Posts Tagged With: hillary clinton

Deplorable And Proud Of It — Now’s There’s A Feather In Your Cap!

preble-county-gop

When Kramer, of Seinfeld fame, announces to his friends that he wants to ‘die with dignity,’ Elaine quips, ‘now there’s a feather in your cap,’ because achieving some things, well, just isn’t all that glorious. Neither is embracing slogans that are harmful to the country  — like ‘deplorable and proud of it.’

Deplorable and Proud of It

In my hometown, the GOP rents empty downtown storefronts each election cycle (there is never a shortage of options) for its victory center. This year the signage in the window includes the slogan “Deplorable and Proud of It” — an obvious reference to a quote from Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The entire quote goes like this:

You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric.

Now some of those folks, they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.

It is a quote that resonates with some Trump supporters — and smaller versions of the sign are sprinkled throughout Preble County. When individuals embrace the slogan, some may dismiss it as the opinion of the unenlightened in a country built upon Enlightenment principles, but when a political organization embraces it, it is problematic. It gives credence to undesirable mores and values.

Deplorable Traits 101

When I see the sign inside the GOP Headquarters on Main Street in Eaton, Ohio I wonder which of the five attributes named by Clinton they are most proud of:

  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Racism
  • Xenophobia
  • Islamophobia

These are traits that, by and large, we teach our children to eschew — usually in Sunday School when we teach them the Golden Rule — or maybe later in life by reading books like Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. We have dealt with the negative aspects of these beliefs since our country’s inception — and, it goes without saying, a society built on these concepts is a disgrace to democracy.

Autopsy Report

gopIn 2013, the GOP released a 97-page report, the Growth and Opportunity Project (pdf) trying to decipher how the Party lost the 2012 presidential election to Barack Obama. The report, which became known as the autopsy report, spelled out specific changes the Party should embrace to maintain a relevant presence on the national stage. A few of the points it listed were:

  • Move left on the Gay issue
  • Listen to Minorities
  • Stop Blocking Out All Dissenting Voices

But Trump happened and the new play book was thrown out.

Sexism and Homophobia

Although his rise to prominence was due to his carefully orchestrated exploitation of the inherent weaknesses of the primary system, Trump’s presidential campaign is currently in a freefall after tapes of him bragging about sexual assault to a giggling Billy Bush were leaked to the press. GOP leaders, women more quickly than men, are unendorsing the candidate, much to the chagrin of Bill O’Reilly wannabe Tomi Lahren who, like many, is trying to reduce the scandal down to some bawdy language. It’s not about language, as countless commentators, comedians and moms have pointed out. It’s about the abuse of power and the willful disregard of another person’s rights.

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Republican Rob Portman

Not everyone in the GOP is embracing this 5-star deplorable movement. Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who distanced himself from Trump over the weekend, supports same-sex marriage because, as is often the case, when a political position becomes personal it is reevaluated. Several years ago Portman’s son, Will, announced he was gay, and Portman reconsider  — and reversed — his view on same-sex marriage. Preble County’s (and Ohio’s 8th) former Congressman John Boehner, a Catholic — possibly taking his cue from the 2013 GOP report — abandoned the long held GOP anti-gay agenda and campaigned in 2014 for an openly gay GOP Congressman.

Xenophobia and Islamophobia

Xenophobia is a blight on America’s collective consciousness. It’s why we turned away Jewish refugees in WWII. It is why a Minnesota farmer in the early 1900s was abused and beaten — first physically then by the legal system — for being a German-American when anti-Germany sentiment ran high in the country.

Fear of non-Protestant religion is another unsolved problem. Although Hillary correctly stated in Sunday’s debate that Muslims have been in this country as far back as George Washington, she did gloss over the persecution they endured. In the beginning, the preferred religion was white Protestant — as Jews, Catholics, Muslims and even various sects of white Protestant churches were persecuted — with a handful of Quakers and Baptists being imprisoned or executed during the colonial era.

As late as the 1850s a gang of thugs associated with the Know-Nothing political group (a political forefather of Trump’s movement) bombed a missionary school run by Father John Bapst, and when damp weather prevented their scheme to burn the missionary alive, they tarred and feathered him. His real crime was being Catholic — and none of the Know-Nothing fear mongers, convinced Bapst was trying to ban the Bible from the United States, were ever charged in the crime.

George-W-Bush

President George W. Bush

Despite Muslims living peacefully and productively in the United States in the years leading up to and after 9/11, once the terror attacks occurred president George W. Bush was quick to halt Islamophobia from wreaking havoc on our society. Addressing the nation on Sept. 20, just nine days after the attacks, Bush reached out to Muslims saying,

I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends. It is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them.

Racism

Countless books have been written on this subject, but Christian author Robert P. Jones may have best summed up, in our modern era, what proponents of All Lives Matters have failed to understand in their rush to put Black Lives Matter behind them. In his 2015 book The End of White Christian America Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute notes,

Given White Christian America’s long history of complicity in slavery, segregation, and racism we are at the beginning, not the end, of the journey across the racial divide.

Stickin’ It To Them

In the slow simmering of Trump’s implosion, one may expect local GOP leaders to do as the national leaders and distance themselves from Trump. Instead they have hunkered down on their dark horse candidate — placing an additional ‘deplorable and proud of it’ sign on the sidewalk Tuesday, Oct. 11, the last day of voter registration in Ohio — and by posting this video on their Facebook page.

In the video, Lance Wallnau uses the phrase “anointed vessel of God,” when describing Trump, who Wallnau claims has been undergoing a metamorphosis since about 2004/2005  — when Trump, apparently was chosen by God (despite the grabbing women’s genitalia thing) to rise up and lead this nation.

My HometownWallnau goes on to compare Trump to Samson. Of course, missing in the comparison is Samson’s heroics. Samson took one for the team by pulling down the temple upon himself to save the Israelites. Trump isn’t that heroic, choosing instead to put it to the team — boasting he was thankful to be unshackled from an organization that constrained him.

If you look at Wallnau’s About Me page, though, you may find a more plausible reason why Wallnau has so much faith in an anointed Trump. One of Wallnau’s students was a winner on Trump’s Reality TV show, The Apprentice. So, in keeping with the biblical focus of his Facebook video rant maybe mammon is what’s driving Wallnau’s position with God’s chosen, albeit seriously flawed, vessel.

Accountability and Morality

There are plenty of valid reasons why responsible church leaders, school officials, civic leaders, politicians and parents teach children not to embrace the five deplorable principles. They’re uncivil. They’re not democratic. They do not bring out the best in a person or in a society. They are not something to ‘hang your hat on.’ They foster hate, encourage divisiveness and partisanship. They prevent compromise and progress.

Simply put they are deplorable — and nothing to be proud of.

Although they spelled the lesser used word deplorable correctly, the local GOP struggled with the word they spell every election cycle -- Headquarters.

Although the local GOP spelled the lesser used word deplorable correctly, they struggled with the word they spell every election cycle — Headquarters. If they would have dropped the U as well as the R, it could have been a play off of the old standard ‘What is missing from ch__ch — UR.’

Categories: 8th congressional district, Broken Promises, My America, Politics, Preble County | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Does Your Vote Count — Or Are You Being ‘Played’?

playedThe Sunday edition of Parade has an excellent short article about the Electoral College (Does Your Vote Count) that sheds some light on one of the more confusing aspects of the American political system. It details the pros and cons of the system and even explains what happens if there is a electoral tie.

If there’s a tie on Jan. 6 (the day electoral votes are counted), the newly elected Congress immediately holds a “contingent election” in which the House of Representatives elects the president and the Senate elects the vice president.

The twist: Every state gets the same number of votes, regardless of population.

The possibility of a tie, however remote, is part of the Season 4 story line of Veep — a HBO comedy that highlights the inefficiencies of our political system. A political insider ranked the comedy as the number one political TV show.

Veep captures the asinine essence of the mad scramble for power; the regular, utter, and complete disregard for higher purpose; and the pettiness in which most politicians and their staffs engage for so much of the time.

Veep was indirectly responsible for my interest in American politics.

Two Parties, One Mindset

I stumbled upon a YouTube video featuring the main character, Selena Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), hanging out with vice president Joe Biden. Since Biden is a Democrat, I was not surprised to see him in the sketch, nor was I surprised to see Nancy Pelosi another Democrat, but when I saw my former Congressman Republican John Boehner in his 5-10 second cameo I was taken back. I was quite certain his constituents would not approve of the show if, for no other reason, than its bawdy language.

It made me wonder if Ron Paul’s assertion of ‘two Parties, one mindset,’ was accurate. Was it possible that a political class was running the show and that all the screaming and positioning by us ‘commoners’ was simply rearranging chairs on a sinking ship?

Short-Term Political Junkie

I headed down a two-year long quest to better understand the system — and to move beyond the ‘liberal vs. conservative’ argument. The more I read, the more that argument felt like another one from my childhood — Which truck is better, Ford or Chevy?

After reading and researching I compiled my thoughts in Played: How The U.S. Political System Controls & Steals Your Vote. In the eBook I look at everything from the way gerrymandering is upsetting the national balance of power to social media’s role in dumbing down the political conversation. I conclude we’ve all been played and have little say in who our leaders are.

In the end, even in a tumultuous election season like the 2016 presidential campaign, less than six people were ever serious contenders – and you had no say in who they were. A small, powerful group of insiders decide your presidential options and their interest rarely line up with yours.

I also discovered that one of our greatest weaknesses as voters is our predictability. Despite convincing ourselves that we vote as we see fit, marketers and politicians see us as reliable subgroups. They deliver messages that we gobble up. We react and respond to the messages — and then vote as predicted.

A Change Of Position

During this quest, I stumbled across books like What’s The Matter With Kansas and The Mass Marketing of Politics: Democracy in an Age of Manufactured Images – and these books impacted my thinking. I became astounded at how people really do vote against their own interest. I also came to understand that images and keywords can sway people. It also became apparent that politicians want to keep voters yelling — and not talking. The divide and conquer technique keeps them in power.

Through the process, I became more politically liberal (but my position would have been conservative in the era of Dwight D. Eisenhower or Theodore Roosevelt) — and a little more jaded.

But, I still believe a Two-Party system can work, if people are willing to compromise and work toward a common cause. The current approach is costing average Americans money — through ineffective government policies, low or lost wages and a decrepit infrastructure. When we degrade an opposing Party by engaging in grade-school tactics like name-calling, refusing to compromise or lumping everyone in one pile (well they are conservative or they are liberal) the approach is counterproductive. But mostly, it prolongs the dysfunction that exists in all levels of government.

America’s greatness has always been in her ability to solve major problems through the backs and brains of the many.

Political Dsyfunction

I’ll admit, though, that my disgust has grown toward those politicians who intentionally whip people up into a frenzy over perceived moral dilemmas, cleverly diverting attention from their own sins. Just this week, I was reminded at how far removed politicians are from the average American when I read a letter written by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

DeLay felt the need to come to the defense of his former boss, Dennis Hastert. Hastert, who was Speaker of the House from 1999-2007, is embroiled in a legal case for illegally staging money withdrawals in violation of federal law. But, the real story is the money was allegedly ‘hush money’ being paid to a former student. The student alleges he was sexually molested by Hastert when Hastert was a teacher and coach, Although Hastert has never admitted guilt, he did issue a statement through his attorney saying,

“Mr. Hastert acknowledges that as a young man, he committed transgressions for which he is profoundly sorry,” Mr. Green said in the statement. “He earnestly apologizes to his former students, family, friends, previous constituents and all others affected by the harm his actions have caused.”

It seems to me, that if in fact, any of the allegations are true, then instead of DeLay writing a letter defending the character of Hastert, he would let the chips fall wherever they fell. Instead, though, DeLay wrote,

“We all have our flaws, but Dennis Hastert has very few. He is a good man that loves the lord. He gets his integrity and values from Him. He doesn’t deserve what he is going through. I ask that you consider the man that is before you and give him leniency where you can.”

It’s almost as if DeLay believes Hastert’s Christian beliefs are a get out of jail free card. In my experience, few average Americans express such leniency toward anyone who may have committed transgressions against a former student. But the letter is indicative of the dysfunction that exists inside the minds of our national politicians and leaders.

What I Believe

Anyway, I don’t really put a lot of faith in political leaders. I believe in America’s citizens and I believe the only way to upend our political dysfunction is for all of us to become well informed at how the political game is played. Because of the way Political Parties manipulate the system, we no longer live in a ‘one man, one vote,’ world.

I do still believe in one Americanism. I believe in the age-old dualism that defines our national character: a strong belief in self coupled with a strong sense of community.

And I know, when both elements are vibrant, we, the people, are sensible and indivisible.

Categories: American History, Politics | Tags: , , , ,

10 Greatest Quotes From 2015

donald-trump-750x455In my quest to truly understand the American experience, I turned to the world of politics in 2015. The subject, which causes some to yawn and others to ‘dig in their heels,’ has a great byproduct — quotes. And in a presidential election year (no, wait that’s 2016), plenty of asinine statements have been spewed from all sides. But, since not everyone enjoys politics, I included a couple quotes from non-political figures to balance out the list.

Here are my 10 favorite 2015 quotes:

10.) If They’re Christian, Let Them In

GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush, a big fan of the Second Amendment, but not so much the first, fanned the flame of religious intolerance concerning the Syrian refugee crisis. Bush, it seems, was okay with some of the refugees coming in — as long as they passed a test proving they were Christian. In a country founded largely by Protestant Christians Bush, though, did not specify his preferred brand — Protestant or Catholic.

There are a lot of Christians in Syria that have no place now. They’ll be either executed or imprisoned, either by Assad or by ISIS. We should focus our efforts as it relates to the refugees for the Christians that are being slaughtered. – GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

9.) Those ‘Damn Emails’

I’ve long felt that that the never-ending Benghazi Investigation, which has cost Americans $4.5 million, was just a replay of the Gang of Seven’s Banking Scandal. It was as if former House Speaker John Boehner, part of the Gang, presumed that since the public relations tactic worked in the 90s, it would still relate to voters in the 2010s. In the 1990s, the grossly oversold banking scandal reversed the balance of power in Congress, but the 2015-version hasn’t gain enough traction for a repeat performance. During a presdential debate, Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders spoke for millions when he told presidential contender Hilary Clinton,

Let me say something that may not be great politics. But I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails. – Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

8.) He Won’t Throw Any More Grenades

Although Sander’s statement drew applause that night, it was not the best quote of the evening. That distinction goes to former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb who puzzled many in attendance with a reference to his Vietnam War fighting days. When the moderator asked Webb what enemy he was most proud of making, Webb responded, with a smirk,

I’d have to say the enemy soldier that threw the grenade that wounded me, but he’s not around right now to talk to. – former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb

7.) A Separation By Any Name Is Still A Separation

It’s all ‘about the spin’ is a well-known truism for politicians, but the same holds true for some celebrities. Gwyneth Paltrow, known for some quirky beliefs and practices, is not afraid to just invent a new phrase. Decribing her split from husband Chris Martin as ‘consciously uncoupling‘ she said,

It’s working, but it is kind of a goofy term. – Gwyneth Paltrow 

6.) Fight For Your Right To Live

From pyramids used for corn storage to advising an armer robber to point the gun at the store clerk, the list of nonsense falling out of Ben Carson’s mouth could fill a small book, but his most ludicrous comment (so far) dealt with the tragic shooting event at Umpqua Community College that claimed the lives of 10 (including the gunman). Carson seems to blame the shooting victims when he said,

Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me, I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all. — GOP presidential contender and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson

5.) Even In Death, Some Find No Empathy

This year a handful of my Facebook friends posted memes about ‘inbreds — those third-world immigrants who destroyed their own country’ or variations on the “I hate Muslims’ theme to their walls (and by default staining my wall) — suggesting that to be a real ‘Merican one must be white, preferably male and speak English. But one of the most horrific pictures in 2015 was of a dead three-year-old refugee whose body washed up on a Turkish beach. His aunt posted a question many of us are asking.

Where is the humanity in the world? — Tima Kurdi

4.) Answer To Violence — Armed Citizenry

Despite his lack of war experience — former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich singlehandedly knew the solution to counter the orchestrated terrorist attack in Paris — arm the citizenry. Even though in reality well-trained soldiers (let alone private citizens) rarely perform perfectly in their first gun battle, Gingrich was not deterred. He knew private citizens could take on trained soldiers ladened with explosives. Taking to Twitter, Gingrich offered a simple solution to a complex problem.

Imagine a theater with 10 or 15 citizens with concealed carry permits. We live in an age when evil men have to be killed by good people. — former House Speaker Newt Gingrich

3.) Making It All Disappear

Perennial politician Hillary Clinton, mired for years in scandalous accusations, decided it was time to poke fun at the GOP’s obsession with her emails. Speaking to a crowd of supporters in Iowa, Clinton joked about the launching of her Snapchat account.

I love it. I love it. Those messages disappear all by themselves. — Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

2.) Revisionist History

When Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly speaks, people listen — and when he gets caught in a lie (or lies) he just focuses and ramrods his ego-inflated blather directly at anyone who dare question his greatness. But, Pulitzer Prize–winner and conservative political commentator George Will was up to the task — calling into question some of O’Reilly’s research tactics and questioning the truthfulness of O’Reilly’s lastest book ‘Killing Reagan.’ Will comes out swinging, opening his column by writing,

Were the lungs the seat of wisdom, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly would be wise, but they are not and he is not. So it is not astonishing that he is doubling down on his wager that the truth cannot catch up with him. It has, however, already done so. — Opinion writer George Will

1.) It’s Too Personal To Say

It is no surprise that the top of the heap would belong to modern marketeer and demagogue Donald Trump. His insulting, assinine and hate-filled lines leaves no stone unturned. Despite, like Gingrich, avoiding the Vietnam War through deferral, Trump took aim at former POW John McCain and then through the course of his presidential campaign perpetuated a vast number of stereotypes — too numerous to list. Although it is extremely difficult to pinpoint his most memorable — and ludicrous — statement, hedging his bet with Christians gets the top vote for me. When asked what his favorite Bible verse was, the always boisteroud Trump was somewhat taken back, before answering,

I wouldn’t want to get into it. Because to me, that’s very personal. The Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics. — GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump

Categories: Year In Review | Tags: , , , , , ,