Tag Archives: politics

It’s Personal…

In 2020 I had resided in McIntosh County Georgia for 18 years. I voted for Joe Biden in the election there that November. I felt considerable pride for my adopted state as that election count was finished. The Democratic Party succeeded in seating two new Senators, and won 16 electoral votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Democracy is exhilarating when you earn a positive outcome honestly.

On January 2nd, 2021, out-going Trump placed an hour-long phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which he pressured the Secretary to “find 11,780 votes” to overturn the election.

This wasn’t Trump’s first phone call pressuring the Secretary’s office. On December 23, 2020, Trump called the chief investigator at the secretary’s office, who was then conducting a ballot audit. Raffensperger had ordered the audit in response to Trump’s allegations of fraud. Trump asked her to scrutinize the ballots and said she would find “dishonesty”. She didn’t. No significant fraud was found.

Four years have passed.

Trump is now indicted under both federal law and in the state of Georgia for his criminal attempt to defraud voters and steal the 2020 election. And it wasn’t only those two phone calls, but the fraud involved a coordinated effort by numerous individuals to present and count false electoral ballots from seven different states.

The conspiracy’s success hinged on fomenting utter chaos at the Capitol. Trump’s surrogates summoned armed and violent right wing posses. They moved according to a plan under the cover of the other demonstrators. Capitol policemen defending the building suffered serious injuries. Some died. One civilian was shot dead.

Slates of false electoral ballots were created in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Republican party workers labored to put those fraudulent ballots on the floor of the House on January 6th, where they hoped the pressure of the rioting mob might force their acceptance.

And the plan almost succeeded. The House and Senate chambers were evacuated. Tear gas was discharged in the Rotunda. Windows and doors, interior and exterior, were shattered. The counting of electoral ballots could not take place.

The certification of my chosen candidate was delayed until late that evening, after the rioters withdrew, the building had been cleared and deemed secure, and the legislators and Vice President Pence had returned.

Chaos didn’t succeed that day. But chaos hasn’t given up. Trump recently said that there would be “bedlam” here if he was not re-elected. It’s pretty clear to me and others that’s a call to his violent supporters to engage in armed insurrection again on his behalf.

If you are uncomfortable with the idea of living with ongoing chaos and division, if you’d prefer living with peace and the order of law, then you shouldn’t support Trump, or any faction that supports him.

They tried to steal my vote. It’s personal…

Pigs, Sheep, and Wolves…

(Reading time: ~2 minutes)

Here’s some clarity for you this morning: Fervor has utterly displaced Mellow in these United States.

Remember when you’d hear the complaint, “Hey, Dude! You’re harshing my vibe! Yo, chill!” Maybe mostly on tv, and perhaps only ironically over a beer in a backyard, but the thing was this: In general, back then we valued relaxation.

And, we could indulge in it!

Fast forward to today: No matter which side you’re on, it’s all Urgency. It’s all Crisis. The Right cries out, “Defend Our Freedom!” Everyone else shouts, “Defend Democracy!” The underlying passions are feeding a stridency and tension that may reach a flash point.

Don’t mistake my reflections here as a call to calm down. I am anything but complacent these days about the dangers I’ve seen coming, and, yes, arriving in America.

We are confronted by a small but powerful faction that has built its strength by playing on and magnifying people’s fears and hatreds. The fear and hatred is irrational and tribal. It’s curated to be so by those that generate it because frightened people are easy to manipulate, and also easy to stampede!

There was a guy some time back accused me of being a “sheep” for telling him to calm down. “What’re you so angry about?,” I challenged him.

“You’re one of the SHEEPLE!”, he shouted.

And I closed my eyes and pictured the mob stampeding the Capitol.

Those who would lead you to smash things aren’t thinking about you. The one swinging the sledge isn’t thinking about the hammer. He’s thinking about the target of the blow, and what he might do with the empty space left after destruction. The burning of the Reichstag didn’t liberate Germany.

Those who would lead you to reverse an election in these United States- (they tried on January 6th, and they’re trying again in 2024) ..Those are the ones who pursued only three missions when they held control: increase the wealth of the richest, seize factional control of the courts to shape society to their view, and build a “show-piece” wall to perpetuate fear of the “other”.

Paul Simon wrote a song called ‘Pigs, Sheep, and Wolves’. It’s a simple little story tune; an allegory riffing along axes of culture, politics, and human psychology. If you see what I’ve been saying here, you might enjoy it too. Chill out with it for a bit.

And after that ask yourself who are the sheep, who are the wolves, and what do the pigs really want.

This Old House

(Reading time: ~1 minute)

Yesterday the ultra-right firebrand, Jim Jordan, lost his bid to be third in line to the president. He was set aside by 25 republican members who, despite considerable bullying, found their spines and refused to seat him as house speaker. I enjoyed watching the vote happen, sipping Earl Grey Tea.

I, too, laughed as Mike Kelly (R-Pa) voted, instead, for John Boehner. Boehner, who dubbed Jordan “a legislative terrorist”, and used to razz Jordan by button-holing him to ask, “What do you plan to f-ck up today?” That was before the far-right Freedom Caucus drove Boehner from the speakership and into retirement.

As thankful as I am for this unexpected courage from those 25 republican members, it bears reflecting that on the dark and stormy night of January 6th, after the sacking of Congress, not one of that 25 voted to confirm the rightful election of Joe Biden, but instead supported The Big Lie. In all, 147 republican house members voted against confirmation.

Good governance requires both a vision concerning real policies and works; Not just some vague notions that “taxes are too high”, and “regulations are bad”. And, too, a willingness to work with your opposition in honesty and compromise is essential. A commitment to constitutional democracy wouldn’t hurt as an added extra.

The present house majority lacks all those, almost absolutely.

In line to vote with Exxon and BP…

It was brought home to me today that it has been more than a year since the dreadful Supreme Court decision, ‘Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission’.  A one-time friend from my youth whose present wrongheadedness in most things political does not border on, but rather EXCEEDS the utterly maniacal, took advantage, in a recent exchange, of gloating on the fact.

In trying to understand his position it occurred me that he had never in his adult life worked for anything but major corporations. I grimly predict that a day may arrive when his masters put him out to pasture, social security and medicare gutted, and his pension stolen outright, which might alter his views somewhat. Or not. His views are mighty extreme.

If you are groping here a bit as to what that Supreme Court case was about, here are the broad strokes. The five Republican judges appointed by Geo. W Bush carried a majority opinion that corporations should have the same freedom as individuals to practice “free speech”, which includes the freedom to unlimited investment of corporate assets and monies on political campaigns. It does not matter that the ownership of such corporations may be primarily foreign, or antithetical to what is best for our society at large, but only that they be licensed on United States soil.

Nor does it matter that, unlike individuals, they can never be held accountable for crimes against society in any meaningful way. You can’t incarcerate BP, as much as you may want to at times. But BP can certainly spend the dollars it takes to buy the election of your next senator or congressman, without regard to its lack of safety in its business practices.

None of this is particularly cheerful to contemplate.

My reply to my former friend included a caution that a populace disenfranchised from meaningful involvement in the selection of its government has an annoying tendency  of rising up, sooner or later. I further expressed my hope that this would not become necessary. The news from Cairo sounds just awful.

There are people who say it will take an amendment to the constitution to right this situation. Let’s start thinking about that instead!