Why I Love America


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Today saw the inauguration of Barak Obama as a second term President of the United States, a peaceful re-affirmation of his leadership of this country for the next four years. I was happy to see him sworn in, but I would have been happy to have seen Mitt Romney sworn in as well.

Why?

Because every time there in an inauguration I am reminded of how lucky we are in this country to have peaceful elections and transitions of power without bloodshed (literally, if not figuratively).

The swearing in ceremony and all of the celebration that goes along with it, is not celebrating any one person, but, to me, is a celebration of the greatness of our system of government as flawed as it might be at times.

That’s all I have to say tonight. I am so very grateful to be American. I am grateful to be able to vote. I am grateful to be able to express my opinion in public, on Facebook or in this blog.

Mostly I am grateful that I don’t have to fear for my life or the lives of my loved ones with every change in power in my country.

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Ann Coulter and the Republican Problem


I can hardly stand to listen to Ann Coulter. She is a hot mess.

Needless to say after Tuesday night she was despondent and took to the airwaves lamenting Mitt Romney‘s loss and discussing what she views as the problem that the Republican party has stating,

Mitt Romney was the president we needed right now, and I think it is so sad that we are going to be deprived of his brain power, of his skills in turning companies around, turning the Olympics around, his idea and his kindness for being able to push very conservative ideas on a country that no longer is interested in conservative ideas. It is interested in handouts.

It may be true that Mitt Romney was the president we needed, but she is wrong about why he is not packing up for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Most Americans are not looking for a handout; they are being given an impossible choice: economics or civil rights?

Those of us who consider ourselves political moderates often feel the same way. We have  great deal of concern over the economy, fiscal responsibility in government and the size of the national debt. We also tend to be socially liberal: in favor of marriage equality, reproductive rights, and if not fully pro-choice at least understanding that the argument has gray areas including issues of rape, and incest.

So on Tuesday anyone who feels this way had to decide where their priorities lie, and much to the chagrin of conservatives everywhere, a majority decided that civil rights had to trump economic concerns. Therein lies the Republican Party’s problem. When they aligned themselves with social ultra-conservatives they left huge groups of voters either without a reason to vote for them or with serious concerns about what a vote for them would mean. Women voters, Hispanic voters, LGBT voters, and the voters who care about them. In fact, the only demographic in which Mitt Romney soundly beat Barak Obama was white male voters, and that is only a small part of the population that makes up this nation.

I have found my Facebook wall to be a disheartening place all week. People who I care about and respect calling Obama voters stupid and idiotic. The level of anger was breathtaking and says one thing loud and clear to me: Everyone is happy to live in a democracy when they are in the majority, but boy, if you find yourself in the minority, democracy doesn’t seem quite so rosy anymore.

And whether you agree or disagree, conservative social values are quickly becoming a minority viewpoint. I’m not making a commentary on whether those values are correct or incorrect; I’ve made my own personal feelings pretty clear in other blog posts, and I’m not in any way saying that anyone needs to compromise their values in their own lives. However, facts are facts, and as long as the social conservatives are speaking more loudly for the Republican party than the fiscal conservatives, Republicans are going to have a hard time getting elected to the office of President.

It’s human nature to want people to see the world as you do, and when we feel passionately about a subject it’s often hard to understand how anyone could feel any differently. Sometimes, though, we have to take a step back and see the big picture…to see the forest, not just the trees…to understand that there is the world we might wish we lived in and the world that we actually do live in. To ignore that is not clinging to your ideals, it is sticking your head in the sand.

If there is anything all of us can agree on it is that politics in this nation is a mess. Everything that gets done or doesn’t get done is about what it will mean in the next election cycle, and that brings me to the second part of the Republican problem. Their spokespeople say they want bipartisanship and our government to work together for compromise.

To which I say:

When President Obama and Governor Chris Christie were walking through the rubble of New Jersey a few days before the election, how did you feel? What did you think bout Christie’s respectfulness and appreciation of Obama coming to see first-hand the destruction of the storm? The photo ops?

Because what I heard was a lot of complaining about how he shouldn’t have done that and shame on him for not keeping his distance.

I thought it was great. Not because I think it made Obama look good (which it did), but because Governor Christie did the right thing, in spite of the flack I’m sure he know he was going to get because of it. It was about getting a job done despite major ideological differences. It was about Obama prioritizing a trip to help citizens who were likely voting for him anyway, and leaving other potentially more beneficial campaign stops to do what was right.

That is what is needed at ALL levels of government right now. Men and women who are willing to hurt themselves or help the other party to get done what needs to get done, because let’s face it, we won’t be able to go on like this for much longer.

Billionaires Behaving Badly


In honor of the fact that it is Election day and The Passionate Moderate desperately wants everyone to get out and vote, I am going to make this a very short little rant about two of my least favorite celebrities.

Donald Trump

&

Mark Cuban

Especially in the case of The Donald, I hate giving him any more attention than he already demands but in this case I feel the need to call him on the carpet. In case you missed it, Trump offered to donate $5 million to the charity of President Obama’s choice if President Obama shows his college application paying special attention to where he said he was born. Never-mind the fact that he has already released his birth certificate, and never-mind that the point is moot because he’s been the president for the last 4 years. Donald Trump has the audacity to demand that the POTUS jumps through hoops for him to prove he is eligible to hold the office of the presidency.

What an embarrassment to our nation. Truly, don’t you think other countries look at something like this and lose respect for us and for the office of the presidency?

Then, in an equally ridiculous dare, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Maverick‘s basketball team, offered $1 million to the charity of Trump’s choosing if  Donald will shave his trademark hair off. It’s all very immature and petty.

But was bothers me the most, is the cavalier way these men can dangle millions of dollars over our heads like it’s pocket change. Hey boys, if you have a few million to spare how about donating to the Red Cross? I hear they’ve got more work than usual on their hands. Or have you been to busy strutting around to notice?

Jackasses.

(Well, more likely, Elephants.)

Did You Miss Me?


Clearly, I overestimated my ability to work, go to graduate school and write for fun. Since I last wrote about my brush with youth, I found myself hunkered down under a pile of books, research articles and study guides desperately trying to meet my course deadlines while juggling other responsibilities. Happily I can report that I passed all of my courses with flying colors and am now on break for a couple of weeks so I can spend some time writing for fun.

Things I wish I could have written about while studying:

1.) Rep. Todd Akin‘s ridiculous comment about “legitimate rape” which was only outdone by the comment of Pensylvania‘s Senate Candidate Tom Smith, who said that having his daughter come to him with an unplanned pregnancy is similar to what a father is faced with if his daughter is raped and becomes pregnant by that rape.

I may have to come back to that one.

2.) Clint Eastwood losing his mind.

Nothing to write at this point. You either watched in horror or missed it, but I highly recommend going to YouTube to see Jon Stewart‘s take on it.

3.) My town’s new high school football stadium. My friends from the Northeast would not recognize me come Friday nights in the fall because I turn into the looniest Texas Football looney there is. Our town has a brand spanking new stadium that cost $60 million dollars. I understand there is a lot of eye rolling and even some outrage about that, but I need a chance to set the record straight!

4.) Governor Romney’s secretly taped conversation in which he talks about non-tax paying Americans and why he’ll never reach them.

So much to say here, and I will definitely get to it, but here is my big question to all of my Republican friends out there (Which I am going to link back to my town’s high school football team):

In my rather large town there is only 1 high school which means that there is a huge number of kids funneling into the system as they get older. The most competitive activity they can get into and the one that is most important to most of the town is football, so you know that the varsity football team has the best of the best players, and even the second string is pretty damn good.

So why is it, in a nation as large as ours which is 50% (ish) politically conservative, can we not whittle down the field to one candidate who is the best and brightest the Republican Party has to offer? I’m not like a lot of my Democratic friends who like nothing more than to bash the Republican Party…..I tend to the liberal, but I understand fiscal conservatism and certainly support it in some circumstances. I have to believe that there are Republicans out there who can be as charismatic and well spoken as President Obama. Seriously, at this point the message of the party can’t even get out because of all of the mis-steps and out and out errors put forth by the candidates. (Not to mention the fact that all of the stuff that Republicans used to be good at, like foreign policy and budget…is overshadowed by morality issues.) Republicans, please do a better job. I beg you. And I think it’s too late this go around.

5.) Chik-Fil-A has (possibly…it’s not super clear) reversed it’s stance on the funding of groups that work against gay marriage initiatives. Love to hear this if it’s true, and the reports are good enough for my daughter who is happy that she can now eat there without feeling guilty.

6.) Is something I never thought I’d write about and will be the topic of my next blog…


Yup, Justin Bieber’s mom. Stay tuned!

Attempting to Be Fair and Balanced


 

I promised a “con” view of Obamacare, and this is the most well thought out one I’ve found. Definitely gives us something to think about.

 

The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Barak Obama…


…..has got to be Rick Santorum. He of the sweater vests, and earnest religiosity.

Seriously, all you moderate Republicans out there, are you just about losing your minds yet? I feel for you, I really do. Without naming names, I have some moderate Republicans in my life, and by moderate I mean very fiscally conservative, but more liberal on social issues. And I know that they cringe every time they watch what passes for the Republican field this election season.

We all know that the Republican nominee is going to be Mitt Romney; the math just doesn’t work out for anyone else. Yet, on and on the primary season goes complete with name calling and mud slinging, not to mention Rick Santorum’s epic doomsday commercial, Obamaville (For the best effect, watch in full screen mode). A video so over the top, that my daughter, who is a budding journalist, couldn’t believe it was for real. She thought it must be some type of parody or satire. But no, this is Rick Santorum’s vision of a second Obama term, a world in which he (Obama) is apparently the only black person left, and all the white folk are on the brink of utter destruction.

With every passing day, and every sound byte the Republican candidates become less and less likable and/or credible. Meanwhile, I have to imagine that the Democrats are sitting behind closed doors and cackling with glee. Can’t you just see them with a gag reel of Santorum/Gingrich/Romney comments, clapping each other on the back and saying they couldn’t have done a better job of discrediting their opponents if they tried?

If the Republican party wants my advice, and I admit no one has knocked on my door just yet, please, for the love of all that’s good and holy, stop bickering and fear mongering, stop the religious crusade, and start talking about your fiscal and foreign policy plans. You know, the things Republicans are supposed to be good at.