This is inappropriate

There are many times I feel we need to return to kindergarten for some key lessons in behavior. These poor teachers have to deal with five-year-olds in larger numbers than a regular day care class would contain. The rules of behavior are likely written on the walls in large colored print and repeated often as a mantra and when needed.

With too many folks following the lead of childish acting politicians (we all know who they are and even their fans know), we have lost the ability to have civil discourse and amicably disagree. So, class, let’s join together with Ms. Johnson or Ms. Jones or Mr. Thompson and repeat the following:

Treating others like you want to be treated is often called a Golden Rule

Threatening folks who disagree with you is not good behavior, nor is it wise

Promoting violence to resolve perceived or real problems is unlawful

Rationalizing lies is the same as lying – sometimes these folks are worse as we know the liar is lying

Denigrating classes of people because they seem different is mean and shortsighted

As I have said many times before, Alan Turing, a gay man shortened WWII by two years and saved 750,000 lives per Dwight D. Esienhower – what if he had been arrested and jailed for committing gay acts which was unlawful in Great Britain at the time?

Dr. Vivian Thomas, an African-American man helped develop a procedure in the middle of the Jim Crow era to save the lives of babies dying from poor blood flow, called “Blue Babies” – some doctors at Johns Hopkins did not want him in the operating room; what if he was denied the ability to practice?

The Tuskegee Airmen, consisting of African-American pilots, were at first not allowed to fly combat missions during WWII. So, they practiced and practiced honing their skills. They got so good, bomber pilots began asking for the Tuskegee Airmen to protect their planes. Something about putting your life on the line does that to people.

Katherine Johnson received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 for her contribution to America’s Space Race, as the first woman and African-American to work in a room full of white male mathematicians who guided the space effort.

Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn have penned the difficult to read “Half the Sky” about the maltreatment of women and girls around the world. Treating women like chattel is not only wrong it is economically short-sighted as these communities are competing in a world with only half their assets. Women hold up “half the sky” per a Chinese proverb.

I mention these five examples out of many others as contributions to our planet and country have been made by all kinds of people. If we allowed bigoted perceptions to unduly restrict, criticize and denigrate these folks to the point that they were not allowed to function, the world would be a different place. It matters not how warply twisted and seemingly self-righteous one’s cause, treating people like you want to be treated is still a mainstay of the Christian and other religions. It is a sin to do otherwise at least how I read it.

We must allow civil discourse. We must give people opportunity. We must not denigrate them or their efforts. And, we must not tolerate those who do the opposite of those things to certain people, especially those who are elected officials. To be brutally frank, an elected official has no business conducting themselves in this way. If they do, they need to resign or forced to resign. Full stop. This is especially true when you have more extremists that follow their lead not knowing these folks are just spouting BS to get elected.

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Key GOP donor backs Dem after House Republican ousted over Trump impeachment

In an article in Politico called “Key GOP donor backs Dem after House Republican ousted over Trump impeachment” by Natalie Fertig, a “former Romney financier David Nierenberg says he is siding with moderation over far-right rhetoric in Washington State.”

Republican Joe Kent, left, and Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez stand in a room in front of a white wall and door.

A few key paragraphs are noted below. A link to the full article can be found at the end of the post.

“David Nierenberg has funded a lot of Republican candidates over the years. But when GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler lost her primary in August, he switched sides to fund Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez over the Trump-backed Republican who advanced to the general election.

‘I immediately went to work,’ Nierenberg said. ‘And I think I’ve now transformed myself from Jaime’s largest bundler to Marie’s.

Gluesenkamp Perez’s campaign team confirmed Nierenberg has raised over $100,000 for her campaign from his network of moderate Republican donors since the August primary. But the money is only part of the story in a district that has been center stage in the fight for moderate Republican voters — and for the future of the GOP — since Herrera Beutler’s votein 2021 to impeach Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot earned her a primary challenge from Republican Joe Kent….

Most of his big money donations in the last decade have gone to Republicans, but Nierenberg says he’s generally looking for candidates willing to work across the aisle — a breed of politician that voters are choosing in rapidly declining numbers.

I want Republicans in leadership positions in the party to see this. Not only has the GOP leadership embraced the unenviable requirement to believe The Big Lie and sow it seeds, they must also join in the petulant stance of destroying those who dared to speak the truth against the former president.

Quite simply, any governing body that punishes its truth tellers and exposing them and their family to threats of violence while aggrandizing its liars is not a party who has veritas and gravitas. How can someone take this party seriously if they let this kind of stuff happen? Again, just this weekend, the former president put a target on Senator Mitch McConnell’s back and made a racist remark against McConnell’s Asian-American wife, who just happened to be in Trump’s cabinet.

This is not just being “rough around the edges” as the former president’s sycophants like to say. On top of his many other attributes that are unbecoming of a president, much less a decent human being, putting people in danger and making denigrating racist comments is the simply the former president acting like a class A jerk. People who support him would not teach their kids to act like the former president does on a routine basis. They would not tolerate it. So, why should we not call it out?

I saw where the Mr. Pillow guy lost his appeal to avoid the continuance of the defamation lawsuit against him by Dominion Voting Systems. He is in a long line of people who flew to close to the Trump sun and got sucked in by its gravitational pull and are now suffering the consequences. I have long said the happiest people in America in 2016-17 were folks who declined Trump’s offer to work for him. The second happiest were their spouses.

I applaud Mr. Nierenberg for his funding a non-extreme candidate. We need more civil discourse, not less. We need more people to act the opposite way the former president acts. We need leaders who can disagree without taking someone’s head off.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/10/03/gop-donor-backing-democrat-washington-00060099

Civil discourse and truth are needed – letter sent to the editor

I sent this letter into the editor of my newspaper yesterday. I hope they publish it. Please feel free to adapt and use.

It continues to trouble me that too many Americans are following the lead of extremists and committing violence when they don’t agree with something. It also troubles me that we are letting sources of disinformation and propaganda like QAnon, InfoWars, select politicians, et al inflame our opinions. Please ignore these folks as they are doing our nation a disservice.

As an independent who leans progressive on some issues and conservative on others, I can assure you neither party has all the good ideas and both have some bad ones. We must have civil discourse and bipartisan agreement to move important solutions forward. And, we need to use facts and speak truthfully or the solutions will miss the mark.

Politicians owe us the truth. If they cannot shoot straight with us, they need to resign or not run for office even if they happened to have served before. Full stop.

When you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice (an encore post)

I wrote the following post four years ago. It remains relevant today. Make a stand, march or picket, contact your leaders, and vote.

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you will know that I love cleverly worded song lyrics. The above title comes from an unexpected source (if you don’t follow the band) – a song called “Free will” by the rock band “Rush.” I find this lyric, penned by drummer Neil Peart, compelling as it speaks to people who choose to do nothing in the face of obvious problems. Martin Luther King saved some of his criticism for the silent people who did not condemn Jim Crow actions.

People choose not to vote because they do not like the choices. But, “none of the above” is not an option and one candidate tends to be worse or represents worse. If you did not vote because you did not think Brexit or Trump would win, you water down your right to protest. And, I would add there are seven white supremacists running for office, empowered by a US President who won’t condemn racist actions and has made racist statements. So, your vote does matter.

If you witness a daily assault on civil rights, women’s rights, truth, media, science, allies and environment and don’t speak up, then you condone the actions as acceptable.

– It is not OK for leaders to lie multiple times a day.

– It is not OK to have governmental websites delete data that run afoul of unsubstantiated opinions by leaders.

– It is not OK to demean people because they dare criticize a leader’s point of view.

– It is not OK to promote violence toward these same people, as some people act on these suggestions and the assaulters and/ or the targets get hurt or go to jail.

– It is not OK to demonize groups of people or exaggerate causes of problems, as it is hard enough to solve real problems with real data.

– It is not OK to ignore real problems or have faux efforts to address them. Gun deaths, poverty, health care access and costs, infrastructure deterioration, increasing debt, environmental degradation, climate change, etc. are real problems.

Please do not remain silent. Speak up. Call or email your representatives. Attend marches and protests. Share diplomatically your opinion, but listen to theirs. Find a way to get your opinion heard and heeded. Calling someone a name is not the way to be heard.

The other day as I was looking for a new battery for my cordless mower, a store clerk and I chatted about the need to move toward renewable energy. While he supported the eventual move, he said renewable energy is “seven times” the cost of fossil fuel energy. I responded and said that is a ten-year old argument. The costs are now more on par. In fact, there is a city in Texas who chose to be 100% renewable energy powered as its CPA mayor said financially it is a better deal. Did he hear me? I don’t know, but he would not have  if I had not listened to his argument and responded.

Do not follow the words of the song lyric. Choose to decide.

Disturbing survey result – we cannot condone violence

I read yesterday of two alarming results from a University of California survey of 9,000 people. 1 in 5 said violence to promote a political cause would be appropriate and 7% said they would be willing to kill someone toward that goal. Really? Have we sunk that low believing the divisive rhetoric of too many that so many would commit capital offenses for a politician’s gain?

The majority of these folks have felt empowered by the former president to be more public. I guess all the folks who are pleading guilty or being convicted for an insurrection on our Capitol building at the behest of the former president are not evidence enough that this is a poor path forward. Maybe when the former president is charged with sedition for his apparently more active role in the insurrection these folks will be given pause.

And, just because the right has its extremists who are promoting violence and even death, that does not give any extremists on the left a hall pass to do the same. Civil discourse and peaceful protest are more than fine. Violence is not the answer, unless your question is when can I go to jail?

One of America’s key tenets is the peaceful transition of power. We are more divided than before because a former president’s ego is so fragile, he cannot admit he lost and per his niece will “burn it all down to avoid losing an election.” It is only our democracy – we must hold it dear and ignore those sycophants who are aiding and abetting the bogus claims of the former president. I was delighted to see a bipartisan Senate bill pass to better protect the electoral process to prevent a demagogue from trying what the former president did – an insurrection.

Taking the former president at his word is a fool’s errand. Listening to his allies and sycophants who are holding cans of white paint to whitewash history is also such. But, so is taking the word of so-called leaders of any movement that condones and promotes violence. That is inane. It is also criminal. If your group promotes this, find the door before it is too late.

A solicited prayer for all

I follow a young woman’s blog she calls the Christian Tech-Nerd. Recently, she offered several biblical based prayers for various events or challenges and invited readers to submit theirs. Here is one I submitted, which is less biblical and more on treating others like we want to be treated.

“Thanks for sharing. My prayer is our leaders, both religious and non-religious, can act and speak as if they are among our better angels and not our worst demons. To me, it is poor stewardship when they act and speak like we tell our kids not to. 

My prayer is we can civilly disagree with one another and not hold grudges if we cannot find agreement. My prayer is we can be the best version of ourselves and treat people like we want to be treated. We are an imperfect lot and we all sin. So, let’s not forget that and do our best to learn from our mistakes.

I recognize this is not a biblical prayer, I just feel we have lost our way and we need to act better than we are. Thanks for asking.”

This prayer seems to resonate with several folks. My thrust is on walking the talk. Words are easy. Actions are hard. As someone who has worked with religious volunteers to help people in need, those outreach people are where that Golden Rule lives. Those are the people we should be following, not a minister or elected official who is using their power to act like a bully to denigrate others.

Note sent to RINO hunting Republican candidate

After seeing the Missouri Senate candidate Eric Greitens double down on his RINO hunting ad which has been panned as dangerous rhetoric, I sent the following email to his campaign.

Thank you for your service as a Navy Seal. You should be commended for that. Yet, as an independent and former Republican (and Democrat) voter, I must call upon you to be mindful of your words about RINOs. We have far too many extreme folks in our country who are inflamed by such rhetoric and they are placing themselves and others in danger when they act on their worst instincts.

As a former Republican, I could easily be next in people’s cross hairs. I do not mind people being more conservative or liberal than me on various issues. But, what gives me pause are politicians who are not representing our better angels and heighten our divisions rather than bring us together. For example, I disagree with Rep. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger on several policy issues, but I applaud their political courage to call out our former president for his seditious actions in the face of known vitriol and violence threats.

Please consider my plea. Many thanks for your consideration.

Strong suggestion for Democrats

I have a strong suggestion for Democrats who are not happy with the Roe v Wade verdict, watered down gun governance and restrictions on civil rights and are fearful of climate change inaction, environmental degradation and health care attacks, they need to vote. Know the rules that have been altered to keep you from voting and get out and vote. You could throw a few million people marches to get their attention as well.

There is a canary in the coal mine that is saying more voters are switching to the GOP (I read 1+ million), including the suburban educated women voters. To me, this tells me that people are listening to messaging coming out of more conservative channels that rakes Dems over the coals. I am not saying that messaging is correct, but people are listening to it.

Dems better crystalize key talking points that will appeal to all Americans and hammer them home. If they appeal to only progressive Dems, they will need to look up what happened to George McGovern in 1972. Watergate was in part related to Nixon wanting to run against McGovern and not Edmund Muskie. He knew he could beat McGovern but knew Muskie would be a tougher challenge. He ran against McGovern and won 49 states to 1.

Note, I am not saying progressive ideas are not good, but they need to be ideas that are saleable to all Americans and not offensive because of poor word choice. For example, “Defund the police” may have not meant exactly what it said, but the term was a gift to Republicans. My old party is bereft of good ideas in my view which is one reason conservative pundit Michael Gerson says the GOP is in “decay.” But, the GOP spin doctors do a better job, aided and abetted by Fox News, QAnon, and Infowars, et al, to focus on over-exaggerated issues where a label can be slapped on it and a bumper sticker created.

And, Dems please note, they are winning at this and expect to take the House and Senate majority. I have said before we need a viable Republican party, but this is not it. The best way to rid the country of this extreme party is not to vote for them.

Mark Shields, longtime voice of reason has passed

For the longest time, my Friday ritual was to end the news week watching the commentary of conservative minded David Brooks and liberal minded Mark Shields. Their banter exemplified the civil discourse of their host PBS NewsHour, whether the discussion was led by Judy Woodruff or the now deceased Gwen Ifill or Jim Lehrer.

Sadly, I learned Mark Shields passed away last week. Shields was an affable historian and shared his opinion and added context to any discussion. He commented on PBS NewsHour for thirty-three years, the last twenty of which with Brooks. As Brooks noted in a piece in The New York Times:

“We’ve had thousands of disagreements over the years, but never a second of acrimony. Mark radiates a generosity of spirit that improves all who come within his light.” We all could learn from this.

Judy Woodruff, “PBS NewsHour” anchor and managing editor, tweeted that she was ”heartbroken” to share the news of Shields’ death, and noted his wife Anne was at his side at his death. For decades, she said, Shields “wowed us with his encyclopedic knowledge of American politics, his sense of humor and mainly his big heart.”

Shields retired from the show a couple of years ago. Brooks would continue on with the terrific Jonathan Capeheart, but it is not the same. It is like one of a long time couple has passed and the new spouse is nice, but you don’t have history with the person. Rest in peace, Mark Shields. You were one of our lights on the hill.

Wednesday wanderings on a spring day

It is certainly a great day to wander about, but I think I will mow the grass first. Mowing has always been a chore I don’t mind, as you can see your progress as you go. Plus, freshly cut grass has a fresh smell. Since I have a battery powered mower, I don’t have to worry about inhaling gas fumes.

As I mow or wander, I can do some good thinking. I find myself thinking about past events and friends, since some of the current day issues are puzzling at best. I read a post (it may have been Jill or Joy’s) that some celebrity said “act like a grown up” used to be an admonition to misbehaving children. Now, we have too many grown-ups that act like spoiled toddlers. Of course, when some stand firmly behind one of the biggest acting toddlers as a former and possible future presidential candidate, it truly shows how low we have fallen.

We have too many that forget there is a responsibility that comes with our liberties. When my freedom to do things could be harmful to your freedoms, then we must cease or reconsider those actions. The opposite should be true. It reminds me of the caution to the newly launched Spiderman, when his grandfather said “with great power comes great responsibility.” Our freedoms to do things that are not permissible in some countries is a great power. Yet, we must honor it, nurture it, protect it for all.

Some have taken reaction to actual or perceived offenses to an awful degree. Just because someone disagrees with you, does not entitle you to hurt, threaten or kill the other person. Full stop. Just because you cannot tolerate failure, does not entitle you to turn over the chess board, throw a tantrum, claim cheating or instigate an attack on a branch of government. Full stop. Just because you are in a position of authority does not entitle you to ignore the people you represent. A good leader listens to others. A foolish one does not. Full stop.

There are many old lessons that are getting ignored these days. A key one is if someone has to tell you how great he or she is, then maybe we should look a little deeper as to why he or she is having to tell us such. When a colleague was complaining about being removed from marketing to a prospective client, unsuccessfully over several years, he said “I have known John for twenty years.” The thought running through my head was “And, he has known you.”

Whether you are religious or not, in many religious texts is some variation of Jesus’ golden rule. Treat others like you want to be treated. Let’s be responsible to each other. Let’s be civil in our discourse. Let’s protect their freedoms like they were our own. Let’s try not to be blowhards and listen to each other. Spiderman’s grandpa has a good lesson for us all.