Does It Really Make Sense for a Frustrated Republican to Vote for a Democrat?

We jammed the first political sign of the season into the dirt in our yard. It was for a Republican. City Council. Incumbent. A moderate who has the best interest of the community at heart. We know his opponent too. A first time Democratic candidate inspired to get more active in recent years. We attended a Meet-N-Great for her campaign kickoff. She’s an asset to our neighborhood. 

Bushes (R) and Obamas (D)

We decided to go with our existing representative this time but many friends will go the other way. Winchester, Virginia will be well served no matter who wins the election.

That first sign was for a Republican. The second was for a Democrat for Congress.

If our Republican candidate was running for Congress (instead of City Council), we would not support him this year. The consequences for each office are vastly different.

I urge all those who consider themselves Republicans, conservative, moderates, independent–but who are deeply concerned about the current administration–to vote for a Democrat for Congress on November 6th.

President Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy
D. Eisenhower (R) and J. Kennedy (D)

Some reasons why:

1) The race for Congress is about Donald Trump and his brand of “conservatism.” Full stop. Will the chaos that Trump has brought to the federal government be bolstered or rejected? That’s the point of Nov. 6th.

2) If you are cheering Trump’s tweets and rallies and personality…if you prefer Donald Trump’s party to John McCain’s party, then you can stop reading now. I won’t convince you of anything.

3) A vote for a Republican for Congress is a vote to strengthen Donald Trump’s political capital within the Republican party itself.  The election is just as much a referendum on the two futures within the GOP, as it is the nation as a whole.

4) If the GOP holds Congress, Trump’s conduct is validated. There will be zero check on his control within government or within his party. He’ll have the votes and political capital to squash any Mueller report findings, indictments, or criticisms of his conduct.  

That is terrifying. Not just for liberals or Democrats, but to reasonable Republicans who believe in competence, balance, character, honesty, prudence, accountability, and basic fitness for our treasured office.  

But But But, I sometimes hear from reasonable Republican friends, but the alternative is worse. Look, I don’t like Trump, but he’s doing some good things. But I hate Colin Kaepernick. But at least it’s not socialism.

mccain kerry
J. Kerry (D) and J. McCain (R)

The “Buts” in this case fall far too short:

First, please don’t minimize the costs of having Donald Trump as the Republican that many children will forever identify with the party:  

  • The only President ever implicated by his own attorney in a criminal felony conspiracy under oath (for covering up hush payments to a porn star for an affair shortly after his wife gave birth).
  • Who’s attorney, campaign manager, and national security advisor have already been found guilty of felonies. 
  • A President who calls his own attorney general “mentally retarded. Who insults veterans for being tortured in war if they disagree with him.
  • Who sides with a Russian dictator over our own national security professionals. Who believes that America is morally equivalent to Russia but who considers Canada an enemy. 
  • A President who so obviously, clearly, and without ambiguity makes choices based entirely on his own ego and self-interest.

There is a tremendous cost to that being your guy. And if the GOP keeps Congress, he will forever be your guy. Mini-Mes will sprout up even after he’s gone to fill the void.

The only way forward is a rejection at the ballot box.

J. Boehner (R) and B. Obama (D)

Refusing to enable a son’s drug addiction can be hard, but it’s appropriate. You don’t get to pretend that you’re trying to solve the problem if  you keep slipping him cash and driving him to his dealer.

Second, the “cost” of a Democratic Congress is far lower than frustrated Republicans might suspect:

  • Many of Trump’s current policies are not conservative anyway. Shunning the free-market, imposing tariffs, and a budget that, for the first time ever, projects a permanent $1 trillion annual deficit.
  • Contrary to what you may have heard, Democratic candidates in many districts are reasonable, experienced, hardworking members of the community. You may be surprised that they share many of your own concerns.  Do not fall for scare tactics.
  • Trump will still be President. The Democratic party will not be able to pass anything without bipartisan support. There is also another election in 2 years, when you re-calibrate and make a different decision if necessary.

This is the most important election of a generation. Think carefully.

You do not have to come out of the closet, switch parties, or in any way run up against the public pressures of political tribalism. You can just vote, quietly, for the Democratic candidate, kindling the idea that the Republican party will steer itself back on a more American course. 

I hope you make that choice.

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.”



Photo Credit: <a href=””>dustinbattfilm</a&gt; Flickr via <a href=””>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

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……  


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

Is this how Trump wins?


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:


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-



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
Pamela Althoff
Luis Arroyo
Jason Barickman
Mark H. Beaubien, Jr.
Daniel V. Beiser
Patricia R. “Patti” Bellock
Maria Antonia (Toni) Berrios
Daniel K. Biss
Tim Bivins
Larry K. Bomke
Mike Bost
John E. Bradley
Bill Brady
Dan Brady
Rich Brauer
Adam M. Brown
Daniel J. Burke
Kelly M. Burke
William D. ‘Will” Burns
J. Bradley Burzynski
John Cavaletto
Linda Chapa-LaVia
James F. Clayborne, Jr.
Franco Coladipietro
Sandy Cole
Jacqueline “Jacqui” Y. Collins
Annazette R. Collins
Marlow H. Colvin
Michael G. Connelly
Fred Crespo
Tom Cross
M. Maggie Crotty
John J. Cullerton
Shane Cultra
Bill Cunningham
Barbara Flynn Currie
John D’Amico
Monique D. Davis
William “Will” Davis
Anthony DeLuca
William Delgado
Kirk W. Dillard
Dan Duffy
Lisa M. Dugan
Kenneth Dunkin
Jim Durkin
Roger L. Eddy
Keith Farnham
Sara Feigenholtz
Mary E. Flowers
Gary Forby
LaShawn Ford
Mike Fortner
Jack D. Franks
Michael W. Frerichs
Robyn Gabel
Susan Garrett
Esther Golar
Careen Gordon
Jehan Gordon
William R. “Bill” Haine
Norine K. Hammond
Don Harmon
Greg Harris
David Harris
Kay Hatcher
Chad D Hays
Rickey R. Hendon
Elizabeth Hernandez
Thomas “Tom” Holbrook
Linda Holmes
Constance A.”Connie” Howard
Mattie Hunter
Toi W Hutchinson
Eddie Lee Jackson Sr.
Mike Jacobs
Naomi D. Jakobsson
Charles E. “Chuck” Jefferson
Thomas Johnson 
Emil Jones, III
John O Jones
Thaddeus Jones
Dwight Kay
David Koehler
Renee Kosel
Dan Kotowski
Louis I. Lang
Chris Lauzen
David R. Leitch
Kimberly A. Lightford
Camille Lilly
Terry Link
David Luechtefeld
Joseph M. Lyons
Michael J. Madigan
Edward D. Maloney
Iris Y. Martinez
Sidney H. Mathias
Frank J. Mautino
Karen May
Rita Mayfield
Emily McAsey
Michael P. McAuliffe
William “Sam” McCann 
Kyle McCarter
Kevin A. McCarthy
Jack McGuire
James T. Meeks
Deborah L. Mell
Susana Mendoza
John Millner
Jerry L. Mitchell
Bill Mitchell
Thomas R. “Tom” Morrison
Richard Morthland
Rosemary Mulligan
John G. Mulroe
Matt Murphy
Michelle Mussman
Antonio “Tony” Mu√±oz
Elaine Nekritz
Michael Noland
Chris Nybo
Jo Ann Osmond
Harry Osterman
Carole Pankau
Brandon W. Phelps
Sandra M. Pihos
Raymond Poe
Robert Pritchard
Christine Radogno
Harry R. Ramey,Jr.
Kwame Raoul
Dennis Reboletti
David B. Reis
Dan Reitz
Sue Rezin
Dale A. Righter
Al Riley
Dale E. Risinger
Robert “Bob” Rita
Chapin Rose
Wayne Arthur Rosenthal
Pam Roth
Jim Sacia
Ronald L. Sandack
Martin A. Sandoval
Angelo “Skip” Saviano
Suzi Schmidt
Timothy L. Schmitz
Jeffrey M. Schoenberg
Darlene J. Senger
Carol Sente
Ira I. Silverstein
Keith P. Sommer
Joe Sosnowski
Cynthia Soto
Heather Steans
Ron Stephens
John M. Sullivan
Ed Sullivan, Jr.
Dave Syverson
Andre Thapedi
Jil Tracy
Donne E. Trotter
Michael W. Tryon
Arthur L. Turner
Michael D. Unes
Patrick Verschoore
Louis S. Viverito
Jim Watson
Arthur J. ( A.J.) Wilhelmi
Ann M. Williams
Dave Winters
Karen A. Yarbrough
Michael Zalewski

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.

The God Platform

Classify this under “Things That Make You Want to Jam Your Forehead Into the Nearest Piece of Drywall.”

For the past two weeks the chattering world has been buzzing about the RNC and DNC Conventions.  Beyond the political theater, there are two points to these events: officially selecting the party nominee for president and the unveiling of the official platform for each party.  The platform is a document that outlines what the party plans to do on various issues if given the power.  Simple enough.

BUT, the biggest political story this week relating to these platforms was the fact that *gasp* the Democrats had no mention of God in their platform.  As you might expect, in some corners this was played up as a clear sign that anyone who believes in God should not vote for a Democrat–they don’t share your values.

The response was swift:

Mitt Romney swooped“(That) this party purposely removed God from their platform suggests a party that is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of the American people.  I see it as being as out of touch and detached.”

Catholic.orgDemocrats have rapidly backpedaled from their Godless stance that smacks of atheism in their platform. 

Fox News Charlotte: Delegates approved their beliefs as a party heading into the presidential election. But God is nowhere to be found.

But fear not: Yesterday the party (awkwardly and ridiculously) “amended” the platform via a voice vote to re-insert reference to God.

Drywall may not be strong enough.  I think the only way to recover from this inanity is concrete directly to the forehead at 35 mph.

There is a remarkable misconception that somehow we are becoming a country of heathens.  In the “good old days” we were a God-fearing country.  This DNC Platform is just another reminder of how far we have fallen, right?

Ummm, no.

Here is a graph showing how many times the REPUBLICAN platform included mention of God since the GOP’s founding:

I’ll summarize: For most of its history the GOP logically decided that a document about political positions did not need mention of personal spiritual opinions.  It is only very recently that the party *gasp* decided that politics and God were intertwined.  ‘

They’ve really out-done themselves, because God is mentioned TEN times in the 2012 platform–a subtle reminder that the GOP has simply  gone off the rails in recent years.

But I’m not sure mention of God in a political statement is an indicator of the quality of that statement.  Can you guess another political document that lays out a public governance plan that has ZERO mention of God?    The United States Constitution

7 Reasons Why I Can No Longer Call Myself a Republican

When I was sixteen I stayed up until 4am  watching the 2000 Presidential election returns come in.  I was rooting for Bush over Gore.  I don’t even remember why anymore–I didn’t truly understand their policy differences.  For the next ten years I roughly considered myself a moderate Republican.  No longer.

I can’t even pretend to support the national Republican party today. Believe me, I’m pretty good at making excuses for a team that I support, even when logic suggests otherwise. After all, I’m a lifelong Cubs fan.  But politics is different.  This stuff isn’t a game.  It matters to all of us.  And I can no longer justify anything about the current state of the GOP

So here, in no particular order, are seven reasons why I’m officially cashing in my elephant card for the time being

1) Equality:  If I cross the Potomac it is against the law for me to get married, adopt a child, or donate blood.  In large part it is entirely because of Republican conduct.  This is absolutely unacceptable.

2) Tax Cuts Over Deficit Reduction: The GOP used to support deficit reduction first, tax cuts second.  Now it supports every possible tax cut no matter what and has done more to raise the deficit than the Democrats over the last three decades.

3) Liberty Only When Conveneint: Today’s GOP is for individual freedom, except when it comes to what you do behind closed doors or chose to put in your own body.

4) Military Dogma: We are not in an arms race.  Reducing military spending does not mean that we are letting the terrorists win.

5) Inequality: The problem is not that there is economic inequality but that the rate of inequality has gone up 10-fold in twenty years.  It is not “class warfare” to at least ask questions about why this might have happened.

6) Obama Bashing: Supporting a healthcare proposal more moderate than Richard Nixon’s does not make Obama a socialist.  Supporting tax levels lower than at any point in the last 70 years does not make Obama a socialist.  Killing more terrorists leaders in two years than the previous ten does not mean Obama is “apologizing for America.”

7) All Regulation is Bad:  Going back to the Gilded Age of industrial barons will make the lives of 99.55% of us much worse.  Some  regulation–at the highest levels–in areas that affect every single citizen (finance)–does not mean that we are giving up on free-market capitalism.

Looking at this list as a whole, I realize my main concerns are two-fold: extremism and hypocrisy.  The fringe of the party has taken every basic idea to its ridiculous ends and claim to believe certain principles while supporting policies that reject them.   Republican Dwight Eisenhower  is perhaps the most under-appreciated President of the last century.  If you believe what he did, then today you’d be called a liberal.