Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thank you, Joe

Well, it's official. Joe Biden will not be running for the Democratic Party in the upcoming Presidential race.  Thank you, Joe.  That one decision, which some applaud and some are despairing has essentially made the Democratic ticket a two horse race.

I think Joe Biden was a good Vice President. As a President, I'm not so sure. I feel that he has been a great 'get things done' aid for President Obama, but I don't have a feeling for Biden's politics.  Add to that I'm not sure that now is the time for him to make a Presidential bid.  I've heard some people really passionately arguing for him. It's an excitement that I never really shared.  I always thought of  Joe Biden's possibility of running this year as a spoiler for the other two major candidates.

So, I think Biden is better off, biding his time.

I was very surprised, to hear people actively lamenting that Biden wouldn't run this year.  There are some folks out there who honestly think that neither Hillary Clinton, nor Bernie Sanders is electable. I think those people will be very surprised by what happens in November 2016.  The electoral base is shifting.  People of color, immigration in the past fifty years, and youth are going to be the deciding factors in the upcoming election.  Voter turnout, and the attempts to block voting or gerrymander regions is also going to play a role.

Most of those people I have seen bemoaning the Biden refusal are white male moderates, who veer a little to the right of center.  They aren't happy with the GOP, seeing them as highly dysfunctional, but they aren't ready to commit to Hillary Clinton because of her husband's turn in the White House.  Also, perhaps because of some hidden misogyny there. Bernie Sanders, who they often describe as far "too liberal" is also a no go.  For them, socialist is still something of a dirty word. Most of them are also gun owners or people who have small businesses, and are stuck thinking that Democrats equal "taking away their guns" and "giving handouts to the undeserving".  But, I don't think their concern is relative.

Sure I would love a world, fantastic though it would be, where everyone voted for my candidate. But, I know that is not going to happen. There will be moderates who believe that even dysfunctional and divided as the GOP is, that it is the party which will protect their interests better.  And, it might.  However, I think any benefit a moderate might see from the GOP will be mainly from stagnation rather than movement.  Right now the push-me-pull-you of the political right is going in circles.

So my moderate, male, Caucasian friends who love their guns are mourning the lost idea of Biden.  But I think they are working their way into an eddy of the political process.  Hillary or Bernie is going to be the Democratic Presidential candidate.

And I think it likely that there may be a Hillary/Bernie ticket.  Although, I've had people vehemently argue that with me.  It seems that even the Democrats have adopted a bit of the "all or nothing" attitude of the GOP.  All I can say is remember the adage about Politics making strange bedfellows. You know the quote.

Here an uber ticket to the moderate and progressive sides of the spectrum would create one very powerful team.  Can it be done?  I don't know.  But I do know that under such a team, economic reform for the middle class would become much more defined.  We would see progress on social equality and on the repeal of Citizen's United.  We might even see some Wall Street reform and the adjustment of the tax code to address the ballooning wealth of the 1%.  Interesting possibilities all.

Moreover, the momentum is there for social change.  Wall Street has over played it's hand and the middle class is looking up from the "panem et circenses"  to see that their lot has visibly worsened under Republican strategies.  So in the words of Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration:

Going after white “swing” voters [...] is a losing strategy now. The next Democratic candidate for president – whether Hillary or Bernie – can best win by mobilizing and energizing (1) progressives and (2) people of color. Together, they constitute a majority of the electorate. And the best way to mobilize and energize them is to be crystal clear that America must be fundamentally transformed – the economy reorganized so everyone prospers as the economy grows, and democracy altered so everyone’s voice is heard. Such a platform and political movement may cause concern among some white swing voters. But that’s okay. America's emerging Democratic majority doesn’t really need them." 

And that is strangely comforting.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Tempest

Today has been consumed by worrying about someone else.

I have done all I can.  My hand is out to help. I have realized that I cannot fix everything. This isn't a scraped knee.  It is life. Full on, hard to be the grown-up, sometimes it sucks beyond comprehension life.  And it's not even my own life.

But, the problem that is being faced, I can relate to. I don't have experience with the direct event that has set things in motion, but the underlying currents are very familiar.  I want to comfort. I want to help.  And, it is not my place to do so, unless I am invited into this crisis.  The other part of me is thankful that I haven't been invited in.  My fear is that I would prove to be inadequate to the task and would only produce another broken person.

"Thus conscience does make cowards of us all."

So. I wait and I hope and I pray. And I am grateful for the help I was given amidst the tempest.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Creeping out onto the springy branch

I've been writing, just not here.  My good, or bad, as you like it.

I have had one piece published over at ,  I Cut *.

It is a very personal piece, and won't be for everyone. I know that.  But, it needed to be said.  I don't know where it will lead, if anywhere.

I have done my part and now I give it up to the void, and see if anything will return to me out of it. It is out of my hands.  And there is a type of peace in that.  It's like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it into the sea.  Who knows where it will land, or if, it might come back to me.

Egads.  Poetry alert.  (Granted, after the fact.)

I am, I was so far from my zone of comfort when I first saw that article on the web.  But, now, I've  let it go.  I'm hoping it does some benefit for someone.  It certainly is a topic that needs to be dragged into the sunlight more frequently.

I owe my thanks to the ladies at *. They provided a safe place to unpack some very dark baggage.  Thank you.

And a thanks to the readers, and the folks who left comments. Your reception, helped me let go.  Thank you.   And thank you to everyone who passed it on.  Thank you.  Maybe we can help someone else.

I think, I'll keep today brief.  I have a story that needs writing. And so, I shall go sharpen my pen.

*The site is now defunct update on 1/1/2018

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A poetic moment

Fall gently leaves,
Drift and float.
Cover the forest trails
With your colors
And dry cracklings

Monday, October 5, 2015

The rush to judge

If you have read many of my entries you may have sensed a theme to many of them.  I strongly believe that most people are afflicted with emotional thinking and incapable, or simply uninterested, in attempting to exercise rational thought. Furthermore, I believe that the world around us encourages this behaviour*.

One example that I have seen recently seems to capture this phenomenon is the Pope's visit to Kim Davis.

Allow me to elaborate.  On my social media feeds I kept an eye on the Pontif's visit. I have deep personal respect for this man.  As Pope he is trying very hard to remind the Catholic church of it's role.  I also believe that he is doing his very best to recognize places where the Church has fallen short in recent decades.  He doesn't always get things exactly right, as in his recent statements on abortion, but he is trying.  And for the effort he is making to include rather than condemn, I believe he is the best Pope we have had in a long time and that he is an exemplary Christian.

And my social media feed was awash with other folks who were celebrating his visit to the US.  Yes, there was a fair bit of quipping about the state of traffic and the number of port-a-johns for the Papal visit, but, in general, all the noises were positive. Even some of my friends who identify themselves as Athiest or Pagan or Jewish or Muslim were supportive of this visit.  His address to Congress was a high-point for many readers. Quotes that came out of his meetings with House and Senate leaders pointed to the corruption in the American system and the need for reform. He was garnering a lot of liberal non-Catholic cred, just by being the devout man he is.

And then, it was announced that he went to see Kim Davis.

And almost like a light switch I could watch the very people and news sources that had praised him the day before, excoriate him.  There was no moment of reflection, people simply flipped from "love" to "hate" in the blink of an eye.  Or more accurately, in the time it takes to read 140 characters or less.

And the assumptions that were made, some of them were astounding.  Even friends who I can usually count on to examine a situation were leaping onto the social net to proclaim that this action had severely damaged any respect that they had held for the man. It demonstrated to me that even rational heads are capable of  being carried away by emotional thought.

We don't know what happened.  That is the bottom line.

As much as we clamour* for information, as much as we feel we have a right to 'know' what went on we don't know. And, I don't know if I would trust the now professional handlers of Kim Davis to tell the truth.  So we may never know.  And I can live with that.  It was a private conversation.

But I am straying from my point.  People have always been capable of both emotional and rational thought. Today's atmosphere rewards those who yelp the loudest. The substance of rational thought is being replaced by the emotional gratification of 'like', 'favorite', and 'diggs'.  And to garner those token rewards our conversation is becoming ever more superficial and superfluous.

Take a moment to walk back from the instantaneous edge of emotional thought, and instead, think. Because, one thing I have learned is this. It is better to add illumination, than heat.

*(Yes spell check, I know you don't like my 'u'. You think it extraneous, but I have some British blood and you will not impress me to abandon my English 'u' no matter how many little red lines you display. Deal.)