Category Archives: states’ governors

America’s political rigidity

Blame it on the echo chamber.

Or perhaps blame it on fear.

Or perhaps blame it on anger.

Whatever the cause(s), too many Americans have wrapped themselves in their political orthodoxy. It must be a suffocating cloak.

The left will tell you that those on the right have become fascist-loving, race-baiting, Bible-thumping bigots. Turn your head to the right and you’ll find people telling you that those on the left are police-hating, socialist-dreaming, abortion-loving losers.

Perhaps the only thing the two sides will agree upon is the other side just doesn’t get it. Come to think of it, they’ll also agree that the other side is preventing America from moving forward.

Now that’s a fine way to create a healthy discourse.

To suggest that Donald Trump is responsible for this mess is folly. Sure, the president, on multiple occasions before and since his successful 2016 election, has thrown gas on the raging fire, but that fire had been burning for almost 25 years.

Two southern, Republican “gentleman” deserve far more blame than Trump for causing this fiasco. It was Newt Gingrich who used the 1994 midterm elections to establish the idea that Republicans should define Democrats simply as the enemy; their presence in Washington was a heavy weight that could sink the “Contract with America.”

Later, Mitch McConnell saw the first black president in American history simply as someone who had to be removed after just one term. McConnell welcomed the idea that the GOP was the “Party of No,” and had an obligation to place as many roadblocks as possible in front of Barack Obama.

By time Trump came along, hatred for the left and for anything resembling a progressive ideology had been baked into the right’s thinking.

Some of you reading this post have reached a conclusion at this point: Typical liberal.

Well…if I’m one of those liberals, then tell me why I also believe those Democrats who argue illegal immigrants should automatically receive multi-faceted government assistance are wrong. You thought I was going to wade into the abortion fight, didn’t you? Well, since you asked, I’ve always found it curious when the few pro-life Democrats contort their personal beliefs around the idea that abortion is a decided issue. Pick a side: pro-life or pro-choice.

Meanwhile, let’s be clear that the right is in denial when it suggests abortions will stop if Roe v Wade is overturned. Women will still terminate their pregnancies, and in ways that will increase the chances of harming themselves for years to come. We could have that conversation, but, you know, culture wars are so much fun. The right’s sanctimonious attitude about abortion is awful, but the pro-life Democrats who won’t take their personal beliefs beyond fence straddling are weak, in my opinion.

Next, if I’m such a liberal, please tell me why I think free college education is a ridiculous idea. The number one reason public college tuition is so grotesquely priced is because approaching two decades now both parties repeatedly have slashed funding earmarked for higher education. If states’ governors and legislators would do the right thing and reaffirm the importance of college, then this silly idea of making college free could go away.

I could go on, but the point has been made: political rigidity reflects poorly on the nation. I can hear the left reminding me that the right pines for an America that has long since been sent into the history books. (Gotta tell you, there’s a lot to that past that ought never again see the light of day.) And I can also hear the right telling me that the left is ready to reject any semblance of honor and pride in its lust to give something to everybody. (Gotta tell you, I agree with some of this, but let’s not go deep into the weeds.)

Yes, conservative and liberal values are good, and conservative and liberal policies have merit. Damn crazy Independent, I am.

One way to start changing the political dynamic in America: stop electing people such as Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Richard Shelby, Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, Patrick Leahy, and Chuck Schumer. Clear out those who espouse hate or represent political entitlement by returning to office again and again (and for no apparent good reason).

Militia patrolling the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin

It’s 21st century America, and militia are patrolling the streets of one U.S. city.

And they might be shooting private citizens.

According to the Guardian,

Two people were shot dead and another injured when at least one gunman opened fire on protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, amid demonstrations against the police shooting of Jacob Blake three days ago.

David Beth, the county sheriff, said one person was shot in the head and another in the chest shortly before midnight on Tuesday. Another person was shot in the arm. The victims have not been identified.

Beth said people describing themselves as belonging to a militia had been patrolling Kenosha’s streets in recent nights but he did not know if the shooter was involved with such a group.

“They’re a militia,” Beth told reporters. “They’re like a vigilante group.”

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports

On Tuesday, a group calling itself the Kenosha Guard, asked members and followers on Facebook to come downtown and be prepared to defend the city.

One post read: “Any patriots willing to take up arms and defend out (sic) City tonight from the evil thugs? Nondoubt (sic) they are currently planning on the next part of the City to burn tonight!”

The Kenosha News reports that local officials are urging the governor to authorize the National Guard to brought to the city.

A police state brought about by one white officer choosing to shoot a black man seven times. That black man, Jacob Blake, is now paralyzed from the waist down.

What a country.

Galvanize college students to PROTEST!

College students are in the bullseye right now; the number of them who have contracted coronavirus is a daily news event. Forgotten in the 20 or so cases at School X and perhaps 500 cases at School Y is the individual attention those young adults will require to beat coronavirus.

America is overdue to see hundreds of college students in the news each and every day for a much different reason: because they are demanding real change to their education.

College students must begin gathering in large numbers — large enough numerically to fill the basketball arenas that stand on their campuses — to protest the abject failure of state governments to protect higher education. And their faculty could provide a boost to those efforts by joining them on the front lines.

Amid the nonstop noise about out-of-control student debt is the weak sauce argument that America’s colleges and universities are wasting money, and that their out-of-control spending is causing spiraling tuition costs that are then passed on to students.

Baloney.

The real problem is the deliberate gutting of public money earmarked for America’s public colleges and universities. In fact, over the past decade, roughly $9-BILLION has been slashed by states’ governors and legislators for higher education.

Nine. Billion. Dollars.

Of course, the corporate banks aren’t going to complain about this; they benefit when college students who need more money to graduate then become college graduates who need more time to pay off those loans.

It’s high time for college students to gather by the millions and

  1. Bombard their state and federal representatives with demands to change this ludicrous system that benefits corporations at the literal expense of students
  2. Protest — and loudly — outside their state capitals and in Washington to amplify their call for change
  3. Vote out of office any elected official who refuses to act on behalf of students instead of banks.

America’s college students have been fed a narrative that says “going into debt in order to graduate is a noble cause.”

Nonsense.

The noble cause has to be undertaken by politicians who protect current an future generations of college students by richly funding public colleges and institutions, while ensuring those dollars are used for hiring new faculty and expanding academic programs.

Those dollars may not be used for

  1. Climbing walls or other extracurricular activities
  2. Building extravagant housing facilities
  3. Subsidizing athletics.

The images of college students gathering now in large numbers while not wearing masks is being used by all sorts of people who have specific agendas relating to how education should be delivered this fall.

A new image — and one that everyone who cares about higher education can celebrate — needs to come into sharp focus: Our college students opening their eyes to the lie that student debt is necessary in order to be a college graduate and loudly demanding change.

Let’s help them make it happen.