I've said before that I think Fred Clark of Slacktivist is the very best blogger writing about religion and politics in America today. It's not even close. His recent series on things the government ought to be doing to help the economy is also outstanding-- that link goes to the most recent, and you can check my Links dump posts for most of the rest of the series.
I end up tagging a lot of his posts for the Links Dumps, but he's good enough that every now and then I feel I need to give him a little more prominence. His Wednesday post is one that deserves more. He describes two occasions where communities were asked to respond to hateful acts, the first a nasty resolution against homosexuality when he was an intern at a Baptist convention:
The debate had the air of a witch hunt. I wanted to be elsewhere. I wanted to say something, but it wasn't my place or my role there to speak and I wouldn't have known what to say anyway.
So the day of the big vote I made an armband with a pink triangle on it and tied it to my sleeve. No one asked me what it meant, and I'm not sure how I would have answered if they had. I went about my intern business, making copies and distributing folders as the final debate on the resolution proceeded and no one said anything to me about it all day.
Well, almost no one. Coming back from lunch, I held open the door to the Charleston, W.Va., convention center for a group of delegates walking behind me. One woman smiled and started to say thank you, then suddenly puckered up into a scowl and just sort of grunted before pointedly walking to the other set of doors. By that point I'd forgotten I was even wearing the armband and it took me a moment to figure out what I'd done to offend her.
That one ends badly, as you can probably guess. But he follows it up with a story about a recent outbreak of anti-semitism in Montana, and the way that community responded. Which is the kind of thing that reminds you that as mean and petty and short-sighted as we can be, humans are capable of a lot more. As lunatic as our political culture often seems, there are still events like this that make it worth saving.
By the way, Chad, I owe you a very belated thanks for introducing me to slacktivist. I think it's not going too far to say that fred's writing has genuinely changed my life in a tangible way.
I dont know about Blinder-Zandi. What a choice - obama's way or doing nothing. Who said anything about doing nothing ? The problem is doing idiotic things like paving the road here that was paved 5 years ago and is fine. Like the Gulf Drilling moratorium costing jobs. Suppose they did not create a tizzy with the health care monstrosity. Amity Shlaes wrote a whole book on how such things prolonged the Great Depression (The Forgotten Man). And they are doing nothing to mitigate outsourcing - they SUBSIDIZE IT !!!! My appraisal so far is that the Republicans are idiots, and the Democrats are criminals. This economic mess is going to drag on just like the great depression - 2 years, so far, and counting. And heck, I heard a caller on cspan reading from a 1999 NY Times article that predicted in detail what would happen if housing prices started to drop, and the mess that would ripple thru the economy. He nailed it. So did John Talbott "the coming crisis in the housing market" written in 2003. He cites plenty of articles predicting the same mess, in prominent mags.
So, if all this stuff was known and predicted, and the FBI was reporting massive fraud - how come Bush did not call them and ask why they were not arresting people ??? Sure he tried to reign in Fannie and Freddy. It looks ineffectual, almost like this whole thing was a poison pill in the economy, designed to explode and take down the country with it. "Fixes" such as renegotiating mortgages, were DESIGNED TO FAIL from the outset, while looking like they are doing something.
All this stuff about fixing bridges is like another Rexford Tugwell scheme from the FDR days. Don't get me started on socalled "green jobs" - the local joint making solar panels is completely automated.
Thanks for that article. I've added slacktivist to my RSS reader.
I disagree with Slacktivist on, well, almost everything of substance. He also has this appalling habit of going all Jeremiah on something he doesn't like and then promptly proceeds to do the same thing in his next post.
But he's a fantastically compelling, interesting, and insightful writer. His Left Behind posts are worth the price of admission alone, and he's been on my "read every day" list for a long time.