Wilma Mankiller, the once dirt-poor Oklahoma farm girl who grew up to become an American Indian and women’s rights activist, author and the first woman to hold the Cherokee Nation’s highest office, died Tuesday. She was 64.
"Our personal and national hearts are heavy with sorrow and sadness with the passing this morning of Wilma Mankiller," said Chad Smith, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. "We feel overwhelmed and lost when we realize she has left us, but we should reflect on what legacy she leaves us. We are better people and a stronger tribal nation because of her example of Cherokee leadership, statesmanship, humility, grace, determination and decisiveness."
First, I must explain: in Tulsa, unlike most places, the "underground" tabloid-format newspaper, Urban Tulsa, has an editorial staff that is mostly libertarian/conservative in outlook. However, the content is otherwise similar to most underground newspapers. The result is an amusingly schizophrenic blend of finger-wagging moralizing and anti-tax bloviating at the front, good indie music and restaurant reviews in the middle, and many pages of ads for "massage" parlors, escort services, and gentlemen's clubs in back.
However, today's issue was different. A former Tulsan who moved to California two years ago wrote a thoughtful appraisal of the current state of political affairs, It isn't anything that would make waves on DK, but I thought it might provide a window into the thoughts of a blue person from a red state, the same thoughts I've been trying to put into intelligible words for weeks now. Bill Underwood beat me to it, darn him, but I love that he actually got it published in Urban Tulsa and I'm looking forward to the debate it may actually provoke here in my beloved but way red hometown.
Having moved from the reddest-of-red states to the bluest-of-blue I found the recent election illuminating--especially Oklahoma's senatorial race between Brad Carson and Tom Coburn.
In a post-election column for the Claremore Diarist, Carson wrote that America has descended into an all-out culture war--with politics the new battleground. Countless Bible Belt conservatives have been politically energized by wedge issues like gay marriage, abortion and that vaguest of terms: "family values."
As a liberal I agree with Carson's assertion that a culture war is ripping America apart. And as a born-again Christian I sympathize with my more conservative brethren on issues like abortion, although I find their entrenched positions insensitive to the realities of our world--especially when they condemn abortion, while decrying sex education for teenagers.
What I find truly bizarre about the red state conservatives is the selectiveness of their perception. They focus like a laser beam on "God, guns and gays" while ignoring more pressing issues like healthcare, regressive taxation and the out-sourcing of jobs to third world nations. These overlooked issues do far more to destroy American families than gays exchanging vows on the steps of San Franciso City Hall.
Read the rest here.
"President Bush said Tuesday that the Iraqis are refuting the pessimists and implied that things are improving in that country.
What would America look like if it were in Iraq's current situation? The population of the US is over 11 times that of Iraq, so a lot of statistics would have to be multiplied by that number.
Thus, violence killed 300 Iraqis last week, the equivalent proportionately of 3,300 Americans. What if 3,300 Americans had died in car bombings, grenade and rocket attacks, machine gun spray, and aerial bombardment in the last week? That is a number greater than the deaths on September 11, and if America were Iraq, it would be an ongoing, weekly or monthly toll."
It motivated me to go to the Salon archives and find this wild Camille Paglia interview from February 2002, in which, among other pronouncements, she calls the Columbia disaster a "stunning omen" warning the President away from his planned martial adventure in Iraq. Whatever you think of Paglia, the article seemed prophetic to me at the time, and now, of course, even more so.
By Daniel Okrent
Published January 18, 2004
The complaints from Dean's adherents have struck me with such force that they've triggered Bennet's Corollary, a formulation of The Times's Jerusalem bureau chief, James Bennet: "Just because everyone is mad at you doesn't necessarily mean you're doing the right thing." (It's a phrase that most journalists, who play defense even more aggressively than they play offense, should etch into their computer screens.) This past week, it led me to reread The Times's Democratic campaign coverage since Dec. 1.
The paper has made mistakes.
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