Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the month “July, 2011”

The New American Slave (Roger Ingalls)

Remember that game teachers played to help develop our logic and reasoning skills? They would hold up a picture and ask, “what’s wrong with this picture” and we would have to figure it out.

Well, my fellow Americans, what’s wrong with this picture?

Based on the incarceration numbers shown in this chart, it appears that many Americans suddenly became criminals during the Nixon administration and turned more evil during the Reagan administration.

Now, I ask you, does this really make sense? Did the citizens of the United States exponentially turn to the dark side during the 70s and 80s? Your gut is probably saying no, people don’t change that drastically. Your intuition is correct, the people didn’t change but the laws did.

Virtually overnight, human behavior was criminalized by Nixon’s War On Drugs legislation. This was conservative backlash for the 1960’s Enlightened Movements. Ten years later, the Reagans stepped into the Whitehouse. While the country was in a recession, Nancy spent a few hundred thousand dollars on new dinnerware and this didn’t go over well with the public. The spin doctors came to her rescue and she became the Just Say No First Lady. The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 came into existence along with harsh penalties for drug related crimes.

Nixon’s prohibition of recreational drugs and the subsequent draconian penalties are responsible for the exponential growth of the prison and jail populations. To make matter worse, incarceration is becoming more privatized and the bigger prison companies are publicly traded. Wall Street expects these for profit companies to grow annually at a rate that is faster than the real crime rate. Do we see a problem here? The prison industry, their lobbyists and law enforcement need more criminalization of human behavior and harsher penalties to maintain jobs and profits.

Throughout history man has used mind altering substances, it’s our nature. It is estimated that 30% of those incarcerated have committed non-violent drug related crimes.

Taxpayers can no longer afford an annual $70 billion bill for the War On Drugs.

We need to do away with the prohibition of recreational drugs and regulate them similar to tobacco and alcohol. We also need to do away with for profit incarceration that creates incentives for enslavement.

The 40 year experiment of criminalizing human behavior has failed.

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Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

Clark Howard Leads The Charge

Clark Howard is the consumer advocate who took on Bank of America when they refused to help a man who incurred legal charges as a result of B of A calling in the police. They suspected the man was in the middle of a criminal act when he was innocently brought a fraudulent check. For more, see here and the post from yesterday.

Clark Howard

Howard is a nationally syndicated consumer advocate who “advises consumers how to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off.” He hosts a radio show that is broadcast every day on more than 200 radio stations throughout North America. After a career swinging between jobs in both the public and private sectors, he set up a travel agency business in 1981. Six years later, he retired at the age of 31, having sold what he had developed into a chain that spread across metro Atlanta.

A spontaneous guest appearance on a travel show in Florida led to his own program, The Clark Howard Show, which was soon syndicated by Dial Global. In early 2009, The Clark Howard Show was expanded to HLN (formerly the Headline News channel). He is the author of eight books, some of which sat comfortably in the New York Times Bestseller list. While his books are all available through GetClarkSmart.com, Clark tells his listeners that they are cheaper used and can be had for free at the public library!

I think this tells you a lot about the man. I also want you to know that my books are available new and in e-book form on amazon.com, so it shows what kind of man I am.

Clark also invests in his native Atlanta community. He started several civic programs, including Atlanta Volunteer Action, Volunteer Action, Inc., The Big Buddy Program and Career Action. Together with listeners, he has helped Habitat for Humanity built 30 homes in and around metro Atlanta.

Habitat - a great place to volunteer

I think in today’s economic climate, it is hard to act, hard not to just shut down and weather the storm. If you can do that and live with the clock that’s ticking for you, all power to you. For the rest of us, we could do worse than finding a teacher, someone we trust and can follow. This person shouldn’t make money out of your actions. Pay him/her for their time, books etc., but not the products or services that they advise you to buy.

When learning Tai Chi, I met a man who spent considerable money and time, going to every workshop and studying every form of Tai Chi  with every teacher he could find. When we practiced together, his technique was bad. I wondered how someone who learned from so many of the biggest names had failed to grasp the rudiments of the martial art. The answer comes in depth and not breadth.

Do Little, Achieve Much

Jewish proverbs teach us to find a teacher and learn everything we can from them. Only when we have mastered all they have to teach us, should we move on to another teacher. The trick, of course, is finding the right teacher and recognizing that they bring experience and knowledge, but not the gift of foresight. The best thing we can do for ourselves right now is to find the best financial teacher for each of us and then to listen.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

The Triumph of Fake Feminism

I’m gonna make some enemies with this one, but this has to be said.

Feminism…

has failed.

At least modern feminism has failed. It has been co-opted, diverted, lured and seduced by false goals – the goals that are deemed acceptable by our society… a society historically constrained by testosterone. It has been subverted by a race that essentially threw away the advances in thought brought to us over 2,000 years ago by the likes of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle in favor of that most masculine form of expression, war. A few early victories, such as gaining the right to vote, still stand as the only significant accomplishments for feminism as a movement.

There are many examples of women who have achieved success and status in America. But, in my opinion, most (no, not all) of these successful women have sold out. I say this because it seems that, to climb the corporate or the political ladder, what’s required of a woman is that she abandon the very qualities that makes hers the finer (again, in my opinion) gender.

The feminine qualities of nurturing, caring, empathy, the ability to not only see the other person’s point of view but to FEEL their feelings even if just for a second, the emotional intelligence, the talent for real, two-way communication, and the tendency to prefer cooperation over conflict seem all too often to be abandoned in the quest for status. Either that, or it’s just the women who least exhibit these qualities in the first place that are able to advance in our society.

Before I get 10,000 pieces of hate mail, I’m well aware that a human being is very complex. Both men and women share qualities that, for the sake of discussion, have been labeled as the exclusive domain of one or the other. These qualities overlap to varying degrees and there is no linear spectrum.

However, our political and business landscapes are largely penis measuring contests. Who’s toughest on crime? I am! Who wants to spend even more on our military? I do! Who’s got the most Leave-it-to-Beaver-like family values? I have! Who wants our company to make the most money at any expense? I do! Who’s the most greedy? I am! Who will sell out every principle of civilized conduct in order to advance “our” interests? I will!

What we’ve (men) said is essentially that we’ll allow you, as a woman, to rise up, but only if you act like a man, embrace masculine behavior, and lead with masculine policies.

We have not seen the rise of femininity or feminine traits in our society. Instead women have gained the right to “succeed” – if and when they act like men. Women who espouse the greed-is-good “philosophy” are allowed to join the man-created rat race to run on the hamster-wheel of materialism, faster and faster, until they die.

Most of the women who have succeeded in our society have done so only by masculine definitions of success. The images of successful women with which we are bombarded on TV and in the movies are of ass-kicking, gun-toting, tough, and sometimes ruthless “winners.” They prioritize money and power and status and they get those things and they let no one stand in their way.

Thankfully, there are notable exceptions to the masculine imperative. Some women have shown true strength in either defining their own goals and their own criteria for success, or in gradually doing their part in turning science or academic thought in new directions. Oprah Winfrey is one example. Oprah is not merely an entertainer; she’s a social-engineer who works to advance the positives of both the feminine and the masculine. Others include many of the women scientists and activists, some of whom I have been lucky enough to know personally, and others whose works I have read.

Women like Elinor Ostrom, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Vandana Shiva, Sandra Postel and Malin Falkenmark are great examples. The word “hero” get’s tossed around way to much in our country, but these women really are heroes – not to feminism, not to women, but to humanity. They are working to make the world a better place for everyone – men, women, children, and in some cases, animals too.

I make my criticisms with a great deal of sadness. I’m tired, disgusted and damaged by what the men with the biggest penises have done to our world. Certain masculine qualities – logic, rationality, courage, decisiveness, the ability to calculate risk and choose a course of action accordingly – would blend so well with the best feminine qualities if we weren’t all enslaved by violence and misguided competition.

I pray that one day this world will graduate from junior-high and enter a new, more advanced mode. If we start listening to the feminine, it could happen.

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com

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Big Banks, Little People Pt. 2

Following on from Monday’s post (if you missed it click here) …

So what’s the problem? Police make mistakes, arrest the wrong person, even charges them. Justice will win out we are taught and Mr. Shinnick walked free … eventually. The problem is that the story wouldn’t have ended there. When most employers hire someone they check our records. Mr. Shinnick had to clear his name and $14,000 and the time he put into it, is an injustice in itself.

The Victim

“The court wants to protect people when reporting criminal activity,” said Paul Glusman, a Berkeley attorney who has written about the Hagberg case. “But this can be abused. At this point, there’s nothing that will protect ordinary citizens from a false police report.” (source)

Shinnick works as a salesman in a San Francisco clothing store. He understands the client:customer relationship and this served only to infuriate him all the more. He felt that Bank of American should not have called the police until they were sure that a crime was in fact happening and that the person in their store was the criminal and not another victim.

“I’ve been in retail for 18 years,” he said. “I know about customer service and dealing with fraud. The way to handle something like this is to take the person into a back room and work things out before you call the police.” (source)

Shinnick felt violated not only by his wrongful arrest, but the way that Bank of America treated him and their refusal to help with the costs he incurred.

Enter a Superhero: Clark Howard doesn’t walk around with a cape (actually he might for all I know), but he is as tenacious as any Batman or Wonder Woman. Clark Howard is a  Consumer Advocate. He has a syndicated radio and TV show and is known throughout the country. According to his website, Howard “advises consumers how to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off.”

Cleark Howard - The Hero

Howard took up Shinnick’s cause and highlighted it on his website. He spoke with bank officials, and actually offered to pay $7,000 of the fees if the bank would pay the other $7,000. They refused the offer.

Clark then requested that his listeners withdraw money from their accounts. Many indeed closed the accounts  which cost Bank of America between $20 million and $50 million (I have two separate sources) from their Bank of America accounts.

Bank of America had a change of heart.

The Villian?

I actually have a small amount of sympathy for B of A. They could easily have been the victims and need to work to crush fraud which eventually costs all of us – banks and customers. But could they not have found a way to help this victim?

What I really want to point out is how impressed I am with Clark Howard. Beyond anything, he proved that if people stand together over injustices, the little person can receive justice.

Thank you, Clark. You have taught us all a powerful lesson.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

Big Banks Little People Pt. 1

Following on from Roger Ingalls’ impressive story about a man who robbed a bank for $1 and went to jail to receive medical care, I want to share another baffling story of the desperate little man.

The real scene of the crime?

At the end of 2005, Matthew Shinnick sold two mountain bikes on Craigslist. He received a check and walked into deposit it at his local Bank of America. He walked out in handcuffs and spent twelve hours in jail. Ironically, Shinnick became suspicious because the buyer sent him a generous amount above the asking price to cover shipping and time spent sending the bikes off. So before cashing it, he told the teller and asked her to verify if there were enough funds to cover the check. He was told that there were and this was a business account.

A few minutes later, four of SFPD’s finest entered the bank and arrested him. The company had put this account on fraud alert. The policemen moved quickly to neutralize the suspect out of concern for the others in the bank. His legs were kicked apart, his hands cuffed and he was never read his rights. When he asked what was happening a policeman told him not to speak.

Shinnick was then held in the bank for 45 minutes while the policemen interviewed the staff in plain view of his neighbors. Five hours later he was photographed, strip searched, fingerprinted and dressed in an orange jumpsuit.

The Victim

 

 

“I was so humiliated, it was beyond belief,” he recalled. “It was an absolute, living nightmare. I felt like I was going to be one of those people who gets caught in the system and has no way of getting out.” (source)

He was then put in a small holding cell with drug dealers and users. There was one bed and one toilet. He stayed in here for several hours until his father came with $4,500 to bail him out.

Twenty-four hours later the district attorney’s office dropped the case, but it took Shinnick almost six months and $14,000 to receive a ruling by the SF Superior Court that he was innocent by “”findings of fact” — a verdict needed to erase all record of the case.

Customer service?

Shinnick asked Bank of America to help affray the legal costs and, while offering sympathy, they refused. The bank also warned that litigation would prove costly and ineffective. A recent Supreme Court decision (Hagberg vs. California Federal Bank, 2004) involved a woman who presented an unusually large check for deposit from her stockbroker. The rest, handcuffs included, is remarkably similar. The judge found for the bank. The only difference, in fact, was that this check was genuine!!!

Could it get any more bizarre. Find out tomorrow… (and if you can’t take the suspense the answer is YES!!!).

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

Fat liberation – by RhondaJo Boomington

Buddah Seems Happy - and Not Thin

I attended a Fat Liberation class on Monday night. I had never even heard of such of thing and had no idea what to expect.

Even more intriguing to me was the fact that it was held at East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland (EBMC).

EBMC opened it’s doors about five years ago – specifically to welcome those who are often not welcomed at many local Buddhist Centers – specifically people of color; LGBTQI folk (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex) and people whose disabilities make a traditional sit challenging. And, amazingly, all of their programming is offered on a donation basis – insuring that economic circumstances do not hinder anyone’s ability to participate.

What a model for the rest of the world!

So, off I went to Fat Liberation class. After all – in every Buddhist group of which I have been a part of (and that’s quite a number), the people (except for me)  were exclusively thin. Very thin.  I’ve always thought it rather humorous that all of these thin people quietly sit around breathing. And almost always there’s is a statue somewhere around of a Buddha with a fat belly. But in my experience, many of these Buddhists haven’t achieved a state of non-attachment when it comes to prejudices against those who are not thin (sounds like great material for a future comedy routine : )

So, on Monday night – for the first time in my life, I sat in a room of about 25 people. None of whom were thin. And all of whom were meditating together. No longer “the other.”

It was a very intriguing and healing experience.

I do realize that perhaps the majority of people reading this post are thin. I am writing this post because I believe that the most powerful part of my Fat Liberation evening many be beneficial to you. Yes you.

I challenge you to spend ten minutes of your time expanding your horizon.

Here’s the simple instructions. Find another person. Sit (or stand) facing each other. For five minutes, one person (person A) will ask a question. The other person (person B) will answer. Person A then says “thank you” (and absolutely nothing more). And Person A asks the question again. Person B answers. Person A says “thank you.” And asks the question again, etc. At the end of five minutes, the two switch roles.

Now – here’s the question. “What would it be like if you offered kindness to your body. Just as it is. In this moment?”

When the instructor explained this exercise, I’ll admit. I rolled my eyes. And thought that this was one of the dumbest things I had been asked to do in a long time. But I did it. And I’m so glad that I did. It was so illuminating. And,from the discussion afterward, it was for everyone in the room.

Go ahead. It’s just ten minutes. It may transform the relationship you have with your body.

Compassion for Everyone - Including Yourself

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RhondaJo Boomington is a Southern transplant from North Carolina. She landed in the haven of Berkeley six years ago and never plans to leave. Formerly a fundamentalist who voted for Jesse Helms many times, she now relishes her liberal lesbian life in the Bay Area and is frustrated that Obama is not liberal enough. She has earned a J.D. and an MDiv., and performs in the Bay Area as a stand up comedian and solo performance artist.

Sightseeing in San Francisco?

I have blogged in the past that I am partial to a good sax. The Bay Area can boast a number of great musicians such as Joshua Redman, but what can be better than strolling along the Embarcadero and just by Pier 39 you come across a street musician who can simply blow the spirit of San Francisco.

I often throw a dollar bill into their hat, but this is the first time that I impulsively bought one of his CD’s. I was not disappointed and now own a few. Stephen Dreyfuss is an icon on the SF scene.  I have mentioned his name to friends more cultured than I and they all nod with reverence.

Below are two videos. The first is his “official” video which slickly illustrates his various influences. But if you only have time for one, see the second, which is a bootleg of him playing at the Pier.

Better yet – go out and enjoy some clam and sourdough and see him live. There is something very vibrant, very raw, about seeing a really polished musician playing music on the streets.

And Stephen is just another gem that makes up our sparkling City by the Bay.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

American Revolution 2.0 – A Blood Bath (Roger Ingalls)

The following iconic phrases are no longer valid.

“…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”, Declaration of Independence.

“…government of the people, by the people, for the people…”, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

It is painfully clear to half the American population that we are now governed by corporations.

Yes, we can still vote but our political choice ultimately goes to the one who can buy the most media sound bites via funds received from corporations, political action committees, and the rich. When the chosen ascend to their thrones, the big funders get their rewards and we, the people, are forgotten.

The American Middle-Class is becoming a thing of the past. Men, women and children are suffering. With all the hurt and pain inflicted on Main Street by the irresponsible actions of Wall Street and the Big Banks, conservative politicians are still accelerating the transfer of our remaining wealth to the rich and big corporations by providing them with unprecedented lower tax rates and loop-holes.

Options to stop Middle-Class genocide are limited. The law no longer sides with real people due to recent decision by the conservative members of the Supreme Court. Artificial persons (corporations) have been granted the same rights as real people. These recent decisions have, essentially, created a super artificial person with constitutional rights, big influential corporate wealth and the players behind these corporations have the added bonus of being protected against legal action.

Out of options and desperate, Americans may be forced into a second revolution.

Listening to the political sound bites of the day, I wondered what an American Revolution 2.0 would be like. Then it hit me, this would be a very bloody affair. This would be American against American. Upon further thought, I realize a new revolution would be unlike the original war against the British and more like the French and Russian revolutions where the desperate targeted the wealthy ruling class.

I’m inclined to believe that a real and bloody revolution is unlikely but the escalating chatter on social media is worrisome.

Big time CEOs, Wall Street executives and their political cronies may want to think long and hard before driving the stake further into the heart of Main Street America.

Who would be first in line to face the guillotine?

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Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

Would You Pay To Meet An Author?

The average amount of books sold at a book signing is eight! When you take into account the luminaries such as Stephen King, John Grisham, J.K. Rowlings et al, then there are some very sad and frustrated bookstore staff and authors. When Christopher Moore launched his novel Fool in the heart of San Francisco, people lined up around the store and outside waiting for him to sign a copy of this or any other of his hilarious novels. There were a few hundred easily. It was a good night for Books Inc.

But many stores are getting tired of the publicity, room preparation, staff time etc. all for a handful of people. According to the New York Times, some independent bookstores have decided to charge admission (often a gift card that can be redeemed for the author’s or another book). Julie Bosman and Matt Richtel highlighted this in a recent article after the Boulder Book Store in Colorado announced in April that it planned to charge $5 a person to attend store events. In the same month, local Menlo Park bookstore, Kepler’s Books, began to charge a $10 gift card as admission for two people. if the customer bought the book at the store prior to entering the event, the fee was waived.

Alon Shalev speaking in a Barnes & Noble

One of the few advantages that the brick-and-mortar bookstores have over their online competitors is the ability to bring authors and readers face-to-face. 

Here are some reactions from the field (taken from the aforementioned NYT article):

“There’s no one right now who’s not considering it,” said Sarah McNally, the owner of McNally Jackson Books in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. “The entire independent bookstore model is based on selling books, but that model is changing because so many book sales are going online.”

Is there still magic in meeting an author?

“We don’t like to have events where people can’t come for free,” Anne Holman, the general manager of The King’s English Bookshop, an independent store in Salt Lake City, said. “But we also can’t host big free events that cost us a lot money and everyone is buying books everywhere else.”

Bookstore owners say they are doing so because too many people regularly come to events having already bought a book online or planning to do so later. Consumers now see the bookstore merely as another library — a place to browse, do informal research and pick up staff recommendations.

“They type titles into their iPhones and go home,” said Nancy Salmon, the floor manager at Kepler’s. “We know what they’re doing, and it has tested my patience.”

Heather Gain, the marketing manager of the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass., said “We’re a business. We’re not just an Amazon showroom.”

Ouch!

Ann Patchett was interviewed while on her three-week book tour for her new book, “State of Wonder.” She was appearing at  such an event at Kepler’s. She understood the bookstores’ problem, but worried that this wold exclude those who can’t pay for a hardcover book such as  students or the elderly. “I wouldn’t want the people who have no idea who I am and have nothing else to do on a Wednesday night shut out,” she said. “Those are your readers.”

Alon Shalev speaking in Oakland

Publishers aren’t happy either since they often pay for the author to travel to the bookstore. If the bookstore is charging entrance, shouldn’t it at that point pay the author or publisher for the appearance?

Customers seem willing to pay when they know the author (and are probably going to buy his/her book) and some are willing to pay to support the independent bookstores.

“You get a real sense of community …” one said. “You get an intellectual community that gathers around books, and that can only happen at a bookstore.”

Others however have questioned this: “Who would the money go to? Not to the author?” he asked. “That’s terrible.”

What do you think? Are the independent bookstores just cutting off one of the only advantages they hold over the online stores? But if most of us do move over to Ebooks, will that spell the end of our local independent bookstores? And then, what else are we missing out on?

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

Role-Model in Chief? -Tom Rossi

Former pro-basketball player Charles Barkley famously said (eventually in a commercial even) that he wasn’t a role model.

The same applies to a president. A president is not “role model in chief.” He’s not a father figure.

A president is basically a manager. We hire him (maybe her, one day), give him the keys to the store, and say, “You’re in charge for a while. Don’t screw it up.”

But the desire for the feeling of reassurance that you get from a father figure is quite seductive, and it can lead to some undesirable consequences. People tend not only to force this role on the president, but to make his potential for fulfilling father-figure fantasies the basis for giving their votes. I’ve written about “brand worship,” “coolness worship,” “celebrity worship,” and other religions in the United States, but this is another one: father-figure worship.

Let me be clear – there is absolutely nothing wrong with looking up to, respecting, and loving your actual father. What I’m talking about here is the transfer of those same sorts of feelings to what are often false idols.

Seeing the president as a father figure can lead voters to support a president even if the leads the country on a misguided misadventure. Conversely, the people that don’t accept a certain president as matching their imagined father-figure image will reject legitimate policies that the president tries to implement – even if the image-rejectors themselves would benefit from it.

The tendency to look at our presidents as father figures has led to the expectation that presidents will live up to the image. If a president doesn’t match someone’s pre-formed image of a father figure, the president will be unable to overcome this expectation, even if he’s really pretty good at his job.

Maybe we should have presidential candidates give speeches from behind screens so that they can’t be seen. It would be like auditioning on the TV show, “The Voice.” We would be forced to pay attention to policy ideas instead of facades.

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com

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