My thoughts on Election 2012

I’m going to end up voting for someone who I often don’t agree with. That’s me. I’m a centrist/independent. Got that from my dad. And while I admire my choice for the presidency, I don’t worship him. It’s just that overall, I either agree with him more than I do his opponent or I’ve found something in his opponent that I don’t like enough to make sure my vote goes against that person.

The guy I won’t be voting for is not someone that I’m going to take the time to hate. In fact, I admire him and I admire the fact that he loves this country enough to put himself one the line here. He obviously is dedicated to America. And I don’t hold in disdain the people who will be voting for him.

One of the things that has disappointed me the most about this elections is that it has been almost completely void of ideas.

We’re at war. We’ve been at war for over ten years now. We need to develop some sort of strategic vision as to how we are going to face the international challenges over the next half century. The ascension of China and India in the world stage and how we will adapt economically and, to an extent, militarily. Add Latin America to that. The rise of political Islam in some countries. How we will maintain an energy policy that will meet our needs yet now harm the environment. How we will a changing Europe.

We’re in a complete economic flux. Our manufacturing base is all but disappearing. Technological implementations mean more productivity with less employment. Stagnant wages brought on by international competition and, yes, the amount of illegal immigrants/undocumented workers that move into the employment pool. All of this has lead to an increase in income disparity while, from what I can gather, less upward mobility. For some, that means less hope for a prosperous future. We may be creating a permanent underclass…one that seems to be very easy to pick on. It seems the powerful in both parties don’t address any issues related to poverty.

Our environment is a mess. Yeah, I believe that climate change exists. And I also believe that we’ve yet to understand the ramifications of it. I’ve also read where something like 40% of our lakes, rivers, and streams are too polluted to swim in or eat fish from. The Chesapeake Bay has huge dead zones where nothing exists.

And lastly, this election shows me once again, we are a divided nation. Hateful rhetoric thrives here. Whether it’s from the actual political arena of from many of you here on Facebook.

Obama is a communist. Romney voters are racists. The poor are lazy and want handouts. The rich are greedy. Whoever votes for the other guy is an idiot.

I could go on. In fact, I will.

I’ve seen Catholicism attacked for standing up on its principles. I’ve seen Mormonism defined as a cult. I’ve see gays attacked for hateful religious reasons when all they want is to be accepted. I’ve seen Muslims deemed as potential terrorists. I’ve seen loosely veiled attacks on blacks as somehow being less American than whites. I’ve seen hardworking business owners positioned as being selfish all the while I’ve seen hardworking employees who may be struggling being positioned as playing the role of being victims. I’ve seen women attacked for considering having an abortion. I’ve seen conservative Christians openly attacked as being morons. I’ve seen government workers get attacked for not having a real job.

Fuck all that.

Most of these simplistic, stupid digital posterboards trashing one side or the other show no interest is improving the country. Sure, some of them are funny, some may raise legitimate points. But most don’t say much being “the other side sucks”.

I’ve seen a lot of vicious battles here on Facebook over the past few months. Got a few arrows in my back and I’ve had to remove an ax or two from my forehead. I’ve seen a lot of people that I’ve come to admire make, what I consider to be, idiotic comments, predictions, etc. I’m sure post-election I’ll regain some of the respect I’ve had for them as it has been tarnished. But it disappoints me that from so many I saw so little. Work to make a better America? No…my side is so right and we’re doomed to hell if the asshole on the other side wins.

Either way, I’ll predict that no matter who will win, at the end of their term in 2016, the republic will still stand. We’ll still be America, an awesome country overall.

Suggestion: if you bitched about how this country is or how it will be under the other guy, you may want to try doing the following over the next four years.

Mentor a disadvantaged kid who needs a break, who needs someone who has faith in him or her.

Thank a veteran who took time out of his or her life to potentially put his life on the line for all of us.

Talk to someone who you normally can’t relate to…a small business owner who has to deal with government regulations, a social worker who deals with unimaginable stories, a person who’s lost their job and has come to the realization that their way of life ain’t coming back, a recent immigrant from another country (legal or illegal) who can speak on how America can likely offer more opportunity. This country isn’t just about you and the issues that you’ve come to feel are the most important.

Vote. And after you vote, get off your high horse and get off your ass and make this a better country. That’s what I intend to do.



Gingrich, janitors, the 1%, and you and me

First of all, do yourself a favor and watch this movie:

The defining moment during this Republican presidential primary season came for me when Newt Gingrich suggested that school systems get rid of most of their janitors in order to hire students.  It wasn’t just what he said, it was the subsequent response and lack of response that cued something off in me. Yeah, I was upset that he feels that it’s OK for 12 year olds to mix together chemicals, stand on 10 foot ladders to change light bulbs in the gym, and mop up their classmates piss.  I get that.  I’m a father of a teen.  And I realize that this policy will end up causing some kids to be the target of abuse from a slew of their classmates as they intentionally urinate all over the floor so the poorest of the poor can mop it up.

What got me more was that he has no problem suggesting the mass firing of what I consider to be hard working under appreciated blue collar working class men and women who simply trying to provide a life for themselves and, perhaps, their family.

And what REALLY got to most of all was that the vast majority of well, us, didn’t even notice this last part.  Most focused on the comment about the kids.  We didn’t see that we’ve got a major presidential candidate who’s calling for a policy in which perhaps thousands of “union member” janitors lose their jobs.  Had to use those words “union member” for effect of course. Continue reading Gingrich, janitors, the 1%, and you and me

RIP Teddy Kennedy

{{w|Ted Kennedy}}, Senator from Massachusetts.
Image via Wikipedia

When you’re an Irish Catholic growing up in New England in the 1960’s and 1970’s, you’re going to have a certain affinity with the huge Kennedy clan.  And that’s true even if you don’t fully embrace the politics.

While I was too young to remember the assassination of John F. Kennedy, I do remember the collection of books and magazine tributes my mother kept.  Basically, a ton of them.  Then Bobby Kennedy was taken in 1968, and the aura and the weight of the tragedy became part of the fabric.

Ted Kennedy, the youngest and at often times very irresponsible, became the one who would fully carry the mantle.  I’d say that he carried it in a manner worthy of the whole legacy of the family, albeit with a couple of huge scars that many conveniently forgot.

My first memories of him as the lead story are tied into Chappaquiddick.  I still don’t – no one knows – what happened that horrible night.  But I do say that  Ted Kennedy should be judged by that as he should be judged by the rest of his life.

And from what I’m reading that the rest of his life – or at least his work as a Senator is beyond impressive.  I say that as someone who would often disagree with his politics.  In a time of extreme partisanship, he was able to work with members of the other party, Orrin Hatch and John McCain, to name two, to fashion legislation that both maintain his principles and get passed.

Today we’ve got too many hard left and hard right types that seem to want to not give in.  That doesn’t mean that they’re sticking to principle; it means they’d rather score political points to screw the oppositon.

What’s struck me from all the accolades is that so many of people are coming out with stories of Kennedy’s kindness.  Phone calls to people who have a sick relative.  Adding a personal touch to the semantics of daily life.

So, yes, Ted Kennedy is a symbol of a bygone era.  An era where bipartisanship was used to produce a better government and a better American life.  And it’s that type of service that served as the foundation for my own idealism, ironically forged in part by reading and looking at those books and magazines my mother collected so long ago.  They made me proud to be an American (and an Irish Catholic to boot!).

RIP, Ted Kennedy, and thank you for your service to our country.

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I agree with Roger

Roger Ebert, in his blog post for the Chicago Sun Times, lays it out pretty well as to why we need a public option for health care..

“I”m safe on board.  Pull the life raft up”

Sure, the Obama administration and the “progressive” left have been less than honest about key issues such as  costs and the future stability of current plans, the current system in which 47 million Americans are without health insurance is unacceptable.

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It’s been a while…

I’ve spend so much time away from this blog, it’s as if it isn’t mine.  Last years elections wore me out as I got sick of the mudslinging between the candidates supporters.  But I’m back. Some thoughs:

The mainstream media loves Barack Obama like the way a college student loves beer.

The Republicans haven’t seemed to learn much from their losses.  They still talk about taxes, taxes, taxes and show intolerance toward the fact that we really are a diverse nation.

The Democrats are weaker than they believe themselves to be.   They’re in uncharted territory.

Gay marriage, while important to many and a legitimate issue to consider, is irrelevant to the vast majority of voters.

Barack Obama isn’t a socialist, but he’s coming close.

But then again, a lot of hard-right Republicans aren’t fascists, but some of them come close too.

Nancy Pelosi irritates me, politically.  She also has a smile that will someday will break her face.  She encompasses what I can’t stand about the Democratic Party.

Rush Limbaugh ecompasses what I can’t stand about the Republican Party.  Toss in Dick Cheney with that.

Newt Gingrich can make sense when he’s not being overly harsh.

This is no longer a center right country.

Mitt Romney’s description of Barack Obama’s approach to overseas issues as being a “Tour of Apology” is crap.  Trying to relate and point out past mistakes is completely appropriate.

But showing the world pictures of American personnel hurting and torturing Muslims isn’t.  Other innocent Americans will lose their lives because of it.  Including U.S. soldiers.

It wouldn’t bother me one bit if James Van Brunn, the white supremecist that shot to death security guard Stephen Johns in the Holocaust Museum, dies from his wounds.  In fact, I hope the bastard dies.

Being a white male, it would be nice to know what Sonia Sotomayor meant by that wise Latina/white male comment.

And Afghanistans and Paksistan are the new players in a 21st Century of the Domino Theory.  That’s very, very scary.

Well, that’s it for now.  Time to hit the sack.

Defending John McCain

In my last post, I went after those that unfairly trash Barack Obama.

As I read the tweets from various people on Twitter and read the posts from various left wing blogs, I once again can reaffirm my belief that political left can be as vicious as the political right.

John McCain has been accused of being a racist, a traitor, abusive toward women, corrupt, and literally, not an American.  I’ve had three people on Twitter continually spew out hate filled Tweets about the man, much of it was rehashed half truths or twisted thoughts about the man.  Just as we see with those that oppose Barack Obama, we know see with the same with John McCain.  We’ve got people who will take any rumor or anything slightly derogatory and treat is as the gospel truth as long at is against the person they now have come to hate.

I’ve seen people try to portray McCain as someone who’s betrayed his own country and his fellow prisoners because he broke under torture from his captors in Vietnam.  I can’t imagine the horror of going through all of that for 5 1/2 hours let alone 5 1/2 years.  McCain, at first, had it easier than his fellow prisoners and was offered early release as a propaganda piece by the North Vietnamese.  He refused, keeping in accordance with the principle that those that first captured should get first release.  Upon this decision, McCain’s treatment became horrendous.  You can bet that his self-righteous critics, safely sitting in their living rooms blogging or twittering about how he betrayed his fellow prisoners, wouldn’t be able to stand a day enduring what McCain had to go through.

Not only do those that attack McCain on this twist history to meet their hate filled diatribes, they also ignore McCain’s brave opposition to the Bush Administration’s policy of using torture on prisoners from thw wars that we are currently having.  That, of course, doesn’t surprise me.

I’ve also seen McCain attacked because of his involvement in the Keating 5 scandal.  What he essentially did was attend a meeting called together by his fellow Arizona senator Dennis DeConcini – a Democrat who I almost worked for – on behalf of a prominent Arizona businessman, Charles Keating.  Now, Keating and McCain were friends and Keating had given McCain plenty of money in campaign contributions.  They had spent time together socially.  But in this meeting, it became clear that Keating wanted McCain to so something that was clearly unethical. Unlike, DeConcini, McCain angrily refused.  For this, his name was dragged through the mud and permanently tainted.

Many thought at the time, including me, that the Democrats wanted to spread the scandal around to include McCain because they wanted to have at least one Republican as part of it.  In doing so, they trashed two Democrats, John McCain and Don Reigle who were largely innocent as well.

What kills me is that many of the people who attack McCain about the Keating 5 had no clue of what the whole episode was about.  They probably hadn’t heard of it beforehand and certainly couldn’t name the other four.  But then again in politics, when you’re attacking someone, learning about what you’re saying isn’t important.  Attacking is.

Whether or not John McCain ends up becoming president of the United States or not is not the issue of this post.  The issue of this post is that John McCain is a great American who has sacrificed and served his country more than any of his critics could imagine.

Race and morons

I didn’t intend this new blog to be an angry platform, but we’re in the last week of the election and I have to get this off my chest.

This post may have been more appropriate a few weeks ago. Maybe a month ago. Now it appears that we may be on the verge of electing the first African American a president of the United States. That hasn’t happened yet, and anything can happen. Including some dangerous things as we found out today. But a week from today Barack Obama will likely become president-elect.

A few disclosures first. I like John McCain. I’m politically equidistant between John McCain and Barack Obama. This is the first presidential election where I was sort of enthusiastic about BOTH candidates. For different reasons of course. So this post is not an anti-McCain diatribe. For that matter, I wouldn’t have any major problem with John McCain being the next president of the United States. Like Colin Powell, I believe both candidates are qualified, excellent candidates.

What got me concerned was that I heard for the umpteenth time that someone (a white person) wasn’t going to vote for Barack Obama because 1) “he’ll be only for the blacks” or 2) “if he’s elected, blacks will think they own the place”. I’ve heard this all A LOT…much too often. It wasn’t about issues – health care, Iraq, education, the economy, global warming. It had nothing to do with John McCain – he wasn’t even mentioned in these person’s points. No, it wasn’t anything related about substance.

It was strictly about race. Continue reading Race and morons