Tag Archive: Republican


The events of this past weekend were horrific, but they have brought us as a nation to a tipping point and simply put I don’t think our President is responding appropriately.

Neo-Nazi and White Nationalist groups are hateful and despicable, and there is no reason the President should have waited for 48+ hours to say that. Even if he was waiting for facts about the weekend as he claimed, you don’t need facts to specifically call out and label a Nazi or White Nationalist deplorable. There is no way to paint the rhetoric of these groups as anything other than hateful, and he could have said that clearly while reserving his right to defend their first amendment rights. He chose not to.

The timeline of Mr. Trump’s responses and the reaction he got from the media, public and alt-right respectively is really concerning. (Check out David Duke’s, a past KKK leader, twitter if you don’t believe my characterizations of the alt-right/White Nationalist response)
1) Mr. Trump initially blames “many sides”: media and general public outraged while alt-right praise him
2) Mr. Trump finally condemns Neo-Nazi and White Nationalist groups by name: media and general public still think it’s too little too late while alt-right get super angry and upset, claimed he was only pandering not really meaning his remarks
3) Mr. Trump tweets that he can’t do anything to make media happy even after condemning specific groups -alt right claim this is proof Trump was only following orders/advice from aides and never meant his condemnation to begin with.
4) Mr. Trump goes back to “many sides” line among other troubling and off the cuff remarks – alt-right groups again embrace and praise him, mainstream media widely criticism him.

Looking at these statements and the responses he was getting from the public/media vs the alt-right and whose opinion does it look like he values more?

Now lets look at his most recent statements from the press conference a bit deeper because there are two points I feel the need to discuss.

First at one point he used the term “us” and had to correct himself when referring to the alt-right. Yes he corrected himself, but he continued to use language indicating that the counter-protests were the “other side” throughout. How exactly am I supposed to believe that he doesn’t have a sympathy for the alt-right white nationalists?

Second, he vehemently indicated that there were “very fine” people on both sides. There are no “very fine” people who are willing to march under (or even in close proximity to) a Nazi flag. “Very fine” people don’t proclaim they are superior because they possess pale skin. No “very fine” person calls for the extermination or oppression of a group of people due to skin color or religious creed. A “very fine” person would have seen the march the evening before where people carried lit torches and chanted for the elimination of POC and Jews and would have decided to take action and leave if they didn’t want to be associated with that crowd’s philosophies.

Simply put Mr. Trumps remarks are not enough and even giving him the benefit of the doubt as to his intentions veer dangerously close into condoning the actions and philosophies of these extremist groups.

Many of these groups are fighting under Mr. Trump’s name, and if Mr. Trump DOESN’T want to be held responsible for them he needs to do more to publicly condemn them and publicly address and correct their “misconceptions” of his words. If these crazies really are misinterpreting him he has nothing to lose from setting the record straight and everything to gain in legitimacy as a leader.

He needs to recognize and take steps to correct the way his words are fueling rather than diffusing these groups. If he wants me to believe he doesn’t value the alt-right/Neo-Nazi opinion and vote he needs to take concrete action to disassociate himself. Not once has he publicly asked these groups to stop using his name, likeness and/or slogan to further their cause. Until he actually does that I’m going to call a spade a spade and assume he’s not only ok with them chanting his slogan, carrying his signs and praising his actions but that he wants them to do it.

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I spent the better part of this past decade living within an hour of Charlottesville, Virginia; it’s a beautiful town that is home to many of my close friends and that holds many fond memories. To hear the name of this town become synonymous with hatred and violence is a startling and distressing turn of events.

I’ve never been blind to the racial issues boiling under the surface of daily life in Virginia, its impossible to miss. Virginia certainly has a long way to go to address the deeply rooted racial injustices of its past. Still I never thought there would come a day that a group of people would openly march under Nazi flags in that small college town.

As people are discussing the events of the past weekend I keep hearing from conservative pundits and alt-right sympathizers that it was just a demonstration against removing a confederate statue. Now to be completely fair I can actually make an argument for the preservation of Confederate monuments, and I do believe that it is within the rights of US citizens to peacefully assemble and protest. However these weren’t just a bunch of historians protecting our heritage. Specific hate groups started sponsoring and promoting the event and rapidly took over its purpose.

They even named it “Unite the Right” and the purpose as listed on the alt-right websites I visited listed nothing about the statue and everything about standing up against POC, Jews (referred to in derogatory names) and to promote white supremacy.

So protester who is claiming you were there about the statue answer these questions please:

If you want to claim that you weren’t aware of your protest being over taken by white supremacists, how do your actions show that you didn’t approve of them being there? If you were really there about ONLY the statue why didn’t YOU stand up and ask the Nazis to leave? Why didn’t YOU make it clear they weren’t welcome? If they refused to leave or didn’t want to confront them why didn’t you leave to avoid being associated with them?

Anyone who stayed at that protest after the tiki torch march the night before where idiots chanted racist and antisemitic hate speech knew full well who was marching with them on Saturday and chose to be complicit in their hate.

We are guaranteed the right to hold whatever opinions we want in this country. Even if I think your opinion is morally repugnant and evil, the government has no right to stop you from expressing those beliefs. You are allowed to be a hateful bastard in this country without fear of legal action from the government. That said your friends, community, employer ect. very well may have other consequences for you and your free speech doesn’t protect you from them.

Also the moment you stop following police direction and start using violence against others it has stopped being a legal protest. These groups refused to follow police orders as early as Saturday night, and continued into the morning. Long before there was a car into a crowd, there was violence from the alt-right toward the counter-protest.

While the initial and indeed the VAST majority of the blame for the chaos and violence on Saturday rest squarely on the shoulders of the white supremacist protesters that doesn’t mean that all of the counter protesters are completely blameless either.

While the initial and most deadly violence was caused by the Neo-Nazi side, “antifa” also used violence. If we are going to condemn the violence on one side we also must condemn the violence on the other. Even a few people using violence from allows the “many sides” comment to be made and gives people like the President room to legitimize the resistance. (more on that and the President’s response in a separate post)

This is where the let’s go “punch a Nazi” memes have angered me. While I understand the impulse to WANT to punch racist ass holes, that isn’t how our society was built. No matter how repugnant they have a right to SAY hateful things, and the government has to let them. It’s the government’s responsibility through law enforcement to keep that speech from becoming action. When we step up and try to take vigilante justice not only are we sinking to their level but we could possibly be putting law enforcement into a position where they have to defend these racist jerks because we’re the ones breaking the law.

It’s our job to use our own rights to peacefully and legally combat these idiots with our own rights of free speech. There are peaceful ways to disrupt racist rallies, and we HAVE to focus on that. As difficult and arguably unfair as it may be we have to be beyond reproach as we combat intolerance. It’s a hard road but going backwards into hate isn’t an option I’m willing to let happen.

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.

 

 

Dissappointed

Disappointment: Sad or displeased because someone or something has failed to fulfill one’s hopes or expectations.

aka GOP Platform as released at National Convention

I consider myself to be a Christian and while I know that ideologically I am a Libertarian in the past I have voted Republican, last night when I read the GOP’s platform I think that might have changed.

I believe that without a doubt our founding fathers planned this country with a significant Christian influence, but I also believe that they put in significant protections for the church from the government. Now I fear that it is the government that may need protecting from members of the church.

I do not want my government to ever have a say in how I practice my religion, or any part in how I should interpret my faith. I believe that the principle of personal choice, in so far as it causes no harm to others, is one that sets our country apart in greatness.
I do believe wholeheartedly that the issue of gay marriage is closely tied to freedom of religion. I firmly believe that MY church should not be forced to anoint a gay marriage, but also that no one should stop a different church from doing so it it is within their beliefs. Therefore it really upsets me for the GOP to make it their #1 priority in the platform to enforce a religious definition upon a civic function.

I would much prefer marriage be completely left up to churches and have NO government involvement. However I do firmly believe that the government has no place defining which religion’s definition should be used.

Personally I can see no great harm in letting Bob marry David, even if I can see a religious argument against it, but that is just it, the ONLY argument I can see against it is one based in religion.

Still putting aside the fact that I don’t think it should be an issue of importance at all, at very least it is not THE MOST important issue our country faces. The economy, education, and healthcare (issues which I generally tend to side on the R side of the isle) all stand out as issues that are vastly more important than who is eligible for a marriage license.  I guess time will only tell but I’m not so sure I will support a party who doesn’t have priorities that I can support as well.

GOP and Women

I found this article incredibly interesting and touched home to me as a woman who usually votes Republican. I may have different opinions from Sen Huchison on many traditional “woman’s issues” but I loved her commentary here on the fact that the GOP is not anti-woman and that assuming that a rational thinking woman HAS to think one way about an issue is wrong.

Some highlights:

“Women make up half of the most diverse country in the world. We are represented ethnically, socially, racially, economically, religiously and ideologically across the spectrum. To say that there is a set of concerns that can be labeled “women’s issues” is absolutely true. To assume that we all feel the same way about them — or that we must feel the same way about them to represent our gender legitimately — is inherently sexist.”

“Americans have thoughts, opinions and ideas spanning the political spectrum, about which reasonable people can respectfully disagree. But it is both unreasonable and disrespectful to demand that half of them hold identical views simply because of their gender.”

Unfriendly to women? Not my GOP

By Kay Bailey Hutchison via CNN