The DNC Has Brought Me To Tears

MIchelle Obama Rocks!

I suppose after 3 1/2 years of Trump’s bloviating, it’s not unexpected that I’m reacting to hearing words that any other president would say by starting to cry. I haven’t actually had tears streaming down my face, but have for sure on multiple occasions on both nights of the convention have found myself getting choked up, both by the politicians and the everyday Americans who have been featured.

I think the format, which doesn’t focus only on politicians and eliminates all the crazy hats and loud cheering, has brought more sharply into focus how things could have been had Hillary been elected. The fact that there are Republicans (or former Republicans) willing to stand up and throw their support behind Joe Biden should be a huge sign to those still supporting Trump that there is something seriously, malignantly wrong with him. Although anyone who has been watching this shit show since January, 2017 already knows that, the media bubble and his enablers in the Senate, along with his sycophants in state governments, have chosen to go all in on his lies and conspiracy theories.

Or maybe I should say that Trump has gone all in on the Republicans’ lies and conspiracy theories. Despite the fact that there is almost no fraud in mail-in voting, they continue to spew their voter-suppressive crap to discourage people from using this safe, convenient and easy means of having our voices heard. His donor DeJoy, who has already removed too many mail sorting machines and street mail boxes, slashed overtime and insisted on carriers leaving mail behind, has now said he will stop all these stunts until after the election. Problem is, saying that isn’t worth a pint of cricket piss – not only is there no means of ensuring he does what he says he’ll do, there’s also been no mention of reversing the damage he’s already caused.

Since there is no way for us to be sure that the mail-in ballots will be delivered with their usual speed, so we have just a few options to make sure our votes count. Here are my suggestions for what each of us can do to give our ballots the best chance of being counted:

  • Carefully read the entire ballot and instructions before making any mark on your ballot.  Many ballots are discarded or deemed ineligible because the voters made mistakes when marking or signing their ballots. 
  • Make sure to follow the instructions for marking and signing.  Some states require a witness or two to verify the identity of the signer (although they have signatures to compare to in their own records), so make sure to do this part to the letter.  Ballots without signatures are tossed in the trash.
  • Return the ballot as soon as possible to avoid it being invalidated because it’s returned too late.  Trump has said out loud and on camera that he wants to interfere with the mail to stop Democrats from using mail-in ballots.  If you have any concerns that your ballot won’t make it through the mail, find out where you can bring your ballot and drop it off in person to take that out of the equation.
  • If you can’t vote by mail for some reason, learn where you can access early voting in your area.  By voting early, you can avoid the crush of crowds bound to happen on November 3rd while still ensuring your vote is counted.
  • And if you’re forced to vote in person on Election Day, make sure to wear a mask and maintain social distancing to keep your chances of contracting Covid-19 to a minimum.  In an effort to avoid the rush of working people in the evenings, vote as early in the day as possible.

I have never been more concerned about a Presidential election outcome as I am the one we’re preparing for now.  Sure, I was freaked out in 2016 because Trump was on the ballot, but I was naïve enough to think that there weren’t enough people in our country stupid enough to vote for him.  Clearly, that was a mistake, and that makes what could happen in this election exponentially more dire.  Four years of Trump have done so much damage to our country, our standing in the world, the environment, and so many other things.  He has become more and more emboldened in his corruption and authoritarianism as we get closer to the likely end of his term that there is a real chance that a second Trump term will end the United States of America as we know it.

We have only this chance to remove Trump and as many Republicans as we can from office before they succeed in enacting laws to further entrench their minority rule over the majority of us.  I for one will do whatever it takes to ensure that this doesn’t happen.  For me, that means voting for the Democrats from top to bottom.

What about you?  Do you see a viable future with another Trump term?  Or do you want to throw away your vote by choosing someone other than Joe Biden for President?  Are you willing to gamble the future of the planet by voting for Kanye, or maybe by refusing to cast a vote for President in protest?

Sure, an individual vote is a little thing, and by itself doesn’t make a huge difference.  But every one of us who votes together for the good of the country and the population for Joe Biden can be sure that their vote will be instrumental in getting Covid-19 and the resulting financial disaster under some kind of control, address racism throughout the country, work to stop climate change and ensure that everyone has affordable healthcare regardless of their ability to pay.  Voting for anyone else is simply unacceptable.

Trump is the Tyrant the Republicans Always Wanted

It’s hard to believe that it’s been under four years since Donald Trump, the least-qualified of all the candidates who ran for President in 2016, took over the office from Barack Obama; it feels more like forty because of the amount of constant, unrelenting stress his presidency has caused us all. Trump continues to use his reality show platform, trying to always leave us hanging with a “we’ll have to see” or “I can’t say yet”, as though he isn’t holding the highest office in the country, making his words matter exponentially more than they ever would have had he not been elected.

Trump and Barr appear to have decided that they can do anything they want until the election, aware that even the Democrats in the House cannot take the time to impeach Trump again; between now and November 3rd it’s more appropriate for the House to perform investigations that can provide further information about the criminality of this lawless administration. The entire electorate needs to be spurred to vote them all out by outrage, and that’s only going to happen by forcing this out into the media every day until then.

Why would anyone be surprised to find out that there was an appropriation inserted into the Senate Republicans HEALS Act to provide $1.75 billion to rebuild The J. Edgar Hoover FBI building in downtown Washington. In a bill purported to be providing desperately needed financial help to Americans being pummeled by the dysfunctional Trump administration, Trump’s own financial future of course had to rear it’s ugly head. Trump scuttled a plan ten years in the making to relocate the FBI headquarters to the suburbs outside the city a year into his tenure, because he knew that the current location, a block from his own hotel, would likely provide a competitor with a location that would negatively affect his own bottom line. Since everything Trump does from the Oval Office is intentionally designed to benefit him and his wallet, his attempt to push this project forward is just another of his schemes to see how much money he can make from the Presidency.

This is banana republic, tin pot dictatorship shit. Everything is paid for by the taxpayers, while the benefits go into the dear leader’s bank account. The family members of the dear leader get to run stuff they have no experience or knowledge to run, making a salary paid by taxpayers, for a job they are unable to perform under the best of circumstances. The only thing Jared Kushner is qualified to do is being Mr. Ivanka Trump.

The closer we get to the election, the more desperate and despotic Trump becomes. It seems that even his ‘positive thinking’ isn’t doing enough to convince him that all the polls showing Biden ahead by double digits in a majority of states and actually competitive in formerly reliable red states. Now, it seems Trump has decided that his next best option is to use the office of the president and its bully pulpit to trash talk mail-in ballots as significantly flawed and likely to be fraudulent. He continues to use diversion to deflect the media from bad news, and there’s so much bad news and diversions flying through the diaspora that it’s impossible to remember what we were outraged over just a few weeks ago.

Remember the leaked report from the intelligence agencies that Russia was paying bounties to the Taliban in Afghanistan for dead coalition fighters? What about the children still being detained in Covid-19 infested privately-run detention facilities? Or the ‘very fine people on both sides’ in Charlottesville? It’s impossible to maintain the level of outrage that each individual outrageous act by the Republican Party and this administration without it negatively affecting ourselves and those around us, but that doesn’t mean we can just brush it aside and move on. We have only one chance to try to get this thing under control before this entire experiment in our democratic republic comes crashing down around us.

The Republican Party has for decades been looking for someone to use for their own nefarious purposes, and Trump, who lacks the insight, intelligence, comprehension, compassion and a decency to see what a tool he’s been for the Republicans. They, on the other hand, so craven in their greed for money and power, didn’t mind at all that they were pushing this malignant narcissist into the most powerful position in the world (at least in was in 2016) because they somehow thought they could control him and tamp down his worst tendencies. They thought that Trump would become ‘presidential’ once in office; magical thinking of the highest order. They still think that their own political narrative is the ‘true way’ for the country to be run, and continue to do everything in their power to force their religious beliefs down the throats of the rest of us, despite the “freedom of religion” (or freedom FROM religion) written into the Constitution.

Now that the Republicans have the tyrant they always wanted, they’ve discovered to their chagrin that this puppy has been shitting in their closets the entire time he’s been in office. Trump has been so ‘positive in the negative direction’ that he is now dragging down the reelection chances of Senators who thought their future political careers were assured. Susan Collins, so ‘concerned’ and certain that Trump ‘learned his lesson’ after being impeached and is now the least liked person in the Senate, Lindsay Graham, Corey Gardner, David Perdue, Joni Ernst, Steve Daines and Thom Tillis, all of them Trump sycophants and bootlickers, now finds their seats jeopardized by their attachment to Trump. It’s sad that those are the only ones, but the 34% of those polled who still live in the right-wing media bubble and believe Trump is doing a good job with Covid-19 live somewhere, and I guess they live where the other Senate Republican seats are safe.

Change can only happen if we vote them all out, up and down the ballot. The Republican Party must be crushed out of existence, never to get their greedy hands on the reins of power again. We have to reform elections (requiring presidential candidates to release ten years of taxes in order to be on the ballot), election financing (to level the playing field remove the influence of the wealthy and corporations), norms previously honored by those in power that have been shown by Trump to be easily ignored by the unscrupulous and so many other things I can’t even think anymore. The only way any of those things will get done is to remove Republicans from the picture.

We have no time left to waste.

To Fix the Problem, You Must Acknowledge the Truth

For non-Fox news consumers, it has been clear for a long time that the problem with our government is the Republican Party.  When a Democratic president is in office, the Republicans spend all their time complaining about the deficit, demanding that every program the Democrats put in place to help the population must be offset by taking benefits from somewhere else.  When there’s a Republican in the White House, not only do the Republicans stop talking about the deficit, they actually do everything they can to make it worse, cheering when huge tax cuts for the wealthy are passed.  They do everything possible to undo regulations that protect our environment and our health in order to appease their corporate sponsors while withholding money for the social safety net that helps the poorest and most at risk among us.  Republican governors throughout the country, with a few notable exceptions, waited longer (some are still waiting!) than their Democratic counterparts to order their citizens to quarantine themselves at home to slow the spread of the virus.  And then there’s Trump, whose rank incompetence and magical thinking has allowed this contagion to spread, resulting in the unnecessary deaths of thousands, with tens of thousands more expected in the near future.  The Republicans knew for months how dangerous this pandemic was going to be yet did nothing to prepare for it, lying to the country about how bad things could get.  State television on Fox and other right-wing outlets continue to lie to their viewers, which makes them culpable in the deaths of thousands of Americans who for reasons I fail to understand insisted on getting their “news” from these propagandists.

With the coronavirus now disrupting our primary elections, Republicans are now doing everything they can to use the pandemic to advance their main agenda – retaining their white, male, minority power under any and all circumstances.  In order to achieve this, they have exposed their true intentions only recently by saying the quiet parts out loud.  Sure, we’ve all known that their voter suppression efforts have been specifically directed at those who demographically are most likely to vote Democratic in order to prevent Democrats from winning elections, but the Republicans for years were thwarted in their efforts by the Voting Rights Act.  Since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, however, it has become much easier for them to enact laws designed to prevent those voters most likely to vote Democrat from exercising their right to vote.  Voter ID laws were enacted while gerrymandering allowed representatives to choose their voters.  Now, when physical distancing is our only effective weapon to slow the spread of Covid-19, the Republicans are refusing to make it safer and easier for everyone to vote by mail because they believe Democrats will benefit electorally.  Trump has admitted that allowing every eligible voter to vote means “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again”.

How is it that paper ballots signed by each voter and mailed back to the counties where the signatures are verified are less secure than the computerized ones (some without any paper backup!) commonly used throughout the country?  How exactly does Trump think “thousands of ballots” are fraudulently submitted?  Who is getting the ballots together?  Is there someone going house to house, stealing mail-in ballots out of every mailbox?  How would this scale up to manage “thousands of ballots”?  Seriously, this makes even less sense than “millions of illegal immigrants” voting in 2016, but the Republicans are completely fixated on doing everything they can to prevent people from voting, and this should make everyone furious.  This is even more ridiculous when you recall that the only mass mail-in ballot fraud was in South Carolina by a Republican operative in 2018 that resulted in a redo of the election.

How is this okay with the citizens of this country?  There is no legitimate reason for anyone who is legally eligible to vote to not be sent a mail-in ballot for every election from here on out.  The Democrats have tried for years to have Election Day become a national holiday in order to make it easier for everyone to vote, and the Republicans have stood in the way.  The Republicans believe that they are going to be disadvantaged if everyone eligible to vote could do so, but rather than change their platform and policies to attract more voters to their side they resort to cheating.  This will eventually backfire on them despite the long game they’ve played for judges because of simple demographics.  The Republican Party’s demise is inevitable and will only be hastened by their callous disregard for their own constituents when they do things like forcing voters to choose between a possible fatal virus and casting their vote. 

I am waiting for my mail-in ballot for the New Jersey primary election to arrive in the near future.  I signed up for mail-in voting in 2018, when I was on my cross-country trailer trip, and I decided then that having my ballot mailed to me for every election would guarantee my ability to vote from home for the rest of my life.  I had no idea how much it would benefit me just two years later, and I’m encouraging everyone I know to do the same to make sure that they too can exercise their franchise without fear of Covid-19 or any other unforeseen future event.

In order to advance our society to a more egalitarian one, it is absolutely necessary that everyone who is legally eligible to vote be enabled to do so as easily and securely as possible.  Providing each and every registered voter in the country with a postage-paid mail-in ballot is the very least we can do.  Although I’ve always thought that voting should be mandatory rather than voluntary (it is one of the few things I think every citizen should be required to do as their civic duty), making it easier for all who can vote to vote is the closest we can get.  If that results in Republicans being voted out of office, then so be it.  However, Republican Senators Cory Gardner, Mitt Romney, Mike Lee would disagree with the premise that mail-in ballots favor Democrats, as they represent states with all mail-in ballots, along with members of the House from Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Utah.

Therefore, it is time for the Democrats to do everything they can to protect our health as well as our ability to vote in November, because Trump will do whatever he can to remain in office, including preventing the election from happening and regardless of the threat to the citizenry from the novel coronavirus.  Laws are just norms that everyone agrees to follow that under normal circumstances are upheld by the Justice Department. Without an Attorney General who believes in upholding the law, there is a very high likelihood that Trump will do something illegal about which William Barr will do nothing.  We have to do whatever is necessary to prevent this from happening.