Tag Archives: republican

ABOUT THIS POLITICAL BIZ – Charles “Charlie” Smith

Charles E. Smith and Laurie Hailey at Lovettsville’s Bonnie’s Country Kitchen

Charles E. Smith and Laurie Hailey at Lovettsville’s Bonnie’s Country Kitchen

Bonnie’s Country Kitchen is a bustling gathering of friends and neighbors on a Saturday morning, catching up on the week’s gossip, family news, and chowing down on some fresh eggs and bacon, or pancakes, and as much coffee as it takes to get going.

This past Saturday, Bonnie’s was hopping, on this unseasonably warm and comfortable January Day, the tables full, persons leaning into the food on their plates and so they could hear their table mates, sitting back every once in awhile to say hello to a friend or neighbor coming through the front door, heads craning to catch a glimpse who that was.

There was a lot of animal hunting camouflage, an array of woods’ designer clothes,  some winter beards to ward off the frigid air, ordinarily the rule this time of the year, and some hungry and tired families from warming themselves against the colder air hours earlier when they were out in the fields hunting.  There was not a lot of talk about what they snared.

“I cleaned off the camouflage I put on my face earlier,” Charles “Charlie” Smith said, matter of factly, “as he took another gulp of Bonnie’s finest java.

“See ya Billy,” half rising to great a friend, Charlie explained, “I was supposed to go turkey hunting with my grandson, Jackson Rippeon, he’s 17, but he was behind in his school assignments, so we’re going quail hunting together on Sunday instead.”

“Get any turkey?,” Charlie was asked.  “Not today,” said Charlie.

Charlie himself was born in Brunswick, went to Brunswick public schools, Frederick Community College, and the University of Baltimore, graduating with a BS in 1973.

“My Dad, his name was Joseph, was told by his stepfather that the men in ‘this family’ don’t graduate from High School,” Charlie said, “but my Dad wanted both his children to graduate college.  My older Sister, Jo Anne, she was an A student.  I was more athletic.  I was good at baseball and soccer.  But we both did graduate.  That was one of the things he wanted for his children.”

“See ya buddy,” Charlie said to another passerby, like a seasoned politician, which he is, or Charlie might say, he was.

“In politics, you have two masters,” Charlie said, “there’s the elected position, and perhaps you shouldn’t be paid much to serve, and there’s your job or business, and the balance is not an easy one to hold.” Continue reading

RESIST!

20727825_10211469112177129_2338922944344859283_nHistory teaches us what happens when you don’t resist hate groups including Nazis.

Especially those who conduct torch marches and carry clubs in the streets of a university town – screaming insults against blacks and Jews – striking out and clubbing those who object to their intolerance – one supremacist even running over and through a crowd, killing one young lady simply crossing the street.

We saw the courage of the counter demonstrators who objected to these Nazis and these people, both young and old, these protesters, they are American heroes – for standing up to hate, and doing so in the best tradition of what is America.

It is heartwarming that in Virginia, our Governor and Democrats across the Commonwealth recoiled at the acts of the white supremacists.

It’s chilling and gravely disappointing, however, that Mr. Donald Trump and local Republicans failed to criticize the supremacists, thus giving aid and comfort to this pathogen in the body politic – brought to life by the intolerance of the man who would be our Chief Executive – who followed in lock step by Republican office holders.

Now our nation on the “morning after,” on Sunday, scans the reaction of other nation states, and is seen before the world, and rightly perceived, as a nation with its ugly underbelly exposed.

Each of us who knows what we were and can be again as a nation and a people.

We have a sad and depressed dread after Charlottesville at how, in such a short time, chaos and violence have supplanted the rule of law in this nation, and how this Administration and its lack of values and thuggish manner has brought us to this low point.

Enough!

The Democratic Convention, 1984

The Democratic Convention, 1984

In 1984, I was running for Congress, was the Democratic nominee for Virginia’s 10th Congressional district, and found myself standing on the floor of the Democratic convention in San Francisco, just as New York Governor Mario Cuomo challenged the convention and the nation to get on with the business of the American people.

We are in about the same position today – although the late Governor Cuomo might find it’s much worse were he with us – given the bluffing, bravado, dissembling, firing, misconduct, lying, intolerance, war mongering and congressional grid lock – that’s paralyzed the public’s business.

The Republican Caucus in the Senate and the House are not working to solve our problems; they are creating problems, spending most of the congressional session since the election bowing and scraping before the demands of their wealthy contributing patrons at the expense of the many hard working men and women they ignore.

Governor Cuomo said in 1984 that Republicans believe our nation “should settle for taking care of the strong and hope that economic ambition and charity will do the rest,” so that “what falls from the table will be enough for the middle class and those who are trying desperately to work their way into the middle class.”

Callous indifference toward the many has been the hallmark of this Republican Caucus.

Front and center is the “health care” effort that so far proposes to give massive funds – in the form of tax breaks for the rich – offset by cutting the needed funds for health care for millions of the sick and dying.

No question, Republicans treat Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as a foolish notion, that the meek shall ever inherit the earth.

Their Darwinian default is that the fittest survive and there is no exception for the fragile or vulnerable, not the ill, the disabled, more generally, not any one deemed “unfit.” Continue reading

Reality check

trumpfuReality TV has always struck me as cultural porn, transfixing bystanders with the participants’ non-stop trash talk, wrong headed views, erratic and impolite behavior, not to overlook their clumsy violence, cursing intolerance, calculated to demean each other “for amusement.”

The tv participants in these seemingly impromptu presentations are indifferent as to how they appear as long as they are being watched.

If the “players” have any sense at all, they know they are being abusive, even sadistic to one another.

Those watching are masochistic, as they submit, and perhaps even embrace this misconduct.

It’s not like a road side accident because this is no accident. “Huge” amounts of time and money and promotion are spent on this immersion “entertainment.” Parents reform a child’s worst impulses to act this way but disregard what they teach.

Marshall McLuhan studied cultural phenomenon and wrote how the “medium is the message” and how it forms our daily conduct. There could perhaps be no better example of McLuhan’s instruction than how reality tv has crossed over and embedded itself, compromised our “culture,” as it’s being mimicked increasingly off-camera, and is the latest in-your-face fashion this presidential season. Continue reading

The desperate candidates – and their party

gopPresDebateWhen did the Republican presidential primary become a Bravo Reality TV series – “the Desperate Candidates?”

We have trash talk from a bombastic billionaire developer, Donald Trump, putting down the “Republican Establishment,” and those, who he convincingly says, are his “establishment” competitors.

In the latest round of churlish misconduct, Trump blasted one opponent based on his height (“little Marco”), countered by the charge that Trump was a crook (“con man”) according to Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, prompting Trump to come back on Senator Cruz (“lying Ted”), and Senator Rubio’s toe-curling grammar school innuendoes followed, knocking Trump’s face, hair and, the most controversial, Trump’s sexual prowess (“small hands”), causing Trump to offer a national on-air description of his private body parts (“no problem there”).

In Loudoun County, despite Senator Rubio’s “below the belt” rhetoric, he was enthusiastically invited to Patrick Henry College to rally his true believers at a school founded “to impact the world ‘for Christ and for Liberty.’”

At the rally, Senator Rubio promised to compromise the medical care anyone was receiving under the Affordable Care Act, to step up the war on terror, to keep Guantanamo open and to “find out everything they [the prisoners there] know,” without saying precisely how he’d make that happen within the law and “as a devout Christian.” Congresswoman Barbara Comstock touted Rubio as “the most conversant on all of the top issues of the day.”

The Republican presidential candidates, including those deeply mired in this dehumanizing dialogue, undeservedly affect a moral superiority as compared with Trump. Continue reading

Begin the world over again

mlkMarchingTom Paine wrote that our new nation had the opportunity “to begin the world over again.”

This election year, voters seem to want to do just that – but the ratio of incomprehensible noise to common sense has been five to one.

The Reverend Martin Luther King said, “Let us be those creative dissenters who will call upon our beloved nation to a higher destiny, to a new plateau of compassion, to a more noble expression of humaneness.”

When marchers walked on Martin Luther King’s Day from the court house to the school house. the diverse community of warmly bundled marchers, were conscious that their only inconvenience was the wind and weather.

The march in Selma, Alabama, however, was conducted at some risk, and helped to win the voting rights legislation in 1965.

Selma succeeded because, as King described it, a “stubborn sheriff” acted so wrongly in handling that protest, he “stumbled against the future.”

The Reverend King was focused on what was just and fair, on equality, and the guide for his activism was the non-violence of Jesus and of Gandhi.

After Selma, King said that, “Occasionally in life one develops a conviction so precious and meaningful that he will stand on it till the end. That is what I have found in nonviolence.”

Anticipating his own death, King said in the Ebenezer Church in Atlanta, that he identified with those who were poor and hungry and, “[i]f it means dying for them, I’m going that way, because I heard a voice say, ‘Do something for others.’”

The challenge for our nation, in his mind, was human rights. Continue reading

Lessons Learned, by John Whitbeck

John Whitbeck, Park View High School mass meeting, 2013-12-16

John Whitbeck, Park View High School mass meeting, 2013-12-16

John Whitbeck’s post-election-loss message contains some “lessons learned” that you might find interesting.

Those of you who know me well know that I am not one to get down when things don’t go my way.  In fact, I am already excited to move on to the next phase of my work on behalf of Virginians. That phase has become very clear to me after the results of yesterday’s election and let me share a few observations and goals with you.

First, the Republican Party is not as united as it could be and we need to find a way to correct this very soon.  There are several issues that have created factions within the Party and we need to find a way to reconcile these disagreements if we are going to maximize our success in elections.

There are several issues that have created factions? Could one of those issues be that first Dave LaRock, and then John Whitbeck, maligned twenty year Republican incumbent Joe May with epithets usually reserved for opponents representing the other party? And that the 10th CD under John Whitbeck then chose an exclusionary method for nominating…John Whitbeck?
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Can you spot anti-Semitism?

E.W. Jackson and John Whitbeck

E.W. Jackson and John Whitbeck

As we mourned JFK on the 50th anniversary of his death, we glossed over Kristallnacht, the largest and most widespread anti-Jewish pogrom in modern history. Kristallnacht triggered the Holocaust, and the extermination of six million Jews. The Jewish survivors, settled in America, Australia, South Africa and the newly established state of Israel, adopted the saying “Never Again!” and have tried to re-establish Jewish culture, to preserve the history of the Holocaust through the USHMM, and to teach the world about the universality of the event through groups like the Anti Defamation League. Not coincidentally, the ADL has taken pro-human rights positions regarding immigrants, GLBT people, anti-Islamic extremists and racist sports team names.

In Loudoun, the two Jewish synagogues – Sha’are Shalom and Beth Chavarim Reform Congregation – have joined the All Dulles Area Muslim Society and other faith communities in interfaith dialogue and education. On the surface, it appears that anti-Semitism is waning in the U.S. However, incidents involving the Republican Party and the Evangelical “Christian Worldview” community reveal that anti-Semitism is alive and well right here in our backyard.

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The Cheating Republicans

It may sound harsh to call Republicans, or anyone for that matter, “cheaters.”

But what else can you call a political party that has dropped any pretense about suppressing the vote nationwide and made it a party policy that their presidential primary candidates will duck the tough questions in their upcoming public debates?

After Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt “47%” Romney disappeared into an electoral abyss deeper than anything imagined in Lord of the Rings, the Republican leadership said that they learned their lesson.

They were going to reach out to persons of color, to seniors, women and to the young, enlarge their political tent, and embrace those who they couldn’t attract in 2012 so that they’d pull the Republican voting lever in 2016.

Well they’re “not gonna do it.”

Instead they have mostly Southern legislatures, in 14 states, passing laws that the Justice Brennan Center says will likely suppress about 5 million votes, and that’s quite enough votes to make the difference in the 2016 presidential election. Continue reading

The Power-Effect of the Single-Issue Voter

Well, to continue with the post-modern discussion around here…Please consider this a thought experiment (and, like any experiment, it could be horribly wrong from the get-go).  I want to bring up a subject that hopefully will garner a good deal of debate.  I want to talk about single-issue voters.  But I want to do it by first recasting the terms of the debate – ie, by changing the focus from judging what such a voter is to what such a voter does (the latter of which of course can’t be done without first addressing the former) .   

The whole idea of identities first requires a bit of unpacking, because identities are tricky things.  They’re constantly in flux.  You have a million different identities that exist as they are evoked by contrast – you are a liberal in relation to conservatives.  You are a subordinate in relation to your boss, and a boss to the others operating beneath you.  You define yourself by a sense of othering, by negation, telling who you are by telling who you are not, and the way you do this changes with each context. 

And why do you do this?  Why does it matter who you are?  Each categorical identification has a different strategic advantage in its power effects.  This means that people treat you differently depending on how you present your identity at a specific place and time, and they allow you to treat them differently as they best respond to you in order to maximize their strategic advantage.  The important thing isn’t what your identity is, rather what it does.

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