Thursday, January 26, 2006

Two, two, two topics in one post

About the Palestinian election and Hamas. Seems good to me, though relatively little do I know about Palestine and Israel. Yes, Hamas are the bad guys, the terrorists. But isn't it better to deal with them in the building than out on the streets? If the US is so all fired up about bringing Sunnis and Shiites to the same table in Iraq, isn't this the result we want in Palestine if we believe representative government is a positive step forward? Shouldn't the actual residents of the Middle East get a true voice in their relationship (or not) with Israel?

Besides, I'm always open to having an opposing party in office, flexing their muscle at dealing with the difficult problems of the day. You think you're so smart? Then fix Palestine and be quick about it.

There was an interesting commentary in the Guardian today, rejecting comparisons between the inclusion of the IRA into Irish government and the inclusion of Hamas into Palestinian government. The author claimed that Hamas and the IRA are not comparable because Hamas' ideology is not a flexible one, demonstrated by the fact that their respective tactics were different and, in the case of Hamas, unyieldingly unchangeable.

I don't buy it. While Hamas may seem immovable, the very fact of its participation in this election demonstrates that it may be more flexible than it seems. And tactics, however explanatory of a group's ideology, are not necessarily defining. I'd like to hold out hope that participating in a representative process could lead to change and growth and even possibly compromise, as it did with the IRA. Could it hurt to try?

About car companies. I was born and raised in Michigan. Grew up in a small town next to a GM Proving Grounds, where many of my friends' parents were employed. My brother is a CAD designer, and has worked (and not, as in the life of auto workers) in the auto industry for years. These items establish my credentials as a auto industry commentator. Or not.

Look. Here's the deal, folks. You start making good cars that consistently outperform my Honda Accord and Element, I'll start buying it. Cars that are reliable and long-lasting. Cars that need only routine maintenance for the first five years, then need only routine maintenance (replacing parts that really need replacing) for the next fives years. And the next five after that. Start putting all those Ford and Chrysler and GM cars on Consumer Reports used car reliability charts, and I'm totally with you.

But until you do, I'm not buying. And neither are most of my neighbors. And the ones who do end up taking their car to the shop a lot more, spending more money in the long run than I do. So don't bitch and moan to me about how I'm hurting America's economy. Cheap, poorly designed and crafted cars are hurting America's economy. Greed corporate outsourcing (to non-union states and beyond our borders) are hurting America's economy. And greedy executives who make literally millions more than the average worker, even now after those bloody employee cuts into both GM and Ford are hurting America's economy.

Car workers, if you want to save your jobs, clean up your union. Then, make it work for you. Demand that your executives feel your pain a little bit. Demand to make a better, more reliable product. And for God's sake, vote Democrat each and every time, so that our country is run by folks who actually FAVOR working class stiffs, even if they've never been one, over rich executives whose money does NOT trickle down to anyone but the pool boy.

Until tomorrow,


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2:01 AM  

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