Tag Archive: Democrat


Five years ago I moved to Washington DC with the intention of finding a job on the hill. I took a job in the private sector to pay my bills but always assumed that before long I would make it back to the hallowed halls of the Capitol. Now despite my love of government and an education in congressional politics I would be hard pressed to think of a place that seems less appealing than the hill.

When I was an intern in 2005 I saw some ugly political battles, and some even uglier attitudes and posturing be hind the scenes. Still I retained faith that “my party” would get their act together. 7 years and two changes of House leadership has proven me wrong. Not only has the party that I once identified with been imploding but the other party shows little hope of being any better.

I have been sitting back and watching the fiscal cliff battle over the holidays, and I have never been more deeply disgusted with politicians. Anyone who has a passing familiarity with the basic concept of having to do your own budget (a basic life skill) knows that when addressing a budget issue you must consider both revenue and spending. This problem is so big it can not be chipped away at from only one side of that coin.

I hate paying taxes and I tend to like my schools, roads, hospitals, and social services to be well funded, but the simple fact of the matter is that we are spending too much and we are running on borrowed time. At this rate it will not be long before our country’s proverbial credit card gets cut in half.

Leaders in both parties are acting like spoiled stubborn children, unwilling to admit past mistakes or to compromise on future actions and it really is simply disgraceful. It’s been years since Congress has passed a real budget (despite being constitutionally mandated to do so annually) and even longer since that budget has been even remotely balanced and that should outrage the American people.

We need our president to be a real leader and we need the party in charge of the House of Reps to get its act together. Our politicians need to stop worrying about keeping the fringe minority sects from their parties happy and start dealing with the reality that we are in trouble and only hard and likely unpopular decisions are going to fix that.

So it may seem odd given that I am writing a blog on current events, but I HATE election season. As may be evidenced by my lack of posts over the past couple of weeks, during this time of year every 4 years I find it very difficult to not be outraged by the ever present election coverage. Since I currently live close to Washington DC and in a swing state, the never ending cacophony of election chatter has been like nails on a chalkboard. Honestly the blame game, the mud slinging, and the general effort to misinform voters in order to garner votes makes me want to scream.

This probably came to a head in church this Sunday when I came the closest I have ever come to storming out of a service. Let me preface this by saying that I acknowledge and accept that the church I currently attend is theologically more conservative than I am, and I have come to peace with that. I also believe that churches have a right to endorse a candidate publicly if they so choose as a matter of free speech. I was however unprepared for my church to plaster the message from Billy Graham on the large screens (I attend a megachurch) and ask that we all pray that the country votes for “biblical values” at all levels and for all candidates.

I grew up in a church, family and community that adored Billy Graham, and honestly I still admire the man greatly despite some theological differences; however when he posted the message I linked above in many newspapers I was exceedingly disappointed. First of all Billy Graham has been the “Pastor to Presidents” and part of what allowed this to be true was his ability to be a voice of faith beyond politics. Both of the versions of the add that have gone out have been directly endorsed and seem to usually be funded by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and while they don’t directly name a candidate, they are quite clear in their intent.

I also found it quite strange that just before the ad ran the website of the organization removed Mormonism as a “cult” on their website. Let me be clear that I do not see the Church of Later Day Saints as a cult and I would have liked to have seen that particular view changed a long time ago, however doing so in this manner seems to be a form of political pandering.  If standing by your “biblical” values in choosing a candidate is so important why was this view changed to allow for one candidate to no longer be seen as a cultist, while values of “biblical” marriage, Israel and abortion are elevated to special status in the importance of preserving America’s religious integrity.

I do believe that in general there is a candidate that Evangelical Christians will find more appealing theologically, however I do not agree that it is ok to fleece over things that might make the same candidate unappealing in order to make it easier for people to sleep at night. I also find it somewhat reprehensible to insinuate that you are “anti-biblical” and leading our country down an unholy path if you have decided that there are either other factors in your vote, or other ways to interpret particular issues. While the message did not directly imply those things the people who I have heard pushing this message upon others via Facebook and now through church have insinuated that.

My faith means a great deal to me, but so does my freedom to choose how and why I vote. I believe wholeheartedly that you have to view politics and by extension the law separate from your faith. I personally will never vote solely on what candidate has a religion closest to mine. I do however grant that people have a right to vote however they choose. If abortion or gay marriage are issues that are most important to you, then you have the right to vote how your conscience dictates, just please don’t judge my faith by your standards, or expect my vote to mean the same thing that your vote does.

We have a right to be independent free thinkers, I wish elections were celebrations of that rather than the divisive force that they have turned into. Please don’t mind me while I crawl into a hole and hide until this is all over.

EDIT: After reading Mayim Bailik’s blog, her thoughts captured so well what I was thinking right now. To share a quote:

“With the election approaching, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind people that Jews (and Christians and Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and people of all religions) come in all flavors. Just because you’re religious doesn’t mean you are politically or socially conservative, and just because you’re an atheist or agnostic doesn’t mean you’re politically or socially liberal. Humans are very complicated and thank God we are.”

Debates Take 2

Last night I watched about 15 minutes of the Presidential debates before I wisely walked away before I could start hating both candidates to the point of total voter apathy. In those 15 minutes (somewhere in the middle when they were talking about immigration) I observed a few things.
* Obama literally got 2x as long to answer the same question without being interrupted. (I’m told Romney was allowed to go over earlier but I didn’t see it) What is the point of a moderator if they aren’t going to moderate?

*Both candidates making stupid smug faces while the other is talking and attempting to interrupt the other.

*Both candidates and the moderator all talking at once, over each other, all seeming like spoiled children screaming for attention.

*Both candidates pointing out technicalities rather than facing the actual questions or issues.

 

From the very little I saw, I got a better impression of Romney, but that is probably because Obama blatantly disregarding the time limit went against all things that speech forensics in high school taught me. To me both of them seemed to be acting rather childish and the moderator seemed to have lost ALL control of the situation. This is pretty much exactly why I refuse to actually sit and watch these debates in full. I would rather actually figure out the grand picture of what a candidate wants to do rather than the “safe” talking points and petty accusations that seem to be the only purpose of these debates anymore.

 

 

In closing I will leave you with a Facebook post that a friend posted about the current state of the debates. I couldn’t agree with his idea more:

I would like to propose a new style of presidential debate- one where the candidates describe their policy positions in-depth, contrast them with their opponent’s policies, and avoid ad-hominem attacks and pandering to the base. We will call it The Smart People’s Debate and it can be broadcast via NPR so the idiots can’t find it. When obfuscation and avoidance become the political norm we must ask ourselves: who do our politicians really work for? Who are they hiding their opinions and ideas from and why?

 

So despite the fact that I competed in speech and debate all through school and that I have a degree in Political Science  I can not stand the presidential debates. I’ve never been able to watch them without getting frustrated at both candidates. The posturing, refusal to ACTUALLY answer questions or debate real points, and general mockery of an actual debate setting is usually too much for me to handle. Therefore I spent last night playing video games with my boyfriend.

This morning when I woke up I was extremely shocked to see that the same media that had been saying a “victory” for Romney would be just holding his own, were actually now saying that he had won handily. The cynical part of me wonders if Obama was throwing the debate, since everyone says he was far from the charismatic likeable candidate he generally portrays himself as,  so he can play the comeback kid. That same cynical nature also wonders if the media needs this race to be closer so they can increase readership/viewership. Still in any case it seems like this race got a lot more interesting after last night, it’s almost enough to make me want to watch the recording. Almost, but not quite; instead I’ll settle for my twitter feed from my newly minted twitter account, and share the ones that made me giggle this morning.

HuffPost Hill@HuffPostHill

Don’t worry, Jim Lehrer, it gets better. #stopbullying

David Krumholtz@DaveKrumholtz Jim Lehrer’s pre-existing condition is death. We are watching the ghost of Jim Lehrer moderate this debate. He just floated through a wall.

David Krumholtz@DaveKrumholtz It would be awesome if Obama’s face morphed into Honey Boo Boo’s face right now, wouldn’t it??

David Krumholtz@DaveKrumholtz

Guaranteed paid for phony fest begins now!!! Phony 1 wears a blue tie, Phony 2 wears red. Predictable answers, rebuttals, no Rachel Maddow.

jimmy fallon@jimmyfallon

Obama: Blue Tie, Romney: Red Tie = Brian Williams: Purple Tie. #primarycolors

Bill Maher@billmaher

Obama made a lot of great points tonight. Unfortunately, most of them were for Romney

Wil Wheaton@wilw

So, in retrospect, I think the real loser of tonight’s debate was anyone expecting some of those promised zingers.

Wil Wheaton@wilw

Network note for Obama: We know you’re the leader of the free world and this other guy is a clown, but you’ve got to dial back the disgust.

Wil Wheaton@wilw

Okay, so I think this show needs a whacky neighbor to really spice things up. Maybe a talking baby, or a dog. OMG MAKE THIS FAMILY GUY!

Wil Wheaton’s Cat@WilWheatons_Cat

So I’m not political because I’m a cat…but in my opinion, the dude in the blue tie is taller.

TheBloggess@TheBloggess

Back the fuck up. If Mittens is elected he’s going to cancel Downton Abbey? I think I just got involved in politics.

Big Bird@BlGBlRD

Yo Mitt Romney, Sesame Street is brought to you today by the letters F & U! #debates #SupportBigBird

Will McAvoy@WillMcAvoyACN

If you had “not answering the fucking question” in the debate drinking game, please get yourself to a hospital.

Conan O’Brien@ConanOBrien

Just noticed that Jim Lehrer has no whites in his eyes. #Discuss

Who Should Get to Vote?

Lately there has been a lot of hoopla surrounding a few states that have started to enact voter ID laws. To me the issue boils down to a very simple question; ‘Who should get to vote?’ We have several supreme court cases that fairly definitively answer that any US citizen who has not lost their voting rights due to criminal activity should be allowed to vote. Thus we have to determine if voter ID laws really prevent citizens from voting?

Personally I can only think of 2 reasons that requiring a photo ID to vote might actually be preventative for citizens. 1) it generally costs a fee to receive a photo ID, and 2) some people can not have a photo ID due to religious reasons. I don’t think that you should have to violate your religion to vote, but I think that if you were to bring the same documents that it would take to get an ID (proof of citizenship and residency) you should be allowed to vote. Also if a state is going to require an ID for voting, they need to provide some sort of ID for free to citizens for the purpose of voting.

 

Beyond the previously mentioned issues, I see no problem with requiring someone to show reasonable proof that they are a citizen to be able to vote. Requiring someone to show that they are eligible for a right is much different in my eyes from preventing them for exercising that right.

Swing Voters

I’ve seen a surprising trend in election coverage over this week… swing voter bashing.

 

I’ve seen swing, or independent voters, characterized as ideological idiots, fickle, apathetic, clueless, uneducated, and various other not so flattering terms from both left and right leaning media outlets. Perhaps I am slightly sensitive to this due to the fact that ideologically I am a Libertarian, but characterizing someone who doesn’t have a strong party allegiance as dumb, fickle, or an otherwise uninformed person isn’t quite fair.

 

Personally I have a degree in Political Science, I tend to keep up on political news, and heck now I even write a blog about current events. I am far from uninformed, uneducated, or fickle. Still I do not believe that either party has a platform that I can wholeheartedly agree with. In fact BOTH parties have things that I quite violently disagree with, and I honestly believe that there are quite a few people out there just like me. These people aren’t picking a candidate based on the concept of the “lesser of two evils” out of ignorance, but instead out of pure frustration with the system that only comes from knowing it TOO well.

 

Saying Washington is broken seems to be in vogue for both parties right now, but it is fairly accurate. However I think there are a growing number of independent voters who blame the parties themselves as well as partisan politics for this brokenness. The concept that ONE party can be on the “good” or “right” side of EVERY issue breeds the intolerance for active, academic political discourse that plagues our government. Even the concept of there being a “good” or “right” side to every issue adds to the vitriol that has poisoned the political environment of our country.

 

Both political parties would do well to realize that there is a base of voters out there like me, who realize undying allegiance to a party that can in it’s very nature never completely represent them  is unrealistic and dangerous. I will cast my vote in November for the candidate and by proxy for the party that I think will protect my liberty, and represent me on the issues I care about most. I’m sure neither of them will do it well enough to earn my undying commitment, but honestly I don’t expect them to. There are a lot of people out there in the exact same boat and me and that is ok, but I’d really like it if I wouldn’t have to be insulted by the media over it.

 

 

From the other side

Last week I posted about my disappointment about the Republican Platform. While I still think on many of the issues that matter to me I side with the Republicans, here are some things from the Democratic Platform that I agree with and that caught my eye as interesting. You can find the whole thing here if you would like to read it, note that the titles will jump you to a more in depth section.

“District of Columbia. Every citizen of the United States is entitled to equal citizenship rights, including the 638,000 residents of the nation’s capital who pay federal taxes without representation. The American citizens who live in Washington, D.C., like the citizens of the 50 states, should have full and equal congressional rights and the right to have the laws and budget of their local government respected without congressional interference.”

Living so close to Washington DC, this issue has become very close to my heart. One of the primary reasons I live in the suburbs rather than in the city itself is that I refuse to not have a representative with full voting rights in the legislature.

“Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.

We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.”

I would like to point out that I really liked the phrasing of the gay marriage issue, and the freedom of churches to decide how to practice marriage being completely separate from the government.

While at heart I didn’t agree with the particulars of the plank on abortion to be fair I must admit that the Libertarian in me very much appreciated the sentiment in this phrase from it: “Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way.”

I would also like to mention that these planks that I have pointed out were pretty buried within the platform. From the main page there were no main jumps to them. Rather the main jumps were about the economy, American community, and international affairs. While many of these things I don’t agree with the stance of the Democrats, or their particular solutions to the problems we are facing, I have to applaud the fact that the issues that I think the government has a right and duty to be dealing with were front and center.

Strangely I am starting to think that the party least interested in intruding upon my liberties and personal life is the Democrats at the moment. This leads me to an interesting problem; trying to determine how my vote is really going to effect my liberty. Is big government the lesser of two evils when thinking about personal liberties being stripped away? Is preserving a more conservative fiscal view along with immigration and healthcare more important than allowing the government a say in my personal life? Even if for now the government and I are on the same side, is allowing them any say at all too great a risk to take? Would my liberties really be any safer with one side or the other in power?
For now I’m not sure, hopefully I’ll figure it out by November.