Sunday, December 19, 2010

What do you do when there is nothing you can do?

As someone that spends an inordinate amount of time watching, observing, and studying American politics, there are always an abundance of things, for me to both agree and disagree with. But last week when 41 of 42 Republicans voted against the funding for a bill that would provide healthcare benefits to 9-11 First Responders it brought forth anger in me that was so profound, just the thought of the subject caused me to nearly succumb to an anxiety attack.

I have read all the reasons, pro and con, given to justify everyone's votes. I have watched the news channels and the people that I normally watch, express their outrage. Since I tend to associate my news channel watching to MSNBC that is not really a surprise. Then, even The Fox News Channel, the unashamed mouthpiece of the Republican Party, the faux news operation that carries the water for the Republicans, offered criticism of the vote.

Sheppard Smith, Fox main anchor, called it a national disgrace and got at least some agreement from colleague, Chris Wallace. Of course, Fox being Fox, they failed to mention that the 41 Senators that killed the bill by voting no were Republicans. But at least they did bring it up.

So with this blinding anger I feel toward this I find myself coming back to the headline question, “What do you do when there is nothing you can do?”

I've contacted my Senator, who by the way won re-election last month and has nothing to worry about for the next six years. I have posted on my Social Network sites, shared videos, and written here on my own website.

So now what? It is an angry hopeless feeling.

I don't personally know any 9-11 First Responders but I have been to Ground Zero. Even today you get a sense of the enormity of the job that was done and the work preformed there on that day and in the aftermath. The first responders are suffering today, many are dead or dying, and they need our help.

I noticed that one of the Senators voting no stated that he didn't want to vote yea on bills that were not funded or pay for themselves. Oddly two days later he was not concerned about how we are going to pay for the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts.

I have not tried to change people’s minds if they disagree with me; I just post videos and commentaries and let everyone make up their own minds. I try to get the facts out there so that people don't miss news like this. It doesn't seem enough and yet I don't know what else I can do.

When your hands are tied by the inability to effect change or right what you perceive to be a wrong, what can you do? I can't seem to let it go. I don't want to let it go. What can one person do? That is not a rhetorical question. I am looking to you, as someone reading this, to offer any suggestions you might have. I am at a loss.

I heard Senator Kyle of Arizona say it would be disrespectful for the Senate to work on the most holy day on the Christian Calendar and that the Senate just didn't have time to deal with it.

Wonder how Senator Kyle would feel if someone he knew, or his own property needed a First Responder on Christmas and they all said that it would be disrespectful to take the fire trucks out on Christmas.

I don't wish that on him or anyone else but these acts of pure political partisanship at the expense of real life people make me wish that they could get a taste of reality.

I hope they never have to find out and I hope that sooner than later this Congress decides to discover their conscience.

In the meantime I will try and figure out what to do when there is nothing I can do.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Letter to Iowa Senator Charles Grassley

Dear Senator Grassley,

When I moved to Iowa in September 2008 I was aware that from a political policy standpoint we did not see eye to eye. Fact is, my philosophies are closer in line with Senator Harkin or more accurately reflected by soon to be former Senator Feingold of Wisconsin.

I watched how you conducted yourself during your most recent re-election campaign. It was impressive. I respected you for running a campaign that was without distortions, half-truths, accusations, and unflattering photos of your opponent. It was a campaign that was befitting the high office you hold. You simply stated your accomplishments and humbly asked for votes.

The campaign was something for others to aspire to and should be held up as a positive example for every Political Science class. Congratulations on a job well done.

All the good feelings and respect I had for you vanished in one vote yesterday. You and so many other politicians stand ready at every opportunity to wrap yourself in the flag, standing before the cameras with your flag lapel pin and singing the songs of patriotism. I would never presume to question your patriotism. I do not know you and have every reason to believe that you love the country you have honorably served.

Yet yesterday this patriotism took a back seat to old fashion politics. You should be ashamed of yourself for voting no on the 9/11 First Responders bill. A no vote by Republican Senators as a statement. A statement of what, sir? A statement that you will not do the business of the country until such time as you stomp your feet, hold you breathe, have a temper tantrum and get your way. Your way, of course, means keeping tax cuts in place for your fellow millionaires.

On September 11 of next year this country will mark the 10th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil. Senator when you appear, as you will, at one or more of the memorial services, standing under old glory, wearing your flag lapel pin, don’t you dare insult us by uttering the phrase, “We will never forget” because on December 10, 2010 you forgot or set aside 9/11 for the purposes of political gain and in doing so you surely disgraced the memory of those lost and the honor of the heroes of that horrible day. Your hypocrisy is astonishing.

Mr. President you have let me down for the last time.

Dear Mr. President,

With all due respect sir you have let me down for the last time. I had such high hopes for you and our country. I will never forget where I was when you were declared the victor on Election Day. How proud I was that our country had done something I surely did not think I would see in my lifetime. Hope and Change.

I have spent the better part of two years defending you; I thought that people expected you to reverse the disaster that was the Bush presidency in too short of time. I thought they expected way too much from you too fast. And I was constantly angry at the opposition party for trying to block everything you proposed. I still think that many have been unfair to you, but yesterday you sold those of us in your base down the river.

The Bush Tax cuts. Something that you campaigned so strongly against. Imagine my surprise when you agreed to a two year extension. There has been debate ad nauseam over whether they should be extended or not and both sides have been heard and debated.

Albert Einstein is credited with saying, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome." The Bush tax cuts are part of a failed economic policy that has left this country's economy a global disaster. And this will only make it worse, if for no other reason that the tax cuts are not paid for. We have to fund this by borrowing more money from China or Saudi Arabia, or both.

Extending the tax cuts for two years ensures that this debate will happen again during the next Presidential campaign election cycle. Do you not think that Republicans and Tea Partiers are not already licking their chops at the opportunity to paint you as wanting to raise taxes in an election year? They played you, Mr. President. Just like they have been all along. Why is it that they are so much better at that than we are?

Tax cuts for the wealthy are not proven to create jobs. It is very likely that if you give the rich a tax break they will save it. There is certainty that when you give the unemployed benefits that they will spend them. They have to. There is no opportunity to save it. Meaning their spending keeps the corner business in business.

Aside from the right or wrong and if trickle down economics works or not, the real problem is that you caved again. You let them back you into a corner and you refused to fight. And then you had a press conference and got angry with us, the ones that have been your loyal base. Your answer was as always, "you just don't understand." 

I think we understand all too well. Velma Hart told you in a press conference she was tired of defending you. So am I, sir.

My hopes and dreams for your Hope and Change have been shattered. I am disappointed and let down. I see you as someone more interested in keeping everyone happy and winning re-election than making the tough choices and standing by your principles and beliefs regardless of how it will effect your popularity. In that regard your predecessor was far superior.

You have sprinted to the middle and let us on the left in the wake. 

So much for Hope and Change.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Election Day

Wow am I glad this is nearly over. I should start by saying what is bothering me is something that is actually good for my business but bad for my sanity.

Tomorrow is Election Day. And while people that know me generally know where I stand politically. I am not here to try and persuade anyone to any particular point of view. As I have said over and over for years, doesn’t matter if you are for it or against it, just vote.

The reason I am glad that it is over is the barrage of political ads that we have been bombarded with. Like I said this is a double edge sword for me. I work in broadcasting, an industry that has been hurt especially hard by the economy. Advertising is one of the first things businesses cut in time of economic difficulty. The foolishness of which I can discuss another time. But the influx of political advertising dollars will help many broadcast companies make their fourth quarter.

This advertising cycle has been one of the nastiest I can recall. When I was a kid people used to refer to it as mudslinging. This has gone more into the realm of tossing nuclear bombs at each other. So personal and bitter and angry. I will be glad when it’s over.

So go to the polls tomorrow. Make your vote count. And if you don’t believe that it does just look at some of the close races we have seen in recent years.

Even though I am tired of the process I thank God and our founding fathers that we do have the right and privilege to go to the polls. And we can do so without having to have blue ink on our fingers and in most cases we can be fairly confident that the elections will be fair and reflect the will of the people.

So like I said before, whether you are for it or against it….. vote tomorrow and do so proudly because you live in the greatest country in the world.