Blog Break

This posting is to let my readers know that I will be taking an indeterminate break from this weblog.  I’ve discovered that my stated goal of dealing only in facts without hyperbole isn’t as easy as it sounded.  And I am aware that I haven’t always achieved that goal, but I’ve enjoyed trying to adhere to it thus far.

I am not pausing my weblog efforts because it’s hard, however, or because I don’t think it has value, but because I am simultaneously attempting to write a novel that is completely unrelated to politics.   Those who know me know my stance on multitasking: if focused on more than one task, none of the tasks are getting your full attention.  I also think many writers might agree that the world offers no shortage of diversions to prevent attacking the blank page.  I’m sure there are some folk out there more dexterous and disciplined than I, but I know my own limitations, and rather than shortchange the readers of this weblog or further neglect my book, I’m opting to temporarily suspend The Admitted Liberal.

I can’t provide the definitive duration of the hiatus, though if in the meantime an outrageously heinous or absolutely wonderful political event occurs, I definitely reserve the right to interrupt my radio silence with an interim post.  As an FYI, those subscribers who remain subscribers do not need to randomly check this site for new content as any new post would still auto-generate an email to you.

I appreciate all of the support and the comments I’ve received, both public and private, and I look forward to sharing my opinions again soon.  Until then I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and engaged.

Thank you!

A Tale of Two Baskets

At an LGBT for Hillary fundraiser on Sept 9, 2016, candidate Clinton made a “grossly generalist” comment indicating that you could put half of <POTUS’s> supporters in a (Basket of Deplorables), listing them as either racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic or Islamaphobic.  She went on to say that the other (half) basket contained folk who just felt that the economy and the government had let them down and felt uncared for.

I, like many Hillary supporters, cringed the next day when the clip of that comment was replayed a hundred times.  I didn’t cringe because she had said anything that wasn’t absolutely true.  I cringed because one of the shrewdest politicians around had made the mistake of attacking voters instead of their candidate—a political no no.  Experts disagree whether it cost her votes or not, though most agree that it probably didn’t deprive her opponent of any.  She later apologized, but only for having gotten the percentages wrong.

I’ve watched the crumbling political situation and hoped (with less and less optimism), that the 62 million-plus citizens that voted for POTUS would see that they were duped, acknowledge their error, voice their dissatisfaction and work to end his reign.  I’ve hoped that of the two baskets, the one containing the deplorables would turn out to be significantly smaller that the basket of the disillusioned.  But let’s examine what has taken place since Hillary’s pronouncement.

Hillary made her declaration before the Washington Post ran their story in October revealing the Entertainment Tonight tape, yet POTUS still won in the electoral college.

Since having become president, POTUS proposed (and has now partially implemented), a travel ban to exclude the issuance of visas to anyone from one of six predominantly Muslim countries or to any refugee.  After the most recent act of terrorism in Barcelona, the president repeated a fully debunked tale indicating that General Pershing eradicated muslim terrorism in the Philippines for decades by murdering all-but-one of 50 offenders while simultaneously violating their dietary restrictions with the murder weapons (a silly but still insulting and inciting claim).

In July POTUS had his administration show his true feelings for the LGBT community in three separate actions completed on the same day.  They included: arguing in court that the sex protections provided by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 do not apply to orientation, nominating gay-hater Sam Brownback as the new Religious Freedom Ambassador and tweeting that transgender people will no longer be allowed to serve in the military ( 3 Punches Against Gay Rights).

Following the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, our Dear Leader appeared to give himself a hernia while attempting to denounce nazis and the KKK.

I freely admit that one can support, can like, can even love another person without agreeing with everything they believe.  We would not be able to sustain even the most basic human relationships if it were otherwise.  And I think we can all agree to disagree on things like economic policy, gun control or the best way to protect the environment. But there are some beliefs that are anathema to what America stands for and so contrary to what decent folk respect and treasure that they can only be considered poisonous and incompatible with anything good.  Regardless how many times Fox News may say that “no lines have really been crossed”, multiple lines have been repeatedly crossed.  No matter why one originally supported a leader, if one continues to support them knowing that they hold reprehensible beliefs then we must conclude that they share those beliefs.

If you support a racist in order to get tax reform, you are a racist.  If you have irrefutable evidence that someone is chronically misogynistic but you choose them because you like the Supreme Court justice they will nominate, you are a misogynist.  And for those who don’t believe there is anything wrong with being a racist or a misogynist (or a homophobe or Islamaphobe), then admit it, stand up and be proudly counted.  Why add hypocrisy to the list of your failings?  If you are not any of those things then stop propping this guy up.

I don’t claim to know what POTUS actually believes or doesn’t believe as he lies with alacrity.  I do know, however, that regardless of ideology, this man will do anything to be adored, and as of last Sunday, 37% of all Americans queried (and 79% of Republicans), still approve of him after all he has said and done (Gallup Poll Through Aug 20).  So do the “basket math”.  POTUS may be the most optic problem in the nation right now, but the real problem is the number of our fellow Americans who have now proven that they are immoral.

When Hillary “apologized” for her statement and would only say that she’d assigned incorrect proportions, she didn’t indicate which fraction was in error.  I feel I can now confirm that the basket of deplorables was and is the much larger of the two.

Hate in America…Silence = Complicity

Some of my readers have inquired about the lack of a post regarding the events in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12th and the subsequent actions of the president.  Some of those inquiries may suggest a confidence that I will be able to successfully address the issue.  I’m not sure I share that confidence, but I will try my best to reward it.  Others, I believe, are chastising me for not yet contributing in a time when all voices are needed, regardless of eloquence.   I do admit to being delinquent in addressing the situation.  As so often in the last seven months, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop…and the shoes just kept dropping.  Also, the airwaves and the internet have been so full of noise in response to those events that I thought we were covered.  I now recognize that more noise is necessary.  Those who abhor the precepts of hate must add to the cacophony.  Silence on this issue from anyone claiming morality or dignity is not the answer because there is a malevolent force waiting to utilize every unused podium.

In this post I will use the term hate groups to refer to all those that assembled in Charlottesville last weekend to protest the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee .  While they may not all have identical agendas, it is clear that the commonality was white supremacy, which is a hateful concept.  We are not fooled by those who said their only interest was the preservation of history and heritage.  While I may not know the exact reasons that the statue of General Lee was erected in 1924, it is undeniable that confederate statuary and flag have now become thinly disguised symbols for those who believe only white people have value.  I will not be using the term Alt Right as I believe that term was devised to sanitize the concept of white supremacy.

Like the rest of the nation, I anxiously awaited the president’s response to the outrageous murder of Heather Heyer and the injuring of 19 others committed by a white supremacist with his car.  When the response came (based both on its delayed delivery and its content), I thought it might prove to be the proverbial final straw that would snap the backs of the ignorant and selfish camels who voted for him and have refused to criticize him since.  I was wrong.

My anticipation for the awakening of America was revived on Monday when Potus again took the microphone and, while adhering to the teleprompter for a denunciation of specific hate groups by name, delivered the message like a petulant eight-year-old boy being force to read an apology written by his mother.  I waited for the republican establishment to rain down “fire and fury”.  Again, I was wrong.

I believed the coup de gras had occurred on Tuesday when the man-baby again had the mic and reverted to the “straight shooter” talk that his supporters so cherish, leaving little doubt (even to David Duke), where he stands on persecution based on race, religion or sexual orientation.  Some are suggesting that this Hater-in-Chief is not smart enough or calculated enough to orchestrate this lethal nationalism.  While I’m inclined to agree, the question is not “who initiated this course?”, but “who is implementing it?”  Speaking of which, Potus was flanked during Tuesdays pitiful display by two of his cabinet members: (Jewish) Steven Mnuchin along with (Chinese immigrant and wife of Senator Mitch McConnell) Elaine Chao.  I’ve not heard either of them nor (Black) Ben Carson denounce the president for his complicity in or his lack of leadership on this issue.  Whatever possessed folk to hitch their wagons (and remain hitched) to such a demagogue remains unclear, but for some light reading the next time they are guests on Air Force One I’d like to recommend Hitler’s Henchmen by Guido Knopp.  A few elected Republicans did finally issue their own condemnations of bigotry, but the only current republican official that I’ve heard actually call out the president is Ohio Governor John Kasich.  So again, I was wrong.

It has become much more than trite to say that the actions of this president are “unbelievable” or “shocking”.  His very election was farcical and his actions and words since his inauguration have been inconceivable to any rational person.  Many of us have watched in equal parts horror and incredulity while waiting for the final act that will cause the 62,984,825 voters who unleashed this beast upon our country to cry uncle, to admit they have been duped, to openly demand his ouster.  There have been a few who have renounced their support, but opinion polls show that as of last week 79% of declared Republicans still approve of this guy (Gallup Opinion Poll).  If those numbers hold, we will know beyond doubt that a very large portion of our fellow citizens either promote hatred or are at least willing to tolerate it in furtherance of their personal economic situations, whether real or aspirational.  We will have evidence that the ignorant belief of racial superiority is not just confined to a few disenfranchised individuals on the fringes of society.  We will know that many of our friends, neighbors and families either embrace or overlook that ideology.

I want to find solace by trusting that the population embracing that ideology would be smaller than the population overlooking it, but the refusal to acknowledge and denounce evil is possibly more dangerous than the evil itself.  Cancer detected early and treated can often be eradicated, or at least forced into remission.  Rogue and rapidly growing cells, however, can completely consume the host if ignored, propelling it to a painful and agonizing end.

I do not pretend to understand the fear or loathing that makes aligning oneself with a hate group so appealing, so I can’t propose preventative measures.  But once recruited, those members must be denied the validation that they are correct or represent truth.  Their words and behavior cannot be supported or encouraged in any way by credible persons and absolutely not by the highest officer in the land.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that these groups must be silenced.  As previously mentioned in this weblog, we all enjoy the protection of free speech afforded us by the Bill of Rights.  I believe that even misguided bigots possess the right to share their message (if they can find a platform and are prepared for the possible repercussions).  It is possible, however, to counter and to muffle their homilies of hate.  Those who despise hate also have the right—and the moral responsibility—to exercise their freedom to speak out against such dangerous ideas with whatever means are available to them.  

One of my readers provided the following regarding the function of the first amendment, “…stupid ideas will die in the marketplace of ideas and we, as thinking, rational people have an obligation to make it clear which ideas are valuable and which are worthless“.  So, to the thinking and rational people of these United States, I ask you to participate in the market place of ideas, make clear what you believe has value and what you believe is worthless—including presidents.  I implore you to speak with your physical presence, your pen or your wallet.  The survival of our democracy depends on action.  And since we cannot rely on appropriate behavior from many of our elected officials nor from millions of our fellow Americans, the rest of us must do it both for and in spite of them.

And The Oscar, ahem, The Office Goes To…

We’re now in the seventh month of a presidency most Americans still can’t believe is real.  Watching the news and reading blogs has been such a negative experience for over half a year now, so I’d like to try to interject some levity.  I thought this might be a good time for this post as Potus is on a 17-day vacation.  And it’s not one of those lazy golf trips like Slacker Obama used to take.  No, Potus is just relocating his office…to a golf course…that he owns…which will generate taxpayer supported revenue for his coffers (<Potus’> Interests vs. America’s) for a couple of weeks while “the dump” on Pennsylvania Avenue has some work done.

As I shared in my earlier post, Ladies and Gentlemen, Meet Pete, I believe it’s not too early for liberals to start planning the reclamation of the White House in 2020, and I introduced some of you to Pete Buttigieg.  There are also other possible contenders out there, like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (yes, another woman and another black man, respectively) and some others.  Liberal activist and film maker Michael Moore is floating (pushing?) the idea that Democrats should run a celebrity for the office, maintaining that a “beloved American” could garner the majority of votes in this entertainment obsessed country.  Mr. Moore  seems, however, more interested in just getting a Democrat back in the position than he does about finding someone who could govern.  Regardless, I wanted to use this space to explore the concept, so let’s examine some prospects:

Tom Hanks

Tom is one of the country’s most prolific actors and certainly beloved by many.  After all, he saved Private Ryan, got Apollo 13 home, performed a miracle on the Hudson and showed us all how life is similar to a Whitman’s Sampler.  My concern about a successful bid for the presidency, however, stems from his early work.  Many of my readers may remember that Hank’s earliest starring role came in 1980 in a television show entitled Bosom Buddies.  He played Buffy Wilson to Peter Scolari’s Hildegard Desmond; their female personas created by their male characters in order to live in an affordable, women-only hotel.  If the country isn’t ready for a female president, could they really be ready for a man who does drag?  It’s possible that I could be underestimating the power of a strong ticket, though.  What if Tom got Wilson to run as his Vice President?  Talk about beloved…and what a great listener.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is undoubtedly beloved…she even has a film by the same name.  She, like someone else we know, has a household name and a great deal of money (though she only got one of those from her father) who could surely fund her own campaign.  Oprah would most likely be the strongest “Education President” we’ve seen, given her devotion to her Leadership Academy.  And instead of “a chicken in every pot” her slogan could be “you get a car and you get a car…”.  The most obvious drawbacks, of course, are her gender and her race.  I remember a remark that the venerable Ann Richards made regarding her loss for re-election as Texas Governor in 1994.  She said that her opponent, newcomer George W. Bush (via Karl Rove) had successfully convinced Texas voters that she was going to send the gays to get their guns.  While I’m not exactly sure how the opposition to this strong black women would frame the national campaign, I’m confident it would have many “conservative” men clutching their Birth of a Nation DVDs as well as their testicles.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

While “The Rock” could have an immediate and positive impact on military readiness (just look at those guns), one wonders if that eyebrow would need to be commandeered and subjected to the nuclear codes like other weapons of mass destruction.  There is also the problem of his heritage.  Though he claims to have been born in Hayward, California, his mother’s parents were Samoan (and her mother wasn’t even from American Samoa), so I can already see those bright, articulate, Republican birthers trying to correctly spell “damn Polynesia” on their Facebook pages.

I’m sure there are many other suitable contestants from the “Entertainment Tonight” catalogue, and I’m not going to argue with Michael Moore about the ultimate electability of such a candidate, but I think our next hopeful needs to not only be electable, but also able to lead.  Mr. Moore’s assumption may be that just having a left-leaning actor in the head office would be sufficient because we could surround them with politically savvy folk to “script and direct” their work, but what happens if the puppet goes rogue?  Heaven knows that’s never happened before.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Meet Pete!

While I attempt to stay abreast of important political facts and folk, I am ashamed to admit that until this week I was completely unaware of an individual who could potentially be the next elected president.  I am sure that some of my readers are already familiar with Pete Buttigieg, but for those of you who are not, I strongly urge you begin your research by viewing the sit-down he completed with Charlie Rose (South Bend Mayor).  The clip is just shy of 26 minutes, but the piece is fascinating and enlightening, so if not today, please take the time at some point to watch it in its entirety.

Many Americans are still suffering from campaign fatigue brought on by the two-plus-year experience that just ended last November.  But most Americans are sad, distraught and extremely dissatisfied with the status quo and are very anxious for possible remedies.  I believe there is enough righteous anger in the land to insure an ideological turnover in both the House and the Senate in 2018 (if the impacted parties will actually go to the polls).  Such a move would at least enable progressives to more effectively resist the destructive actions of the current POTUS and his White House minion until they can be replaced.  I can’t help, however, looking beyond the mid-terms, desperately searching the horizon for both successful liberal messaging and the candidate who can act as the optimal standard-bearer.

Mayor Buttigieg appears, at least, to have the intellect, the pedigree and the poise necessary to not only unite the fractured left, but also attract independents and maybe a few rational Republicans.  Pete is white, so could be more palatable to some of the conservatives still trying to get the stains out of their underwear that resulted from the two-time election of a black president.  The Mayor is not a women, which would be in keeping with the Right’s biblical belief that vaginas and power don’t mix.  In further accommodation of the anti-vagina philosophy, Pete is a gay man.  Hmm…could the majority of voters be ready for a gay leader four Novembers from now?  Well, he got elected mayor of an ailing industrial city in the state that gave us Mike Pence.  And if we’ve learned nothing else in the last six months, I hope we have grasped that ANYTHING is possible.

Pete Buttigieg may, of course, be too good to be true.  His closet (not the one he’s now out of), could be overflowing with ugly skeletons or he might be the shrewdest serial killer on the planet.  I recommend that we risk experiencing total burn-out by 2020 and start the vetting now.  Once he and any other potential contenders garner serious national attention, we can rest assured that the “journalist” at Fox News will uncover any failings—real or imagined.  It is also possible that he doesn’t want the job.  Regardless, I believe he is definitely one to watch.

 

Free Speech In Jeopardy Again

I just read an article from The Intercept written by Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim (Outlaw Support for Boycott), indicating that it could soon be against the law to promote or participate in a boycott against Israel.  I haven’t paid much attention to The Intercept since their debut in 2014, but given the unbelievable subject matter of the article and the amount of fake news out there, I decided to research the topic further before I allowed myself to experience an aneurysm.  The research is done and I can feel my artery walls stretching.

The article mentions near the end that House Bill 1697 (H.R. 1697) and Senate bill 720 (S 720) are actually attempts to amend the existing Export Administration Act of 1979 and Export-Import Bank Act of 1945.  Those acts already make “…furthering or supporting the boycott of Israel sponsored by the Arab League, and certain other countries…” an offense.  The new bills seemingly want to beef up the Export Administration Act to specifically include boycott efforts originating from the United Nations and to link violation of the acts to existing (but much more harsh), punishments found in the United States Code (50 USC 1705).   What is news to me, then, is that there are currently laws on the books that make it punishable for Americans to engage in boycotts that are “…fostered by international governmental organizations against Israel…”  I have neither the time, the space nor the comprehensive understanding needed to tackle the Arab/Israeli conflict, but I will share what I do know.

Our constitution includes a Bill of Rights, which in its very first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…”  Over the years the Supreme Court has tweaked exactly how far that protection can go, agreeing that fraud, obscenity, speech specifically designed to promote lawlessness or falsely yelling “fire” in a crowded theater are not covered.  It has also been “firmly decided” that money is a form of speech (see Citizens United vs FEC) when someone wants to support a political idea or a candidate, but apparently withholding ones money is not always protected.

I found laws prohibiting Americans from actively engaging with or supporting some foreign entities, beginning with the Logan Act, which prohibits a private citizen from interacting with another country to negotiate national controversies.  There are also many government imposed sanctions that either prohibit trade with or limit access to banking and/or assets for countries that have fallen short of American ideals (Treasury Department Sanctions).  While such restrictions certainly fly in the face of unbridled capitalism, both our citizenry and our courts have apparently agreed that sometimes principles over-ride profits.

I am unable, however, to find any laws (other than the aforementioned acts), that criminalize a citizen’s decision to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with another country by refusing to conduct business with said country.  Nor can I find evidence of any court challenge to those acts, though it appears the ACLU is now poised to fight the broadened offender list and the increased penalties that would result from these new bills (ACLU Letter to Senators). 

When did we the people, via our representative government and our court system, agree that it was okay to prevent a person from refusing to financially support another country unless we ALL refuse to do so?  And other than showing-up if drafted and paying taxes, what other mandate prohibits a citizen’s inaction?  And why does it appear that this “no boycotting” mandate only applies to Israel?

Since I first became politically aware I have heard it said that Social Security is the third rail of American politics, meaning to mess with it will electrocute you and end your political career.  But if one examines the rhetoric and legislation of the past fifty years, we may find that Israel is really the third rail.  I’m not sure what has enabled that country to obtain such a firm grasp of our country’s testicles, but that grip appears to extend to both political parties and to cross generational lines.  What would South Africa look like today if that government had been successful in hypnotizing U.S. lawmakers into preventing American businesses and citizens from boycotts aimed at ending Apartheid?

Again, I am not attempting to use this space to litigate the issues of the Middle East.  If the majority of our elected officials can continue to get elected while proclaiming that Israel is the only country above reproach and that it must be supported by our government without question, then maybe that attitude is the defacto opinion of the electorate.  There is, however, a small clause within the constitution guaranteeing that if even just one citizen disagrees with the actions of that foreign government, they can not only verbalize their dissatisfaction, but also refuse to support that entity with their disposable income or their adoration.

 

 

 

 

The Wound That Will Not Heal

It has been eight months since the presidential election, nearly six months since the inauguration and almost two months since I published my post entitled Enoughbut I still wake each morning with emotions ranging from disbelief to disgust to horror.  I shared in that earlier post that my psychological dyspepsia is not purely in response to the rejection of my liberal views by the majority of (electoral college) voters.  It is largely a reaction to the clear and tabulated fact that nearly half of those who voted in the 2016 election knowingly cast their ballot for the human being least capable of being president and that the “winner” continues to demonstrate his ineptitude on a daily basis.  Depending on the day, it is difficult to know if he is channeling Nora Desmond or Ron Burgundy, but all of the days are painful and frightening.

As stated elsewhere in this weblog, Potus is not merely a threat to progressive ideals, he is a threat to the homeland and to the planet.  I know some would argue that we shouldn’t fear his effectiveness, given his inability to focus on anything other than his boyfriend Vladimir Putin and his constant display of hatred toward any media outlet other than Fox News.  Even when he is caught attempting to further the conservative agenda, he often thwarts those efforts by either forgetting which position he is supposed to take (Trump Abandons AHCA), or by completely ignoring his role and instead taking to Twitter to degrade folk who criticize him, which he does with particular zeal if they are women (Attacks on Morning Joe hosts).

Of course, Congress and his White House entourage are more than able to inflict damage while he is sidetracked, but the real threats emanate from the man himself.  The hazards include his ally-enraging reduction of global politics to “The Art of the Deal”, boasting that only agreements which seemingly leave America (read: Potus), on top are acceptable (Withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord and Behavior at Nato National Embarrassment).  There is also his very clear intent to do absolutely nothing with regard to foreign interference in our democracy, as demonstrated by his firing of FBI Director James Comey and his reluctance to keep existing or to add new sanctions against Russia for election meddling (though we must stay tuned to learn his actual motivations for those actions).

While I am unable to include the full name due to my unwillingness to further promote the “Marketer-in-Chief”, there is a Twitter feed called “***** Regrets” (I think my readers can figure out what the asterisks stand for), which purports to follow Potus’ twitter account and then retweet messages sent from his former supporters now expressing their buyer’s remorse.  A random sampling of contributors and their historic tweets certainly suggests that they really may have voted for the man.  The messages contained there, however, are exactly the type of messages that all cognizant citizens—whether they are guilty of placing him in office or not—need to be sending.

As real facts continue to unfold, it is entirely possible that the current “threat to democracy” could be impeached (and/or possibly jailed), but failing that, I still believe that if his electoral “Neilsen Ratings” continue to fall and remain low, the narcissist will concede and return to the business of swindling both real estate investors and building contractors.  I also still believe that those conservative voters who helped create this disaster should not fear that their repudiation of this president will compromise their conservative goals.  Again, the reins will fall to Mike Pence, and though it appears that the “Christian, Conservative and Republican…in that order” may turn out to be one of the most prolific liars of all time (All False Statements…Enabling a Dangerous President, and What Did Mike Pence Know?), his political mission is unambiguous and voters on the right have already proven that veracity is not a required virtue for their leaders.

It is evident, even to some errant voters, that a terrible wrong has been committed, a dangerous force unleashed and a severe wound inflicted…a wound that if not cauterized could be terminal.  Keep resisting bad legislation, but also let your representatives (whether of your political stripe or not), know your opinion of this president.  Remember that the way to an egomaniac’s heart is through his ego.  So tweet and email and march and shout your dissatisfaction while encouraging others to do the same.  You’ve nothing to lose by acting, and everything to lose by just wishing the hurt away.  Contrary to the proverb, time does not heal all wounds.

 

“Resistance” versus “The Politics of No”

Both arms of Congress and the White House are currently controlled by conservatives (the White House control emanating not from its ideologically-challenged resident, but from the nest of ultra right-ring hooligans who have infested his ear).  Since the presidential surprise of the election (admit it Conservatives, while many of you were hopeful, you were as shocked as everyone else when you awoke on November 9), many liberals have pledged to resist the new administration.  My fear is that resistance will be confused with the politics of no.

resist:  verb  re·sist \ri-ˈzist\   to exert oneself so as to counteract or defeat.

I count myself among those who want to counteract and defeat ignorant, selfish or dangerous propositions championed by any politician.  In fact, isn’t resistance to policies and legislation that are contrary to our political beliefs one of the two main reasons we align ourselves with a political party (the other being the actual promotion of policies and legislation that we support)?  

Our congressional representation currently operates via a multi-party system, which provides additional “checks and balances” within a branch of government already designed to protect us from run-away power.  In theory, ideas supported by the majority of Americans (unless bridled by specific protections otherwise afforded by the Constitution), should be the ideas that are successfully integrated into law.  However, when the electorate is so divided, it can and does result in a gridlock that prevents any progress.  Gridlock is not new and is not always undesirable.  The lack of forward motion can actually be a good thing if the movement would take the country over a cliff.  But for nearly a decade now there has been a serious obstacle to any movement; “the politics of no”.

Just after the 2008 election of Barack Obama, GOP House Whip Eric Cantor made it clear to his caucus that their sole responsibility for the foreseeable future was to make sure that Obama could not point to any bipartisan successes.  And who can forget the  announcement from the Senate minority leader in 2010, No Second Term?

The requests from those two “leaders” were heeded.  While Republicans had just achieved (with Democratic help), a huge Wall Street bailout at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency, they unanimously rejected Obama’s Recovery Act offered within a week of inauguration.  It passed anyway and is considered by many to have saved the U.S. from economic catastrophe, helping both progressives and conservatives alike (see Stimulus Act Was a Success  and  Stimulus Program Was a Smashing Success).

Republicans united to oppose the Affordable Care Act, even though it was largely based on Romney Care in Massachusetts, addressed many of the elements that conservatives had cited as unacceptable in Clinton’s proposed 1994 reform package and solicited input from the other party.  It also passed without  Republican support, but how much better could it have been (be?) if all parties had worked together?

There were other examples of the right digging their heals into the ground attempting (and sometimes succeeding), to thwart any action that could cast the president in a positive light, even if the action would have benefited their own constituents.  Ironically, they did not prevent Barack Obama from being re-elected.

True to his original campaign word, President Obama made attempts to include “the other side”, but they were rebuffed.  Since neither the current Potus nor any incumbent Republican that ran again in 2016 claimed to foster bipartisanship, it is not surprising that they feel no need to now include Democrats in decision-making.  That attitude does not, however, excuse Democrats from trying to contribute (as an excellent case in point, see Senator Claire McCaskill is Stunned).

We have a representative form of government, from Dog Catcher to President, and we all have the opportunity and obligation to not only keep our representatives informed of our views, but also to keep them accountable, to let them know we’re watching…and not just on election day.  I implore liberal voters to request that their representatives and senators resist any and all actions that may be counter to their values, but I also ask them to request compromise and cooperation where ever possible on those issues that would benefit all citizens, regardless of who may receive the credit.  Democratic leaders should not be guilty of the childish pouting and breath-holding behavior that we’ve witnessed from Republicans for the last eight years.

“Just Say No” didn’t work for Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug campaign in the eighties and it hasn’t worked for Republicans in the new millennium.  It’s ineffective and destructive and as tempting as it may be to make sure no one can attribute anything good to the existing Potus, I firmly believe that he will do and say enough on his own to ensure his demise.  Besides, there are 321.4 million folk who need all of our legislators to be bigger than that.

 

 

 

 

 

Ya Vol, Mein Fuhrer!

I apologize for the brevity of this post, but I don’t think I can compete with the clip below.

Megalomania / noun / meg·a·lo·ma·nia / mania for great or grandiose performance

Why is it that we might believe James Comey is being truthful regarding POTUS’ request for loyalty?