An interesting read
January 11, 2003 1:23 PM   Subscribe

An interesting read This guy seems to make some sense when lately nobody has been making sense at all... think we could get him to run in 2004? ;)

When religious institutions fail to provide moral leadership, when governmental institutions become dangerous to the nation they are tasked to serve, when politicians do not work for the people, or when they tremble at the possibility that standing alone in righteousness might cost them votes, when journalism becomes one long commercial, when votes are brokered against the party affiliation of a majority of powerful judges, it becomes necessary for the singular multitude that is the American people to stand and be counted.
posted by sparky (21 comments total)
At the risk of sounding like Star Jones <shudder>, I don't think I could ever vote for someone who calls himself a Catholic.
posted by UrbanFigaro at 2:32 PM on January 11, 2003

UrbanFigaro: Don't worry, you don't sound like Star Jones. More like Jack Chick.

Why would your anti-Catholic views be less abhorent than Star Jones anti-athiest views?
posted by hipnerd at 2:54 PM on January 11, 2003

He's a crony of Scott Ritter.

written by: William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times bestselling author of two books - "War On Iraq" (with Scott Ritter) available now from Context Books, and "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in May 2003 from Pluto Press. He teaches high school in Boston, MA.
posted by Fupped Duck at 3:03 PM on January 11, 2003

Pitt's essay is a great indictment of the current political environment of America. While, obviously, not objective, he manages to very clearly state the absurdities and hypocrisies of the GW White House. I doubt Pitt would be any kind of presidential hopeful, though. Part of the problem is that people who espouse their views, especially views contrary to the ruling paradigm, are automatically pushed out of politics. As he points out in the essay, criticism of policy is now considered dissent, and dissent is considered to be treason. So welcome to the new world order everybody, watch your mouths, be vigilant and keep shopping.

Oh, and Urbanfigaro: Since he's Catholic we should disregard any of his points?

Fupped Duck: Since he has worked with Scott Ritter we should disregard any of his points?

Does anyone have any actual thoughts about the essay?
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:35 PM on January 11, 2003

Fupped Duck: Oops, maybe your just providing more background, if so I apologize. It was your use of the word "crony" that caught my eye.
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:37 PM on January 11, 2003

OK, so a typical partisan commentary piece that stretches the facts in a few places... If anything what tarnishes his credibility is posting it on a site named smirkingchimp.
posted by gyc at 4:12 PM on January 11, 2003

gyc, please explain *where* it stretches the facts? I'm curious to see how anyone can really take the gist of what he's saying and disagree with it...
posted by cyrusdogstar at 4:20 PM on January 11, 2003

It's not the guy(s) in charge but the system gone awry. Where do all the guys in the House and Senate go when they leave office? Lobbyists. They have work with the large lobbies and can deliver for them even after office.
If the country seems mired in all sorts of problems, it is, alas, because of the controlling corporations and industries and professional groups (medical, legal, teachers et al) that shape and control what gets passed and what does not get passed and what get money spent on it....
posted by Postroad at 4:35 PM on January 11, 2003

Thoughts on the essay? I thought reading it was a waste of ten minutes of my life.
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 4:36 PM on January 11, 2003

think we could get him to run in 2004?
Based on what? This is a standard "Throw the bums out" editorial which advocates no policy, written from a template with the addition of: "pedophilia is bad and so is anyone who covers it up."

Vote for PlanetKyoto, I'm the candidate of change. No more business as usual in Washington, I'm gonna kick over the apple cart and...Guess who is going to be horse trading votes by May and bringing home the pork. Either that or I'd be irrelevant.
posted by planetkyoto at 5:17 PM on January 11, 2003

It is a small but excusable weakness that people need to name themselves as Catholics/Jews whatever... In the past it was enough to just state this and by doing so almost everything about a person's views could be inferred. Today however, those who still cling to this convention have to qualify their faith with all of their personal I am a Catholic but I believe in abortion.
His stating he is a Catholic (noticeably at the start of the essay) serves as a rallying point for the faithful so they can identify one of their own and then consider his points of view from within the framework of catholicism. Unfortunately his points seem to be nothing that has not been mentioned in almost any analysis of the bush administration. If it serves to engage the faithful who might otherwise eschew this debate then all the better.
His inability to separate his own political and religious views does not make me want to consider him for the highest political office in a country founded on the separation of church and state.
posted by nasim at 5:32 PM on January 11, 2003

BTW, I was just being snarky with the comment about getting him to run... hence the winky face ;)
posted by sparky at 5:35 PM on January 11, 2003

Mr. Pitt quotes Rumsfeld and then argues against something he misunderstands: Rumsfeld said the draft brings many unmotivated and therefore less than ideal people into the army (who can disagree with this?), but Pitt takes Rumsfeld to task for dishonoring the dead soldiers.

While this rant highlights/rehashes many current problems - and we do need to solve them - there are no thought-out solutions here. If he runs, I'm not voting based on what I see here.
posted by mediaddict at 5:43 PM on January 11, 2003

Thoughts on the essay? I thought reading it was a waste of ten minutes of my life.

It is singularly astonishing that dialogue in a country with freedom of speech and the press is a "waste of time" for some people if they ill-advisedly engage with it, simply because one somehow disagrees with the adversarial view's political bent. Isn't this a democracy? If it is then a democracy, the views of those you disagree would necessarily be of equal importance as your favorite flavor charlatan you just so happen to believe.

What would it be HC that you gleaned from Pitt's piece that can be applied to HC's Political Manifesto that would make democracy in the US that much more, well, democratic? What can you offer HC, other than marking the voices, minds and issues of a great, relatively unheard many with a big red X as a patent "Waste Of Time"? I assume you agree that when Bush speaks of Democracy it means that he truly cares about and is a steward of Democracy. In which case, democracy being an ongoing and equal dialogue, where does deeming an important perspective from someone you do not share ideals become worthless if indeed you share that very same Democracy with them?

I propose HC, that you and abjectly, so many others, are a symptom of that which William Rivers Pitt feels the need to write what he writes. And honestly, (Alternative Radio broadcast a stirring MLK Jr. speech "Vietnam and Beyond"(?) today) I would simply would have to lump the tireless compassion of Pitt in along with that of the great MLK. It is a horrifyingly bleak situation for democracy when those very Americans who espouse it as they march to a war of promised "democracy", find it not worth their time to read what the "other side" of their so called democracy has to say.

The more dispassionate minds hold sway over the prevailing disinterest of a good deal of ordinary Americans, I would have to strongly agree with Pitt as he writes, "We are out of time."
posted by crasspastor at 6:19 PM on January 11, 2003

Thank you, nasim, for putting your finger so eloquently on what bothered me about this guy's Catholic thing.
posted by UrbanFigaro at 6:34 PM on January 11, 2003

Regarding his Catholisism, I thought he mentioned it to establish a framework to talk about his problem with political institutions. He is a member of the Catholic Church and he has severe problems with the current Church hierarchy.

He is also a member of the United States, but he has severe problems with the political apparatus of the U.S. government.

But he feels that his critisisms of the "official" dogma of both church and state do not invalidate his sense that he is still a member of the church and still a member of the state.

UrbanFigaro: I am still trying to understand why this statement is not blatantly anti-Catholic.

I don't think I could ever vote for someone who calls himself a Catholic.

Please elaborate.
posted by hipnerd at 9:56 PM on January 11, 2003

Excellent comment. I came to this country when I was one with my family from Europe. We moved so my father could work for an American company that wanted him. I grew up here - educated in public school since first grade. I remember listening to what made America great in history, government and civics classes in American high schools. Things like respect for another to disagree with you - and the willingness to fight for that right. The ideal that all men are created equal - the ideal that the affairs of the church should not sway the government into favoring one man over another. It was the ideals of this country that made me proud to stand and take the oath to become an American citizen. Land of the Free Home of the Brave.

Now it seems that the brave are not home, or they're home watching their TVs - not willing to miss what they "must see". Pitts essay is meant to provoke people into thinking again about what makes this country potentially the best on the planet. It is the ideals of America - not the land - not our economy - and not any business in this land that we need to care about. We need to debate the fact that Nike is asking the Supreme Court to give it the right to lie to consumers. We need to come to terms with our substitution for violence instead of reason - weather it be in the middle east where we send arms to kill 95 year old women or 8 year old boys while at the same time starving children in a country with a government that the CIA helped to install or with the seventeen year-old who we are sending to death for a mistake he made when his mind was far from physically capable of understanding the consequences of his actions. We've taken the perfect ideal democracy and handed it back to the kings of our land. In tern we've become servants to our debts - lords Master Card and Visa.

I read Pitt's essay and think to myself that here is a man much like those who got together and formed this country. Here is a man who is not afraid to speak his mind and say to other Americans and say - this should be better for all of us. This should be fair. If you think it is fair - go to your boss and ask for a $81,000 loan with no intention of paying it back. George W. Bush got one for that amount. Think about that. Do you have access to that kind of opportunity? And if this is the land of equality then something is mess up because that isn't equal at all.

Equal opportunity is something worth fighting for. I fear that our government no longer thinks so.
posted by DragonBoy at 11:53 PM on January 11, 2003

When [fill in the blank] happens, it becomes necessary for the singular multitude that is the American people to stand and be counted.

Here's my problem with this (without even reading the article)...

On what issues is it permissible for the people in a democracy to not stand up and be counted? The notion that there's a point of extreme you must reach before taking part in determining one's own future simply boggles me. Waiting for life to be unbearable before insisting on a change is generally what people do under dictatorships. In a democracy, it's the people who determine their own future. We are supposed to be our own leaders. That religious, political, and commercial/industrial leadership is lacking isn't the problem. The real problem is the general public's surrendering of its authority without question.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:38 AM on January 13, 2003

At the risk of sounding like UrbanFigaro *shudder*, I am beginning to question whether I should ever again vote for someone who calls himself a human being.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:52 AM on January 13, 2003

Don't blame me, I voted for Kang.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:41 PM on January 13, 2003

It is singularly astonishing that dialogue in a country with freedom of speech and the press is a "waste of time" for some people if they ill-advisedly engage with it, simply because one somehow disagrees with the adversarial between two or more entities. A dialogue isn't a waste of time view's political bent. Isn't this a democracy?

I hate to nitpick but a "dialogue" involves discourse but reading yet another one-sided screed that uses the same tired rheoric to make the same accusations based on someone's partisan political views is a *huge* waste of time. If you remove the author's name it could be the work of any one of a dozen or so writers I've read similar rants from lately...there is nothing that makes this particular one notable or noteworthy IMHO.
posted by RevGreg at 5:32 PM on January 13, 2003

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