NOTE TO DEMOCRATS: How To Win Back The White House In 2020 (and Congress in 2018)

No explanation necessary as to what this place is. Photo courtesy of nbcwashington.com

 

THE STRATEGIES I WOULD TAKE IF I WERE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, THE SENATE, OR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

I have recently realized that I haven’t written about politics on this blog for a while.

After observing what our President-who-will-continue-to-not-be-named and his people have been up to these past eight months, with his approval ratings remaining at the lowest of any commander-in-chief,

It surprises me that no one from the Democrats has talked about strategies regarding how to take Capitol Hill and the White House back in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

I don’t pretend to be an absolute expert in politics, and I’m aware that it would be a bit more complicated, but here is what I would do if I were running for the Senate or the House in next year’s midterm elections;

Or more importantly, the presidency in three years, where the way things are going, it would mark a GOLDEN opportunity to tell President You-Know-Who two words that he has told many people on that reality show of his…

“YOU’RE FIRED!”

 

ONE OF THE ULTIMATE GOALS: To see a lot less of this…

 

1. HIT THE MIDWESTERN/RUST BELT STATES AND HIT THEM HARD.

The reason why our President-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is sitting in the Oval Office?

The states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Having been blue (going for Democrats) for over thirty years, it was their voters switching to You-Know-Who and turning their states red that was the difference last November.

Which I will always say was completely Hillary Clinton’s fault, as she completely took those states for granted; former President Barack Obama (I’m quite proud to mention his name!) said that while he took twelve trips to Michigan to campaign for the former First Lady and Secretary of State, she didn’t make one appearance.

This is why I’ve said that You-Know-Who did not win the 2016 election; Hillary lost it.

I would not make that same mistake!

To say that I would have a constant presence in those three states – plus Ohio, as that’s always been and will always be a crucial swing state – would be an understatement as I would have campaign office in as many cities as possible and hold rallies and town hall meetings in cities such as Pittsburgh, Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Columbus so often that people would get tired of me.

I would also sent folks such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to those states, particularly hitting the smaller towns (as would I).

Those folks need to know that the Democrats are for them, which they didn’t feel in 2016.

Which is why they went for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

 

2. BORROW A CAMPAIGN PHRASE THAT WORKED FOR A ICONIC CONSERVATIVE IN 1980

I remember Ronald Reagan, during his campaign for President in 1980 amongst crises like inflation, the gas shortage, and those 44 hostages being held in Iran, saying something like this during a commercial,

“Are you better off now than you were four years ago (or two years ago if I was running for Congress)?”

“Do you have a secure job with benefits?”

Do you have solid healthcare?”

“If so, then feel free to vote for my worthy candidate. “

“If not…”
(I’ll let you figure out the rest)

With tensions between the U.S. and North Korea at its highest in 65 years, You-Know-Who and Kim Jong Un threatening to nuke each other’s countries,

And with the homeless issue now at a crisis, tensions between the different races and ethnic groups at an all-time low, and employment not greatly improving among other things,

It’s safe to say that for the working class folks in particular who supported our President-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in droves,

Things are not any better for them personally then they were when he took the Oath of Office last January.

Which is why I would state the phrase “Are you better off now than…” every chance I got; every campaign rally, every town hall meeting, every debate.

 

3. VOW TO CUT TAXES FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS – AND PROVIDE JOBS

This is for all those who tend to vote Republican because they hate being taxed.

Cutting taxes for people and families making (just throwing numbers out there; it’s obviously something that would have to be worked out) between $50,000 – $200,000 would rebuild a middle class that has been all but eliminated.

It would do wonders for the economy as such folks would have more money to spend.

And yes, taxes on those who can easily afford it – millionaires and billionaires – would be raised, with a list on what those funds would be spent on: Infrastructure, education, programs to “teach a man how to fish” rather than “give a man a fish”, to coin a Chinese saying.

As for providing jobs, which was a huge issue in the last campaign…

I haven’t seen any news saying that loads of people have gained employment since You-Know-Who took office.

I would hammer home that unlike him, I would fulfill that promise by providing programs to re-educate the working class, so rather than depending on steel mills and coal mines to provide them a living, they could do other things.

Plus I would fight to keep auto factories – and other factories – from moving overseas.

 

 

The skyline of Detroit, Michigan, a KEY state which the Democrats MUST take back. Photo courtesy of detroitunderground.com

 

Yes, these strategies seem simple.

But I still say that any Democrat with aspirations for the White House or Capitol Hill,

Who uses these tactics,

Would have a good chance of winning in 2018 or 2020.

 

An anti You-Know-Who protest after last November’s elections…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Are We Now Fighting A Second Civil War? (Albeit A Cold War)

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This says it all – I only wish all Americans felt like this. Photo courtesy of rawstory.com

 

A FEW BELATED THOUGHTS FROM ME CONCERNING DONALD TRUMP’S ELECTION AND THIS COUNTRY’S DEEP DIVISIONS

 

The last time these United States of America was divided like this, 600,000 men and boys died.

Killed in a brutal fashion over deeply divided ideologies and how they saw this country.

Now that it has been two weeks since Donald Trump shocked this planet by being elected leader of the free world  – I won’t go into how Trump not so much won the election as Hillary Clinton lost it; that has already been well documented – it has amazed me that the racial, political, and ideological divisions that America has been experiencing for the past few years has perhaps grown to the point of no return.

The many anti-Trump protests (I saw one in downtown Los Angeles in which a HUGE sea of folks made themselves heard) and the 400 racist, sexist, homophobic and anti-Muslim incidents in the week following Election Day certainly illustrate this.

So much so that although…

* Despite recent actions, the realistic likelihood of California seceding from the union ala “Calexit” is highly unlikely,

* Despite the various riots and skirmishes, there are no all out battles with armies carrying Confederate and American flags with Robert E. Lee and U.S. Grant-like generals leading them, and…

* There are no plans for the red states to separate from the blue states and form two separate countries, as what happened in 1947 when after independence from Great Britain, Muslims separated from Hindu-dominated India and formed Pakistan, with the two countries subsequently experiencing wars and significant tensions ever since,

I’m going to go ahead and call this period we are going through a name…

 

The Cold Civil War.

 

Much like the Cold War in the late 1940s through the 1980s, even though the United States and the then-Soviet Union never fired any nuclear missiles, the tension was so pronounced between those two superpowers that there were wars (namely in Korea and Vietnam) fought over those democracy/communist ideological differences and the fact that those communists’ ultimate goal was to make the world like them.

Not to mention the fact that the world came pretty close to ending during that 1962 missile crisis in Cuba.

 

 

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This is what I’m fervently praying for in light of this recent election as far as people of color, women, LGBTQs, and all other non-Christians as well as Muslims. Photo courtesy of slate.com

 

There’s no doubt in my mind and heart –  We are now in a Second Civil War.

It is a Cold War, at least for now.

But it is a Civil War.

I don’t how else I can describe it.

And sadly, I honestly don’t know how it can be stopped.

As long as there are millions of people – liberals, conservatives, “Alt-Rights”, or what have you –  who feel the way they do on both sides and who are so unwilling to compromise,

Then this Second (Cold) Civil War will be ongoing.

And the way things are, if in about fifty years (or even twenty) the United States does what India and Pakistan did nearly 70 years before and dissolves, with liberals forming one country and conservatives – those who voted for Trump in particular – forming another,

Like it tried to do in the 1860s and very nearly succeeded,

It would not surprise me at all.

 

One last thought…

About five years ago I wrote on the website Hubpages.com an article called “If The Far Right Ruled America”.

The article offered my view of what this country would be like under far right Republican rule.

For those who are interested in reading it, here’s the link to that piece:  http://www.hubpages.com/politics/If-The-Far-Right-Ruled-America

In light of what has happened this month, I believe we are about to find out what this U S of A will be like now that the far right has taken power.

Or officially will on January 20th.

 

 

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An anti-Trump protest in downtown Los Angeles, which I saw when passing through there. Photo courtesy of nbcnews.com

Why I’m NOT Voting For Trump: My Thoughts Regarding This Presidential Election

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Image courtesy of hamodia.com

 

HOW I SEE THIS COUNTRY UNDER TRUMP AND CONSERVATIVE RULE, AND WHY I’M AFRAID OF THAT.

I’ll get right to the point:

I am NOT a big fan of Hillary Clinton.

Not because of any dishonesty she may have exuded over Benghazi or because of some emails – to be honest, I really don’t care about how she may have lied about those; who cares about a bunch of emails?

I’m not a big fan of Clinton because I see her as a retread, someone who has been around a long time and whose time has passed.

I wanted someone new and relatively unknown to take over for Barack Obama, which is one reason why I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary as the fact that Obama wasn’t really known outside of Chicago and Hawaii was one factor in his becoming President and staying in the White House for eight years.

Though I still see Clinton as a retread, since this election season began I always said that if Clinton’s the nominee, I’d vote for her because an America under Donald Trump – or any Republican for that matter – scares me personally.

Here’s why…

First, the slogan “Make America Great Again” in the hearts of conservatives should more accurately say: “Make America White, Male, and Straight Again” , and any conservative who denies this is lying to themselves.

The instances of Trump bad mouthing, insulting, and demeaning anyone and everyone not white and male has been too well documented throughout this campaign.

Which of course is one reason why I’m not voting for him.

However, besides the obvious issues regarding Trump being a less than scrupulous businessman, having filed for bankruptcy more than once and failing to pay those who built his hotels and other buildings; you should see how so many people in his hometown New York City talk about him, they loathe him so much,

I’ve never voted for any conservative in the 31 years that I’ve been eligible to vote, for these reasons:

  1. Conservatives don’t care about people of color, as I fear that the clock would be turned back on African-Americans, Latinos, and anyone else not white. The crusade against Civil Rights will be turned up several notches, and I see the open warfare against black males in particular in the form of racial profiling and shootings by the police quadrupled under a Trump administration. Not to mention a much bigger open hunt against Latinos and Muslims in the form of that “build a wall” pledge; that should go without saying. In other words, conservatives feel that anyone not white is somehow lesser and should be put “in their place”, which is precisely what will be attempted if Trump is elected. In fact, I wouldn’t rule out an attempt to return to the “Jim Crow” segregation laws that were a big part of the American landscape for decades.
  2. Conservatives don’t care about the poor or those who have fallen on hard times. If they did, they would leave social programs such as welfare and social security alone rather than try to defund them, as I’m sure Trump will try to do as President. The rampant homeless problem would explode out of control due to cuts to programs that help the downtrodden.
  3. Conservatives don’t care about the true equality of women.  I don’t have to remind anyone about all the nasty things Trump has said regarding the female gender, but besides that, it has been evident to me that conservatives feel that like gays, blacks, Latinos and other people of color, women are somehow lesser and should be kept “in their place”. Not to mention not having the right to decide what to do with their own body.
  4. Conservatives don’t care about the environment.  Their convictions about climate change being a hoax has been well documented and is certainly a prime example of this. Under conservative rule, American will see the green movement die and the environment devastated beyond repair through deregulation, all for the sake of profits.
  5. Conservatives don’t care about education for those who aren’t affluent.  Public school budgets have been more or less destroyed by budget cuts under Republican administrations, and a Trump presidency would see a return to that.

As someone who’s an African-American male and not wealthy by any means, any government under conservative control would hurt me.

That’s why I’ve always taken major elections like this one personally.

Whenever I read comments to online articles regarding racial or gender issues, the nasty things that folks have said, even to the point of using the “N” word,  particularly scares me as those are the people who are conservative and have supported Trump.

A Trump presidency would be a tragedy for anyone not white, male, rich, conservative, or straight.

Since I’m black, liberal and definitely not rich, I would be devastated.

Which is why though I would rather see someone else in the White House, someone new and fresh like Obama was, I’ve already voted for Clinton.

And I’m fervently hoping and praying that our first woman president will be giving her first speech as President-Elect on the evening of November 8th.

 

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Image courtesy of robingorsline.com

 

THE CURRENT RACIAL CRISIS IN AMERICA: Some Random Thoughts

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I love this picture, for obvious reasons. Photo courtesy of abc3340.com

 

Musings, based what has been happening in this country, on what seems to be a nadir on relations between races, cultures, and ethnic groups in this country with no end in sight.

 

Like seemingly every other black male of African descent in these United States, I have been the target of negativity solely based on my skin color.

I have been called the “N” word, particularly as a young boy in Riverside, CA, where the then-rural community I lived in (Woodcrest) featured numerous Caucasian folks of European descent from places like Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

I have been denied jobs solely because of my skin color, notably when I was in my early 20s and a lady, upon laying her eyes upon me and giving a less-than enthusiastic reaction after such an enjoyable conversation on the phone, told me that the job I was seeking had already been filled.

I have felt ostracized in various places throughout my adult years.

And I have been the target of racial profiling as I was stopped by the police in Santa Monica, CA, where I lived for over twenty years, on at least four occasions, being handcuffed during one of them in front of my house due to me fitting the description of a stalker;  if I didn’t show them my ID, I probably would have spent a few years in jail for something I did not do.

So when I heard about the latest killings of unarmed black men by police in Minnesota and Louisiana and what was apparently a retaliatory strike in Dallas with the lives of those five cops being snuffed out by Micah Xavier Johnson during a Black Lives Matter protest, my thoughts were varied…

 

 

Something that will hopefully induce hope: Cat Stevens’s (now Yusuf Islam’s) classic song “Peace Train”

 

 

First:  None of this was anything new as African-American men have been unnecessarily killed by authority figures for as long as African-Americans have existed in America.

Second:  Those cops who murdered Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in the Minneapolis area, like pretty much every other cop who has committed similar acts before, will not be charged with any crime and will essentially get off free and clear.

Third:  It seems like race relations have plummeted and are at their lowest point in decades during Barack Obama’s presidency, as statements and efforts from conservative whites, in politics and elsewhere, to discredit our 43rd Commander-In-Chief have abounded.

Not to mention the rise in racist incidents at colleges like the universities of Oklahoma and Missouri.

Fourth:   As I have written in an article on Hubpages.com, despite the efforts and labors of icons like Martin Luther King and the advances that the Civil Rights Movement produced, there remains a certain amount of self-separation between races and ethnic groups due to cultural differences, a natural desire for people to interact based on what they have in common, and a notion that differences often breed discomfort, which breeds distrust.

I remember writing that no matter how many “I Have A Dream” speeches are made or how many times “We Shall Overcome” is sung, you can’t force a racist – in any color – to not be one.

You can’t force someone who thinks folks of different races are inferior, created to be subservient and who need to be “in their place”, to feel differently.

And you can’t force someone – black, white, Latino, or Asian – who vehemently frowns over racially mixed couples to suddenly embrace them.

 

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Why can’t we all get along like these two sweet little girls? Photo courtesy of blackyouthproject.com

 

Fifth:   This is something that has been in my mind for a while.

Based on all the current protest marches and confrontations between (mostly) white police and (mostly black and Latino) demonstrators, not to mention the riots that have resulted after incidents like this in the past,

I cannot help wondering if we are on the brink of a second Civil War.

A war not between the states, but a war between the races.

Judging from the comments I have read in articles regarding race that I have read online and the various statements from conservative whites (and African-Americans like Stacey Dash), one may well think such as I can’t help feeling that all it would take is one riot,

One skirmish between blacks and police that gets out of control,

One instance of some conservative white person who may be among some anti-Black Lives Matter counter demonstrators, who says the wrong thing and is attacked and (probably) killed by folks who are fed up, triggering an all-out brawl,

And you may well have the first battle of a race war, a Fort Sumter in a sense.

I also can’t help wondering if a hundred years from now, the dreams of racists will come true and America will be separated on the basis of color due to an impasse, the leaders conceding that the longtime racial animosities will never be solved and – like a divorcing couple or the Hindus and Muslims during the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 (much to Mahatma Gandhi’s dismay) – the best solution being a formation of separate countries.

Of course it’s my sincere hope that this scenario will never come to pass, but…

Sometimes it’s a little difficult to be completely hopeful based on these recent and ongoing racial incidents and unrest.

However, I do know this:

Killing police officers will not do anything to stop racial profiling and murder of blacks by law enforcement.

Neither will rioting as if that were the case, attacks on people of color would have ended nearly 100 years ago.

I’m honestly not sure what the answer is – besides love and loving one another according to what Jesus Christ commands – but…

As Marvin Gaye once sang, war is NOT it.

I suppose that’s all I have to say about all of this, at least for now.

 

Group of diverse teenagers standing together and smiling for the camera. Horizontal shot.

Group of diverse teenagers standing together and smiling for the camera. Horizontal shot. Love this shot, too! Photo courtesy of ojaialano.wordpress.com

 

 

 

The REAL Reason Why You Should Never Vote For Those Advocating Cuts For The Poor

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THIS SHOULD SERVE AS A MESSAGE TO THOSE CONSERVATIVES WHO SCREAM TO THE POOR, “PULL YOURSELVES UP BY YOUR OWN BOOTSTRAPS!”, WHEN SUCH POOR HAVE NEITHER BOOTS NOR STRAPS

 

Ever since the days of Ronald Reagan the conservatives in this country, particularly the far right – which has ruled the Republican Party for roughly eight decades, dating back to Hebert Hoover and the Great Depression – have called for and enacted policies that have served to do nothing but devastate the poor and less fortunate.

These devastations have come in the form of tax breaks for the super rich and cuts in safety net programs, which has increased joblessness and homelessness.

I have personally noticed this in the town I grew up in, Santa Monica, CA, in the 1980s when not too long after Reagan was inaugurated President in 1981, Palisades Park, an iconic stretch of grass which overlooks the Pacific Ocean and offers spectacular views of Malibu to the north and the Palos Verdes Peninsula to the south on a clear day, became inundated with the displaced as Palisades Park became a tent and sleeping bag city.

I also noticed increasing numbers of panhandlers hanging around various blocks.

Far right conservatives will tell you that those who are in that situation are themselves at fault for making bad decisions are not taking personal responsibility.

Or if they became poor and/or homeless through no fault of their own – such as being laid off from their jobs – those “Far Rights” would usually say that they are not working hard enough to rectify their situation; why should those who have the means subsidize those who don’t through tax raises, which in the Far Rights’ eyes serve as nothing but a free, welfare handout which encourages laziness?

I’ll tell you why…

BECAUSE THE BIBLE, WHICH THESE FAR RIGHTS HOLD SO DEAR AND REFER TO EVERY CHANCE THEY GET, SAYS SO.

Check out what Jesus said to the rich man who asked him what should he do to have eternal life:

“Go and sell everything you have, and give the money to the poor; and you shall have treasure in Heaven; and then come, follow me…It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to ever the Kingdom of God.”   – Matthew 19:21, 24

And in Acts, here’s how the Apostles set up the first church after Jesus’ ascension:

“All who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.”  – Acts 2:44-45

Sounds a lot more like Karl Marx’ philosophies than anything that John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh would advocate.

In fact, when you go by these quotes from Matthew and the Acts, you can make a convincing argument that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was the world’s first Socialist.

While studying the Bible, which I have doing quite a bit of lately, I came upon some quotes from the Book of Proverbs that overwhelmingly seals the argument of how to treat the poor and what God thinks of those with the means who don’t – or directly hurt them due to budget cuts or changes in policy, i.e., Far Right Republicans…

“Anyone who oppresses the poor is insulting God who made them. To help the poor is to honor God.”   – Proverbs 14:31

“Mocking the poor (which I’ve seen a lot of people do online and elsewhere in the form of taunts such as “Get a Job!” and other things)  is mocking God who made them. He will punish those who rejoice at other’s misfortunes”  – Proverbs 17:5

“When you help the poor you are lending to the Lord – and he pays wonderful interest on your loan!”  – Proverbs 19:17

“He who shuts his ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in his own time of need.”  – Proverbs 21:13

“Giving preferred treatment to rich people (i.e., tax cuts, tax loopholes and tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, or the “1%”) is a clear case of selling one’s soul for a piece of land.”  – Proverbs 28:21

Sure, there are plenty of folks who would state another quote from Jesus that appears in the books of Matthew, Mark and John, “The poor you will always have with you…”   which in their interpretation means that the government is wasting their time helping the less fortunate because poverty will never be completely eradicated, and those less fortunate are better off helping themselves because that’s what America is all about – independence and self-reliance.

To those Far Rights who point that out, I say, “Does the government have to contribute to the plight of the poor, make things harder by taking away their safety nets, as you seem to want to do?”

In my book, those who advocate budget cuts and policy changes that will hurt the less fortunate can be described in two words:

Heartless.

and Mean.

Nowadays I often wonder what will Far Rights – those in and out of government – people say when they die and God tells them that they have to answer for their beliefs and practices concerning all of this, God saying,

“You were in favor of cuts and policies that did nothing but make my children suffer. What do you have to say for yourself?”

One thing is for certain at the end of the day…

Anyone who takes a position of being in favor of policies that help the poor, the homeless, and otherwise less fortunate should never, EVER vote for anyone in the Republican Party.

The reason? Because based on what too many of them have said and advocated, it is crystal clear that they do not care about those who are “down on their luck”; at least to the point where they are willing to leave programs that help such – Medicare, Social Security, Welfare – alone.

Those “Hoovervilles” that were all over the landscape in the 1930s are certainly evidence of that, as well as the many domestic cuts that Reagan enacted in the 80s; the increase in homeless during that time was a direct effect of that.

I’ve spoken enough about this subject, as I don’t want to get myself riled up over the thoughts of these policy makers in the now-Republican-majority Congress that want to screw the less fortunate over by the changes they want to make.

God Bless…

 

 

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If those right wingers in Congress get their way, we’ll see a lot more of this