The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

New Year, Same Old New York Times

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Well that didn’t last long.

It didn’t take much time at all for the New York Times to steamroll its own mea culpa after the November election. A time when Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and Executive Editor Dean Baquet offered a half-hearted apology to America, but an apology none-the-less, with regard to the way the Times had covered the election and for the most part America’s heartland.

As we reflect on the momentous result, and the months of reporting and polling that preceded it, we aim to rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism. That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you. It is also to hold power to account, impartially and unflinchingly. You can rely on The New York Times to bring the same fairness, the same level of scrutiny, the same independence to our coverage of the new president and his team.

Within that quote is a thinly veiled admission to the fact that the Times has not been exactly honest in its reporting. This isn’t news to anyone who doesn’t exist on the Left side of the political spectrum.

But now we see the Times is the Times and it’s probably going to take some serious time and perhaps hard times before the paper actually does what it says it will do.

Case in point, a recent article by the Times on former Texas governor Rick Perry who was pegged by Donald Trump to be the next energy secretary.  As the Washington Examiner points out and proves, the Times took a single quote, misinterpreted it, created a story around it, which was then picked up by every other Times wannabe on the planet, smearing Rick Perry in the process.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think the article was written by a first year journalism student who doubled as the president of the Democrat club.

So this is how the Times “rededicates” itself to the fundamental mission of Times journalism? Same as it ever was…

Read the full story here at the Washington Examiner

Even New York Magazine couldn’t back up the Times or condone the story.

Who’s going to revive the lifeless body of journalism in this country? I don’t see any legitimate organizations who can step in at this point.

Sad Times.

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Written by DCL

January 19, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Posted in News, News Media, Politics

Dear Entertainment Industry

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This letter has been circulating on social media since the election.  I have no idea who the original author is so I can’t provide attribution, but I believe it sums up the thoughts and feelings of most everyday Americans.

I’ve made a few adjustments and added some thoughts of my own making it more about the players in the entertainment industry rather than about Donald Trump, because it doesn’t really matter who’s running for what, their opinions don’t matter to me.

hqdefault

Dear Musicians, Hollywood actors, and Entertainers in general,

I’m not interested in your political views, social views, or personal activism. So please, don’t use your prominent place on the stage, big screen, or TV to shove them down my throat.

You exist for my entertainment. Some of you are great eye candy. Some of you can deliver a line with such conviction that you bring tears to my eyes. Some of you can scare the crap out of me. Others make me laugh. But you all have one thing in common, you only have a place in my world to entertain me.

That’s it.

You make your living pretending to be someone else. Playing dress up like a 6-year-old. You live in a make-believe world in front of a camera. And often when you are away from one too. Your entire existence depends on my patronage. I’ll crank the organ grinder; you dance.

I don’t really care where you stand on issues. Honestly, your stance matters far less to me than that of my neighbor. You see, you aren’t real. I turn off my TV or shut down my computer and you cease to exist in my world. Once I am done with you, I can put you back in your little box until I want you to entertain me again. I don’t care who you vote for or why. I’m glad you vote, now get back into your bubble. I’ll let you know when I’m in the mood to be entertained.

Make me laugh, or cry. Scare me. But realize that the only words of yours that matter are scripted.

I might agree with some of you from time to time, but it doesn’t matter. In my world, you exist solely for my entertainment.

So please just do what you do best. Read your lines, sing your songs, and dance.

Written by DCL

January 18, 2017 at 10:25 am

Posted in Humor, Politics

A Letter To Meryl Streep (not from me)

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This may be the most rational, well-written, fair, and accurate rebuttal to Meryl Streep’s public undressing of Donald Trump to date.

Don’t expect to see or read in any major publication. This letter will be ignored and intentionally buried because it exposes the Hollywood hypocrisy like no other.

It doesn’t just expose Ms. Streep but he industry and a large number of people who make a living there.

A Letter to Meryl Streep
Where was that empathy we’ve come to know?
by Lee Habeeb | Updated 13 Jan 2017 at 7:51 AM
An open letter to Meryl Streep from a conservative fan:

Dear Ms. Streep,

I’ve been a fan of your work since I first saw you in Woody Allen’s “Manhattan.” It was clear back then you were destined to be a star.

You didn’t hesitate to take the opportunity to attack President-Elect Trump — and by proxy, the people who voted for him.
The camera loved your striking good looks. But we all saw more. Your depth. Your intelligence. And your empathy. And empathy is what acting is all about. Actors don’t judge the characters they play. They become them.

And what characters you’ve played. Linda in “The Deer Hunter,” Karen in “Out of Africa,” Sophie in “Sophie’s Choice,” Sarah in “The French Lieutenant’s Woman,” Rachel in “Heartburn,” Donna in my wife and daughter’s favorite movie — “Mamma Mia!” — and my favorite, Susan Orlean in “Adaptation.”

The flaws in your characters are never burnished, because you know all of us have flaws of one kind or another, and they can’t be separated from our virtues. You also know that there is, in every character you play, a part of yourself. A part of us all.

You are particularly good at taking seemingly unlikable people and making them fully human. In “Kramer vs. Kramer,” the movie that earned you your first Oscar, you turned an unsympathetic character into one we understood. And loved. Though your character had done the unimaginable, abandoning her husband and child for 18 months, you got us to see why she did such an awful thing. That she was in a lonely, desperate place. And did the only thing she thought she could do at the time: leave.

When she came back 18 months later to seek custody of her son, and won the custody battle, we were mad at her. But then she did something remarkable. Something hard. Despite the court’s ruling, she let her ex-husband retain custody of her son.

And that’s the thing about art. It challenges and surprises us. And reveals the contradictions and convulsions within us all. Indeed, it may be your crowning achievement that so many of your performances did just that.

That can’t be said for your performance at the Golden Globes. It was an obvious performance. A rude performance. And it lacked your characteristic courage to surprise and challenge all of us. Yourself included.

Let’s start with why it was rude. The Golden Globes invited millions of Americans into that room in Los Angeles, and millions of us invited you into our homes. But you didn’t hesitate to take the opportunity to attack President-Elect Trump — and by proxy, the people who voted for him. You either didn’t appreciate that fact, or took it into account and made the speech anyway.

Millions of your fans voted for Donald Trump, and millions were women. Good women you’d probably do a great job portraying if you had to. But on that stage, filled with righteous indignation, you paid them no respect. Like my wife, who admires your work, and who voted for Trump.

Moreover, what you failed to appreciate was this: Millions of people watching may not have liked Donald Trump, but voted for him anyway. Because sometimes, people we don’t like — people who offend our sensibilities — end up being very good at their jobs.

Like Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada,” the character you so capably brought to life. Could she have become a force in her industry by being anyone but the person she was? That’s what made your performance great. You didn’t judge her.

Could it be that Donald Trump has similar strengths and flaws? And might end up being a great leader, too? And could it be that those people who voted for him saw what you just couldn’t see?

Your performance was also obvious. When you started rattling the names of all of the actors, and where they were all from, we knew why you were doing it.

“Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners,” you said. “If you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

The line got a laugh. But it was a cheap laugh. Because President-Elect Trump doesn’t want to throw outsiders and foreigners out of the country. Nor do his followers. Do you really think we want Ryan Gosling deported to Canada? And why that dig at so many millions of Americans who love you and the NFL? Love your movies and mixed martial arts? You treated us like we’re stupid, like you’re better than us. That’s a side of you we never saw on the screen before — condescending Meryl. Arrogant Meryl.

It’s an easy thing to caricature one side of a debate like illegal immigration, and worse, shut it down by calling people names. Or mocking them, which you did in your own elegant way. Which most of Hollywood has been doing in a not so elegant way since Trump launched his candidacy.

But what your performance lacked most was courage. You didn’t challenge your peers. They didn’t boo or hiss you once. We know why. They all agree with you. Moreover, you did not challenge the folks listening at home who did not vote for Trump. That’s not courage. That’s moral preening masquerading as courage.

I expected more from you. Because you know things aren’t always as what they seem, and that it’s easy to draw from single moments a caricature of any human being. Which you did when you focused on that Trump transgression with the journalist. You could have done that to Joe Biden when he implored a man in a wheelchair a few years back to stand up, not once, but several times. You didn’t, because you like Biden, and his brand of politics.

In what may have been the best movie of last year, “Hell or High Water,” Jeff Bridges plays an old Texas Ranger who teases his fellow Texas Ranger incessantly about his Comanche heritage. It would be easy to write the Bridges character off as a racist. But in the end, we learn that he loved his partner, and was willing to die for him.

That’s what art does. It surprises us. Inspire us. Even heals us.

“An actor’s only job,” you said, “is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like.”

That’s why your performance stunned us. The empathetic powers you so generously deploy with the fictional characters you play in movies was not extended to millions of real-life Americans watching on TV, the president-elect included, who see life differently than you.

You failed your own standard. And this is one case where you can’t blame the writer.

Related: Ingraham: Ironic Streep Rant Gives Elites a Pass

You still hold a special place in my heart. Your work always moves me and makes me think. Which is why I’ll give you a pass on your latest performance. Because, like you, I believe in art’s power to reveal the things not that divide us, but that bring us together.

From a fan for life, no matter what your political views,

Lee Habeeb

This letter has been sent to Streep’s agent. Habeeb anxiously awaits a response. He isn’t holding his breath. Habeeb is the VP of content for Salem Radio Network, and host of Our American Stories. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and daughter.

Mrs. Clinton’s Struggles with the Truth

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Hillary doesn't think she lies.Hillary Clinton will now become a part of political history books as she and her husband finally ride off into the sunset of political life…or so we think.

While she says she will never run for office again, Mrs. Clinton is well-known for saying one thing and doing another.  Her relationship with the truth is strained to say the least, but as these 9 examples will show, she has no problem telling the public tall tales regardless the seriousness of the subject matter.

Hillary’s 9 biggest whoppers:

1. Clinton lied about the cause of the 2008 financial crisis. “We had the worst financial crisis, the Great Recession, the worst since the 1930s,” Clinton said. “That was in large part because of tax policies that slashed taxes on the wealthy, failed to invest in the middle class, took their eyes off of Wall Street, and created a perfect storm.”

Actually, as the Daily Wire has previously explained, the economy Ronald Reagan inherited from Jimmy Carter was in worse shape than the Great Recession, and the financial crisis was actually caused by Clinton’s husband’s policies forcing banks to give out loans to people with bad credit.

2. She falsely denied her previous support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. When GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump called out Clinton for previously calling TPP “the gold standard of trade deals,” Clinton flatly said “no” and accused Trump of living “in your own reality.” The former Secretary of State attempted to worm her way out of it by claiming that she had “hoped it would be a good deal” but couldn’t support the finalized version.

This is a lie. The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler points out that in 2012, Clinton’s full quote on TPP was: “This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world’s total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment.”

As Kessler notes, Clinton’s statement was crystal-clear at the time; she did view the TPP as a good deal, not that she “hoped” it would be a good deal.

3. Clinton lied about the effectiveness of stop-and-frisk. After falsely accusing Trump of painting “such a dire negative picture of black communities in our country,” Clinton brought up a blatant falsehood about stop-and-frisk.

“Stop-and-frisk was found to be unconstitutional and, in part, because it was ineffective,” Clinton said. “It did not do what it needed to do.”

Clinton’s statement flies in the face of publicly available evidence. As the Daily Wireexplained here, not only is stop-and-frisk not racist, it has proven to be an effective means of reducing crime, as “murders declined almost 80 percent and major felonies by almost 75 percent from the early 1990’s to 2013 thanks to ‘proactive policing,’ which includes the practice of stop-and-frisk.”

4. Clinton claimed that violent crime is on the decline. It’s not. Following Clinton’s aforementioned falsehood about stop-and-frisk, she then unleashed yet another untruth: “In fact, violent crime is one-half of what it was in 1991. Property crime is down 40 percent. We just don’t want to see it creep back up. We’ve had 25 years of very good cooperation.”

The Daily Wire debunked this, as the FBI recently released a report showing that violent crime increased by 3.9 percent from 2014 to 2015, including a 10.8 percent increase in murders, 5.8 percent increase in rapes and 4.6 percent increase in aggravated assaults. Clinton used 1991 as the baseline year to hide the recent increase in violent crime.

5. Clinton continued to pander to the Black Lives Matter movement by peddling the myth of systemic racism. Here is what Clinton had to say about it:

Too many young African-American and Latino men ended up in jail for nonviolent offenses. And it’s just a fact that if you’re a young African-American man and you do the same thing as a young white man, you are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, and incarcerated. So we’ve got to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system. We cannot just say law and order. We have to say — we have to come forward with a plan that is going to divert people from the criminal justice system, deal with mandatory minimum sentences, which have put too many people away for too long for doing too little.

The statistics prove Clinton wrong. There is this 1985 study:

“Even allowing for the existence of discrimination in the criminal justice system, the higher rates of crime among black Americans cannot be denied,” wrote James Q. Wilson and Richard Herrnstein in their classic 1985 study, “Crime and Human Nature.” “Every study of crime using official data shows blacks to be overrepresented among persons arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for street crimes.” This was true decades before the authors put it to paper, and it remains the case decades later.

“The over-representation of blacks among arrested persons persists throughout the criminal justice system,” wrote Wilson and Herrnstein. “Though prosecutors and judges may well make discriminatory judgments, such decisions do not account for more than a small fraction of the overrepresentation of blacks in prison.”

As well as the following data:

Mac Donald writes in The War On Cops, “The statistics on the race of criminals as reported by the crime victims match the arrest data. As long ago as 1978, a study of robbery and aggravated assault in eight cities found parity between the race of assailants in victim reports and in arrests–a finding replicated many times, among a range of crimes.”

She also points out that criminologist Alfred Blumstein determined in 1993 that “blacks were significantly underrepresented in prison for homicide compared with their presence in the arrest data.”

In other words, the notion of systemic racism oppressing blacks is nothing more than a phantom pursued by race-baiters like Clinton to pander to the Black Lives Matter crowd.

6. Clinton also claimed that violent crime was decreasing in New York City. This, too, is false. Here is the exchange Trump and Clinton had about this:

CLINTON: Well, it’s also fair to say, if we’re going to talk about mayors, that under the current mayor, crime has continued to drop, including murders. So there is…

TRUMP: No, you’re wrong. You’re wrong.

CLINTON: No, I’m not.

TRUMP: Murders are up. All right. You check it.

CLINTON: New York — New York has done an excellent job. And I give credit — I give credit across the board going back two mayors, two police chiefs, because it has worked. And other communities need to come together to do what will work, as well.

Trump is correct on this and Clinton is not. Heather Mac Donald has noted that as the stop-and-frisk practice came to a halt in New York City, “homicides rose 20 percent” in 2015 and “gun crime was experiencing its first two-year consecutive increase in nearly two decades.”

There’s also this:

7. Clinton portrayed herself as a leading figure in slapping sanctions on Iran. This couldn’t be further from the truth. “I voted for every sanction against Iran when I was in the Senate, but it wasn’t enough,” Clinton said. “So I spent a year-and-a-half putting together a coalition that included Russia and China to impose the toughest sanctions on Iran.”

However, a 2014 report from The Daily Beast revealed that Clinton’s State Department “repeatedly opposed or tried to water down an array of measures that were pushed into law by Democrats and Republicans in Congress” that involved putting sanctions on Iran. For instance:

The most egregious example of the administration’s effort to slow down the sanctions drive came in late 2011, when Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez openly chastised top administration officials for opposing an amendment to sanction the Central Bank of Iran that he had co-authored with Sen. Mark Kirk. Leading administration officials including Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman publicly expressed “strong opposition” (PDF) to the amendment, arguing that it would anger allies by opening them up for punishment if they did not significantly reduce their imports of Iranian oil.

Clinton’s top deputies fought the amendment at every step of the legislative process. Clinton’s #2 at the State Department, Bill Burns, even joined an emergency meeting with top senators to urge them to drop the amendment. They refused. The amendment later passed the Senate 100-0. Menendez said at the time that the administration had negotiated on the amendment in bad faith.

It’s difficult for Clinton to seriously portray herself as a champion of Iran sanctions when her State Department repeatedly opposed them.

8. Clinton lavished praise on the Iran deal for supposedly stopping Iran’s nuclear program when it really didn’t. “My successor, John Kerry, and President Obama got a deal that put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot,” Clinton said. “That’s diplomacy. That’s coalition-building. That’s working with other nations.”

In actuality, Iran openly flaunted the fact that they were violating the agreement’s cap on their nuclear program, and yet Obama delegated authority to a joint commission that provided permanent exemptions to Iran on their violations. Obama and Kerry knew this, yet declared that Iran was in “full compliance” with the deal.

9. Clinton continues to lie about her private email server. “I made a mistake using a private e-mail,” Clinton said. “And if I had to do it over again, I would, obviously, do it differently. But I’m not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake, and I take responsibility for that.”

But she really hasn’t taken any responsibility for it because no form of punishment has been handed out to her, and the fact that she tried to delete the evidence suggests that she never viewed it as a mistake. Instead, Clinton continues to repeatedly lie about it.

This list was previously published on The Daily Wire by Aaron Bandler

Written by DCL

January 10, 2017 at 11:53 am

Posted in News, Politics

The Silent Majority Decided to Speak Up

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Trump wins

I don’t know John Goodwin. All I know is something he penned popped up on my Facebook feed and instantly grabbed my attention.

We’ve heard much from the left in this country about why Hillary Clinton lost the election to Donald J. Trump and it pretty much boils down to three reasons in their minds. WikiLeaks, James Comey, and racist uneducated rural America.

Their reasoning lays bare the stark and very real disconnect so many liberals (who live in the large metropolitan areas of the country) have with the rest of America or fly over country as they condescendingly call it and their inability to look inward or have any self-awareness at all.

I don’t know if Mr. Goodwin is a Republican, Democrat, Independent or some other party.  All I know is when it comes to the real reason for Mrs. Clinton’s defeat, he’s right.

Here is Mr. Goodwin’s spontaneous reaction to the election result and the protests that followed, as posted on his Facebook page. (Published by permission)

I haven’t posted about the election mostly because 1) I do this for a living and most of you don’t and 2) I understand why some people are scared and disappointed in the outcome and was showing some deference to my friends and family.

But now I am angry. 

Intolerant liberal elites still do not understand why they lost the election. You lost the election because you forgot that not everyone lives in big cities and along the coasts. You forgot that not everyone went to elite colleges.

And worse, you deride the people who didn’t and who don’t think like you. You make fun of people who eat at Applebees and shop at Walmart and watch NASCAR. You think they are lesser people than you and don’t deserve a voice or an opinion. 

You call them all names. Call them rubes and rednecks and morons. Call them uneducated and backwards.

I am not talking about the racists, sexists and bigots who reared their ugly heads this year. They are disgusting.

I am talking about the average people who work in manufacturing, own their own business or used to anyway. 

Have you ever been to a working farm for more than an hour to pick apples? Have you driven through South and North Dakota or Idaho and tried to understand the people who live there instead of mocking them?

Do you understand why people who live in states where 60% of the land is owned by the government might not want a bigger government. 

I didn’t grow up with money. Those of you who knew me know that. I grew up shopping at Zayre and worrying that I was wearing the wrong shoes to school and would be made fun of. A big night out for us was TGI Fridays or Ponderosa. I worked hard and went to college and grad school and have had some success, but I never forgot where I came from and I never looked down upon those who grew up like me and may still live in world where they work with their hands. 

Do you understand the damage Hillary Clinton did to her chances when she said “she was going to put the coal industry out of business?” If you live in New England or CA or a city where you don’t fully understand where your electricity comes from, that might sound nice. But you have never met someone who works in a coal mine or a coal-powered plant or a manufacturing plant that relies on affordable energy to keep costs down. And that message doesn’t just resonate with people who actually work in the coal industry. Every American who works in an industry that liberals hate or deride was impacted by that statement. “Is my job next?”

You want to tell a person who has spent their whole life working in a particular field that they have to retrain and find something new overnight. You want to tell someone who invests blood, sweat, tears and treasure into starting and growing a business that they should shutter it and do something else because you disagree with the industry they work in? 

I grew up hunting and fishing with my father and uncles and cousin. I have been around guns my whole life and understand the dangers and appreciate the need for caution and safety. Most of you haven’t been around them or used one for hunting or self defense. You judge those of us who have. Call me a gun nut? Tell us we cling to our guns? Have you ever met the people who work in the gun industry and work hard to make quality American products and you want to put them out of work too? 

Tragedies happen. And I have never cried harder than or longer than Sandy Hook. These things shouldn’t happen. But you can’t blame guns. Blame the people who pull the trigger. 

You backed professional protesters and anarchists over the police officers who put their lives on the line every day and whose families don’t know if they will be coming home for dinner or breakfast. I do not believe most of those victims deserved to get shot and I have sympathy for the families of those who died unnecessarily. But i respect the police and know how hard their job is. You think all police are bad and are intentionally targeting people. 

So, liberal elites. Stop making blanket statements about people. Stop telling people who think differently than you they are wrong. You have the right to be offended. People have the right to offend you. The government is not meant to protect you from being offended. 

Donald Trump is president in part because half of America was tired of being told that their way of life and their way of thinking was wrong. People are allowed to feel the way they feel – wrong or right. People can feel that illegal immigration cost them their job – wrong or right. They are allowed to think that way. People are allowed to be afraid of terrorism and feel unsafe. 

Keep making fun of the Robertsons from Duck Dynasty, who I count as friends, and the way they live their life. I have spent time with them and know they are the kindest, most loving people I have ever met. Their family life is what most people should strive for.

You think because they believe in God and enjoy hunting and wearing camo, they are lesser people. News flash, a lot of people live their lives like them. Let them. Don’t make fun of them.

Not everyone can afford a ticket to Hamilton. Some people want to watch football and listen to country music. 

Some people think Guy Fieri is a good chef and his food is delicious. 

People are allowed to enjoy shooting guns and hunting. 

People are allowed to seek comfort and joy in prayer and religion. 

You have the right to disagree and do your own thing. Stop judging and insulting and practice some of the tolerance you preach or you may never win another election.

 

Our System Works Even In Its Current Fragile State

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us constitution

All my life I have had a fascination with the founders of this nation and the Constitution of the United States of America they penned.

It is my beacon. It is my guide to formulate and articulate my political positions. Everything begins there for me.

The US Constitution is a blueprint for what I believe is the best form of government ever created in known history. It is based on the eternal principle of agency. Freedom to choose for ourselves our destiny without force or coercion. It’s strength comes from the principles entwined in its language. As with any blueprint its up to the builders to make sure the plans are followed correctly so the end result can be realized.

If followed, the principles enshrined within will lead the nation to prosperity, security, and liberty for for all citizens. What we do with that liberty and freedom is up to us. We are free to choose. Few nations on earth lay claim to anything close.

The United States Constitution is not perfect. No work of human hands is, or ever can be. But as a charter of government, and as a tool for protecting the natural rights of its citizens, no other charter of government is in the same league.

I believe with all my heart and soul it was divinely inspired. I know, not everyone does. But I believe God never forces His will on His children. He will however, inspire them to do things that will facilitate His will to be known. We then, through our agency, choose whether to accept and follow or not.

This election, in my mind, proves the wisdom of the founders and the stability of that 228 year-old document. It still works, and even though the outcome of each election may not be what we want, it gives every citizen a voice and every state an opportunity to select the next president.

I wasn’t happy with the choices the two major parties gave us. That’s no secret to anyone who knows me or follows me on social media, but just like every other prior election I acknowledge the victor and give Mr. Trump the same opportunity I gave Mr. Obama. The opportunity to show me you really want to heal the nation and bring people together. Don’t shower me with platitudes and promises. Your actions will mean so much more than your words. Show me you’re sincere and I will support you in every way I can where we agree.

Ignore your promises from day one like Mr. Obama has done and I will oppose you and work to bring about your defeat should you run again in 2020.

I want you to succeed, but you can’t succeed if you don’t have a majority of the people on your side. It’s your job to win them over. Your supporters smell blood in the water. Are you going to turn them loose or is reconciliation and healing going to be your mantra?

A majority of Americans are watching and hoping.

Written by DCL

November 10, 2016 at 10:59 am

Posted in Faith, Good News, Politics

The Myth of the Wasted Vote

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Undecided VoterFor the first time in my life I am an undecided voter.

With just over two weeks remaining before the election on November 8th I’m not sure who I will check the box for on my ballot.  I received my ballot weeks ago and I will be voting by mail. In past elections my ballot would have been filled out and mailed in as soon as it was legal to do so, but not this year.

I’ve been told by friends and strangers alike that if I don’t vote for one of the two major party candidates I will have wasted my vote.  A vote for anyone but Trump or Clinton is, in their estimation, a de facto vote for one or the other. Clinton supporters tell me a third-party vote is a vote for Trump. Trump supporters tell me a third-party vote is a vote for Clinton.  So what is an undecided voter who believes with all heart, mind, and soul that the two candidates presented by the major parties aren’t even fit to oversee an HOA, supposed to do?

That’s when I stumbled on this thoughtful post on Medium.com.

The author is D.M. Andre and the title is The Power of the Wasted Vote.  Andre leads with a quote by Eugene V. Debs, a union leader and presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America “I’d rather vote for what I want and not get it, than vote for what I don’t want and get it.”   I don’t care if the man was a communist, truer words can’t be spoken.

Andre  goes on: “A common theme during election cycles is the idea that people who do not vote for one of the major party candidates are wasting their vote. This idea is passed around so frequently and causally that it is likely that many of the people proposing it never really stopped to think about it. Unfortunately, those accused of wasting their vote often mount a meek defense, acknowledging that they may indeed be wasting their vote, but it’s okay because they’re voting their conscience. Aside from the condescension inherent in telling another their vote is wasted, this logic lacks a basic understanding of what voting means. Voting is more than a simple act of math; voting is people actively taking responsibility for choosing their leaders and representatives. Therefore, you do not vote for who you think will win, you vote for who you think should win. The reality is the “wasted” vote has value, it wields power; it is intrinsically the same as the vote cast for the winner.”

The behavior of major party leaders, candidates, and their followers toward 3rd parties strikes me as one of fear and a scarcity mentality.  They would have us believe that any party but the (R)s or the (D)s are nothing but spoilers, have no chance of ever winning, and are a distraction from the “real” candidates.  That’s only true if the voters buy into it and for the better part of a century or more the voters have.

America’s first citizens were cautioned by their first president, George Washington, to be wary of the two-party system of government. He said, “There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.”

John Adams was even more direct. “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

But here we are with a two-party system and the vast majority of those two-party supporters telling those of us who won’t fall in line, we’re wasting our votes. Back to Andre’s article.

“The Oxford English Dictionary defines the verb waste in the following way:to use or expend carelessly, extravagantly or to no purpose; to expend on an unappreciative recipient; to fail to make full or good use of; or to deliberately dispose of something. There is a suggestion implicit in these definitions that whatever is being wasted has value. After all, can one really waste something that has no value to begin with? As such, the trope “your candidate cannot win; therefore, your vote is wasted” is a non-sequitor. It assumes that there is only value in the votes cast for the winner. While many individuals thoughtlessly pass on this logic, the true purveyors of this logic are shrewd individuals. Telling people that they are wasting their vote is a fear tactic. And since many people are more motivated to avoid failure than they are motivated to achieve success it is a sound tactic. Regardless of the motivation, this logic is dangerous. Feeling powerless and being motivated by fear are traits more commonly associated with totalitarian regimes, not democracies.”

I’ll give Andre a bit of a pass here regarding the “democracies” line.  A pure democracy is in fact mob rule, where the majority decides everything and minorities have no say or power. A constitutional representative republic protects the minority from the majority and seeks to give equal voice to all through representation. Still Andre makes a solid case that every vote has value regardless for whom it’s cast. This isn’t a binary election. To suggest such is to promote a false dilemma.

Andre: “The presidential election is more than an either/or proposition. Certainly, third-party candidates face an uphill battle before they will be seated in the oval office. However, that does not mean that votes for those candidates are wasted votes; every vote has the power to influence. Third-party candidates challenge the dual party system and add alternate viewpoints that can lead to a more robust national discussion. Democratic and Republican candidates routinely co-opt issues that third-party candidates lobby. People don’t need to justify their votes, regardless of their choice. Every vote cast has the power to change the direction of the national conversation; some just have a more direct impact than others.”

Don’t use bully tactics by beating up anyone who says they can’t vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Win them over with the merits of your candidate.  And if you can’t do that, maybe you need to rethink where your vote is going.

You can view D.M. Andre’s entire article HERE

Written by DCL

October 24, 2016 at 4:49 pm

Posted in Politics