Democrats Women and the 2020 Election

Golda Meir was elected in 1969 to lead Israel. This photo is entitled The Lioness Roars Again – From a Google Image Search – Moment Magazine

As we get ready for a weighty election in 2020 to decide whether the incumbent candidate, Republican Donald Trump will have four more years in office, whether we will let a Democrat or even a Democrat woman lead, it is clear that Trump and the Republicans are doing everything they can to make sure the playing field is not level and favors them. These tactics are in addition to the attacks on voting rights in America, especially Democrat voting rights.

The Democrats won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives but they have been sidelined, effectively stripped of real power by some pretty unprecedented and perhaps unconstitutional strategies, that this President, Trump, not a by-the-rules kind of guy, likes to use. These tactics are ridiculously transparent and should not work but his peeps have placed him in a fortified tower where he seems untouchable (word choice, deliberate).

The Democrats are trying to ignore the fact that, to almost 40% of Americans, they have been sold as annoying gnats, a ghost party, an object of trolling and derision. Democrats are hoping for two long-shot outcomes in 2020 (at least 2). 1) They want to elect a Democrat to the Presidency, and 2) They want to elect a woman to the Presidency. The Dems test of a good candidate right now is ‘can that candidate beat Donald Trump’. So far, among 25+ candidates no one seems to be a real stand-out, but if you watch any news program, women are certainly not making the cut.

Donald Trump has a truly underhanded quiver of election arrows which seem quite crude. Each and every day Americans are informed of the sins of Democrats. They actually, supposedly, did every single thing we all suspect that Trump and the Republicans did. Isn’t that quite a coincidence? And that’s not all, Dems ruined the economy, and ruined health care, broke trade, almost dismantled the fossil fuel industry. Therefore all things lib are awful and must be quashed. Trump has followers who constantly troll Democrats and Liberals, women, and now Progressives, on the internet with insults fed to them by the Fox channel. It is almost like getting strafed every time a head appears above the ditch Dems are supposedly standing in.

According to Trump, lefties have spied on the Trump campaign (no proof). They rigged the vote (again, evidence?). They conspired with Russia (the Steele report, the FISA warrant requests re Carter Paige – what?) Of course Hillary did not win the Presidency, but according to Trump that’s because she is so inept. It is actually the Dems who conspired (colluded) with the Russians (?) So the Russians must be quite inept too, because Trump won. (Hint-Trump cheats).

So this has to be about I’m rubber, you’re glue, “everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you”. It is the equivalent of shooting someone on Fifth Avenue and getting away with it, which has metaphorically happened more than once in this presidency.

Again according to Trump, Hillary is a demon, in fact, all women are pretty demonic. The Democrats are traitors and the party is on life support. The FBI is subverted and is actively undermining the Trump presidency (shame on you Peter Strzok and Lisa Paige, really shame on you for giving this person ammunition), and Mueller wrote 400 pages to tell the DOJ that Trump was totally exonerated, which only took four pages in Barr-speak. Barr withholds the full report from we the people which is not so unusual but he also withholds it from Congress which is very unusual. (Barr’s actions are somewhat equivalent to watching a pregnant elephant carrying a baby for about two years and then having that baby elephant placed in solitary confinement as soon as it is born by someone who says to the mom and all of us, “it is mine and you can’t see it”.)

Furthermore Trump contends the entire thing is a huge conspiracy by the “deep state” (a descriptor that refers to different actors depending on who employs it). Add it on to all the old “Benghazi” and “child abuse” threads in the conspiracy theory that the right wing likes to keep spinning out and the Dems are destined not only for political oblivion but will be left out of the Rapture and sent straight to h-e-double hockey sticks. (Isn’t this a fairly complex narrative? Whatever happened to Occam’s razor?)

So, as Democrats have clearly, according to Trump and his minions, been checkmated, only some stunning circumstances will give Dems the victory in 2020. No one seems to believe, possibly including me, that a woman can win the race in 2020.

It certainly is time for a woman to be President and I know a woman could do the job very well, but the patriarchy is obviously not done hogging this privilege and responsibility and the public is not done letting them. If women in the race were not so outnumbered by men (and by men who conveniently have the letter B in their name making it easy for the press to focus on this group) I would suggest that candidates pair off, a woman and a man, running for President and Vice President as a team, with the man agreeing that the female candidate would assume the higher office.

OK, I know I am asking for mountains of criticism. But does anyone see a woman being elected President in this particular election? Will the men we elect just keep getting older and older? I know age is supposed to bring wisdom, but sometimes it just brings arthritis. Still the old men are the ones we know, the ones with experience, the ones who don’t seem hopelessly invisible. And, we remind ourselves, they have paid their dues.

I remember when Golda Meir was Prime Minister of Israel. She seemed so wise and motherly, although if you read about her time in office she certainly did not get perfect grades. I wonder if Elizabeth Warren might turn out to be a trimmer but equally comforting Golda-style leader, who also gets things done. Or maybe Kamala Harris, or Amy Klobuchar or Kirstin Gillibrand could offer us a very America version of the wise woman as a nurturing, but fiercely protective leader, providing effective governance both at home and abroad. America does not seem to be feeling it yet. Is there any way we can get both things we want in the 2020 election? Could each man running invite a woman to the dance? Let her lead. Women could be wooed by more than one man?

 

 

 

 

This is it: 2020 Election Is A Key Moment in American History

 

This is it. The 2020 election is a key moment in the history of America. If we the people do not turf out the Republican majority in the Senate (which we probably cannot do) or the Republican President (which we must do) then our democracy/republic could lose its Constitutional roots for decades, or forever.

Those governing us may give lip-service to constitutionalism but it will be basically a “dead letter” because, with an all-powerful executive in place and no checks on him, a president will be able to do whatever he wants. (Women will not be president in a GOP world, except perhaps for Marsha Blackburn.)

Life in America will go on. We will live in our homes and enjoy our families, I hope. People will still work hard, party hard, and go on vacations, maybe. Will we ever take the pride in the US Republican government that we once had for America’s role as the world’s superpower with a heart?

This GOP has no heart, wants to stay home and rule from there, wants a booming economy that takes revenge on allies who supposedly bled us dry, and wants to close our ports to people, but not things.

Won’t the rest of earth’s nations eventually turn their backs on this “walled-in” America? We will have to do what Winterfell did and booby trap our shorelines, build a ring around the nation with batteries of weapons, employ satellites like Dani’s dragons to spy on the world and prepare for a pre-emptive strike if it looks like someone is preparing to attack us.

If I thought that what the GOP and Trump want would be good for America I would set aside my loyalties to the Democrats and vote my heart. My loyalties are to America and not necessarily the Democratic Party. But right now the Democrats will save our democracy/republic and its Constitutional base and the GOP, obviously, won’t. If we care about anything that America has stood for, other than a great economy, the GOP does not intend to preserve those aspects of America.

So this moment, right now, and, if we make it that far, the 2020 election are the very moments on which America’s history turns. This election may not present us with a different America in a flash, but we will gradually turn away from all the traditions and beliefs we have embraced as Americans. America will become a darker place in spirit.

Although the GOP pretends to be aghast at socialism they are killing democracy, burning the bridges to our stalwart allies in Europe, forging new alliances with people we never trusted, and leading us into an authoritarianism that gets its inspiration from countries that torture and murder their own people if they protest against their loss of freedom. (Trump called Putin to tell him that he was “totally exonerated. What is that about? I do not think it is just about “sticking it to the libs”.)

If we stick to Trump and the Republican way that will spell the end of the “land of the free and the home of the brave”. It shouldn’t matter to me because I won’t be here that much longer, but I think I will mourn the loss of a fine (possibly the finest) attempt at standing up for the freedom and the humane treatment of all people, even after I am gone if that is possible.

When the Roman Republic (the model for our republic) ended, the Empire did very well for a long time. Perhaps some educated Republicans think the same thing would happen here. I suppose it could, but Rome was the civilized world at that time. We do not share that advantage. We have plenty of power-hungry nations happy to see us backing off our previous global course.

I have a feeling that the Republicans do not understand what their policies will do to America and they think that the Dems are just being dramatic for the sake of politics and winning (or at least that is what they say on their news media) (the Republicans have their own news media).

Whether they do not know what they are doing, have not looked at the long view; or they do know but are lying to their followers, I think this may be the most consequential primary and election season ever in America. Where the Republicans are taking us leads to a morally bankrupt America, and; in the name of something we already turned our backs on, namely racism and white supremacy, they are leading us into the wilderness.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – The Seattle Times

Brain Download-Unconstitutional President, Columbine, Notre Dame, and the 2020 Election

Brain Download-Unconstitutional President, Columbine, Notre Dame, and the 2020 Election – Mid-April 2019

Trampled Norms

Journalists and authors, both professional and not, have written about the way Trump and the Republicans are crushing the “guardrails” of our documents and our laws (How Democracies Die).  In an article on 4/17/2019 the newest incarnation of these columns raised alarms about these threats to our democracy.

The article discusses the ways Trump and the compliant Republicans have actually crossed red lines, or have shown that they are willing to cross certain red lines, especially when it comes to the laws Trump wants to ignore or overturn in order to stop asylum seekers from entering the US, and his desire to ship migrants off to sanctuary cities, actions that would break current laws. He gets mad and he gets even (if he can) and he does not seem to let a little thing like a law stand in his way. None of us, the article says, are any too happy about the way Republicans are stuffing the courts with uncredentialed judges, either.

David Rothkopf, writing in The Daily Beast today, arrives at the same dilemma we all keep facing. What can we do about it? He also feels that an effective response strategy is more necessary than ever after Trump’s willingness to break laws, which escalated once again last week. He doesn’t offer any suggestions we already haven’t thought of and now that we are in the election cycle we are unlikely to heat up the resistance.  But he is right, we should, because 6 more years of Trump and the Republicans will most likely make American democracy have a near-death-experience (or die an authoritarian death).

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-and-co-are-crossing-big-bright-red-linesand-theyre-getting-away-with-it

Columbine Connection

Today – 4/17/2019 is almost exactly a decade (sorry for my math, two decades) after the Columbine shooters shocked our nation (4/20/1999) and today an eighteen year old, who had an unhealthy interest in the Columbine shooters and that whole terrible day, a girl who searched the internet about how to buy a gun in Colorado, made authorities nervous enough to shut down schools near Columbine. Not only did she ask about purchasing a gun, she actually went to Colorado and bought one when she arrived from Miami. She was found dead this morning. Possibly when she realized that everyone was looking for her she may have killed herself, thinking that was the only thing she felt she could do.

It seems that authorities are beginning to get ahead of potential shooters by treating tips and internet posts seriously and being proactive. They have been able to stop several shooters lately before the tragic mass shootings they were planning happened. This is a good thing. Although it may not be enough to stop all mass shootings. We didn’t lose any innocent students today but it is still sad to lose another young person to a mental script that doesn’t offer rewards to anyone, especially any of the rewards that s/he thinks such an act will bring. We need to find out why our culture produces so many young people attracted to such appalling violence.

Notre Dame

A friend reminds me that Notre Dame, built in the 12 th century (the 1100’s) was built on the backs of peasants who moved the large stones which were used to construct the great cathedrals. Were they slaves or were they paid? If they were paid, they were most likely not well paid. My friend also reminds me that these cathedrals took decades to build so that parents, and their children, and their children’s children ( and more generations) carried stone to the builders without ever hoping to earn enough for a better life. And these same peasants who performed the most back-breaking labors also knew they would never be allowed to enter the cathedral when it was finished.

Ken Follett in The Pillars of Earth,described (or imagined) the building of one of the great cathedrals in England. If he used more facts than imagination, the building of a cathedral was a huge operation that required many talented builders with a variety of skills. A whole city grew up around the site of a build as there had to be houses for workers, food for workers, drinks and drinking establishments, and eventually even guilds for workers and a town or city government for order. So cathedral building may have offered more advantages than building the pyramids in Egypt seems to have offered.

Still we now have billionaires pitching in to rebuild Notre Dame and we have French people who need to see those billions invested in jobs and better pay for French people. People first, rebuilding second some protestors are saying. This sad loss of a religious and national treasure is teaching us another lesson about what happens when an economy does not equitably distribute money that people need to live. We see that someone can afford to offer their wealth in exchange for their soul when a cathedral is involved, but who seem to misinterpret what their soul really requires. Actually some people have become so rich that they could hedge their bets by doing both.

The 2020 Election -Speaking of Money

The Democrats are happy to have so many candidates running in their primary for the 2020 election. They are also trying to answer charges that Republicans have popularized, arguments which paint Democrats as being more in love with big money than Republicans are. I guess all is fair in love and elections, but we are a capitalist country and Democrats live in the same economy as everyone else. Are we now supposed to have two disparate economies, in addition to two political parties with nothing in common?

We are aware of how the GOP demonizes the Democrats. Why are we having this moment of purity about Wall Street and money? Young people are idealistic and easily persuaded to be critical, and their parents did have their 60’s moment when they learned that economics was not the only basis for a thriving culture. They saw that many cynical leaders thought of war as a way to keep the economy booming, and of course, keep communism from spreading. From what we are seeing of the spread of authoritarianism our leaders were perhaps not totally cynical. And these young people did not come of age in the job market their parents found after they left school.

So we see Democrats trying to promise that they will use only grassroots dollars. This is a political reform that is sorely needed but obviously, at this moment, the opposing party is unlikely to reciprocate. And while Dem leaders may not want to limit the Dem field I am starting to get a bit nervous about how I will offer support to all these primary candidates. My donations are small even when the number of candidates is small. Now I am beginning to worry that I will not be able to be a good Democrat. My pocketbook will not allow it. I suppose I could choose one candidate and concentrate on that one person but there are several people that I like. It seems so overwhelming that sometimes I think about keeping all my dollars for myself. I hope this doesn’t describe too many Democrat supporters and voters. How will Dems successfully compete against Trump with his hand in the deep pockets of the Republican political apparatus?

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search, Newsweek

Foreign Policy and the 2020 Election

Will we look for a President in 2020 with foreign policy roots close to the post WWII approach? Will we stay with Trump’s approach of isolationism and of undoing all the post-war organizations and alliances? Or will we look for a totally new approach to foreign policy?

On Tuesday, 2.19.19, when Mike Pence, the American VP said he was speaking at the Munich Security Conference on behalf of Donald Trump, the President of the United States of America, he waited for applause from the gathered world leaders after he passed on the greeting that Donald Trump had sent to his peers. There was only silence.

Also on Tuesday, 2.19.19, Joe Biden was interviewed live at the same Munich meeting. He is something that Trump is not. He’s nice; not soft-nice, but calm and nonconfrontational, unless confrontation is called for. What would happen if a President Biden was introduced at a Munich meeting? First of all, he would most likely be present at the meeting. Would there be applause? There was plenty of applause. Perhaps we should apply this test to each of the many candidates for President running as Democrats. What will their foreign policy be? How will they be received by our allies and our closely-held enemies?

When it comes to Joe Biden, I believe that we would find him continuing the post-World War II alliances and working with Europe to ensure peace; at least peace in Europe. I am not backing Joe Biden. He isn’t even running yet. But he could be expected to follow traditional guidelines for foreign policy. These policies are older than Biden and he knows the protocols and our allies well.

After World War II Europe became ground zero for a tug of war between Russia and America, between capitalism/democracy and communism. For the past 70 years it seemed that America and the other world proponents of capitalism and democracy were winning nations over to these ideologies. We did not have a new war, but neither did we have peace. We ended up in a ‘Cold War’, that apparently did not end when the Iron Curtain parted.

As early as 1945 Churchill warned us that after WWII our temporary and very valuable ally, Russia, had turned its back on Western Europe already, taking most of Central and Eastern Europe with it. America and Russia conducted opposing campaigns to win new recruits to either communism or democracy. While the US offered economic prosperity and military security, Russia offered weapons and oil. For a while it seemed we were winning but now, not so much.

The USSR died a mostly economic death and split back into the satellite nations it had sucked up after World War II. These newly released nations had been split along unnatural geographic lines that divided the cultural groups which had learned to live peacefully within old national boundaries. Once released from Russian domination old hostilities that had festered since WW II, and while behind the Iron Curtain, reared their ugly heads and we had things like what happened with Croatia and Bosnia. This release of pent up hostilities was similar to what we saw in Iraq.

Our own President seems to back authoritarian states in Europe (while he tries to topple them in South America), and he smiles on Putin in Russia and makes us very nervous. There is also a huge backlash against capitalism in America on the left which complicates the outcome of the democratic/communist war for ascendancy even more. It looks like the future of the world may be authoritarian. Some leaders seem to want to bring back the monarchy. Others back a very loosely defined socialism.

There are many factors which have contributed to this decline in democracy and capitalism. With the more aggressive ideology of a newly empowered Putin who wishes to create a new Russia that looks a lot like the old USSR, with the arrival of the Great Recession which hit Europe rather hard, with the angers of people from austerity economies, the disruptions of terrorism, the waves of immigration as people escape cruel war in Syria, and the military moves by Russia in Georgia and the Ukraine, ‘strong men’ have begun to look attractive as chaos seems imminent. Authoritarianism, as we have seen, is on the rise. Will these new authoritarian states align with Russia or with the United States? Given that even president Trump seems to be more interested in aligning with Russia than any past President, the order imposed on the world after WWII, which never took into account the rise of the USSR, could easily dissolve.

Many have been critical of America’s aggressive moves to turn Europe towards capitalism and democracy. They have felt that our control in Europe has been antithetical to the values of a democracy and that we have often had selfish goals, as opposed to more altruistic ones. In fact, some even express horror and grief at mismoves we have made in our supposed diplomacy, although perhaps our worst moves have not occurred in Europe. Perhaps we did go off the rails a bit, but wanting a future that is democratic – is this still a goal people have? Capitalism, on the other hand, has become so rapacious that it will be overthrown if capitalists continue to refuse regulation. Although democracy is in more trouble at the moment, younger people are poised to exert pressures that may shift the target to capitalists.

What will happen in the world if we back off the agreements reached at the end of WWII? Is the UN obsolete? Is it weak and ineffective or secretly plotting a new world order? Which thing is true? Are we done with NATO? Should we loosen the bonds made after Hitler almost turned Europe into a white supremacist dictatorship? What will happen to the 70 years of “relative” peace our leaders forged after WW II? Were these protections essentially training wheels and the world is now ready to take them off? With “illiberal democracies” multiplying like flies this hardly seems like the moment to pull US bases out of Europe and make nice with Putin in Russia.

Will we look for a President in 2020 with foreign policy roots close to the post WWII approach, will we stay with Trump’s approach of isolationism and of undoing all the post war organizations and alliances, or will we look for a totally new approach to foreign policy? If so, what will it be? I want to hear each of the Democratic candidates on this topic. Should one person be able to set America’s foreign policy? We used to have a strong Department of State and a Congress that weighed in (sometimes too much so). How will foreign policy be handled in the future? Will we elect a person who will be applauded in Munich? If we don’t want an authoritarian future how must we proceed?

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – CBS