Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Subversion in plain view

I'm not paranoid. Normally, that is. But I tell you we must stay aware, stay focused. I think our government--without mincing words, the GOP--is up to something. In the 10 past days, announcement after announcement has been made, multiple rushed hearings, and with more than 17 executive orders issued, and I tell you something is up.

And to be frank, I do not like it.

Operations in the Capitol are happening with lightning speed and you can definitely see how the GOP slowed things down to a snail's pace during the past eight years.

With each passing day, the Republicans' movements have been eliciting reactions that moved many of us to outrage to "now what?" And to "again?" and if we're not careful, indifference. I swear, the government, again the GOP, is planning on sneaking things through while no one is watching.

Don't believe me? In the past two weeks, the GOP tried to sneak a bill through late at night that would have limited the powers of the oversight watchdog committee while they thought no one would notice.... and they got their hands smacked for it.

But mind you, the party of no, who practice the maxim of "tell a lie often enough, and it becomes the truth," are up to no good.

The party who found 50 some odd ways to attempt to repeal the ACA is now sitting on the perch salivating as they pull the rug out from millions of Americans, leaving them without health care. 

"Trust us," they say. "We have a plan, but no details." This sounds suspiciously like a move right out of Donald Trump's playbook.

And they are hoping you and I are not watching what they are doing.

It seems DT and the rest of the GOP seem intent on digging a hole deeper one shovel load at a time, I am wondering how long the Not My President is going to be the Resident of the United States? Or if the party will go too far and alienate the American people. And I
find myself hoping, not long.

We must keep our eye on the ball. Our freedoms depend upon it.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a change

I know many friends who do not call themselves Democrats... or Republicans. There are many who say that neither party is any different than the other. For the most part, I disagree with that assessment.

BUT one thing that is apparent AND vital if the Democratic Party is going to gain ground after the 2016 elections, changes are are essential,,, imperative even.

We Democrats MUST prove we are different. We MUST hold the Republicans accountable for the policies and wholesale changes they are working so feverishly (in the dark of night even) to implement. 

We MUST get lobbyists' hands out of our pockets. Yes, I know that sound idealistic. We all know politics is not cheap.

We MUST build a unified message and stick to it. If we are to prove we are the party of the people, especially those who are in need the most, we must show them that. 

We MUST not let the Republicans divide us. And when the Republican policies hit the sh** fan as we know they will, we MUST not let them divert attention or blame us for their stupidity. 

Obviously, the Democratic Party has not done a good job getting our message out, but we MUST prove to the American people we are better. We must build a party that has roots, not only on the east and west coasts but the center of our country too.

My friend Matt says we must get as down and dirty as they have. One thing is certain, we cannot always play nice, but even when not, we MUST hold the moral high ground (you know, when they go low, we go high). Matt would say being nice has done nothing to promote our cause. He feels getting in their face is the only answer. Usually, I am a bit more pragmatic, but in this case, I wonder if Matt is not right? And I think he is.

That's a lot of ifs and we MUST start looking at the lower end of government appointees. We Democrats have gotten caught with our pants down all the while the GOP quietly took control of our school boards, our local city and county offices and our statehouses. It is going to take a long time to get ourselves back on equal ground. 

My hometown's mayor, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, is a candidate to serve as the Democratic National Committee chair. Mayor Pete is young, focused, charismatic, smart and very perceptive. The DNC would be well served to elect him. He has been a godsend to our city and has a lot of ideas to rebuild the party.

They always say change is hard. This is true even for political parties and completing these tasks is not going to be easy. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Cutting their throats

Today the N.Y. Times ran the article "Why rural America voted for Trump." Illuminating, disturbing, disheartening are three words I would use about rural attitudes.

From the article: "People in red counties resent the attention cities get - and [they] don't care for liberals."

My first reaction is we don't like them much either. From our viewpoint, they'd rather cut their own throats than accept any views differing from their own. But that is my first reaction. I don't like saying I do not like someone. I really don't. 

BUT I do not understand the "convicts." I jest about the nickname. Sort of. I look at one my brother's Facebook page and the word libtard is hurled around dozens of times. The venom is staggering.

To be honest, I cannot visit his page for all the bile. I suppose he might view my bleeding heart liberal stances just as offensive.

Second reaction: reading that sentence from the article, and I cannot help to detect an element of jealousy.

If the article is correct and rural folk think we city denizens get all the attention, they surely must know that their attitudes drove a large number of us to cities they claim to hold in contempt.

I know many conservatives think liberals are stupid. Just like many liberals think their opposites are backwater and ignorant. Do I think that? I'll be honest, some of them, I do.

It appears to me, that neither side wants to get to know each other AND listen to one another. It's easy to dismiss the other side; it's easy to dismiss minorities; it's easy to dismiss gays, lesbians, it's easy to dismiss Muslims; it's easy to dismiss lowly women; it's easy to dismiss [fill in blank] because no one is willing to get to know those they disagree with.

THAT is why we are in this boat we are in in Washington.

Bob Dole, not a man I have the greatest love for (but I do respect--at least before he endorsed the great divider, the Donald), once said something that pretty accurately describes the climate in Washington. He said in his day in Congress, members of both parties thrust and parried against the other side and when the day was done, they went out and had drinks, dined together, worked out at gyms together. He continued by saying none of that happens in DC anymore.

So we are polarized. We don't know one another. We don't trust one another. We don't hang out together. We don't talk. We don't listen. Which makes it so damned easy to say, "I don't like you."

Sad thing is: As a gay man, demonize me all you want, but I work. I pay my taxes. I pay my bills. I struggle to get ahead, just like a whole lot of us Americans, AND I put on my trousers one leg at a time. Just LIKE my conservative brothers and sisters do.

So until this happens. Democrats will be dismissive of Republicans. Republicans will do everything they can do to smack down members of my party. Conservatives will call us libtards (which, as I said is probably my brothers favorite insult) and liberals will view conservatives as dumb rednecks.

AND nothing will get done. Ever. We'll spin our wheels. We'll deny a President his chance to appoint a Supreme Court Justice and the new resident-elect will most likely find a Democratic Party taking the same tact that the GOP did with President Obama.

One conservative Navy Senior Chief with whom I have the utmost respect and I talk constantly. He has pointed out on numerous occasions that both parties treat (or mistreat) the others much like the old childish chant "you started it." We disagree often. We talk often but I think we have a golden rule. We LISTEN to one another.

Both conservatives and liberals... and let's not forget the moderates who are punished by both sides for straddling the fence... I believe want the same thing. We want security. We want peace. We want the best for our children and families and friends. We rarely agree on the means "of getting there," though.

My brothers went out of their way to torment me about the election. One wanted to tag my page, mentioning I felt butthurt (his words); another said they'd miss me at family gathers; another threatened to disown me. Odd thing is, my conservative Navy friends went out of their way to console me, even though they were happy with their candidate/party's victory.

The difference? I hate to admit it, but I am not close to my family. My Navy colleagues practice a long-held maxim: We in the Navy ARE family (I imagine the other services act accordingly). We may disagree but we respect each other and opinions are cherished.

When I mentioned to my brother Scott that Trump followers liked him because "he speaks his mind," I said I would appreciate if I was afforded the same courtesy. His response was he would if my opinions made any sense. Yeah, I just love the respect there.

THAT is why conservatives and liberals rarely get along. Even though we both harbors fears about the future, both sides would rather focus on differences and weakness and attack than work together.

While these are words I preach--believe me--I find them just as hard to practice.