Blame Game?

My son told a story from high school a while ago where a fellow student dared to streak across the stage at a drama performance with a hoodie on.  Of course the administration had an extensive investigation into the matter but even though everyone knew who did it, the mystery was never solved because they couldn’t prove it.

When I was in the 3rd grade, if someone dared to cross the line and there was blame to attribute anywhere, it rarely took Sister Mary Antonine more than 5 minutes to resolve the case.  It didn’t hurt her cause that she had an ample supply of rulers in her desk drawer.   Usually she took care of the matter and we moved on back to learning in the shorted period of time possible.

I bring this up because ‘the blame game’ as it were, isn’t necessarily a fun game to engage in.  But sometimes it’s necessary.  Take the issue of public safety around guns for example.  Looking at the data and doing a very rudimentary correlation between NRA contributions and congressional members who vote against universal background checks, how could you not draw the conclusion that republicans are to blame?  Of course they are.  It’s not rocket science.

So the answer is yes, I’ll engage in the blame game and I’ll conclude, as Sister Mary Antonine would have, that this is an easy one.  See charts below.  I rest my case.

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FIRST ORDER FILTER

If I remember correctly. back in the 1970’s, when you sized up a girl as potential dating material, the main criteria for the attraction usually had to do with looks, smarts or both.    Politics had nothing to do with it, especially if she was cute enough.

I was talking to one of my sons a couple of weeks ago and he made a comment that struck me as to how much things have changed.  Nowadays the first order filter of dating is whether or not the girl is a Trump follower (and I’m sure the Trump followers would say the same about the non-Trump followers).

I was reminded of this conversation as I read a recent article on why it’s hard for conservatives to find a date in DC right now.  In the eyes of many, put that red had on and you might as well be missing your two front teeth.

 

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IS #NEVERAGAIN A MOVEMENT?

When I was in my 20’s, one of the biggest life lessons I had to learn was not to underestimate people.  I used to think that because a person didn’t appear a certain way, that they weren’t smart, or otherwise had little to offer.  Boy was I wrong.  After getting put in my place a few times, I learned that it was necessary to wise up in a hurry.

This is where I think my generation is making a huge miscalculation about the youth of this country.  In high school I was a perennial under-achiever.  On purpose.  I was very much into work-life balance even back then.  Centennial has never been a top high academic high school in the state of Oregon and probably never will be, but it was definitely middle class and sent its fair share of students to college every year.  I set the lofty goal of entering the local JC and whew, just made it.

Having lived in a few different cities now and familiarized myself with different school districts, I think I can honestly say that today’s youth is considerably more intelligent than my generation ever hoped to be.  If you consider the International Baccalaureate programs (IB) that many high school students voluntarily take it upon themselves to enter to enhance their chances at scholarships or college entrance, the skills they possess overall – they are most certainly more intelligent than practically everyone in my high school and certainly anyone who I hung out with.  Go to a talent show at your local high school sometime.  These kids amaze.

Politically speaking the problem has been that they haven’t been particularly engaged to-date.  But I think we’re turning the corner on that as I write this.

It remains to be seen how long it lasts but so far the students from Parkland have got momentum on their side.  Today they rallied at the state house in Tallahassee, several appeared in a town hall format with Jake Tapper of CNN, some families met with Trump at the White House for a ‘listening session’, and there’s the upcoming “March for Our Lives” in DC scheduled for March 24th.

I watched  the CNN town hall tonight and several passionate, articulate kids stood up to United States Senators and held them to task.  They didn’t let them dance around their questions.  I guess having to witness your friends getting shot down at school might be a motivator to do that.

The big question is, is this a real movement that history will remember.  I recall the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations of the 1960’s very well.  Even though I was pre-teen at the time, the images stayed with me.  Back then the issue was also life threatening.  Our parents’ generation was fine sending 18 year olds off to die in a senseless war.  Out of that grew the hippie movement and anti-establishment attitudes in general.

The establishment did in fact underestimate the youth of the day.  There were anti-war marches on a weekly basis.  The young adults of the day registered to vote and made a difference.

The parallels between the 1960’s and today are striking.  The best way to motivate people to get up off the couch is to threaten and insult them.  Republicans have done both.  Today’s youth feel threatened by Republicans being bought off by the NRA and consistently obstinate when it comes to changing gun legislation.  Now they can’t even go to class without having to worry if the next tragedy will be at their school.

They feel insulted by the likes of former Republican congressman Jack Kingston — an occasional CNN panelist who suggested the Parkland students weren’t speaking their own minds but rather, were being “coached by liberals” for what to say.

I honestly think that one statement alone might increase the size of the March for Our Lives event by 100,000 people.

Having seen the achievements of today’s youth in person I’m perfectly comfortable saying to my fellow classmates — if we think we’re old and wise, we’re only half correct.  These kids are smarter than us.

Lastly, if you want to maintain the status quo, it’s a huge mistake to tick them off.  They’ll mobilize and eat your lunch.

I’ll be paying attention to the demographics of the next election cycles.  I think there will be a significant up-tick in young voters and I predict they will vote for a youth movement which is something I’ve been saying we need for a long time.

I’m with the guy who tweeted the other day:

I want to join whatever political party Emma Gonzalez just started

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IN SEARCH OF MODERATE REPUBLICANS

Republicans are fleeing Congress in record numbers.  The list is long.  32 at last count between the House and the Senate.

In some cases, like Jason Chavez, Trey Gowdy, Orrin Hatch, and Darrell Issa it’s good riddance.  But Jeff Flake, Charlie Dent and Bob Corker were relatively sane moderates compared to their peers.

While there’s little doubt I stand to the left of Bernie Sanders on most issues, I for one would not look forward to the day when there was one party rule.  I think it’s actually good to have a party there to keep things in check a bit.

This particular version of the Republican party — which Reagan would not recognize and it would be doubtful he’d endorse — is not fit to lead.  The reasons are obvious now and it’s not the main point of this blog post to regurgitate that issue one more time.  They just have no idea how to govern and are currently being lead by a would-be king who behaves as if he owes Putin a few hundred mil.

What I’d like to see is Democratic or Independent rule in the White House with Democrats in the majority of one or both houses, but with a strong Republican party to counter-balance all the wild ideas Democrats come up with.  We need a sane party in place to keep things in check.

Republicans have demonstrated they have no clue on how to lead so therefore, they must be relegated to the minority party.  Democrats, if left to their own devices will socialize every aspect of society and while some Americans would welcome more of a European lifestyle, I really don’t think that’s who we are as a nation.  It wouldn’t work here because as a people we are different from Europeans.

Democratic rule with a strong but moderate Republican party who is interested in keeping things in check and working to solve problems.  That sounds like the ticket to me.

So where are these moderate Republicans that we so desparately need?  Sadly some sensible Republicans are getting out because the environment under Trump is too toxic.  I don’t blame them for being discouraged.

In large part the problem can be traced back to Citizens United.   It takes money to get elected and lots of it.  Party bosses won’t fund but the most extreme candidates.  I read David McCoullough’s biography on Harry Truman several years ago.  As is typical with anything McCoullough writes, he goes into great depth on how party bosses ruled who could run and get support and who could not.  This was how it was back in the 1940’s and has not changed.

I can’t stress enough the need for a true clense of the Republican party right now.  It is in dire need of a tranfusion.  For the good of the country.

 

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Feels like this time could be different

It’s impossible to imagine how Sandy Hook or the Las Vegas shooting didn’t spark enough outrage to result in Republicans taking the heat for being owned by the NRA, but they were barely scathed by it.  But this Parkland shooting could be a tipping point.

I just watched something I’ve never seen before and I have to give CNN credit for capturing the moment.  A grieving mother was given the microphone and went hysterical at lawmakers for not doing anything.  Absolutely hysterical.  And CNN just let it play out for several minutes.  This poor mother was grieving about the loss of her daughter and the CNN host Brooke Baldwin was quite emotional afterwards.  She had a really hard time composing herself.  That’s how powerful it was.

This video needs to be seen at every city council in the country.  I hope it is seen in every home of this country.  It needs to be.  We’re beyond “let’s just all get along and find solutions.”  That’s been tried for the past 30 years.

In addition to this event, it’s been revealed that the shooter was affiliated with a known White Supremacy group.  I’m sure it’s not lost on a lot of people that the enemy within was not muslim.  Was not an illegal immigrant.  It was one of Trump’s supporters.   Sort of makes the wall discussion a little more difficult to swallow.

I heard a rather interesting idea thrown out yesterday on MSNBC.  The basic idea was that changes to the drunk driving laws in this country were made possible in large part by a grass-roots effort from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.  They were relentless in their effort to change the laws and were eventually successful.

I honestly think that another grass-roots effort could have the same effect here.  People are pretty fed up with inaction.  The priorities are all wrong if we value freedom to move about the country with unlimited firepower over the safety of our children.

I’m hopeful for once that perhaps what we needed to see was some live hysteria to help us get off our asses.

 

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Screw your 2A rights

In a somewhat surprising fashion, the Sheriff of Broward County plus the Superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, got political in their speeches to the media.

We spend too much time talking about the rights of gun owners.  What about the rights of kids to go to school in a safe environment?  Who is looking out for those rights?

I think this is a winning argument, and in my role as Republican antagonist I will continue to pound this message until they as sick of hearing it as I was Behnghazi.

 

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This is not normal

Having lived through Watergate, I’ve often wondered if we’d see a national crisis of that significance again in my lifetime.  The Trump era is an order of magnitude worse than Watergate.

The thing about Trump is, there are so many scandals going on simultaneously, any ONE of them would have brought a different president down.  There’s the violations of the emoluments clause, his blatant racism, the Stormy Daniels payoff, refusal to implement sanctions against Russia, money laundering with Russian banks, playing agitator in chief with N. Korea, his horrible hires for his cabinet.  I literally don’t have time to remember them all.

I firmly believe he will go down as the worst president in American history.  I have no doubt in my mind.  And there won’t be a close second.

I’m consistently tough on the republican party.  The reason is, I hate the republican party.  Plain, simple, and honest.  I didn’t used to.  All it took was to have some semblance of an honorable man in the office and I could easily agree to disagree.  But I didn’t hate the party.  Now I do.  I believe at the core the party is founded on one of the seven deadly sins: greed.  I see it in every piece of legislation they produce.  It’s all about lining their pockets, at the expense of the poor.   I believe my hatred is well founded and backed by factual information.

But here’s where the rubber meets the road.  During the Trump era, I have come to admire many, many Republicans.  Ana Navarro.  Rick Wilson.  Bill Kristol.  Mitt Romney.  Cheri Jacobus.  Why?  Because they have the guts to speak out against their own party.

Rick Wilson is hilarious.  He’s a Reagan conservative, but he refuses to normalize the clown car that is the Trump administration.  Same thing with Ana Navarro.  She’s a once proud Republican.  John McCain is her hero.  But don’t mess with her on T.V. and try to normalize Trumpism.  She’ll kick your ass.

Bill Kristol is on Twitter daily railing against the Trump administration.  He knows all too well that this is not normal.

I sincerely admire these people for their courage to speak out when something isn’t right.   Before it becomes the popular thing to do.  What it does for me is, if they have a conservative opinion about something, I’m listening closely.  I don’t just write them off as a far right loon.  I really want to hear what they have to say because they have demonstrated courage to call out criminal behavior at the risk of being ostracized by their own party.

That’s my takeaway from the first year of Trump.  There are a few patriots within the Republican party and I am so glad to see it.   Hopefully more will emerge as time goes on.

 

 

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