Murder, Mayhem and a Reckoning

Do you know how things change? When enough people say enough. When the pain is bad enough, all the small differences finally melt away, and people find common ground and say to each other, “this shall not pass.” Things change when good people no longer turn away.

That is how things change.

We are currently a nation ruled by a vocal, heretic minority. They are mean-spirited, illiberal, unprincipled, power-hungry, and terrified. They are also violent and growing more so by the day.

When we, the majority, stop being weak-willed and selfish, when we the majority, become the genuine ‘Big Tent’ rather than the fractious, tribal-focused standard-bearers of our own self-interests that we are today, things change. When the majority stop infighting, stop name-calling and demanding absolute adherence to bullshit standards, that is when things will finally begin to change.

We, the majority, are always screaming bloody murder about one thing or another, the problem is it is usually directed at our own rather than those who are against us. Still, we can’t even put together a ‘true’ timeline of the crucial milestones, and how to define our messages of hope and victories. Nope, we only care about history if it suits our own beleaguered agenda, and losses that prove our point. We would rather attack our own President and those on our side, just to make a point. We would rather stand with the enemy, or stay at home because we didn’t get all we wanted then whine when we lose it all. 

The messaging is winning the day because those in the middle, the majority, don’t know how to confront the stridency of the Right or the Left and we are weary of both. Just some of the foolish things I have been confronted with since Buffalo:

  • Mass Shootings are due to a mental health crisis in America.
    • Oh, okay then. We are the only country in the world with crazy folk. So the solution to this crisis for the G.O.P. is to strip funding from Mental Health and put guns in the hands of the Mentally Challenged. Well, you know, that makes perfect sense to little ole me.

      Morals in America?

  • Mass Shootings are because parents are too lenient, children aren’t disciplined at home, there is a moral crisis with prayer being denied in school, Christianity is under attack, and schools have a leftist agenda.
    • Ummm, oh, okay. That might explain that whole Baptist thing with the entire conference sweeping decades of sexual abuse under the carpet, right? Or maybe it is the decades of proof that whooping your child with a belt doesn’t really do any good; it only makes the child resent you and grow more aggressive? The whole prayer in school? Yeah, you can still pray till your knees turn into a bloody pulp; you simply cannot force others do so in compliance with your selected faith. Despite your instance otherwise, America was not designed or intended to be a theocracy; it is not a Christian Nation; rather, it is a Democratic Republic with a citizenry that is a majority Christian, though this is rapidly changing.
    • I had to take this one separately because the entire issue of public schools and public school teachers having a Leftist agenda is both ignorant and insulting. Teaching true history, real science, accurate sex education, real social studies, and real political science all at the right time during a young person’s maturation cycle is not Leftist; it is called EDUCATION and Preparation. This education is vital for young people; it prepares them for the world they are entering; they are entitled to it, and your fears and bullshit stand in their way of becoming fully empowered and enabled adults.
  • It is our Constitutional Right to own Guns; we are a free nation because of this Right.
    • I think this might be one of my favorites. This one is close to an all-time high in the ignorance category. I can only shake my head at how truly myopic this sounds; these folks should get out of their Faux Hole more often. There are fourteen (14) countries that rank higher than the United States of American on World Population Review, Freest Countries. Guns make us free? This is by far one of the most asinine things I have read. Guns do not make us free; they force us to live in fear, our streets run with blood, and our schools are places of terror rather than learning.

There were so many more that I would spend the next week documenting them all and likely not even scratch the surface. Everything from the trite comparison between guns and cars to the regular refrain of “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” There is always a piece of me that wants to slap the holy hell out of these fools with their talking points that seem to slip between their lips with such ease; they run from the truth, staring them in the face, dead people calling them from the grave demanding answers for their failures.

We, the majority, are the only ones who can give our dead the answers they deserve. We can do this thing that we have failed to do for so long. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his Congress did it in 1968 by passing and signing the Gun Control Act of 1968, driven primarily by the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The act prohibited mail-order sales of rifles and shotguns; it also banned most felons, known drug users and those found to be mentally incompetent from purchasing or owning guns.

“If guns are to be kept out of the hands of the criminal, out of the hands of the insane, and out of the hands of the irresponsible, then we just must have licensing. If the criminal with a gun is to be tracked down quickly, then we must have registration in this country. The voices that blocked these safeguards were not the voices of an aroused nation. They were the voices of a powerful lobby, a gun lobby, that has prevailed for the moment in an election year. But the key to effective crime control remains, in my judgment, effective gun control. And those of us who are really concerned about crime just must—somehow, someday—make our voices felt. We must continue to work for the day when Americans can get the full protection that every American citizen is entitled to and deserves-the kind of protection that most civilized nations have long ago adopted. We have been through a great deal of anguish these last few months and these last few years—too much anguish to forget so quickly.”

Lyndon B. Johnson, Oct 22, 1968 upon signing the Gun Control Act

In 1993, the Brady Handgun Violence and Prevention Act updated the Gun Control Act of 1968. This amendment was a direct result of the attempted assassination of then-President Ronald Reagan. The Brady Act added Background checks and created a list of prohibited individuals:

  1. is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  2. is a fugitive from justice;
  3. is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));
  4. has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;
  5. who, being an alien (a bunch of set-asides on this one I am not going to list);
  6. has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

What should we want? Where should we go from here? Honestly, we should stop with talking points to make all the crazy and fringe folks happy. We shouldn’t be taking all the noise into account; instead, we should be talking about reasonable solutions that make sense for the problems facing us today. I am a survivor of gun violence; many of my family members are gun owners and hunters. I argue with them about this issue because we talk over each other instead of listening carefully to each other. They sometimes forget I carry the trauma of gun violence every day of my life. I believe in my heart there is a common ground; if reasonable people talk with each other, there is a solution to what we face today on this issue. Here are my thoughts on the subject of Gun Safety and the incremental steps toward a safer Nation for all of us:

  • Raise the age limit to 25 for all gun purchases.
    • Exception: Honorable discharge from any branch of the military.
  • National Background Check database, with a minimum 24-hour waiting period.
    • Shut down internet purchases with the direct-to-home shipment. Must be shipped to a local handling agent who can validate I.D. and license.
  • Enact Red Flag Guidelines federally. This would trickle down to the state level, with states able to add to them, creating more effective solutions for their state. Federal Guidelines should simply provide minimums.
  • Safe Storage Laws this is critical to prevent the ongoing child accidents we see so often in the news. At a minimum, households with guns should have liability insurance against accidents.

For me, that is ground zero.

Today, in Uvalde, Texas, nineteen (19) babies are being memorialized, and two (2) teachers are being remembered. In Buffalo, NY, they are still burying their dead.

Today, we still don’t have the heart to do something. If not now, when?

Dear God IX

Dear God, have you seen the devastation? Have you heard your name called out in pain, fear, or the desolation of lost loved ones to terror and violence? Have you heard your name lifted in prayers for solace and aid in the face of great evil? Where in heavens name are you?

How do you continue to allow this horror show to continue in your name and do nothing to stop it? Is this a test of how long and how much people will take before turning away from you and toward something more substantial than future promises of salvation?

Dear God, have you noticed lately how the worst of us are using your name to do terrible acts of violence against the most vulnerable? Is this in your plan, and the rest of us are missing it? Should we be thanking you for the terrible lessons we are watching played out against those who simply wish for a seat at the table, a place within a society that has time and again rejected their humanity.   

Really, God, I am beginning to think you have forgotten the entire premise of Love and are simply letting humans run rampant down here on this little spec in the universe. Has something else caught your attention? Have you lost interest? Or have the unmitigated and unrelenting bombardment of hate-filled lies in your name finally been too much for even you?

Dear God, I know you have many things on your plate. Millions of prayers to answer, millions of things to answer every day. As it says in Matthew 10:

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[b] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

So I understand; you are busying counting all those hairs and worrying about all those falling sparrows; you really can’t be bothered with what folks are doing down here to each other in your name. But God, are not all the bodies piling up deserving of a little tiny bit of your attention? You know, just a little bit?

Buffalo Shooting Victims

Dear God, there are ministers at the pulpit today preaching in your name and calling entire groups of people demons for voting contrary to their personal beliefs. This means all those in this nation who voted for a Democratic candidate in 2020 were described as Demons, God Haters, and non-Christian. These ministers, weekly stand in their pulpits and, in your name, demand those who disagree should be sent to Concentration Camps (remember the last time you allowed this to happen God). Do you forget your own words, the words of your Son that only you may name one a demon? Acts 19:

13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all[d] of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Klan Wedding, 1926

I am struck by those who are driving your narrative. I am discouraged by your seeming indifference to the corruption. Or have you decided to allow rebellion as part of the game? I must say, God, this game is horrible, and the victims are piling up. Do you meet them at the gate and apologize? Are you slapping on their wings and introducing them to the promised eternal life with a shrug of your shoulders and a dinner invitation? Are their ancestors there, or maybe their enemies are there with an act of contrition. Just a thought, God, some of those enemies probably should not be in White Robes; it would be a bit disconcerting to the newly arrived.

Dear God, isn’t it time for some smiting? You know, a lightning strike here or there might be in order right about now. Something very focused and specific would be helpful, I think. Those who spend their time lifting up your name are beginning to wonder where you are as those they love lay bleeding on the streets. It becomes more difficult to believe when the sanctity of church and home is invaded by weapons of violence, in your name, God. The prayer we lift to you for safety, peace, and a place at the table is seemingly ignored.

We are told to accept as our rights are stripped away, and our humanity trampled. We watch as lies are told night after night until they become the truth for countless of our fellow Americans, and we have no recourse, no voice to speak for us. God, I think you have turned your face from those who have been your most loyal servants, who have held up your name and shown your true spirit in the face of tremendous adversity.

Dear God, shouldn’t you be providing something more? Clearly, the thoughts and prayers of the adversary are unwelcome, and hopefully, you are not hearing them as sincere or legitimate. If you can’t separate the insincere thoughts and prayers of the enemy from the wails of the grieving families in churches across this nation, might I suggest a Cochlear Implant? Technology today has made great strides for the unhearing.

This Is Who We Are

The one thing you have to give to the GOP, they are well organized, and their messages no matter how toxic are specific and consistent. They have spent the past fifty years building towards this pivotal point in time. Half the states are controlled by maniac legislatures and governors intent on rolling their states back to the days of Jim Crow and women’s subjection, never mind more than half their constituents disagree with their policies. Those at the top both elected and not, are ramping it up every single day on every single media outlet. Make no mistake, they are winning the war of words with soundbites meant to inflame, intended to sow fear and fury, they are winning.

Before we proceed, let’s take a close look at what we are really talking about. For those who love this nation, who believe the words penned by Thomas Jefferson in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” July 4, 1776

We should be clear, Jefferson and most of the other signers of the Declaration were slaveholders. They weren’t talking about ‘all’ men. They were talking about specific men. They certainly weren’t talking about women either. Unlike others, I am not going to cancel Jefferson and others for their views and their sins, they were men of their time. Were they wrong? They were absolutely wrong and their views on slavery, among many other things were absolutely wrong. Would their views have been different had they lived in a different time? I don’t think we know, however, given the benefit of much of their writing I like to think that yes, their views would have been much different had they had the benefit of time.

For those who love Lincoln and view him through the prism of the Civil War and the Emancipation of Slaves, I think there is a much deeper look that needs to be taken. Keeping this in mind when thinking of the first sentence of the Gettysburg Address:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” November 19, 1863

In Lincoln’s address he was referring to the Declaration of Independence, he also wasn’t considering ‘all’ men, nor was he thinking about women when he proposed equality. From 1863 to 1974 it required 5 Constitutional Amendments, several legislative changes, and several interventions by SCOTUS before all men and women were considered equal under the law; before we could all vote, have bank accounts, have credit and mortgages, access to education, marry who we choose, body autonomy, and a host of other things White Men have always taken for granted. White Men never feared lynching, never feared the loss of their freedom, the loss of their income, the loss of their homes, the loss of their choices or their families. White Men never questioned their right to the voting booth, not one time in the history of this nation have White Men ever questioned their right to exist in this nation or their inalienable Rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The rest of us sure in the hell have though.

There is a straight line in the rise of hate crimes, more specifically race-based domestic terrorism to White Nationalism and the most recent administration of Trump and its fallout of Trumpism. What was once the fringe is now the accepted baseline for the Republican Party.

  • Conspiracy Theory 1: Jewish cabals attempting to take over the world starting with the USA.
  • Conspiracy Theory 2: Top Democrats are pedophiles involved in child sex trafficking rings.
  • Conspiracy Theory 3 (and my personal favorite): The election was stolen from Donald Trump in 2020 and he is the true POTUS.

These are only some of the truly ludicrous Conspiracies dangled by the dangerous and outrageous talking heads and elected officials across the US. These lead to the most dangerous, The Replacement Theory and its proponents on Fox News and the floor of Congress and state legislatures. This ugly ‘Theory’ isn’t new, isn’t something that comes to us fresh out of the minds of those who sit in back rooms at Fox, Heritage Foundation, The Blaze, and Breitbart whipping up the next big thing. This is not the something cooked up in a vacuum by terrified old White Men who see their power trickling away. There is a direct line from Theodore Gilmore Bilbo, two-time Governor of Mississippi (1916-1920 & 1928-1932), US Senator (1935-1947), member of the KKK, and author of Take Your Choice: Separation or Mongeralization, an ode to pro-segregation.

This only begins to scratch the surface. This nation has seen a steady rise in domestic terrorism. It stretches across the entire spectrum and is steadily pushing us back to before Civil Rights, before Women’s Rights, before all of these:

  • Smith v. Allwright (1944), upheld the recently enacted Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965
  • Brown v. Board – 1954 and Brown v. Board II – 1956
  • Griswold v. State of Connecticut (1965), based on right to privacy and allowing married couples access to birth control.
  • South Carolina v. Katzenbach (1966), upheld the recently enacted VRA of 1965
  • Harper v. The Virginia Board of Elections (1966), based on 24th Amendment adopted in 1964 prohibiting poll taxes.
  • Loving v. State of Virginia (1967), based on both Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment, SCOTUS overturned anti-miscegenation
  • Eisenstadt v. Baidt (1972), based on the right to privacy and allowing unmarried women access to birth control.
  • Roe v. Wade (1973), based on the precedent established by previous cases, the right to privacy allowed women access to legal and safe abortion.
  • Shelby County v. Holder (2013), the Alabama county argued that the formula in Section 4 of the VRA was outdated and Unconstitutional. By a vote of 5-4, SCOTUS agreed thereby effectively gutting the most powerful tool of the VRA. At the time Chief Justice Roberts expressed that he expected Congress to update the VRA, to date they have failed to do so. Since that time states have imposed increasingly restrictive voting laws.
  • Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), under the same precedent established by Loving v. Virginia, Gay Marriage was validated as fundamental liberty according to the Constitution.

Here we are, the dead continue to fall in our streets, in our churches, supermarkets, our laundry, our beauty and barbershops. They are shot down when jogging or walking their dogs, while celebrating birthdays or just doing nothing but living life. The dead are piling up, their lives are cut short, their names added to the rolls of the murdered, from the children to the great-grandparent; and we seem numb to it all.

FBI Hate Crime Stats 2016-2020

Don’t pretend anymore that this is not who we are, by damn this is exactly who we are. We care more about our access to weapons of destruction and our pocketbooks than we do about the life of our neighbors. We care more about paying $10 less in taxes than we do about whether a young mother can feed her child. We care not one whit about truth, moral integrity, and human life.

This is by damn who we are. We are a nation of moral degenerates. We are a nation seeped in Fear, White Nationalism, Violence, Bigotry and Lies. We are a nation that willingly votes the very worst of us into office time and again simply because they might get an extra $1 in their paycheck. We willing soak up lies so we can feel good about voting for liars one more time.

This is who we are, this is us.

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.

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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.

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Fallen Apart

soapboxpileTo support one thing does not mean I am against another. I want to make certain all who read my words understand this, to support one thing does not place me at odds with another thing. I can be for both, I can be in support of two seemingly different things. How you might ask, it is simple and I will tell you in as simple as terms as possible.

I am for humanity. I am for human dignity. I am for justice, fairness. I am for all of us, together as a people, as a nation finding solutions that will move us forward toward sanity and peace. I am at a loss, not just for words but my spirit is seeping away, hiding in a dark corner and refusing to seek the light any longer.

We are a people of disquiet and terrible, tragic division. We are not a single people, joined together by our desire to become stronger through our diversity and our shared history. Instead, we have sought the lowest common denominator, sought the very worst in ourselves and celebrated these most terrible and violent traits that drag prejudice and fear. Some of us protest the violent and senseless loss of life, we march and raise our voices demanding justice and change, yet the only thing that truly changes is the divide widens, the chasm of mistrust grows between us and violence increases. In our demand for recognition, our voices raised seeking justice that has not been ours in the past we say with one word, allies and friends be damned and cheer as innocent blood runs in the street.

The language of divisiveness has torn us down and apart. A mirror has been held up and we have seen ourselves, the worst of ourselves and embraced it. We have forgotten that good exists in abundance. We have chosen instead to ratchet up the hate, the vile rhetoric that will incite fear and violence on both sides of the ever widening abyss. Our leadership, whether elected or otherwise,5-signs-from-last-night-s-game-of-thrones-that-point-to-the-rise-of-daenerys-the-derange-996054 uses every opportunity to politicize death and mayhem, to feed our fear and fury. We are spiraling down the rabbit hole toward anarchy and those who would be king, they sit and rub their hands together gleefully as we fulfill their mad desire.

We watch in horror as another Black man is gunned down in the street or in his car as his child watches. We listen in horror as amateur journalists put their deaths on Facebook live, rather than offer them comfort and we justify their actions, we understand their actions because we need to know we need to see the bad acts. We forget to weep, we are immune we have seen this all before replayed over and over, these deaths simply cause our fury. Another senseless death. Another child, father, husband murdered by those sworn to serve and protect, murdered by those who will not be held accountable.

We blame the victims, searching for any misstep they might have made in their past, smearing them in public to justify their death. We tsk tsk as their death is replayed, over and over and every pundit tells us what we should think of them, depending upon what side of the chasm they speak from. We see the pain of their family, the fury of their loved ones and the demand for justice sends us to the street, more and more often with terrible results.

DALLAS, TX - JULY 11: Dallas Police Chief David Brown

We pay men and women to put on the blue, to ‘protect’ and to ‘serve’ us, the people. We demand they do so and without them Anarchy would rein in the streets. Yes, we must demand they be held to a higher, more perfect standard. We must require they be fit for the job they perform. DPC David Brown had been doing that, going against what many believed would work in Dallas, he charted a new course.  Dallas has become a model city, proving community policing and modern ideas can work in large diverse city. We cannot ever be good with the mayhem, the chaos and misery they cause in our cities, our communities. We must not turn away, thinking just so long as it isn’t at our doorstep and so long as we can justify it with a good old fashioned smear campaign of culture, people or individual we can ignore it as ‘not our problem’.

Last week seven people lost their lives senselessly to violence. We do not know all the details surrounding the deaths of Alton Stearling and Philando Castile, but we know enough. We watched in horror as they died. We have also watched in horror as their lives have been dissected and their characters smeared.

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Their deaths have led to nationwide marches, demands for justice, demands for change and unfortunately in some cases demands for the blood of police. Which was finally met on Thursday night at a peaceful #BLM demonstration, with shooting of twelve Dallas police officers, resulting in the death of five. Not just any twelve, not just any five, but in retribution specific targets were selected based on race and their wearing of the Blue.

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Dallas mourns their fallen. I mourn the fallen. I mourn with the families of Alton Stearling and Philando Castile, their loss is devastating. I mourn with the families of the fallen officers, their loss is also devastating. In truth, how can we mourn one while celebrating the other? Yes, to all of those who have said ‘good’, to the loss of those five police officers I say shame on you and truthfully ‘fuck you’. We cannot mourn one without mourning both to do otherwise is ignorance on our part and shows a lack of compassion that strips us of our humanity.

Why don’t we know by now, we are one people born of struggle, fire, blood and tragedy. We are one people, born of spiritual poverty and horrify mistakes. But one people generations removed from our beginnings yet it seems still mired in the ignorance of our ancestors, still clinging like Velcro to our history it seems we will continue to refuse to climb out. If we do not learn to reach across the divide we are doomed. So yes, I can and do support both. I can and do see both and desire reconciliation, change, justice and the creation of a better more perfect nation. This, this tragic and terrible one, it has to end. But violence, bloodshed, hate and bigotry this will not end well for any of us.

Bad Servants

soapboxpileIgnorance is bliss they say. I might have agreed once upon a time, now though I believe otherwise and find we must stand against ignorance as something to be hated and fought with all we are and all we have. This is not a finger pointing campaign against only one side, no indeed not. This is looking across what the universe has offered us in the way of choice for our next President and thinking to myself, “What in the Hell have we gotten ourselves into?”

Truly we are lost, we have spent so many years self-destructing we are now at the end of the fuse we lit with the election of a B grade movie actor and now our nation is ready to explode. On one side we have the leading candidate under Federal Investigation and she may well be indicted, but she doesn’t want to talk about it. On the other side we have a Reality TV star who plays on the fears, hate and worst inclinations of the American people. I do not take these things lightly, I do not look at these candidates and smile, thinking to myself well it is a choice between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea as it so often is during election season. Indeed not this time, on one side the fix has been in since 2008 when she lost to the current President, this time we never had a chance at a valid and legitimate choice. On the other side there was a busload of choices at one time, those who might have been reasonable choices never got traction and the American public are left with a Fascist in the making, a Dominionst/Anarchist and two Right-Wing Theocracy nuts, though to give it to Kasich he hides his leanings very well.

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Honestly? No matter who makes it to the White House in November, the next four years will be Hell for the American people and we have only ourselves to blame. We created this terrifying disaster in the making. We, yes that is all of us no matter which side of the aisle we fall on, every single last one of us, we are at fault. We failed to understand Washington is our house, all of it. Those we send to Washington, they are servants of the people there to do the bidding of the people. We failed to demand they serve us, sitting back and whining when they behaved badly or failed in their jobs but sending them all back time and again. We pointed and laughed at their childish antics, but sent them back. We made up Memes to post on social media, but sent them back. They disrespect every last one of us, but we send them back time after time.

Our infrastructure is failing. Our schools are failing. Our young people are leaving university saddled with debt they cannot pay. Our economy is stagnate and incomes have failed to rise in decades. Jobs continue to flee the country, embedded in ‘Free Trade’ deals that lift every boat but ours. Immigration programs committed to driving down wages and putting Americans out of work continue to expand (H1B, H2B, L1), along with outsourcing, off-shoring and near-shoring. States are poisoning the waters and with it their people, stealing pensions and cutting off access to health providers and no one cares. There is not one real candidate talking about how they will solve these issues, not one. Yes, they are talking about them when asked but when pushed they don’t have solutions, go on read their own words.

We did this! We did it through apathy. We did it through our own willingness to sit it out and hope others would pick up the slack. We did it when we continue to simply color in the circle with the (D) or the (R) next to a name instead of demanding more and better. We did it when we continue to send back to Washington the same useless, thoroughly corrupt snakes term after term rather

than demanding term limits in Congress, rather than standing up and firing every last one of them from the jobs they have failed to perform for decades. We did this, on the left when we allowed that Twat Waffle Debbie Wasserman Schultz to completely corrupt the nomination process and we did not demand her resignation as head of the party. We are at fault. We own all of it. We deserve the government we have. We deserve the breakdown of this nation, we built this and the cracked foundation is ours to repair at a horrifying cost.

Sept. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sept. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Now the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea are lapping at our heels and laughing. Fear, violence, anarchy and the potential for Fascism is just around the corner. Depending on the November outcome, every single small step forward this nation has taken toward equality, civility and a society based on the one person one vote, secularism and the rule of law will be wiped out for one hundred years. The sad fact is, there is a growing segment of this nation praying this will be the outcome.

Is this the nation you want? I can tell you, I am deathly afraid this cycle. I am not just afraid of the Republicans, I am afraid of the Democrats too. I am afraid we have become so corrupted we cannot see beyond the demagoguery, ideology and soundbites to do what is right for this nation. For once, stand up and find a solution push past our prejudices, fears and ignorance to find the right solution. Demand from our public servants and those who would sit in the Oval Office more than they are giving us today.

No, Ronald Reagan was not the best President in our lifetimes. Stop it.

No, Jimmy Carter was not the worst President in our lifetimes. Stop it.

No, George Bush (either of them) were not to blame for every single bad thing ever in the past eight years. Stop it.

No, President Obama is not the Devil and is not to blame for every single bad thing in the past eight years either. Stop it.

Our HouseDo we have problems? Yes, yes we have massive problems. As a nation, as a people we need to start demanding Congress and especially those who wish to be sent to Congress in this election cycle understand those problems and have real ideas about how to fix them. We need to demand of the candidates who want to lead the nation, they have real ideas about working with Congress to address the problems of this nation, the real problems of this nation.

Make America Great Again? Okay, how?

Feminist Traps

Soapbox LogoSometimes we fight so hard for what we want we lose sight of what we need. This is true whether it is the individual us, the public us or the group us as a people or an identity. What does this mean? How does this affect us when we are trying to find our place in the world? I can’t speak for all, not for anyone but me in truth, but I can speak for myself, individually as the private, public and group me. As a woman, I can speak to that me. As a woman who has always held to feminist views on all issues but who is now wondering what this means, to be a feminist and to want my cake and to eat it too. What does that truly mean?

I suspect what I am about to say will cause some of my same gender some angst and maybe some anger. I suspect it will cause some to wonder what the hell is going on in my head, some may even want to burn my Feminist card and kick me out of the Woman Club, but bear with me. Women have been in a public fight for equality since 1848 that is more than a century; in fact that is one hundred sixty-eight years. Or in more easily understood terms, one hell of a long time. What have we really ‘won’ in all that time, what have we truly gained for ourselves?

1920 – 19th Amendment to the Constitution is signed and we are finally part of the national conversation, we can vote. What do we do with this privilege? Not very damned much, in truth most of us throw this away, we sit it out, we stay at home and hope someone will speak up for us and our interest.

From 1920 through 1978 there were two key issues on the table for women, how to earn a paycheck and how to own our reproductive processes. Seems to me these were inextricably linked, though most did not make connection. We saw a few key court rulings and pieces of legislation during these years.

Since 1978, well frankly it has been more of the same. More fair this and equality that, more bullshit added to the pile to make us be quiet and look the other way. You can’t beat us anymore without consequence and husbands can’t rape their wives any more either. But let’s face it in the grand scheme of things we really haven’t come all that far and we really haven’t done all that much to make this particular part of the world better for fifty percent of the population.

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Truthfully, as women we suck at taking power in our own hands and representing ourselves. We are fifty percent of the overall US population yet hold under twenty-five percent of the state and twenty percent of the federal legislative seats. These numbers are appalling, yet we wonder why we lose ground. I will tell you why, those advances were gifts. A group of Men gave us a gift, they didn’t mean for us to compete for seats at the table. What they intended was to allow us a little bit of freedom, too feel as if we were a bit more enfranchised so we would shut the hell up and start playing nice again. We were grateful and we thanked them instead of snatching victory by the balls and running with it.

There is something else that happened in the midst of all the clamor, we forgot we were women and we begin to allow others to redefine femininity on terms different and strange. We confused femininity and feminism, begin to believe we could not be both. As so frequently happens with movements we allowed the radical and outside voices to define our new ‘norm’. Now we don’t know who we are or what we are, frankly we are confused by our natural instincts and afraid to be women for fear we might be going against what we are told we should be.

I am absolutely a Feminist. I believe I should be paid the same money as my male counterparts. I believe every single woman has the right to control her reproductive life-cycle, this includes the right to legal and safe abortion. I believe in a woman’s right to access education, credit, housing and all the other needs of life without gender bias.

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I am a Feminist, but frankly I am a woman first. I love being a woman. I have always loved being a woman. I love having doors opened for me, dressing up in something soft and feminine, wearing high-heels and stockings for a night out with someone special. I like being a women, being a woman is part of my power and I have absolutely no fear in saying so. We are born with this power, men love looking at us because that is how we are designed. Why in the hell should we pretend it is otherwise?

I have a brain, in fact I have a really good brain and I expect the men who work with me and who date me to respect me for that brain. Nevertheless, I still have all the attributes of the female gender and I do not expect men to be emasculated, pretend they don’t know I am a woman. It is impossible for them to do so, hell most of us make it impossible for them to do so. This is at the center of the problem actually, most of us complain when men stare yet we make it impossible for them to do otherwise. Not all men are rapists, not all men are pigs either. What men are is the other half of the human equation. Without men we would quickly die out. We don’t have a rape culture, we have a sick culture brought about by our failure to recognize all these false definitions of masculinity and femininity send the wrong message. Women are one half of the human race, we are not gender neutral but instead specifically feminine and designed to be attractive to the other half.

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I am a woman. There are tens of thousands of us out here, we are I think being defined in terms we no longer understand and yet we refuse to stand up and call bullshit. We buy a package of goods that doesn’t feel right and yet we refuse to say it is wrong for fear we will be thrown out of the Woman’s Club. The Politically Correct definitions have gone so far now we are forced to accept lies and embrace them without raising voice of complaint. As an example, Caitlyn Jenner is not a woman so how in the hell are you going to award Woman of the Year twice to her? Are there not any accomplished women in the United States who are deserving of recognition and praise?

Yes, I will concede the ‘her’ to Caitlyn because I am polite and if she wishes to transition at the age of 66 from her born gender to female I am going to use her chosen gender. Nevertheless, Caitlyn is not a woman, she is in fact not even through her transition thus cannot even be legally called a woman. So why are any of us politely or otherwise accepting this insult?

On another note, why are we fighting so hard for the stupid? Why do you want your daughters in harm’s way, in combat positions?  We haven’t achieved parity in pay or secured our right to control our bodies, but we can now die in combat or worse be captured and only all the God’s know what will happen to a woman captured in battle.

I am a Feminist, but I am a woman first. I think it is time for all of us to think about what it means to be a woman. I frankly don’t want to be ‘man’ lite, but rather I want to be a woman able to stand on my own and with all the freedoms, rights and duties any of us are due. I want to work, contribute and provide within my competencies and capabilities as a woman, not in competition but in compliment.  Perhaps when we start seeing ourselves as one half of the population, start working from a position of power as women rather than begging for a seat at the table we will start to shift the focus and start standing up rather than simply complaining about the stupid shit.

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/womenstimeline1.html

http://www.representation2020.com/rankings.html

Vote for Me, Education

Vote for MeWho honestly would want to be a politician? Who honestly would want to run for office and participate in the cesspool that is the legislative process today, whether at a Federal or State level. I ask this in all seriousness, who would wish this on their enemy, let alone their family, friend or self. What level of masochist do you have to be? Or is it something else, something far more sinister and ugly. Sure, there are a few good ones. A few that start out wanting to do the right thing, wanting to change the world or at least their small slice of the world. Some of these wonders amaze me, their bright and shiny faces all agog with zeal, with the need to do good; they rush out of university with their freshly inked sheepskin, searching for that dragon to slay. They hunt down their Senator or Congressperson, begging for the opportunity to prove their value, for free no less, just to get their foot in the door. If they are not disillusioned within the first ninety days, they are either corrupted or entirely in the dark.

Who would want this job? Who would want to serve this nation under these circumstances, who but the thoroughly corrupt, ego driven diehards, they fight tooth and nail for the job. Hell I suspect there is another reason for their pursuit of high office, beyond ego, certainly beyond the desire to do good. These pompous, blowhards, these cretins of horror, they want the opportunity to line their pockets while violently masturbating in their exuberant rampages across the world. Leaving behind nothing but death and destruction in their wake.

But let me stop. I did not intend to rip into those who are showing their asses in this run for the prize. Indeed no, instead I would like to talk about what all of us should be considering, those things that would indeed make a difference to this nation, to the next generation and ultimately perhaps to the world. Possible policies and programs that could not only be implemented but could be paid for without a significant pounding of those already struggling to keep body and soul together between paychecks. Isn’t it time we start considering realistic policies and changes to the ‘Wars’ we have been fighting for decades that have proven both fruitless and socially damaging. We are truthfully a nation with PSTD, we are a nation of the walking dead. Isn’t it time we change direction and start dragging ourselves out of the grave?

This is the beginning of a new series, Vote for Me. I intend to look at policies from both sides of the aisle and try to find reasonable options we can all live with. Policies that make sense. Policies that are fit for human beings, which are humane, compassionate and fit for a society that intends to continue. I am not going to call out the ugliness or stupidity of those who take a different stance than I intend to take, I am only going to take the stance I believe make sense and in some cases draw comparisons to where we are today or where the current crop of politicians are leading us.


Free education through University? Let’s be realistic, not every person is in need of a University education, not every person will thrive within a University atmosphere. Not every person wants to toxic_applebe a Lawyer, Doctor, Accountant, Scientist or Business Person. Honestly, we also still need Plumbers, Mechanics, Construction Workers, Crane Operators and a whole host of others to Labor. What we need is to start changing our views of who these people are, the value they bring to our society and our lives, the skills they need to do their jobs. Let us set out to change our education system, change how we teach and how we approach skills. Whatever happened to Shop in middle and High School? What happened to the idea that young people learned how to change a tire, how to change oil, hell how to rebuild an engine in a car if they were so inclined. The thought that we only value those who are able to sit on their asses all day versus those who make our day to day lives easier, well there is simply something wrong with our values. Do not misunderstand me, I went to college, loved it and value the opportunities I received by doing so. What I don’t understand is why there is now a drive to give every young person a college education for ‘free’. The following is my proposal.

  1. Early education starting at pre-K, cost should be needs based and must be available to every single child. This must include daycare to make certain every parent can work and has a safe place for their children. I would be happy to offer employers a tax break if they established daycare with pre-K education on their campus.
  2. Let’s wipe out teach to the test system and get back to real education solutions, shall we? Our students are failing on a worldwide scale, many must take remedial courses once they reach universities. It is shameful. No child left behind my happy ass, damned near every child is left behind these days. We have dumbed down entire generations. It is simple ya’ll, Reading, Writing, Science, Arithmetic; start there and once we have those down let’s move on History, Philosophy, Literature, Earth Sciences, Advanced Mathematics, Arts and host of other interesting subjects that fill young and curious minds with wonder. Let us not forget Life Skills!
  3. By the Ninth Grade let us test our students for Aptitude and start focusing them on where both their skills and interest might be best suited. Is it computers? The Arts? The Sciences? Is it yoUtensil-weidingerworking with their Hands? With all things Mechanical? Whatever it is, let’s not shame them but instead let’s work with them and the community to find opportunities for them to learn.
  4. By High School we should have partners in the community who work with our schools to help teach trades, who are ready with summer apprentice programs. I don’t know about you but I think our young people have lost their minds, so many of them think they are entitled to so much, it often amazes me.
  5. At graduation, no one goes straight to University or Trade School. No one, not rich or poor, don’t care if your family name is Bush or Logar, you are not heading off to the luxury of more school on someone else’s dime. Certainly not on societies dime. Every single person on reaching their majority will give to society two (2) years of their time before entering their next years of schooling. Whether this service is military, working in state sponsored homeless shelter, or something else as yet undetermined it doesn’t matter. Every person will give two years to social volunteerism before they get their education.

No more entitlement, no more free anything. We have to start somewhere, let’s start here. Want an advanced degree? Give more, offer more or partner with a company who sees your potential and is willing to invest in you for a commitment of several years of your future. Other countries do this very successfully, why shouldn’t we? We have to stop giving away our future. Yes, student debt is terrible, I don’t disagree. I will likely die before mine is paid off. I don’t regret my education, I surely do regret the cost though. There are two sides, I don’t disagree there are two sides. We must fix what is broken. We must find ways to educate our young, from pre-K on. We must fix our entire system. We must invest in education for every child, whether in Mississippi or New York, whether in suburbia or the inner city. We must take responsibility for outcomes and demand all our children be treated respectfully, given the opportunity to shine and become the best they can be. But at the same time, we must stop the silliness of entitlement and begin to teach accountability, responsibility along with compassion and empathy.

One example of industry, community and education partnering successfully. I love this school!

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