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Five important things I want you to consider as we approach the November election

Important Thing 1

Yes, voting is important. We all need to vote on November 6. This year, voting is not enough. We need to really engage and be active in this election. Find a candidate. Find a campaign. It could be a ballot proposition. Volunteer your time. Give some money. Do as much as you can to increase the turnout in this election.

After the 2016 election, a friend of mine confessed, “I wish I had done more than vote.” I had just finished putting in a number of hours in the Hillary Clinton campaign. Yes, we lost. Do I regret the time I spent making calls to Nevada and other states? Not one moment! In fact, we carried Nevada and held on to the Senate seat being vacated by Harry Reid. I like to think that I still made a difference. 

Get involved in the election. Then you won’t be waking up on November 7 saying, “I wish I had done more than vote.”

Important Thing 2

Don’t be discouraged and give up. This is especially important if you are not yet convinced that voting is important. There are people who will try to convince you that your vote is useless and that the candidates are all the same, corrupt and untrustworthy. They will use propaganda and misinformation to drive their message, just as they did in 2016. They will convince your family and friends to share and promote their message on social media, just as they did in 2016.

There is an old Twilight Zone episode, The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street. It is about an invasion of the Earth where the invaders from space hide themselves from the small neighborhood they are invading. The invaders create suspicion among the neighbors to convince them that each other is the enemy. The Earthlings end up violently attacking and destroying each other. At the end of the episode, the outer space invaders reveal themselves to the audience, pleased with their victory as they head off to invade another neighborhood using the same tactics. A common theme in Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone stories, this one included, was McCarthyism, which threatened American democracy in the 1950s. That anti-McCarthyism message applies today in the age of Trump. Think of Putin and the Russian oligarchs as the invading force whose goal is getting us to fight and destroy each other. If they can destroy our country from within, they can diminish our standing in the world and replace us as a world power. Their eventual goal is to replace democracies with authoritarian regimes. Their tactics worked in 2016, and they are using them again in 2018.

Don’t give up. Get engaged in this election and stay engaged.

Important Thing 3

Stay focused on this election. There will be plenty of time to think about the 2020 presidential election starting in 2019. Governors, senators, house members, and state representatives are not as sexy as a presidential campaign, and the media would rather have our attention diverted to their stories on the latest celebrity who is considering throwing her or his hat into the ring. Don’t let that happen. That is how people end up not voting in so called off year elections. That includes this year, 2018. Remember Important Thing 1. As my friend, the late storyteller Orunamamu, once said, “PAY ATTENTION!” 

We can’t regain the White House until 2020. We don’t have to wait until then to take back our government. By taking back the House and Senate, we can stop the Trump agenda. If we had the Senate this year, our next Supreme Court justice would not be handpicked by the Federalist Society and the Religious Right. 

State elections are important, too. State governments draw district boundaries. If we want to end gerrymandering, we need to become engaged in the election of governors and state representatives.

Important Thing 4

We need to support and vote for Democrats. That is the only way to get the Trump enablers out of power. It is clear now that the Republican Party no longer exists. It has been replaced by the Party of Trump, which has nothing in common with traditional Republican values. A Republican Party would not start a trade war by placing tariffs on imports produced by our allies. 

Our Two Party System is flawed, and we should work to fix those flaws. Until then, this is the system we have, and we need to work within that system. If you feel that voting for a Democrat requires you to hold your nose, then hold your nose and vote for Democrats. If you voted for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or if you decided to not vote all in 2016, do you still believe there is no difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? Are you willing to risk having Congress controlled by the Party of Trump in 2019 because the Democratic candidates did not meet your high standards of progressive perfection?

Yes, Putin and the Russian oligarchs are interfering in the 2018 election. Their goal is to dissuade us from voting for Democrats. They are especially targeting minority voters with hashtags like #JustWalkAway. Don’t let them fool you. Support and vote for Democrats.

Important Thing 5

Prepare to be disappointed. Yes, the candidates, like all human beings, are flawed. Once in office, they will disappoint us. That is why we need to continue to be engaged after the election and hold them accountable. When LGBTQ activists realized that Obama was dragging his feet on repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, they spoke up. They chained themselves to the gates of the White House. They interrupted the luncheons he hosted to celebrate LGBTQ Pride. They were criticized for being so “uncivil.” Sound familiar?

Get engaged. Stay engaged. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t give up. Got it? Thanks for listening.

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July 6, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Myth of Trump as an Outsider

When I listen to his supporters, a familiar theme is Trump’s status as an outsider. He is outside the system, therefore he is uncorrupted by that system. This seems to make him uniquely qualified for public office. Of course, it could also make him totally unequipped to change a system he neither understands or has any experience with how it works.

Trump boasts that his great personal wealth makes him incorruptible. His primary campaign was mostly self-financed, and he was able to get a lot of free media on the cable news networks. Trump is not the first to argue that he is too rich to bribe. Nelson Rockefeller argued the same to the Senate when he was nominated by Gerald Ford to be Vice President. Of course, Trump has a history of donating to political candidates, which contradicts the image of being an outsider to the political process. Trump boasts of his ability to make great deals, which includes political deals. Trump has boasted of receiving political favors in exchange for campaign donations. Is Trump’s contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is the reason she dropped an investigation of Trump University? And was that donation paid illegally from the nonprofit Trump Foundation?

http://www.politifact.com/florida/article/2016/sep/21/donald-trump-pam-bondi-and-25k-was-it-pay-play/

There is another question raised about self funded campaigns. Is Trump arguing that only those wealthy enough to fund their campaigns can be trusted to hold public office, uninfluenced by powerful interests? Isn’t his wealth a corrupting interest that can bias him against the needs of the poor? Trump has never been poor a day in his life. How can he argue that he shares the interests of the common man?

Bernie Sanders also argued that he was unbought by the special interests. He proved that by taking mostly small donations. He also has a voting record on issues of concern to the poor. Trump does not.

In fact, Trump has already acknowledged a debt with a powerful special interest, the religious right. Trump continually thanks evangelicals for his support. In turn, he has already made promises, including appointing conservative judges, pushing for more laws allowing discrimination against gay people, and removing restrictions on their tax exempt status. Is there any doubt that Trump will make good on his promises to the religious right? They will certainly hold him to those promises.

And who else owns Trump? Is that why he doesn’t want us to see his taxes? There is a lot of speculation about his ties to Vladimir Putin. Are his dealings with Putin in his taxes?

Another possible reason why Trump is not showing his taxes is that he may not be as rich as he wants us to believe. That would negate the argument that he is too rich to be corrupted. How much of his wealth comes from being on someone else’s payroll? We won’t know for sure until we see his taxes.

How The Trump Organization’s Foreign Business Ties Could Upend U.S. National Security

by Kurt Eichenwald on 9/14/16 at 5:30 AM

http://www.newsweek.com/2016/09/23/donald-trump-foreign-business-deals-national-security-498081.html

Politifact comparison of Clinton and Trump Foundations

http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2016/sep/23/politifact-sheet-comparing-clinton-and-trump-found/

September 25, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment