Real. Raw. Reaction.

In the wake of the events in Connecticut today, I would applaud any congressional leader to stand up and talk about the need for easily accessible and free mental health care. Not gun control. Wait. What? Yes. I said it. Gun control or even banning ALL THE GUNS wouldn't solve any of the problems. A "war on guns" would be about as productive and successful as the "war on drugs".  For lack of a better phrase and to keep with the trend there needs to be a "war" on mental illness. Not just in the case of slipping a provision so health insurance providers are forced to cover mental health visits, but a war on the stigma against people with any sort of mental illness. From depression to even the skeeve-tastic pedophilia. I am not, repeat not, saying that you should necessarily hug a pedophile, but I am saying that shaming someone who comes out and says they know their urges and "dark" desires are wrong and want to seek help is just counter-productive. There are a few studies out there that show even pedophiles benefit from regular help and lead quite normal lives since they are able to express their issues without judgement.

We need many kinds of reform in this nation, but believe me, the government cannot be the ones to produce them all. We as a society need to nut up and produce the reforms we so desperately need. We need a discussion, and we need leaders to start it. Just as long as the first sentence doesn't begin with "Gun control..."

Just something quick

I'm a bit late to posting this, but at the end of last week something good happened. A federal court struck down Governor Rick Scott's early voting changes. I'd love to have a complete post about it, but due to lack of energy and time tonight, you can read it here.

So You Say You Want a Revolution?

Do you remember the America of September 12th and 13th 2001? Do you remember that feeling that across this great nation, no matter race, creed, or color, we were one? Where we would do anything for our neighbors-- what happened to that?

All I see on the political talk shows is how conservatives are destroying America with their out of touch ideas and how liberals are crazy and idiotic. I see obvious strategies to disenfranchise voters so a certain party can win an election, and a congress that can't agree on anything.

It is a sad day when ideology trumps common sense. Despite what the politicians are both spewing on the stump and what the media spoon feeds us, we need to come together. We need to show every single person in our government we are the UNITED States of America.

Just because I think Obamacare is a good idea, and you think its socialism that is going to destroy the very foundations of this nation doesn't mean there isn't a middle ground. If a mountain was in our way and your plan was to blow it up, and mine was to go around it, who is right? Both would solve our problem in our own way, but neither is the most efficient. If we could have a civil debate and exchange of ideas we would realize we could combine them and dig a tunnel through the mountain.

I have made this point before over in this post. Instead of getting apathetic about political discourse and ignoring it, instead of hating someone with an opposing view, instead of waiting for the political leaders to elevate the discussion to an intelligent and civil level, why haven't we as an electorate done so with each other? Politicians do it because it works, we buy into it.

We are facing extremely tough challenges right now as a country, ones that go deeper than debt, health care, and the economy. Our education system is a systematic failure, the nation's infrastructure is crumbling around us. We as a people can have a peaceful revolution, one that takes place at the ballot box. We need to take this country back to an educated, solution-oriented debate.

This one is personal.

Many people ask me why I support Barack Obama. I usually fire off the same spiel every time. I was on board with his ideas in 2008 and we have to finish what we started. But it goes deeper and more personal than that and with the inclusion of Paul Ryan to the republican ticket I am on red alert.

My parents split up when I was 6. My mother raised me and my sister by herself. I wouldn't say we were poor nor would I ever say we were upper middle class. She kept a roof over our heads, food in our stomach, clothes on our backs, and most of the silly things kids want growing up. She did everything she could for us and couldn't save much for herself. She sacrificed everything for us kids.

Fast forward to 2007 and my mother started to have some health issues she likes to call "Lady problems". She saw some doctors but couldn't get any real medical attention since she couldn't get  health insurance due to a preexisting condition and she couldn't afford any of it on its own. She suffered and suffered until she couldn't handle the family lectures or the pain any more. She finally went to a specialist and they declared she would need a biopsy to make sure it wasn't cancerous. The catch was it would be extremely painful and since she didn't have insurance, she would have to pay for the anesthetic. The anesthetic she could not afford but she went forward with the treatment anyway. She described it as a pain worse than giving child birth. She told me after that the nurse was telling her to let herself pass out so she wouldn't have to endure the pain. My mother was basically being told to travel back to the Civil War and bite the bullet.

I want to remind you, this happened in 2007. Not in 1865. In America. Not a small African village.

Shortly after, I heard about the then Senator  Barack Obama in his bid for the democratic nomination for President. One of his major platforms was a promise for health care for the majority of Americans. I was sold. My hardworking and selfless mother should not have to suffer because she could not afford it or had a preexisting conditions. On March 23, 2010 my wish got closer.

This brings me to the 2012 election. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are running against Barack Obama and Joe Biden. If you have had your head buried in the sand the last year plus, you wouldn't know that the republicans sole mission is to "repeal Obamacare!".  In the case of my mother, she's creeping up on retirement age, and if the republicans succeed in repealing the ACA, at least she would still have medicare. Or would she?

The Paul Ryan budget promises to gut medicare and turn into a voucher program forcing people like my mother and millions of other senior citizens into purchasing their medicare plans, virtually ending medicare as we know it. Not only that, but Ryan and Romney would cut funding to planned parent hood and make it harder for women across the nation to get preventive screenings and care women need.

I won't let this happen to my mother, my sister, my future wife (where ever she may exist), my future daughter, and I won't let it happen to the millions of other women living in this country.

Long Day, Short Post.

Lets talk about hypocrisy for a moment.

Conservatives want to ban all abortions because life begins at conception and therefore they have rights. The fetus would have all the same rights that we Americans enjoy, up until it is born and old enough to identify his or herself as a homosexual. At this point all constitutionally given rights are immediately revoked. This person is suddenly and inexplicably no longer one of God's creations. They are an abomination.

Right wing conservatives want prayer back in schools under the argument that we as Americans have freedom of religion in this country. But this right only extends so far as Christianity, we must not even joke about giving rights to practice Islam in schools. And conservatives will protest the building of any new mosques to their last breath. Why is this you ask? Because unless you are a Christian there is a good change you are a terrorist looking to impose Sharia law.

To me it seems right wing conservatives are so scared of Islamic and LGBT communities that they are  clutching their bibles desperately to their chests with one hand and lashing out wildly with the other. They are rabidly working towards writing laws that define when life starts, that ban contraception, that remove a woman's right to choose and define marriage as what Christians deem is right and respectable. The hard right wing of the republican party, in their fury to stamp out Islamic extremist and the deconstruction of the conservative code, have turned themselves into extremists. Christian extremists.

These extremists want a moral leader in the White House. They do not want a leader to restore America to its peak greatness, but one to restore God into the hearts and minds of its people. If you are not on board with their vision then it is easy to label you as a God-hating terrorist or a sinful homosexual.

I stand where I have always stood, against Islamic extremists and those participating in acts of terror. I do not support anyone who seeks to provide fear instead of freedom, not even if you hang the banner of Christianity about your shoulders.

In defense of our President

I'm sure you've heard this already but this past Saturday morning Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as his running mate. I've done nothing but read article after article about how this changes Romney's campaign. The main argument I hear coming from the republican camp, is that the addition of Ryan to the ticket allows them to showcase the stark differences between the republican and democratic nominees. I fully agree with this argument. The Romney/Ryan team differs greatly with the Obama/Biden team and the differences should be at the forefront of this campaign. Another argument, brought forth by Rush Limbaugh today, is that the Ryan choice will bring Obama's "record to the fore" and it will be bad for the democrats.

This is where I no longer agree.

Not only is Obama's record alone something to be proud of, but he has accomplished such feats (Obamacare, repeal of DADT) in the hostile political environment where republicans have tried their hardest to block him at every turn. The obstacles Obama has overcome are legendary. The republicans and a large bloc of voters like to believe that everything going wrong in the country (the debt, the unemployment rate) is because President Obama has failed us as a leader, they are dead wrong.

The Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell specifically said in an interview with the National Journal, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." From this you can get an idea of what the President has had to deal with. The republicans, to their credit, remained in lock step with this goal. It does not matter if our nation's future depends on finding long-lasting, productive solutions to the problems at hand-- republicans want nothing to do with it if it has Obama's name on it.

Which brings me to this: the republican party and anti-Obama supporters are ready to grab their pitchforks and head to the ballot box in November with hopes of voting somebody else in. It does not matter who, anyone who is not Barack Obama will do. This is their singular and tunnel-visioned goal.

Do you think they look at their Representatives in the house with the same kind of scrutiny? What about their Senators? The individuals that make up the Legislative body of the United States government currently carry a 17% job approval rating, yet no one seems to be blowing the whistle on them. I do not see the kind of news coverage, the kind of pitchfork toting anger for these individuals that I see for Obama, a president with a current approval rating of 45%.

Can someone explain to me how a President who has lowered taxes for the majority of Americans, has passed progressive health care reform, has given us steady, albeit slow, but steady growth for the last 27 months, is blamed for the state of the economy? In the 2010 mid term elections, House incumbents had an 87% reelection rate while the Senate incumbents enjoyed an 84% reelection rate. This is absurd. We are reelecting people we do not even like, people who clearly are not properly doing their jobs and our excuse is that it is all President Obama's fault.

This country should not be laying the shortcomings of the United States economy completely on the President, this is a country with a three-party governmental system, the blame is split three ways in case anyone has forgotten.

So tell me how Paul Ryan is going to stick it to Obama? Tell me how he is going to stand on his own soapbox and lay all the blame on a president with only a third of the power in this great United States of America.

Ignorance in Electorate

I was watching The Ed Show last night and while he was ranting I heard: "Do Republicans really think Americans are really that dumb? I sure hope not?"

While I don't think Americans are stupid, I think (pardon the blanket statement)the majority are ignorant. On a daily basis I have causal conversations with customers at my workplace, and in this current political climate it is inevitable that President Obama and current events come up.

Almost immediately I hear, "It's Obama's fault. He's just running up the debt, and not doing enough to help middle class America." When I casually try to interject that congress and the stalemate between parties really bares the blame they look at me like I have three heads. Forget about mentioning that we should go through each elected official's record with a fine toothed comb and see who is worth keeping in office and who is worth dumping.

Each and every person I've talked to argues with Fox News talking points. I think my favorite experience (I use that sarcastically), was when I was cashing out a couple and after sliding their credit card it was declined. I slid it again. Same result. I politely told them the problem, so they handed me another card. It had the same result. The man then launched in to a five minute rant about how, "That bastard Obama" had turned off his credit and was, "Totally fucking up this country."

I was shocked. My initial reaction was to ask them how they could not have a fundamental understanding of credit card workings? Or the office of President for that matter. Honestly, did these people truly believe the President of the United States had switch in his office to turn off this man's credit in Holiday, Florida? Instead I held my tongue. As much as I'd like to start correcting every ignorant comment to help improve the knowledge level of our electorate, it's not worth it. I could be blue in the face from talking and we'd still have the same problem.

Another issue I notice in Florida is the open racism. I can (barely) handle the, "Don't blame me, I voted for an American" bumper stickers, but now I'm seeing this wonderfully blunt one: "Don't re-nig in 2012."

Yes that is an actual sticker floating around Pasco County, Florida. I have a co-worker who likes to repeat it whenever anyone mentions President Obama.
I can understand if you don't like President Obama. I'd love to hear why, as long as you can form coherent sentences and legitimate, intelligent points. We can debate his policies, platform or his political views. Just please don't say it's because he's a Kenyan born Muslim. Or because you memorized Fox News talking points.

We are not a stupid nation. We are an ignorant nation. And there's shame in that. We are in an age of information overload. The internet is readily available, as are books and newspapers and public radio stations. There is no excuse not to be intelligently and correctly informed about the issue that you care about. Just do this blogger a favor and get informed if you aren't. Use your highly evolved brain and VOTE. Not just in Presidential election years, but in every election, they all affect your life.