though.
This suggests to me that money and power may not be as important in motivating people as Kris thinks.
Posted by: Stephen M. St. Onge | Apr 18, 2005 3:11:37 PM
Fred Schoeneman writes:
"I'm glad Dean is talking about values; for too long, it seems to me, the Democrats have defined themselves by what they aren't, and not what they are. I have no idea what they are, except the party against Arnold Schwarzenegger and for -- well, for what? Indian gaming?
"I need more.
"Bush's strength is that he stands for something. Many Americans may not agree with what he stands for, but he's taking action. He's not a great communicator, but he's forcing the Democrats to react to him."
Interesting, because just the other day, a socialist revolutionary friend of mine said more or less the same thing. He despises 'Honest George' and the rest of the GOP, but said they'd win elections as long as they looked like they were leading the country somewhere, and Democrats confined themselves to saying 'We're not as bad as the GOP.'
Posted by: Stephen M. St. Onge | Apr 18, 2005 3:17:42 PM
The anti-slavery movement didn't end slavery. The need to preserve the union did. The Civil War was an economic war started to preserve power in the South, it was not based on the morality of slavery. Saying the Civil War was about ending the evils of slavery is as naive as saying we went to Iraq to free the Iraqis.
Posted by: Kris Rocks | Apr 18, 2005 6:42:12 PM
This is absurd. Won’t someone insist that a supposedly relevant political figure associate some genuine “policies” or “programs” with the bland homily expressed above? Can a man run for A.G. without articulating a cogent agenda about actual, non-obvious issues of the day? I guess we’ll see.
Jerry, give your positions on five controversial issues of relevance to Californians...or Oaklanders….hell, any group except “the world.” Emphasize which are non-negotiable, always. And perhaps one or two might be germane to either the office you hold or the one you seek. Then, tie these stands to a larger agenda which is of remote interest to your once and former constituents. It’d be really neat if these positions were ones YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE.
I say Jerry believes in nothing anymore save that which might get him elected. And if you added up the one-off positions he’s taken over the years, those very same which have fans gushing about how he “gets it,” you get an incoherent patchwork of ideas whose only common thread is that they fostered electability at the time.
Except for the money and power thing. Jerry has always understood those very, very well.
Posted by: Bland Everyman | Apr 18, 2005 9:33:35 PM
Are you talking about the same Jerry Brown who ran for President on $100 contributions and dared to attack the influence of corporate money in politics? If you've read any of this blog, you've seen the Oakland Mayor stake out some controversial positions in his town. He's got people marching against some of his more successful crime reduction policies. Bland Everyman, what are you talking about?
Posted by: Mel Hendricks | Apr 18, 2005 9:54:16 PM
Mel, you make my point far better than I can. Jerry accepts corporate bucks at way more than $100 a pop these days. And now he's tough on crime! Ooh, daring political strategy…
Jerry’s most public recent initiatives, involving parolees, are largely aimed at undoing the policies he enacted as Gov. And people praise him for both! You can’t make this stuff up.
Posted by: Bland Everyman | Apr 18, 2005 10:22:24 PM
if your point is that the system is corrupt and the voters are idiots, you may be right. you seem like the type who embraces a radical agenda and screams on the sidelines rather than negotiating an entrance to the system and working from within. you need to look no further than the white house to understand the shape we're in. you CAN make the stuff up ... WMD, shock and awe, mission accomplished ... and win! you can illegally invade a foreign country and apply S&M torture to your prisoners and win an election on "moral values," brother.
we'll need a gandhi or jesus, not a politician, to lead the big revolution in your dreams. until then, let's not demonize interesting thinkers and creative leaders who may sacrifice ideology in order to accomplish an attainable greater good. i live in san francisco, and during the mayoral election gavin newsom was portrayed as a corporate droid who was more rightwing than dick cheney. the truth is something else, but that doesn't stop the left from tearing itself to pieces.
in vernacular parlance: don't hate the player, hate the game.
by the way, your accusations are heated but vague.
Posted by: Paul R. | Apr 18, 2005 11:19:56 PM
"The US House of Representatives voted 295-125 to support the right of public officials to display copies of the Ten Commandments, which - said Congress - are "fundamental principles that are the cornerstone of a fair and just society." from "Hang Ten and Fight" by Steven Weissman.
Mayor Brown, do you support the continued separation of church and state? This is a bedrock tradition of our nation as well. What will your position be if elected Attorney General? Will you support the posting of the Ten Commandments in Public places like schools, City Hall, Post Offices, courts, etc.?
Posted by: val | Apr 19, 2005 8:35:53 AM
Howard Dean fired up the troops tonight. He spoke about moral values and talking in a language that ordinary Americans could understand. The audience went wild.
Yeah Jerry, because us ordinary Amerikans are too schtoopid to understaind that intelictual talk.
Give me a f*ing break. You guys can keep repackaging the same bull sh*t in a new, fancy container, but it is still the same bull sh*t Jerry.
Posted by: Robert | Apr 19, 2005 12:17:00 PM
I can see how Ah-nold had the Dem's upset. Afterall, he proposes taking away the safe districts from the Democratic and Republican nutcases, and replacing them with swing districts where you have to appeal to the sane middle. Imagine, the nerve of him!
Posted by: Don Meaker | Apr 19, 2005 6:34:48 PM
Oh, and if the current districts are wrong, then why would we keep the bad districts for a minute, much less for a year?
Redistrict NOW. If the turnover in the state legislature is less than 25% a year, there is something wrong.
Posted by: Don Meaker | Apr 19, 2005 6:38:01 PM
Arnold has amassed more funds from special interests (energy companies being high on the list) than Gray Davis ever dreamed of and yet the grotesquely ignorant public thinks Arnold is a hero for taking on cops, fireman, teachers, and nurses. Arnold's election to governor is proof at how bankrupt Americans values are. He never had a platform during his campaign. If anyone else ran a campaign on a platform of "Vote for me because I'm Mr. Wonderful," they wouldn't get elected to street corner philosopher. The only reason he won was because he is a celebrity. Same as Jerry Brown. Everyone talked about his business acumen like he actually runs any of the businesses he is involved in. He's never had a real job, just like Jerry. None of these people have any idea what it is to work a real job and yet you elect them to set policies that affect all of our lives on whatever whim grabs them from one day to the next. I don't blame the politicians for the mess we are in. I blame uninformed, ignorant voters who don't read, and whose complex decision making is limited to whether or not they want fries with their Big Mac.
Posted by: Kris Rocks | Apr 19, 2005 7:47:13 PM
The average Democrat doesn't have either the technological or economic skills to make any sort of informed judgment about politics. When Dean mutters about values and appeals to sentimental liberal emotions, he is no better than the republican's talk of values and family and country etc. Why not some specifics related to economy and environment and education instead of the 10 grade civics lesson. Given a choice between corporatist Walmart republicans or hordes of sentimental unionist democrats some of us choose. neither.
Posted by: ya hozna | Apr 20, 2005 10:16:50 AM
We look at how morals have become the buzz theme for political leaders and wonder why this is so?
Take a look at the balance of economic well being among laborers and administration, namely company CEO's.
On one hand the workers have worries about when they may be asked to leave, --real worry because there is a mortgage to pay, a vehicle payment, kids to feed, and a wife to care for. How can their boss relate to such mundane issue when he has several houses across the country, a million dollar bonus coming, and vacations here and there?
There IS an uncomfortable balance between the "haves" and the "have nots" and apparently NO morality in business ethics concerning this gross imbalance.
Where can people turn but to superstition or religion when their livelihood is threatened by job insecurity and have no idea from where the next dollar is going to appear?
Posted by: corrine G. | Apr 21, 2005 4:25:22 AM
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