Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

One of the memories that I carry from the 2016 election season that haunts me is that of a forum with delegates that was broadcast from the Democratic Convention at the end of its first night. One of the delegates, a Bernie Sanders supporter, said that if Hillary Clinton was the party’s nominee she would never, under any circumstance, vote for her.

She went on to say that if that caused the GOP candidate ( you know how I’m talking about– don’t make me use his name) to win the presidency, so be it. They would simply come back four years later and get what they wanted then. Simple as that.

The sheer naivete and shortsightedness of her words made me quake. The GOP candidate’s agenda was already revealing itself to anyone who really looked hard. Those who did look could see that his election would mean an unraveling of many of the progressive strides made by this country. The nation under this person would head back toward a time without environmental protections or the regulation of financial institutions. You could even then see that he would try to persecute his rivals and would stack the courts with judges with the most radically right views possible. His implicit racism would curb any steps for social justice or equal footing for people of color that had been put in progress and his views on immigration were xenophobic and downright frightening.

To believe that we could allow this type of governance for four years then simply push him out in the next election and go right back to where we were was irresponsible madness.

In less than four years, he has stripped away many protections for our land, our air, our water and our people. He has attempted to make the Department of Justice his personal attack dog. How many children has he caged at our borders? Does anyone really know how many of them are still imprisoned there and for how long? He has weakened our longstanding alliances around the world, instead opting to cozy up to despots and totalitarian regimes who he fawns over. He has blown up our national debt, even without a crisis like a war or a pandemic, which is going to add even more. He has dismantled many of the gears of good government, including sacking the Pandemic Response office in  2018 for no reason at all.

This is just an off the cuff recall of his time in office and doesn’t even go into the damage he has done to our press freedoms or his incessant lying or the openly corrupt manner in which he stuffs his pockets and those of his friends and family from the public trough. If you give me a few more minutes, I am sure I could fill several more pages with all the ways in which he is negatively affecting this country.

So, to think that we would just let him be and then calmly take him out in 2020 was ridiculous.

Everything changes and does so quickly.

If, by the grace of some god somewhere, we do elect him out of office, we are not looking at the same country that we saw four years ago. There is a lot to be cleaned up and a lot more that we must rebuild once again to even get close to where we were before the 2016.

And if we somehow allow him four more years, all bets are off on where will be in 2024. We may be looking at a country that is totally unrecognizable to most of us. We will have elected an unfettered monster who unleash all his wrath on anyone who has wronged him or speaks out against him.

I do not believe I am speaking in hyperbole here.

I like Bernie and would love to see some of his ideas come to fruition. But I also know that unless we steady this ship, all is lost. This is not the time for the absolutism of many of his followers, like that delegate four years ago. The problem with all or nothing strategies is that you often end up with nothing.

No, this is a time of pragmatism. Would I like Joe Biden to be even further left? Sure. But I also know that he is, by virtue of the progressive changes that have taken place over the past thirty or forty years, further left than most Dem presidential candidates in that same time frame.

Joe Biden is not a perfect candidate. He is flawed and has made mistakes. He will make more. In the words of a rabbi that I recently read online, he is an imperfect mensch.

A mensch, for those who don’t know, is the Yiddish word for a person of honor. A good and caring soul. A real human being. A Holocaust survivor that I knew once called me a mensch and of the few accolades I’ve garnered in this world, that might be the one that I hold closest to my heart.

Biden is not perfect and won’t take the Bernie Bros all the way to where they want to be. But he will get them closer, setting our course in the right direction. Maybe even building a bridge in that direction that they can someday cross.

I trust him to try to do the right things. To be steady. I believe he will listen to the experts, will trust scientists, and will seek advice from the best minds. I believe he will not willfully hurt this country or its people and will try repair the damage done to our house and maybe build something better, even if it’s only incrementally better.

To continue this house analogy, Joe Biden might just be the firestop that keeps the whole house from burning to the ground.

That kind of pragmatism might not be exciting. Might not be the stuff of legend.

But it’s what we need in this moment.

And sometimes doing what is needed rather than what you want is, in itself, heroic.

To my Bernie Bro friends, think about that, please.


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Today is National Voter Registration Day. I truly urge anyone who has not yet registered to make today the day that you finally take the plunge and join our democracy.

You are needed more than ever.

We are at a vital point in our history, one that may well rival the Civil War/Lincoln era of the 1860’s, the Great Depresson/FDR era of the 1930’s or the Civil Rights/Viet Nam era of the 1960’s in importance to the history of our country. There are still alternate paths to us going forward and this coming election may well dictate which path this country follows.

One takes us closer and closer to a government ruled by a private governing elite of corporate power that is wholly released from public accountability. This includes privatization of prisons, the military, education, infrastructure and social safety networks as well as the removal of most environmental, financial and workplace regulations.

The citizen will live to serve the corporate bottom line.

The other moves us back towards a government that elevates the rights of citizens over those of corporations, one that looks to insure that the safety net that has saved so many of us from falling into abject poverty over the years stays intact. This path better protects our environment, our healthcare decisions, our workplace protections and our finances.

A government that would exist to serve the citizens.

This may well be the most important election that we will take part in. Some of you will say that is foolish hyperbole, that it will all work out for the country however you vote. In other times I might agree with that. But today that is precisely what they want you to believe. You see, we are at a point where a concerted effort over the past four decades by wealthy idealogues to weaken our public institutions and reconstitute the government in a way that serves and protects their purposes alone is coming to fruition. Part of this effort has been concerned with disenfranchising voters, both in making it more difficult to vote and in convincing would-be voters that their vote means little.

They want us disinterested or distracted. Or misinformed.

Prove them wrong. Be informed. Make your vote count.

I will not try to sway your vote but while I am known as the Red Tree guy, my favorite color is blue. Especially come November 6.


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gc-myers-the-angstI don’t want to turn this into a political debate but watching the Republicans lately (or for that matter, over the past several years) is a lot like seeing a terrible car wreck.  You want to turn away.  You want to cover your eyes and make believe it’s not happening.  You try to think happy thoughts but, oh, the horror of it all, it won’t go away.

So you have to look,  just to see if anyone can somehow miraculously climb from the carnage.  All the time there’s this gaping pit of sickness pooling in your gut even while a small grain of self-satisfaction appears as you tell yourself that this was inevitable, that for someone driving that recklessly and with so little regard for others on the road this was bound to happen.

You feel bad for the folks in the car just along for the ride but you know that it was their decision to trust this group of questionable characters (yes, I mean this to be plural) to steer their vehicle.

There was no need for this, no need to drive like maniacs and, despite what they claim, they were not forced off the road by a black man in an Escalade.  They were just blinded by their own fears.

Unfounded fears.

Think about it, folks, and try to be honest in remembering how things looked in 2008.  We were looking at the collapse of our stock markets and our housing markets while unemployment had skyrocketed in the prior years.  Lives were in disarray.   Do you believe that things are as bad after the past seven years as these reckless drivers claim?  The only thing keeping us from realizing how close we are to some form of prosperity is this promoted  and irrational fear.

That’s what Warren Buffett believes and I tend to agree with him.  As he said in his 2015 letter  to his stockholders in which he makes a compelling and detailed argument (please read it) against this overstated fear that we are on the brink of disaster:  while it would be irrational to be excessively optimistic all the time, it’s useful to remember that the greatest deterrent … remains their excessive focus not on what can go right in the future, but on what might go wrong.

Get that?  Focus on what can go right, not only on what can go wrong.

Before you go crazy and point out how awful the world is in your eyes,  let me point out that I understand that things are not perfect right now.  The point is that no time has ever been perfect and none ever will.  That is simply the nature of life, especially life in a large and constantly evolving country that has interests all over the world.  It’s a shifting puzzle that looks different from day to day.  But if you are always told and believe it’s going to look bad, it will look bad.

But some will always see the end of the world coming in the present and some will try to benefit from this. They’re going to want to drive the car, say they know a quicker route and that if you don’t let them at that wheel now you’re all going to die soon.

But give it some thought and trust your own mind, people.  The sky is not on fire and the four horsemen are not scourging the land yet.  Take the wheel and go with the flow…


The painting at the top is an old piece from about 20 years back that I call The Angst.  

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Empathy=Hipocrisy TomTomorrowI’ve been thinking lately, as I’ve been painting, about words that have big concepts behind them.  Words like reverence, devotion and empathy.

Empathy is a word that always comes back to me when I think of the chasm between left and right in this country.  I think that empathy is the quality, more than any other,  that really defines and divides both sides.

The right views empathy as a weakness, an admission that one can’t do for themselves and needs help.  Those who are without and need help obviously are out to take what the right has toiled to keep to themselves.  These people deserve only pity.  Not empathy, because how can we empathize with situations that we would never allow ourselves to be in?

The left has a large tent of empathy, looking out for everyone who has ever been down and needs a hand up, perhaps to a fault.  They have a sense of fair play that sometime opens them to being conned by those who would play upon their willingness to help.  They even sometimes treat their adversaries with empathy, giving them the benefit of their own doubt at times, allowing the opposition to hinder and sabotage even as they proclaim their desire for unity.

I know this is over-simplification to the nth degree and, god knows, I could be way wrong here.  But to me it’s just an illustration of how deep the chasm between these two sides remains and how incompatible their mindsets are.  This simple imbalance of a single human virtue on both sides makes any dialogue almost impossible and with every passing day we can see this in the news coming out of our capital.

Solutions?  I don’t know.  Perhaps if those on the left can absorb some of that self-righteous anger that has long been the province of the right and just swallow their empathy for a short time, something may be accomplished.  But until that improbable moment occurs, it’ll be the status quo.  Over and over again.

Thanks to Tom Tomorrow and his website for the cartoon.  I really like his style.


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