An Update On “Trumpism”

A friend posted on Facebook:

So I really have to ask this… Why? Why are people actually voting for Donald Trump? When he announced last year i honestly thought it was just a joke. I remember standing in my bedroom getting ready for work and i had the news on. I just stood there and laughed out loud. Are these people serious or am I missing something? I am completely dumbfounded and honestly, yes honestly, I am terrified. What the hell is happening?

 

After reading many heated back and forth comments I decided to chime in on his Facebook post with this:

There are many Republicans who were elected on a promise to bring conservative ideas back to our government. First they took control of the House of Representatives and very little happened to change “business as usual”. Next the Republicans promised that they needed control of the Senate too, they would pass conservative based legislation and the result was even worse.

Despite having control of the legislative branch of our Federal government, nothing has been done of note that lives up to the conservative promises that were made. Along comes Ted Cruz who managed to get elected to the Senate and buck the “business as usual” system and made several enemies and very few friends in Washington. Ted was supposed to be the “Constitutional conservative outsider” that would reduce the power of the Executive Branch and shrink the Federal Governments role in our lives back to what we had before most of us were born.

Then Donald Trump came along, Donald has gotten more free press than anyone the past several months as the press expected him to implode with each comment and remark that have sent past political candidates into obscurity. But because of the dissatisfaction of a big chunk of the Republican base due to the broken promises of the current elected establishment GOP, Trumps words and promises started to sound good. Promising to get something done and having a track record in business of actually getting stuff done has contributed to his appeal.

Forget for a moment all the politically in-correct stuff he has done recently and over the past 40 years… what concerns me is that it appears that he wants to use the Executive Branch to make changes that are supposed to be made be the Legislative Branch. We would be trading the Executive actions of President Obama for Executive actions of a President Trump. That’s not the answer for those who want a more conservative government (Ted Cruz style). Individuals vote for the person they believe will benefit them and their family the most. Too much emphasis and power has been willingly been given to the Executive Branch in my opinion. Whew….

That’s all for now.

The Uh-Oh Presidential Race of 2016

It’s crazy.

Never would any of us imagined last summer that Donald Trump would be leading the Republican Party delegate race right now.

Nor was it entirely predictable what is going in the Democratic Party primaries.

Let me do the easy stuff first.

I was watching Chris Hayes on MSNBC recently and he mentioned that Hillary Clinton has always started at the top of her game and slid down in the polls with every election she has been in.  He was referring to 1st run for office as U.S. Senator from the state of New York, her 2008 Presidential run and now her 2016 run for POTUS.  I’ll take him at his word.

What I saw was the turn out for Bernie Sanders increasing week after week after week leading up to the first couple of primary votes.  The numbers I saw was the huge number who would show up at his events, but even more important was the number of individual donors.  They outnumbered Hillary donors by huge margins.

Why is the number of donors important?  It shows a grass roots movement where people have invested their own cash.  These people are also likely to vote since they are invested in Bernie.  What is weird however is that Bernie could be denied the candidacy because of the super delegate system that the Democratic Party uses.  The irony is that Bernie could win the popular vote in the primary and not be the candidate for President after the Convention, which has parallels to the 2000 Gore versus Bush general election.

Meanwhile the G.O.P. wishes they had super delegates to stop Trump but they don’t have those same powers.

Without going into the hi-jinks of Mr. Trump, I would rather focus on how he gained his support.

As a marketing guy, it’s easy to understand but even my wife who is not in marketing spotted this early on…

The amount of press coverage Trump has received has been huge. In my house we have CNN and MSNBC and Fox, but we rarely watch Fox News.  I listen to conservative talk on my radio station and I also listen to NPR on the radio.  Everyone, it seems is going gaga over Trump.  If he was doing a rally, the shows and networks would cover it live. Then they would talk about what Trump said. And then they would talk more and more about Trump.  Once we started the debates, the moderators would ask questions about what Trump said.

It was stupidly ridiculous.  Why did they do this?  Money.  They were focusing on the topic that they thought would attract viewers. The outrageous stuff that Trump would say.  The coming downfall of Trump. Everyone wanted to be there and cover it live.  But it didn’t happen.

The more free publicity Trump got, the more popular he became.  Trump drew out the worst in a lot of people.  He spoke the words in front of TV cameras that people would utter in private, knowing that it was rude or politically incorrect to say out in the open.

Trump has also stirred up the politically ignorant.  The people who want the President to fix stuff. The people who do not understand what the role of the 3 branches of our Federal Government are supposed to do and not do and also don’t understand the limits our Federal Government has constitutionally compared to the role of state and local government bodies.

Both Bernie and Donald are correct in saying that we have a broken political system and both propose to fix it from the Executive Office.

I have to say that as of this moment, I have only one candidate left in the race that is okay with me.  And that person may not be around when I get to vote in the Indiana Primary in May 2016.  That leaves me with others whom I have much lower levels of enthusiasm for.  Uh-oh.

Mixed Emotions in 2016

18 years ago my Dad died and I returned to Fort Wayne, to the home I grew up in to help my Mom downsize and move forward with her life.  3 years later she moved and 3 weeks after that move she died.  But for two of those three years that I shared a house with my Mom, I saw her political stance change.

My parents were probably Republicans. I don’t know if they voted straight ticket or did research and picked the person they believed was best for the job.

My first presidential election that I voted in was when I was 20 and Ronald Reagan was my choice. In Presidential elections I have voted for the Republican candidate ever since.

But…

I have also voted for Democrats in both primary and general elections along with 3rd party candidates.

I try and research those running for office at all levels.  When I voted in November for city offices, I knew who was who.  Most of the folks I voted for lost.

I look for people who are truthful.  I also want people who will follow the law.  In Presidential politics, the law is the U.S. Constitution which sets limits on our Federal Government and protects the rights of citizens of our country.  The Constitution also splits the power between different branches of government.

As we move forward, I want to state something and be crystal clear about it.

I do not agree with many of the things that our president, Barrack Obama has done during his 7 years in office.  I felt the same way about his predecessor, George W. Bush.  Most of my disagreements were about the power that assumed that I believe was out of bounds according to the Constitution.

(As a side note, I wasn’t paying as much attention to all this stuff before 2000. I was busy with life and even though I voted, we didn’t have the 24/7 cable news and Facebook stuff going on.)

I do not care what the skin color or religion or gender or even sexual orientation is of our President and all of our elected leaders.  You can’t claim I am racist or anything else because I don’t base my agree/disagree on those factors.

I don’t hate either.  I am disturbed by those that do hate and I am really disturbed by those that make statements without understanding.   I also get upset by those that put too much politics in the political process.  We elect people to roles of government not to roles in politics, right?

Who will I vote for when I get to vote?  Depends on who is on the ballot.  Will I vote in the Democratic primary or Republican primary? We will see who is running when I get to vote in May 2016 which is when Indiana has our primary.

Polls are interesting but we really won’t know what’s what until each state has their primary.   I have my opinion that I have been sharing with a select few and I’ll share right now…

Bernie Sanders will beat Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee.  I was predicting this last summer as I saw the number of individual donors grow and grow and grow.  Every individual donation represents just one vote in the primary…

Opinion two is about Donald Trump. He has never been the favorite of Republicans.  All he has had is the lead over everyone else, but not the majority.  Even if Donald has 40% who want to vote for him, 60% don’t want him.  We will need to see who drops out and how quickly the GOP field narrows because in the primary process that begins next month, to become the Republican Party nominee, the candidate must win a simple majority of 1,191 of the 2,380 total delegates at the Republican National Convention. As each state has their primary contest, candidates will earn delegates and it is an open race until someone reaches the magic number of 1,191.

What stands out in my mind about Donald Trump is that he is making promises that are unconstitutional for a President to enact.  This is the same problem I have with some of President Obama’s actions.

Something I like about Bernie Sanders is the universal health care via a single payer option and that single payer is the government.  It was done under the New Deal of FDR with Social Security to provide a minimum level of income for citizens.  We have seen the pros and cons of this for health care in examples around the world.  The affordable health care act has failed on the affordable promise.  It was a compromise and I really wanted them to overhaul the system of paying for health care by going all the way, like Bernie Sanders has proposed.

It would dismantle private health insurance companies and thousands would lose their jobs who work for those companies.  So what. If I could trade in the $800 a month I pay under my employee health care for a more streamlined system that eliminates the claim forms and co-pays for a similar amount or less, count me in.

But, I am getting ahead of myself.  The mixed emotions of the 2016 political scene is real and we’ll see how it shakes out in the weeks to come.

Another Year

2015 is history. 2016 is alive and in full swing.

The calendar, like the clock does not stop for anyone. Rich, poor, black or white, each person is given the same amount of time each hour, each day, week, etc.

As I wrapped up the year, I saw that there are many people who are focused on their own circle of life to worry about, or care about the political scene we see unfolding as we kick off the real process of voting to select our next President.

By the time I get to vote in a primary in May, the GOP may have 3 to 5 candidates and the Dems will have Bernie and Hillary.   So while it is interesting and often makes me shake my head wondering when I hear these people talk about why they deserve my vote, I can just be an observer until the end of April.

In the meantime, life will move forward.  Looking back at 2015 first…

I saw friends and family touched by death more this year than any other I recall.  From my Mom’s side of the family,  one cousin and her mom both lost to cancer last winter.  On my Dad’s side, another cousin lost her oldest son to suicide.

Closer to home my step-kids lost their dad unexpectedly when his heart gave out while he was on a bike ride. Death also touched some of my former co-workers in Detroit and former high school classmates.  Maybe I am at the age (56) where death starts showing its ugly face with more frequency.  I hope not, but if this is the new norm then it was ushered in with an increased frequency.  Besides those previously mentioned, a friend of mine who encouraged me to register my own business a few years ago lost his battle to cancer and I just found out this week that my dental hygienist was grieving the loss of her mom a couple weeks ago.

Other changes saw my youngest daughter divorce and her husband has primary custody of their two young ones.  My heart aches for all of them and yet I know that there is life, lots of it on the other side of divorce, having gone through it myself.

Oldest daughter and family moved to Colorado, son and wife moved the opposite direction to South Carolina and step-daughter and family are attempting to relocate closer to us.

These are the things that are weighing on peoples hearts and minds more than political matters.

This week, I noticed a friends facebook posting about a change in offices that also put a perspective on our lives:

Guy Renovating My Office: “How’s it look?”

Me: “Awesome! Thanks for your work!”

Guy Renovating My Office: “Glad to have the work.”

Me Internally: “(Jesus Christ, I take literally everything for granted. I am thankful for a steady job and a paycheck and benefits and…and…and…)”

Each of us is blessed. As I said at the beginning,  we all have the same 24 hours a day. Let’s value them and live fully in the days ahead.

 

Hope and Trust

The sun is shining bright on this Saturday morning in the middle of November in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  The Mrs. is off to work, the cat has found a soft comfortable bench in the living room that my wife picked up recently in preparation for holiday visitors.

This is the stuff that is our real lives.

Not the media reports of doom, gloom and fighting.

Now I’m not going to say the media is all wrong.  It’s just that they are presenting what is current in the last 24-36 hours and filling time until the next story breaks.

It would be a shame if all you and I did was to listen and watch all the bad stuff going on and not pay attention to the good too.

It might also be irresponsible to ignore the news completely, at least considering I work in the media. But sometimes that type of escape is tempting.

Especially with the rush of bad news piled on top of political bickering and wars and what not.

After being glued to the radio and later TV on Friday hearing the reports of terrorism in Paris, we needed a break and watched a couple of “normal” shows.

Saturday, I flipped on the TV to see the latest and then headed out to take care of things in my life.

We can not escape the tragedy and horrors of this world, but let us also not escape the beauty and wonderment that is in front of our faces.

How?

Well, I place my Hope and Trust in God.  Not just any God, but the God of the Bible, the one that includes Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It was a decision I made as a young adult in my 20’s and it has carried me through many personal ups and downs.

Let me wrap this up with an observation…

My cat.

I think I have a cat-like relationship with God to some degree.

My cat acts content and seems to be worry free most of the time. (like me)

My cat can get scared or startled every once in awhile (like me)

My cat likes to do his own thing and wanders off to explore the world each day (like me)

But My cat also returns home and feels secure at home. (like me)

My cat doesn’t worry about food and water because he knows I will provide it (like God does for me)

My cat takes care of himself most of the time (like me)

But he also lets me take care of him for needs beyond his ability. (like God does for me).

Oh and he likes to play with other cats and also hang out with his people too.  ( I like to hang out with friends and also need  my time with God too).

NOLA Thoughts

I was just reading a story about New Orleans on the tenth anniversary of Katrina that was one guys perspective of what happened then and since then.

I was glancing a some pictures my step-daughter posted from her visit 10 years ago.

I have watched the interviews and reports on CNN, MSNBC and other news outlets.

Lives were lost.

Lives were uprooted.

Lives were changed.

The term NOLA wasn’t common until recently according to a couple of accounts I have read or heard.

We like to wrap things up into convenient packages with #Hashtags and create a movement, volunteer for a cause or even donate $$ in 3 and 5 dollar increments and believe we are doing something.

Yes, we are doing something.  Don’t discount it, but also be cautious about believing the true impact of what you are doing.

Also be cautious of what the government can do.

The government isn’t some impersonal machine that takes care of us, although some believe it is.

It is made up of people.  People like me, like you, like your parents.

People who want to do good and others who want that good for themselves.

People in government are like little gods.  Depending on the level of power that they have and if they are elected, appointed, or just a hired hand, they may be influenced to look out for themselves first, or for others first.

One of the big complaints about the rebuilding of NOLA is how it created a different New Orleans than before Katrina.  Neighborhoods were not rebuilt.  They were replaced.  Public Housing for low income residents disappeared as the waters receded and were replaced with unaffordable dwellings. At least unaffordable by the folks who used to live on that land.

Besides the horror from the screw-ups by government officials that left people stranded and dying during the storm, there have been years of government involvement that has caused what is there now.

All of this could have been prevented.

There was money and plans to build protection against storms like Katrina.  But those programs were either reduced, or never acted on and that was the first problem with trusting the government.

Then during the actual storm, again the government failed on multiple levels.  In the years following, again it is the government that has either helped or hindered, depending on your perspective.

What I find amazing is that those who have been most hurt by those in charge in government, still look to the government to fix things.

It’s almost like trusting an abusive spouse to stop the beatings and magically give them a wonderful life.

I don’t know the answers.   As I get older and see the state of reliance even middle class people have on government it is scary.

I work in a profession that allows me to get rewarded financially proportionately by the work I do. While it is not physically demanding, it is demanding in other ways.  Twice in the past ten years I took positions where I was paid according to what I was able to initially negotiate and that was my income without any opportunity to increase it due to my own efforts.

Those that depend on the government are even less in control of their futures.  Talk about feeling trapped.

Back to the topic of NOLA.

My step-daughter found some pictures from when she was 17 and spent a week with other volunteers helping with clean-up efforts.  This event and others will have an impact on each of us and it is up to each of us to determine how that impact will transform us.

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Undocumented or Illegal?

Many of us have noticed a switch in the language used to describe certain people in the United States. The certain people are immigrants who have not gone through the legal process to obtain permission to be here.

Undocumented or Illegal? 

There are multiple ways to legally enter the United States and the most common is with a passport.

There are also visa programs and numerous ways to live here on a temporary basis legally.  Sometimes these people overstay their legal length of visiting and we don’t have a very good way of ensuring that they comply with the law.

They came here legally and because they did that, we trust them to honor their word to reapply or leave.

But those that came here legally as I just described are not the ones that are making the headlines in this Presidential political season that Donald Trump has made a part of his platform.

He (and others) are talking about those who cross the border (mostly our southern/Mexico border) without any legal authority to do so.

It hasn’t been politically correct to all these people illegal immigrants for the last few years.  It sounds bad.  It sounds like they are criminals.

That’s why the switch to undocumented immigrants came about.  Not so harsh.  Not mean.

After all, we are a nation of immigrants unless you are a Native American Indian.

However here we are in 2015. Our government has had laws on the books since 1790 regarding this topic and yet we have been lax to enforce our laws, especially compared to other countries.

We, the American people have good hearts.  We want the best for everyone. The United States has been a land of opportunity for centuries, before the United States were formed, Europeans came here to start new lives.

Estimates say we have between 10 and 20 million “Undocumented” immigrants living in the United States right now and that to kick them out is not only heartless, but would disrupt our economy.

I do not know the answer to all of this.  But one thing I do know:

We need to return to the term Illegal Immigrant and stop the watered down Undocumented Immigrant language.

Then we can address the problem in a systematic fashion, one that reflects the compassionate hearts that Americans have while also recognizing the importance of law and order for our civilization.

Do the laws need to be changed? I say yes because our government is ignoring the current laws now due to public pressure. We change laws all the time as our country strives to make improvements.  But please, confront the problem head on instead of this downward path we have been on.  Then we can make positive progress.