Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Body Politic: Libya and Life and More by Ingrid Tarjan

by Ingrid Tarjan

As we learned last week about the deaths of two award-winning photojournalists (one, American photographer Chris Hondros, the other  British-American photojournalist Tim Hetherington), and of Britain's decision to send "advisors" to Libya, I am saddened two times over. I heard Tim talk at Barnes & Noble's this past November with Sebastian Junger, with whom he had co-directed the 2010 documentary film Restrepo) and spoke with him briefly as he signed his book which I had bought for my dad.

He was inspiring. And while many others have died and are severely injured, it's somehow different when you've been inspired and shaken the hand of someone who died there. The fact is we're all connected, and it's tragic that dictators hunker down in their delusion, I ask myself how will it end? Apparently it was his last week there. Very sad.

I'm also reminded of a piece last month by an American journalist David Brooks

Brooks' piece about Muammar Gaddafi being a "wacko" March 24, 2011 is right, but history doesn't let dictators survive for too long with new media being the way it is.  The days of Idi Amin are over. Twitter and FB weren't around during Rwanda or even during Iraq for that matter.  The cries of Tripolitan and other handles on Twitter for the NFZ (no-fly-zone) weren't an imposition from outside but from within, in the face of imminent and real violence.

Even Ivory Coast is being acknowledged as a hotspot that is crying for better democracy.  This is a tide similar to the humanistic-political tsunami we see going on in the Middle East, or the more geophysical-humanistic events in Japan.

And call me naive, but I don't think even with Scott Walker's autocratic mandates and actions in WI, such violence would ever fly here in the US.

By this time last election the GOP frontrunner had already emerged.  They seem to be scrambling now and in my view really have nothing substantial to offer. In their attempts to be 'balanced' the media gives so much attention to some of them, but never with long-view scrutiny under which their ideas wouldn't hold.  The foundations upon which the GOP builds are just soundbites (lower taxes) without the structural depth that can be sustainable in today's given environment. Short-sightedness has been the modus operandi for too long here now and under more long-view scrutiny, careful consideration of the implications of their platforms fall short.  (To illustrate with a body politic metaphor, if you take a teenager and tell them they might want to consider feeding themselves less junk food, they'll cry and declare their freedom and right to eat whatever they want and do whatever they want to their bodies.  But if they want to live a healthy long and disease free life, they might be better served heeding advice from people who made better more healthful choices.  The body is very forgiving, but why set yourself back for short-term empty calorie gratification?)

Unfortunately, it seems the independents don't really have much to offer either since their battle for the moment is leveling the playing field and getting open primaries, certainly a worthy cause, but their platform needs to be put forth as if they'll get the open primaries to bring even more into their fold. (Pls note: Independents are NOT to be confused with Tea Party.)

So the next couple of years will be rather interesting.  For the moment, post 2010 election, we seem to be fighting a cultural war rather than continuing to solve the very real problems we face going fwd.

Aspiring politicians are very adept at pointing out what's wrong, but they're not very good at offering viable solutions to very real problems.

Anyone running for election at the local, state or national level needs to ignore the banal stupidity out there and put forth a real workable platform that can create real jobs for this economy. (NOT just tax handouts b/c evidence shows that said job creation from that is a myth, and no more pork-belly stimulus, -with the exception of infrastructure.)

Thankfully our president put for a budget plan that responded to the fantasy so called “serious” budget put forth by Paul Ryan.  The seriousness of dealing with this budget is important no matter what party you’re from.

The role of Independents is to educate ourselves and not buy soundbites which given Wisconsin and Michigan have turned into “bait and switch” policies.

My personal view is that public private sector projects tied with educational institutions is the way to go.  This country needs to incentivize unleashing practical creative energy of people who are spending their time solving hypothetical problems, and get them involved in real ones.  My experience in corporate culture's "real world" as opposed to ivory tower academia is that it's just as much experimental, but the stakes are higher.  So called "professionals" have made a lot of mistakes, (Enron, banking crisis, bailouts for the auto industry that for too long insisted on Hummers and big gas guzzlers to name just a few.)

In principle, it could even be an experiment; the right can do it their way, and 'create jobs', and other thinkers can do it their way, and let's see who really create the best jobs out there.  It doesn't have to be a zero-sum game.) Inspired by TedTalks I've watched, there are countless good people with amazing ideas out there.  Galvanizing such energy, inspiring it in our educational institutions to create tangible working projects may just yield the results we need.

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