Friday, July 23, 2010

Decision time in Las Vegas: Governor Schweitzer or Big Brother?

I love watching Big Brother on TV. Why? Because all the lying and scheming, back-biting, greed and general nastiness that happens on the show reminds me of the way that Republicans tend to act. Watching Big Brother is definitely helping me to become a better progressive blogger.

And so when a conflict arose Thursday night between me watching Governor Bob Schweitzer speak to the Netroots Nation convention in Las Vegas or me hightailing it up to my hotel room to see if Matt or Monet would get voted out, I was torn -- that is, until Governor Schweitzer actually started speaking. And then I became riveted. A herd of elephants couldn't have dragged me out of my seat. The man is a born orator -- or at least the best raconteur that I've ever heard.

First the governor spent a slow and leisurely ten minutes telling us about his 112-year-old friend Walt. Then he told us all about how he won the 4-H competition at the county fair when he was nine years old. Then he told us in colorful detail about how his grandmother had come over from Ireland all by herself at the tender age of 17. "Her name was Hannah -- and she was the original Hannah Montana."

Unlike the kind of "country folk" who live in suburban tract houses outside of places like Houston, Atlanta and Nashville but still try to pass themselves off as rural cowboys and who listen to multi-millionaire Rush Limbaugh as he too tries to act "down-home," Governor Schweitzer has been a farmer and rancher all his life and actually is the real thing. And, even better, the governor doesn't have to build his own self up by putting other people down.

Governor Schweitzer wants the best for Montana -- and for America too. And he didn't need to sell out his American ideals and become a narrow-minded bigot or a cold-hearted compassion-challenged "me-first" scrounger or a greedy corporatist in order to get elected either. Go him!

However. Would the governor's true American values of honesty, integrity and hard work have won him a place in the Final Four on Big Brother? Probably not.

And when I finally did get back to my hotel room that evening, I turned on the TV in vain hopes of getting at least a tail-end glimpse of Matt and Monet on the block. Too late. But I did get to see a commercial paid for by Sharon Angle, a senatorial candidate here in Nevada. Angle looked like some sincere-but-seedy Sally Fields wannabe as she told a roomful of sweet-looking old people that government interference was ruining their lives.

Yeah sure, Sharon.

You say that you want to help all of America's old people by getting rid of MediCare and Social Security? And just exactly HOW is that going to help us? If you truly want to get rid of Big Government, then just get us out of those pointless and meaningless "wars" in the Middle East -- those bloody sink-holes that are eating our budgets and our souls alive. And you could also help us get rid of all those bailouts for bankers.

Then Van Jones spoke this morning and he said that progressive bloggers need to take the high road and set good examples for others by living up to America's highest ideals. What? You want me to stop bashing those lying corporatists, neo-cons and talk-show hosts who have stolen our country, our morality and our ideals? Me? Nah.

Well, maybe I MIGHT consider being just a little bit nicer. Because, after all, I do want to get into Heaven -- if for no other reason than because there won't be any corporatists, liars, bigots, hard-hearted "me-first" types or right-wing radio talk-show hosts in Heaven at all.

PS: I just stuck my head into a room where the "Afghanistan: Where do we go from here?" workshop was being held. "How many Al Qaeda operatives are there in Afghanistan right now?" the moderator asked.

"50 to a hundred."

"And we are spending one billion dollars a year in Afghanistan on capturing these 50 to a hundred Al Qaeda operatives?"

"That is correct."

Then another reporter in the media room commented that when the U.S. military offered to give arms training to Afghan women, 10,000 women showed up. Those women are truly pissed off at Afghan men. Maybe we should send Afghan women out to Kandahar instead of the Marines. Just a thought.