Upload & Sell: On
Tim Adams wrote:
I could not disagree more with Jim, but it's a free country, and this is not a political forum [...]
Nice look at Rare Bear, Tim. Really emphasizes how short the Bear's wings are; the prop diameter seems like it's half the wingspan.
I apologize in advance for leaving politics on the table, but there is another world view that deserves airing. My hope is that in giving voice to some heretofore silent members of this community (and I have no way of knowing how many there are) who feel differently from Jim and those who agree with his views, I make the point that while in any family there will inevitably be disagreements, it matters more that the members of that family respect each other and agree to disagree, when necessary.
Thus, while not in any way wishing to upset the ecology of this place, or to create a schism, I do feel a strong need to balance the scales a little. I don't expect to sway anyone into changing their long-held views, and I would emphasize that it makes little or no difference to how I feel about someone, personally, if they don't agree with my politics: I respect everyone's opinions, particularly if they are well thought out and held up to the light for re-examination, from time to time, by those who hold them.
By inclination and persuasion Iím a centrist who favors fiscal conservatism and social progressivism: these are sometimes conflicting values, as Iím sure many would point out. I come by the former quite honestly, as the child of parents who grew up during the Great Depression. The latter results from my conviction that a truly great society sinks or swims together and that some things cannot, and should not, be left to unfettered capitalism.
I am one who found the results of Tuesday's elections energizing rather than crazy-making. I say this at some personal risk, since I value Jim's friendship a great deal. I don't disagree with many of your points, Jim; in fact, we agree on a wide range of things that are important to both of us, and we will have to agree to disagree on some others. But stepping back for a minute, Republicans should take care not to grumble too much about being beaten by a superior Democratic get-out-the-vote-machine and advanced analytics (as I've heard said in public statements this past week), and instead look to their inability to put forth a viable candidate and propose a platform which appeals to the vast, centrist heart of the electorate. I believe Republicans will, sooner or later, have to face up to the fact that the U.S. of A. and its government is not and never will be again under the sole stewardship of Caucasian males of a certain socio-economic stratum. The demographics argue soundly against that view. Change is inevitable: you either learn to embrace it, or you risk marginalization.
Everyone citizen with a brain and a heart wants what's best for this great country, whether they vote Red or Blue. Elected public servants may disagree about just what that means, but we who elect them should still insist that they discuss the desired ends--and the means to achieve them--with open minds and hearts, with the goal of reaching solutions that don't leave most of the country pissed off and disengaged from the process. Unfortunately, that's not what the two-party system is built to accomplish. Rather, the system expends all its energy and great heaps of treasure to try and grab the reins of power for the benefit of a few, at the expense of the many. When out of power a party tries to discredit the ideas and thwart the aims of the opposition; whether these ideas and aims are good or bad matters not in the slightest, the battle is joined simply because they are Other. I hold both parties accountable for this sorry state of affairs.
In the end, I believe America last Tuesday voted for inclusiveness over exclusivity; for an economy that aims to provide the greatest good to the largest number of citizens; for universal healthcare as a public good; for a foreign policy long on pragmatism and short on demagoguery; and despite the economic hardships of the previous four years I believe that voters affirmed a sitting President who struggled against long odds, successfully for the most part, to keep the engine of the economy from grinding to a halt in the face of an inherited economic disaster. As a campaign message, "It could have been a lot worse" is a tough sell, but it also happens to be the truth; and a sufficient number of voters understood that message to give the current administration another four years to continue working on the issues facing the country.
For their part, as I see it, Republicans of all stripes now have an opportunity to re-tool their message to try and bring more people under the tent: more moderates, more women, more minorities, more first-generation citizens. I can think of no better way to do that than to step away from the farthest right fringes of the party, to take a couple of giant steps back toward the center, and to start _acting_ like the party of small government and individual freedom rather than the party of entrenched special interests and big money. If Republicans can do that, and stop being anti-science and anti-academia as well, I could even find myself under that tent someday.
This should be the end of political comment on this forum, as far as I'm concerned. I hope y'all won't see this as an invitation to open a public debate on the merits of either Jim's views or mine, or to add your voices to a roll call. And I certainly hope it doesn't open up a can of ugly-worms: I care about each and every person here, and MA2A is too important to me to let divisive issues like politics drive a stake through its heart, issues that have nothing to do with the reason this place exists. I'm happy to correspond, off-line, but I will not discuss politics in this forum again. I believe it's best if we limit our discussion to the non-controversial: the sharing of our best photographic efforts to capture the magic of flight. It's why Iím here and I hope you agree.