Tag Archives: Democrats

America… Voting Isn’t Enough

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“There is a lot of mediocrity being celebrated, and a lot of wonderful stuff being ignored or discouraged.” – Sean Penn

Yep, I said it.

Let me first say that I am happy that people are voting, I really am, but something has really been annoying about this whole election from two different angles.

For one, people who say:

“I am not voting, because we have TWO bad candidates”

And for people saying:

“I voted! Voting is the most important thing I can do”

No, no, and a really big NO to the second one.

I have tried to restrain from sharing my frustrations about both of these sentiments, because for some reason I feel like I am being a negative Nancy. But the more I marinated on these statements, the more I felt convinced of my perspective.

If you have a problem with both candidates, you know that you are part of the problem, if you’re only engaged at this point in the process.

I am not saying that Bernie Sanders would be doing any better than Hillary, but for liberals who don’t particularly want Hilary, if you weren’t out there pushing for him and his movement, he was a pretty good alternative. Otherwise, shut up and Vote for Her.

I really wanted Kasich to win the Republican nomination, but he didn’t. And to be honest, I step back and see Trump as the candidate of my former (sort of) party, and it is part of my fault. I did not volunteer in the primary election and take the campaign of Donald Trump seriously, and for that I am sorry.

If you don’t like Hilary or Trump, what have you personally done besides take your ass out to the polls. Like seriously. Did you canvass? Did you make calls? Have you ever in your life?

People need to hear this. People need to keep saying this till they understand.

There are ways to change the candidates in our political process, but you have to be engaged to do so. There are too many of us that are convinced that are voice doesn’t matter, but the Tea Party HAS PROVED THIS TO BE WRONG. The Tea Party, in the past, has completely changed the outcome of statewide elections and now has a Presidential candidate with the help of evangelical conservatives. Their insistence on coming together and making their voice heard…. it worked ya’ll. It didn’t happen overnight either. This has been brewing since 2009.

They have literally taken over the Republican Party and people still have the audacity to say things can’t change. Oh, they can. We have ALL seen it. Now, this doesn’t mean they have enough power to win the election, but it was enough to get a candidate to win the nomination based on some sound fiscal policies, but completely combined with racist, bigoted and archaic policies as well.

On to point two, voting is just simply not the most important thing you can do. It’s just not. Not even a little bit. And I feel weird writing about this, because I want people to vote. But, I want you to see the importance of it, but it should be paired with something else besides simply casting a vote.

What else are you doing in your community?

What other conversations are you having with people outside of your comfort zone?

What are you doing beyond yourself?

Anything? I literally mean anything!?!

Now, I have written about how people in Austin love animals, especially their dogs, almost to a fault. The community will come out and save animals when we have a disaster such as a flood. It drives some people insane, and rightfully so, because it’s like, “What about people?!?” But I can respect people with different passions if they are committed and are contributing to it.  Similarly to focusing on the arts. There is a place for it. You want to advocate for those things you do that.

Our future, our kids, are the most important thing to me, therefore, I invest my time, money and effort towards them. I volunteer with different organizations to make sure I am not only giving to the kiddos, but also to kiddos that look like me, whether it’s young girls/women of all shapes, colors and sizes or children of color of different ethnicities. I am not here to say everyone should do the same, but whatever “community” you care about, you need to give some time to it. I see many of my counterparts investing in the justice system. I see my counterparts investing in the health and wellness of others. I also see counterparts investing in themselves professionally for a time to make a better place for themselves in order to do better and give back.

We are all at different places in our life, but if you are doing nothing more than waking up and breathing for your own good…You are not doing enough.

The bible says “Judge not, lest you be judged”, so I am not here to be judge-y…. But if all the time and effort you have is at the polls and vote, and you don’t work 2 or 3 different jobs, struggling to survive than you are really missing the mark. And it’s sad. This is one of reasons people don’t have a global view of the world or people continue to live with biases.

Do you think the world will just shape itself and doesn’t need any help?

The reality is if you are doing nothing you might be a little more scared about Hilary or Trump more than others. Yes, I know I sound condescending, but it’s the truth.

What you don’t do, is just as important as what you do.

Making money is important. Being happy is important.

But just voting is not enough.

M/P

 

Media, Do Your Damn Job

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“Education is our only political safety. ” – Horace Mann

The first presidential debate happened.

I went to bed uninspired, and woke up with a burning fire in my chest.

I sort of want to rail on Trump and say how I was actually impressed with Hillary, but I am going to say that I am really mad at the media. (I can’t help it ya’ll.) They really do have the capacity shape and change minds and do it in a non-partisan way, but they refuse to just spit facts.

I think that even if people think the media tends to lean to the LEFT (with the exception of Fox News and a few others) the reality is at the end of the day, ALL media just simply cares about making its viewers happy.

When the debate was over, there was no commentator on the channel that I was watching that made any clear references to the errors and blatant misquotes by Donald Trump.

Tom Brokaw at least pointed out that both candidates avoided giving solid answers during the race discussion, but we didn’t expect much from an old white man and woman about race. I did however expect someone to be like, did you hear some of the errors he said in his talking points?  Instead, we got a lot of “he kept his base tonight” or “Trump is held to a different standard”. Well, no shit Sherlock, because you all are holding him to a different standard too and refusing to be more critical in the job that you all have been foolishly given.

The reality is the general public, who probably didn’t pay attention in history class or go to law school, may not understand how big of a deal that not only was Trump promoting a practice, “Stop and Frisk”, that is discriminatory, but it really is not THE REASON violence and crime went down in New York City.

Not to mention throughout the debate there were clear instances in which he did not articulate an identified plan and seemed ill informed about topics. Not an exaggeration or a bias. I know that I have had more in-depth conversations about trade than his one broken record about our “jobs cannot leave”. We get it. That resonates with everyone, especially those of us, who know people who lost jobs in America for their industry moving overseas.

I was sitting at home in complete shock. But more frustrated at how the media really didn’t harp on his clear errors as soon as the debate was over. Maybe people would’ve just turned their TV off and that’s okay. It’s better than not critically analyzing the debate in it’s entirety.

Although there might have been a ton of people tuning in for the debate, everyone is still competing for first place for viewership, and to me it shows.There needs to be real discussion that Hillary was informed about topics, and her being informed makes her seem like a politician which apparently is what everyone wants to avoid.This is why Trump won the Republican primary, because he didn’t sound like a politician. But SOMEONE needs to remind people that there comes a point where you need to be polished, have solid points and share them. Being President is not about sound bites and one liners that sound good.

I am glad that Hillary made it clear that the world and their leaders are watching and I am sure that they are laughing at us. There are people who don’t understand how important our relationships around the world matter with TRADE and the ECONOMY. All they really care about is stopping “those people” from coming into our county.

Although, I am not a fan of Hillary, I really wish I had the opportunity to choose between Kasich or Rubio (maybe even Cruz, I know scary) AND Hillary, their knowledge and experience hurt them on the campaign trail and it is scary that it could factor into whether Hillary will win or not. Because sounding like a politician, i.e. having real answers, is apparently a bad thing.

People, other than those on Hillary’s campaign, need to remind people that if they want to “make this country great again”, you actually have to know how to run the country. But who is holding Trump’s feet to the fire besides Hillary supporters?

Everyone who has a pen and pad, laptop or a voice, needs to speak up.

If you cannot prepare for a Presidential debate, which he clearly didn’t, then how are you going to prepare for meetings for our country?

I hate meetings with a passion, but when I am in charge of one, I prepare for the meeting, draft my talking points, and I can speak off the hip just as good, if not better than most, but that’s not the point.

Trump is a second-rate boyfriend getting first-rate attention. He ain’t even trying to win our heart, and he just knows we’re not paying attention to see his errors and you are going to love him anyway even when you shouldn’t.

And for those who actually care and like political debate, I am happy Hillary had to run against Bernie Sanders. She is more polished than when she debated Bernie, but it is unfortunate that we will not have more policy discussions in this presidential race unless we get a moderator with some major kahunas. Hillary will not be able to fully express her vision and it be questioned intelligently as any good politician should have to do.

I am sure many forget that Mitt Romney kind of won the first debate in 2012, because Barack Obama phoned in that day and sounded like a law school professor with his long-winded answers. Many Americans felt that he was acting like he had the next election in the bag. It was debate two that America was reminded of who Obama was. Mitt forced him to come with his A game after a good showing in the first debate. Hillary’s policy and standings will not be challenged and that worries me too. Her responses on race weren’t good enough to me, but they sounded better than Trump trying to promote Stop and Frisk.

Media, it is our responsibility to do our job. Ask questions, educate, commentate and question some more. The WSJ published an excellent article about what debate used to be, check it out here. It kind of makes me think about the role of media used to play.

I don’t want a biased view. I want a job well done.

Do your damn job. (oh, and everybody Vote)

M/P

Being Unapologetic: How America Transferred this Privilege from the Presidency to the Candidacy

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“Never apologize, mister, it’s a sign of weakness.”  ― John Wayne

So have you heard about this thing… its called being “unapologetic” … it’s a new trend, a new hashtag… In 2015, it was considered the Top Beauty Trend… “ be Unapologetically you” …*rolls eyes*  and it’s definitely bled into 2016, and everyone is basically saying “be unapologetically [enter any word]”. So yeah, it’s definitely a thing. But it’s not really a new trend.

Despite the recent focus on it, being “unapologetically” anything is probably one of the hardest things to do. There are a few things that I do unapologetically, and because too much of anything can always turn into a negative.

One area I consider myself unapologetic is that I wear my heart on my sleeve and my passion on my chest.  At times, people find my openness disingenuous, and there always comes a time when someone thinks I am lying or not being “real” , that I’m just saying it when in fact they learn, oh, no, she’s serious, that’s how I really feel, and I am telling the truth. That’s just who I am.

And that’s what I want to talk about today.

When you’re living unapologetically sometimes people really never believe you. But if you prove that you are unapologetic, and your yes is yes, and your no is no, people are mesmerized. Because most people can’t do it.

We all know that as humans we are imperfect, so of course, we will make a mistakes at some point, and go off our path, and we will be remorseful and apologize. Although I think I am unapologetically open almost 100% of the time that would probably be a lie, realistically, I am probably at 95%, but I am okay with that.

But as I mentioned earlier, too much of one thing, brings about a negative. With this trend of being unapologetic all the time, another camp has also arisen, and in mainstream media, not to mention with the help of social media, the policing of ideals has happened. So you have:

  1. People who apologize for every action that isn’t socially acceptable
  2. People who stand behind their actions no matter what

I mean let’s take a step back and give a shout out to Ted Cruz who unapologetically got up on the GOP Convention stage, and did not endorse Trump. People thought he would cave in. And most people, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, enjoyed every moment of it. And to be honest, I don’t think Trump would’ve had it any other way. Do you think Trump would’ve endorsed anyone else if he hadn’t won the nomination?

No one likes the person always apologizing and caving into external pressure. (Ironic though that Hillary doesn’t cave in and people don’t like that, but I will give you one guess why it’s different for her – read more here) . It’s pretty clear, we don’t want an apologizer for President, but do we want that quality in our candidates? Before they take on the hardest job in America?

In this new state of Politics, we see Trump accept the Republican nomination being one of the most unapologetic persons running for a political office and people are eating it up.

In a Vox.com article called, “How Donald Trump Won” , the writers outline perfectly how the blunders of the Republican establishment have really contributed to the success of Donald Trump. If you look at their first reason in which Trump was able to open the door to his current candidacy it is the emergence of being unafraid to say whatever, no matter the facts.

Donald Trump was unapologetically focused on the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate. Despite all of the subsequent evidence and information that was revealed because of the stink Trump made, he never retreated, asked or forgiveness, nothing… he was truly unapologetic. Fast-forward 5 years and very few things have changed. Trump has to go back on very little such as not using anyone’s money for his campaign as he enters into the main election. But that’s understandable, right? Why use your own money, when you could use someone else’s? Makes sense to me. Except he’s been talking about self-funding as a main pillar in his speeches and that he can’t be controlled. But he unapologetically created a reason for the change:

“I mean, do I want to sell a couple of buildings and self-fund? I don’t know that I want to do that necessarily, but I really won’t be asking for money for myself, I’ll be asking money for the party.” (source) 

And his supporters are okay with it according to an Associated Press poll that determined “Trump Supporters Unfazed by Reversal on Self-Funding”.

Hook. Line. and Sinker.

Although, it would be unfair if I left out that it was released, that he did in fact self-fund his primary campaign. (source).  But he still changed his tune, but he didn’t miss a beat. For the most part, he continues to not ask for forgiveness even when he has contradicted himself, and he continues to speak from his mind and heart.

The reality is that we like this idea of being unapologetic. Even though it’s an unattainable goal, we, the American people, are slightly in awe, good or bad, with the notion of saying what you mean, feel, and sticking to it even if it’s changing along the way. I say this because I am learning that I know a lot more people who are Trump supporters than I would’ve ever imagined, and I am truly amazed by the people who are truly glossing over his racist and xenophobic remarks, as if you can separate those comments from who he is.

He’s unapologetic.

If you think about it, The President of the United States, in the past, didn’t publicly apologize. It’s almost Presidential to be unapologetic, it’s not a new trend for that role. However, our generation has seen President Obama and President George W. Bush admit mistakes and missteps sooner than any Presidents ever before, because our technology and media holds them to a different fire or standard, and I think that America has pushed back unconsciously to the point we yearn for candidates and politicians who are unapologetic.

With the exception of LBJ, who had to grapple with the realities of the Vietnam War in such a public way, Presidents have never been apologetic for their actions, they have to make tough decisions during terms of office, and none of us really envy that responsibility. Being seen as weak is not really a good look.

So I guess I wrote this piece to add a little blame across the country, Heavy is the head who wears the crown. But it continues to get heavier and heavier. I recently enjoyed discussing the secrecy that JFK was able to operate under with the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Bay of Pigs. That could never happen in this day and age it feels like.

To further this point, I personally never liked how everyone was mad at President Bush for continuing to read a book to kids when Hurricane Katrina hit just as much as people are STILL debating the true events surrounding the death of Osama Bin Laden. The insinuation that Obama waited until election time to allow it to happen is so interesting to me. I hope he never apologizes or admits to that, because we will have someone much worse than Trump making his way to the nomination.

Being unapologetic for tough decisions is something that Presidents must do when faced with a difficult decision for the nation, but it’s not cool to be unapologetic just for the heck of it. Presidential candidates should be concerned as they run for office about the hearts and minds of the entire country. There will come a day for each President to make a tough decision and be unapologetic, but it’s a privilege that shouldn’t be given too soon or to the wrong person.

Who Am I? (The Monday Fits)

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“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

― George R.R. Martin


The first Republican debate of this primary election season is over and it was quite a treat. There have been plenty of commentary, memes, and discussion about it. When I asked Republicans how they felt about the debate, it was a mix between a fair analyses of the issues discussed mixed with the blanket, “It was awesome”. Really? Is that all you have to say about a debate that was filled with positive and negatives, is that it was awesome? When I asked some Democrats about the debate, almost every single one just called it awful and exclaimed there were no real issues discussed. And this is when I became utterly annoyed.

Everything about the debate wasn’t awful. But after I took a step back, and thought about it, if it was a democratic primary debate, the responses would probably be the same, but reversed.  A few democrats would really decipher through what was discussed, others would just love everything about the damn debate, and  then the opposition, Republicans, would hate just about everything that was discussed. This is our reality, and it’s kind of disgusting. We are so easily tied to a group of people, and I just sit back and wonder, do people take a minute to sit back and think about who they really are? What really matters?

So I am kind of a joiner, my friends would like to call me. I have joined a number of organizations in my life time, including a sorority. And if you don’t know about sororities they often have a reputation and most of the women (or fraternity for men) kind of fit into a certain category.  And once you’re in one of those, you realize that reputation is true for some women and others are striving oh so hard to be that stereotypical reputation for whatever reason,  I do not know. But overall, I have come to learn to that we, yes, us humans, like to be a part of things that define us even if you are in the “anti” crowd. Well, if you’re like me, I don’t let my affiliations define me. It hasn’t always been that way, I by no means am perfect, but if you are like me,  and don’t let your affiliations define you, you’re probably as frustrated with America as am I. I don’t consider myself a rebel by any means, but I definitely do not like to be put into a box. But I do think the majority of us like to be put into a box, it makes us feel all good and shiny on the inside. And let’s just assume shiny is a positive word.

Republicans and Democrats alike live in their little box loving their narrow minded view. I heard one candidate from the debate say a little something out of the box, but I don’t think people were really listening. Governor Kasich, maybe I am a little naïve to the marriage question. (That’s right, it’s no longer called same-sex marriage, it’s just called marriage in the U.S.A., but I won’t digress on that topic). He said that although he believes in traditional marriage, he recently attended a friends marriage (who happened to marry the same-sex), and he was there to celebrated love. While there were democrats who doubted his sincerity, what Kasich said isn’t accepted by the majority of either party. Most Republicans (minus us forward thinking Millennials) feel that you cannot believe in traditional marriage and support same-sex marriage in any capacity.  Most democrats (minus conservative thinking liberals) that you can support same-sex marriage unless you believe people are born that way. Now let me tell you something, that’s just stupid. What’s the point of having America with different religions, viewpoints, and perspectives, if people can’t, I don’t know, have them.  What’s crazier than a Black Female Republican, is a Republican Muslim. I don’t know about you, but I stopped in the middle of the debate, and asked “Is there separation of church and state anymore or did I miss the memo?, well you couldn’t tell in the debate. It might as well have been moderated by Franklin Graham.

Now, I might not sound like a conservative, but I am kind of angry, out of all of these issues that we are talking about, people are failing to discuss that major problem in this country. Poverty. Wealth Inequality, and if you want to invoke the name of Jesus Christ, look in the bible and how many times does he mention, or the bible in general squarely, boldly, and PLAINLY talk about helping the poor, it beats every other f*cking political topic every single time. Like EVERY SINGLE time. I am not one to be hypocritical, some one’s beliefs does matter to me. But if we are going to invoke all of this spiritual-ness into our political world, then we should be more honest about it and not simply serving our purpose cause that’s what this is all really about. People are saying and doing what they want to for whatever purpose they need.

Since I am talking about fitting into roles, I want to talk about Ben Carson comments about race and the reason he is in error. I am glad that he looks past the color of people’s skin, I do too. But to imply that for some reason black people are the reason we are in a race war, is an  insult to every black person in America. Sound extreme?

Since the recent deaths of young black men and women, oh wait, let me rephrase, unarmed black men and women, I had to evaluate whether I was out of touch, I am sure I have friends who are surprised by recent  interest in race, but there is ONE reality, when I walk out this house and am on the street, no one cares if I am a conservative, that I never have broken a law or committed a crime, never smoked or done any illicit drugs in my life, never had an abortion, or anything that else that makes me “good”. But I know if I go in the wrong part of a small town or make the wrong move, the only thing that will matter is my blackness. Luckily, Ben Carson doesn’t have to experience this fear as a neurosurgeon that most black Americans do. He wants to be so accepted by the Republican Party so bad that he is willing to sacrifice the reality for so many people who actually look and talk just like him. To some extent he was right, we don’t NEED to get into a race war, cause we are already in one. But it’s okay Ben Carson is being used by the people who support this ideology. Ben Carson finished 3rd in the debate based on some polling.  Many Republicans commentators are surprised, because he didn’t get to say much. Well, that’s because he’s portraying a false reality in America that people want to cling so hard to. The reality is people are  STILL being  judged by the color of the skin, and Ben Carson can deny this reality to try to win an election. Instead of doing the right thing.

I might not know exactly who I am, because I am still growing, still changing, and trying to be better each and every day. But I know who I am not, who I will never be. I don’t have time to make decisions to fit into a mold, even if I make mistakes, it will be my mistake and I will own it every time, and it will be worth it. So let me rephrase that, I know exactly who I am, and I hope it only it gets better. More real, and less fake and hypocritical, day by day.

There is More Good, Than Bad or Ugly

Words will always retain their power – Alan Moore

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I rather enjoy writing social commentary week in and week out, and most of the time, the commentary always seems to sound negative even if the point of the message is steer the general population into positive action. So I was overjoyed to realize that this post was actually going to be a positive critique of today’s society. Plus, the way the news and media portray life at times can also make you feel like we are in dire straights. Well, if you’re a democrat who did not cross the aisle and vote Republican in the 2014 midterms, you may feel that America has reached dire straights after the Republicans took over Congress. After the Iowa Senate seat was taken by a Republican, I saw so many, “The apocalypse is happening” type posts than I have ever… oh, wait, since 2008, when the Republicans had the same reaction, maybe even a little stronger, when the Democrats took the White House, and both chambers of Congress; I mean the results then propelled the Tea Party Movement to what is today because people were so upset. In reality, this is what happens. But it’s not a bad thing. I promise, I have not gone mad.

Just like David Letterman jokingly said in his monologue the day before the election, “Take a look at this: gas under $3 a gallon – under $3 a gallon. Unemployment under 6%, whoever thought? Stock market breaking records every day. No wonder the guy is so unpopular.” (source).  He was referring to Obama. And he’s right, gas and unemployment is down, and the stocks are doing the best since the recession. But if you ask a different American the lack of action involving immigration or the gaffes in foreign policy, they may have a very different opinion of the President. Why all of this makes me so happy, is that even though we disagree so fiercely these days, the election reminded me, to thank God for this freedom. Even though some family members absolutely hated each other on election night, the opportunity to go to the election booth and vote, and then be mad at the results the next day is a freedom we should still cherish.

Because even in 2014, there are so many people who still do not “have the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint”; or “the ability to express their thoughts and feelings is just simply not allowed”.

If we look at Eriterea, which is on the horn of Africa, it is the number #1 country on both the Committee to Protect Journalists and Journalist without Borders list as the most censored country. (source). There are no foreign reporters allowed and the media is entirely controlled by the government. And if you’re wondering who is second, it is North Korea, followed by Syria and Iran. In Eriterea, there is no other voice than the government, and this government commits human rights abuses continually, and maybe the abuses are only alleged (which many would find hard to believe), there is no one else to report anything different. Think about that for second, and not just on the national level. Think of injustices in our country that have been uncovered by journalists who were just doing their job or chasing a story. Or imagining always having one side of the story, because that is the only story you get and questioning the story can mean death. Currently, this would mean everyone at FOX would be wiped out! But there are times MSNBC, The Daily Show, Bill Maher have critiqued the White House, they would be banished too.

In Uganda, over the last year, they have passed a few repressive laws in their country that conflict with freedoms. They passed the Public Order Management Act (POMA) which places restrictions on freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. And do you want to know why they did that? It was “in response to increasing challenges from anti-corruption campaigns led by civil society groups and from popular senior party leaders with presidential ambitions”. (Source).

Can you imagine the lack of anti-corruption after the bailout in 2008? Even though the CEOs did not get convicted, and the fines may seem like a drop in the bucket in our country, at least the banks, like JPMorgan Chase were challenged, sued and “reached a $13 billion civil settlement with the Justice Department for its mortgage lending practices”, for corruption. Just imagine after the 2008 bailout, if absolutely nothing happened to the banks, or better yet, the blame wasn’t placed on the banks, but a different truth was given. Imagine if the response by Occupy Wall Street was more violent, and people died from the police, rather than the deaths that were caused by unrelated people who were being mischievous.

Now some people may not be convinced that the freedom of speech is even important in this day and age. But we really should be thankful for the opportunity to speak up. In fact, more people should speak up at times when it is necessary. Even if it doesn’t seem like anyone is listening, the reality is that you still have the option to speak out, and it’s free and doesn’t have consequences, (well, unless you say something racist or homophobic on national television). The reason there are countries that limit speech is to prevent the creation, the creativity, and the self-awareness that comes with developing real opinions; the use of language, words, and vocabulary is so fundamental in our being.

If you look at the atrocious, and tragically correct letter by Willie Lynch, although authentically disputed, this excerpt reigns true to me when you think of slavery:

 “You know language is a peculiar institution. It leads to the heart of a people. The more a foreigner knows about the language of another country the more he is able to move through all levels of that society. Therefore, if the foreigner is an enemy of the country, to the extent that he knows the body of the language, to that extent is the country vulnerable to attack or invasion of a foreign culture. For example, if you take a slave, if you teach him all about your language, he will know all your secrets, and he is then no more a slave, for you can’t fool him any longer, and being a fool is one of the basic ingredients of any incidents to the maintenance of the slavery system.” (source)

Do you see the connection? If you are not able to express yourself freely, to deliberate, and to argue, there is a part of our language, that you are missing; discourse is a part of OUR language. Language IS “the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way”. More pointedly, “it is the system of communication used by a particular community or country”.

Therefore, we should embrace discourse and have more of it. It does ourselves a disservice to not be proud and happy with our freedom of speech, it’s more of a tragedy when we do not use it, because we convince ourselves that nobody cares or is listening. To question is awesome. If you missed it a couple weeks ago, the discourse between Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly is telling of the positive nature of exercising your right to speech, and we don’t see it quite enough. I admire that Jon and Bill, people who have drastically different ideals take the time to argue intelligently (to some that may be up for debate), and it’s not just bickering back and forth as many news shows often deliver to us. (Check out the video: Here)

As I stated in the beginning, we should be thankful for our freedom of speech. Even though the vitriol that is spewed at times can be maddening, and wondering how certain people formulate ideas may be perplexing to the point that thoughts of violence seem like a good idea, but at the end of the day, we still have the freedom to express yourself. So no matter how bad or ugly it gets, there is still more good, because the choice is yours in what you do with your voice… so use it.

The Monday Fits: Episode 2

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The election is tomorrow, and I was in a sports loving mood, so today is a sports inspired “Fit” about Politics.

Last week’s return of the King (Lebron James) to his home state of Ohio, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, made me start to think about second chances. Lebron returned to a place where people so passionately hated him when he left, from the loyal fan all the way to the owner of the franchise. They were done with him; Cleveland was done. Yet, just three years later, Cleveland is standing with its arms wide open. In fact, most of the sports world is happy, except maybe the folks in the Miami, who are trying to act, as if Dwayne Wade will be enough on his own. And do you know who is even happier, the Cleveland economy, as one business owner near the stadium stated, “LeBron is a one-man economic stimulus package,” . (Source)

When we think about it, who doesn’t like giving someone a second chance, especially when they deserve it? Look at other celebrities, Robert Downey, Jr., Michael Vick, Drew Barrymore, and even politicians like Mark Sanford, of most recent, all were given second chances. Part of the reason we are willing to give second chances is partly selfish.  Who doesn’t want another try after a mistake or failure? Yet, America isn’t as forgiving for certain people, such as Anthony Weiner. Although people believed he was receiving a second chance when he received support to run for Mayor, the results of the democratic primary were clearly evidence (finished 5th), he did not receive a second chance, or maybe it was just bad campaigning.

But you know there are two ways people do not get second chances, obviously they don’t get one as mentioned above or people unjustifiably have a mindset that they never were in the wrong, internally, or from the support of other people. In politics, this happens very often. Case and Point, Bill Clinton; Think about it, Clinton, even though he was impeached, because he DID lied about something. But there has never been a shunning of Bill Clinton (maybe a little). Why am I bringing this up, I have a bone to pick with many of the Democrats who cannot articulate in interviews whether they voted for Obama or not, or explain their voting records when asked. Jon Stewart did a hilarious segment about it, claiming the press secretary wouldn’t even say his name when talking about candidates and voting. (Source).

Now, of course, this could go down as another way the public is treating him different, because he is a black man. Honestly, I don’t think this is the case. However, some of the clips are so disrespectful to Obama that they are even more disrespectful to the voter. Say what? Yes, the disrespect that bothers me is to the voter. The senatorial candidate out of Kentucky, Alison Grimes may be correct when she says this election isn’t about the President, but a candidate should have the capacity to explain a position or decision that you’ve made in the past and what it means for you right now in the present. You’re a politician, you’re always telling some “version” of the truth with the whole purpose is to make you look good. But the incessant deflection looks weak. I mean when you look at some of the answers; you’re like really? Get it together, you cannot represent your party, you cannot represent the people’s interests. Now I am sure there are some people reading this, and thinking, don’t Republicans do the same thing, no, they actually do the opposite. And If I had to choose how I am defending a decision, in the political scene, it appears to work better. Because the Republicans have not faired better over the last two years either.

Democrats choose to deflect and dodge the Leader of their party, instead, they could’ve have placed more blame on the Republicans when asked questions about Obama. Now, I don’t know if it would have been successful in the red states, where most of the Obama bashing is happening, but most of these candidates aren’t winning or going to win their election anyway; having a little integrity would have probably gone a lot further in these states that are Red. Even though Republicans, especially Tea Parties, hate Obama, being weak in your position doesn’t fair much better. (And yes, I know the independents truly matter, do you think they are buying it either, No).

One of my favorite segments of all time from The Daily Show is back when Congress was trying to pass the Affordable Care Act. Jon Stewart’s team put together a range of clips of the Obama’s administration leaders, the House and Senate members. The footage revealed how they were all saying something a little different regarding the Act and the way it was going to work. It was pretty sad, and Jon Stewart’s joke was basically, “How can you all not get on the same page”. In contrast, he showed several clips of the Bush Administration when they decided to go to Iraq, because of Weapons of Mass Destruction, every single clip, every single member of his administration, said the exact same thing.

The segment from the Daily Show, wasn’t to highlight the error, but that it really isn’t that hard to get the messaging together. I have seen a lot of articles wondering why the Millennial generation is leaning Republican for the upcoming election cycle (source) and maybe it is the administration’s failed policies? Sure, if you think we are more informed than our preceding generations. But I think it’s hard pressed to vote for a party that doesn’t believe in itself, or it’s leader. I mean let’s be real, Republicans don’t even need to blame Obama anymore, his whole party is doing it for him. And the reason why this is so important… Elections are the one thing of those things where you get no second chances.

Freedom: The New American Silo

Blog #5

Freedom: The American Silo

 You know you are out of your element when you feel a cringe in your stomach, a knot in your chest, or maybe a slight headache. If you think these feelings are unnatural or unwanted, embrace them. Many entrepreneurs, innovators live off of the feeling, because the moments that make you feel uncomfortable are often the experiences that make you grow. However, it’s becoming increasingly more common to not take the risk or the challenge.

Do you know why? Freedom.

Huh? What? That’s right, Freedom.

America was built on this cool thing called freedom, and it’s pretty awesome until we decided to get lazy, and this “freedom”, basically has become justification for us to only stick to what we know and like, but expanded to the point where it justifies what we don’t do, and that’s bad. In fact, that sentence I just wrote was lazy, and my high school English teacher would scream from the use of cool, pretty, awesome, and bad all in the same sentence as if there weren’t better adjectives to use.

So Freedom IS the power or the right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Yet, our sense of freedom to act, beyond expressing disagreement (as discussed in last week’s blog post) is stagnant. I believe that’s some of the befuddlement by the actions in Ferguson, is that the community is standing up, protesting, and challenging the status quo; many have asked them to wait. Wait for an investigation. Wait for due process. Wait for justice. You might not like the way they are doing it, but when did speaking out and protesting ever become an un-American thing to do. They used their freedom to act.

One of the biggest glaring examples, over the past few years, where Americans are using freedom in exchange for not taking the difficult steps to act: Tax inversions. “More big U.S. companies are incorporating abroad despite a 2004 federal law that sought to curb the practice. One big reason: Taxes”  (source: WSJ)

Sound complicated? It’s a deal (merger) between an American company and a non-American company to avoid or lessen U.S. taxes. To some degree, and in certain circumstances, I agree this practice is perfectly responsible for American companies, and my libertarian part of my brain is all for it. What bothers me is the implication that not allowing companies to pursue better tax options overseas on non-American soil is anti- American, because they have the right to choose (freedom) is just plain lazy. I’ve really heard pundits making the comments that this is what America was built on,  freedom, the freedom to move and make more money and that is true, but it’s more than that.

The real issue is that the tax code/system needs to be rewritten and revised. There are opportunities to take a look at our current policies and alter them to effectuate a change that would make companies WANT to stay here; but no one wants to have the conversation, no one wants to act. I mean there are a few scholars, tax nerds, and a small number of legislators that do, but the majority of people who have the power and influence to do so, but really don’t want to. They would rather not get awkward, get a little dirty, and avoid the knots in their stomach because it’s simply uncomfortable.

Companies, banks, and wealthy individuals have leveraged congress on policies with less importance and less effect on the American public. American companies continue to leave American soil and take away American jobs in the name of Freedom. (craziness, right?)

The actions of the companies are so suspicious that Burger King’s recent announcement of their merger with the Canadian- based Hortons, was immediately questioned as to their motives. And at first glance, their explanation seems reasonable, because the fast food market is losing money, and the market is more competitive as Americans are attempting to eat healthier (and rid the world of gluten). We don’t expect our tax rate to change materially,” said Burger King CEO Daniel Schwartz. “This transaction is not really about tax, it’s about growth”  (source: WSJ)

Then you look at the numbers! I didn’t even know Burger King was doing so well, they are 4th  in overall sales, after McDonalds, Subway and Starbucks. Then you see the reason everyone is giving them the big *sideeye*

This is not an attempt to oversimplify a critical, multi-layer problem within our system, but I would argue that we’ve masked our laziness, our fears, behind Freedom, and the American spirit is built around creation, innovation, MAKING MISTAKES, and figuring out a better solution. case and point: Kentucky’s Kynect. Do you know why Kentucky’s Kynect system has been so successful in promoting Obamacare?

So the Democrats got the legislation passed, won the war. Republicans were upset, and understandably vocal against legislation that they believe would cripple the system. Disagreement is good, but failing to ACT is futile.  The leaders in Kentucky had one responsibility: create a solution for all Kentuckians. Not only for one segment of the population, and that would include making the benefits attractive to Republicans.  And that’s where they truly won, and conveyed what America is all about. They executed their job to meet the law, and made it work for those who did not see their vision (and continue to hate Obamacare), and to me that is real freedom.

Freedom is our right as Americans to think, argue, and disagree as we so choose. But Freedom was not fought for and given to us to use these differences to not ACT.  Freedom’s real purpose was for us to recognize each others differences, and have the capacity, technology, and tools to create a solution.

So American, let’s break down the walls, and break out of the American Silo, work together and do something.

MP