A Time for Healing

Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

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     The longest presidential campaign in my memory has come to an end, and I am grateful. Pundits and pollsters are scratching their heads and wondering how it happened.  I would like to say to them that you are bunch of ignorant hicks who are out of touch with the good citizens of the United States of America, but I will not.  While it could be true, now is not the time for crowing.  Now is a time for healing.

     Over the last eight years, the division in our country has weakened the fabric of society.  Much like an old pair of Levis, the denim is frayed at the seams and the knees are soft, white and transparent.  It will take a delicate hand if they are to be mended.  But mended they must be.

     Over the last eight years, I have often thought about the slogan “hope and change.’  Like many Americans, in the early days, I remained hopeful that President Obama would unite the citizens of this great country, but that hope was soon ground beneath the heal of the community organizer.  Hope was quickly lost and the coming change was far worse than anything I had seen before.  At every opportunity, the presidential influence was used to divide the nation’s citizenry and to pit one group against the other.  Looking back it saddens me, but I am determined to look forward with newfound hope.

     It is easy in victory to look at the vanquished, and merely say “I won.” But, salting the wounds does not promote healing, and we must heal if our nation is to survive.  The election results clearly indicate that the citizens of our nation do not want to continue down the same stony path of division.  Therefore, it is incumbent on the victors to promote healing, to reach out, to lift up and to enlighten those bound to the path of division with truth rather than emotion.  It is not an easy task, but true enlightenment is the only way to unite a people and preserve the blessing that is freedom.

     The task is daunting, the path is long, but as my friend Bill Pruett often said, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

 

Until next time…

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“Give Old Don a Holler!”

Front Page, Government and Politics, Opinion/Editorial

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     “When you get the s*** kicked out of you for long enough, and long enough, and long enough – you have a tendency to say what you really mean. In other words, you have all the pretense beat out of you.” – Charles Bukowski

     Don Trump has done it again. Chicago has decided that he’s no daisy, and they are correct. No matter the time, place, or context, Old Don has inspired action, both salty and sweet. I’m not sure if such a unique campaign has ever been run in the history of America (certainly not in my lifetime). I’m also not sure whether it’s good or bad. I am sure, however, that Mr. Trump has turned the feel of this young campaign into the equivalent of a heavily touted UFC fight. Tonight, the fight came to a head when ten-thousand protesters, wailing like banshees, broke out in (mild) violence during an otherwise counter-productive left-winged effort. If the goal was to prevent Trump from speaking, they were about as effective as The Bay of Pigs. Within the current state of affairs, Trump has found a way to be as loud when his mouth is closed as he is when it is open. Meanwhile, CNN (the so-called unbiased network) is on a savage search for any piece of minutia they can find that might serve to spill the blood on Donald’s hands. Unfortunately, the proverbial glove does not fit. Trump responded in sound political accord by cancelling the rally, claiming that he didn’t “want to see anyone get hurt.” From the perspective of political spin (which is the dominant whole of a presidential election), these protesters have done to Donald Trump what a home-run derby pitcher would do for “The Sultan of Swat,” and Old Don was gifted with nothing shy of a walk-off home-run. Cruz and Rubio, meanwhile, are left picking at the media scraps, each choosing to respond in predictable fashion, claiming that the antics of these scorned protesters should be attributed to the candidate for whom their mob mentality is directed.

     Trump, in spite of a bout of unusually graceful politicking, remains steadfast as not only the leader of the GOP race, but also as the most highly touted prospective economic savior. “People are tired of losing jobs to Mexico, and China, and Japan…” I suppose he must be correct in his remarks, but I have recently decided that there is cause for concern when considering the ostensible strength of Mr. Trump’s economic proposals for solution. As much as one can agree with his take about the hard-working Americans who are fed up with jobs being sent over seas or being filled domestically by illegal immigrants, questions must be asked: Who will fill the domestic jobs that are currently being done in large part by Mexican illegals? How much will it cost to cover the domestic wage standards to cover the production of goods that are currently being manufactured over seas? Will the owners of these companies simply pay higher wages to American workers without raising the price of their products? How will consumers really be affected by such a seemingly pro-American attitude toward improving the domestic state of economic affairs?

     In the words of Mark Twain, “There is nothing sadder than a young pessimist,” and taken a step further, nothing more hopeful than an old optimist. Donald Trump fits neither bill, but somehow, he has shaken in titanic fashion the political grounds upon which the American government prefers to walk. For that, I appreciate his efforts. After all, when you are walking in the wrong direction, a step backward is a step in the direction of progress.

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The Revenge of the Unrepresented

Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

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      If you are reading this new and erudite newspaper, you make a point to be informed.  So you may have noticed that these are odd times in politics.  What, Trump the Republican front runner for President while Jeb! languishes in the single digits?

      But I can make matters simpler to understand, if still odd.  We are experiencing the Revenge of the Unrepresented.  Our English friends some 240 years ago found out the hard way that taxing people without representing them may not evoke a happy response.  Today’s Washington establishment politicians are finding out the same thing, yes, the hard way.

      Rewind to 2010.  Obama was determined to cram Obamacare down our throats in spite of half or more of Americans clearly not wanting it.  In January, Massachusetts elected a Republican for the U. S. Senate largely because of opposition to Obamacare.  Yes, Massachusetts.  That’s not an auto typo.

      Yet Obama and Congressional Democrats ignored that warning shot and marched forward in passing Obamacare.  The result was a historic political bloodbath in the November 2010 elections, handing the U. S. House and any number of state houses to the Republicans with a clear and simple mandate – Stop Obama.

      But that teary-eyed orange-skinned drunk Republican Speaker Boehner and other RINOs did little to stop Obama and instead enabled him.  And that included funding, of all things, Obamacare.  Thus the Republican establishment joined Democrats in virtually ignoring the 2010 elections.

      Fast forward to 2014.  Again Americans gave Obama’s Democrats a good pasting at the polls, handing now the U. S. Senate over to the Republicans.  Again, Republicans had a clear mandate to Stop Obama, particularly on the presenting issue of defending our borders and restraining illegal immigration.

      But, again, Republican leaders did little to stop Obama and again enabled him, including on immigration.  In fact, Congress, with the support of the establishment Republican leaders, just voted to fund Obama’s illegal immigration programs.  (And when I say illegal, I mean both the programs and the immigration are illegal.  I would say “illegal illegal”, but that would make me appear to be ranting, not to mention ungrammatical, God forbid.)

      So, yet again, about half the country finds themselves utterly unrepresented by either party.  This is not only bad policy; it is stupid politics particularly on the part of Republicans.  It is asking, nay, begging for trouble.

      And then here comes trouble with funny hair.  And in his very announcement speech for President, he came down hard on illegal immigration to the point of being crude and unrealistic to put it nicely…

      And millions loved it.  Immediately, Trump had high poll numbers, and they have gotten higher.  Finally, millions found that someone powerful seemed to represent them on illegal immigration and other issues.  (Note I wrote, “seemed.” I will leave aside the question of whether Trump should be trusted.)

      Now, are there more sensible ways to fight the establishment of both parties who are so intent on not representing Americans?  I certainly think so.  That’s why I support Ted Cruz, by the way.  But is there a more clear way than Trump to give the establishment of both parties an affectionate one finger wave? 

      And, yes, Americans are that angry at the political establishment.   Not just Trump’s numbers reveal that.  Here is what I see looking at the Real Clear Politics poll averages as I write this in early January.  Anti-establishment candidates (Trump, Cruz, Carson, Paul, Huckabee, and Santorum) have a combined 68% support among Republicans.  Jeb!? Just over 4%. 

     In desperation, the establishment wing of the GOP is turning to Rubio, but he polls only 11.5% compared to Trump at 35% and Cruz at 19.5%.Can it be any clearer that a lot of people out there are angry at being unrepresented by the establishments of both parties?

     So I’ve got a 2016 prediction you can add to the zillions you’ve heard already ‘cept mine is better.  2016 will be the Revenge of the Unrepresented.   One result will be the nomination of Donald Trump this summer or the defeat of Hillary Clinton this November. 

     And do not be too shocked if it will be both.

 

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