16 Days to Go: The Progressive Thing to Do is to Support Biden

Every day, I see/hear about some self-proclaimed “progressive who comes up with an excuse as to why he (it’s usually a white guy, not many women) “can’t” vote for Joe Biden. Seriously, in 2020, where the only viable choices for … Continue reading

17 Days to Go: End the Politics of Stupid, Part II

As I said yesterday, this election is our opportunity to end the Politics of Stupid, once and for all. And don’t say we can’t do it. Our parents and grandparents did so in 1932, when the inaction of the GOP … Continue reading

18 Days to Go: End the Politics of Stupid, Part I

There is simply no excuse for still wanting to vote for Donald J. Trump in 2020. When you look at the damage he’s done in the four years since he became “president,” there is plenty there to prevent you from … Continue reading

Less Than 3 Weeks: The GOP Wants US to Promise “No Court Packing”? Huh?

I’ve already voted, and I have already checked to make sure the vote was counted, which it was.

You’re welcome. You should do the same, if you can. No matter what Lord Donny says, mail-in voting is safe. Even if the Postmaster General is a pro-Trump moron, most of the people who work for the Postal Service are just regular people who presumably care about democracy and will take care with your vote. The truly important thing is, you have to vote. Everyone has to vote. If everyone votes, we’ll never have to see that bright orange as a politician ever again. In fact, if we get him the hell out of there, we can see that he’s fitted fr a jumpsuit that matches his skin color and make sure he’s never seen in public again.

Of course, Trump is a major reason this is an important election, but it isn’t the only reason. If you’re fretting over the confirmation of Susan Cooney Barrett, for example, and you’re disappointed that Joe Biden won’t answer the question of whether or not he plans to pack the (Supreme) Court, consider that the GOP has been packing the court system for decades. Barrett already packed the appeals court; she’s just been nominated to pick the highest court in the land. Back when Obama was (a legitimate) President, Moscow Mitch McConnell did his best to slow down the confirmation of Obama-nominated judges, and he also refused to allow Obama to replace Justice Scalia when he died, refusing to allow hearings on centrist Judge Merrick Garland, thus allowing Trump to fill that seat with Justice Gorsuch. Trump didn’t engineer that, his party did. Meanwhile, whenever Reagan or a Bush was President, Republicans confirmed as many judges as they possibly could at every level of the federal bench.

Therefore, when we listen to Republicans whine because Joe Biden won’t commit to a promise not to “pack the court,” the whining is extremely empty and should be dismissed, especially since the GOP has spent the past 30 years trying to pack the courts with right wing clowns, based on their theory that the only issues that matter are God, guns, gays and tax cuts, none of which are popular with voters. Not being popular with voters means they can only get their way by manipulating the courts.

This is why all Republicans have to go, not just Trump. Trump is essentially a caricature of a Republican politician, and he’s doing what he’s told because he thinks that’s how he can win. We have to prove him wrong by rejecting everything Trump stands for, which means rejecting everything the GOP stands for. We have to do this, and do it in such a way that makes it impossible for Republicans to cheat and/or steal. It’s landslide time, Democrats…

21 to Go: Competence, Not Miracles…

I know there are a lot of “progressives” out there who want their vote to go to perfection. They want to elect people who will give them free healthcare, free college and free money for all of the poor. They want to reverse the effects of climate change and get rid of all plastics. Oh, and we will stop using animals as food and trees to wipe our asses. All of our water and air will become as clean as it was when the country was founded, and they will eliminate all military weaponry from the civilian population.

The problem is, of course, that all of the above is unrealistic. First of all, nothing is actually “free,” unless we expect the people who perform services for us to do so without making a living. If we haven’t passed the point of no return, and if we can halt the use of fossil fuels almost immediately, it will still take at least several decades, and quite possibly a century or more, to even begin the reversal of our current atmosphere to its state before the entire planet was on fire. What that means is, even if we do everything absolutely right regarding the environment, it’ll be our grandchildren who start feeling the effects; our kids are screwed for a long time.

On healthcare, no one has ever received health insurance for free, and certainly not without private insurance helping out. And yes, that includes your beloved Medicare. At its heart, Medicare only covers 80% of your medical expenses, which is why private insurance companies have played an essential role in the success of Medicare; they make it affordable and they make it so that everything is covered. Put simply, the idea that we can collect $3 trillion to cover all medical bills through a tax on just the rich is not realistic. Look at how much people bitch and complain about their taxes now, when the government only spends $4 trillion per year; imagine their crying when the government starts spending $7 trillion per year. Someone will have to pay premiums to cover all costs; it can’t all be covered by tax revenues.

Then there is the “free college” idea. A lot of “progressives” like to point out that some states offered taxpayer-paid “free college” back in the 1950s and 1960s, and point to that as “proof” we can do it again, at least with public colleges. What they fail to mention is that universities must offer a lot more education now. At the very least, there are the computers and computer networks, which must be built, maintained and made secure for student populations that dwarf those in the “free colleges” of the 1960s.

In other words, the problem with colleges now are that students are saddled with unimaginable student debt right now, so the true goal should be “Debt-free college,” which means lower tuitions and book prices, and a lot more grants and subsidies. “Free college” is not necessary, nor is it a good idea, since we have “equal rights,” at least in theory in this country, and “free college” would also be accessible to students in rich families. While it would be worthwhile to see underserved families be able t send their kids to the state university free, it’s hard to see the value in paying for a Trump kid’s education through taxpayer funds.

Again, nothing in this world is actually “free,” so when we ask for something to be “free,” we are (unwittingly?) demanding that taxpayers pay instead of those who benefit from the free item. If you wonder why so many voters use the word “liberal” as an epithet, this is one major reason why. We have to start living in the real world and realize there are things we can’t do, and many things we can do will take a hell of a long time to get accomplished. It will take one bill to get us back to the ACA days, but it will take another decade or more to see it morph into a universal health insurance system, and it will have to include private insurance companies. Since we have the Second Amendment in the Constitution, we will never be able to completely disarm the public, and it will take decades to put the law in place to get military-style weapons away from the general public.

In other words, instead of our high ideals, our goal should be competent politicians who care about the American people and the country as a whole, and to do so consistently. That is how we build a nation that is peaceful and just. The Republican Party has shown itself to be completely incompetent at running governments at all levels, and the Democrats have shown a tendency to get things done, albeit slowly. Therefore, to be progressive, we have to vote in every election and cast those votes for Democrats, at least for the time being.

We need competence, not miracles. Every election from now on.

22 Days to Go: How White Liberals Move Forward

There is one thing we must remember, if we are to go forward as progressives and liberals. You see, getting rid of Donald Trump and the current incarnation of the GOP is just the first step in our political evolution and, hopefully, our return to political relevance. We have to become politically savvy at both the state and federal levels if we are to make things happen and we are to return this country to living up to the ideals with which we were founded.

To become politically relevant will require us to moderate in our views somewhat, and to become more pragmatic in our approach to politics, like we were back in the previous Democratic Party-dominated era, from 1932 to about 1980. Having wild ideals is a good thing, in moderation. However, it means we have to adopt messaging that appeals to a lot more than ourselves. That’s because we’re operating in a democracy, and we don’t control a political majority, and haven’t for a long time.

Face it; liberals – especially white liberals – haven’t been politically relevant for a generation. White liberal Baby Boomers have gone from leading the “new generation of political activism” in the 1960s to being electoral also-rans here in 2020. And the primary reason for that is, we seem to have taken our “ideals” so seriously, we actually act as our own impediment to making our ideals the ideals of the nation as a whole.

Put it this way; the “Black Lives Matter” movement should be the most important activist movement in history because it means achieving equality for African-Americans once and for all. And yet, a lot f prominent white liberals seem to see themselves in competition with BLM activists. In fact, whereas we white liberals should be championing equal civil rights for all non-whites, we seem to often be at odds with the activists working on behalf of non-white Americans.

For example, take a look at all the prominent white liberals who scoff at the concept of “white privilege.” I can’t count the number of arguments I have had with white liberals who claim the concept of white privilege is ridiculous because there are more poor white people than poor people of Color. That is not only untrue, it’s irrelevant. And it seems to me, if you are going to flaunt your liberal bona fides, not knowing what “white privilege” refers to kind of works against you.

The term “white privilege” doesn’t refer to economics, for the most part. It refers to the fact that Black people who drive have to follow a completely separate set of rules when stopped by police in traffic because police aren’t naturally afraid that a white person will pull out a gun and shoot them point-blank at a traffic stop. It has to do with the fact that a white person doesn’t have to worry about being followed by security in a department store, as long as there are Black people in the store. It has to do with the fact that white people in the airport security line have to worry far less about being detained than People of Color, and they never have to worry about being detained by police as a criminal for being white, Black and brown people always have to include that contingency in their plans.

That is white privilege and it’s not something you can choose to believe in or not; it’s a fact of life. When a white person is stopped on a highway by police, it’s a good bet they have broken a traffic law of some kind, whereas non-whites can be stopped for simply being one of “the other ones.” And while white liberals should be at the forefront of the efforts to change the culture to turn “white privilege” into “American privilege and apply to everyone, we are too often seen by Black people as an impediment to that sort of progress.

That has to stop. We white liberals can often be as bad as any Red State redneck or Trumper when it comes to seeing People of Color as “others.” Look at what Arianna Huffington refers to as the “liberal blogosphere,” and you you will see more patronization than you will see anywhere. It should irritate the shit out of you that Black activists saw the inclusion of lots of white people in the protests after George Floyd was murdered as a welcome “surprise.”

It should never “surprise” anyone. We should have been there all along. We should always be n the front lines for criminal justice reform, but we’re not. We have to understand that being on the frontlines in trying to reverse climate change shouldn’t preclude us making the a better world if we do survive. We have to learn to do whatever we can to make sure everyone has easy and cheap access to healthcare when they need it. Give up the fascination with “single-payer” or whatever gimmick you have glommed onto this week and work toward universal access to quality medical care. And learn more. You may think you know about every issue you have supposedly “studied” over the years, but reality is, unless you’ve lived it, you don’t know as much as you think.

It’s also important to LISTEN. There are many reasons why People of Color don’t like white progressives very much, but the biggest reason is our side’s tendency to lecture, rather than listen. That has to change. We have to listen more and stop believing we are knowledgeable enough about being Black and/or poor to lecture poor Black people on how they can get out of their situation, and instead choose to shut up and listen to why they are in their particular situation. Not all poor people are poor for the same reason and Black folks are individuals first. Treat them that way.

If we can get more people to vote this year, we have an opportunity to make this country better than it has ever been, and we have a chance to take a leadership role in this new, progressive government. However, there will be a lot more work for us to do, and we will have to change ourselves to be able to do it. It will take many years and it will require us to shift our attitudes toward government and democracy to get it all done. Instead of working outside the democratic process, we will have to use it.

Let’s get started by voting happily for Joe Biden and every Democrat on our ballots.

23 Days to Go: Goodbye GOP; It’s About Damn Time

The Republican Party still like to claim their the “Party of Law & Order,” even though they allow their standard-bearer Trump to get away with breaking all sorts of laws with impunity. The current “First Family could be described in … Continue reading

27 to Go: I’ll Show “Him” Respect and Good Will When He Does

I have been told by many recently that I should have respect for “President” Donald Trump. My response has always been the same; I respect the office, and I’ll show respect for Trump when he starts showing respect for the … Continue reading

29 Days to Go: Four Seats Ain’t Good Enough

Not a day goes by that my email inbox isn’t crammed with requests for money and promises to gain fur seats for the Democrats in the Senate. I haven’t been sending them much money, in part because I just don’t … Continue reading

30 Days to Go: We Have But One Job…

This could be an easy column to write because it seems as if we only have one task moving forward during this election, and that is to make sure Joe Biden wins the presidential election, so we can move on from the Trump Era.

However, there is a lot more to it, really. Yes, we all have to vote for Joe Biden, whether you like him or not, but this is also our greatest opportunity to rid ourselves f the scourge that is the current incarnation of the Republican Party.

Government under Republican leadership has never been a picnic, but it has become far worse since the GOP actively recruited the worst of our citizens into their fold, so they would never be shit out of government for a lack of voters. If you think it’s just coincidence that Donald Trump depends on white supremacists and other anti-American values psychos, you haven’t been paying attention. There used to be a conservative branch of the GOP called the “Taft Wing,” while the Democratic Party had to deal with “Dixiecrats,” who were far worse. Now, they are all a key constituency in the Republican Party. Yes, that’s right, folks; this is not your grandfather’s Republican Party; it’s not just NOT “the Party of Lincoln,” it’s not even “the Party of Reagan.” As bad as Reagan and the Lott-Helms-Dick Armey coalition was back in the 1980s and 1990s – as disgusting as they were in attacking the Clintons, they are far worse now.

If you hate budget deficits and/or if you’re uncomfortable with borrowing money to run the country, then the GOP should be your worst enemy because 90% or more of the current national debt came from their policies. I know they hate others reminding you of this, but the fact is, all those tax cuts cost us money. And they have rarely been offset by cuts sufficient to make up the difference. That shouldn’t surprise anyone, really. Face it; when you cut taxes by $1 trillion per year, it would be a hell of a challenge to cut enough from a $4 trillion budget to cover.

If you think Republicans are masters at budgeting and budget cutting, you’re extremely gullible. For example, if you believe tax cuts will result in higher revenues, then you have bought the whole “trickle down” theory wholeheartedly, despite the reality that it has never worked in history. Ever. Hell; it doesn’t make any sense. You expect the extremely rich, whose main goal is to keep accumulating more money, to simply give all their “extra” money away to help the poor? Has that ever happened before? If there was one thing we learned the last time Republicans were exiled froth federal government was that we could use the tax money collected from a 91% top tax rate to bring reforms to our government that served working people. It’s only been since the people have been brainwashed to believe that the lowest tax rates possible are the best way to build out our infrastructure, that we have been falling behind. And no; we don’t have to tax the rich at a 91% to fix everything, but we can’t keep cutting taxes on the rich until they pay 0%, either.

All we have to do is to look at the best time in our history, which was the 25-30 years after World War II, and we have a model that worked very well. It turned us into the richest nation in the world. Unemployment was really low, wages were high, union memberships hit records and almost everyone was able to pay their bills and thrive. Compare that to what we have now, and it’s easy to see how much worse off we are with Republicans having too much power. Tp make matters worse, Republicans don’t like democracy much because they’re a minority party, and they can only hold power when fewer people vote.

This is why our job this year is so simple; show up and vote, and make sure you vote for the Democrats at every level, not just as president. It’s time to reject authoritarianism and reject the one political party that has shown themselves tp be completely incompetent when running government, and that would be the Republican Party.