Tag Archives: Elections

One Good Thing I Can Say

Today, I rise in support of the Gentleman from Missouri.

This morning, when I received a challenge from my friend Mark of Exile on Pain Street, well, I wasn’t sure I was up to it.  I tried, really i did.  But I just didn’t think I had it in me to answer his challenge:

I defy you to say something positive about the GOP. One thing.

When I look at today’s GOP, well, I don’t see anything positive.  I see a lot of hate.  I see a lot of stupidity.  I see a lot of folks in office that, well, really should just go back to where they came from.

And I feel compelled to write about it.  To shout from the rooftops, actually.  To get one more person out to vote against the folks who really should not be in positions to impact our lives.

But, you know, I felt bad when I realized that Mark is right.  Because I didn’t always feel this way.  I wasn’t always anti-GOP.  In fact, under the right circumstances, I might have become a Republican.  And today, a Republican showed me exactly why I might have joined the GOP.

Then I found my one positive thing!

Have you heard the news out of Missouri?

A leading contender for the GOP ticket for Missouri governor died last week.  Of course, that’s sad news.  It’s sad when anybody dies.

But of course there’s more to the story.  Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich (R) killed himself.  And suicide is a whole different ball game.

Mr. Schweich had believed himself to be the victim of a whispering campaign, by state GOP chairman John Hancock who was “off-handedly” spreading the word that Mr. Schweich was Jewish.  [It’s a sad statement of life here in America that that should be seen as a problem.]  There was also a nasty radio ad.  And Mr. Schweich was, by reports, a sensitive man.

These tactics have become part and parcel of our political “debates.”

But today, somebody stood up against it.  Against what politics has become.

Former Senator John Danforth was that man.  REPUBLICAN of Missouri.  Senator Danforth is part of the old school of Republicans.  Honorable men — they were all men.  Men who stood up for what was right and what was good.  Men who believed in their country and what we as a nation could do.

In his eulogy for Mr. Schweich, Senator Danforth called out all of us on what we’ve let politics become.  Anything Goes.

I have never experienced an anti-Semitic campaign. Anti-Semitism is always wrong and we can never let it creep into politics.

As for the radio commercial, making fun of someone’s physical appearance, calling him a “little bug”, there is one word to describe it: “bullying.” And there is one word to describe the person behind it: “bully.”

[…]

Indeed, if this is what politics has become, what decent person would want to get into it? We should encourage normal people — yes, sensitive people — to seek public office, not drive them away.

Senator Danforth continued:

We often hear that words can’t hurt you. But that’s simply not true. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said just the opposite. Words for Jesus could be the moral equivalent of murder. He said if we insult a brother or sister we will be liable. He said if we call someone a fool we will be liable to hell. Well how about anti-Semitic whispers? And how about a radio ad that calls someone a “little bug,” and that is run anonymously over and over again?

Words do hurt. Words can kill. That has been proven right here in our home state.

He explained why it happens:

There is no mystery as to why politicians conduct themselves this way. It works. They test how well it works in focus groups and opinion polls. It wins elections, and that is their objective. It’s hard to call holding office public service, because the day after the election it’s off to the next election, and there’s no interlude for service. It’s all about winning, winning at any cost to the opponent or to any sense of common decency.

And then an idea, a promise.  A pledge:

Let’s decide that what may have been clever politics last week will work no longer. It will backfire. It will lose elections, not win them.

Let’s pledge that we will not put up with any whisper of anti-Semitism. We will stand against it as Americans and because our own faith demands it. We will take the battle Tom wanted to fight as our own cause.

We will see bullies for who they are. We will no longer let them hide behind their anonymous pseudo-committees. We will not accept their way as the way of politics. We will stand up to them and we will defeat them.

This will be our memorial to Tom: that politics as it now exists must end, and we will end it. And we will get in the face of our politicians, and we will tell them that we are fed up, and that we are not going to take this anymore.

When Senator Danforth was in the U.S. Senate, it was an institution filled, more or less, with people of principle.  Some of the members I respected the most were Republicans.  They believed in cooperation and compromise.  The loyalty was to America, not to the GOP.

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It is vital to have people in office who hold different ideas, different principles.  But it is time that we elect folks who have principles.  Wouldn’t that be great?

* If you are unfamiliar with Mark’s blog — run, don’t walk over to his blog. He’s a gifted writer.

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Out of this World Facepalm

Sometimes, even a die-hard Democrat and respecter of smart people everywhere like me can’t believe what I hear Republicans say.  But, of course, with YouTube, I get to See and Hear all kinds of things.  I can replay them in case I missed something.  I can marvel that, yup, they did, in fact say something as stupid as that.  Or this.  Yup.  There’s proof.

Oregon State Representative Bill Post eulogized the passing of Leonard Nimoy on the floor of the legislature.

As Addicting Info stated:

Of course, neither Spock nor Nimoy were Republicans. Star Trek is pro-science and about a big government in search of a utopian society. Its themes were equality (although the original Star Trek was sexist) and peace. There was no money on the Starship Enterprise. There were no rich or poor. All basic needs were provided for, including health care.

One of Spock’s most famous quotes was, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

Don’t these folks ever listen to themselves?
*     *     *
I learned about this through Dailykos.com which directed me to Wonkette and ultimately to Addicting Info.

 

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No “Thank You”?

It was in 2002 when I first heard it, and even that first time, it made me feel somewhat uncomfortable.

John, Jacob and I had just recently returned to the US from our European adventure, when we attended a wedding of long-time family friends. The groom was in the active military, as were a number of the guests. Ed, the father of the bride, raised his glass and gave a toast; he enthusiastically wished them every happiness.

Then Ed raised his glass a little bit higher and said: “Thank you for your service.”

Huh? I thought. I’d never heard anyone do that before.

Now I’d known Ed for decades – since he was protesting the Vietnam War, as a matter of fact. So it seemed a bit odd to hear him say it, even though it was genuine and it was heartfelt. He meant it.

In those early post-9-11 days, Americans had started to understand that there are folks who make big sacrifices in their lives to serve in the military, that we as a country need a strong military. And that they should be acknowledged and appreciated..

Since that day, though, I’ve heard hundreds of people thank service men and women for their service. My old office was just down the road from a military base, so service people were all over all the time. People would thank them in line at Chipotle, at the bank, at the grocery store. They always looked uncomfortable; they were always polite. It’s also done at baseball games and other sporting events, where the announcer highlights a few members of the armed forces in the audience and then thanks all our service men and women.

I’ve always thought that if I were a member of the military, I would be uncomfortable hearing it. And I’d DIE if someone did that to me at a baseball game. Or if some random stranger just came up to me and thanked me for my service.

Because it often seemed like a hollow gesture. To say “Thank You for Your Service” has become another throwaway phrase – something said to a person in uniform instead of “Have A Nice Day!” With the notable exception of this old friend of mine at his daughter’s wedding, it has never really felt genuine. And it makes me feel uncomfortable.

Maybe it is just because of the people I’ve met who do it. They seem terribly insincere – like Mary Grace – a woman I met at a dinner party who was so sanctimonious about her good deeds and her patriotism, that I was compelled to take her down verbally.

So today when I read an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times entitled

Please Don’t Thank Me for My Service

well, I felt somewhat vindicated in my discomfort.

Matt Richtel told a bit of the story of Hunter Garth, a former Marine, but the focus of the article was on how many present and former military folks feel when someone thanks them for their service.

I did know he was a vet and so I did what seemed natural: I thanked him for his service.

“No problem,” he said.

It wasn’t true. There was a problem. I could see it from the way he looked down. And I could see it on the faces of some of the other vets who work with Mr. Garth when I thanked them too.

Everybody does like to be appreciated, don’t they?

But I read in the article that my instincts were right – that many service people don’t want to be appreciated in this particular way.  And to many others, it brings back thoughts that they might not want to think at that particular moment.

The idea of giving thanks while not participating themselves is one of the core vet quibbles, said Mr. Freedman, the Green Beret. The joke has become so prevalent, he said, that servicemen and women sometimes walk up to one another pretending to be “misty-eyed” and mockingly say “Thanks for your service.”

To these vets, thanking soldiers for their service symbolizes the ease of sending a volunteer army to wage war at great distance — physically, spiritually, economically. It raises questions of the meaning of patriotism, shared purpose and, pointedly, what you’re supposed to say to those who put their lives on the line and are uncomfortable about being thanked for it.

Mr. Garth, 26, said that when he gets thanked it can feel self-serving for the thankers, suggesting that he did it for them, and that they somehow understand the sacrifice, night terrors, feelings of loss and bewilderment. Or don’t think about it at all.

I think that we all want to somehow say thanks, because truly, what they do is vital to our country. And it’s dangerous. And pretty thankless.  But maybe we need to do just a little bit more than hollow gestures.  Just look at the difference between how we treat veterans today and how they were treated after WWII. Then they got jobs and the GI Bill. Now? Not so much.

Naturally, one line in the article jumped out at me, as something that you and I can all do for our vets. To thank them.

So what to say to a vet? Maybe promise to vote next time.

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Louie Gohmert for Speaker!! YES!!!

Have you heard the exciting news?  Representative Louis Gohmert ((R-Where Else But F’ing Texas) is challenging Rep. John Boehner for Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“Why?” you ask, “Elyse, you are a liberal Democrat.  Why do you want such a stupid, ignorant Neanderthal Teapartier [OK, so I repeat myself] to be Speaker of the House?  What better way to prove to ‘Merica that the GOP’s aims are stupid and harmful than having them served up to us on the TEEVEE by Gomer-Fuckin’-Pyle?

In case you’re unfamiliar with him, Gohmert is widely considered to be one of, if not THE dumbest member of either party in either House.  Here is a compendium of his, ummm, opinions:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAdGnvMKEYM

Every time this man appears in front of the camera, he shows himself to be an idiot.  So what better mouthpiece for the GOP?

I give Louie my unqualified support.  You can too!  Just go to House.Gov and contact your own representative.  Ask him/her to vote for Louie!

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Our Groaning Nation

It occurred to me just now that America, the grand experiment in Democracy that began in revolution in 1776, and organized itself under the Constitution in 1789, is no longer in its infancy.

Yeah, I was shocked too!

Of course, at 238 years old, I shouldn’t be.  In fact, growing up should be expected.  We can’t remain babies or even toddlers forever, now, can we? Cute and cuddly was bound to give way to something, well, to something decidedly different.

We want to be like the big kids.  After all, the countries that most of those in power like to believe we all hailed from (legally, natch) have been around for many hundreds of years, some even a thousand years or more.  They’ve done so much stuff that they don’t even bother to put up plaques saying what happened.

Yes, those other countries, they’ve changed, grown, and matured through the ages.  We must too.

And we are.

Which led me to the realization of the entire problem with our country.  With our political family.

SHIT!  America is  a teenager, God help us.

Yup.  We (and the world we lead) are truly fucked.

We have become a nation of petulant fools who can’t think beyond our own immediate needs.

Let’s hope our nation doesn’t wrap itself around a metaphorical tree.

[Elections matter.  We got what too many of us stayed home for.]

*   *   *

The idea for this post came to me when I read Zorbear’s post, Just wasting our money again… featuring  this terrific cartoon

INFRASTRUCTURE

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Longing for Dick

It was while commenting on Doobster’s post, Art Imitating Life or Life Imitating Art, that I realized that the unthinkable had happened.   It’s true.

Doobster made me look back, and I thought of the men in my past.

George.

And George.

And Ronnie.

Now I find myself looking back fondly. Longing for Dick.*

I'm gonna be sick.  Google, why'd you do this to me?

I’m gonna be sick. Google, why’d you do this to me?

 

I wish I were kidding.

Often, I’ve realized that if the GOP hadn’t gone completely over the edge into fanaticism, that I’d be a Republican.

Google Me This

Google Me This

Because, you see, I remember when Republicans were not crazy. When they were a valuable part of the strong government that built our country into the envy of the world.

When they were not out only to protect their rich buddies. When they knew how to govern.

When they could compromise. More importantly, when compromise was the goal, because they knew that THAT is how government works. And good government works for everybody.

I remember the wonderful things that were done in the 1970s — Environmental laws, highways funded, bridges built.  Government FUCKING WORKED.

But starting with Reagan, the image makers changed the face of government – remember:

Reagan put folks into Cabinet positions who didn’t believe in government.  The Energy and Education Departments were led by folks whose job was to destroy the agencies.  The Environmental Protection Administration was led by Anne Gorsuch who didn’t promulgate the regulations that she had to — by law — promulgate.  People were put into levels of responsibility to thwart the laws they were supposed to administer.

So yes, I am sitting here looking back through history and realizing that the GOP has, in leaps and bounds, ensured that government doesn’t work. [I’ve said for years, why do people want to elect folks to government who don’t’ believe in government? What is the fucking point of that?]

It was compounded by George H.W. and then by George W. who put more and more jokers in positions of power.

And what a surprise, the government doesn’t work any more.

 

So now I find myself looking back fondly to Richard Nixon.  My, ummm, hero.

Google, natch.

Google, natch.

Is there no limit to what these Republican will do to me?

 

 

 

 

* Yeah, I know I skipped Jerry. But he served on a naval ship with my Dad in WWII during a typhoon and Gerald Ford saved the ship. So I cut Jerry some serious slack. Sue me.

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The Wrong Mascot

One of the drawbacks of living in the DC area is elephants. As you probably know, the elephant is the symbol of the GOP.

Frankly, that makes me really blue.  OK, bluerI am a Democrat and I love Elephants.

Republicans are nothing like elephants.  Elephants work together for the good of the herd.  They are sweet unless you piss them off.  They are gentle.  They help each other. They understand climate change.

I could give you a million other reasons why the elephant should not be the symbol of today’s GOP, but let me just show you this video to prove my point:

 

You’ll notice not one adult elephant, NOT ONE telling that little baby elephant to pull itself up by its bootstraps.

I rest my case.

 

*     *     *

Frank, of AFrankAngle is celebrating his 1500th post with a party this weekend.  Go on over and join him if you can.  And if you don’t know Frank’s blog, check it out.

AND IF you’d like to make my puppy Duncan a pinup star, please vote/donate to the Arlington (VA) Animal Welfare League.  Here’s my post with info:  http://fiftyfourandahalf.com/2014/10/01/vote-early-for-duncan/  I was going to do a widget on my sidebar, but UMMMMMM, I can’t remember how.  OK, so I am not technically minded.  Or minded technically.  Or able to do widgets.  Sigh.

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