Politics

Lincoln…The Know-Nothings…Trump

There is an old Trump Tweet for everything these days.  Twitter users share those archived messages with glee each week.

I’m proposing a corollary: There is an old Lincoln quote for everything these days.

Consider this one, written to his best friend Joseph Speed in the early 1850s. This was inked as a private citizen, without any clear political future. That he would be President of the United States less than a decade later was laughable. He was sitting alone in his office, watching the growth of a nativist political party, and worrying for his country…

“Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it, ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.’ When it comes to this, I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty–Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

 

 

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Something We Can All Agree On – We Want to Stay Alive

I’m naive, but I still believe that most Americans agree on many basic things. We’ve forgotten that recently, because we voted for different people in November. But we can figure this out together.

The only thing about politics that truly matters are the actual policies that are enacted. The rest is noise.

No policy impacts you and I more than healthcare–by definition, it is life and death. Please give serious thought to the Republican healthcare bill that is inching closer to becoming law.    Senate Tax 2

Do not be fooled by the nonsense talking points that you’ll hear about this legislation. It is downright disgraceful:

1) No, you will not be getting a tax break–unless you are already wealthy. This proposal calls for massive tax cuts (almost $1 trillion), but it will go to the richest among us. 

2) No, you will not get better coverage for less money. Some premiums may go down–but only for those who are young without any health issues. Even then, your insurance will cover fewer things and may have a higher deductible.

3) Yes, many Americans will be completely screwed. If you are older, have existing health problems, or disabled you will receive worse insurance (if any at all) and pay much more.

Some believe that it is not the government’s job to ensure everyone has access to healthcare. It’s their political philosophy. That is why they have no problem giving money to the wealthiest and cutting support to the sickest and poorest.   

If you disagree with that principle, please be vocal, oppose this bill, and demand accountability–no matter who you voted for in November.

Being Right Doesn’t Matter in Right Now. Winning Does.

It seems like we are getting closer to a knock-out. Left jab lands. Right hooks connects. Trump is reeling and feeling woozy on the ropes. It’s only a matter of time until he collapses in the ring, and victory is proclaimed. Right? Not quite.

Politics isn’t boxing. Those of us outraged, saddened, disgusted, terrified, and embarrassed by the current administration need to land many more punches before this national nightmare is over.machiavelli

Everything hinges on Congress. Democrats are united in opposition, but Republicans control both chambers. In other words, Republican members of the House and Senate matter most. We have two options:

  • Option #1: We vote and give Democrats control of Congress.
  • Option #2: Enough Republicans stand up to Trump’s nonsense and, if appropriate, force him out of office.

ossofOf course, we cannot vote again until November of 2018. That is almost 20 months from now. Can we make it that long? For perspective, Trump has only been President for 4 months. Option #1 is slow.

Right now, we need to focus on Option #2. But what can any of us do to influence Republicans?  As much as we’d like to appeal to their reason, sense of principle, and putting country first—-that doesn’t do much. Members of Congress will respond to one thing: keeping their seat. They must believe that they have a better chance at keeping their seat if they stand up to Trump.

The traditional advocacy actions help on that front: Calling their office on controversial bills; Showing up at town halls; Participating in marches. But Republican members of Congress can discount those efforts. After all, there was a mountain of anger at Trump before November, and yet Republicans still won seats. Why is the anger different now? 

quistWe have to demonstrate that it’s different now. Literally show them that the anger translates into votes. Give them an example of a Democrat winning a seat that Republicans used to hold, and the game changes.

It can be done as early as next week.

Two special Congressional elections are on the way.  Absolutely nothing will be watched more closely by wavering Republicans than the outcome of those races. Much more attention needs to be focused on them.

May 25th – Montana Special Election –  You can donate to Rob Quist, the D candidate here

June 20th – Georgia Special Election – Donate to Jon Ossof, the D candidate here

Winning these elections, and/or making them as close as possible, is the single most important thing we can do right now to steer our national ship away from the iceberg. As you watch all the new developments related to Comey’s memos and Russia– keep your eye on these dates. Donate, call, and do everything you can–big or small–to influence these races.

Spread the word.

Get It Out of My Head. Please Make It Stop

I cannot write political blog posts anymore. The same internal dialogue makes me start–then stop–writing articles, Facebook updates, comments, and Tweets.

Am I alone in this? Please help.

Here’s a typical thought train:

I can’t even with this guy on Facebook. He has no idea how hypocritical he is. Every day he has pro-Trump posts. And now he shares something about bald eagles being killed by lead poisoning. What the hell?wth

Does he not realize that Trump’s pick for the EPA wants to dismantle as many environmental protections as possible?

Wait, let me google Scott Pruitt again…Ok, yea, he’s terrible on this. Certainly no champion of helping bald eagles dealing with lead.

Typical Trump voter, so hypocritical. Maybe I should write a blog post on all the hypocrisy we’ve seen so far.  Never mind. That is the least original idea ever. Like the world needs more writing on Trump being a liar and hypocrite. Real out-of-the-box thinking, Paul. Sheesh.

Anyway, I’m going to comment on this Facebook post. Someone should say something. It can’t go unchecked. If no one calls him on it, the guy will go through the whole day without realizing how terrible his opinions are. You can’t be a Trump voter AND get to pretend like you are the new Jack Hanna. Wait, maybe a good post would be discussing the tragic irony of how the symbols of our nation are literally dropping dead. Eh…forget it. No one wants to read that. This isn’t a freshman English assignment. Political blog posts about symbolism?  Get your head in the game.

But I am responding to this Facebook thing. Even if I don’t change this guy’s mind (I won’t), the quiet lurkers will notice. Maybe it will have an effect. Too many Trump voters have no idea what the President is actually doing. Policy-wise, I mean. 

That’s the root of the problem, isn’t it? That Trump supporters don’t really know the details of things. They assume he’ll support policies that will personally help them. They ignore the crazy and give him the benefit of the doubt on every-god-damn-thing.  Crap, that is exactly the critique used against people who “worshiped” Obama. Stop it Paul, that is a false equivalency.  

All this thinking is a little high and mighty of me, isn’t it…like I’m so smart and clearly wiser than these fools. Am I just as hypocritical?  I say I love animals, but I eat meat. Lots of it.thinking5

I know how this guy will respond on Facebook, though. He’ll say that just because he supports Trump doesn’t mean he supports everything the administration says or does. Great, tell that to the bald eagles.

Or he will try to find something bad about Hillary Clinton and then say, ‘so you must support that too, right?’ 

Or maybe he’ll play it really understated and use the ‘lets give him a chance’ line.

I’ll have to go into the specifics about exactly what Pruitt plans to do with the EPA. Honestly, I’ll need to research that. The only thing I can remember right now is that he is a climate change skeptic (or should I say ‘denier?’), and I think he sued the EPA while in Oklahoma. Something like that. 

Is that hypocritical of me, that I don’t really know the details off the top of my head and am kind of assuming?  At least I’m willing to look it up, and I know the gist–Pruitt is terrible for the environment, right?

I’m sure Trump voters do that same thing though–a quick google search, find an article, and then spit it back out. Ugh. Am I falling into the same trap?  No no. Don’t be silly. Don’t forget the one thousand other awful things Trump has said and done. Keep perspective. But that is probably what Trump voters told themselves during the election- ‘That may be true, but don’t forget all the other terrible things about Hillary.’ 

thinking6You know what, never mind. It’s not worth it. I only see this guy a couple of times a year. I don’t have time for back-and-forth comments all day. He shares a lot of baseball posts too. Move on. Remember, life isn’t politics…

Wait. What are you talking about? Paul, don’t be a moron. Now is not the time for silence.  Silence only normalizes this horror show of a presidency. Speak boldly and confidently, rise up and……  

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

20 minute internal dialogue. Nothing accomplished. Repeat 5x a day.

Is this how Trump wins?

IS HILLARY THE NEW MARCIA CLARK OR CRUELLA DE VIL?

hillary-gun-3You are on a Red Line train in Chicago as it pulls up to the Addison stop. Wrigley Field is almost an arm’s reach away. A thousand people wearing Cubbie blue shirts and hats cram onto the car. You immediately hear chatter from them:

“That home plate umpire was unfair.”

“He was way off on those calls, particularly in the 7th”

You didn’t watch a single pitch, but you already know the outcome: The Cubs lost. Because you don’t make excuses immediately after you win.

Anyone who has ever watched a baseball game knows who “won” the first Presidential debate. Within minutes of walking offstage, Donald Trump and his surrogates were making excuses about the previous 90 minutes–to explain a poor performance. By the next day, however, the excuses were transforming into obnoxious conspiracy theories.

A Timeline of Trump Responses to the Debate:

  1. Lester Holt, the moderator, asked him “unfair questions.”hillary-parkinsons
  2. He could have been more aggressive, but he held back because he is a gentleman.
  3. He had microphone problems: “They gave me a defective mic…I wonder if that was on purpose? It was much lower [volume] than hers.”      …Then things shifted to the nutty…
  4. Hillary had  an earpiece to get secret information.
  5. Actually, that wasn’t an earpiece, it was a device used by people to quell the effects of Parkinson’s disease…which she might or might not have.
  6. Lester Holt gave Hillary all of the questions ahead of time.
  7. Maybe he didn’t, but they had a secret scratching code where Hillary indicated what she wanted Holt to do by itching her face 5 times in a row.
  8. But seriously, a majority of the country thinks Trump won except, “Google search engine was suppressing the bad news about Hillary Clinton’s [debate performance].”

Those phrases in quotes aren’t from random Trump supporters wearing tinfoil hats. They are the candidate’s own words.

If you actually believe those arguments, you are probably not reading this. And if you are, I am definitely not persuading you. I mean, Hillary likely paid me to write the post.

Luckily, this post is not directed at those who share articles about secret scratch signals and Parkinson’s devices. Instead, it is directed at the 10% of voters who are legitimately unsure how to cast their vote this year (or whether to cast one at all). Please do not buy into the nonsense conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton. You shouldn’t believe conspiracy theories about Donald Trump, either.

hillary-killerConspiracy theories are groundless. They are not useful for getting a true picture of the world. But they do have some use. They are helpful in understanding the character of those who promote them. Reasonable, intelligent, honest individuals do not make absurd claims of others to rile a crowd. These conspiracy theories should give you pause….not about Hillary, but about Donald Trump.

They are a sign of weakness. Why isn’t there an endless stream of popular conspiracy theories about Trump? Because there is no need.  Listening to what he says, how he acts, and what he proposes on a daily basis is plenty of fodder for seriously questioning his judgement.

The same is not true for Hillary. You can challenge her proposals, but she does not present herself to the world on a daily basis in a way that a reasonable person would think: “she has a terrible lack of judgment; she is spouting nonsense.” You can disagree with her without believing that she worships Satan (yes, that claim has been made). To discredit her, a campaign must make up wild theories of phantom illnesses, mass voter deception, or murder. This is in the hope that those insinuations drown out her actual words. Because her actual words and conduct on the campaign stand up as Presidential. Her opponent’s do not.

The bottom line:

  1. This is an extremely close election–either Trump or Clinton could win.hillary-murder-3
  2. Voters should evaluate candidates on their own words, actions, and proposals that have factual backing.
  3. Continuous negative campaigning and promotion of outrageous conspiracy theories is proven to decrease turnout.
  4. Trump wants lower turnout–it’s his only path to victory. The awful insinuations will continue.
  5. A third-party will not win this election.
  6. If you evaluate the two main candidates honestly–without pre-judgement–and find Hillary Clinton to show more competence, intelligence, and understanding for the office of President than Donald Trump–vote for her.

 

Photo Credit: Main image- Cover of “My Turn” a book by Doug Henwood

Let’s Win This

gay couple 2

“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts transform the world.”

My dear family & friends-

I spent the first twenty years of my life berating myself over whether I should keep quiet about my sexual orientation.  What would people think?  Would I be ridiculed?  Who would joke about me when I wasn’t around?  Who would be disappointed?  Would my life be worse?

Guess what happened?  A lot changed.  And I’ve never been happier.

The people that matter most in my life didn’t just support me: You became my biggest defenders.  There is nothing so sweet as having others standing at your side, ready to challenge those trying to bring you down or treat you unfairly.  Every day I am humbled by those who stand up for love, fairness, and equality–even when it isn’t popular.  I know you don’t have to do it.  But you do.   And it means the world to me.

No good deed goes unpunished.  If you have any gas left in the tank, I would be so grateful if you could take one last step to finally end this battle in Illinois and ensure our state treats everyone the same, including people like me.  As you might have heard, in early January legislators in Springfield will vote on a bill that would allow same sex couples to solidify their loving relationship by way of a marriage. gay couple 3

The chief sponsor of the bill explains: “It’s very straightforward.  We treat all couples with the same respect and dignity in the eyes of the law and we protect the rights of religious institutions to either consecrate or not consecrate marriages within their faith as they see fit. It’s very important that government not involve itself in religion on either side of the issue.”

Here’s the reality: Right now, internal counts of those legislators show that we may not have the votes.  It is very close, but some representatives are unsure.  They will make up their mind based on how their constituents voice their opinion.

That is why I am urging you to take 5 minutes to draft a very simple email and send it to your State Representative and State Senator, asking them to treat all Illinois residents fairly by supporting marriage equality.

It does not have to be long or time-consuming.  But by typing out a few sentences and hitting the send button, you may be the tipping point.  All you need to include is this:

kyle&paul

1) Share you name, that you are a voter in Illinois, and indicate where you live.  It makes a big difference if the lawmaker knows that you are a constituent in their own district.  Say if there are multiple voters in your household (or, better yet, have each one send an email).

2) Urge them to vote in favor of marriage equality.  You can say this in one sentence or fifty.

That’s it.  More than at any other time, that simple act can make a real difference.  This is not like casting a vote for President when you know what the outcome will be in Illinois.  It is VERY close, and every single email counts tremendously. Lesbian couple

It would be great if you could do this right now…as you are reading this.  Because if you don’t do it now, you might forget.  Life is hectic.  Below you will find a list of legislators and email addresses.

Please send a message now explaining where you stand.

Forever grateful-

Paul

——————————————————————————————————

Not sure who your legislators are?  Go to this site, type in your address, and get their names, then come back here to get their email from the list below….

1) Step #1: FIND YOUR STATE LEGISLATORS: HERE (Remember to look for your STATE Representative and STATE Senator)

2) Step #2: Find their names below (alphabetical) and send them a quick email.  You should send one to your State Rep. AND one to your State Senator.  If two email addresses are listed for that person, send them to both addresses.

NAME                          EMAIL #1                                            EMAIL #2

Edward J. Acevedo eacevedoed@ilga.gov Sylvia_idrovo@sbcglobal.net
Pamela Althoff pamela@pamelaalthoff.net palthoff@mc.net
Luis Arroyo RepDistrict3@gmail.com
Jason Barickman  jason@jasonbarickman.org
Mark H. Beaubien, Jr. strepmbeaubien@sbcglobal.net
Daniel V. Beiser dvbeiser@sbcglobal.net
Patricia R. “Patti” Bellock rep@pbellock.com
Maria Antonia (Toni) Berrios repberrios39@gmail.com rep_berrios@yahoo.com
Daniel K. Biss repbiss@gmail.com
Tim Bivins senatorbivins@grics.net
Larry K. Bomke senatorbomke@yahoo.com
Mike Bost rep.bost@hotmail.com mikebost@midwestmail.com
John E. Bradley repjohnbradley@mychoice.net
Bill Brady billbrady@senatorbillbrady.com
Dan Brady dan@rep-danbrady.com
Rich Brauer Brauerr@housegopmail.state.il.us
Adam M. Brown abrown@decaturil.gov
Daniel J. Burke burkedj2@ilga.gov illhouse@aol.com
Kelly M. Burke kelly@kellyburke2010.com
William D. ‘Will” Burns repwillburns@att.net
J. Bradley Burzynski senatorbrad@frontier.com senatorbrad@verizon.net
John Cavaletto john@johncavaletto.com
Linda Chapa-LaVia chapa-laviali@ilga.gov lindachapalavia@aol.com
James F. Clayborne, Jr. jfc87@norcom2000.com
Franco Coladipietro franco@il45.com
Sandy Cole representativesandycole@comcast.net
Jacqueline “Jacqui” Y. Collins jcollins@senatedem.ilga.gov
Annazette R. Collins collinsar@ilga.gov annazettec@sbcglobal.net
Marlow H. Colvin repcolvin@sbcglobal.net
Michael G. Connelly Repconnelly48@gmail.com
Fred Crespo fred@fredcrespo.com
Tom Cross tom@tomcross.com
M. Maggie Crotty jdowis@senatedem.ilga.gov
John J. Cullerton john@senatorcullerton.com
Shane Cultra Shanecultra105@yahoo.com
Bill Cunningham  staterepbillcunningham@gmail.com
Barbara Flynn Currie repcurrie@sbcglobal.net bfc15@aol.com
John D’Amico johnd@ilga.gov
Monique D. Davis davismd@ilga.gov Mdavis2147@yahoo.com
William “Will” Davis williamd@ilga.gov repwilldavis@sbcglobal.net
Anthony DeLuca repdeluca@sbcglobal.net
William Delgado repdelgado@aol.com
Kirk W. Dillard senator@kdillard.com
Dan Duffy Dan@SenatorDuffy.com
Lisa M. Dugan lisadugan@sbcglobal.net
Kenneth Dunkin kendunkin@msn.com
Jim Durkin jimd@ilga.gov kanadyF@housegopmail.state.il.us
Roger L. Eddy roger@peopleforeddy.com Reddyunit1@aol.com
Keith Farnham krfarnham@gmail.com
Sara Feigenholtz sara@staterepsara.com staterep12@aol.com
Mary E. Flowers flowersme@ilga.gov mflowers@hds.ilga.gov
Gary Forby senatorforby@yahoo.com
LaShawn Ford lkf@ilga.gov repford@lashawnford.com
Mike Fortner Mike.fortner@sbcglobal.net
Jack D. Franks jack@jackfranks.org
Michael W. Frerichs mfrerichs@senatedem.ilga.gov
Robyn Gabel robyn@robyngabel.com
Susan Garrett ilsenate29@sbcglobal.net
Esther Golar esthergolar@sbcglobal.net
Careen Gordon staterepgordon@sbcglobal.net
Jehan Gordon repjehangordon@gmail.com
William R. “Bill” Haine whaine@cbnstl.com
Norine K. Hammond  rephammond@macomb.com
Don Harmon dharmon@senatedem.ilga.gov
Greg Harris greg@gregharris.org
David Harris harrisforstaterep@yahoo.com
Kay Hatcher info@kayhatcher.us vote4kay@att.net
Chad D Hays  chad@chaddhays.com
Rickey R. Hendon hendon@senatedem.ilga.gov
Elizabeth Hernandez repehernandez@yahoo.com hernandezl@ilga.gov
Thomas “Tom” Holbrook holbrookta@ilga.gov Thomas.holbrook@att.net
Linda Holmes senatorholmes42@sbcglobal.net
Constance A.”Connie” Howard howardca@ilga.gov staterep-constance-a-howard@comcast.net
Mattie Hunter senatorhunter03@sbcglobal.net
Toi W Hutchinson thutchinson@senatedem.ilga.gov
Eddie Lee Jackson Sr. bbsty2010@gmail.com
Mike Jacobs senatorjacobs@sbcglobal.net
Naomi D. Jakobsson naomi@naomijakobsson.com
Charles E. “Chuck” Jefferson staterepchuck67@aol.com
Thomas Johnson SenatorTomJohnson@gmail.com 
Emil Jones, III ejones3@senatedem.ilga.gov
John O Jones johnojones@sbcglobal.net
Thaddeus Jones tjones@calumetcity.org
Dwight Kay info@dwightkay.com
David Koehler senatorkoehler@grics.net
Renee Kosel rkosel@ilga.gov
Dan Kotowski dan@senatorkotowski.com
Louis I. Lang langli@ilga.gov reploulang@aol.com
Chris Lauzen admin@lauzen.com
David R. Leitch davidleitch@ameritech.net
Kimberly A. Lightford statesenatorlightford@comcast.net
Camille Lilly statereplilly@yahoo.com
Terry Link senator@link30.org
David Luechtefeld sendavel@midwest.net
Joseph M. Lyons lyonsjm@ilga.gov jsmith@hds.ilga.gov
Michael J. Madigan mmadigan@hds.ilga.gov
Edward D. Maloney ed@edmaloney.com
Iris Y. Martinez ilsenate20@sbcglobal.net
Sidney H. Mathias repmathias@hotmail.com SIDNEYMATH@msn.com
Frank J. Mautino patti76th@ivnet.com
Karen May karen@repkarenmay.org karenmay58@aol.com
Rita Mayfield ritamayfield60@gmail.com
Emily McAsey RepEmily@gmail.com
Michael P. McAuliffe mmcauliffe20@yahoo.com
William “Sam” McCann SenatorSam@frontier.com 
Kyle McCarter mccarter51@att.net senatormccarter51@att.net
Kevin A. McCarthy kevmac37@sbcglobal.net
Jack McGuire jmcguire86@sbcglobal.net Jmcguire86@sbcglobal.com
James T. Meeks senmeeks@sbcglobal.net
Deborah L. Mell deb@debmell.org dmel@hds.ilga.gov
Susana Mendoza staterepmendoza@gmail.com
John Millner johnjmillner@aol.com
Jerry L. Mitchell repjmitchell@comcast.net
Bill Mitchell repmitchell@earthlink.net
Thomas R. “Tom” Morrison  Repmorrison54@gmail.com
Richard Morthland rich@richmorthland.com
Rosemary Mulligan repmulligan@usa.net
John G. Mulroe info@mulroeforsenate.com
Matt Murphy senatormattmurphy@gmail.com
Michelle Mussman michelle@votemichelle.org
Antonio “Tony” Mu√±oz amunoz@senatedem.ilga.gov
Elaine Nekritz enekritz@repnekritz.org
Michael Noland richj@noland.org
Chris Nybo chris@chrisnybo.com
Jo Ann Osmond reposmond@aol.com osmondjoann@aol.com
Harry Osterman hjo17@aol.com
Carole Pankau carole@pankau.org
Brandon W. Phelps bphelps@yourclearwave.com
Sandra M. Pihos sandrapihos42@gmail.com community@sandrapihos.com
Raymond Poe poe@ilga.gov poer@housegopmail.state.il.us
Robert Pritchard bob@pritchardstaterep.com
Christine Radogno cradogno@sbcglobal.net
Harry R. Ramey,Jr. staterepramey55@aol.com
Kwame Raoul raoulstaff@gmail.com
Dennis Reboletti dennisreboletti@sbcglobal.net dennisreboletti@aol.com
David B. Reis david@davidreis.org
Dan Reitz repreitz@egyptian.net
Sue Rezin suerezin@gmail.com
Dale A. Righter drighter@consolidated.net
Al Riley rep.riley38@sbcglobal.net rep.riley@sbcglobal.net
Dale E. Risinger senatorrisinger@yahoo.com
Robert “Bob” Rita robertbobrita@aol.com
Chapin Rose ls@chapinrose.net chapin@chapinrose.com
Wayne Arthur Rosenthal  waynerosenthal@consolidated.net
Pam Roth moffitt@grics.net
Jim Sacia JimSacia@aeroinc.net
Ronald L. Sandack rsandack@downers.us
Martin A. Sandoval msandoval@senatedem.ilga.gov
Angelo “Skip” Saviano skip@skipsaviano.com
Suzi Schmidt suzi@suzischmidt.com
Timothy L. Schmitz info@timschmitz.org ilrep49@sbcglobal.net
Jeffrey M. Schoenberg senator@jschoenberg.org
Darlene J. Senger sengerstaterep@gmail.com
Carol Sente repsente@gmail.com
Ira I. Silverstein isilverstein@senatedem.ilga.gov
Keith P. Sommer sommer@mtco.com
Joe Sosnowski joesosnowski@gmail.com Joe.Sosnowski@rockfordil.gov
Cynthia Soto csoto@ilga.gov maria.zarate08@gmail.com
Heather Steans hsteans@senatedem.ilga.gov
Ron Stephens ron@repstephens.com
John M. Sullivan senjohn@adams.net
Ed Sullivan, Jr. ILhouse51@sbcglobal.net
Dave Syverson info@senatordavesyverson.com
Andre Thapedi rep32district@gmail.com thapedi@sbcglobal.net
Jil Tracy jiltracy@jiltracy.com
Donne E. Trotter senatortrotter@yahoo.com
Michael W. Tryon Mike@miketryon.com
Arthur L. Turner turneral@ilga.gov inezc@reparthurturner.com
Michael D. Unes  repunes@gmail.com
Patrick Verschoore pverschoore@qconline.com
Louis S. Viverito lviverito@senatedem.ilga.gov
Jim Watson jimwatson@localnetco.com
Arthur J. ( A.J.) Wilhelmi senatorajwilhelmi@sbcglobal.net
Ann M. Williams ann@repanwilliams.com
Dave Winters repwinters@aol.com
Karen A. Yarbrough kyarbrough@ilga.gov karenyarbrough@ameritech.net
Michael Zalewski michaelz@ilga.gov

List Time: Facebook Political Posts

De-friending threats have reached an all-time high as Facebook collides with election season.  This year seems much worse than in 2008, doesn’t it?   

Most claim that they cannot wait until the election is over so they don’t have it shoved in their face each of the 37 times they go to FB during the day.  But admit it: Part of you loves it.  There is something tribal about logging on, seeing a post that you find ridiculous, and thinking…”What a moron; I’m so much smarter than that person.”  OR seeing  a post from someone on your team and remembering…”They agree with me; I knew we were right all along.”

Nevertheless, my soul has taken a slight bruising in recent weeks as I’ve clawed through the muck on my feed.  Many different thoughts have popped up, and I’d like to share them…

(1) Anyone with Windows 95 and four minutes can make a chart.  If there is no attribution for the stats listed on that chart, you should take it with a 500 lb grain of salt.  The fact that it has been shared 10,000 times does not make it more reliable.

(2) There is almost nothing that can be learned from a one-sentence talking point.  Obama does not want to give all of your money to poor people.  Romney does not want poor people shot on the spot.

(3) Placing words over an unflattering picture of the candidate does not magically make those words more accurate.

(4) The fact that 30 people liked your post bashing a candidate is not a sign that you were right.  It’s a sign that, like everyone else on the planet, you associate with people that already think like you do.

(5) If your immediate response to a post is, “Why would the candidate be so stupid as to do that?” then there is a good chance the candidate did not actually do it.  No, Mitt Romney did not try to kill his dog.  No, President Obama did not apologize to terrorists after the tragedy in Libya.

(6) Trust me, we already know who you are voting for.  We do not need to see 14 photos of the President every day to be reminded that you are an Obama supporter.  If the cartoon, slogan, or picture that you are sharing doesn’t provide new or useful information to others, its not worth posting.

(7) It is actually OK to be undecided.  Just because you post something critical of President Obama does not mean that you cannot post anything nice about him.

(8) The fact that a lot of people are talking about it doesn’t make it important.  Paul Ryan didn’t run a marathon as fast as we thought?  Whoop-de-do.   Move on and actually read his “Path to Prosperity” and the CBO analysis of that plan and compare it to something like the Simpson-Bowles plan.

(9) Attacking a weak argument does not mean that the other side is actually making that argument.  It’s called a straw man.  No, Obama supporters are not voting against Mitt Romney because he is rich.

(10) The debates are coming up.  Let me save you the trouble: You are going to think that your candidate “won” the debate.  The other side is going to disagree completely. We all watch the same debates and have our prior opinions reinforced.  It’s science.

(11) You can say things like “obviously” or “its so clear” or “its speaks for itself.”  But that doesn’t mean it actually is–politics are messy, confusing, contradictory, and complex.

(12) Do you really think its just a coincidence that all sources that say something you disagree with are biased?  Maybe, just maybe, they are actually providing you information that you’d hadn’t thought about yet.

(13) You will not get an award if your candidate wins.  No one will think that you are smarter or more popular if the person you voted for becomes President.  The people who disagree with you now will disagree with you after the election.  Its more important to think through the issues than to pick a side and root for that side blindly.

(14) When you actually step into the booth to vote, you do not have to select the person who you wrote the most Facebook messages about.  No one will know. Be open to learning more and changing your mind up until the last moment.

(15) Take two deep breaths.  No matter what happens, we will get through this.  Every single election is a “turning point” with the “future of our country on the line.”  It’s always the most important decision in decades that will decide the course of the world.  BUT, when you wake up the day after the election, your house will be the same color, your coffee will taste the same, you will go to the same job, and come home to the same person (or animal or lamp).  Keep calm and carry on.