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Do you recall when you decided to be a Republican or a Democrat?

We are a nation of Democrats and Republicans and we haven’t asked ourselves why.  The more we tie ourselves to a political party the more we forfeit independent thinking.  We become biased.  If we believe something as true it is hard to recognize when it is not.  Mark Twain said it best:  It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.  It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

Republicans and Democrats can be found everywhere.  They are both part of car pools, they are neighbors, they are parents of our children’s friends, they are co-workers, and they sit next to us in church, at ball games, at graduations, and at parades.  We can’t tell if someone is a Republican or a Republican unless we talk politics or put up a yard sign.  And yet we have such a harsh view of the “other” Party.

That harsh view is usually well beyond being realistic or accurate.  We can be gullible the more our emotions are tied to a subject whether it is buying a Ford or a Chevy, rooting for the Dodgers or the Giants, or becoming an adherent of one of the major political parties.

The Founders of the United States warned against Parties because they thought politics was supposed to be rational and collaborative, not competitive.  Competitiveness has resulted in Americans voting for President and the US Congress based on Party and not person.  It started in the 1970s and has been significantly increasing to where voters overwhelmingly voted for their party’s nominee in the 2016 national election.

Do we need to free ourselves from the bonds of political party affiliation that divides our nation and makes it difficult to keep our nation in balance?  Balance is found in the middle between far left and far right dogma.  I think moderates in both parties should join forces and free themselves from the money and rigidity in the wings of the two parties.  It may be too late for an affiliate of one party to vote for a candidate from another party.  So, maybe a third party is needed, a moderate party.

We didn’t have political parties when Washington was President.  They gradually formed as we were trying to figure out what our fledgling country needed from Washington DC such as a central bank and national policy.

Long before there were Republicans and Democrats, there were Federalists led by Alexander Hamilton and the Anti-Federalists led by Thomas Jefferson.  In 1787 The Federalists became the first American political Party.  They were businessmen and merchants who wanted a strong central government to protect industry.

The Federalists were opposed by Anti-Federalists; a group mostly made up of small farmers and planters that wanted a smaller government that wouldn’t interfere with their lives.  The Anti-Federalists would later form a party called the Democratic-Republicans.

In 1828, Andrew Jackson changed the Democratic-Republican Party’s name to the Democrats.  Jackson’s opponents changed the Federalist Party’s name to the Whig Party.

The Democratic Party was well on its way to splitting between North and South when in 1854, the Civil War finalized the split into the Northern Democrats and the Southern Democrats with the Southern Party being pro-slavery pro-states’ rights members.  Shortly thereafter the Whig party split and the Republican Party was added.  There were essentially four parties—Northern Democrats, Southern Democrats, Whig, and Republican.

After the Civil War the Republicans grew and the Democrats shrunk. Republicans would favor business interests and taxes on imports. Democrats supported free trade and attracted farmers and immigrants.  Democrats didn’t expand until 1932 when Franklin Roosevelt created economic relief and social security.  Democrats wanted the federal government to actively help those affected by the Depression. Republicans, being more pro-business, preferred to not burden business with those costs.

The next major shift in party affiliation came when huge numbers of southern state democrats became republicans after President Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

So, when did you decide to be a Republican or a Democrat?  Why are older working class white men especially in rural areas generally Republicans?  Why are college educated younger men and women generally Democrats?

Newer research that includes brain maps, gene pool analysis, and unconscious attitudes shows the following generalizations:

People who prefer a simple vision of good and evil, are cognitively inflexible, are fond of hierarchy, are inordinately afraid of uncertainty, change, and death, and are unaware of their unconscious fears tend to vote Republican.  Republicans want to spend on the military and the military industrial complex.

People who are more open to reason and nuance and complex policy tend to vote Democrat. Democrats want to spend on people.

The Republican Party of today is pro-business and the Democratic Party is pro-people.  Being pro-business does not mean people support greed and being pro-people does not mean people do not want businesses to be very successful.  Does being pro-business mean someone is materialistic or does being pro-people mean someone is more spiritual?  No!  But if it did we would again need balance between the two parties.  Material prosperity without spirituality leads to greed, lack of inner and outer peace, and war. Spirituality without material development leads to poverty and famine.

We need balance in our lives. America needs balance in their politics. Moderates seek balance.  The Supreme Court needs balance to make decisions that support the balance people need in their lives.

A wise President and Senate would seek balance for the Supreme Court. And within that balance there should be more moderates and less far right or far left Justices. We should not be able to accurately predict how a Justice will vote based on the title of the case and without hearing testimony or reading the briefs.

While Americans have moved from state to state, job to job, young to old; there has been a political battle for control of the direction America takes. The direction is dependent on how we incorporate into our voting these words from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth and shall have a new birth of freedom.

Does America move in the direction where we become a nation where all people are equal before the law and have unrestricted participation in self-governance?  Or, does America move in the direction where only some us enjoy the full blessings of liberty; where only some of us can decide on who is granted privilege and who is capable of self-governance?

The Democratic Party has seen a liberal socialist element grow within their party but has for the last 12 years seen moderates win control over far left liberal/socialist elements.

The Republican Party has long had battles between progressives and conservatives for the control of the Party. It has been in the grasp of conservatives since Reagan and has moved away from progressive icons Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.  In 2008 the Tea Party, now called the Freedom Caucus, became part of the Republican Party.  The Freedom Caucus is very conservative and wants to balance the budget by reducing entitlements like Social Security, Medicare, Affordable Health Care Plan, etc.

Centrists Progressives/moderates in both Parties have a chance to bring this country together and take more steps toward the America that exists in words contained in our Declaration of Independence and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  “We foremost hold truths to be self evident, that this nation was conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  “That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth and shall have a new birth of freedom.”

Maybe there is a need for a third Party called The Moderate Party– A Party that doesn’t have the baggage that the Democratic and Republican Parties have in the eyes of the other Party.

Unwritten Republican Party Platform

The Republican Party held its convention without creating a platform but it’s not like they don’t have an unwritten platform because they do.  It has been orally presented over and over again piece by piece, tweet by tweet, interview by interview, rally by rally.  It is a Trump platform and elected Republicans have gone along with it and Trump voters have cheered it on because they cheer most things Trump.

The platform is contained here.

It was written on August 25, 2020 by David Frum, Staff writer at The Atlantic.

He says the question is not why Republicans lack a coherent platform; it’s why they’re so reluctant to publish the one on which they’re running.

I have argued in previous posts that for change to happen smoothly and more quickly we can’t start with the answer and instead have to start with an hypothesis.  The hypothesis could be a problem or an opportunity but in either case it has to be defined and measured as the first step followed closely by getting consensus that the problem or opportunity actually exists.  Only then can we search for alternative answers, evaluate their pros and cons and then choose the most acceptable alternative.

Bill Clinton believes that “politics and governing are one long conversation where you have to explain to people what went wrong and why, explain your plan to fix it, persuade them your idea is better than the other side’s,” this Democrat noted. “Today, politics tends to be heavy on assertion, light on explanation, and bereft of persuasion.”

The above paragraph comes from a short article from Politico and does a good job of indirectly describing the differences between Trump and Clinton. Like I said it is short and likeable.

All of us can be gullible at times and sometimes after we realize we were guilty of it we have to laugh at ourselves.  Where our emotions are high we are prone to gullibility more than when we are less interested in a subject.  We seem to now be most gullible regarding politics.  It is shameful but interesting that we are so divided that we don’t trust anything and yet conversely aren’t willing to disbelieve anything.

We spend a lot of time worrying about interference from Russia, China or Iran. But disinformation needs to have a receptive audience to work. If Americans weren’t so divided and all news media shared set of facts before offering wildly conflicting worldviews, it would be harder for a foreign power to meddle.

I’ll close with a quote about racism and while the quote mentions people of color it applies to all prejudices that maintains the status quo that keeps America from being what we say we are regarding life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

What’s most important is the outcomes and experiences of people of color. When we know that those inequities exist and we refuse or fail to address them, that is racism. It is allowing the system to perpetuate itself because the status quo is racist.

— Melissa Williams, director of student equity and inclusion at Clark College

Two new polls show the damage Trump has done to U.S. standing in the world

Before we get to the poll data let’s look at the type of things that have caused other nations to think less of us.  There was a time where the world could look at our C.D.C. for guidance and truth and science.  Not any more and it is because the Trump administration now controls the information.  For example, C.D.C. scientists didn’t write the virus testing guidance on its website last month, and it was published against their objections, officials said.

The Pew Research Center found, in a survey of 13 countries, that America’s current standing in the world has dropped to unimaginable lows.  

In 2020, Only

  • 26 percent of Germans,
  • 30 percent of the Dutch,
  • 31 percent of the French,
  • 33 percent of Australians and Swedes,
  • 35 percent of Canadians, and
  • 41 percent of the Japanese and British

Have a favorable impression of the United States.

In 2016,

  • The U.S. favorability rating ranged from a low of 57 percent (Germany) to a high of 72 percent (Japan).

In 2020,

  • Only 15% of respondents give the United States good marks on the pandemic.
  • China’s handling of the pandemic is more than twice as popular.
  • Trump is more unpopular than Russia’s Vladimir Putin or China’s Xi Jinping.
    • Eighty-three percent of respondents in U.S. allies have no confidence in America’s president.
    • Only 16 percent trust him to do what is right in world affairs. 

A new survey out Thursday from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs shows that most Americans reject Trump’s isolationist, protectionist policies.

  • 62%  say that the lesson of covid-19 is that we need to “coordinate and collaborate with other countries to solve global issues.”
  • 68%  say it would be better “for the future of the country if we take an active part in world affairs.”
  • 65%  say that globalization is “mostly good” for the United States.

The majority of Americans are in favor of free trade, alliances and international leadership — the traditional pillars of America’s post-1945 foreign policy.

  • 60%  of Republicans now support for NATO.
    • 85%  of Democrats now support NATO
  • 21%  of Republicans now view climate change as a threat.
    • 75%  of Democrats now view climate change as a threat
  • 40%  of Republicans are now concerned about Russian power.
    • 57%  of Democrats are now concerned about Russian power.
  • 61%  of Republicans now are concerned by large numbers of immigrants and refugees coming into the U.S.
    • 13% of Democrats now are concerned by large numbers of immigrants and refugees coming into the U.S.

Democrats want to address the United States’ internal problems and take an internationalist approach to foreign policy.

Republicans favor a nationalist, unilateralist approach while denying that America needs to address serious flaws such as racial or income inequality.

Republicans are far more friendly toward Russia, and far more hostile to NATO, than they used to be. However, 40 percent still see Russia as a critical threat and 60 percent still support NATO.

Most independents are closer to the Democrats than they are Republicans on foreign policy.

Political Party and Christianity Adherents

This is probably a stretch but the purpose is to just get the reader thinking about locked in political party adherence anyway.

We didn’t have political parties when Washington was President.  They gradually formed as we were trying to figure out what our fledgling country needed from Washington DC such as a central bank and national policy.  We are still arguing today about the role of central government versus states rights.  We even had a massive Civil War over the direction of America.

The conditions of Christianity’s expansion were diverse.  Communities from Jerusalem to Rome were established.  The expansion was not supported by political or economic means.  It spread rapidly even under persecution and did so without real textual or organizational controls.

Jesus was a rural itinerant preacher and the first people that called themselves Christians were urban, living in the big cities in the Roman Empire.  The growth of Christianity involved a linguistic transition from Aramaic to Greek and it involved a a cultural transition fro a predominantly Jewish culture to a predominantly Greco-Roman culture, and finally, it involved a demographic transition from being a movement among Jews to an ever-increasing movement among non-Jews or Gentiles.

Christianity was diverse from the beginning because of all these transitions, shortage of written word and organization, and how rapidly it spread.  Everywhere Christianity appeared, it was something slightly different.

Today there are Christian adherents all over the world but the meaning of being Christian perhaps still differs from place to place.  For some it is all about the Crucifixion and for others the emphasis is the Resurrection and it seems like it is what one believes that is most important.

Sometimes Christians misconstrue other religious traditions because Christians believe questions like “what do we profess”, “what do we think”, “what are our convictions”, are important to other religions.  But for some religions what is most important is what they do.  They don’t ask “what do I believe”.  Instead they ask “what is it that we are doing” and “what are our practices”.

Is it that much of a stretch to compare Christianity adherents to political party adherents in that perhaps being a Republican means something different from state to state or from person to person and likewise to adherents of the democratic party?

Progressives in both Parties understand that material prosperity without spirituality leads to greed, lack of inner and outer peace, and war and that spirituality without material development leads to poverty and famine. 

What does it mean to be a Republican? The Party of Lincoln freed the slaves.  Is this the same Party that has been making it difficult to impossible for blacks to vote?  Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Act resulted in a huge migration of Southern Democrats into the Republican Party which has had a profound effect on both Parties through addition to the Republican Party and subtraction to the Democratic Party. In 2008 the Tea Party, now called the Freedom Caucus, became part of the Republican Party.  The Freedom Caucus is very conservative and wants to balance the budget by reducing entitlements like Social Security, Medicare, Affordable Health Care Plan, etc. 

Do Republicans accurately define what it means to be a member of the Democratic Party and vice versa? Do we as Americans have enough in common that we can recognize those things instead of what we seem dead set to see negatively in the party they are not adherents of?

What does it mean to be a Republican or a Democrat?  Has it always been the same?  Has being an adherent always been in your best interest?  When might it not have been?  Why are you so stubbornly tied to one of the Parties?

Jesus had a distinctive appeal to the outcasts.  He did not address himself to the religious elite among the people, but rather to the outcasts.  “Blessed are you poor,” rather than “you rich.”  His ministry was characterized by an open-table fellowship with sinners and tax collectors, people who were outcasts among the Jewish people. 

  • Which Party’s adherents are most like Jesus? 
  • Which Party wants tax cuts for the rich? 
  • Which Party wants to cut or privatize Medicare and cut Social Security benefits to reduce deficit spending?
  • Which Party increases spending into the Military Industrial Complex that along with tax cuts creates deficit spending?
  • Which Party spent a trillion dollars on the Iraq War and paid for it with debt?
  • Would Jesus want to protect the environment and stop global warming?  Which Party more closely agrees with Jesus on the environment and global warming?

James Mattis, a four star US marine corps general and served as Trumps Secretary of State, said that Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.

Campfire Politics

If our goal as humans is to evolve, then we need to think.  We should incorporate our spirituality and our responsibilities toward each other, ourselves, and our planet.  We should be open to new information that can help us mentally, physically, materially, and spiritually.  We should be balancing our lives materially and spiritually.  We should be living our lives with love and without fear.

A grandfather was talking to his grandson about a negative experience he had early in his life.  The grandfather was saying.  “At the time, I had two bears growling inside of me.  The first bear was filled with anger, hatred, bitterness, and mostly revenge.  The second bear inside of me was filled with love, kindness, compassion, and mostly forgiveness.”

“Which bear wins”?  The young boy inquired.  The grandfather responded:  “The one I feed.”

Deserving has more to do with what we send out in the form of thoughts, feelings, words, and deeds than it does with how smart we are.  The energy we send out is the energy we get back. The energy we send out reflects what we feel.

It’s the feelings that create the energy we send out.  Reality can be nothing more than the result of how we have been flowing our energy.  It only takes 16 seconds to link up vibrationally with negative or positive energy.

We can look at ourselves and at others as campfires.  When building a campfire or trying to get one restarted we can pile on the firewood, stick a piece of paper or a few twigs under the larger pieces of wood, light the paper with a match, and hope to get a fire going.  Usually if we try to jump from the tiny to the large the large never gets going and so it is with our campfire.

Usually, we need to nourish the tiny flame or we will find ourselves complaining about the stubborn large pieces that just won’t cooperate, just won’t burn.  We too end up with a little smoke and it cost us a match and, we have to start all over again.

To get a campfire to burn we need to build from tiny to small to medium to large and it all starts with nourishing the tiny hot spot.  We take a deep breath and blow on this tiny hot spot while we nourish it with twigs and then kindling.  When the kindling starts to burn we add pieces that are just a little larger, and we keep repeating this making sure the little fire gets hotter by fanning it and feeding it.  Eventually we have a big campfire and once we do we can throw the big logs on it and it will thrive even more.

And instead of mocking other campfires that can’t seem to get going we should not be looking and seeing only the campfire and the wood that is not burning; we should be looking for and seeing the hot spot that we can help fan and feed with just a little fuel here and there.  We are all powerful and we can help others get their fires burning and we can get our own fires burning if we just start with our hot spots and continuously nourish them with breath and the appropriate sized fuel.  If a log is thrown on too soon it will not burn and it could smother a campfire that is trying to get started.

To say another way lets think like race car drivers.  They know the best way to get past cars and debris that have crashed in front of them.  Instead of looking at the cars spinning out of control and piling up in front of them they immediately look for an opening and put their entire attention upon this opening and drive through it.  Sometimes the opening is small and not even obvious but whatever opening that seems to exist that is where they look.

We have a choice and it is to focus on the crash or to focus on our safe passage.  If we freeze our stare and concentration on the crash we add to the crash because that is all we saw and it pulled us in.  If we can find that one opening, that one opportunity, fan and nourish that one hotspot, and put our entire attention and sight on it, we will zip past the crash.  Those behind us can follow us into new opportunity or become part of the crash and likewise some will follow us into the crash if that is where we focused.

If we were to build a campfire that speaks of violence, hate, racism, anger, fear there will be those that will be attracted to those flames and act out hidden and repressed feelings.  Trump has built such campfires among others that may not be as destructive.

Biden’s greatest quality is the type of campfire he will build and nurture.  It is one that tries to bring us together by helping us calm our darkest selves and light our brightest selves.

Freud and Jung tell us the contents of the subconscious perpetually seep into conscious awareness.  Eventually they came to realize that when rage, lust, revenge, etc. are denied access to the civilized conscious mind, they do not disappear but continue to live out an entirely independent psychic existence in the subconscious.  There they drain away energy from the conscious system, causing depression, anxiety, neurosis, phobias, etc., or else they erupt as physical symptoms, irrational moods, or slips of the tongue.

Both Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud concurred on this fundamental picture of the human psyche:

that each of us carries within us a whole other world, shadowy and fantastic, to be sure, but teemingly alive with inner figures, melodramas, grievances and fears, that are constantly exerting their influence over our every word and deed.

So while it feels that we have a clean conscious mind, a civilized conscious mind, that mind can be corrupted.

It is so important to have a President that brings out the best of ourselves and not the worst.

Deceit typing the scales wrongly

Guns vs. Butter

Let me take us back to the 1950’s and 1960’s and think about two Presidents, one from each Party. In the 50’s we had climbed out of the Great Depression, World War II, and was finishing out of the Korean War.  Eisenhower in the 50’s objected to the expansion and endless warfare of the military industrial complex even though he led the way into the Viet Nam War.  In the 60’s we were in a Cold War arms race and getting more involved in the Viet Nam War. Johnson in the 60’s preferred to continue New Deal programs and expand welfare.

In Eisenhower’s “Chance For Peace” speech in 1953, he referred to this very trade-off, giving specific examples:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. … Is there no other way the world may live?

The United States spends more on national defense than the next ten countries (China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil) combined. The United States has also historically devoted a larger share of its economy to defense than many of its key allies.

The United States needs a great military, a modern military. Technology is not unique to the United States and future wars and battles will be fought with modern technology.  Maybe technologies will allow us to spend less or maybe we just spend less on guns and more on butter. Defense spending is 15% of the Federal budget and is the third highest behind Social Security and Medicare.

If I said we spent $500 billion on defense would that be too much?  I ask because many of us express opinions about whether we should spend more or less on defense.  Actually in 2019 the United States spent $676 Billion on defense, with 40% of it spent on compensation and medical care.

In 2016, the Coalition for Fiscal and National Security, a group of former senior government officials led by Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a call to action on the national debt. The coalition wrote:

“Today, to be pro-defense must mean being pro-reform. America’s national security budget requires updating and rebalancing in order to sustain our strong military posture and global leadership role.”

Conservatives crave protection and want to spend more on guns and are willing to cut social programs like social security and health care to do so to help us slow down our accumulation of national debt.

Liberals want to spend more on butter and want to modernize the military in an effort to slow down the accumulation of national debt.

Conservatives want to remove regulations from businesses and liberals want to hold them accountable for the well being of the environment and their workers.

As I have been repeatedly saying, we need balance.  Together we can get this right.

2020 Elections

Are we failing as an electorate?  Have we let elections become too competitive?

The Founders of the United States warned against Parties because they thought politics was supposed to be rational and collaborative, not competitive.

Competitiveness has resulted in Americans voting for President and the US Congress based on Party and not person.  It started in the 1970s and has been significantly increasing to where voters overwhelmingly voted for their party’s nominee in the last general election.

Both Parties have wings whether they are liberal or conservative and both Parties have a centrists and moderates.  We need balance within the Parties to help balance our politics and our elections.  Balance works.  We need balance between work with recreation.  We need balanced brains so that we are somewhere in between full stop and full go.  We need balance between greed/profit and workers’ well being.  We need balance between overly weak regulations and protections of the environment and our safety.

Republican Party moderates include Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Nelson Rockefeller, Dwight Eisenhower.  Republican conservatives include Ronald Reagan, George Will, William Buckley, Donald Trump although George Will has said he will vote for Biden.

Democratic Party moderates include Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama, John Kennedy.  Democratic liberals include Franklin Roosevelt, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren.  Note that while the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is loud, it elects moderates.

I prefer to have moderates as Presidents but there are times when we have slipped too far left or too far right and gotten out of balance and we might need a President to be from one of the wings of the Parties for one term to pull us back to the middle.

Franklin Roosevelt is a case in point.  His New Deal policies and steady voice pulled America out of their mental depression caused by the Great Depression and led us to a victory in World War II.  Republicans fought those policies and wound up losing the Presidency for 20 years and got it back with a candidate that both Parties wanted as their candidate.  That was Eisenhower who was not only a war hero but moderate enough for both Parties.

Eisenhower warned us about the Military Industrial Complex which would put America in debt with too much military spending.  The tax rates were high during his terms of office and the economy was good.  Reagan reduced taxes and spent big on the Military Industrial Complex and while the economy was also good, the national debt climbed.

Republicans call Democrats Tax and Spend Democrats but Republicans spend just as much but use debt instead of taxes to pay the bills.  Medicare Part D, Desert Storm, Iraq war were used debt to finance.  I guess the term for that would be Debt and Spend Republicans.  Republicans tend not want to tax business and still keep pouring money into the Military Industrial Complex.  Democrats want to increase taxes on businesses and spend on health care.

Because we more and more vote for people based on Party lines we have become a divided nation.  In 2016 we had two candidates that were loathed.  It doesn’t help America to be more united by electing a President that the other Party loathes.  Neither Party should offer up one that is loathed by the other Party.

Candidates and Presidents should take to heart what Bill Clinton has said and practiced.  He believed that “politics and governing are one long conversation where you have to explain to people what went wrong and why, explain your plan to fix it, persuade them your idea is better than the other side’s.”  “Today, politics tends to be heavy on assertion, light on explanation, and bereft of persuasion.”

We are here on Earth with free will, right?

Our free will allows us to make choices in life.  It can be developed during life by making conscious choices, hopefully, based on a set of values we make for ourselves describing who we are or want to be.  If we act reflectively on those values instead of winging it based on our old habits and tendencies we evolve.

Free Will, to say it another way, is our ability to control our behavior by stopping and thinking about that behavior first. If we stop and think about what we are going to say and do before we say or do it, we are using our free will and not our habits.  But, we also have to examine the roots and validity of our perspectives, thoughts, opinions, prejudges, so that when we use free will to change unwanted habits and instincts, we actually evolve and not stagnate.

Why are you voting Republican or Democrat?  Why are you again Party voting?

Parties change.  Sometimes we change.  The original Party of Lincoln wanted to give blacks full citizenship.  But after Southern Democrats moved in droves from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party after Johnson was able to pass the Civil Rights Act, it’s hard to say that the Republican Party, based on membership, is still the Party of Lincoln.

I would say that what is needed most right now is for Americans to again be rowing the boat in the same direction.  That is powerful.

Kamala Harris, VP

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kamala Devi Harris (born October 20, 1964) is an American politician and former prosecutor serving as the junior United States Senator from California since 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Harris is the Democratic presumptive vice presidential nominee for the 2020 election, running alongside Joe Biden. She is the first African American and South Asian American woman to be chosen as the running mate of a major party’s presidential candidate.

Born in Oakland, California, Harris is a graduate of Howard University and University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Harris began her career in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office before being recruited to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and later the City Attorney of San Francisco’s office. In 2003, she was elected the 27th District Attorney of San Francisco, serving until 2011.

Harris was narrowly elected Attorney General of California in 2010, and was re-elected in 2014. Harris faced criticism from reformers for tough-on-crime policies she pursued while she was California’s attorney general. In November 2016, she defeated Loretta Sanchez in the 2016 Senate election to succeed outgoing Senator Barbara Boxer, becoming California’s third female senator, the second African American woman and the first South Asian American to serve in the United States Senate. As a senator, she has supported healthcare reform, federal descheduling of cannabis, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the DREAM Act, a ban on assault weapons, and progressive tax reform. She gained a national profile after her pointed questioning of Trump administration officials during Senate hearings, including U.S. Attorneys General Jeff Sessions and William Barr, and Associate Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Harris ran for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2020 election, briefly becoming a frontrunner before ending her campaign on December 3, 2019, citing a lack of funds to continue.[7] She was announced as Biden’s running mate on August 11, 2020, becoming the first vice presidential nominee of both African and Indian descent, as well as the second female nominee after Geraldine Ferraro.

Trump/Barr Administration Deploy Feds To Cities

Americans are protesting because they are tired of the number of black Americans that are being killed by police. Smart phones are capturing these deaths and we are watching these videos on TV.  The blatant murder of George Floyd by four police officers was the straw that broke the camel’s back and was the catalyst behind months of protests.

While I am tired of the prolonged protests that go on into the night for months, I realize history tells us that nothing changes quickly without prolonged protest.  We know that school children can be shot by assault rifles time and again but nothing changes–assault rifles are still too easy to get by too many people.

The majority of Americans believe we need police.  Mark Twain has been quoted saying aren’t you glad we don’t get all the government we pay for?  The big debate is about paying only for the police that we want and use the remaining money to fund other services. 

Police forces throughout America have officers that should not be officers.  Police Chiefs know this; Mayors know this.  Unions fight it and fellow officers condone it.  Officers have qualified immunity so they can’t be criminally charged for their actions.  For me, not all police officers deserve to have qualified immunity.  Officers that get complaints that have been independently reviewed and found legitimate, should not have qualified immunity.  Maybe they will quit as a result.

But, while government is re-imagining how to deploy police, the Trump/Barr administration has been deploying federal law enforcement officers in Portland without approval of local or Oregon state authorities, without clearly identifying who they are, and without a clear law enforcement mandate.  Trump has sent federal troops/agents into our cities uncoordinated with local police.  If police need help, a governor can bring in the National Guard.  It doesn’t need Trump/Barr to send in the feds.  What does that remind us of?

The Schutzstaffel was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in Nazi Germany, and later throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II. It began with a small guard unit known as the Saal-Schutz (“Hall Security”) made up of NSDAP volunteers to provide security for party meetings in Munich.

The Gestapo and the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) organizations were tasked with the detection of actual or potential enemies of the Nazi state, the neutralization of any opposition, policing the German people for their commitment to Nazi ideology, and providing domestic and foreign intelligence.

You know who would be outraged over uninvited military coming into his city to independently act against protesters?  New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, that’s who!  The Blue Blood guy.

Pro-Life vs Pro-Choice

A Choice Perspective–

Obviously humans can make physical bodies as can all animals but some will argue that there may be a lack of humility to say that humans also create ever lasting souls that temporarily inhabit those bodies.

For those that believe the everlasting soul or spirit is not created from the human egg and seed but instead by the Divine, might they be allowed to believe that the soul is not created upon conception?

To them the termination of a pregnancy might not be terminating a soul or spirit because they do not have the power to terminate something that is everlasting or something that has yet to inhabit a fetus.

Accepting that someone has the right to believe that is what freedom of religion is about. At the turn of the 21st Century there were  28,000,000 people in the United States that claim to be non-adherents of any religious tradition. A 2015 Gallop Pole showed that half of Americans consider themselves “pro-choice” on abortion, surpassing the 44% who identify as “pro-life.”

The U.S. prison population is more than 2.4 million. – That means more than one out of every 100 American adults is behind bars. Is there a responsibility for society to do more than insist that every fetus is born?

If a woman does not want to give birth to a fetus for health and financial reasons and is legally forced to give birth, who should pay for the cost of growing that child?

If the mother can’t provide a safe and nourishing environment or have the means to feed and clothe the child, should she be legally forced to put the baby up for adoption?

Most of the time people have an image in their heads about a circumstance, like the circumstance of a pregnant woman. Here is an image you might not have thought about.  In 1950, the world population was about 2.5 billion.  In 2000, it was about 6 billion.  The United Nations estimates the world population will eventually level out at 11 billion people in 2150.  Large numbers of the world’s population continue to live in severe poverty.  In 1997 1.3 billion people had incomes below $1 per day.  These people, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa, East and Southeast Asia, on the Indian subcontinent, and in Haiti, lived very near the margin of subsistence.  Some of the most extreme poverty is found on the outskirts of rapidly growing cities in developing countries.  In many parts of the world, people have moved to urban areas in search of work.  Often, they must live in slums, in makeshift dwellings without sanitation or running water.  Is the intensity of your right-to-life position consistent regardless of the circumstance of the pregnant woman?

Most of us  want to make our own choices regardless of how difficult they are.  People who would be good parents would have a very difficult time deciding to abort a fetus.  It would be a traumatic decision that could haunt them for life.  They do not need others to add to that trauma.

The longer a woman is pregnant the less likely she is to abort.  Something drastically has to change for a woman who has carried a fetus into late term for her to decide to abort the fetus.  That decision is probably excruciatingly painful and personal.

Pro-Choice supports access to safe and legal abortion if for no other reason than to prevent women from seeking back ally abortions.

Women are different than men.  They can give birth.  They need access to effective birth control and emergency contraception, and reproductive health services.  Why would a man want to take that away from them?

Men, if you were the one that carried the fetus, would that change your opinion about life vs choice?

Are you still a single issue voter?

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