I Used To Be Amused, Now I’m Just Disgusted

12 12 2016

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“But if you don’t want your tax dollars to help the poor, then stop saying you want a country based on Christian values. Because you don’t.” ~ Comedian John Fugelsang

A short post today, because this feeble-minded writer needs some help. I’m hoping someone out there on the World Wide Webs can explain this.

I’ve been doing some quick research into presidential campaign spending. I’m not a numbers guy, so don’t look here for exhaustive data and structure.

According to information culled from sources like the Federal Election Commission and Bloomberg.com, the Trump and Clinton campaigns combined raised a total of $1.84 billion to support their candidates run for President.

Currently – after expenses – they have about $39 million left. So I have to ask some questions:

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Why are both campaigns still actively seeking donations? (The photos on the right are screen shots from the home page of each candidate’s campaign website.)

And…

Why would anyone contribute?

And…

Do these numbers make anyone want to vomit? I do.

I have no answers, just questions. Sorry…

I’m not singling out specific people, parties or organizations. And I thought of expanding this post to a full diatribe about wasteful spending – inauguration parties, televangelists private jets and mansions, tax exemptions for corporations and churches, etc. But I exist in the blog world, without space for information probably the size a bible. Ironically…

For today, I’ll keep it simple and ask no more questions. There is way to much blame to go around for allowing this ridiculous balance of wants versus needs, and or greed versus good.

We can’t drain the swamp and risk flooding the rest of the country.





On Politics, People and Gray Areas

22 02 2016

“He’s a gray area in a world that doesn’t like gray areas. But the gray areas are where you find the complexity, it’s where you find the humanity and it’s where you find the truth.” —Jon Ronson at TED2012

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I’d love to say that the above quote was about me, but the author is describing what he terms to be “a semi-psychopath”. I can live with that, because I’ve been confused lately… struggling with gray areas. And not just the ever-increasing acreage on top of my head!

Areas of gray… I just don’t know. It’s been bothering me for weeks now. There have been questions in my head that I can neither qualify nor quantify. Looking at a thesaurus… “ambiguity”, “open to question”. I’m getting close. “Debatable”… that could be it. Although, the word “debate” has been terribly overused these days.

Two months ago I wrote a blog post about Donald Trump, and I was tough on him – there was pretty much nothing gray about paralleling him to Adolf Hitler! I haven’t softened my stance… if anything Mr. Trump continues to provide more examples confirming my assertions.

But I really should take this opportunity to thank the Donald for igniting in me a new awareness of politics. I have never been this interested in a presidential election so early in the process. Trump has done this service to the country in two ways, with supporters delighting in his views and people like me looking forward to the next crazy ass blurb to leap from his mouth. But in spite of this, he is the front-runner for the GOP nomination… a clear dose of reality for me and my silly little blog!

There is not one iota of gray in Donald Trump – his beliefs and policies are dead right, and if you disagree you are dead wrong. And that makes you a loser, or a liar. No gray areas there, thank you very much… and most of the other candidates aren’t much better!

But let’s get back to my boggle. I’ve realized my failure to accept the existence of ONLY two options – the perceived right and the perceived wrong – is the issue I’m wrestling. I’m hard pressed to identify any friends, relatives or candidates that I agree with completely, on every level. The consideration for some people of only an A or B solution eliminates gray areas, rendering compromise impossible.

Look at some of the buzzword battles we concern ourselves with today: Rich vs Poor, Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life, Gun Control vs Second Amendment, Apple vs FBI… just to name a few in the news. All can inspire passion depending on what side of the street you reside. The worst battle is Democrat Blue vs Republican Red, where the possibility of compromise and achieving a positive result is growing more and more elusive. And few conflicts in my lifetime require more time and scrutiny than Black Lives Matter vs Blue Lives Matter, the poster children for two sides not interested in conversation and solutions. With many “colors” speaking so loudly, that poor gray area has no voice and – ironically – is getting killed.

gray-areaThe amount of people who now only consider one of two choices is continuing to grow. I’ve had several conversations with friends – in person and via social media – that have basically ended like this: “If you don’t agree with me about (insert issue) then we can no longer be friends.” Sound familiar?

I completely disagree with several friends regarding the Second Amendment and Gun Laws. I consider some of them to be smart people, and I respect their opinions. So I listen and discuss, and/or read what they have to say. Solutions are in the gray areas.

I readily agree that I can be opinionated, but no more than most people. I also try to admit when I’m wrong. I may disagree with people on some issues, but I am not ready to terminate relationships because of it. If we are friends or family or whatever, I’m trying to respect your opinion out of the gate.

Listening to the politicians frame the dangers of our world – terrorism, death, illegal immigration, too much government, etc. All of that is nothing compared to ignoring the gray areas of opinion, and the cost is the end of opportunities to learn.

That’s too large a price to pay.





Vote, Or Not

4 11 2014

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Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

I voted this morning… stopped in on my way to work. I got the sticker to prove it! I politely refused the candidate handouts on my way in, and I said my “hellos” the nice poll workers who are also my neighbors. I was in and out in three minutes.

Voting always makes me feel good about myself, and my country. I firmly believe that my vote counts, and in some small way I am involved in shaping our laws and policies. It’s interesting there is nothing explicitly stated in the constitution about our “right to vote”, only amendments that guard against discrimination – age, race, sex, etc. But the language of our constitution fills us with the pride and sense of duty that many have. We often talk of the battles fought to ensure this pride, and of those that “have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”*

True patriots have made those sacrifices, not me. But I am patriotic. I feel that pride very strongly, and voting is how I express it best.

The news is reporting about expected low voter participation, and which candidates will be adversely or positively affected. Reporters are at the various polling places talking about turnout or issues with machines. The pundits are having their day… their fifteen minutes of fame.

My social media feed is full of people talking about how they got out and voted this morning… Awesome! I’m glad. There are also statements saying that “if you don’t vote today, you have no right to complain in the future”. This notion that participating in the election gives you more rights than others makes me uneasy.

handRights… such an interesting word. Technically, most of us are “allowed” to vote without restriction. But like anything else, there are rules we have to follow… registrations, residency, frequency, etc. When we talk about rights, we should make sure that we fully understand them.

My feeling is that if you don’t vote today, you have your reasons. Maybe a last-minute business trip or perhaps you are sick or unable to get out of your house. Or maybe the candidates or issues didn’t inspire you – a sadly increasing situation.

If the spirit of our constitution inspires us to have the freedom to vote, then part of that freedom must be the choice not to vote. I’m not a constitutional law scholar, but this is the sense I make of it. So, while I revel in the opportunity to vote, I won’t look down on those who don’t think as I do.

Vote, or don’t vote. And complain all you want… enjoy that freedom of speech!

LET’S NOT GET INTO THAT MESS!

* Abraham Lincoln’s letter to Mrs. Bixby, 1864