Sore Loser

There was only one loser in the 2016 election. America. And on my country’s behalf, you’re darn right. I am a sore loser.

Don’t tell me this election was about electing Supreme Court justices, abortion, repealing Obamacare, immigration, or terrorism.

The Republican party had 15 candidates who have pretty strong records of following the conservative party line. 15. But they chose the 16th one. The bigoted, xenophobic, misogynistic, sexist, racist who has little to no record on the issues. What’s there is flip-floppy at best—including the fact he hasn’t even always been a Republican.

And now America is paying for it.

A large section of evangelical Christian America would have you believe God can work through a bigoted, xenophobic, misogynistic, sexist, racist, who thinks bragging about sexual assault is just locker room talk. BUT those same folks don’t believe God can work through a lifetime self-identified Christian who has a decades-long record of working on behalf of children, women and the underprivileged who happens to be a bit on the defensive because she’s been held to a standard no other American has been held to—including the bigoted, xenophobic, misogynistic, sexist, racist who thinks bragging about sexual assault is just locker room talk.

Like many parents, I had to hold my two crying daughters the day after the election. My millennial daughters. Ages 21 and nearly 24. Who voted early. They didn’t just cry. They sobbed. Shoulder-shaking sobs of sadness and grief for our country. For people of color. For immigrants. For Muslims. For the LGBTQ. For the earth. Unlike 9/11 on 11/9 there was no protecting their innocence. Their fellow Americans shattered it.

Today someone questioned a recent Facebook status I made saying, “I will not refer to him as president. That requires respect. It has not been earned.” They wanted to know if it would have been inappropriate for individuals who disagreed with President Obama to not show him the respect due to him, simply because he won the election?

I won’t go too far off topic to go into the utter lack of respect shown to President Obama during his two terms by those in the opposing party—both the “leadership” and citizens. Nor will I give example after example of the grace and class President Obama has displayed time and again in the face of that disrespect.

The 2016 election wasn’t about being Republican or Democrat. It’s not “simply” about winning or losing. It’s about humanity. Saying the GOP candidate is a bigoted, xenophobic, misogynistic, sexist, racist who thinks sexual assault is locker room talk is not just based on opinion. It’s based on recorded evidence spewing from his own mouth both before and during his campaign. It’s based on his actions both before and during his campaign. To their credit, a good majority of his party  didn’t change their mind when he won the primaries and would not endorse him. By election time even more of his party plus the four living presidents didn’t support him. No one deserves respect solely based on the fact they won an election.

If you’ve been paying attention the last two days since he’s been elected, it’s like the floodgates have been open. People are telling others who aren’t white to go home or that they’ll soon be deported. This is what supporting someone of his character has turned America into.

The world is watching us. America is a world-wide joke. I for one am not laughing.

But I’m also not giving up. This is my country and I will not let 25% of the population take it back to whatever time they think was so great.

 

 

 

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What Do You Have to Lose?

If you’re voting for the GOP candidate this is not for you. If the information that’s out there hasn’t convinced you he shouldn’t be president of the United States I doubt there’s anything I can say that will change your mind. However, if you’re uncomfortable, uneasy or maybe even horrified by the prospect of his potential presidency, and you’re planning to vote for a third party or not vote at all—please hear me out before you vote—or don’t vote. You have nothing to lose. Or do you?

Bernie Sanders is the strongest grassroots candidate I’ve seen in my lifetime. Even with the huge momentum he built, he didn’t win the primary. There isn’t one third-party candidate in this general election—on the ballot or as a write-in—who even has the name recognition of Bernie, let alone support or momentum going into the election on Tuesday. So whether you like it or not, if you vote for a third-party candidate, your vote will not get that candidate elected. Notice I didn’t say your vote won’t count. It definitely will count. But when all the tallies are added up, your vote (or lack of vote) may very well be the difference between Hillary Clinton or the GOP candidate becoming president—because it will be one of them. Your vote could actually be a spoiler vote. Don’t believe me? If you voted for George W. Bush you may have third party candidate Ralph Nader to thank for his win. If Nader’s voters had voted for Gore, Bush would not have been president—that’s how close the election was. But as hard-fought and contentious as that race was (before and after the election), I don’t know if there’s anyone who considers the stakes to be the same in this election—including Bush and Gore.

Is the risk worth it? Can you live with four years of the GOP candidate as president? Is voting for someone you think lines up more closely with your values but has no chance of winning—worth the risk for this specific election? Not one pundit is saying a third party candidate or write-in has a chance. It’s a non-story for this election except as a spoiler helping the GOP candidate. Is it worth having the GOP candidate represent America to the world for four years? Is it worth having someone with his temperament dealing on your behalf—on our behalf? Making decisions about war and nuclear weapons? Is it worth him having four years to try and run America the way he’s run his businesses? Breaking treaties, and bankrupting America the way he’s broken contracts and bankrupted his companies? Is it worth having someone who incites violence against those who disagree with him? If he thinks his celebrity has given him the right to sexually assault women, what is he going to think if he becomes president? Is it worth having someone hold the highest office of our land who doesn’t respect women, people of color, people with disabilities, American prisoners of war, or anyone who goes against him? Is the risk really worth it?

50 former GOP national security leaders slammed the GOP candidate in an open letter and stated he would be a “dangerous president and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.” Is the risk worth it? All the former living presidents refuse to endorse him and it appears will be voting for Hillary Clinton. Is the risk worth it? Nearly 400 leading economists signed an open letter denouncing the GOP candidate. They described the GOP candidate as a “dangerous, destructive choice for the country.” Is the risk worth it? The majority of the GOP party is not willing to endorse him. Governors, senators, and congressmen. Many have said they are voting for Hillary. These are the same people who’ve spent decades investigating her. The few who have begrudgingly given their endorsement to the GOP candidate won’t campaign for him, nor do they want him to campaign for them. This is his own party.

Where is your conscience in this choice? If you don’t want him to be president, why would you be willing to risk it by voting for a virtually unknown third party candidate who has no chance of winning or by not voting at all when the polls have them so dangerously close?

I get it. Your views on various policies don’t all line up with Hillary. But no matter what else you think of her, Hillary Clinton has a proven record of working in public service on behalf of children, women, and the less fortunate going back to her college days. After all the media hype the past 32 years you may not trust Hillary, but the unbiased, non-partisan, Pulitzer Prize-winning, Politifact says she’s the most honest candidate running for president this year of ALL the candidates. Even the majority of her political adversaries say she has the experience and they trust her to do the job.

Please for your sake, for my sake, for America’s sake, for the world’s sake—please vote for humanity by casting a vote for Hillary Clinton because we all have a lot to lose if the GOP candidate is put into office. Please.

**Update: I came across the article below minutes after publishing this post.

“I can afford to throw away my vote. I’m a middle-class, straight, white American Christian man. I have a lot of margin for error. I can afford to throw away my vote.”

“I won’t get deported. I won’t have members of my faith barred from entering the United States. I won’t receive “some form of punishment” just for making my own health care decisions. I won’t get waterboarded. I will be neither stopped nor frisked. I won’t ever be asked to show my papers. I won’t worry about my village being bombed because my mom’s second cousin was maybe photographed near someone who said something critical about the United States.”

It’s definitely worth the full read: http://madison365.com/third-party-vote-height-white-privilege/

Never Forget

It’s been 15 years since 9/11. 15 years since America watched a jet plane crash into the second World Trade Center Tower on live television. 15 years since we watched in disbelief as first one tower and then the second crumbled to the ground. 15 years since a third plane crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth taken down by passengers in a field in Pennsylvania before it could hit it’s intended target in DC.

Never forget. That has been America’s mantra since 9/11. In the early days, the country came together like no other time in modern history. In our collective horror and grief, we weren’t Republican or Democrat, we were only American.

Never forget. This weekend the phrase is popping up on Facebook and it’s a trending hashtag on Twitter. Lots of hearts and flags.

Never forget. But we have forgotten. One only has to peruse social media to see we have forgotten. No, we haven’t forgotten the horror of 9/11, but we have forgotten what it’s like to be a country united. We have forgotten that it’s not a Republican or Democrat thing. Tomorrow Facebook posts will no longer mention 9/11. #NeverForget will no longer be trending on Twitter. It’ll be replaced with friends and strangers saying hateful things to each other about topics they don’t agree upon. With people questioning each other’s patriotism. With little to no understanding of different perspectives.

This 15th anniversary of 9/11 happens to coincide with the discovery of 11-year old Jacob Wetterling’s remains who had been kidnapped while riding his bike in the small Minnesota town of St. Joseph in 1989. For 27 years Jacob’s parents, siblings, and the people of Minnesota held out hope that Jacob was alive. This week we found out he was murdered the night he disappeared.

We didn’t have the internet in 1989. 15 years ago on 9/11 there was no social media. When people asked Patty Wetterling what they could do to help, she asked  everyone to do 11 things that nurture kindness. Her request could not be more timely.

In memory of Jacob and in memory of all the lives lost on 9/11 let our actions show we have not forgotten.

  1. Be fair.
  2. Be kind.
  3. Be understanding.
  4. Be honest.
  5. Be thankful.
  6. Be a good sport.
  7. Be a good friend.
  8. Be joyful.
  9. Be generous.
  10. Be gentle with others.
  11. Be positive.

Never forget.

 

Lesser Of Two Evils

The 2016 election has come to be described as a choice between the lesser of two evils. Evil seems like a pretty strong word, so I decided to look up the actual definition.

adjective: profoundly immoral and malevolent. “his evil deeds”
synonyms: wicked, bad, wrong, immoral, sinful, foul, vile, dishonorable, corrupt, iniquitous,depraved, reprobate, villainous, nefarious, vicious, malicious
noun: profound immorality, wickedness, and depravity, especially when regarded as a supernatural force. “the world is stalked by relentless evil”
synonyms: wickedness, bad, badness, wrongdoing, sin, ill, immorality, vice, iniquity, degeneracy, corruption, depravity, villainy, nefariousness, malevolence

Wow. If you’re gonna label someone evil, you’re saying they’re profoundly immoral and malevolent, not to mention vicious, malicious, wicked and depraved.

I’m gonna be honest. I’ve never been a fan of Hillary Clinton. I didn’t vote for Bill in either of his Presidential campaigns. I’ve also never been a fan of the current GOP candidate**. One thing that always stood out to me on his “Apprentice” franchise is how he seems to enjoy pitting people against each other. I don’t see that as a smart way to run a business.

There are a lot of accusations and investigations out there for both Hillary and the GOP candidate, but if we go purely on what we hear from their own mouths over the years, whether that be interviews, debates, rallies, etc.—you can substitute most of the synonyms for evil when describing the GOP candidate’s behavior and the literal words he’s spoken—or tweeted. Bad, wrong, foul, vile, dishonorable, villainous, vicious, malicious, malevolence—and the list goes on. And I’m not just talking about this election season. This applies if you go back over the years and look at what he’s said about any number of topics, individuals or groups and continues through the writing of this post.

Am I saying Hillary is innocent of any wrong-doing? Absolutely not. There are plenty of examples where she isn’t so keen on admitting to her mistakes or taking full responsibility for them. However, while accusations and inferences may point to something evil, according to the facts that would be stretching it a bit.*

What I see is a lot of people who hate Hillary Clinton. So much so they’re willing to go against their values to make sure she doesn’t get elected. They’re standing by their political party at the cost of abandoning the principals of their faith. Hindsight is 20/20. Most of us think we would never have been bamboozled like the Germans were by Hitler, but I’m watching it happen with my own eyes in the year 2016 in America. The only explanation I can see for this phenomenon is the fact it’s rooted in hate. Hate is a strong word too. But if the shoe fits…

verb: feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone). “the boys hate each other”
synonyms: loathe, detest, despise, dislike, abhor, execrate
noun: intense or passionate dislike. “feelings of hate and revenge”
synonyms: hatred, loathing, detestation, dislike, distaste, abhorrence, abomination, execration,aversion

For the past 32 years, people have hated Hillary Clinton with a vengeance. Is it data and facts or opinion and gut feeling? Have we each done our own due diligence when it comes to research or do we just go along with reports in the media or opinions and baseless claims on the internet believing anything that lines up with our own biases? I admit I was surprised to recently learn Hillary’s never been convicted of anything. That’s a fact*. But she tends to be defensive and private so there’s an assumption that lack of transparency translates to being corrupt. Nevermind that the GOP candidate’s supporters don’t apply this rule to him when it comes to his taxes or the many irregularities in his business practices.

I’m not saying Hillary’s never lied or stretched the truth. But according to PolitiFact* she’s the most honest of ALL the candidates who ran for President in both parties this election season. Are we holding her to the same standard we hold other politicians to or is there a higher threshold? Many believe President Bush (#43) lied about WMDs—despite the lack of proof. Sound familiar? If you’re holding Hillary accountable for her husband’s extramarital escapades are you also holding Jackie O responsible for JFK’s? What about the support for former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert by his Senate colleagues after his sexual abuse conviction of minors? The very nature of what he did was evil based on the definition. The wives of many politicians (and church leaders) who have been caught in affairs have stood by their men. Not only are they not described as evil—there’s sympathy and forgiveness—but for Hillary there’s suspicion.

I didn’t know Hillary’s long history of championing for kids and the underprivileged until the recent Democratic National Convention*. Apparently, I’m not the only one as I’ve heard any number of commentators, journalists, and talk show hosts state their surprise as well. We all know about the supposed lies and investigations, but how could we have missed this long, consistent history that goes back to her college days of diligently working on behalf of others?

Maybe we didn’t want to know. Maybe it’s easier to demonize someone who belongs to the wrong party. Someone who’s willing to stay with a philanderer. Someone who’s not the perfect public image. Hillary identifies herself as Christian and has a long history in the Methodist church. One of her favorite sayings attributed to John Wesley is, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” And while much of her life’s work seems to support this mantra, she is not extended the same grace as her male counterparts—often for lesser transgressions.

Many die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters hate Hillary so much they’re voting for the GOP candidate even though he’s the polar opposite of what Bernie stands for. And despite the fact, Bernie has point-blank asked his supporters to vote for Hillary.  Many Hillary-haters who fear the GOP candidate’s presidency are willing to risk voting for a third-party candidate who has no chance of winning because they wouldn’t be caught dead voting for her. Let’s be honest, if Bernie couldn’t get the votes with his huge grassroots momentum, voting a little-known third party for the sake of your conscience or not voting at all means the highly probable risk of putting the GOP candidate into office. Can your conscience live with that?

I haven’t been registered with any party for quite some time. I’m unspecified (which is different than independent). I did not watch the GOP convention—it was just one way for me to protest their presumptive nominee and the leadership of those in the RNC who have endorsed the GOP candidate. When I heard the replays of Chris Christie leading his mock trial of Hillary it made me shudder. I had visions of mobs taking their perceived justice into their own hands. It reminded me of the Bible’s description when the people went into a frenzy and demanded the criminal Barabus be freed because they hated Jesus. What about the Salem witch trials? Or the lynching of black people? Both scenarios take justice into their own hands and proclaim guilt based on emotion, not facts. This country is supposed to be built on the premise of innocent until proven guilty, but the RNC had a former prosecutor who is also a governor and a former presidential candidate whipping the Republican crowd into a frenzy over things Hillary’s never even been charged with.

Do I think she’s never lied? Nope. Have you ever lied? I have. Has she made bad judgment calls? Been there done that too. I get so frustrated with email—too much spam, lost emails, emails that I find in my draft box that I swore I sent. If I could have a server in my basement that didn’t go through Google, I’m pretty sure I would jump at the chance. In hindsight, Hillary realizes it was a mistake (I’m sure she wishes she’d just gone with the inconvenient government server), but are we really supposed to believe she was trying to compromise national security? Clearly, the address was not .gov so everyone who received or sent an email to and from Hillary knew hillarysbasement.com wasn’t the secure government network—it’s not like she was trying to hide the fact. At least she learned a lesson as Secretary of State—back when hackers weren’t as good as they are now.

For those of you who like the GOP candidate because he’s not afraid to speak his mind. This is the very reason I would never vote for him. Because I know his mind based on the words he’s spoken. Using the same criteria on Hillary—she is not just the lesser of two evils. What is sometimes used against Hillary—the fact she cares about her image and what people think of her—actually helps keep her in check and more balanced. The President is supposed to represent the people, not themselves. She has shown a capability to evolve and adjust her policies based on the will of the people—even if sometimes it takes a nudge from Bernie Sanders.

I get it. You never thought you’d be voting for Hillary Clinton. I didn’t either. I sure didn’t expect to ever write a blog post defending her. But I’m willing to admit a lot of my “gut feelings” were based on media hype and my own bias—not actual knowledge. I still don’t consider myself a fan, but I have learned enough to be more than comfortable with casting a vote for Hillary Clinton this November.

** Given his penchant for publicity, as a matter of principle I have made an effort not to mention the GOP candidate by name this election season. I have edited this post and removed all mentions of the GOP candidate’s name and only refer to him as the GOP candidate. 

*A few fact checking articles 

Recognizing the Historical Significance of This Day

As part of a multi-racial family, growing up it was always strange to have people ask how the white, black or Asian standing next to one of us could be a brother, sister or cousin. Maybe we were naive, but to us we were just family.
2nd & 3rd Generations

Like so many families, our diverse political spectrum of beliefs mirrors that of the country. Because there is a measure of color-blindness, not everyone within our family is necessarily aware of the other’s experiences in life based on how the rest of the world saw us. As one who proudly cast a vote for Barack, but knowing I was in the minority (again!), I wanted to be sure we of all people put aside party lines, so this e-mail was sent out on the eve of Obama’s inauguration: Continue reading

Can I Just Vote “Present”?

All one has to do is look at our two candidates to understand voting is a privelege and a right not to be taken for granted.  When Barack Obama was born in 1961, it would still be four years before black people were even given the right to cast a vote and John McCain spent several years as a POW defending the principles of this country. But if I am truly undecided, is it responsible for me to vote just for the sake of casting a vote? Continue reading