Tag Archives: politics

Charles Darwin For Congress! If I Had Lived In That District He Would Have Had My Vote.

Charles Darwin is alive and well in the state of Georgia.

That is, if by “alive and well” you mean “in theory.”

Rep. Paul Broun decried evolution, the Big Bang theory and other scientific discoveries as “lies straight from the pit of hell!” Granted, his audience was a church group. But in the age of Twitter and YouTube you need to be a little more careful about what you say in public.

Republican Representative Paul Broun was running unopposed in the 10th Congressional District in Georgia. But I knew nothing of the man since I don’t live in his district. (And the fact that I’m not very political, which is a nice way of saying I’m too self-absorbed to follow politics.)

I educated myself on the man this morning. Here is what I learned:

He is a nut.

I was going to list his crazy voting record, his fourth marriage, his feeling that Obama is a Marxist dictator. You can read about it all here. Suffice it to say, he’s crazy.

And he was re-elected. And is representing Americans in our government.

It’s a sad, sad day, indeed.

While watching the election returns (TV muted) I saw the results flash on the screen, Paul Broun 57% and Charles Darwin 0%. I thought, poor Charles Darwin. Named after a famous British naturalist and he still can’t get a vote. And then I thought, how horrible that his lack of popularity has to be broadcast so blatantly. But then I saw Obama gaining ground on Romney and I was distracted again.

I forgot about it until this morning.

An article on an online news magazine got my attention. Jim Leebens-Mack, a professor at the University of Georgia, started a Facebook campaign “Darwin for Congress” as a response to Broun’s ridiculous church-evolution rant. As a result, Charles Darwin received almost 4,000 votes. Not enough to beat Broun’s 209,000 (scary) votes, but an admirable showing, all the same. Especially since Darwin would have to be a party to Congress from the grave. Or the great beyond. (I embrace all theories of the life in the hereafter.)

Even more amusing are the other write-in candidates that peppered the ballots: Big Bird, Anyone but Broun, Anyone else, and Bill Nye The Science Guy.

Apparently, these voters were just as upset but unaware of Charles Darwin’s bid for election.

Too bad.

Maybe Charles would have had a chance.

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Filed under Because I'm Curious, I'm Baffled (And Because I Love The Word Baffled), In the News, Politics

Surf’s Up, Dudes. But Jane’s Hangin’ Loose On the Sand.

I’ve ridden the wave. The Liking-George W. Bush-Not-Liking George W. Bush wave.

 The Matt Lauer special that ran last night has me questioning the ride. Each crest and trough was determined by what I was gleaning from the news media. Whether is was Fox News singing his praises or SNL parodies or CNN quick to point out moments that seemed like weaknesses in the poor man.

These little soundbites didn’t paint an accurate picture. And logically, I knew that then and I know that now. Yet I still formed an opinion. Good. Bad. Indifferent. It was all I could go on.

Last night, George W. Bush spoke with the candor one can only use after a president leaves office. After the fact. In hindsight. And it wasn’t all pretty. He acknowledged his failures and weaknesses. He spoke of what he would do differently and what he wouldn’t change.

 

 “You may make mistakes, but you are not a failure until you start blaming someone else.”–Anonymous.

I was impressed with his candor.  His honest reactions to criticism and blame. And he never blamed anyone else for his choices. He never used Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld as scapegoats. He owned each and every action he made as President of the United States.

He spoke with such sincerity of the two sides to every decision he made. With some of his toughest decisions, he laid out the facts he had and the options he considered. Then he explained why he chose option A or option B.

What surprised me the most was my own reaction after the interview had ended.  Logic tells us that humans are fallible. That presidents make mistakes. But we expect our world leaders to be perfect. We want our presidents to be perfect. Listening to President Bush last night I began putting myself in his shoes and wondering what in the world I would do, given the same mind-boggling situations.  I decided that I would have made some of the same mistakes and that maybe some of his mistakes weren’t mistakes after all.

Walk a mile in a man’s shoes. I remind myself of this all the time. Who are we to criticize someone when we don’t have all the facts? Isn’t it impossible to form an opinion when the media chooses what we hear? Who am I to deem President Bush a success or a failure?

President Obama deserves the latitude and consideration that I didn’t afford our last president. Deciding whether I agree or disagree with his policy and choices will be difficult without hearing from him exactly how he came to his decisions. But it’s my responsibility to sift through the, albeit biased, information and come to a compassionate conclusion. I need to remind myself that hindsight is 20/20 and to be careful in my judgements.

Instead of riding the media wave, I need to step back onto the sand and take in the bigger picture.

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Filed under Lessons Learned, Observations, Politics

Tsk, Tsk Mr. President. Are You For Us Or Against Us?

We place high hopes in our presidents each time they take office. And me, Jane, Pollyanna of Blog World (ok, in the real world, too) was so energized and excited during the 2008 election year. It was wonderful to see people passionate about their candidates. This was not a campaign for the apathetic. People voted in droves. I loved the message of hope and renewal each presidential candidate promised, but that Barak Obama truly embodied.

President Obama is a great orator. And I believe all Americans hope and pray that he is the great leader his speeches imply he can be.

But then, he delivers a speech like this one at the University of Wisconsin.

President Obama spoke to a crowd at the University of Wisconsin on September 28th. First he said this,

“I hoped and expected that we could get beyond some of the old political divides between Democrats and Republicans, blue states and red states, that had prevented us from making progress for so long because although we are proud to be Democrats, we are prouder to be Americans.”

And then he said this,

“The other side would have you believe this election is a referendum on me or a referendum on the economy, a referendum on anything except them.  But make no mistake.  This election is a choice.  And the choice could not be clearer.”

And then this,

“If the other side does win, they will spend the next two years fighting for the very same policies that led to this recession in the first place.”

Whether we believe these comments is irrelevant.

What is relevant is that our President (and I mean our in every sense of the word) is pitting two sides of our great country against one another. To me, this is akin to a parent of two children, choosing the side of one child and egging that particular child on in the fight. Supporting him. Cheering for him.

Argue with me all you will but our President, my President should save this rhetoric for his own campaign speech. Now that he is in his elected office, his job should be to unite the country, not divide it.

Oh sure, his job right now is to drum up support for his party so that the nasty, evil step-child doesn’t snag the bigger bedroom.

There are other people who might be better suited for a divisive speech such as this. A leader in the democratic party who is not currently representing all constituents in their region.

There is a better place for this type of speech. A rally of Democrats, for example. Not a public forum of mixed company.

And there are ways to do this without causing a great emotional divide. 

First,  mention the names of the Democratic candidates you support in your speech. By name. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett. Or U.S. Senate Democrat, Russ Feingold. Tell America (or in this case, Wisconsin) to vote for them. Because you agree with their policy. Because you know they will work for all of us to better America.  Because they stand for what you think is right for America. Logically point out their value to the American people with examples.

But to pit both sides squarely against each other. To throw an emotional blanket over the issues at hand. To call the sides “us” and “them.” To lump all people with a D as the perfect child and all people with an R next to their name as the other, awful, evil step-child?

Suicide, my dear Mr. President. Suicide.

When I heard him calling it an us vs. them fight? (Insert loud scratching sound of the needle to the 33rpm record here.) I wanted to say, “Whaaaaaaaa?”

Didn’t you just say you are proud to be a Democrat but you are prouder to be an American? If you’re not about uniting this great country of ours, what are you about?

Every American out there that voted Republican in the 2008 election, that has been admiring your progress, enjoying the hope and change you have promised our dear country, will be offended. They will hear your rallying cry of us vs. them and they will side with the group they feel comfortable  and familiar with. They may even passionately show up to the polls in droves, hoping to defeat the golden child running against their underdog.

I have been a voting member of society for over 25 years now. Some of my candidates have won. Some have lost. But always. Always. I have supported the president that did get elected to office.

I don’t speak badly of my president.

Ever.

I may disagree. I may be embarrassed by his actions. I may hold my breath each time he opens his mouth to speak. But I stand firmly behind his leadership because he now represents ALL of America.

All of Americans.

All of us.

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Filed under Politics, Soapbox

It’s A Little Too Little, It’s A Little Too Late

“It’s a little too little
It’s a little too late
I’m a little too hurt
And there’s nothin’ left that I’ve gotta say
You can cry to me baby
But there’s only so much I can take
Ah, it’s a little too little
It’s a little too late” – Little Too Late written by Alex Call, performed by Pat Benatar
 

I saw a little bit of President Obama’s assurances to the US public that BP would get their comeuppance. 

NBC news

I wasn’t impressed. 

I wanted to be. 

But Mr. President? 

“It’s a little too little. It’s a little too late” 

Oh, sure. You get tough now. A week after BP CEO Tony Hayward started circulating his commercial apologizing to those affected by the disaster and pledging to clean up its mess. 

Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

 I’m so disappointed. 

In BP. In our President. In politics and big business. 

This is a horrible mess that affects so many lives and livelihoods and precious resources and beautiful wildlife. This apology and tough love is coming a little too late. 

And it smacks of politics as usual. 

(Don’t forget about our commencement speech challenge on Friday. To learn more click here!  And I discovered the prize on subWow’s blog Absence of Alternatives. Cool shirt and a great cause! See you Friday!)

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Filed under Soapbox

Before You Speak Walk A Mile In Their Shoes

It annoys me that I have to get my relatively unbiased news from BBC World News. (No offense to my friends across the pond.)  I live in the United States. I should be able turn on the radio or television here and get the facts. But NPR is very liberal. And Talk Radio is sooooo conservative. Fox News is not “fair and balanced.” It’s loud (all they do is shout!) and conservative. And CNN is continually being criticized for liberal editorializing. Just give me the facts, Ma’am.

About a year ago, I saw a political analyst on television critiquing our presidents over the last 50 years. (I’m sorry. For the life of me I can’t remember his name to give him full credit.) Good president or bad president, he seemed to give both democrats and republicans a fair shake. But he said something that really struck me about George W. Bush. He said that it’s going to be another 50 years before we can accurately evaluate his presidency. That, unfortunately, his entire presidency was colored by 9/11. Just eight months in office and he had to completely switch gears and deal with the most horrific act of terrorism on U.S. soil. From that moment on, every other goal President Bush had in mind was re-organized, re-categorized, re-prioritized. Having to make such a dramatic shift, having to put so much energy into keeping our country safe, surely other important issues suffered. It is difficult to criticize someone if we haven’t walked in their shoes.

And just this morning, I heard on the BBC, President Obama will be making a decision about our troops in Afghanistan. And none, I repeat NONE, of the four options involved taking troops out. ALL four options include bringing more troops in. And closing Guantanamo? Ain’t gonna happen any time soon. Nobody, and I mean nobody in the entire world, wants ‘em. So to all of you disillusioned Obama supporters out there – it’s been less than a year. The man has a big job to do. We can’t criticize a man unless we’ve walked in his shoes.

I’m annoyed with how difficult it is to sort through the rhetoric to find undistorted fact. It is so easy to point fingers and blame. But maybe that’s our job to do. Maybe it is supposed to be difficult. In all of my sifting and searching and questioning I’ve come away with a much greater respect for what our world leaders are faced with and how truly difficult their job is to do. Think of the mother that is told that one of her four children is dying of leukemia and how that will instantly change how she parents EACH of her four children. Something so tragic that will color her entire job as mother. Or think of how any of us would react or do things differently if suddenly we were forced to lead in the rebuilding of a school or community that was touched with tragedy. Think Columbine. Each of our parenting and leadership styles are different. But we all have a common goal. And it would be pretty difficult for one of your neighbors to criticize any of your decisions not having walked in your shoes and seen what you’ve seen.

(While writing this post I found a very interesting site that seems pretty fact oriented about the Obama Presidency — PolitiFact.com — http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/)

(P.S. Don’t forget about our get together tomorrow Friday, November 13th. Collect the craziest search terms for your blog and we’ll all share them tomorrow!  You can write them in the comment section or blog about it – but don’t forget to link/comment here so we can all see them! See you tomorrow! I can’t wait!)

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Filed under Soapbox

Making an Ass of U and Me

(Warning: The first (of probably many) posts that will most likely alienate me from 70% of my readers…because I always seem to be in the minority.)

I have very loosely kept an ear out about the Obama-Addressing-the-Children speech. When it was first criticized my impressions were that parents didn’t want their children to be exposed to political rhetoric, “brain washed” to agree with the latest health care bill. Ok. I get it. Personally, I wouldn’t want my young, impressionable children exposed to that either. As a former teacher, we were not allowed to express our political views in the classroom. It’s not the place. Even if it IS the President of the United States. Now if both sides are represented, such as political debate, that’s a different story, a learning opportunity. Which is why, I thought, parents were upset.

Then, as the event neared, copies of the speech spread through the internet. It became obvious that the speech was an innocuous attempt to encourage children to value education, value and believe in themselves.  Then I came across this article reminding us that George H. W. Bush (the first George Bush) did the same thing: spoke to students and the Democrats cried, “FOUL!” Reading further I find that this is something every president since Ronald Reagan has done.  Former First Lady Barbara Bush (the second one) said on television she supported Obama’s “speech” to the school age children.

As soon as I was armed with this new information I came to the conclusion that this whole stunt was political grandstanding. The bru ha ha seemed silly. Just another attempt of the Republican party to put a wrench in our president’s progress.

 Ridiculous. Overblown. Insignificant.

Then I started reading the blogs out there. And comments on Facebook. And the twittering. And more than one – ok, just about every one – brought up race. “Those redneck parents are just racist.” (Speaking of the parents in Texas) “Get over it. Our president is black. Live with it.” I’m not talking about the news media suggesting that race was an issue. I’m saying that individuals out there on their blogs, twitters and status bars are still, STILL focusing on the race of our president. And my plea?  Get. Over. It. Please.

How can race be an issue with the majority of Americans, as many would like us to believe, if we elected a 1/2 black ( remember- ’cause he’s also part German and Irish – his mother’s side- just like me!)  President of the United States? Yes, 95% of black voters voted for Barack Obama. But, turnout of black Americans was still only 13%, up 2% from previous voting years. That means white America played a significant role in getting Obama elected.

And that’s a good thing!

That tells me that race IS NOT the issue some would like us to believe. If you’ve read any of my previous posts you know my husband’s nickname for me is Pollyanna. I may be way off base with this. Maybe I am painting too rosy a picture of my fellow Americans. It seems to me that a vocal minority is creating an issue that doesn’t exist. Because whenever I heard people being interviewed about not wanting their children to hear Obama speak, not one brought up the color of his skin. And I don’t think I’m immune to hearing the truth about discrimination based on skin color. I sit here, raising two children with much darker skin than mine. We’ve heard our fair share of racist comments. But they are so far and few between.

We create our own reality. If we choose to live in judgement of others we are choosing to surround ourselves with criticism and blame. I’m not saying that there aren’t people out there that do not support our president based on the color of his skin. I just don’t believe that the good parents of our country, making a decision to protect their children from what they thought was going to be a speech centered on a political agenda, should be attacked. The full text of the speech wasn’t released until a day or two before. They didn’t have all of the facts – just some politically inspired tongue lashing in the media and school parking lots.

It should not be assumed that their decision was based purely on race.

Because we all know what happens when we assume.

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Filed under parenting, People, Soapbox