Where Do We Go From Here?

The battle lines are drawn and the whole process of electing our next President is now well underway.  Each side has chosen its ‘ticket’.  America will make its choice after bearing up under heavy advertising bombardment by the opposing sides over TV and radio and the Internet, and from press advertisements and editorials that will flow.

The media is salivating over the money that will flow into its coffers; this is an unbelievable once-every-four-years-bonanza for the media.  The pundits are sharpening their caustic pens and their barbed tongues.  Many, if not most, have already selected their favorites and it is likely that little change will occur in the minds of those already committed to a particular person or side.  Imagine the scramble to buy ad time on the relatively new electronic billboards, and imagine the dollars that flow to those companies which have invested in that venue.

That leaves the ‘undecideds’, if there is such a group anymore, to make the final decision. If the Donkeys and the Elephants are firmly entrenched, and if that accounts for 60% to 70% of all voters with that group fairly evenly split, then the real final decision is going to be up to the maximum of some 30% to 40% of voters who are so far undecided, or who at least are unaffiliated with a political party as such.  It boggles the mind to assign a monetary value from the ad spend to each of those undecided votes that will actually decide the election.

We begin to better understand how important our individual vote is, and we are better able to comprehend how important it is for  every vote that is counted to be determined to have been valid.  That process comes back to our individual communities and voting districts.  It comes back to the various employees and volunteers who are involved in the process of gathering votes and tallying the votes gathered.

This is what the term “grass roots” is all about.  I have finally become involved in this process, (after pontificating about the votes and the candidates for a long, long time) by volunteering to work at our local polling place each election day.  This will be my first experience in this capacity in a national Presidential race.  If every polling place all across our country is run like that in which I work, you can rely on the vote count to be accurate. Period. Paragraph. Amen.  (There is that little voter ID issue here in Wisconsin that continues to be fought over, but we volunteers do a great job of abiding by the laws as those exist).

That having been said, the rest of the burden then falls on the shoulders of each qualified voter; you/we/they need to be present to cast your/our/their ballot or you/we/they need to have anticipated your/our/their absence and cast an absentee ballot earlier.

Each four years I wonder if it is possible that we’ll have another anywhere-near-so-important election in my lifetime.  The results of these elections are so very important, not only to us in the United States but to people around the globe since our country plays such a huge role in this world.  If you view the worth of your ballot in this context, you’d make darned sure your ballot counted come heck or high water.  Just try to imagine if you had not voted and your guy or gal lost by a single vote; maybe that will be sufficient to get you to be sure you’ve cast a ballot.  You can do so early if you need, but you can’t do so the day after the election.

If you don’t vote, you have no right to carp about the outcome…and you really ought to be embarrassed at letting your fellow citizens/voters down.

Clean Up The Confetti & Balloons…

The 2016 Republican convention is finished.  The balloons and confetti littered the aisles…and there may be a reputation or two also found amongst that litter.  We can determine whether or not this was a successful convention by looking at the tripe flowing from the very liberal Mother Jones organization.  By that measure, this convention was a rousing success.

I am personally feeling much better about my coming vote for the Republican nominee, Mr. Donald Trump.  That may not sound like a rousing declaration of support, but it is significantly closer to rousing than it would’ve been a couple of months ago.  I suspect that by the end of the Democrat’s convention, I will be in full-throated Donald Trump support. The contrasts between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are stark and they all auger in favor of Trump, in my opinion, if you are a thinking and discerning American who believes in law and order.  I will no longer employ the term “lesser of evils” to define how I will choose for whom to vote.

This convention was a win-win for Reince Priebus and his team.  Priebus and team accomplished the fielding of an orderly convention when it was originally thought that might be a near-certain impossibility given the players involved.  Priebus and the senior Republicans also accomplished the envelopment of Trump as a solid member of the Republican team.  Trump seemed quite comfortable with that as did the Republicans in general.  There are still some Republicans shaking their heads and swearing they’ll just not be a party to this self-defined travestybut if they are honest with self, the alternative of a Hillary Clinton is simply not going to be palatable to the vast majority of people who typically vote Republican.

There is much ground left to cover as we move toward election day.  There will be opportunities for Trump & Pence to further refine their arguments, and to further define their opposition.  Hillary Clinton will very likely assist them in their need to define her and whomever she settles on as her VP partner.

If we look solely at the impact this election will have on the make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court, we have all the impetus we should need to understand the magnitude of this vote we will cast.  We are at the point where our country will be defined for better or worse more so than has likely ever been the case in our past other than for possibly at the very founding of the country.  This is not just another presidential election.  This is a critical point in our history and the decisions we make will frame our future for decades to come, if not forever.

We have drifted dangerously close to the point where liberals can re-make the country more to their liking.  Imagine the further erosion of individual liberties that can occur under an activist liberal leadership team in the course of eight years.  Imagine the swing this also would make in Congress; these two votes, presidential and congressional, tend to mimic each other.

A Democrat President, Vice-President, Congress, and Supreme Court together would have the opportunity over eight years to almost literally re-write the documents upon which this country was founded and has been governed.  The concept of ‘checks and balances’ would be eliminated for long enough that we would be subject to liberalism in its extreme for our lifetimes and for the lifetimes of our children.  That is long enough for the concepts of conservatism to have been thoroughly eroded or virtually forgotten other than when people studied their history books…assuming that those books hadn’t also been rewritten.

Back-to-back 8-year liberal majority governments would see the loss of at least one generation of conservatism, if not more.  This fall’s election is probably the single most important election in my lifetime.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that is simply hyperbole.

How I wish it were that easy to dismiss our current critical situation.

 

Cruz Just Can’t Do It…

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) just can’t bring himself to say it.  He just can’t tell republicans they need to get behind Trump who is certainly destined to be the Republican party’s candidate for President of the United States.  All he could muster was a benign “Vote Your Conscience” statement in his last hurrah in Cleveland last evening.

I have found Ted Cruz to be the least likeable person in the hunt to become the Republican nominee.  I liked his efforts to bring Hillary Clinton to justice for Benghazi and her e-mail fiasco.  There is, however, a certain grating “I know I am superior to you in every way, so don’t test me” vibe that flows from him.  There is that certain swagger that projects self-confidence to the point where one wonders if it is a show, and if there really is a problem with self-confidence.

If Cruz could show a hint of human warmth and show/demonstrate that he actually cares about someone other than self and family, he would be destined for greater things.  As it stands today, I would need big odds to wager a bet on him seeing the inside of the Oval office other than by invitation.  He thinks 2020 is his year now so we can safely presume he believes, and is telegraphing,  that Donald Trump has no chance to win.

Even if there is to be a President Hillary in our future, and I cringe to even think about such a thing, I seriously doubt that the Republican party players will want to put their money, big money, on Cruz in 2020 or beyond.  He as much as said, not even subtly, that he believes Donald Trump will lose to Hillary Clinton.  He has, in my opinion, just made sure his political career is limited to the Senate.  He had already created enough concern amongst major players/donors so as to make them step back and take deep breaths when his name was advanced behind closed doors.  This deliberate snub may well seal his fate since it could damage the party as well as the presumptive candidate.  It would seal/has sealed his fate with me as you can see.

Had Sen. Cruz been able to swallow some of his prideful arrogance and tell people that they needed to support Donald Trump in the name of the party, he would’ve been seen as being magnanimous and worthy of future consideration.  When I picture Ronaldus Magnus, I can’t even fathom Cruz as a future President.  The contrasts are so stark as to be almost indescribable.

Whether or not he would make a good president is beside the point.  He thinks there is an “I” in “team” and that simply is not the case.  Even Donald Trump understands that. We’ll see if this display has any impact on his duties in the U.S. Senate since peers play a big role in where various members sit and on the level of authority they will have in that body.  A grudge created is a grudge not soon forgotten in that world.

Standing Strong or Standing​ Stupid?

That is strong language but maybe that is exactly what is needed.  And yes, it is aimed at the ‘conservatives’  and regular mainline Republicans who can’t seem to get beyond Donald Trump being the nominee of the Republican Party.

These people are seemingly saying that their pouting about Trump as the Republican Party’s candidate for President of the United States is far more important than getting behind the properly elected candidate, and that is Donald Trump, and working to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House.

I’m sorry, but that position is, in my opinion, STUPID!  Trump has won this nomination fair and square.  He appealed to the voters who made their decision.  To void that decision by not voting for Trump in the coming national election is tantamount to automatically crowning Queen Hillary.  That is not an acceptable trade-off.  If she wins the big race, she will be sworn in and I and many, many others will have to live with that…and we will because that is how our democracy operates.  We will have had our chance to make a difference and blown it.

Are these people, this group of Republicans, so politically blinded as to be unable to see the difference between another ‘President Clinton’ and a ‘President Trump’?  Is this, in reality, a race to find the ‘lesser of evils’?  For many of us, that is just want it is, and that is unfortunate but very much a reality.  Donald Trump is the better selection from this offering of the two candidates available; we cannot afford to waste our vote with a ‘protest’ write-in because that is really a vote for Hillary Clinton.  There may be rough edges needing to be smoothed. There may be some behaviors we’d prefer to see damped down, such as the bragging that seems ingrained in Mr. Trump.

There is one thing that Donald Trump lacks.  The baggage he brings to the party is minuscule by comparison to the BAGGAGE that Hillary brings to the party.

Donald Trump is no Hillary Clinton and we ought to be very thankful that he gives us a choice not so blatantly compromising on its face.  Trump has some rough edges that I’d love to see smoothed a bit, and maybe that will happen as the campaign continues. Clinton has a history that she can do nothing about; she can’t make that go away.  It is time for our whining to stop.  It is time to step back and take a long hard look at the alternatives we see before us.

I will vote for Donald Trump and I will do so feeling good about my vote and what it portends for our country.  Frankly, I think there’ll also be some cross-over voters who are Democrats or Independents who also see that Hillary Clinton is simply not the right person for this highest office of our country.  I welcome those people whose conscience simply will not let them cast their ballot for Clinton.

Republicans who decide they’ll not vote are actually voting for Clinton.  That is the unavoidable truth, and any Republican who doesn’t vote ought to hang their head in shame.  It is time to ‘get over it’ and to set about doing everything possible to help people see that Hillary Clinton is not the solution.  She is the problem.

That is standing strong, not stupid!

There’s a New Sheriff In Town…

Sheriff David Clark of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin is becoming better known nationally as he speaks with his ‘no nonsense’, ‘political-correctness-be-damned’ bravado.  He had center stage last evening at the Republican National Convention and he called them like he sees them for this national audience.

Of course, this audience is likely defined as the red meat audience rather than the croissant audience so it is ideally suited to Sheriff Clark.  The big ‘cowboy hat’ adds to the persona and, in response to a question posed this morning during an interview when asked the question about why he wore same, he simply stated: “That’s how I roll”.  I was reminded of the Marlboro Cowboy whether that was his hope or simply where my mind took me.

Since the RNC Chair, Reince Priebus, is a Wisconsin resident, Clark’s choice might’ve had the benefit of Priebus’ knowing him/knowing of him so far as being selected for this honor.  Clark has been speaking regularly and has gotten better with delivery to the point that he is a captivating persona who gives every indication that he speaks from experience.  He minces no words which is a breath of fresh air in this world.

He is obviously the conservatives’ kind of guy.  He will be a featured speaker in the near future on a cruise sponsored by a major conservative publication, for example.  Clark runs as a Democrat and was billed in that manner for last evening’s talk.  He is definitely a conservative and doesn’t fit very well with Milwaukee County’s Exec and with the Mayor of the City of Milwaukee.  They both have to cringe over the fact it seems he can be the Milwaukee County Sheriff until he retires if he chooses.

But, David Clark seems intent on further burnishing a national reputation, and he seems to have gained significant favorable exposure over the past several years.  Fox News loves the guy since they know that what they see is what they’ll get every time they talk with him.

I have told the story of bumping into Clark at the check-in counter of a Washington hotel some years ago as he came back into the hotel with a bottle in a bag under his arm.  He made no effort to conceal his bag and was very open and happy to talk briefly rather than to have brushed me off as he could have easily done.

What you see with David Clark is what you’ll get with David Clark.  That may hurt him in some circles, but it endears him to most who know him or know of him.  There are at least three people in the Milwaukee area who probably wouldn’t mind seeing the Sheriff make it bigger on the national stage if that meant they’d have the guy out of their hair.

Who knows where he might end up?

Season of Our Discontent?

With all due apologies to William Shakespeare, today’s title seems, unfortunately, appropriate.

Our world seems to have gone off balance.  The wanton killings by truck, the shootings of police officers, the seeming general distrust of anything to do with authority all collide with the reality we crave…the good old days, as it were.

It is as if we have stepped across some unseen line in the sand or we have suffered as Alice in Wonderland suffered.  Our world is no longer reality but, instead, it is some kind of nether region, some kind of Hades that we suddenly find ourselves confronting here on earth. Whatever was sacrosanct seems suddenly cast aside.

We are a world aflame and it seems each new chapter simply adds to the unreal feeling. Things we only dreamt about are becoming the new reality.  It seems more and more to be commonplace to hear of another police officer being attacked, or of some atrocity being conducted in the name of a religion.

We now have to confront the possibilities that we might personally become involved in some heinous happening, we have to think long and hard about vacation plans, we have to look at our men and women in blue and wonder which of them is next on someone’s list. Seriously, if you or a loved one have travel plans overseas for business or pleasure, there is a whole new set of concerns, not just safe travels.  Multi-national businesses are now subject to rethinking expansion or relocation plans.

It seems that theses flames of discontent grow almost daily.  The brutality of the attacks makes us shudder, as those attacks are meant to do.  The evil-doers know they gain significant benefit from engaging in the most heinous methods they can conceive.  The idea of ‘unconventional warfare’ is quite appropriate if a movement seeks mass disruption and widespread panic.  The more despicable the act, the greater the psychological impact on the survivors.

We have changed in ways that we’ll never quite understand but we somehow know that things will never be the same again.  These are the kinds of societal degradations that we awaken to realize, one day when it is too late to change anything, we have achieved…if ‘achieve’ is the proper word.

Whoever we elect as our next national leadership team is going to, of necessity, have to hit the ground running.  Global threat issues have been left largely ignored for the past 8 years, and we are reaping the harvest that we deserve as the result.  Had we intervened when intervention was a possibility, we could have effectively ended this threat before it became a threat, at least a threat to the magnitude it has become.  Instead, we made believe that this was simply a passing thing that we need not involve ourselves in, and we now pay the price for that folly.

Like it or not, we are still the 800 lb. Gorilla in this world despite the past 8 years, and with that comes responsibilities to the rest of the world.  We shirk that duty to our own detriment. Witness the newfound power of Vladimir Putin and Russia.  That needn’t have occurred but our current leadership decided it would avoid all the messy world stuff.  The idea that we might actually think of extending this do-nothing team’s hold on our nation by elevating the Secretary of State to the Presidency is incomprehensible.

We reap what we sow, and we’ve already created a harvest issue that will be challenging to us.  We need to change the direction our nation has taken during these two 4-year terms and that requires a vote for Donald Trump.  That is what it will take and that has become our best hope.  If you haven’t reached this conclusion, then you need to work on getting there and getting there quickly.  We haven’t much time for the turn-around of our country.

 

“Nattering Nabobs of Negativism”

William Safire coined this phrase for use by VP Spiro Agnew way back when he was fighting off the press challenges to his presidential candidacy.

I am reminded of this phrase more and more regularly as I read and listen to the doomsayers, both Republican and Democrat and also members of the press whom we know are all without political beliefs and party loyalties.  How do we know that you might ask?  Well, because they’ve told us so and they are members of the press, you know.  Golly, if we can’t trust what we’re fed by the members of the press, what has this world come to?

Reince Priebus bears the fault according to some.  He should’ve stood up to Mr. Trump; after all, it is his job to protect the Republican Party, isn’t it?

The press likes to remind us all that the Republicans are in the process of nominating Trump to be their candidate for President and that same press wonders how in the world the Republican Party can permit this to occur.  There is even mention made in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial today that Republicans have only themselves to blame for this ludicrous position in which they find themselves.  How could Reince Priebus have permitted Trump to gain control over the coming convention?

The current collective ‘nattering nabobs of negativism’ seem to have lost sight of a simple fact:  the Republican voters have indicated they like Trump, and in a democracy we expect the majority opinion to direct either the Republicans or the Democrats.  In another segment of this same editorial, there appears this statement: “The country deserves a legitimate challenge to a third Clinton term.”,  the inference is, of course, that it is somehow the Republican Party’s fault, and therefore Reince Priebus must not be doing a very good job as titular head of said political party.

When the people who help us to form opinions are unable to find an answer as to why the people they’re trying to make form one opinion (Trump is bad), can be so stupid as to form another opposite opinion, it seems to make them question our collective sanity.  This simply defies their ability to understand where they could’ve gone wrong; after all, this press group is comprised of the smartest people in the country and therefore we all ought to bow and scrape in our rush to join the parade.

The people seem to be speaking in tongues, I agree, but they are speaking even if some of us cannot understand the language.  There is a movement in our country.  It could bring Hillary Clinton into a four-year stay in the White House, or it could usher in the reign of Donald Trump.  If he gets the majority of the votes cast, the office is his.  If he doesn’t, the office is hers.

Other than for having one vote like each of the rest of us, I can’t find a reason to blame Reince Priebus for all that is happening or could happen.  The Republican Party and voters of the same opinion will speak and that will end the debate.  If we think that Hillary in the White House is a bad thing, then why don’t we jump all over Debbie Wasserman-Schultz for not overriding the wishes of her Democratic convention?

The reason obviously is the same.  Voters tell us what they believe by creating a majority of votes for the candidate they collectively deem the best person for the job.  We may or may not agree, but we abide by the decision of the majority.  That is how our country works.  It isn’t the fault of either Reince Priebus or of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.