Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Stop The Blame Game

What caused Hillary to lose was a combination of a variety of things. Lack of enthusiasm, yes. Voter suppression, yes, in both the general and the primaries. But I think the biggest factor is the mood of the electorate, i.e., We the People, to turn against business as usual, to reject the status quo.

The Democratic party, by whatever means, shady or legitimate, rejected the only primary candidate who is not part of the establishment forces supporting the status quo. Hillary talked a good fight, but only after being pressured by Bernie Sanders’ rapidly rising polling and vote numbers. 

This left the field wide open for Trump to come in as an anti-establishment candidate, even though many of his statements during the campaign were and are repugnant, and win the general election.

Who is to blame for all this? I would say all of us who call ourselves either Democrat or progressive. Those who supported Sanders but switched to Hillary, those who didn’t switch, those who supported Hillary no matter what and denigrated anyone and everyone who disagreed with them are at fault.
But now the time for blame is over. We must reach out to our opponents on both the left and the right, and form working coalitions to get more progressive candidates into office on all levels of government, to pass progressive initiatives in every state, and to groom a true progressive to challenge Trump in 2020.

To accomplish that, we must find common ground on which to to build this progressive movement, Our Revolution, into a force to be reckoned with. If we don’t do the work, we will have nobody else to blame.


 ©2016 by Don Rice Jr.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Moving Forward

Over the past several days since Election day, there has been a great deal of vitriol being hurled on social media.  Everyone wants to blame everyone else for Hillary Clinton's loss, too many are refusing to look at the reasons for that loss, especially from people who did not vote for her.

We've all seen the video clips and news reports of people being taunted, insulted, beat down, told to leave the country, et cetera.  And the anger is clearly on both sides.  Real winners don't rub people's faces in their loss a some of the Trump supporters have been doing.  And real progressives don't attack other progressives out of anger at a differing perspective.  Yet those are the things that are happening.

Many of the people expressing anger because others didn't vote the way the Clinton supporters thought they should have lost sight of the basic truth that we are all human and we all err at times. 

The troubling part is that many people on both sides of the situation claim to be Christian, yet their actions show that they are Christian in name only.

Perhaps even more to the point of what's happening lately in reference to the Bible, especially for those who call themselves Christian, is the neglect for living by trhe teachings of the man  called Jesus the Christ. 

I do not call myself Christian.  Yet I have studied the Bible for many years, seeking the larger truths within the teachings of the Bible.  I herewith offer what I consider to be perhaps the most profound of those teachings:

"For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them." (Luke 6:32)

"For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?" (Mat. 5:46, 47)

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them..." (Mat 7:12)

"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" (1 John 4:20)

Since Christianity is an outgrowth of Judaism, let's take a look at that too.

The Jewish Rabbinical teaching in the B'reshith Rabba (Genesis Rabba) teaching reads: "If thou despisest any man, thou despisest God who made man in His image."

I had a discussion with someone on Facebook who insisted that my vote for Jill Stein was actually a vote for Trump.  No matter how I explained that this wasn't so, she refused to budge.  I don't despise her or hate her because she stubbornly refuses to see someone else's perspective.  It's the action and attitude that saddens me, and I sincerely hope that people will wake up and realize the harm they're doing by being hateful and vindictive.

What it comes down to is that we should treat others the way we want to be treated, not the way they treat us, or to despise them because we disagree with them.  If we did that, then there would be no chance of harmony, simply because nobody agrees totally with anyone else all the time.

Instead, we must seek to understand each other better and not stick with our prejudices and one-sided perspectives.  And we must seek the common ground between us, for only there will we be able to find a way out of this quagmire.  Then, and only then, will we be able to move forward as a nation.



Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Democrat Paul Penzone unseats Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio | Cronkite News

Democrat Paul Penzone unseats Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio | Cronkite News: After holding the position of Maricopa County Sheriff for more than two decades, Joe Arpaio has lost his seat to Democrat Paul Penzone.

Election 2016: The Bigger Picture

So Donald John Trump will be the next President of the United States.  What does this mean for the country?

The truth is that we won't really know until after he takes office.  But the more important question is this:

How did we get here? 

There is a traceable line of cause and effect that goes back at the very least 50 years or so.  It really goes back long before that, but for the purpose of this writing, 50 years is sufficient as a starting point.

What happened then that led to this?  And how did it lead to our current condition?

The 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education was perhaps the starting point, but it wasn't the cause of today's difficulty.  No, the cause was the reaction to that decision. 

A program of massive resistance was begun in Virginia by political movers and shakers.  This led directly to the creation of "segregation academies".  And the concept spread throughout the country.  Not only in the realm of education, but also in businesses.

This program was designed specifically to circumvent the Brown decision, and to continue the segregation of every institution in the nation, both public and private, including commercial enterprises.  And the program expanded on Jim Crow laws as well as northern de facto segregation most if not all of the other states that make up what we call America.

Segregation academies are still around, and educational segregation is growing via charter schools, though it must be noted that not all charter schools are segregation academies.  Segregation in education, especially in charter and religion-based schools, is not only racial.  It is also based on disability, gender identity/sexual orientation, and economic status.  There are, of course, variations between and within these types of schools, based largely on the ruling principles each school and type of school is founded upon.

Academic achievement has gradually decreased in many, if not most, parts of the country, based largely on the same factors endemic to segregation, although certain segments of the population have shown marked improvement.  Black women, for example, are the fastest growing group of college graduates.  And the lowest scholastic achievers are mostly in the southern states.

Added to all of this is something the establishments of both the Democratic and Republican Parties failed to take note of.  That factor is the rapidly growing dissatisfaction of the people in all parts of the country with the status quo.  People are sick and tired of empty promises and eager for real progress rather than going backwards.  And that includes the ever-increasing gap between rich and poor as well as the perception that our so-called leaders are bought and paid for by the corporate elite.

As a result, more, many more, people in America are ready for a change in leadership.  The two major parties put forth the most disliked candidates for President in our nation's history.  And only one of them was not part of the political establishment that people are tired of.  Too many people saw this election as a choice of the lesser evil, which candidate would do the least damage.
But the problem is even deeper.  The Democratic National Convention, through the state conventions, chose a candidate who was not only viewed as deeply flawed, but also shown in every major poll to be incapable of beating most of the Republican candidates, and might... MIGHT... beat Donald Trump.  That turned out, obviously, to not be the case.  The candidate whom polls showed could easily beat Trump was turned away. 

Setting aside the belief by many, including me, that Bernie Sanders was cheated out of the nomination, the fact is that he could have and probably would have beaten Trump, while Hillary Clinton stood a very slim chance of doing so.  As can be easily seen in hindsight, the polls didn't lie.

The Democratic establishment has only itself to blame for this mess.

© 2016 by Don Rice Jr.