Whether I Like it or Not

Soapbox LogoWith a flick of the wrist, a twist or a pull we have introduced into our nation the most openly corrupt, venal and hostile administration we have ever been witness too. On 9 November 2016 many woke thinking their worst nightmare had been realized, never thinking they hadn’t seen anything yet. It was only just beginning.

Some thought, I will just wait and see.

Some thought, hurray my side won now it is my turn.

Some thought, this is the end and all I have and all I am will be lost.

Me? I am in the middle of one and three. I am a pragmatic Progressive Independent who believes in America, Americans and the US Constitution. I long for this nation to be the best it can be and recognize there is a very long way to go. I also realize many of us, most of us will disagree as to what ‘best’ looks like and therein lies one of our most fundamental problems.

What is the best we can be? As that icon of Conservatives Ronald Reagan said in his farewell address;

 ‘I’ve spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of rreaganfreeall kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.’

What few mention, these words are lifted from John Winthrop, the first Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony and despiser of all things Democratic or even having a whiff of religious tolerance. Yes, when our presidents and president’ wannabe from both sides reference that shining city, they show their ignorance of history, this is who they are quoting:

  • Massachusetts Body of Liberty, 1641, this is a special document and I urge you to pay special attention to Women’s and Children’s Liberties and Capital Laws. Scroll through all of them though since our friend Winthrop had a special love for torturing accused witches.
  • Governor John Winthrop, I urge you to read other letters and links. He was at best a piece of work.

I use this historical reference only to define a back-to-the-future moment. Our current President used the slogan “Make America Great Again” to stir a base that felt left behind. Donald J. Trump stepped into and took advantage of the maelstrom, he reaped what the DNC and the GOP had sown, and he did it gleefully. We shook our head and said, “He can’t win”, meanwhile he sucked up airtime and all the oxygen in the room, surrounding himself with sycophants and psychopaths willing to do his bidding.

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

Strip Civil Rights from those who don’t look like me, worship like me, love like me. Which includes anyone who doesn’t fall into all of the following:

guy-with-moneyCaucasian, Male, College Educated, Christian (at least in name), Heterosexual (at least publically), net worth at least +$500,000 (yes this is real, though you will be forgiven this one if you are working toward it and someone vouches for you)

Everyone else? Your value is limited too:

Labor, photo op, votes (while you still have voting rights)

President Donald J. Trump and his co-President Stephen K. Bannon are everything we should fear. Each in his own way are the antithesis of who we say we are as a nation and a people. They are the very worst of us, bundled together and running our nation by edict from the Oval Office. Surrounding them are those willing to turn a blind eye on their worst actions and blatant lies by calling it something else, Alternative Facts or someone else’s error.

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

By whose standard? Based on what criteria? When America is great again, where will you be in the pecking order?

Today, those of us on the Left are protesting everything and demanding of our representatives in Washington they should block everything. This demand is tantamount to shutting down how government functions. Do we really want to take a page from the GOP playbook? Are we really going to be guilty of the same bad behavior as our ideological opponents? What others see, ‘disrupters’, ‘anarchists’, ‘rioters’ and worse hypocrites. What they hear? “Do as I say, not as I do”. We are protesting Donald J. Trump instead of his policies, instead of his actions, instead of his corruption, instead of the specific issues though we react to the immediacy of the issue at hand we are not, in fact, doing anything more than reacting to Donald Trump. We have frankly, not moved off our disappointment at losing the election and continue to beat that drum; STOP IT!

political-spectrum

 

Am I suggesting we should not protest? Not at all. I am suggesting we should not protest every single thing, every single nominee, and every single uttered word. I am suggesting we should pick wisely our battles. I am suggesting we should stop blocking roads, blocking access to hearing out the other side, I am suggesting we should be speaking up when college students prevent free speech on campus. I am suggesting we come together, stop bitching about our majority win and use that to our advantage to win back state houses, governor mansions and Congress in the next two years. I suggest we start playing Checkers, the long game, the next census is in 2020, if we don’t have critical governor mansions in our hands by that time, we will never regain Congress, state legislatures or the Supreme Court before 2030.

The America of the future will be isolated, will be great no more, and will be dull and frightening. Stop playing Tit-for-Tat, this is not the way we win! Stop focusing on short gains and start looking toward the future we all want for our nation and the world. Sure this President is not who I would have picked, nevertheless, he won by our laws so he is who we have either for the next four years or until he does something so egregious even his own party can no longer turn a blind eye. I just remind you who is standing in the wings waiting to take the oath of office, be careful what you wish for.

inthewings

Make America Great Again? Start with our own behavior lead by example, stop following the example of the opposition.

Just for a quick giggle: By State Most Questions Asked Since Election

How Now

Soapbox LogoI am the enemy. Yes, I said it. I am the enemy. I don’t live my life with this intention. I don’t wake in the morning thinking, “what can I do today that will harm another person, create chaos or stranger danger”. Nevertheless, I am the enemy.

Why do I say I am the enemy? I will answer you in as succinct a way possible. I am the enemy because many have identified me as such. Not because I have done or said anything specifically, not because of my beliefs or my political ideology, which have not changed in 40 years. I am the enemy because of my demographics.

Appearance/Race: White

Gender: Female

Age: 59.5

Orientation: Straight

Economic Status: Middle Class (not really)

Ignorant? Yes. Foolish? Yes. Nonetheless, since waking up on 9-November-2016 many of my friends, some of my neighbors and many strangers have identified me as ENEMY.

The 2015-2016 election cycle has been harsh and ugly. It has brought out the worst in the American people. It has unleashed every single thing that is ugly in our psyche and without a backwards glance said, ‘there you go, have at it’.

In 1956 W.E.B. Dubois condemned both parties and made an argument for why he would not vote in the upcoming election between incumbent Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. This eloquent and damning indictment of American politics is as relevant today as it was then, it was published in The Nation, October 1956, read it here.

For me, the most significant statement of the entire essay is this;

I believe that democracy has so far disappeared in the United States that no “two evils” exist. There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or web-duboissay.

We have drawn a line in the sand and erected walls to our absolutes. The very things we condemn in others we adopt for ourselves and call good. We do not see our own hypocrisy, we do not acknowledge our own terrible for what it is, both Terrible and Tragic.

The problem in how we are reacting to the election of Donald J. Trump? We are looking for excuses, seeking to lay blame anywhere we can, enemy and ally alike. In doing this we looked first to the easiest target, anyone ‘not exactly like us’ which included allies and with broad brush strokes, we named Enemies. We have refused to look in the mirror, at our candidates and the past eight years and accept we have significant work to do at the grassroots; if we ever wish to regain moral authority, political power or the ability to move this nation towards better days for all citizens, we must begin inside the party of supposed progressive thought and make real change.

Having the Presidency simply isn’t enough. The past eight years should have proven this, clearly though we didn’t learn a damn thing. We lost State House after State House, we lost Governorship after Governorship, we lost the House and the Senate and we lost our standing on the World Stage. We paralyzed a Democratic President through our failure to pay attention, through our focus on the specialty and special needs rather than looking at the overall needs of the nation, listening to the voice of the nation cry out. We failed the nation and the world, not just the few but the many. Donald J. Trump may be the culmination of years of GOP talking points, fear mongering and baiting of all kinds; but, we own him as much as the GOP owns him, we own him through our inattention to the bigger picture.

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There are several examples of our inattention, or better our attention to the specialty while ignoring the larger or overarching issues. We failed to look at what is critical:

  • The real economy
  • Real American jobs
  • Fear in Middle America

We failed to pay attention to word on the street about

  • Immigration, both legal and illegal and the cost of American jobs
  • Crime and Justice in America, the real cost to America
  • Rising cost of Healthcare

We failed to address the issues that mattered to Americans, such as:

  • Growing poverty across the American landscape
  • Ongoing War and our returning veterans
  • Our International reputation

We did not listen and speak to the heart of America, we did not address their fears of a failing American Dream.

When the only answer to a question that disagrees with your point of view is the following, “You are (Pick One and Insert: White, Heterosexual, Above the Poverty Line) you are not allowed an opinion regarding this subject”, you are over the line and you have turned an ally into at best a disinterested third party. At worst, you have turned an ally into the opposition. When the only answer to dissent or disagreement is name calling or labeling, you have turned a potential ally into an enemy.

When the voice of the minority becomes larger, louder and more important than the whole we lose. This is a simple fact proven with the election of Donald J. Trump.

When we demand strict adherence to ideology without question or dissent we lose, proven by the election of Donald J. Trump.

When we name enemy those who question or speak out, where they see potential danger or unrighteousness we lose; proven by the election of Donald J. Trump.

When we veer so far off course, forgetting all but those representing the special interests and demanding adherence to their interests alone we scare the rest of the nation. When we name any and all who question or disagree, “Bigots, Racists, Homophobes, Xenophobes, Sexists, Misogynists….”, we lose, proven by the election of Donald J. Trump.

So now we are two (2) days away from the inauguration of Donald J. Trump. Not my choice for President of the United States of America. I am greatly afraid for this nation. I pray we will find a way to manage this man who will be POTUS, who does not seem to understand the gravity of the office he will hold. Who has nominated to his Cabinet men and women who adhere to positions that are destructive and against every tenet this imperfect nation is built upon.

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If we are to answer this Presidency with real solutions and ensure the least harm we must begin to heal ourselves, we must see beyond the ‘not like me’ to the common ground. If we are to find solutions, we must start with the open hand rather than the closed fist. It must start with the reminder, we are Americans first, we have common goals and all the other labels do nothing but set us back, play into someone else’s desired outcome to keep us separated and screaming rather together and talking.

I am not the enemy, though some have labeled me as such even those who once proclaimed to love me.

What the Hell America

0-9jzicdodmhkgda85I have written this, rewritten this and then written it again. My words have stopped one hundred times. My ability to place into words, written or otherwise my thoughts on the tragedy that is our current national mood, I am at a loss.

We are three weeks from the election of Donald J. Trump and his God Awful running mate Michael R. Pence. I watched, numb and mostly in stunned silence as this travesty took place. Actually, I watched for months as Trump stomped, whined, insulted, bullied and assaulted our senses without a single person truly taking him on, not the media, or the opposition, not the majority of his own party and not the public.

I watched as we all shook our heads, thought never would the GOP allow this buffoon and life-long Democrat to represent them, to take over their party or be elected POTUS. We ignored what was before us every step of the way.  We whined when he insulted entire groups, when he bullied, when he assaulted, when he got into twitter wars, when he suggested his opponent be murdered, when he suggested a foreign nation hack our systems and interfere with our election. But we didn’t demand he be taken down by the systems we have in place such as the Justice Department or the FBI.

No, we did nothing at all, we piled onto our own nominee instead…Benghazi and Email all the way.trump-pence-03

Like so many I watched as the perfect Manchurian Candidate plowed through practiced professionals, chewed up the press and sucked in the disenfranchised, left-out, angry and ignorant with the aplomb of the reality star he had been for decades. We shook our heads as he selected as his running mate the most far right homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic, hate and fear mongering insider there was out there and we said not one damned word.

The DNC offered up Hillary Rodham Clinton as the anointed candidate for our acceptance. With little in the way of opposition and despite her many flaws the Left was told it was her turn now. It seemed we were to be led by dynastic houses rather than the democratic process.

We laughed and shook our heads, we polished our wit as we watched Martin O’Malley be skewered and drop out. Bernie Sanders snuck up from the true progressive left claiming ideals and ideas at odds with Mrs. Clinton and the DNC and forcing at least a conversation, carrying a true populace standard. What did we do? We impaled our own candidates, at least those with the nerve to challenge the anointed. We disregarded the corruption of the super delegate system, we disregarded the voice of challenge. We disregarded the message. We laughed as we ushered Hillary onto the stage as the pre-determined and anointed candidate of choice.

la-ed-hillary-clinton-speech-20160728-snap

One thing on Hillary, one thing only. I have never been a fan of Mrs. Clinton, however, I also believe at least 70% of what is said about her is flat out smear tactics that have stuck because it has been said often enough over the past thirty years. She is not the devil most believe her to be, in fact, she is an accomplished, knowledgeable, well-educated public servant. Is she perfect? No, but then who is. Has she made mistakes? She absolutely has, so have we all. My problem? If even 10% of what is said is true then she is corrupt, who the hell wants to elect a person to the presidency knowing they are corrupt. I know I don’t.

But it seems this nation did not care if the President Elect is corrupt, so long as they got to choose the corruption.

This nation has elected a president who wants nothing more than to enrich himself and his family. Yes, that’s right that is his primary goal. Make no mistake, this is not a man who looks at the Presidency and says to himself, “How am I going to do right by the 325 million people in the United States over the next four years.

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He isn’t concerned, he doesn’t give a shit about the lives of those people, not the ones who voted for him and certainly not the ones who didn’t vote for him. If this isn’t obvious yet, it will be.

What can we say? What can we do? I have watched as some have taken to the streets. I have listened as some of those on the streets have espoused their anger at election results in one breath while in the next admitting they did not vote. What? I have watched as one with the least to lose has challenged results in multiple states, raising money to do so, okay this is good right? Yet, where does the excess go? Who will benefit in the end?

I have watched old friends vent their fury at the outcome, draw the lines that are at once ugly and specific.

If I am White I am to blame. No matter how I voted.

If I am a White Woman, I am to blame. No matter how I voted.

If I am Heterosexual, I am to blame. No matter how I voted.

If I am White and Heterosexual, I am to blame. No matter how I voted.

If I am any or all of the above, I am to blame and I have no right to any opinion. No matter how I voted.

If I am any or all of the above, I am to blame, I have no right to any opinion, no matter how I have voted this year or in the past and no matter what I have done throughout my life to open doors or make positive change. The lines have now been drawn. Friendships are now set aside. Civil Discourse is no longer possible.

I have watched this play out time and again. I am saddened by it. I am silenced by it. I weep for friendships lost. I weep for our nation, for the fear engendered by this election, for the hate boiling over in all corners, for the normalization of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny. I weep for where we are going. I fear for all of us, mostly I fear for those who will be most harmed by what is to come.

I wonder, how do we begin to attack the hate and bigotry being normalized and enabled by this election, by this President Elect and the cabinet he is nominating? Where do we start if we are unable to even remember our own friendships and alliances? How do we even begin to undo what is done if we are only willing to fight within our house. We came out. We voted. Did alliances hold? Not always, but we have to look beyond and we have to talk rather than point our fingers. We have to reach out rather than beat down. We have to work together rather than lay blame within. We cannot afford more loss, more giving ground.

2016-election-results-1

 

 

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).  

Civil Free Fall, Platforms 2012

We come to what was intended to be the last of the 2012 Platform comparisons, Social Reformation or do what I say whether it is in your best interest or not. Both parties have a great deal to say about Society and social direction, both have their own ideas about the course our nation should be traveling and what is wrong with us. Obviously, the Candidates at every level have been speaking their minds for many months on many of the issues so we might think we know what is in store for us if one party or the other win the day in November, but do we really understand the platforms.

I am to the best of my ability going to try to keep this to the issues within the platforms and keep my opinions out of the way. I saved the social issues to the last knowing this would be the most difficult.

Let’s get to it shall we?

DNC GOP

Civil Rights

We believe in an America where everybody gets a fair shot and everybody plays by the same set of rules. At the core of the Democratic Party is the principle that no one should face discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability status. Democrats support our civil rights statutes and we have stepped up enforcement of laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace and other settings. We are committed to protecting all communities from violence. We are committed to ending racial, ethnic, and religious profiling and requiring federal, state, and local enforcement agencies to take steps to eliminate the practice, and we continue to support enforcement of Title VI. Nothing

Women’s Rights

We will urge ratification of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Nothing
We will continue to promote the full engagement of women in the political and economic spheres. We will work to address underlying socio-economic problems, including women’s access to health, education, and food security. And we will ensure that women are equal participants in reconciliation and development in areas affected by conflict. Under our Constitution, treaties become the law of the land. So it is all the more important that the Congress—the Senate through its ratifying power and the House through its appropriating power—shall reject agreements whose long-range impact on the American family is ominous or unclear. These include the U.N. Convention on Women’s Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the U.N.
President Obama overturned the “global gag rule,” a ban on federal funds to foreign family planning organizations that provided information about, counseling on, or offered abortions. And that is why the administration has supported lifesaving family planning health information and services. The United Nations Population Fund has a shameful record of collaboration with China’s program of compulsory abortion. We affirm the Republican Party’s long-held position known as the Mexico City Policy, first announced by President Reagan in 1984, which prohibits the granting of federal monies to non-governmental organization that provide or promote abortion.
The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way. We also recognize that health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. We strongly and unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child by providing affordable health care and ensuring the availability of and access to programs that help women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including caring adoption programs. Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the Sanctity of innocent human life.
We are committed to ending violence against women, why Vice President Joe Biden originally wrote and championed the Violence Against Women Act during his time in the Senate and why we support reauthorizing and strengthening it now. Nothing
The President and the Democratic Party believe that women have a right to control their reproductive choices. Democrats support access to affordable family planning services, and President Obama and Democrats will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers. The Affordable Care Act ensures that women have access to contraception in their health insurance plans, and the President has respected the principle of religious liberty. Democrats support evidence-based and age-appropriate sex education. Nothing

 

See my notes below

My Notes: I urge you to read in its entirety the GOP statement on women’s health services beginning on page 13, I have not posted it here. I also recommend reading those UN White Papers, Conventions and Reports the GOP takes issue with. The links are below. The GOP has stated their intention to overturn the Affordable Healthcare Act. Within this context they have also stated their firm intention to limit access women’s health services including abortion, birth control and other services where these collide with ‘moral’ convictions of the insurance provider, employer or medical services provider. This information is provided in detail on pages 32 – 34 of the GOP Platform.

Same Sex Marriage & DOMA

We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. A serious threat to our country’s constitutional order, perhaps even more dangerous than presidential malfeasance, is an activist judiciary, in which some judges usurp the powers reserved to other branches of government. A blatant example has been the court-ordered redefinition of marriage in several States. This is more than a matter of warring legal concepts and ideals. It is an assault on the foundations of our society, challenging the institution which, for thousands of years in virtually every civilization, has been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values. My Note: I left out several paragraphs of fluff, read on page 10

We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the majority of States which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns underway in several other States to do so.

I could simply do what others do; I could simply rail at the sound bites of the day. Rail at the stupidity of the news coverage from those who should be informing us but are not, more shame them. I could simply stop where I am, this is hard and not terribly popular this road of compare and contrast. I feel I am losing audience each time I post. Honestly, I thought I would be able to end the Platform 2012 review today, I thought this would be the end. I suppose it could be, but with less than 40 days to Election Day and would that make sense? Should I simply stop where I am? Perhaps.

Civil Rights, not privilege granted because someone granted a favor but RIGHTS. The GOP spends a great deal of time in their Platform 2012 criticizing Liberal Activist Judiciary. The GOP doesn’t seem to mind Judicial Activism though when it is their own, in fact they frequently praise judges, legislators and Governors for their activism, for their creative stripping of citizens’ rights. Yes, the GOP truly doesn’t seem to have a real problem when it is Activism that strips citizens of Rights guaranteed within the Constitution, Rights enumerated by the Bill of Rights or defined by our Declaration of Independence as inalienable so long as those citizens affected aren’t models of Right Christian Propriety.

Well, despite my intent to end it here it seems we have one more to go, maybe even two.

Education

Poverty and Programs

Voter Suppression or better said maybe the Right to Vote

Republican Party Platform: http://whitehouse12.com/republican-party-platform/

Democratic National Platform: http://www.democrats.org/democratic-national-platform#moving-america

United Nations Human Rights: http://www.un.org/en/rights/

Convention on Women: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/

United Nations Women: http://www.unwomen.org/

Convention of the Rights of the Child: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm

Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml

2012 Platforms, Foreign Policy Knot

I needed to take a short break from the Platforms of 2012; the slog through ideology and rhetoric was depressing me. I felt as if the words of both parties were meaningless, stones rolled down from mountaintops gathering in the valleys below piled high enough none of us could pass through to the other side.

Honestly, I continue to try my damnedest to be even-handed as I look at the two Platforms. I am trying to find the good, the bad and the downright ugly in each; offering the words straight from the Platforms themselves and minimal commentary from yours truly. Admittedly, I take only a small cut from each, but I try to take what is relevant and can offer a true comparison, I provide the links to both of the platforms so you can read for yourselves the entire product of the unthinking minds of our political leaders.

I simply could not do the normal alignment with foreign policy. I was unable to place them side-by-side and contrast, there simply is not enough common ground on this issue. I recommend for those of you interested in looking at where the two parties stand, read for yourselves.

I have to tell ya’ll, this past week of idiocy, well it has just scraped my brain raw. I have felt as if I was standing in a room of evil imps and they were running their sharp nails down blackboards while playing Cat Scratch Fever on out of tune guitars.

DNC – The World

GOP – The World

Diplomacy and Foreign Relations  – Divine Providence & American Exceptionalism –
The Obama administration has moved away from Cold War thinking by reducing the prominence of nuclear weapons in America’s national security strategy, and it has urged others to do the same. As long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure, and effective arsenal to deter any adversary and guarantee the defense of our allies. A strong and effective strategic arsenal is still necessary as a deterrent against competitors like Russia or China. But the danger in this age of asymmetric or non-traditional warfare comes from other quarters as well. With unstable regimes in Iran and North Korea determined to develop nuclear-tippedmissiles capable of reaching the United States, with the possibility that a terrorist group could gain control of a nuclear weapon, it is folly to abandon a missile shield for the country.
The President and the Democratic Party understand that we have a special obligation to every soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, and Coast Guardsman who puts their life on the line for our nation. We must send them into harm’s way only when it’s absolutely necessary. When we do, we must ensure they have the equipment and the support that they need to get the job done. And we have to take care of our troops, their families, and our veterans when they come home.Eleven years of continuous military operations and repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched our forces and strained their families. Going forward, our troops will face fewer deployments, allowing them more time to train and ensuring that they are ready for the full range of missions they may have to face. We reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation and will not accept attempts to undermine military priorities and mission readiness.We support military women’s exemption from direct ground combat units and infantry battalions.We affirm the cultural values that encourage selfless service and superiority in battle, and we oppose anything which might divide or weaken team cohesion, including intra-military special interest demonstrations. We will support an objective and open-minded review of the current Administration’s management of military personnel policies and will correct problems with appropriate administrative, legal, or legislative action.

The spiritual welfare of our troops and retired service members should be a priority of our national leadership. With military suicides running at the rate of one a day, with post-service medical conditions, including addiction and mental illness, and with the financial stress and homelessness that is often related to these factors, there is an urgent need for the kind of counseling that faith-based institutions can best provide.We support rights of conscience and religious freedom for military chaplains and people of faith. A Republican Commander in Chief will protect religious independence of military chaplains and will not tolerate attempts to ban Bibles or religious symbols from military facilities. We will enforce and defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the Armed Forces as well as in the civilian world.

Frankly, the GOP has taken the opportunity to disparage the current administration and declare war on the world, any Platform statement that begins with American Exceptionalism and within the first paragraph continues with the following statement:

“While the twentieth century was undeniably an American century—with strong leadership, adherence to the principles of freedom and democracy our Founders’ enshrined in our nation’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and a continued reliance on Divine Providence—the twenty-first century will be one of American greatness as well.”

Their diatribe begins on page 39 of their Platform. Nowhere within the Platform of the GOP is ending wars we have fought for a decade on the radar. The idea that our nation should impose a set of ‘values’ on the world, should continue a policy of Manifest Destiny in the Twenty-First century, has me shaking in my boots.

On the flip side of the Divine Providence – Chickenhawk strategy of the GOP, the DNC continues the Iron Fist inside the Velvet Glove, a policy that while imperfect has restored our reputation worldwide. The DNC Platform has specifics in most cases and strong words for those nations on the path of developing nuclear and biological weapons and nations that continue to harbor terrorists. Key though is the following statement;

America’s leadership extends beyond our economic prosperity and military might – it is also rooted in our enduring commitment to advancing a core set of universal values. These include an individual’s freedom to speak their mind, assemble without fear, have access to information, worship as they please, and choose their own leaders. They also include dignity, tolerance, and equality among all people, and the fair and equitable administration of justice. The United States was founded upon a belief in these values, and people of every race, region, and religion around the globe have claimed these principles as their own.”

The DNC Foreign Policy statement begins on page 21, there is a significant amount of information including specifics on our relationships with Iran, Russia, North Korea and China. The significant difference between the two platforms is the absolute lack of specifics by the GOP, other than the demand that all sovereign nations apply the same ‘moral’ rules and religious ‘freedoms’ of America (e.g. no abortion, limit marriage, freedom of Christianity). This is consistently found in the stated intent to withdraw support from NATO and the United Nations unless both reform to suitable standards consistent with the Republican moral platform, calling both corrupt (page 45).

This is important, I am going to keep repeating it…..the Platforms were voted on by those who were elected to attend the conventions, the delegates. These Platforms are what the national conventions agreed represent the principles of the party, all the candidates running under the party letter whether a big “R” or a big “D” and receiving money from that party agree to adhere to those principles.

I don’t buy everything on the DNC platform, never have. But this year, yeah this year I am voting a straight Democratic ticket for the first time in my adult life. I am voting for every single Democrat I can find, locally, at a state level and at a national level and yes for the President.

Be none of you Outrageous

Why? Because the GOP scares the Hell out of me.

Next? Taxes and last but not least, the social issues. Then back to the history of the platforms through the last 100 years.

How did we get here? How did it get this bad?

http://whitehouse12.com/republican-party-platform/

http://www.democrats.org/democratic-national-platform#moving-america

What a Tangled Web, 2012 Part II

I was accused by one of my siblings on the other side of the political aisle of offering a biased review in Part I of the 2012 Platform. I am trying hard to not be too biased, but admit freely and without shame to being on the side of the Democrats more often than not this year. This hasn’t always been true, not every year since my turning 18 and voting for the first time in 1976 for Jimmy Carter. While I did not regret my vote for the man I still consider the most honest politician elected as President in my lifetime, my next vote went to Ronald Reagan, a vote I continue to regret to this day. Oddly, I liked the first George Bush despite his association with Ronald Reagan and though I voted against him when he ran the first time, I voted for him for a second term. That second term was the last time I voted for a Republican for the Presidency, it was also the last time the GOP put a reasonably sane and moderate person before the general public to vote for.

I like a government that works. I believe in Democracy and Transparency, two things I think we are seeing less of these days, especially at the federal level. It is my belief the only way a government works well is when there are tensions over policy and position that can be debated towards a compromise that is best for the American people as a whole. We, that is this nation and our politics have been dominated by a two-party system that has

All American Rocky and All Russian Drago duke it out

polarized us, put us into corners rung the bell and sent us to the center of the ring like prizefighters. We are bloody. We are brutal in our attacks, at every level. We are willing to beat each other down, willing to beat strangers, friends and even family members with platforms and ideology until one of us cry uncle simply to make it stop.

Today I want to pull apart the economic platforms of our two parties, for what they are worth. Neither party is terribly forthcoming in their plans.

DNC – Jobs

GOP – Jobs

Open Markets – yes Open Markets – yes
Small Business – President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to continue cutting red tape for small businesses, helping them sell their goods around the world and access the capital they need to grow. This includes tax cuts for small businesses that make new investments, hire more workers, or increase wages. Small Business – We will reform the tax code to allow businesses to generate enough capital to grow and create jobs for our families, friends and neighbors all across America. We will encourage investments in small businesses. We will create an environment where adequate financing and credit are available to spur manufacturing and expansion. We will serve as aggressive advocates for small businesses.
Since 2008, there have been 18 small-business tax cuts, altogether, the President’s Small Business Jobs Act accelerated $55 billion in tax relief through 2011.
Infrastructure – We support long-term investments in our infrastructure. Roads, bridges, rail and public transit systems, airports, ports, and sewers are all critical to economic growth, as they enable businesses to grow. That’s why President Obama and Democrats in Congress have enacted infrastructure investments that will sustain our Highway Trust Fund and provide states, U.S. territories, and communities with two years of funding to build needed infrastructure. These investments are critical for putting Americans back to work and strengthening America’s transportation system to grow our economy. The President has proposed to go substantially further, including a significant up-front investment in our infrastructure followed by sustained increases in investment paid for with part of the savings from winding down our overseas wars, together with reforms that will better leverage government dollars and target significant projects. We will continue to partner with local communities to support their sustainable development.  Infrastructure – We oppose any funding mechanism that would involve governmental monitoring of every car and truck in the nation. Amtrak continues to be, for the taxpayers, an extremely expensive railroad. The public has to subsidize every ticket nearly $50. It is long past time for the federal government to get out of way and allow private ventures to provide passenger service to the northeast corridor. The same holds true with regard to high-speed and intercity rail across the country.
The DNC has big dreams, it is true we have a crumbling infrastructure and need to address it. It is also true there are billions being spent on wars and Nation building at home should be a high priority, but we first need to deal with balancing a budget and getting our nation out of hock. Though the DNC platform address our debt and deficit; maybe it is me but I think there needs to be a balance between the privatization strategy of the GOP and big dreams of the DNC.
Insourcing– The Democratic Party believes in insourcing so that America can out-build the rest of the world again. We want to cut tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and for special interests, and instead offer tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in the United States of America, betting on American workers who are making American products we sell to the world that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.

We Democrats also recognize the economic opportunities created by our nation’s community colleges.That is why the President has invested in community colleges and called for additional partnerships between businesses and community colleges to train two million workers with the skills they need for good jobs waiting to be filled, and to support business-labor apprenticeship programs that provide skills and opportunity to thousands of Americans. The President also proposed to double key investments in science to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers, encourage private sector innovation, and prepare at least 100,000 math and science teachers over the next decade.

And to make this country a destination for global talent and ingenuity, we won’t deport deserving young people who are Americans in every way but on paper, and we will work to make it possible for foreign students earning advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to stay and help create jobs here at home.

Outsourcing – That will be critically important if States establish Personal Reemployment Accounts, letting trainees direct resources in ways that will steer them toward long-term employment, especially through on-the-job training with participating employers.

We can accelerate the process of restoring our domestic economy-and reclaiming this country’s traditional position of dominance in international trade-by a policy of strategic immigration, granting more work visas to holders of advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math from other nations. Highly educated immigrants can assist in creating new services and products.

In the same way, foreign students who graduate from an American university with an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering or math should be encouraged to remain here and contribute to economic prosperity and job creation. Highly skilled, English-speaking, and integrated into their communities, they are too valuable a resource to lose. As in past generations, we should encourage the world’s innovators and inventors to create our common future and their permanent homes here in the United States.

It is an important note on the GOP Platform there is continued support to broaden the H1B and L1 Visa availability during a national unemployment crisis. This means while Americans are without work the GOP proposes to continue to bring in White Collar workers in high paying positions, willing to work on contract thus leaving Americans without access to full time positions. This has been an on-going position of the GOP since 1999, millions have lost their jobs and remain outside of the workforce.
Labor Unions – Support Labor Unions – Oppose and will actively work to bust.

I do not believe America is exceptional, we once were but we have sold our future out and stand in the quicksand of past glory. Could we regain our place on the world stage, rekindle our greatness? Perhaps we can, but not with the philosophy of Manifest Destiny as our standard, not with the drums of war as our song.

Next up? Taxes I think.

http://whitehouse12.com/republican-party-platform/

http://www.democrats.org/democratic-national-platform#moving-america

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