Check Your Hatred at the Door

The statement itself wasn’t necessarily a big deal, but a couple of days ago I logged out of Facebook on my laptop and shut off the app on my phone. The reason: politics in this country has become a hate fest and not only on my newsfeed, but also on the comments on the posts I was making.

Politics is second nature to me. I’ve lived in the DC area for over 30 years. I’ve worked on political campaigns from senate to presidential. I’ve worked as a grassroots lobbyist. I’m what best can be called a diehard independent centrist. I don’t think in terms of political party. I don’t follow anyone else’s pre-formulated political philosophy. People on the left call me a “reasonable” conservative; people on the right call me a “reasonable” liberal. While I often try to find the good in people and their politics, today I’m almost solely seeing the bad.

In the past few weeks I’ve made posts that, while not directly calling for unity, at the very least calling for civility in these times. The resulting responses soon turned into a mutual hate fest between left and right. Hateful shit spreading out over several sub-threads. People attacking one another and anyone who’s on the other side of the spectrum. I started getting defriended by people, not because anything I wrote, but because they’re being attacked by others who are filled with hatred. Now I have to repair relationships.
It’s my fault though. I post about politics. I just do. And because I’m in several political discussion groups and because I’m a centrist, I’ve cultivated a ton of people from across the political spectrum over the years. That should be cool. I don’t have, like some who have more polarizing politics, a bevy of like-minded people who agree with everything I say. With that, I used to host some great political discussions.

Not anymore.

But the political situation in this country has gotten out of hand. This past week, we had an attempted political assassination in the United States. An act of terrorism. Make no mistake about it. Yes. An assassination attempt. Yes, that’s terrorism. Right in my old neighborhood. For seventeen years I lived near the ball field where US Rep. Steve Scalise and others were shot. It was that very same ballfield that I used to play pick up games. It was next to the YMCA that I taught my son how to swim. Across the street I used to buy groceries.
So right now we’ve got a US Congressman lying in a hospital in critical condition with a bunch of bones broken, a bunch of internal organs torn apart, and a tremendous loss of blood. He’ll likely pull through, but, yeah, he could die. The doctor who performed surgery on Rep. Scalise said that when the Congressman arrived at the hospital, he was “in imminent risk of death”. I don’t give a shit what political party he’s in, how he stands on this issue or that one or if they match mine. He’s a human being. We’ve also got another man — a young man named Matt Mika- also in critical condition. Shot in the chest.

Yes, most were appalled. But soon I saw something that I’ve now come to expect.

Instead of expressing concern about their lives, sympathy for all of those injured, and outrage that it all happened…I kept on seeing some not giving a shit that we had an attempted political assassination because they were more concerned about Rep. Scalise’s voting record. They immediately began to try to put the shooting in “context”…saying it was no doubt definitely wrong, but the anger behind it…was justified. Because of this vote and that stance. Justified. Not the actual shooting — no, we don’t want that, but that anger behind it. Someone may be about to die and, yeah, while his getting shot shouldn’t have happened, the anger behind it was, you know, understandable. If you’re a conservative or a Republican then, a little violence against you could be in order.

That’s what we’ve come to.

This was preceded by many on the right justifying conservative Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte body slamming a “liberal” reporter to the ground because…the reporter asked the candidate a question. Some of those justifying the action position themselves as “values voters”. When the news media then asked some voters on their way to voting if the assault that affected their vote. No, said many. They still liked Gianforte. It was also the reporter’s fault. So, if you’re a liberal or a Democrat, or a member of the press (remember Trump’s attacks on the press), a little violence against you could be in order.

That’s what we’ve come to.

All this a week or two after Kathy Griffin’s gross attempt at being funny…which was followed by her pathetic attempt to position herself as a victim. Then there’s the ongoing attempt to shut down free speech by left wing campus radicals. People getting sprayed with mace in the face for simply wanting to listen to a speaker. Or battles between alt-right types with Antifa types. The murders of two brave souls in Portland by the deranged white supremacist whose politics were revealed to be both alt-left and alt-right at the same time.

Earlier we had the fake news story of “Pizzagate” pedophilia rings passed on by gullible right wing idiots — or willing right-wing idiots — that almost resulted in many deaths because yet another idiot showed up at a pizza place to take things into his own hands.

Before that, Trump rallies became scenes of violence, some of which were started by Trump supporters, some of which was started by left wing agitators brought in secretly by Democratic operatives.

It ain’t really new. For the entire time Obama was in office, I saw dozens of photos of fake lynchings of the president, dozens of portrayals of a wonderful First Lady as a gorilla. America’s leader, an inspiration to about 40 million African Americans. And millions of others. I saw people delighted that Trayvon Martin, a seventeen year old returning from a convenience store, had been killed. I can still see that hatred today.

I keep on seeing people tell me that — take your pick — conservative and Republicans or liberals and Democrats hate America. How they’re fascists.

Little critical thinking, relying on completely biased sources, resisting any information that may contradict what you thing. And by all means, deflect.

If that’s how you think, I don’t respect you. I think you’re an idiot or an asshole. Or both.

Yeah, I know. Blame the other side. Come up with solid examples (all true) while ignore or explain away your side. Blah, blah, blah. Focus on their hatred. How about focus on YOUR hatred or indifference if it doesn’t bother you some who share your politics are more intent on putting all of this in context in a way that partially justifies all this. How about trying to reach out to someone who you may disagree with on issues, but someone that you may find…is a decent human being? Perish the thought that you may find out that someone who you disagree with is human.

I’ll just say it. I think left and right are just as bad right now with their hatred of one another, with their attempts to demonize one another. Everyone is too busy trying to position how much better, much smarter, much more moral, more patriotic your side is and how much worse, less intelligent, less moral, less patriotic, the other side is. Bullshit.

The night of the assassination attempt, my son and I went down to the Mall in DC. We walked from the Lincoln Memorial, past the WWII Memorial and then by the Washington Monument, all the way to the US Capitol. Then all the way back. Six miles. It’s a beautiful walk, seeing those national monuments and memorials and those American flags all lit up, flapping in the night wind.

One of the things I like most about it is that when you go down there, you see people from all over the country. Or from all over the world. Many of them young people. There were a bunch of blond haired, blue eyed kids from the Midwest in their FFA (Future Farmers of America) uniforms. There were African American high school students wearing yellow t-shirts about the immersion program at their MLK High School. Gay couples were walking hand and hand by a group of Christian students visiting form Alabama. Over to an performance stage in another area, there was an group of what I think was Bolivian American students practicing, perfectly synchronized, a cultural dance.

I dunno. That’s my America. That’s why I love this country. Our diversity. There are no American last names.

Pass through the Vietnam Memorial. Two very long panels. It’s not divided with dead left-wingers on one panel and dead right-wingers on the other. Head over to Arlington National Cemetery. There aren’t separate plots for Democrats and Republicans. In the future, we may have to do that.

In the meantime, fight for your values, but check your hatred. Embrace what we have here in America while you’re trying to make it better for future generations. Right now, they’re learning hate is the answer.

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CNN poll means trouble for HRC

Disclosure: I can’t stand either candidate. This ain’t an endorsement.

Prediction: Unless Trump has a major screw up of historic proportions, he will be the next president of the United States. He’s got a lousy campaign apparatus – which is another thing that could do him in – but it also seems he has unshakable support among his, well, supporters. Hillary could still win via the Electoral College and by making red states purple via the Latino vote, but that’s still a challenge.

As this article points from CNN points out, Trump had a difficult month. Campaign staff changes, high profile defection from experienced and seasoned Republicans, etc. But he still narrowed the gap. That says a lot.

From where I sit, the media talking heads still don’t get it. Trump’s support is based less on substance and more on emotion. And working class whites (mostly males) – an actual constituency and one that neither party has focused on or shown much concern for for decades – are pissed because they’ve seen their standards of living decrease over that same time.

Yes. I know. Non-whites, as a whole, have it worse off. I know. And I agree that overall, they have it worse off. That doesn’t mean blue collar whites without college degrees are doing well. Especially in swing states. Not at all.

I don’t blame Obama for that. Those trends started in the 1970’s.

But consider:

Trump has 90% support from Republicans (Clinton has 92% support of Democrats) which puts to rest that there’s a ton of GOP defections. He’s got, in this poll, essentially a 5 to 3 advantage in independents (Trump 49% to Clinton 29%).

While Clinton does have the support of women overall (53% to 38%), she only has the support of 36% of married women – with 73% of unmarried woman going for her. She only has the support of 36% of married women. Trump has 53% of them. And I’m guessing that much of that 73% support will be concentrated in states that are already blue while the married women are more spread around. The fact that Clinton has less than 40% of married women is a huge negative for her.

To say the least, many people aren’t thrilled about these two. Count me in on that. But for Clinton, it’s worse. Of her likely voters, 5 out of 9 Hillary (55%) aren’t enthusiastic. Great work, Democrats. Great work, DNC. You got your candidate. For Trump, it’s a bit of the opposite. Fifty-six percent of his supporters are enthusiastic about the carnival barker.

Amazingly, Trump, who lies all the time, leads Clinton, who lies all the time, in rating as to whom is more honest (50% to 35%). How anyone thinks either one of these two candidates is honest is beyond me.

Oh, and whites that don’t have college degrees…the types of people so many of us college educated folks end up looking down upon (while being unable to relate to)…support Trump by a HUGE 68% to 24% margin.

I write that because I still think most pundits – left and right – still don’t grasp the angst and anger of America’s white working class.

All this, plus a potential end of October surprise where Wikileaks shows us that Putin in Russia or Kim Jong-un in North Korea or the Mullahs in Iran, now have a batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails from the State Department has me thinking that we’re going to elect a guy that – in my mind – is crude, rude, and who has no clue on any issues or as to how to maneuver within the political arena.

What a disaster of a campaign season

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

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

http://www.philosopherkingsmovie.com/

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

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

Obscene email about Obama pisses me off

I just got this via email. It’s late in the election cycle and dirty shit is hitting the fan. I doubt – no I fully believe that this was not created by nor sanctioned by the McCain campaign. And I’ll add that there are plenty on the left that would readily use this type of tactic. But the bullshit is kicking in now and it’s pissing me off. Here’s the text:

PLEASE read this! McCain may not be perfect, but he is a patriotic AMERICAN.
– I hope that you send this to everyone you know…
Perhaps there are SOME out there who are beginning to get ‘the picture’. The following is a narrative taken from Sunday Morning’s televised ‘Meet The Press’ and the author is employed by none other than the Washington Post!! Yeah……the Washington Post of New York and Los Angeles Times fame!! Must say that I’m dually impressed………………..

From Sunday’s Televised ‘Meet the Press Senator Obama was asked about his stance on the American Flag.
Obama Explains National Anthem Stance

Sun, 07 Sept. 2008 11:48:04 EST, General Bill Ginn‘ USAF (ret.) asked Obama
to explain why he doesn’t follow protocol when the National Anthem is played.

The General also stated to the Senator that according to the United States Code,
Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171… During rendition of the national anthem when the
flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform are expected to stand at attention
facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. At the very least, ‘Stand and Face It’.

Senator Obama Live on Sunday states: ‘As I’ve said about the flag pin, I don’t want
to be perceived as taking sides, Obama said. ‘There are a lot of people in the world
to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression. And the anthem itself conveys
a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all. It should be swapped
for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song ‘I’d Like To Teach the
World To Sing.’ If that were our anthem, then I might salute it.

We should consider to reinvent our National Anthem as well as to redesign our Flag to better offer our enemies
hope and love. It’s my intention, if elected, to disarm America to the level of acceptance
to our Middle East Brethren. If we as a Nation of warring people, should conduct ourselves
as the nations of Islam, whereas peace prevails. Perhaps a state or period of mutual concord
between our governments.
When I become President, I will seek a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity, and a freedom from disquieting oppressive thoughts. We as a Nation have placed upon the nations of Islam an unfair injustice. My wife disrespects the Flag for many personal reasons. Together she and I
have attended several flag burning ceremonies in the past, many years ago. She has her views and I have mine’. Of course now, I have found myself about to become the President of theUnited States and I have put aside my hatred. I will use my power to bring CHANGE to this Nation, and offer the people a new path of hope. My wife and I look forward to becoming our Country’s First Family. Indeed, CHANGE is about to overwhelm the United States of America .

WHAAAAAAAT the Hell !!!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you heard it right. This could possibly be our next President.

I, for one, am speechless.

Dale Lindsborg ,

Washington Post

What amazes me is that people believe this shit. And then forward it onto their friends. I mean, to believe that one of the two major presidential candidates is admitting on national television that he had put aside his hatred of his own country to run for presidnet, that he wants to change the National Anthem from the “Star Spangled Banner” to “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”, that he and his wife had attended many flag burnings…
God, I hate bigotry and stupidity.