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.

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Supporting President Trump

14 11 2016

“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans.” ~ President-Elect Donald Trump, November 9, 2016

I will start by stating something that I feel very strongly about… Donald J. Trump is the President-Elect of the United States of America. And I respect that.

Anyone close to me – or anyone who has read my blog posts – surely knows how difficult it was for me to type that last sentence. Truthfully, it was equally difficult not to place quotation marks around the word United.

trumpwh03Many years ago I was sitting in pizza place with some friends, in a loud conversation ripping into then-President Ronald Reagan. A man sitting next to us interjected, “Gentlemen, I understand your points about these issues. You have every right to disagree, but do it respectfully. I’m a former Marine, and I will always respect my Commander-In-Chief. I will always respect the office of the President of the United States.”

One of the things that has bothered me in the past eight years has been the complete lack of respect for that office. Many of the attacks on Barack Obama were vicious, degrading, and had nothing to do with policies or issues. And some were offered by former and current members of the armed forces, which certainly struck a chord with me because of the previous story. I railed publicly against this behavior, and it would be hypocritical of me to behave in the same manner. So I will not. The name of our country describes our states – random sections of land – being “united”. But our people should be united, so I hope our new President does what is needed to make that happen. I want that more than anything, so I will give him that clean slate going forward.

That said… a couple of things I must note.

I’ve recovered from the disappointment of this election… mostly! I take some solace that I wasn’t the only one surprised… people more qualified than I are in complete shock. And that is a huge group!

I didn’t sleep much on election night. I was in Boston for a marketing conference, so I channeled some disappointment and a decent amount of anger into more positive efforts. On Wednesday night I was walking to my hotel after dinner, when I turned the corner and saw hundreds of people on the street. They were dispersing after a peaceful protest on Boston Commons. I immediately felt better that I wasn’t alone in my disappointment, but I felt discouraged later when I saw on the news that protesters in other cities were not so peaceful.

Protesting is fine, and I respect that. I don’t respect the violence that happened and those people need to be dealt with under the law. And I find it humorous that so many Trump supporters have spoken out against the protesters, as I’m sure some of them would have been on the streets if their candidate had won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College. But everything will calm down soon… if this election has taught us anything, the American people have a short attention span.

hoperopeI accused Donald Trump of a few not-so-great things in this election, and I still disagree with most of his positions. He successfully targeted a portion of the electorate that had lost faith in their government, and I certainly respect that. But his campaign and presentation over the past fifteen months revealed dark things about some of our people, and beliefs that I thought were less prevalent or refused to acknowledge. There is a small, but significant population of our country – some in public, some hiding – that embrace hate. It fuels and guides them. And I’m sad to say that some are people I know.

Their decision processes were very simple: Vote against the candidate who supports the LGBTQ community. Vote against the party that has the nerve to give us a President who isn’t white, and doesn’t have a Christian sounding name. And vote against the female candidate because of that one adjective, nothing else.

Donald Trump spoke to them and they stirred. Hillary Clinton called them a name, and it galvanized them. And it cost her the election.

Sure, there are many ways to analyze why this election was won or lost… many other things possibly determined the outcome. But ignoring this aspect is unforgivable, because the “positive” results have already emboldened these hateful people and groups. Discouraging their racism and bigotry should be our new President’s highest priority.

And while we are at it, let’s get rid of the two party system… and call out the media for their bias, ratings-based reporting… and stop the viciousness and hatred on social media… and severely limit the disgusting amount of money spent on electing a President! (Calm down, John… you are writing a blog post, not a novel.)

sealOver the past year I have spoken out against Donald Trump for his erratic behavior and divisive words. I do hope that I was as wrong about him as I was wrong about the election. I joked last week that I personally don’t have to worry too much. I’m solid middle class, and my wife works in healthcare so our insurance is not bad. I’m white, and though I am not religious I was raised in a Christian family. I also joked that President-elect Trump seems to be already softening his stance on some of the hot button issues, so maybe I should have voted for him!

Those jokes will only be funny if Donald Trump keeps our country, and my family, safe. I hope he disavows his most disgusting rhetoric, surrounds himself with good people, and works for solutions.

I will respect, as always, the office of President of the United States. But I will be watching President Donald Trump’s every move, and if necessary I will fight the fight.





Because Of Him, I’m With Her

22 10 2016

“What I’m saying is I’ll tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, okay?” ~ Donald Trump’s response to a question at the third Presidential debate about accepting the election results.

Yep… that one put me over the edge.

Donald Trump believes that the only way he will be defeated in this election is that it will be rigged by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Add that idiocy to hundreds of his other idiocies, and I can only have one response:

Because of him, I’m with her.

Anyone who speaks with me, reads my blog posts, or follows me on social media knows how I feel about the 2016 Presidential election. My decision about who I was NOT going to vote for had been made over a year ago.

donald-trumpI first came out against Donald Trump’s candidacy in a November 2015 blog post – Trump America.  In that post I touched on a few key issues – his lack of discernible platform, his racism, his misogyny. You know… the hits! I also compared his early campaign to the rise of the Nazi Party in 1930’s. I’m somewhat proud of that post, because that association has been repeated by many others over the campaign.

Trump has spent the last eleven months proving I was correct. But I’m no soothsayer. No one could have predicted how low Trump would go… that pit seems to be bottomless.

By April of this year, I was absolutely done. So I wrote another anti-Trump post – Never Trump – My Reasons – outlining specifically why his mere presence in American politics is an embarrassment for our country. At the time I was speaking out to encourage my fellow Pennsylvanians, but my long goal was to deny him the Republican nomination. So it has been a severe blow to my ego that we are still having this conversation!

You can look at my detailed thoughts in the blog posts, but I summarized it all in these two paragraphs from the April post:

At the end of the day, I want my President to represent our country positively and professionally, and be committed to keeping my family safe. That is why a President Trump scares me to death. That is why I insist, “Never Trump.”

He may be rich, successful and a fantastic real estate entrepreneur, but Donald Trump is not qualified to be President of the United States. His attitudes and core beliefs will consistently make enemies around the world, and the indifference or loss of our allies. His hatred and policies will bring war to our country, and to our shores. And they will be fought by our children and grandchildren.

So because of him, I’m with her.

hillary_i_guess_bumper_sticker_10_pkBut its not as simple as that, is it? Yes, Hillary Clinton was going to get my vote on November 8th because I couldn’t invite even the slimmest chance of a Trump victory.

But I made a commitment not to support a candidate until after the debates were over. I wanted the process to run its course, but mostly I wanted to understand the issues to make an informed decision.

I defy anyone to find an example of a candidate who has been more investigated, scrutinized and vetted than Hillary Clinton. Has she made some questionable decisions in over thirty years of public life? Yes, we all have… including every politician who speaks out against her. Have those decisions endangered the safety of Americans? Despite what Trump and the Republicans say about Benghazi and classified emails… No.

The Republicans continue to accuse Clinton, but after multiple investigations and congressional hearings costing millions of taxpayer dollars – no charges have been brought. Clearly there is a conspiracy to protect the Democratic candidate!

redblueBut Trump and the rest of the GOP state that they want to uphold and defend the constitution. Ted Cruz ran his campaign “rising up to reclaim our country, to defend liberty and to restore the Constitution.” All Republicans (and Democrats, honestly) had nothing but praise for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, considered a constitutional scholar of unrivaled skill. And although it is not written specifically in our Constitution, our justice system is built around the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”. Unless you are Hillary Clinton.

I don’t agree with every Clinton position. But if you are thoughtful and really look into the specifics, no candidate is backed on all issues. I do agree with Hillary Clinton on the things that are important to me: climate change, gun control, human rights and gender equality, the economy, and finding peaceful foreign policy solutions.

I also concur with President Obama’s statement that “there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.” That is true, and not just in comparison to the Republican nominee.

So for these reasons, I’m with her.

I was a Republican for the last twenty-five years. As I grew older I became more concerned with the world around me, and a lot of the credit for that vision goes to my children. At the same time I became less conservative and, honestly, less religious. My switch to the Democratic Party coincided with Trump’s candidacy, but it had been in the works for several years. No politician or party has all the answers, and the whole system is becoming more ridiculous every day. So my decision process follows the path I’d like to set… paths that lead to solutions of peace, love and understanding.

Republicans cannot, or refuse to see that direction.

Trump and a lot of his followers are kings of the smear tactic. Their message is forged with lies told to garner support for their agenda. Now the rest of the party is jumping ship, but to me that is far too late. If a rube like myself saw his true lunacy, why didn’t the rest of you?

So my plan leading up to Election Day? I’m going to print out a copy of the ballot for my district, then circle all of the candidates who at any point supported Donald Trump. They will not get my vote. Even if you have recently jumped off the Donald ship, any past support of him goes straight to your character. Your opponent may or may not get my vote, but you never will.

blogger-image-1243186073Eight years ago, I voted for Barack Obama and then watched the election returns in awe. Apparently, I hadn’t given my country enough credit… I didn’t think I would see a person of color elected President. First thing in the morning on November 8th of this year, I will vote. Then I leave for a business trip to Boston. Later that night I will probably be at the hotel bar avidly watching election returns, proudly toasting the people of our country smashing another glass ceiling.

America is already great, and Hillary Clinton is getting my vote. I’m with her.