The party of Lincoln is experiencing a shift. It began in 2010 with the Tea Party dominated midterm elections, and the realization of those votes cast nearly two years ago can now be seen. The new Republican Party Platform includes language that officially designates itself as a pro-life party. That in and of itself is fine, but what isn’t fine is the fact that at the convention the GOP is choosing to contradict that image with one that is “less conservative” on social issues. Also, the platform goes beyond a pro-life stance. It supports the passing of legislation of the 14th Amendment Rights of life, liberty, and property to unborn children … or the so-called “personhood” rule. Many republicans support personhood rights for the unborn at the moment of conception. Make no mistake about it, I don’t think this will ever pass, BUT if it did, it would make many forms of contraception illegal.
But the GOP isn’t going to focus on its far-right social stance. Not at the convention anyway. Ron Paul was denied a speaking slot, as were Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and other social conservatives. Instead we heard from Chris Christie who is pro-choice, and Mitt Romney conveniently found himself sitting next to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who is also pro-choice. Why? Because the general election is right around the corner and the GOP is aiming for the middle …even though their new platform would have you believe that the middle isn’t worthy, and anyone who would take a pro-choice position has no place in the party.
What does this mean for Mitt Romney? Hard to say, though I suppose it means that he can continue to be himself … a conservative when he needs to be, and a moderate when he needs to be. To some people he will give a full throated approval of the platform, and to others he will say that he is just a fiscal conservative, and that the country doesn’t really care about social issues right now. Perhaps the latter is the reason why this new platform was even pushed out in the first place … nobody is paying attention.
Mitt Romney’s an evil rich guy and President Obama’s a radical leftist that hates America, but for some reason wants to lead it. None of it matters much to the average voters, but the talking heads on TV would have you think otherwise.
Let me address both issues separately. First, for those of you that can’t stand the President, you don’t have to like him … and that’s what your vote is for. However, those of you that still think he “Hates America” or “Isn’t American” or “Doesn’t understand America” you are delusional. Sure, if you’d like to argue that his policies and efforts have increased federal spending and the size of the federal government, then you go ahead and do that. But it must be said that advocating a different point of view and policies you happen to disagree with, doesn’t have anything to do with any person’s level of patriotism. How could it? There has always been debate in this country, always two points of view (or more). So, why is it that in the last four years it has become acceptable to discredit a sitting president as “Not American”?
Now, to those of you that have no love for Mitt Romney, that is what your vote is for. However, if you think that his being rich is a problem you’re delusional. Sure, if you want to say that his policies on taxes, public spending, or social welfare programs favor the wealthy, you go ahead and say that, but to say that the simple fact that he has amassed wealth is a problem, well, that’s your problem not his. Do we want to find ourselves in a position that we are punishing success, or deluding ourselves that we have found a better combination than the free-market economy and social-democracy that we currently thrive under? Those are the questions we should be asking. When you vote this November, think about your life and the life of your country, figure out which candidate is more inline with what you believe, and vote for him. Don’t base your decision on Mitt Romney’s wealth, or the President’s supposed contempt for his own country, base it on which candidate you think will lead our nation along a more successful, prosperous, and peacefully secure path … don’t forget we are still at war in case you forgot.
There is an interesting dilemma that faces the ever long struggle for equal rights when it comes to black women. There is a complex problem facing minority women in American History. Neither black history nor the history of women in this country sufficiently discusses or argues the very specific problems black women face, and the role they have played as a central part of both groups, but not wholly part of either. Ask yourself if you could disagree. Socially and politically the racial and gender climate of our country has changed, but I feel it has done so in a way that has only expanded the issue, not erased it.
Black women are faced with a dilemma that I would some up with this question: “Am I woman first, or am I black first?” It’s a valid question that I’m not sure has a right answer. Maybe it shouldn’t be answered. However consider the “first wave” of feminism and how it was born from the abolitionist movement. Which of these rights, women’s rights or civil rights, should be more important for a black woman? Should one be more important? During that time, if a black woman supported women’s rights before black people were free to vote, or were still viewed as inferior and segregated from society, the women’s vote would mean next to nothing to her as she is still black. On the contrary, what good are civil rights for the black woman, if women as a whole are viewed as inferior to their male counterparts? Those civil rights would only be applicable to the black man.
During the suffrage movement women workers as a whole received less than two-thirds the pay of their male counterparts, but black women took even less. They only earned a little less than half of white women. This fact illustrates the problem black women in an emerging industrial society faced, being discriminated upon in the work place twice, once for their gender and again for their race. Which of these problems was most severe? I think the answer lies in each individual black woman. However none of this explains the root of this double-edged problem.
The feminist movement, in its beginning, never identified with the racial prejudice that black women faced, only with the prejudice that all black people faced. Even feminists that were pro abolition looked at the abolitionist movement and the feminist’s movement as two different and separate issues. The first white women fought for on the behalf of others, and the other they fought for themselves. But, to be fair I should say that it was white women’s displeasure with their own place in society that served as both cause and effect of their involvement with the abolitionist movement. White women further realized their own oppression through witnessing the wrongful oppression of black people; they empathized with it and in doing so sought their own equality in society.
However, black women could not make this distinction, nor could they for any amount of time decided to put on hold the issues that faced all black people at the time. In a time where all women were being oppressed, the oppression one might endure because of race might seem more prominent. That’s not to say that a black women was not equally concerned with the inequality issues she faced as a woman, simply that she had to deal with both at all times. White women could choose which of these issues was more important for them to fight for.
As long as we are able to clearly identify racial and gender inequality in America, which I believe we currently can, then the black woman will always be faced with both of these issues. She will continue to experience the effects of both racism and sexism. I believe that today’s political and social climate has only made the issue more complex, but through current issues, it is perhaps easier to identify why it is that this problem exist.
The later phases of feminism that were born out of civil rights still possessed the same double-edged problem as before.. As long as there are two separate movements, this will always be. As of yet there has been no significant movement aimed at the equality of all people, as opposed to one specific group. The current debate of Gay Rights in today’s politics illustrates this. The feminist movement doesn’t address the problems that minorities face in society even though there are minorities within the movement. Also, various civil rights movement whether that be Gay, Black, Latino, or what have you, fail to adequately address the problems facing the inequality of the very women within their specific groups.
For example, in the 1960’s the black panthers and other black power organizations were seen to be sexist. Had they at that moment in time realized their goals of black and white equality, black women and white women would not have been equals to their male counterparts. This is why I don’t think the current climate has changed the argument. A black women, a lesbian woman, or any other minority woman, can still experience prejudice for two different reasons that are independent to one another, but at the same time inseparable. A black woman can never be just a woman or just black. She is both.
The election of Barack Obama brought some very significant issues to the national stage, some of which are very relevant to this discussion. The right of gay and lesbian people to be married is one of them. This issue clearly shows how a person that belongs to two different groups or subcultures in American society, is often cast into one or the other by outsiders looking in. While gay rights may have some notable differences from civil rights, the similarities display the same dilemma faced by the black women, or even the gay black women for that matter, who faces not two, but three different types of discrimination, that are independent of one another.
There was a big hoopla in California after the rights of gay people in this state to marry was overturned. This is not an argument in favor or against that. However, one surprising talking point that began circulation through various media was the fact that nearly seventy percent of black voters of both major parties, voted in favor of the ban. Instead of being looked at as people, they were black people that should have “know better” than to vote for something so discriminatory, based on their history of experiencing discrimination. What people failed to mention was that being black has nothing to do with being gay. The same was true during the abolitionist movement and afterwards. Being a woman has nothing to do with being black. Just because white women in the south were seen as inferior to their male counterparts, didn’t mean they automatically identified with the inferiority of black people in society.
It almost seemed to me that in people’s minds during the election it was more understandable that white people voted in favor in the ban, where as I felt that if you were in favor for it, all people opposed to it should have been viewed in the same light, not cut up in to little sub groups. With this logic one could say that fifty years ago all women should have supported civil rights, which was not the case. Unfortunately discrimination does not necessarily lead to understanding and sympathy to all other types of discrimination. That is why the feminist movement can be born from, and inspired by civil rights, but also independent of it.
Therein lays the nature of this issue. I believe that black and minority women in society face a double-edged problem. Discrimination and inequality based on both race and gender. Today, modern society, naturally so, separates people into groups, Men, women, black, white, gay, straight, and so on. When issues of inequality face one of these groups, members of said group tend to attack the problem from a single perspective. In the 1960’s, and maybe still , the concern of civil rights was the equal treatment for all black people, ignoring the fact that black women are viewed as inferior to black men.
In terms of women’s rights, the issue is attacked from that perspective, women’s inequality relative to men, ignoring the separate and equally trying set of circumstances faced by minority women who feel the pressure of racial discrimination as well. Until there is a universal social and political equality, men and women whom belong to more that one demographic will face those problems respectively and in the case of black women the question will always be, “Am I a woman first, or am I black first?” The answer is up to the individual.
If you’re not in a Swing State this November than, no, your vote doesn’t matter. Perhaps I shouldn’t say that. One voice, one vote, democracy, blah, blah, blah. I live in California, that means, with the exception of Orange County and a few Inland pockets, it’s a blue state through and through. The same could be said for the reverse in states like Georgia, Texas, and Mississippi.
It’s all about the Midwest, Florida, and perhaps North Carolina and Virginia. Mix in the American Southwest, places like Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico, and you’ll see the places that are essential to both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.
So, am I saying not to vote? Absolutely not. I think it’s fair to say though, that this is a critique of the Electoral College system. It defeats the purpose of Democracy. While it is usually inline with the popular vote, it is entirely possible to win a national election without winning the popular vote because of the way the “real” votes are distributed.
Many people don’t realize that the presidential election is an “Indirect Election.” You are not voting for the candidate of your choice, you are voting for Electors to be the authorized constitutional participants. Also, the Electoral College has the authority and ability within its power,to ignore the will and voice of the voters. Electors are free to vote for anyone eligible to be President, but in practice pledge to vote in accordance with whom the voters cast their ballots in favor of … but, they don’t have to.
I only bring that up because I believe this year’s presidential election will be very, very, very close. What will happen if one candidate should win, but not win? Will that finally get the D.C. establishment crowd to take another look at how votes are allocated? Shouldn’t your vote go toward the grand total, as opposed to the total votes in just your COUNTY, to then be counted with other county totals in your home state to help decide which candidate your state’s Electors will award their vote to? It’s an outdated system and needs to be updated. Or, is this not important enough an issue? Too bad it doesn’t have anything to do with birth certificates …
News just broke moments ago that Al Qaeda’s second in command, Al-Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed in a series of drone attacks over the last three days in Pakistan. This is in addition to Mustafa al-Yazid, once the terrorist organization’s third in command, being assassinated in 2010, and Anwar al-Awlaki death last year in Yemn. Not to mention Osama Bin Laden.
To some of us it seems as though everyone has short term memory loss. President Obama was supposed to be the one that would be soft on terror, remember. Mitt Romney still tries to level attacks on this front, claiming that the country would be safer with him as president, and that another term of President Obama would mean a Nuclear Iran. Where are the attack dogs? Where are the surrogates? Where are the members of the administration using facts to strike back against bogus claims? Are the Dems scared of a fight? Or, is it something else, do they know that it wall fall deaf ears?
Seems to me they think so, but they should still try. I think the Obama Camp should play this up as much as they can. “We keep the country safe!” should be their slogan. If George W. Bush can run on that message, without anything to prove it but rhetoric, then President Obama should be able to do the same.
However, there is another element to it, isn’t there? Jobs. It’s all about jobs. The more time passes, the more people checkout on foreign affairs … as if the majority of them were truly ever that interested. What does that mean? It means that without a good economic forecast and inspiring plan for the future, President Obama could cure cancer and it won’t matter. If you can’t pay your bills, you don’t give a damn about the death of Abu Yajya al-Libi. Until today you never heard of him before, but tomorrow you’re still unemployed.
In recent weeks Donald Trump has resurfaced (not that he ever really goes away) and once again fanned the flames of “birtherism.” It is about as ridiculous as it gets. Who is falling for this stuff? My guess is, not you if you’re reading this. And that’s my point. How important is this issue? Sure, trying to label an American Citizen, your own president no less, as a scary, foreign born worshiper or Marx that doesn’t “understand” America, is disgraceful … but, how many people are actually doing it? Furthermore, ask yourself this; was there ever any chance in hell that people harboring even the slightest suspicions that President Obama is a secret Kenyan Muslim were going to vote for him? No chance at all.
Now, to be fair, you may or may not be aware that people like Representative Mike Coffman (R-Colorado) still exist. Too weeks ago he said this:
I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that. But, I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.
I hate the overused “text-speak” term lol … but, I have to say I did. I really did laugh out lout. How could I not? It was funny to think that somebody in charge of making America’s Laws has this point of view. What exactly does an American believe in his or her heart? Perhaps that America is exceptional? That’s something the far-right lies to toss out there from time to time. President Obama doesn’t believe in American Exceptionalism … Really? I’d say it’s pretty exceptional that a mixed-race child born in the 1960’s … you know, that golden age of tolerance, could attend not one, but two Ivy League schools, become a United States Senator, and later run President. Oh, wait, I don’t have to believe that it could happen, because it did happen. That sounds to me like the kind of thing that could ONLY happen in America.
Or, am I missing something? So, the next time you see your favorite cable news outfit run a million stories on how birtherism might have some sort of effect on the election, remember that the vast majority of people are like you, they know that the birthers, like the left-wing truthers before them, are insane. I don’t use the word lightly…they’re crazy. And if I know one thing, I know this, you can’t argue with crazy.
That’s the question. Which is more important to you? My guess is, you may not be too sure. That’s why both the Obama and Romney campaigns are hedging their bets. The War on Women, Gay Rights, and contraception have been getting as much, or perhaps more, attention than the economy.
Neither side knows which argument will hit home with voters more. Romney says President Obama is over his head on economic issues. President Obama says that Bain Capital destroyed jobs, and that Mitt Romney will only advocate policies that favor the richest among us.
But, is that message as loud or effective as the culture wars of women’s rights and marriage equality? I think that depends on who you ask. A recent USA Today/Gallop Poll asked this: under which candidate would the economy improve over the next four years? 57% said Romney while only 44% said President Obama. And this is in the face of JP Morgan Chase reporting a 2 billion dollar trading loss this week. I would argue that it is the lack of regulation (something republicans say is good) is partly to blame for something like this happening. It’s like people don’t remember what happened just four short years ago. Yet, Romney still has the edge on economic issues. Not to mention that jobs numbers have been improving steadily since 2009.
What’s the Obama Campaign’s answer? Bring on the culture wars! And rightly so. They need all the help they can get. Full disclosure, I have no problem with the President’s “New” stance on marriage equality. I personally don’t understand the people that pretend there is some sort of space between civil unions and marriage. BUT, I will say his timing is peculiar … and that’s being nice about it. It was a political move, a rallying cry to the base. Perhaps it will work, perhaps it won’t.
What’s the downside? The exact same issues rally the conservative base just as much. But, there won’t be many rifts in their supporters over it. Meanwhile, the black community, while strongly democratic as a whole (over 80%) is split on the gay marriage issue. The Prop 8 situation on the ballot in California in 2008 proved as much. I say that to say this, I think the culture wars will be a wash. In today’s very polarized political environment there is no gray area. You either support Gay Marriage, or you don’t. You either think that the rights of women are being infringed upon, especially with regards to reproductive health, or you don’t. So, it will come down to the economy in the end. If you are a culture/social issues voter I would bare that in mind. Economy trumps all. Who do you want to help guide and steer the country out of this mess? The choice is yours.
In the 1960’s we were fighting an unpopular war, the country was in the midst of a battle for civil rights for minorities, and the political parties were debating the role of entitlements in our society … sound familiar? There are some striking similarities to the 1960′s and today.
There was a consensus among intellectuals in the 1960s that the right-wing in America was extreme and marginalized. Yet, the election of Ronald Regan in 1980 proved that a conservative could be elected without relatively moving to the left. Little more than two decades later the country could elect equally conservative majorities in congress and a conservative president. What circumstances made this possible in such a short period of time?
While the right may have been viewed as extreme in the 60s there was also an emergence of a radical left, most notably observed through its anti-war efforts. It was this radical spirit that awakened a never before seen energized activism on the right. Many conservative businessman and organizations formed political action committees and aggressively pursued the finding and advocating of conservative political leaders. The right-wing is perhaps not as extreme as it was then, but the far-right elements of the party have been very effective at moving the party to the right and advancing a conservative agenda. The Tea Party and the 2010 midterm election is proof that a conservative message can win, and the Occupy Wall Street movement is proof that there is an equally active voice on the left.
The 1960s also saw the beginning-of-the-end for the Democrat’s “solid south.” President Johnson had lost favor with much of the public over the Vietnam War and with the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, the white south began to pull away from its long term Democratic allegiance. The more time passed the more seats in congress once held by Democrats changed hands to the Republicans. Baring witness to this phenomenon the Republican’s adopted a “Southern Strategy” in which they placated to the white conservative south which would later become an essential part of its base.
With the southern realignment taking hold and the rise of conservative activism, the Republican Party had a lot of momentum. The south went solidly Republican for the first time in 1972 and it was clear that it had become a battle ground for national politics.
The stage was now set for a steady and continued rise in the conservative movement, but there was still something missing. It remains true that the incumbent party is often voted out of office during rough or depressed economic periods. One such situation existed under President Carter in the late 70s. This gave way Ronald Regan to run for office from a very conservative party platform, something that otherwise might not have worked. Regan did something else as well, he appealed to the evangelical and religious right. Previously this was a demographic which had not been aggressively engaged or encouraged to participate in the political process by either party. George W. Bush, with the help of people like Karl Rove, would later adopt a similar strategy.
So now the Republicans had a growing base and a progressively expanding conservative ideology. By the 1990s the southern realignment would be complete and the vast majority of the white south would be Republican as opposed to Democrat. The Election of Bill Clinton also inspired a resurgence of conservative activism, not unlike what has been taking place in today’s politics with things like the Tea Party Movement. This led to the Republicans acquiring majorities in both houses in 1994, and later a president in 2000. I will not go into detail here about the controversy surrounding the 2000 Presidential Election or the Clinton Impeachment Scandal, but it is arguable that the election of George W. Bush is neither the result of conservative activism, nor the product of the Republican’s southern strategy.
It has been a long road for the Republicans and the conservative movement to gain the position in our national politics that it has had over the past three decades. It was in fact a fifty year process. But, the increasingly conservative party platform has its consequences. The current purging of politicians not deemed conservative enough runs the risk of placing the Republicans and the conservative movement back in the position they started from in the 1960s, regarded as extreme and relegated to the margins. Only this time there is no possibility of a realignment of party identifications and electoral votes…
It’s a valid question. This time around the campaign will be tough one for the president to sell. Sure, he has accomplished some very great things, but they are all polarized and divisive. Most of his accomplishments are only viewed as such from the Left. Those that fall left-of-center on the ideological spectrum will appreciate the following: The Affordable Care Act, appointing the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, ending combat operations in Iraq, and not enforcing DOMA.
For voters that fall in the center, the moderates, they might add to that list the following: A cut in payroll taxes, the continued “Bush tax cuts,” the surge of troops in Afghanistan, assisting NATO in the invasion of Libya and overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi, the increase of drone attacks on terrorist in the Middle East, the increasing (however meekly) jobs numbers, and the increased deportation of undocumented workers, and the fact that there are one million fewer of them living within our boarders since President Obama took office. HOWEVER, those in the middle might not include The Affordable Care Act among the list of positive accomplishments.
Many voters on the right, at least those that I speak to regularly, seem to be willing to credit President Obama with one accomplishment, killing Osama Bin Laden. Republicans actually opposed the payroll tax cut, and had to fight for the continued Bush Tax cuts…so no credit there. None for immigration either. I read an article yesterday explaining the decrease in undocumented workers as a consequence of harsh STATE laws like Arizona’s SB1070. Obviously, they don’t like The Affordable Care Act, and many felt he was “leading from behind” on Libya…though I suspect that particular criticism was more playing politics. Many on the right also oppose the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and they support DOMA.
So, here is the break down.
To the left, President Obama won’t talk about increased troops in Afghanistan, but he will emphasize the troop withdrawal in Iraq. He will talk about The Affordable Care Act and how it provides access to health care for over 30 million previously uninsured Americans. Though, I’m curious to see how the Supreme Court’s pending decision will affect this argument. If they rule that the law is unconstitutional it will prove to be quite the task. And finally, the President will highlight the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t tell and use it to display his continued support for civil rights for all people.
To the Middle, President Obama will list all of his military accomplishments, and perhaps explain why his approach to foreign policy is better than the republican alternative, though to be clear, it should be understood that they are actually very similar. Rhetorically Republicans seem to be hawkish on Iran, but I don’t think a republican president would have done anything differently on foreign policy that the president has done.
And to the Right…well what about them? That will be President Obama’s mindset. In today’s polarized political arena the right is lost. It was lost a long time ago. President Obama’s strategy will be comprised of two very simple components. Excite the progressive base and get them to turn out the vote, and convince the middle that even with 8% unemployment and skyrocketing debt that he is the better man for the job. Harder than it sounds.
I have waited a while to weigh in on the Trayvon Martin Case. Today it was announced that George Zimmerman will be charged. However, that is not the purpose of this article. It has disturbed me that over the past few weeks many media outlets (liberal and conservative) have tried to “balance” the supposedly over-covered Trayvon Martin Case by highlighting the extensive problem of black-on-black crime in places like Chicago, Detroit, and elsewhere.
There is no doubt that violence and murder in the black community, specifically the inner-city, is a HUGE problem. BUT, I do not agree with the way it has been brought up out of context. I can’t tell you how many times over the past few weeks that I have heard things like, “They are so upset about the Trayvon Martin thing, but what about the murder rate in Chicago? Why aren’t they upset about that?”
To that I say…What about it? They are two completely separate issues. I even heard, on CNN of all places, a black, liberal, commentator cite a statistic that black kids are more scared of other black kids than they are of white people because it is other black kids in their neighborhoods that are committing the crimes. The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News ran a similar story. SO WHAT?
I’m sure, actually positive, that all of that is true. BUT NONE F THIS HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE TRAYVON MARTIN CASE. Essentially what people are attempting to do is say that this particular case is not significant because black kids are murdered by other black kids everyday, and nobody says anything. Don’t even get me started on that, but like I said, two completely different issues.
To that note, The New Black Panther Party needs to find something to do. You are irrelevant. Race baiting and calling for vigilantly justice is not a way to relieve racial tensions (real or imagined) in America. Your message will fall on deaf ears, not necessarily because your aim is unjustified, assuming you want justice for Trayvon Martin, but because of what you THINK that justice represents. To most, it would be an arrest, and then for the full and due process of the legal system to decide George Zimmerman’s fate. For the Black Panthers it means George Zimmerman, Dead or Alive, and some type of retroactive payback for all racial injustice ever committed. Give it a rest.
What I will say is that the context in which black-on-black violence has been brought up has hopefully shed some much due light on the problem. I just refuse to believe that just because a specific subset or minority of the population suffers from a systemic problem, that they then forfeit the right to complain, protest, and seek justice for a similar problem that happens to involve another member of society. What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong … and I’m not here to tell you what that is, only that another problem, no matter how severe, is not at all related or relevant to the discussion of one isolated incident and tragic loss of young life.