Shut Down

shutdownI don’t like writing about politics too much. It’s not because I don’t understand what is going on, it’s because I view American politics sorta like Game of Thrones played out in a democratic/capitalistic society. I do vote and I’m a registered Democrat. I roughly follow what happens in government but it’s not apart of my daily life. Despite all this, I do fundamentally understand what is going with this governmental shut down. The question in my mind about all of this crap is, who does the Tea Party hate more, President Obama or poor people?

Let’s just say, for argument sake, that this whole action of shutting down the government due to Republican wanting to defund Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) is not about race. Factor out the fact that conservatives have fought POTUS with every tooth and nail. Factor out that the Affordable Care Act is SAME THING Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts and they all loved it. If it’s not about the race of Obama, then what’s it about? His political views that allowed him to win the popular vote twice? So if it’s not about that, then one could conceivably deduce that this issue is about poor people.

Is Universal Healthcare that bad? One could argue that healthcare is a fundamental right of being American (or a basic human right). Yet we, as a society, seem to be ok with the rising prices of private insurance costs. I suppose that it is fine that the best medical care goes to those to can afford it. Honestly, it sounds a lot like Higher Education but what about those American citizens, who cannot afford insurance? You have some states, like New York, whose minimum wage is not sufficient to keep people about the poverty line and you expect those people to have decent healthcare?

Well according to some Republicans, those people should really do their homework and search the free market to get a fair price (assuming you do not have a pre existing condition). Of course, if you come to the table already having been sick then you’re pretty much screwed (so move to Canada or Cuba). But, hey this is the system that we has worked for many years and the think we should go back to that, which pretty much means they give zero fucks for those who can’t afford it.

So now the government is shutdown and each side is blaming each other when we all know that Obamacare is a LAW that passed both houses and deemed constitutional by The Supreme Court. Why fight this? Millions of people signed up on Day One and the website was down due to massive over use. What does that mean? Could it possibly be that there are more people who need this than previously thought? How is that possible when considering the rate of unemployment?

Having said all that, understand that this shutdown is about the common person. There are people out of work and thus not getting paid because the privileged are having a tantrum. All these politicians, arguing for or against what’s happening, are all getting paid. They do not and cannot feel nor truly understand how it feels to forced to not to work while people debate the validity of a LAW that has already been passed. Sure some can empathize, but at the end of the day, they can pay their bills.

I will fully admit that the luster of Obama’s administration has worn off on me. There things that he has done that I do not agree with when it comes to drones and the almost war with Syria. Despite this, he is still the President and the blatant disrespect of him from the Tea Party show that race play a factor at least on a subconscious level and if you do not believe me simply look up Michelle Bachman’s remark about how she feels that Obamacare is the POTUS’ attempt to drug dealer.

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Yes, 4 More Years

You know, I started this blog in 2009 — two days after Barak Obama was inaugurated. I felt so much hope for the country, for my students, and for my own life (which was in turmoil at that time). So I like to think that this blog lives on during his presidency in some small way. It also made me think that I needed to get back to who I am…which is a writer.

That hope that I have for myself and my continuing journey has seen a lot of hardship along the way. I have doubted myself and many times almost succumbed to fear. Yet, I have turned on the television and see the leader of the free world and know that I have to keep working at it. I need to continue to believe in myself. Even more importantly, I think about how many young boys and girls are going to grow up knowing a Black man will be president for 8 years of their life. That stark reality is amazing to me.

Of course, the fact that Obama is getting another 4 years does not excite everyone. This is a deeply divided country, in which, he did win the popular vote but that is just by a little more than 1% more than poor Mitt Romney. While the GOP is reeling, there are tons of unhappy conservatives who are making it known that they do not want a nigger in the White House. These are things that I simply cannot make up and while most of these people may be ignorant, these were the people that also came out in full force against Obama (and not necessarily for Mittens). That is why I had a bad feeling but I suppose I was just being overly cautious.

The truth of the matter is that I said it all along, this is a race issue. When the networks were analyzing the data they came up with some staggering numbers about the white vote. While I may be off in my numbers, the percentage of white votes dropped about 8% from 2008 white Latino voters increased about 10%. When we are talking about millions of people…that is a huge amount. There is no secret that people of color came out in full force. The funny thing is that this is no longer a voting trend. This is a fact that people of color are becoming more dominant in this country and in the political landscape. That is something that the GOP will have to figure out before 2016 because the extreme ideas about immigration and women’s right will not fly anymore and that is not even considering gay marriage.

Times are changing because Latinos will eventually force states like Texas to turn from a red state to a blue state. Gay Marriage is upon us faster than anyone anticipated and I am all for it. There is now even legalized Marijuana in Colorado and while I am against that particular issue, the fact of the matter is that this is what people voted for. These are things I never thought I would see in my life time and that also included the proposition of Puerto Rico to become a the 51st State. I can be very vocal on this issue of Puerto Rico, but I will save it for another time.

All of this makes me think about where I will be in 4 years. While I have pretty much done what I said I was going to do this year, there are still more goals that I have to reach. There are still some plateaus that need to crossed. I know that I can do anything I set my mind to…and when I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders, all I have to do like that our President and realize that he has accomplished his goals…so that means I can accomplish mine.

The Political Jokes are on US.

Maybe this is what we need…

You know, I laugh because we are indeed at a pinnacle point in our history. Well, at least in the time I have been alive. I can say that because this election is that important. I laugh because it seems like politics have become so extreme. You are either on one side or the other and those sides are so far apart that it makes it hard to really have a critical debate on things. I laugh because people can be married to the lies that are told and are not willing to hear the truth…not matter what that is.

No politician is perfect. No US President has been perfect. Each one of them had chinks in their armor. You can look at Lincoln, Kennedy, Reagan, FDR, Bush(s), Clinton, and Nixon as just a few examples of what can be good or bad depending on history or party affiliation. For every good thing they do, the opposing party will give you a list of things they did horribly. In many cases, each party will talk about some of these eras being dark ones and there was a need for America “to get back on track.” Yet, for the most part, the rich remain the rich, the poor are still poor, and the middle class just remains in the middle.

I laugh because there is a joke somewhere in there. A joke that not many of us get and one I may not fully understand myself. Maybe the joke is that nothing really ever gets better perhaps everything is an ebbs and flows. Maybe the joke is that no matter how much we fight, one class of people with get taxed; the middle class or the rich and yet the poor will remain largely ignored. What is almost funny is how the liberals want to help the unfortunate and the conservatives find it unfortunate that people can’t help themselves.

The fact is most people are like sheep because no one really thinks critically anymore. They just assume that if something is said by someone in government then it must be true. If things are in History books than it must be true. There was a time when a politician lied and was proven wrong by a fact checker that this individual would lose points in the polls but we live in a bizaro world where the President is Black and his stature is always questioned. Sure, we all called George W dumb and Bill Clinton a womanizer, but there was a level of respect you gave to the position. Yet, Obama seems to get less respect than either and he is smart and a happily married man!

Sure, one can say that Bush had shoes thrown at him and we giggled, but that was not in America. I can guarantee that all us had at least seen one picture of Barak Obama as a monkey or in a noose. I dare anyone to try to defend that. Yet, that is another joke that conservatives do not get. No matter how hard you work, the color of your skin will always be a factor. I mean, I am sure you can point to Oprah Winfrey and say that she is a success, however she is just one “nigger” slur away from the rest of us.

We are indeed at an interesting time. Am I the only one who has noticed that being poor has been deemed as a burden to the rest of society? Apparently, coming across hard times quickly turns to an unwillingness to work so the they can get free healthcare and food stamps. The best part of this joke is that socialism is constantly being shouted out by people because taxing the rich (plus giving a break to the middle class) and using that money to help others is wrong. But if you use the conservative model of taxing the middle class while giving breaks to the rich to use that money to help others is the correct model!

I am quite sure there conservatives will say that the wealthy getting breaks helps big business create jobs, but the thing is I do not buy that idea because people who have money love to keep money. Yet, governmental programs have to be paid for…who is gonna pay for it? (Hint: You) Either that, or the deficit increases. Notice one really says who we owe money to (besides China).

Finally, I laugh because the joke is really on us. Most of us go through life not paying attention to the things that are happening around us. Most of us are distracted by the house/basketball wise, the jersey shores, the dancing stars, the iphone/ipads, facebook, and fantasy sports to realize that our society is getting dumber, fatter, and sicker. And while all that is happening, you have a political party that trying its hardest to restrict the elderly and the minorities the right to vote in battle ground states. Democrat and Republicans must agree that is wrong.

Maybe…just maybe, the real joke is that we are no longer a society in which race matter maybe it is all about class; about the haves and the have nots.

LBC 2012 Day 5 – Romney or Obama?

(Let me preface this whole challenge by saying that I know that I am late….but this is me catching up)

This is a scary time for the United States of America. There is such a political divide that things are getting messier as we get closer to November. It is very apparent that we are in a pivotal point, like 4 years ago, as to what direction we will be going in. We have our current President that has put policies in place that his current opponent has vowed to repeal when he gets into office.

This has alway been an easy choice for me. There is no way I will ever vote for Mitt Romney. I am pretty much against anything he proposes or talks about. Here is a man who allowed universal healthcare to happen in Massachusetts (he was governor at the time) and now opposes it. Romney made himself look foolish at the Olympics with his idiotic comments and he selected a running-mate that has no foreign policy experience.

Let me also just state that Mitt believes that 47% of the country do not pay taxes. According to him, “these” people are always looking for a government handout (i.e. welfare, unemployment). But, when you examine that statement, take into consideration that as the CEO of Bane Capital, thousands of people were laid off. Wouldn’t that mean that some of that 47% were given those handouts because of him?

When I think about Barak Obama, I think about a man who has been the calming influence after the Bush years. I also see a president that has tried to do as best he could while a Republican Congress has tried to hand cuff him at every turn. I do love the fact that he was the first US President to get Universal Healthcare passed. While he has done other things like expanding Medicare, supporting gay marriage, and expanding Pell Grants, his biggest accomplishment is Universal Health Care. I am not a person who needs government assisted Health Care, but I know that there were millions of people who were uncovered before this bill was signed.

Yet, there are many Black and Latino people who felt that Obama could do more and to those people I will say that this political system is not designed for all of us to everything we want. I believe that 8 years will be better that 4.

For those that wonder what Obama had done over this term should chick this.

Devil’s Advocate

I made a joke on my Facebook status last year during election time. You could give these gifts that were shaped buttons that said “Obama ’08”. Clearly, if you could give an Obama button you could give out a McCain button. I made the joke that I would give out McCain button if I only had Republican friends. I thought about it for a moment…I really do not have any friends who are Republican!

After meeting with my Dialogue Group today, I really had to think if I do have that one person that has a completely opposite view on life. It turns out that I do not. Sure, I have co-workers that may share a difference of opinion from me, but there are just as liberal as I am. I can disagree with loved ones, but nothing too far from what I consider to be ordinary. I generally look at the landscape of my life and I don’t have that one person that I can debate with in terms of life, politics, race, or gender issues.

This isn’t an issue about being able to talk back and forth about sports either. I can go toe to toe with any Yankee or Phillies fan about The Mets. I can argue all day about how the Knicks suck or how much I cannot stand the NBA anymore. Those things are not issues that I consider to be hot topics. Those are just sports, in which any man can debate about.

I am not saying that I want to get up from this laptop and start looking for Republican friends, but I do wonder how enriched I would be by someone who does not share the same ideals that I have. Hell, would they even like me; better yet, would I like them? There can be talk all day about how we need diversity in our lives and in the lives of our children. However, we tend to stray away from people who have different ideals from us. Don’t get me wrong either, this is not an invitation from me to all the bible thumping, white supremacist, anti-everything people to start spreading their message to me.

Today, I realized the importance of having that one person in the room who has a very different opinion than everyone else. While some will see it as, that person being an asshole. I view it as a rite for that person to have his/her voice be heard. It does not matter if they agree with the majority or not. It only take one person to change the mind of many. The reason I know this is because many times, I am that one person that has to fight for students or situations that the majority sometimes forget. It helps to be the Devil’s Advocate if no one else is.