Politics Anyone?

silhouette of people beside usa flag

Primaries are done here in Florida, and my two favorite candidates did not move on to November’s general elections.  I suspected as much, but I was hoping that others would get on board after they got to know them and saw how hard they were working.  Don’t get me wrong, we had many qualified candidates running for various seats, but these two guys gave me a good feeling.  They were in it, heart and soul; no frills, no deals –just hard work.  

I am pretty passionate about politics, not necessarily politicizing all current events or as in nonstop mud-slinging campaigns, but I am a firm believer that every vote does count.  I often hear people say they don’t vote because they don’t believe in the process or politicians are all crooks.  It is sad that people don’t care enough to do the research or look beyond the headlines.  In some cases, it’s getting past the smoke and mirrors to see behind the Wizard’s curtain as Dorothy did the Land of Oz.  It irritates me when the same people are the first to complain about the schools, roads, and the water pollution for example.  I have known a few politicians personally who sincerely got decided to get involved in politics for the love of their communities.  These individuals stepped into the arena believing one voice; one vote could make a difference.  We have seen it in recent history in Congress and the Senate and elections around the country.

I can speak most about the man who was running for a congressional seat in my district in this recent election. He lives in my city. I didn’t know him before, but I saw firsthand how he managed the campaign, but more importantly, how he handled himself, and I was moved to support him.  Let’s call him Fred.  

Fred is an educated professional, a trained social worker, and an executive director of a large healthcare facility.  If I were to guess, I’d say he’s in his early forties and looks fine in his campaign photos.  Fred is an unassuming family man who moved to Florida about 20 years ago from the Midwest, looking for a better life for his family with the chance to enjoy a variety of outdoor sports.  He and his family have been active in a local church and through the years have been involved in a variety of volunteer projects like Habitat for Humanity.  

Fred decided to get into politics after sitting with families in financial crisis due to medical bills while dealing with terminal illness and end of life realities.   Before the big news about toxic algae and intensified red tide blooms, he was concerned about the ecological changes to Florida’s natural resources and talk in Washington about eliminating Environmental Protection Agency safeguards.  In short, Fred decided to enter politics because he wanted to be a voice, an agent for change.   He had no interested in becoming a “career politician,” he wanted to get in get things done and get back to his family and his career, his life’s mission of helping the less fortunate.

During the campaign, Fred worked hard.  His was a barebones, grassroots effort.  He took pride in not taking any money from donors with big pockets who would later come knocking on his door for favors.  For the most part, he supported his campaign from his own finances.  He rolled up his sleeves to make signs, and tee shirts.  He traveled around his district knocking on doors and holding town meetings to hear the concerns of his constituents.   So why would a nice, qualified guy like Fred not make it past the primaries?   The answer is complicated. 

As I said at the beginning of this post, both primary candidates were well qualified but this is the Twenty-first Century, and it takes a bit more than good old blood, sweat, and tears to win an election.   His opponent, let’s call him Doug, decided to run shortly after newly elected officials began their term in 2017.  Doug then had a six-month head start to get his team together and get his name out there to begin networking and making connections for fundraising efforts.  Doug’s training was in administration and finances.  He had his own company and was skilled in marketing and selling his agenda in social circles.  He had a more integrated web presence including a well-organized and attractive web page.  These things are critical in today’s elections because our society has become reliant on social media for answers and information.   

Doug will need more funds for an intense media campaign to include TV and print ads as he looks toward the general election in November.   His opponent is the incumbent and has personal resources as well as the backing of the NRA and ultra-conservative Political Action Committees which can represent business, labor and a variety of special interests.  This brings me to why I am in favor of campaign reform, especially when it comes to fundraising efforts.

We have seen time and again good candidates, backed by well-meaning grassroots operations, unable to move forward due to insufficient funds.   We have seen special interest groups pour money into campaigns in order to cash in on favors that will benefit a specific group by way of policy changes or government spending.  In 2010 the US Supreme Court ruled that political donations and spending is a form of promoting free speech protected under the First Amendment.  Since then the Federal Election Commission, which regulates campaign money, has repeatedly asked Congress to amend the law.  If you follow politics, you will notice how much of what can be called “dirty politics” is protected under this law. 

I think we need to get back to protecting the rights of our citizens so that anyone who has the ability and the passion can run for office and succeed.   In the meantime, I will back the candidates that support my beliefs.  I don’t believe in extremes of black and white.  I think reality is mostly shades of gray.  The truth lies somewhere in the middle.  I believe that the United States of America is a great country. I believe that the writers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution had the foresight to know that the future would change their reality but the upcoming generations would be entitled to the same “unalienable rights.”  

With that in mind, I intend to volunteer for the candidates of my choice to represent me.  I will continue to encourage everyone to make informed decisions, to look beyond the headlines. Please don’t pass on misinformation just because the heading caught your eye. If something sounds outrageous, go beyond the headlines, look it up in different sites or publications.  Mostly I challenge people to cross over and listen respectfully with an open mind to what “the other side” has to say.   Not trolling for argument’s sake, but to really understand.  You’ll find that the average person on either side wants similar basic things.  Don’t buy into the fear and hysteria LOOK It Up and then share what you’ve learned. 

And there you have it my friend, my political spiel.   On to November! 

DJT and the KGB

I had a few busy and fun packed days this month. I apologize that I didn’t have the foresight to plan ahead and schedule posts for the time I would be away.  Still learning, lesson learned.  Now and then I had a few minutes of quiet while the kids were playing outside and I would at least try to share something with you that I thought was interesting or thought-provoking.  Thank you all for the comments.  I always appreciate the feedback, and I answered folks that shared their thoughts with me.

In case you missed it:   

I was visiting my grandchildren in a “Bible belt” state, and it’s usually is a bit of a culture shock. It takes me a few days for my ears to adjust to the accent and for my brain to remember I’m in “polite company” in a very Red section of a Purple state.  I wish I could say I was totally disconnected from the news and social media, but that’s not who I am.  Despite spending days having fun with my granddaughters and their parents, it seems that the only thing my muse wanted to talk about was politics.The Red, White and Blue

A few crucial issues dominated the headlines over the past weeks, but today’s meeting between DJT and V Putin topped the cake. I’ve put my original rant on hold.

I started to watch the joint news conference after their meeting, and I had to stop.  It was like watching a bad spy movie, but it’s real.  It’s all too real; like a bad Reality TV show.  As I listened to DJT read his address, I wondered if KGB wrote it for him.  Our DJT was talking about the importance of diplomacy?!  As if!

There is no doubt in my mind that Russia is close to achieving its goal of replacing the USA as the leading world power.  With each step DJT takes toward isolation, KGB steps in and offers that Russia can help with that

I think the idea really hit me in June when Nikki Haley announced that the USA was withdrawing from the UN’s Human Rights Council amid criticism of the “zero-tolerance” policy that separated toddlers from their families at the border.  Ms. Haley used the “anti-Israeli sentiment,” but it was the Administration’s immigration policy that was on the table.  The US withdrew on June 20, 2018. The same day Russia put in papers for candidacy to the Council.  Russia had lost re-election to its seat on the Council in 2016 for its involvement in supporting Assad in Syria.  DJT has been talking about taking troops out of Syria for some time.  KGB feels they have what it takes to bring peace to the area and protect Israel’s interest.  DJT talks of leaving NAFTA, “Russia strengthens ties with Mexico.”  The primary purpose of NATO was to build an alliance to protect member countries from Soviet aggression.  Trump harshly criticizes NATO members and praises KGB. There are too many parallels to ignore.

It was shameful that he publically acknowledged that he chooses to believe KGB’s strong denial regarding meddling with elections as opposed to our own highly skilled professionals.   I wish DTJ realized that this is bigger than him; beyond him, his ego and his allies. Our democratic system was tampered with – period.  

I can only hope that DJT’s behavior has sparked enough concern among GOP leaders to use the tools written in the Constitution to pull the reigns before he does more damage.  I can only hope and vote them out in November.  Although the other major party is still somewhat disorganized, in general, it’s still a better option.