Everything is not You

The Wild Child returns or was it truly the Prodigal Daughter

My annoyance is at a high point, really, I don’t tell others what to do with their lives I would prefer if others would show me the same courtesy. I am going to rant this morning; I might even descend into raging. This may indeed be one of my off the grid, not so politically polite vents. If I offend you, well not going to apologize for it.

Let me say up front, I am a smoker. I have been a smoker for 45 of my 56 years on earth. Yes, you read that right I started smoking when I was eleven (11) years old. I quit one time in all those 45 years, it was the most miserable two months I spent. Smoking is part of who I am. I enjoy the taste of my cigarettes. I enjoy cigars too. Hell, I was shot because I stopped for cigarettes. After I was shot, I had to give up drinking for the most part, the one vice I kept? Smoking!

I am not stupid. I fully understand the risks and I accept them for myself. I also happen to know, I do not have a genetic predisposition for any of the normal outcomes of smoking including cancer.

Don’t smoke? Good for you, if you never smoked even better for you really. If you are an ex-smoker, you did a great thing for yourself, you quit when you were ready. There you see I can be polite. Now, please keep your non-smoking / ex-smoking opinions and self-righteousness out of my face and air space.

It is already true I cannot go out for a meal and enjoy coffee and a cigarette afterwards. The non-smoker brigade has stripped me of that pleasure. It wasn’t enough for restaurants to provide a segregated smokers section, no indeed you wanted more dammit you wanted it all. Then you went after bars and billiard rooms, now I can’t go play pool and fire up a cigar while I rack’em up and play. Another tick mark on your side, never mind smoky pool halls were once de rigueur or that they are privately owned not public places and you could choose to not patronize those that allowed smoking.

I just spent a week looking for a hotel in Duluth, MN for a two (2) day stay, I looked at my normal chains, nothing. I looked at some others, nothing. I looked at three stars, then two stars, then even one star nothing. I thought maybe it was Duluth.

After my search yielded terrible results, I called Intercontinental, owners of Holiday Inns and other properties. I am an Ambassador member of this chain, supposed to yield me privileges, not so much. I asked if their holidayinnproperties were now smoke free and was told yes, they were moving that direction, while some of the older properties still allowed smoking all new properties would be smoke free. New properties included properties that had undergone renovation.

I will be cancelling my membership with Intercontinental and moving all my points to my airline miles, currently I have over 100,000.

Marriott_NoI wasn’t really shocked when the Marriott chain went entirely smoke free. This was years ago and after all it is owned by Mormons, why wouldn’t they take the first opportunity to jump on the Smoke Free bandwagon. It should be noted, their Asian and European properties are not smoke free, only the North American.

When they went smoke free I moved all my points to airline miles, at the time I had over 800,000.

On average, I stay in hotels 170 days per year. Yet the on-going campaigns of vacationers have driven many hotel chains to become “Smoke Free”. This creates unsafe environments for women who smoke, forcing us out of our rooms at night onto city streets or unguarded front entrances for a cigarette. There we are, huddled on a bench 50’ or more from front entrances out of the light and unseen by the front desk  the perfect target for perverts, rapists or other unsavory characters because you want to make certain entire hotels are smoke free and could care less if we are safe. Your drive for smoke free hotels for your 5-day vacation has created an extremely high-risk situation 170 nights per year for me.

I smoke. It is my choice to do so. I don’t smoke in your house nor would I ever think to do so. I don’t throw my butts on the ground; I have an ashtray in my car. When I smoke outside I make certain I am not near a crowd, I stand downwind whenever possible and throw my butts in the nearest bin.

You don’t own the public parks though you want too, I know. When you stop driving your cars and polluting the air, I will consider not sitting on a public park bench and smoking. My taxes, by the way pay for that bench. My taxes from cigarettes, my hotel taxes in your cities as well contribute to your parks, roads and other comforts.

I don’t complain when your children rampage up and down hallways when I am trying to work or sleep. You are on vacation, your 5-day holiday and I understand you might not be up to controlling your monsters. I don’t complain when you’re next door having that party you always wanted, I get it really I do. It is the first time you have been away from the family and the conference is great, free alcohol and that girl you met at the bar looked great after your seventh martini.

What the hell though, why is it you insist on smoke free hotels? Is it really too much to ask that I am allowed a room somewhere in the hotel with an ashtray? Up to now most hotels put their smoking rooms at the end of a hall on a single floor usually in a place well away from other rooms. Why can’t you be satisfied with that? Why do you need the entire f’ing hotel?Kickm

In fact why do you need everything?

#smokefree #smoking

Peeking Out of My Cave, PII

soapboxpileThe world spins in the same direction and at the same speed, every day of the year. Don’t you just wish it would speed up and fling a few of the Neanderthals out into orbit, I know I do and these days that wish seems to be the one most often at the forefront of my mind. I seem to be keeping a roll of pennies in my purse for fountains and wishing wells, just so I can make that wish as often as possible. Do you think I need to up the ante, change my roll to nickels, dimes maybe even quarters?

I only know one thing for certain, the Neanderthals are exponentially increasing in number and space has not seen any of them, not a one in independent orbit. Clearly, my wishes with pennies are not doing the trick.

So let’s talk about Washington’s, hang your heads in shame day, perhaps this should be a national holiday or a new game. The day those who have sold their votes and their shriveled souls voted against 83% the people of this nation, yeah that day. Most of us were focusing on, just give us one thing we have been so beaten down we all focused on one small thing. We would have danced naked in the rain if these Azzhats had voted YEA on Expanded Background Checks (715) in the Senate. We would have celebrated in the streets knowing the long fight ahead, if those prickless wonders would have just grabbed their shriveled balls and stood up to the great and powerful NRA and their money. But no, they couldn’t even give us that one small thing, not even that one small harmless thing. These ideological Stand Your Ground Azzhats said no, we aren’t going to do a damn thing, not one thing to keep you or your children safer on the streets or in their schools. With the parents of Sandy Hook watching from the Gallery they said Nay, to Amendment 715 and a host of other Amendments. We didn’t even know about most of them, we hadn’t even heard about most of them, they had so little chance of getting past the Senate no one was talking about them.

I say, why the hell not?

Well that being said, let us examine all the other Amendments to Senate Bill 649 Safe Communities and Safe Schools, these soulless bastards (and this is an insult to bastards everywhere of which I am one) spent their time debating and voting on. Ready for a ride? Hang on, get your hanky and be ready to gnash your teeth.

Amendment Description

Yea

Nay

Status

711 To regulate assault weapons, to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited, and for other purposes 38-D, 1-R, 1-I 15-D, 44-R, 1-I Rejected
713 To increase public safety by punishing and deterring firearms trafficking. 53-D, 2-R, 2-I 0-D, 42-R,0-I Rejected
714 To regulate large capacity ammunition feeding devices. 43-D, 1-R, 2-I 10-D, 44-R, 0-I Rejected
715 To protect Second Amendment rights, ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and provide a responsible and consistent background check process. 48-D, 4-R, 2-I 5-D, 41-R,  0-I Rejected
717 To withhold 5 percent of Community Oriented Policing Services program Federal funding from States and local governments that release sensitive and confidential information on law-abiding gun owners and victims of domestic violence. 22-D,   45-R, 0-I,   3-D NV 28-D, 0-R,  2-I Accepted
719 Ensuring those who have a conceal carry from one state can carry in other states without having to re-apply or confirm eligibility. 13-D,44-R, 0-I 40-D, 1-R,  2-I Rejected
720 Extending mental incompetency to specific persons, not defined in amendment. 9-D,45-R, 2-I 44-D,0-R, 0-I Rejected
725 To address gun violence, improve the availability of records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, address mental illness in the criminal justice system, and end straw purchases and trafficking of illegal firearms, and for other purposes. 9-D, 43-R, 0-I 44-D, 2-R,2-I Rejected
730 To reauthorize and improve programs related to mental health and substance use disorders. 50-D,43-R, 2-I,   2-D NV 2-R Accepted

Yes, that is correct, you read it right two Amendments’ passed this week, but we didn’t hear much about them did we? The first passed will protect ‘law-abiding’ gun owners by withholding funds from states that release information, please note they also don’t want information released on domestic violence victims. Why is that? Could it be because it is likely this might tell someone who his or her abuser is? This might tell someone, who that likely ‘law-abiding’ gun owner is who is likely to kill them.

proverbs216

By the end of the week, the Senate had ensured the gun nuts ‘law-abiding’ gun owners would continue to buy and sell guns without restrictions. No restrictions on how guns are sold, no restrictions on what kind of guns are sold, no restrictions on to whom guns are sold, no restrictions on ammunition or clip capacity. By the end of the week the Senate, despite every single legitimate poll in the nation saying the American people wanted change, supported Expanded Background Checks, supported restrictions; this Senate pissed on America, pissed on the parents of Sandy Hook, pissed on every victim of gun violence.

Since Newtown and as of April 19, there have been 3,531 deaths by gun in America. Of these fifty-seven (57) have been children under twelve years of age. It is hard to get these numbers; Slate compiles them as no agency has them.

This week just proves we, the people have no voice. Again I weep for us, I weep for each death, each family who buried a loved one, each child who will not achieve their potential.

What now? Where do we go from here? My fury at the tone deaf Senators is boundless, what about you?

Read the debates here:

Debates, April 15 part 1, Debates, April 15 part 2, Debates, April 15 part 3 .Debates, April 15 part 4

Debates, April 17, this one is worth a read, Debates, April 17 the amendment debates

Debates, April 18 Debates, April 18 and let me say I despise this coward Senator John Cornyn, Texas

Peeking Out of My Cave, P1

soapboxpileThis has been a bad week for humanity; let’s face it this has been a bad week no matter where on the political spectrum we fall. For some of us, for those of us who were hoping to see sanity in Washington it has been worse even than we expected. I will admit it, I have had a difficult time taking this week in, not just the national scene but some of the local sheer ugliness has caused me to rock back on my heels and question, what the hell really just what in the hell.

I spent part of the later of the week on Facebook, this time though I didn’t spend it doing one of my past favorite things; arguing with Azzhats. No this week I spent it simply deleting them, unless they were family members. I find I no longer have the energy or inclination to try to pull the curtain back on ignorance with pithy comments to Right Wing Meme’s on Guns, Immigration, Abortion or any combination of same, nope this week fly across my line of sight with some ignorant lack of compassion and I simply deleted you forever, bye-bye .

For the most part though, I have stayed silent allowing the horror of the week to sink in, allowing my heart and my mind to wrap itself around all of it and absorb it. So often we react, lash out in anger and pain, we fail to consider the consequences, on friends or ourselves. So, I sat and listened to others including the idiots in the media, everyone seemed to have an opinion or a source, most of them were bad or ugly or both. I did a great deal of reading, my apologies if I didn’t get to you this week, my energy seemed to be flagging, between all the horror in the broader world and what I simply couldn’t avoid closer to home, I thought it would be better for me and maybe for you if I just crawled into my cave with the lights out.

There are times when the world crashes in on us and it is impossible to escape, impossible not to react without fury, heartbreak, or both. This week the horror stories crashed like waves pounding a beach, one after another without it seemed a break. For every wave that crashed it seemed there was some pundit or politician with something to say, rarely anything positive, uplifting or in many cases true mind you just something to say. If it wasn’t the politicians capitalizing on tragedy or the media bloviating continuously and without purpose, it was the ignoramus Azzhats from both sides of the spectrum making pointless accusations, blowing up already terrible tragedies, pointing fingers or celebrating insanity.

I peeked out of my cave, I gnashed my teeth and frankly, I wept for us all before pulling my head back in and turning the lights off.

The week started for me watching the Dallas Police chase a murderous fool with a gun. Through city streets, he drove his car leading a chase, occasionally shooting at police. Why was this so interesting? This worthless piece of humanity had just shot his soon to give birth girlfriend, the result of his action – he was captured after crashing his car and running into an abandoned house. Unfortunately, both his girlfriend and her unborn child lost their lives, her because of the gunshot and the baby due to oxygen starvation before the doctors could intervene. I met a friend of this young woman’s the following day at a Starbucks I stop at coffee for each day, I listened to the horror of that day for her and the family who had waited at the hospital. The horror as they prayed for a different outcome. All I could do, as I cried with her is hand her my card, offer comfort and silently damn a nation that will not do more to protect us.

justice

Their story was overshadowed by the Boston Marathon, the lost lives, the horror of the runners who lost limbs. The fear and terror of random violence in what should have been a moment of great triumph for so many. I watched with great pride in my fellow men and women as they ran toward the terror to help others, there are still heroes in this world. I watched Boston respond I was lifted up.

Then came the shit storm, from all sides then came the speculation and the jumping to conclusions and stirring the pot to get a rise out of already highly charged emotions. Maybe I am just overly sensitive, maybe I have a high Bullshit meter, but really why do politicians, pundits and talking heads have to flap their lips when they truly have no information other than their own fears, prejudice and ignorance to guide them, I only want to know. Why is the best we can hope for from our fellow human beings is picture after picture of another human beings terrible injuries, horrific suffering? Why is this the first thing, sometimes the only thing shown along with the accusations of the perpetrators being “Dark Skinned Males“, long before anything was known.

Terrorist Attack – yes, because it created terror in the population

Is anyone aware of who else committed Terrorist Attacks on US Soil?

Timothy McVeigh – Oklahoma City Bomber, 168 people dead, 800 injured. Race: White, Religion: Roman Catholic

Terry Nicols –Oklahoma City Bomber, 168 people dead, 800 injured. Race: White, Religion: Christian

Ted Kaczynski – Unabomber, 3 dead, 11 injured in multiple attacks. Race: White, Religion: Agnostic

Want to know what all of the above have in common, other than being murderers on the Terrorist side of the house, Enemies of the State and if you believe in Hell either already there (Timothy McVeigh) or on their way. Well, let me tell you they were all Mirandized at their arrest, they were all given due process of the law based on our Constitution, they were all presumed “Innocent Until Proven Guilty”.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – Boston Marathon Bomber Suspect, 4 dead (includes officer at MIT), 140+ injured. Race: White, Religion: Islam, Citizenship: USA

What is the difference? Oh, yeah there it is, he is not a Christian! Certainly, his crime isn’t up there with Terrorist Duo Timothy and Terry. Do not misunderstand me, what Dzhokhar and his brother are suspected of is terrible, what they are accused of perpetuating against innocent people is an act of terror. I do not excuse this, not by any means. Nevertheless, since when do we suspend our Constitution, our fundamental rights simply as a convenience? Again and in stronger language, WTF! He is a nineteen-year-old kid, we don’t need to suspend his rights he is alone in the world, injured and scared. No matter the crime, no matter the heinous act this is still last, I checked the United States of America and we still are a nation of Laws, we are still all afforded the “innocent until proven guilty” rule, aren’t we?

I weep for all of us. I weep for our disintegration. I weep for our willingness to turn our backs when the suspect is not like us. I weep that we are willing to cheer this suspension of law.

I ask you all, what is next?Kickm

Stay tuned, I will take on the rest of the week in the news later.

DOMA Dammit

soapboxpileDOMA, The Defense of Marriage Act, signed by President William Jefferson Clinton on 21-September-1996 to protect ‘marriage’ and the government. No, Bill Clinton does not get a pass on this despite his current stand in support of Gay Marriage, despite his ‘Don’t do as I did, do as I say now.’ DOMA was then and is now an over-reach by the Federal Government based on Christian standards of marriage being between a one man and one woman, this despite there being nothing anywhere in the Bible to support this view, in fact if we want to be specific the Mormons had it right didn’t they? There are plenty of examples sprinkled throughout that tome our friends in Washington and all their little legislator whisperer’s like to point to when in doubt of marriage being between One Man and plenty of women.

Now that is today, in 2013 the social tide has shifted tremendously and the majority of the public isn’t so certain it is fair or even right to withhold Civil Rights from their fellow citizens simply because they are different. Different as in, they want to marry the same gender versus the opposite gender, nothing more or less that is really the only difference. They are now and always have been part of our society, they do now and always have paid taxes, fought in our wars, lived next door to us, had families, formed long-lasting and monogamous relationships. What they haven’t had, what we have prevented them from accessing is all the rights and privileges we take for granted, things like;

  • Rights of survivorship
  • Inheritance
  • Immigration
  • Next of kin, medical decision making and the right to visit a loved one in the hospital
  • Parenting children born in the relationship after the death of the natural parent
  • Tax benefits
  • Healthcare benefits
  • Social Security survivorship benefits
    • And a host of both private and public benefits marriage allows

All this because there are some people within our society, predominantly within the Christian

scene outside the Supreme Court day 1

scene outside the Supreme Court day 1

Evangelical Right who gained a heavy foothold in our government

and demanded their rights supersede the rights of others.  These

Christians demanded their religious standards and beliefs be written

into the law and be enforceable based on their interpretation of the

Bible. This despite the First Amendment of the Constitution, guaranteeing our individual right to be free to worship and free of a state sponsored religion.

Thus far, eight (8) Federal Courts have found section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional, this includes both the First and Second Courts of Appeals. Today was the second day of oral arguments before the Supreme Court in United States vs. Windsor. It is important to note, the Administration and the Justice Department refused to defend DOMA, John Boehner, Speaker of the House used House Rules to convene the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group and subsequently hire a private law firm to defend DOMA before SCOTUS. I suppose the GOP just can’t let go.

Nevertheless, on to my real issue, where do these idiots come from? What rocks do these azzhats crawl out from under? Really, this one is presumably educated, talented, knowledgeable and highly respected in his field. This narcissist gives me a true case of the red ass I must say. He became the darling of the right wing simply by showing he had no class, by taking the President to task in a public forum; big f’ng deal you are classless. But then, so are most of those you are attempting to emulate you fit right in.

Let me just ask how did you get through medical school and not ‘believe’ in evolution? How do you teach at Johns Hopkins and not know the most recent findings on homosexuality?

How can you a presumably educated and compassionate person say this (3:40 is relevant to this)

Never mind, I know. Because you are so steeped in your personal prejudice, your personal bias you fail to step out of your box. I do not give two plugged nickels how many surgeries you perform successfully every year. Personally? I wouldn’t allow you to attempt to put the head back on my Barbie doll.

I think SCOTUS is going to find in favor of Ms. Windsor, I think they will find section 3 unconstitutional and strike down DOMA. This will mean we still have a very long ways to go, each state will still be putting the rights of our fellow citizens to a vote but it is at least one step in the right direction.

DOMA and the government report Justice Kagan referred to in her questions yesterday: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-104hrpt664/pdf/CRPT-104hrpt664.pdf

Big Dreams Little Tent

soapboxpileThe indifference of the public is astounding. Don’t get me wrong, most are quick to jump on the bandwagon for their causes, wanton in offering up their opinions, fast to draw down with their observations. In fact, I have 3,400+ Facebook ‘Friends’ many of whom frequently interact with me when I offer the opportunity to discuss current events, especially politics that is unless I ask for their opinion with the following tag line:

 This is a Question not a debate, it is for something I am writing.  Many people most on the Right (Conservative) but some even on the Left (Liberal) have said they want smaller Government. What exactly does that mean? Don’t give long answers please, specifics what would you eliminate and why. If you want to pass this around to others that would be most appreciated. Again, no debate. If you see an answer you disagree with do not challenge it, it is irrelevant all I am looking for is what are people thinking. Your help is most appreciated.

Facebook_March2013

Perhaps I should have promoted this, even paid. Facebook isn’t what it once was, yet usually at least some of my family will jump in to tell me their ideas. I have family who have distinctly different views from my own; they are usually good for at least a response or two. So, besides learning Facebook isn’t what it once was, what did I learn?

  1. People don’t have ideas they can define easily.
  2. People just want to complain.

I don’t think I was necessarily surprised by this, I was however disappointed. Nearly two years ago I wrote on another site an ode to Progressive Political Thinking, or how I would fix what was broken. It isn’t that I believe my views are perfect or can fix everything, I simply think if we sit down together and talk through the issues we face as a nation we can correct our course. I don’t believe the majority of us are that far apart in our thinking, despite the labels we slap on our lapels or the signs we place in our lawns.

What is it most of us really want? I wonder now, how many of us can really say what it is they believe in without the use of “Buzz”. How many of us can answer simple questions?

  1. What does Smaller Government mean?
  2. What does overturning Roe-v-Wade mean?
  3. What does a Secular Government versus a Christian Nation mean?
  4. What does Debt versus Deficit mean and why are either or both bad?
  5. What are Austerity Measures in terms of the economy?
  6. What is the War on Drugs?
  7. What is the War on Women?
  8. What are Entitlements?
  9. What is Supply Side Economics?
  10. What is Demand Side Economics?
  11. What is the Trickle Down Theory of Economics? Has it worked?
  12. What is the environment and how do we influence it?

I wonder how many in this nation truly understand these questions and their own answers to them. I have many other questions, these are good ones though as these get asked and debated frequently in many of the forums I frequent. The interesting thing is, no matter what side of the political spectrum you might be on most of us start at the same place, with the same desires and same wants.

  1. Freedom and independence.
  2. Leave my children (future generations) with a better world.
  3. More money in my pocket.
  4. Greater opportunity.
  5. Safety of person.

I truly believe if normal everyday people sat down at the table, despite our differences we could sort out the issues and find common ground. I don’t believe most of us are that far apart, sure we might have issues we care deeply about on a personal level, things we feel passionate about; but ask yourself, are those things truly what you and I should be willing to bring the nation to its knees over? I wonder, have we allowed ourselves to be distracted by what isn’t of vital importance to the success of a nation. Have we bet the future of our children on the petty snark rather than demanding the big promises we are capable of and once achieved.

How sad.Kickm

I weep for America

soapboxpileOnce again, the United States falls short of their previous greatness. Once again, we have successfully shown the world what we have become. What is that you ask, well you should.

  • Narrow minded
  • Bigoted
  • Fearful
  • Small

As I watched the vote yesterday the vote on the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, I wanted to weep. Well, let me be clear I wanted to weep only after I wanted to stomp into and through the halls of the Senate and shake those 38 Senators who voted ‘Nay’, when given the opportunity to ratify the Convention (Treaty) of Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

I watched as Senator Elizabeth Dole wheeled her husband, the elder statesman Bob Dole onto the floor of the senate. He supported the ratification of this Treaty, he had only been released from Walter Reed 5 days earlier but thought it important to come that day to show his support. It wasn’t enough.

Senate Floor, December 4, 2012

Senate Floor, December 4, 2012

I watched as two normally pugnacious foes stood up for the same thing, to ratify this Treaty. John Kerry and John McCain both spoke from the floor of the senate yesterday on the same side of the fight. Both Senators spoke from their experience as wounded war veterans; both spoke from their hearts and were compelling.

I watched as the vote called, I was dismayed after that I was furious. If you don’t know the history of the UN Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, here it is in brief.

  • Adoption by General Assembly, December 2006 (modeled after the 1990 US Americans with Disabilities Act signed by President George H.W. Bush)
  • Opened for Signature, March 2007
  • First Session of Committee, February 2008
  • Entry into Force, May 2008
  • First Conference, October – November 2008
  • Signed by President Barack Obama, July 2009
  • Second Conference, September 2009

The Senate had the opportunity to ratify a Treaty that required nothing of us as a nation, no changes to our laws no changes to our systems. The Senate had a chance to show the world we are not the narrow minded, fearful conspiracy nuts we appear to be, no thanks to Rick Santorum and the rest of the Tea Party nutcases, they failed.

Let’s talk about Rick Santorum, who is now a featured columnist for World News Daily, home of some of the best conspiracy theories, the most egregious of the Birther theories, the ongoing climate denial and my favorite the ongoing fear mongering of Islam and Socialism combination. Yes, Rick fits right in with these lunatics. The thirty-eight idiots in the Senate who voted ‘Nay’ adopted his UN Black Helicopter conspiracy about this particular Treaty, his leap of giant faith that somehow ratifying this treaty would usurp parental authority.

So, here we are once again proving to the world we are nation in decline. We are a nation without a moral compass, one that no longer values even our own accomplishments in leading the world. The Tea Party wins, even those Senators who in the past have voted their conscious have been beaten into submission, fearful of losing their place at the table.

America I weep for you, I weep for all of us.my.opera

Link to the Treaty: http://treaties.un.org/doc/source/RecentTexts/IV_15_english.pdf

Who has signed, ratified: http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/maps/enablemap.jpg

Notions, Odds and Ends

soapboxpileIt has been a long slog through the muck. There were things left undone as my attention was diverted by both Campaign 2012 and blogging for Race 2012. I admit it, I love politics it is both an intellectual distraction and a philosophical passion, sometimes futile I admit but this time, I think we all learned a few things. Does the end of the campaign and the re-election of POTUS 44 mean I will stop bombarding you with politics?

Well no, probably not but what it does mean is I will stop blitzing you quite so much. My earlier intent to look at and compare the platforms of the two parties moving forward from 1900 to today hasn’t changed, I think this is remains an interesting subject. What about you?

The world we live in remains disrupted by stand your ground ideology on both sides of the aisle. For those of us who voted for the winning side, we can celebrate today but the heavy lifting is only just beginning. For those who voted for the opposition, I am sorry your team lost. I know you are feeling despondent even today the loss is still sinking in. The problem is we are all Americans; we have to find common ground and move our nation forward. We cannot afford to allow those we sent to Washington to set the agenda against our collective best interest.

We are not:

  • African (Black) Americans
  • Hispanic (Brown) Americans
  • Native Americans
  • Asian Americans
  • White Americans
  • Gay Americans
  • Young Americans
  • Older Americans
  • Female Americans
  • Male Americans
  • Christian Americans
  • Muslim Americans
  • Buddhist Americans
  • Mormon Americans
  • Atheist Americans
  • Deist Americans

Nor are we any other flavor of American the pollsters or for that matter, the Census Bureau can think of. We truly need to begin to think of ourselves not as special interests groups, rather simply as Americans, citizens of this nation. Do not mistake me, I fully agree we have not achieved equality and Civil Rights across the board remain elusive for many of our citizens. Some continue to believe Civil Rights should be a ballot measure, granted only if your neighbor pulls the lever and agrees you as a citizen should have the same rights they have.

This past few years has been ugly. We have seen billions of dollars poured into campaigns, dollars that could have been better spent to feed and educate children, create jobs, research new technologies or study new cures. Instead, these dollars were spent to divide the nation, spread fear and lies, clog our airways with party ideology that did nothing to move us forward, nothing to solve our nation’s very real problems. I along with others, watched in outrage and horror as SCOTUS passed Citizen United and the Super Pacs came onto the political field. My repulsion grew exponentially as gerrymandering became de rigueur and new voter laws begin to pop-up with regularity where there was no reasonable cause.

Worse still, we missed it we missed the most important SCOTUS decision possibly of the century in 2000, in Bush v. Gore while we rung our hands and whined the election had been stolen we failed to see the writing on the wall, the future of our great nation hanging in the balance with these simple words:

 “the individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote.”

The state has preeminent rights, greater than individual citizens and greater than the federal government to direct voting. We, the people (remember us) do not have an affirmative right to vote in federal elections! Yes, you read that correctly. There are Constitutional Amendments, namely the 15th, 19th and 26th that prevent discrimination on the basis of Race, Gender and Age. These wonderful Amendments nevertheless do not provide an affirmative right to vote as an American Citizen, they only prevent discrimination where the State allows voting to occur.

What does this mean? Well, think of it this way, as a citizen you have the following:

  • A positive Right to own a Gun
  • A positive Right to Free Speech
  • A positive Right to Assembly and Protest
  • A positive Right to practice your Religion
  • A positive Right to Free Enterprise

You do not have the RIGHT TO VOTE. The right to vote, who will vote or how the electors to the Electoral College for your state will vote is in truth in the hands of your Governor and your Secretary of State. How do you like them apples? Everything the states did leading up to the Presidential Election of 2012, was legal. We might not have liked it. We might have recognized it for what it was and found it repugnant, but it was within the law.

What do we do now? SCOTUS said November 9th, they will hear a case on whether Congress exceeded its authority when they reauthorized the 1964 Voters Rights Act, specifically Section 5. This section requires States with a history of discrimination, gerrymandering and disenfranchising voters to submit changes to their voter laws to the Federal Government before they are enacted. Is there a correlation between the Courts decision to take this case up and the reelection of POTUS 44? The possibility certainly exists and we the people of this nation need to be watching this case along with others they have agreed to hear that quite possibly will change the will of the people as they legislate from the bench what is not the will of the people.

We have allowed this, in some cases encouraged this scourge on our national dialogue. We the people failed to see through bile being spread before us as Truth and the American Way instead we repeated it. We were sucked in. We engaged our friends and family members as if they were foes on the battlefield, all too often forgetting to dull the edge of our sharp tongues, forgetting sometimes we catch more fly’s with honey.  I am as guilty of this as many others, having had to fall on my sword more often than I can count. Having had to apologize to many I love for my acerbity.

We are a nation still divided. I am saddened by this great divide within our country. Separated not because we are really so different but rather because we have allowed those who do not have our best interest at heart to convince us we should be enemies. We have drawn lines in the sand and called them race, religion, gender, sexual orientation; what they really are the boxes others have placed for us to crawl into preventing us from getting to know our neighbors, preventing us from learning we might be friends. We have aligned behind ideologies, believing the talking points without digging down and asking questions and thus defending the indefensible. We have in fact allowed our great nation to be hijacked by two Parties the DNC and the GOP, two sides of a coin Heads I win Tails I lose, nothing in between no diplomacy, compassion or negotiation. Two sides embittered and embattled wanting nothing but power for powers sake, never mind the bodies left on the field in their wake.

Truly, is the middle so hard to find? I wonder, I do. So will I continue to write about politics, I will because I can’t help myself, it is my passion this nation of ours. It won’t be my only subject though, there are other things I think about, other passions I have.

So, for those I insulted with my acidic and barbed tongue, I hope you will forgive me. Believe me as often as I snap (I do I know despite my attempts to do otherwise) will be just that often that I will fall upon my sword and grovel for you forgiveness. My comments are never personal (well mostly never personal) and are never meant to attack anyone personally (mostly not).  

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