The “good”, the “bad”, and the “ugly” of today’s politics

It is “bad” and “ugly” when political opinions become a verbal mud-slinging contest instead of dialogue. Both sides of the political party swamp are to blame because the rhetoric has turned personal rather than remain political. One more time political zealousism (a new word) shut down dialogue and introduced pure and simple vehemence and to some extent hatred to a conversation.  It is a social media disease because one can write “whatever” without a second thought and having to face no one; so instead of conducting an intelligent conversation, one “slings” anger at an opposing opinion.  Probably I am guilty as well, but hopefully not to the extent of what is displayed in today’s political arena and unaccountable social media. So here is my analysis of the “good”, the “bad”, and the “ugly” in today’s political picture.

The “good” starts with the fact that our country allows its citizens  freedom of speech and freedom to vote without repercussions. However, this depends on who is practicing “freedom of speech.”  As it happened to me very recently, I quickly found out that “freedom of speech” is only acceptable when I agree with the other individual’s point of view. In recent years, people like me with much broader political and social opinions are shut down with such force and rage that our cheeks tingle with social media face slapping. But I am digressing. The “good” is imbedded in the constitution of our country which our forefathers wrote to guide and implement toward the wellbeing  of all those “created equal”.  They did not include social engineering for the purpose of equality, but the opportunity through “freedoms” and grace of God to enjoy equality. Unfortunately, history does depict a different picture; however, from the ashes of injustice and inequality the nation prevailed and in turn helped others regain their freedoms. The freedoms written down and forged from oppression of another government across the sea were not up for hateful debate, but thoughtful discussion that would eventually result in “freedom for all”. This is where the “good” has recently turned to “bad”.

In my response to a recent inane social media posting asking if one would re-elect the current administration back in office; I replied truthfully and exercising my freedom of speech that “I would rather have my teeth pulled out without anesthesia”. This was a tongue-in-cheek reply (pardon the pun) that brought on an onslaught of social hysteria based on pure party line rhetoric rather than gray cells. The “bad” continued in a back and forth pounding of my stance based on the man in the White House rather than his policies; which (I had stated) had split a nation.  I made it a point to differentiate the personal from the political by saying that the president is a good family man. I actually admire him for raising a great family and openly acknowledging his love for them. To be exact my reply was that the country is going through the worst of times because of policies that  ” his arrogant rhetoric has caused havoc constitutionally, politically, ethically, morally, and definitely militarily.” Notice I said “policies” and did not attack the person. I was admonished for not stating true facts because there are three branches of government and obviously the president cannot make decisions on his own. Really? Then who signs vetoes? Who refuses to sign bills? He holds the pen. I was also fiercely admonished when I stated that it was about time this president quit blaming his predecessor for most of what ails the country. That brought on this: “Obama has never blamed Bush the Republicans or anyone else for what has occurred during his tenure…” So I decided to fact check ME. After all I am getting on in years and my memory might be going south.  This president has actually blamed the previous president and administration publically approximately eight times (that is officially recorded through the media).  The reporting was on networks sympathetic to both sides of the aisle to include the administration’s private network MSNBC (I’m only kidding about the private network bit).  The predecessory (another new word) finger pointing included: Fast and Furious, the economy, the deficit, the VA scandal, GSA, and Iran Nukes.  (Louis Jacobsen, September 27, 2012, Politifact, Barack Obama says he’s responsible for just 10 percent of budget shortfalls}, (Joel Gehrke, September 20, 2012, Washington Examiner, Obama blames Bush for Fast and Furious, contradicts his DOJ IG), (Francis Martel, May, 2014, Breitbar, Obama: I always take responsibility but VA scandal started with Bush), and the list goes on.The “bad” is that hardcore partisan thinking and opinion that diminishes the capability of discovering the truth. I know that a predecessor should be held responsible for actions that reflect outcomes down the road, but to deny the fact that this administration and president has blamed his predecessor for eight consecutive years and on numerous occasions is infantile. To be fair, this goes on in both partisan camps. Try and say anything derogatory about Ronald Reagan to a conservative and you will be singed; Reagan is to hard core conservatives what the Pope is to Catholics. One can like the man, but one must also remain circumspect and acknowledge “in your face” shortcomings if they exist. I have no clue if this president will be named the best or the worst, and frankly I don’t care. I always cringe when any past or present president is referred to as “great”. I do not think anyone in particular was or is “great”. They have a very difficult job and you could not pay me real money to do it! Notice, they go in with dark hair and come out gray! (Except for Reagan). They are human AND men! They did some great things and blew others.

The “bad” continues with the divisiveness that has been instigated for political gain. One ethnic race against another, one class against another, one opinion against another, and the blatant crude and crass name-calling; because one can. Those who know me can vouch for my straight shooting, and I generally do not state something unless I can back it up. I have stated my opinions more than once, and whether liked or not, I normally approach them analytically rather than emotionally. Apart from the abortion issue which is emotional to the core; political standing is rather personal because it affects one’s life.  However, in recent years, JFK’s “ask not what the country can do for you but what you can do for your country” has vanished like yesterday’s rain. Now the government is expected to raise the populace. What is the government going to do for me? The land of opportunity was created through the assumption that if you work hard you will make it. It was not created so that if you work hard you give half of what you earn to someone else. The government should be a temporary fix and not a permanent means of livelihood. The “bad” in politics continues with the never-ending rhetoric that the government will and should continue to assist from the cradle to the grave. The word “free” is thrown like confetti in a parade on Broadway or Times Square. Hate to break the news: nothing is free; someone pays for it and I do not want to be the one to do it.

The “ugly” is more insidious and nefarious than the “bad” because it develops a mindset imbedded in the continual indoctrination by self-serving charlatans that the government owes you your happiness in life.  Although politics were always ugly;  this election has given birth to a “potty mouth” quagmirish (another new word) display of candidates we are expected to elect as the next leader of our nation. Both toxic to a degree not seen in any election to date, and by any American in past and present generation; this is no easy pick.  Blaming one side or another for boorish behavior is inane because both sides have proven to be thuggish with and to the American people. Listening to the talking down of the pseudo political elitists  to “us” the common folk is not only pathetic but downright disgusting. The stifling of free speech has now morphed into ugly confrontations that smack of communist or fascist ultimatums rather than “free” democratic thought. The indiscriminant accusations of racism, xenophobia, sexism, and other “isms” convenient to the moment should cease; or the Free Speech defined in our first amendment is just lip service to the few who refuse to engage in dialogue for the sake of a one-sided opinion.  The “ugly” is the stifling and shouting down of any diverse opinion. The “ugly” is in the hypocrisy of those bent on defining social engineering as the last resort to Pollyanna while berating fellow citizens for voicing their right to disagree.

My parents were not very political. They were too busy raising seven children. They did not have time to go out in the streets protesting whatever there was to protest. They were pragmatic on life. My father never asked for a hand out from the government or any social service; and he would have been too proud to accept it.  He managed to raise us on one salary. But our parents’ generation did not “want” things, they acquired what they needed and did not expect the government to be at their side for assistance. Poor people did exist. We all knew who they were and my mother would donate “stuff” discreetly not to offend or embarrass. Nowadays no one is embarrassed to ask for money or services from the government. They claim it like their birth right. They were entitlement like a badge of honor. We were raised to believe that if we study hard and work hard; we would be successful. Not necessarily wealthy, but successful. It meant feeling good about oneself and the sacrifices that were made to achieve whatever we achieved. That is contrary to the current political mantra of entitlement: I should have whatever my neighbor has because I deserve it. Not because I worked for it, but because by “being”; I deserve it. That kind of thinking is what has stifled our economy to a growth only seen in third world countries (1.7% annually, for those who want to research), 19 Trillion in debt and counting (US National Debt Clock in real time; by the time I post this it will be over 20 trillion!), and a global educational ranking of 17th place behind Finland, South Korea, the Netherlands, Japan, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Singapore, and Hong Kong (not necessarily in any order, except that Finland and S. Korea are in first and second place respectively). (International Business Times, 2012). Not much to be excited about right? But we do have transgender bathrooms in  public schools. Hooray for us!

Voting in this election is like voting for dumb, dumber, or crooked! Not much of a choice. Plenty of “bad” and “ugly” to go around, and very little “good”. What I am hoping for is that somehow whoever is elected will wake up from his or her narcissistic stupor and realize what is at stake and do the right thing. The nation needs to come together in respect and acceptance of opinions. Elected servants of the people (because that is what elected officials are to include the president) must realize that those who elected them put their trust in them. That trust is sacred and it should be nurtured. We the people should make it clear that just as we voted them in we can vote them out. So to the next man or woman in the White House: Stop the divisive rhetoric and start uniting. Stop the name calling, and start communicating. Stop the social entitlement indoctrination and start teaching serious accountability.  Do what is good for the country not your partisan friends. The country is the United States and not your private partisan playground. Lead all the people not the chosen few who voted for you. Grow a set of cohunes and go after the bad guys who are trying to kill us. Finally: once you raise your hand on the bible you own all successes and failures; enjoy the former and humbly accept the latter. That is what true leaders do.

Why I am ticked off at women’s rights!

My mother was the strongest woman I have ever met. I say “was” because she passed away three months ago at the ripe age of 99. Till the end she wanted it “her way”. What made my mother strong were her undying convictions in her faith, her family, and herself. She did not take parenting classes but raised seven children: three during war time. She did not walk the streets with picket activist signs; but she knew how to send a message through her stern and often stinging retorts. She did not need women’s rights organizations to tell her that some things were not right when it comes to gender bias; but she stoically continued her strong Christian life and faith that kept her on the straight and narrow, and kept us; well disciplined and behaved. Her generation fought and won wars without excuses or apologies because her generation were intelligent enough to realize that wars were not pretty but often necessary. She did not need main stream media or the intellectual 30-something tweeting twits to tell her how to lead a relevant life. My mother was the most relevant woman on earth. How then have we as women, progressed or rather digressed into a state of stupid? What has let loose a generation of whiny entitled self-centered women to take on hollow activism that is not only counter-productive to our identity, but close to being third-world barbaric? When did we morph from being ladies to being vulgar? At what point in time did we lose our sense of right and eagerly embrace wrong? When did we become liberated without a sense of responsibility or common sense? Why aren’t we content to be blessed for being who we are?

What has sent me on this tirade is something equally inane but nonetheless poignant in a sense that it clearly reflects today’s women’s activism movement. A short social media post by a women’s rights group boldly stated that because they are pro-choice they are not pro abortion. How convenient! I retorted that would mean that because I smoke dope I am not an addict. The answer to my retort was well expected: “not the same”.  Really? No one has ever explained the term “pro-choice” to us regular folk, however, the term has only been referred to the politically charged “women’s body rights”. Now I must admit that I have never heard gun lobbyists use the term “pro-choice” for packing. Probably because there is a difference between the right to bear arms and the politically adopted right to abortion. It is the activists themselves that conned the term “pro-choice” and they decided to own it. It is these same activists who fight and claw for the “right” to end a life without provocation.  Where are the signs for “Unborn lives matter”?

What mind boggles me is the incongruity of the loud “pro-choice” mantra because contraception is as available as a Big Mac, and children are taught about sex, transgender, homosexuality, and other politically correct genre before they can read, write, or even identify their own country on a map; you would think that unwanted pregnancies would be rare rather than the norm. But here we are today, almost a quarter century into the millennium and we still have kids having kids, and we still think that getting rid of the “problem” is the answer to women’s rights. Some disingenuously disguise it as women’s health!  It seems that  women’s rights groups only activate their “rights” when it comes to forcibly removing an unborn from a woman and profanely call it “pro choice”. At least in Cambodia Pol Pott’s soldiers had the decency to kill the babies when they were born rather than before! They took the babies and smashed them against trees to save on ammunition. These places are now aptly called the Killing Fields. In our country we call them clinics. Our female sense of justice has been warped into a sinister acceptance of the unthinkable and barbaric. This generation has more feelings for a gorilla who was shot to save a child than the child who was in danger. Vigils  behind prison walls are kept in protest of capital punishment, but we think nothing of hauling an unborn forcibly from a mother’s womb and then conveniently call it: pro-choice.

At what point in time is the unborn going to have a voice? Who will speak for him or her? And more important: who are we aborting? Could it be the next scientist who finds a cure for cancer? The next engineer who discovers new life and new civilizations? A new Shakespeare? The next  Mother Theresa? How about the philanthropist who revolutionizes alternative energy without fossil fuel?  What about the next woman philosopher, poet, writer, and mother? “Pro-choice” is genderless and eradicates without remorse because there is no one to witness the “choice”. It is nameless and faceless. This is very similar to what regimes did in the gulags of the old Soviet Union, the prisons of South America, and the Killing Fields of Cambodia.  The born and unborn become dispensable and unwanted by the few for reasons beyond decency.

I am a woman. As a woman I am appalled that my unprecedented gift and ability  to bring life to the world has been hijacked by those who regard pro-creation with disdain. To regard motherhood as an inconvenience is beyond incomprehensible and downright evil. To pretend otherwise is an affront to my womanhood, and, yes my “pro-choice”.  We are slowly and systematically moving toward total apathy and organized extermination of the unborn. For many years, the Chinese government aborted girls or locked them up in orphanages under the pretense that they were not productive to society. The west was stunned! Really? Why don’t we take a look at the trash in our own back yard?

My mother gave birth to seven children. She nurtured us and loved us unconditionally. She watched us grow and go our separate ways knowing that she had done her very best to raise us right. I doubt that she did not face days when running away from a house full of kids seemed attractive; but if she had such thoughts she sure never shared them with anyone. She was the true activist who made choices that impacted our lives down the road. I never heard her say that she regretted having any of us. Till the very end, she loved us and her role as a woman and a mother.

Following in her footsteps; most of us siblings eventually had families of our own. We are surgeons, nurses, marketing executives, bankers, engineers, administrators, teachers, photographers, and volunteers. Each in our own way has contributed to our generation and our children have in turn contributed to theirs. If we had opted to choose not to have these wonderful children the world would have been without: a surgeon, a nurse, a teacher, a marketing director, a business woman, a graphic artist, a self-employed marketing executive, a journalist, an editor, and an entrepreneur. Men do not have the ability or luxury to carry a breathing living being. That is a privilege  only known to women. Why are we discarding it like yesterday’s pizza? If women’s rights groups want to really practice “pro-choice” then they should encourage women to choose doing the right thing before getting pregnant and not afterwards. Now that’s a concept I have not seen on any ballot!


The convenience of suddenly developing a conscience

Can anyone imagine what could have happened had we had social media in the mid-20th century? We would have been subjected to sneaky video clips of President Roosevelt attempting to get into his wheel chair, or better still of him smoking close to two packs of cigarettes a day and drinking booze at night. How about FDR sneaking to a hidden cottage in the woods on the Hudson to “visit” with his secretary or as rumor had it: his second or third cousin, not sure? What about the shenanigans of John F Kennedy? The back stairs to the White House were used for more than just the butler!  Moving forward into the annals of history: what about President Clinton and The Lewinsky affair (pardon the pun)? Would it have made a difference or did it make a difference to any of these men’s performance as Commanders in Chief? They were boorish, lewd, womanizers, and of course: all men. Did less women vote for them because they at times behaved like pigs? Did it make a difference to the way they took care of the country? FDR saved the country from the Depression and won the war against the evil and horror of WWII in Europe and the Pacific. JFK was charismatic and started the process for Civil Rights before being gunned down. Bill Clinton had the best economy and welfare reform on the books. Pity these guys if they had to run for President today; or maybe not! It seems that today’s biased media only develops a “conscience” when it comes to one partisan group and not another.

I am remembering one of my favorite movies: The American President with Michael Douglas and Annette Bening. Michael Douglas plays the part of the President who got involved with a lobbyist much to the chagrin of his opponent. It is an election year and this opponent is hammering the President on his “family values” because he was a widower with a young daughter, and going out in public with the lobbyist seemed “not on”. I have a point here, it is just a matter of getting to it: one evening the President’s staff bring to his attention the next day’s newspaper headlines: a blown picture of the lobbyist in her college days at a protest rally where the American flag was burned. What Michael Douglas responds is priceless: “Let me get this straight; a woman whom I did not know then, exercised her first amendment rights in a demonstration I had no knowledge of, is now an issue?” This brings us to the situation with a current presidential candidate who eleven years ago, when he was not running for office or even thinking of running for president, was still a private citizen, embarked in common crass locker room banter, in a trailer, while promoting a soap opera star in a business venture. That is a story? Are we nuts?  Rewind the tape: twenty years ago, a sitting President had sexual relations in the Oval Office, denied it, got impeached, and he is still hailed as the greatest guy on earth! Do any of us think that there was no sexual “banter” going on under the Oval Office desk? Is that lewd, mildly lewd, unacceptable, what?  I am not excusing bad behavior with other bad behavior, but I am dumbfounded how we pick and choose what should lay heavy on our “family values” conscience, and who should bear it.  And ladies, please dismount off your prudery high horse : how many of us watch a good looking dude pass by and  not admire his assets? Thank God no one carries a camcorder around me!  I have watched reality shows with more crass and lewd remarks: has anyone watched Hell’s Kitchen lately?

As a nation, what we should be concerned about is not what is said in a locker room but what is being done at the White House to protect us from those bent to harm us. How about protecting the inner cities from urban carnage? Better still: how about protecting the unborn? Pulling an embryo from a body, sometimes sentient, is not lewd enough for you ladies? If you want to be offended how about being offended about that?  I do not see any uproar about killing the unborn who we bring into the world because we can. The right to life and the pursuit of happiness should not be a monopoly of immigrants, it should be mandatory for all human life. How about allowing parents to send their children to good schools of their choice, so maybe, just maybe, our country will stand a chance to compete with the rest of the world? How about making sure that our borders are safe and that only those who have good intentions come and enjoy the land of the free? How about making it easier for businesses to conduct business to employ folk who can hardly make ends meet one week to the next? How about stopping the corruption that has plagued our government and those associated with it for eight years? You want to speak about lewd behavior? How about lying under oath to the American public and getting away with it? Does that not bother anyone’s conscience?

Bad behavior seems to be indigenous to  politics. But what has happened in recent years is not only disturbing but downright dangerous. The utter disregard for truth is masked in partisan quagmire that reaches deep into the sewers of political bias in entertainment, journalism, and social media. With large media giants contributing millions to political parties; the gray lines between truth, exploitation, political gain, power, ethics, and morals are so murky, that we have now become blind and immune to journalists and their bent self-appointed monolithic view of the world and us mere mortals in it. Their smug elite mindset aspires to their single thought process that anything outside their circle of intellectual snobbery is intolerable; we are doomed to be deplorable!  How utterly incongruous of them since they are cheerleaders to the downtrodden, the social purest, the 21st century suffragette, the progressives who march in formation toward a new order, which by the way, counties like Cuba are moving away from. But why? Why shake Lady Liberty into relieving herself of her torch that has been a beacon of hope for so many across the seas? Why try to tweak a system that encourages reward and perseverance in lieu of entitlement and under achievement? Why do they regard success as an abomination unlessof course it is theirs? What do they find so repulsive in the land of the brave and the free that they want to change? Are we perfect as a nation? Not really. Are we am abomination? Hardly. If we were we would not be talking about walls to keep people from coming in because they want to leave their countries. I never heard anyone eager to go and settle in North Korea!

I digress, but everything is relevant in the scheme of things. The convenience of developing a sense of conscience and ethics seems to have become relevant only if one belongs to a certain political persuasion. FDR, JFK, Bill Clinton were regular folk who for some reason had a problem with a simple clothing device called a zipper. Is it mental, genetic, social? Who knows? Is it unique? No. Europeans almost expect their leaders to be involvied in sexual inappropriaty. It seems to add a sense of masculinity to the position. They do not really give it much serious thought. The French and the Italians wallow in political “scandal” but only for entertainment. They do not go digging for it, it seems to “pop” up, and over a glass of red wine or an espresso, they discuss the politician’s prowess and their admiration. Is it funny to hear a politician being lewd or sexually offensive? I really do not know one way or another, but it really should not make a difference on how he intends to lead the country.  He is not being elected Pope. There is no white smoke from the Vatican. He is human. As such mistakes are made and will continue to be made. Should he be punished for his imappropriate behaviour? I think his wife will take care of that?

I do not condone any bad behavior especially when elected to a public office. But what happenes years prior should be irrelevant unless it is a capital offense. Being crude in a trailer is hardly that.  No one should be held to the proverbial flames because of something foolish that was said or done many years prior and without relevancy except to destroy the individual. If we are to hold people responsible and to the highest standards for their entire lives, then we need to start vetting all that are currently serving in the Senate and Congress.  Then we should ask those with weak moral fibre to step down. I am sure that eventually we will be without the Senate or Congress. I wonder if that is a bad thing?