Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Why Hillary is Winning and the Viability of Third-Party Candidates

Why will Hillary beat Trump?  The simplest reason, in my opinion, is that too many Democrats and liberals are willing to support a candidate that is immoral and has shown a lack of wisdom in public office; and the corollary to that—too many Republicans and conservatives are unwilling to support a candidate that is immoral and has shown such a lack of wisdom in his personal and professional life.  Independents are left scratching their heads.  Basically, the GOP picked a candidate that too many conservatives and independents cannot support.  Trump lost, or he never won over, enough of the conservative base to lose the election.  Hillary, while not a strong attraction for independents or even many in the party, is within the acceptable limits.  Let's be honest, the public has known about many of Hillary's immoral and likely criminal acts for a long time.  Her husband still won the presidency twice, she won a Senate seat, was appointed as Secretary of State receiving the approval of the Senate, and she is the leading candidate for the Democrat Party.  She can get away with almost anything and her base will still support her.  

The argument that conservatives must vote for Trump in order to save the Supreme Court obviously hasn't held enough water to convince enough people.  That says a lot about the kind of candidate he is--if the GOP cannot unite with a candidate against Hillary, then the GOP picked the wrong candidate.

I think it’s disingenuous of Hillary supporters that are okay with her immorality to condemn Donald Trump, and I think it’s wrong of Trump supporters that are okay with his immorality to condemn Hillary Clinton.  We do not have a good choice in this election, but the GOP picked someone that falls outside of their traditionally and historically accepted norms making it difficult for the party to unite.  Folks, that is not the fault of the Democrats or the Hillary supporters or those that won’t vote for Trump.  That is the fault of those who pushed Trump through to the nomination and of those who failed to show leadership and sideline him when it was possible.

Finally, I know the third-party candidates are chomping at the bit, calling for people to consider the third or fourth or fifth party candidates.  I have no problem with that.  If I can in Nevada, I will write in Evan McMullin.  But, let’s be honest, third-party candidates don’t win for a number of reasons—first, they’re usually outside of the mainstream and don’t have a platform that garners significant support; second, they have very little name recognition; third, some like Johnson prove that he doesn’t have the knowledge or experience to be president; and fourth, some enter the race too late to get enough votes (McMullin).

I think the idea of a viable third-party candidate is important and valuable.  The key is such a candidate must indeed be viable.  For the next cycle, a third-party candidate needs to get in earlier.  Unfortunately or otherwise, it will still be a long road to become viable.

Hillary wins this election and if the GOP doesn’t shift focus soon and forcefully to the Senate, then they lose that as well.  It’s time to forget about Trump.  There is nothing to be gained by the conservatives by talking to, listening to, contributing to, or responding to Trump.  It’s time to forget about the RNC and work directly with Senate campaigns that matter.  It’s time to contribute resources to Senate races in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Missouri, Florida, and Wisconsin.  Conservatives need Republicans to win at least five of those seats otherwise the ability to provide a meaningful check on a second President Clinton is gone.

See also:
It's Over, Folks
New Lows in Presidential Politics

and for a strong comparison to this year's election, please read
Confessions of a Sewer Rat

Monday, October 10, 2016

It's Over, Folks

Image result for presidential debate

If conservatives and the GOP are honest, this election was lost when it became clear that Trump was the nominee. He never had a realistic chance of beating her. Yes, she's terrible and it's difficult to get anything to stick to the Clintons. If the GOP had nominated Walker, Cruz, Rubio, or someone else, then this election cycle would be completely different. She can't even get her base excited about her candidacy. But, the GOP nominated a man that is so vile and damaged that it doesn't even matter when he finally, three weeks before the election, manages to stay on topic for more than ten minutes.

He was only able to stay on topic because for once talking about himself wasn't any fun. He admitted to sexual assault and bragged about getting away with it.  This on top of everything else we know about his character and how he thinks about other people.  There is nothing in his behavior or character that would lead me to believe that he is interested in the welfare of anyone other than himself and his children.  Who knows what other "surprises" will be dropped? 

Unfortunately for Trump, too many conservative voters still care about things like morals and values to allow him even a chance to win. He will not win and by supporting him we are proving we are willing to excuse anything to attain political power.  Excusing Trump for sexual assault because Bill did it and Hillary covered it up puts you in the same category as Hillary in terms of morals.  I’m quite certain that if the next headline is “Trump had man murdered to…”, that many of his supporters would start to cry, “Well, I’m relatively certain that Hillary has killed people as well.” 

Again, the presidential election was over this summer. Anger gave way to foolishness and now we pay the price of foolishness. Now it's time to be wise and put all possible resources into maintaining control of the Senate.

The biggest argument for voting for Trump is to protect the Supreme Court.  In my mind it is the only valid reason, but it is a false hope.  He will not and cannot win.  The only real chance we have of protecting the Supreme Court in any way is to make sure that we have a Republican controlled Senate.  Then we can at least force the nomination of moderate instead of liberal justices.  If too many conservatives and prominent members of the GOP continue to support Trump, then we risk losing not only the presidency but also the Senate.  If we lose the presidency and the Senate, then we get Supreme Court Justices as liberal as Hillary wants.

I find it funny that many Trump supporters are telling other conservatives and Republicans not to judge Trump for his indiscretions, quoting scripture along the way.  Meanwhile, these same people tend to be some of the harshest critics of Hillary and Bill.  By their own reasoning, they should be fine voting for Hillary.  After all, who are they to judge her?

Of course, this teaching is being misapplied in this case.  The Savior didn’t tell us not to use wise judgement in the public sphere.  Rather He was teaching us not to condemn people as He provided the way for them to change.  He didn’t say elect untrustworthy people to public office and hope for the best.

Friday, October 7, 2016

New Lows in Presidential Politics, or Just a Familiar and Expected Place

A new low for Donald Trump today?  No just a revelation of something about his character that is shocking but not really surprising.  Is anyone really surprised that he said and has done these things?

This is what the GOP managed to nominate.  Some will try to defend it.  Some will try to downplay.  Many will try to ignore it.  Whatever you do, if you don’t condemn his behavior and question his candidacy, you are in some degree condoning and enabling the behavior of a serial sexual predator.  It shows how he sees the world and his place in it.  He is the center and anything he wants should be his.  He will attempt to take what he wants.  Imagine what he will do in the White House.

On the other hand, we have the opportunity to vote for the enabler of another prolific sexual predator.  Hillary Clinton, in her efforts and support of her husband through his political and professional career allowed Bill to set himself up to be a sexual predator in the highest office of the land.  Bill, at least, had the foresight as a politician to try to keep it private (tongue in cheek).  And, unlike Donald, Bill didn’t have the money to pay to cover it up as well early on.  (Notice things have been quiet on that front in Bill’s life for the past couple of decades?  Possibly related to money or a failing libido?)

Either way, Hillary’s active enablement of Bill by coordinating efforts to attack the targets of his aggression is a sign of her character as well.  Nothing, especially not the right thing will get in the way of her taking power.

Donald Trump, at this point, should drop out of the race and allow Mike Pence to step in for him.  Let's be honest, if he were any other GOP nominee, the party would demand that he withdraw.  At this point we've crossed the line of common sense, common decency, and wisdom into the unbelievable.  That’s unlikely and we know that Hillary won’t let go of the opportunity for power for anything or anyone.

I think we need to ask Vladimir Putin to give us back that reset button.  Maybe it was meant for domestic and not foreign use.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Back Story (A Memorial to Veterans)

Global War on Terror
At the end of May I had the privilege of attending the dedication of the Nevada State Veterans Memorial.  It was a moving event, but there is also a power in the Memorial itself.  Later that afternoon, once the crowds from the dedication had dispersed, I walked through the Memorial contemplating the service of so many ordinary people that were willing to sacrifice so much for others.  In an attempt to capture the power of the sculptures, I snapped a number of pictures.  

Family and Predecessors 
For days I've thought about how to capture my thoughts regarding those that serve.  This week I came across this poem by cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell.  The story told is representative of what so many have experienced-veterans, families, and those on the home front.  I hope this might touch others the way it touched me.

Vietnam War
Back Story
by Waddie Mitchell

Who the fella was eluded us
              Nobody in town knew
Just showed up that mild winter
              Back in 1982

He became our burg’s first homeless
              Proving harmless in his ways
Hanging near the bins and benches
              In our city park all day

‘Til the sheriff came and told him
              He must move around ‘til dark
For, we don’t want people loitering
              Or begging in our park

So, move he did, perpetually
              He marched our small town streets
From can ‘til can’t he constantly
              Made rounds around his beat

Well, season passed as did the years
              He’d melded in our ‘scape
Though he’s talking, now, as walking
              In his never-changing gait

Then, with time, he starts expounding
              Using gestures and raised voice
We were sure he’d be committed
              Seemed they’d have no other choice

But he made sure that he checked out
              Before that’s what they could do
And our country, then interred
              The strangest man we never knew

‘Twas time and lots of query
              Finally found his next of kin
Who had given up on
              Ever hearing anything of him

So, they wrote and sent an obit
              That was printed in our rag
Which filled a lot of gaps in
              With its all too tellin’ tag

Seems he’d been his high school’s quarter back
              And top of his large class
Won a scholarship to Stanford
              But he humbly took a pass

So, he joined the U.S. Army
              Scored high on all their tests
Finished jump and Ranger schools up
              Where they only take the best

Then OCS, then off to war
              Where he was in its hell
The Bronze Star and a Purple heart
              Ain’t half there is to tell

Returning home he found he
              Couldn’t acclimate or cope
And his family prays, he’s finally found
              A bit of peace and hope

Revolutionary War

Revolutionary War

Civil War

World War II

Korean War

Thursday, May 26, 2016

In Memoriam: Mike Allred

His home was across a small field from mine when both of us were quite young.  He is one of my earliest friends that I can remember.  Two events connected me to him in those very early days.  First, his family had suffered a tragedy and I was there the day part of it happened.  Only five or six years old, I remember standing outside of his home crying because of the sadness within.  I didn’t understand it at the time, but I felt it.  Around the same time, I don’t remember if it was before or after his family's tragedy, my two-year old brother passed away during the night.  My sister and I watched from the front door as my mother, who had just found her lifeless son, run barefoot across the snowy field to my friend’s home to use their phone to call my father.  We didn’t have a phone.

At the time he was the only one outside of my family that I could speak with about what happened.  He would share his sadness with me at times as well.  At different times throughout the years, even when we weren’t as close, we would remember the sadness of those events.  It was an honor to share a few moments of silence with the one person that I knew understood how I felt at that time.

While our friendship helped each of us through sorrow, most of our time together was full of joy, happiness, and on occasion mischief. 

Speaking of the mischief, we had the fortune (our teacher’s misfortune) of being in the same class in first grade.  One day, for some now forgotten reason we stayed longer in the lunchroom/gym instead of going outside for the longest recess of the day.  This was odd because I loved lunch recess.  I don’t remember how long they lasted then, but it always seemed like we could accomplish an unbelievable amount of play and recreation in the time allotted.  On this day, however, we stayed inside long enough to watch as the high schoolers came in for their lunch.  Soon they were sitting all around us and, magically, we became their entertainment.  I don’t remember how we started making them laugh…I think he started calling them names and teasing them.  Eventually it led to a (I must say rather minor) food fight with a few of the high school boys. 

Realizing that we were going to completely miss recess, we decided it was time to go outside to play.  (Unbeknownst to us we had already missed recess completely and were the targets of an angry teacher’s focused search.)  On the way out, we thought it would be funny to tie one set of our shoelaces together.  Watching two first graders do a version of the three-legged race to leave the lunchroom was highly entertaining to all of the teenagers.  Halfway across the hardwood floor, I was looking down at our feet to make sure I could step at the right time to avoid falling down.  Seemingly out of nowhere our teacher, face red with anger, was in front of us.  I don’t remember what she said because several high schoolers started to heckle her or us.  We knew we were in trouble, but the laughter from the room made it seem not so serious.  Our teacher, on the other hand, was ready to leave the room and escape the high schoolers.  In order to hasten our exit, she grabbed my friend by the hand and pulled him as fast as she could toward the door.  With a thud and a crash, I hit the floor as my foot was pulled out from under me.

Immediately, many of the high schoolers were on their feet clapping and cheering.  Our teacher was beyond angry and embarrassed at this point, enough so that I began to worry about my safety.  My friend had a big smile on his face as he soaked up the applause and admiration of our audience.

Roll forward a year to second grade.  He and I were classmates again.  Apparently the teachers didn’t discuss the potentially disastrous dynamics of certain personalities in the same classroom.  Now, my second grade teacher was possibly one of the meanest teachers I’ve ever had.  Should others feel to defend her, they don’t understand her level of cruelty because they were probably better behaved than was I.  She once made me miss my ride home, as a second grader, because I had blown air into my crayon box and made what I thought was a most excellent whistling noise.  (Unfortunately for her, she had to deal with my mother after that episode.)

So, here we are in second grade and we really were trying our best to behave.  Our best just wasn’t that great yet.  He and I loved to talk.  One day our teacher had had enough.  In short order both of us were behind fold out, cardboard closets with masking tape across our lips.  As the shame of my situation started to build, I suddenly found that the tape had come loose on my bottom lip.  I was able to make a funny face and noise when I moved my mouth.  In short order I was leaning, carefully, outside of my closet to make my friend and other friends laugh.  Soon our teacher was out of fold out closets. 

Now, my memory on the next part gets a little fuzzy.  I think it happened while we were behind the closets.  My compatriot in mischief had taken all he could and had to find another way to make someone laugh and I was his target.  He grunted and caught my attention.  Carefully I leaned out to look at him.  He had a crayon coming out of each ear and made faces with his eyes.  I followed suit.  Soon each of us had a crayon in each ear and one in each nostril.  At that point one or more of our classmates gave us up as they laughed out loud.

Just then it was time for recess.  As everyone went out, my friend and I were detained in the classroom to write, several hundred times, the sentence: “I will not stick crayons in my ears or up my nose.”  After recess everyone else went to the neighboring second grade classroom for some special activity involving the principal.  As we were writing the sentences, the principal walked through our classroom to get to the event.  Seeing us sitting there he asked what we were doing. 

“Writing sentences,” my friend said.

“What is the sentence,” asked the principal.

“I will not stick crayons in my ears or up my nose.”

Both of us were quite happy at his reaction, a happy laugh.

(I truly believe that my terrible penmanship started in second grade as I was forced, due to my improper actions, to write what likely was several thousand sentences as quickly as I could.)

As my friend and I moved onto junior high and high school, we did less together as our interests diverged.  Despite that, we often would find ourselves spending time together quite easily.  He was an amazing bowler, who would spend time, mostly in vain, to help me get better.  When a new video game would come out, we often would find ourselves crashing at his house for hours on a Saturday to figure out how to beat it.  After Little League baseball, he didn’t have much to do with organized sports, which was too bad, because he was a talented athlete.  Anytime there was a softball game, you wanted him on your team because he could hit the ball further than anyone else.

He was almost always happy and he was kind to almost everyone (except perhaps to those who were unkind).  His smile was quick to brighten life for everyone.  Like me his level of mischief decreased, but never completely.  He was friends with every kind and type of person.  He would help anyone.

My friend Mike Allred passed away this past weekend.  It’s been years and years since I’ve spoken with him and this makes me sad.  I wish we could have laughed together one more time, that we could have remembered together the early sadness in our lives.  My last memory of him is this.  It was the day of our high school graduation.  We had just lined up outside of the Duchesne High School big gym so that family, friends, and neighbors could congratulate us.  I was standing there by Mike and my another close friend.  Mike and I were all smiles, excited for the opportunities that were ahead of us and the amazing memories that were behind us.  Suddenly, Mike and I noticed that our other friend’s eyes were filling with tears.

“Why are you crying,” we asked at the same time. 

“It’s over, those fun years are over.”

All three of us teared up for a bit.  He was right, those were fun years.  But, I know that Mike brought years of fun and happiness to many others after that.  That’s the Mike I will always remember.