Jun
10

“Republican Crusade”

By

Chris Fitzsimon offers another perspective on the far-reaching implications of Raleigh Republicans’ decisions :

This week they are advancing legislation to make it more difficult for seniors and people with a disability to vote by forcing them to bring a government-issued photo ID to the polls. The House has already voted to shorten the length of the early voting period, which prompted The New York Times to call for a gubernatorial veto.

The Republican majorities are dismantling the public financing system for Council of State elections. That means that big contributions from insurance companies will help decide who is elected commissioner of insurance in 2012.

Last week the House passed a bill allowing the predatory consumer finance industry to jack up the already exorbitantly high interest rates they charge on small loans.
[...]
Sense the pattern here? More power for corporations in the political process and the legal system, less for average citizens who can’t afford to make big campaign contributions or hire lobbyists.
[...]
The budget cripples the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, laying off workers and transferring important conservation functions to the Department of Agriculture, where agribusiness almost always gets its way.
[...]
The House recently passed a bill requiring women accessing private, legal medical services to listen to anti-choice propaganda first. The budget prohibits Planned Parenthood from receiving federal pass through grants for their cancer screenings.


Comments

  1. NW says:

    Is it the weight of the ID that will make it so difficult? I’m guessing if they can’t carry an extra ounce they will have an escort anyways, maybe they can carry it for them…

    Thumb up 2

  2. Tom Buckner says:

    You’ve got some ‘backy juice dribbling down your chin, there, chief.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  3. Andrew Dahm says:

    Does an elderly person who hasn’t driven for 10-12 years have a state-issued photo ID, NW? Do you know how long it takes to get a state-issued photo ID, or where to get one, or how many sites that issue photo ID’s are pedestrian accessible? Can you point to any instance of voting fraud in North Carolina that would have been prevented by a photo ID requirement? Can you point to one piece of legislation passed by this Republican legislature that would benefit low-income elderly people? Do you think it’s better or worse to stand in line for an extra thirty minutes if you’re 75 years old and have diabetes? Do you think shortening early-voting time will make it easier or harder for families to get elderly relatives to the polls?

    Do you think voting is a right or a privilege?

    I have more questions in my other suit….

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 5

  4. TJ says:

    Does an elderly person who hasn’t driven for 10-12 years have a state-issued photo ID, NW?”

    Probably not, since SS won’t use an ID that’s expired, even if the mugshot is the same.

    “Do you know how long it takes to get a state-issued photo ID, or where to get one, or how many sites that issue photo ID’s are pedestrian accessible?”

    A few weeks, DMV, and no.

    “Can you point to any instance of voting fraud in North Carolina that would have been prevented by a photo ID requirement?”

    No, although, that could be a conspiracy, I suppose.

    “Can you point to one piece of legislation passed by this Republican legislature that would benefit low-income elderly people?”

    Not really.

    “Do you think it’s better or worse to stand in line for an extra thirty minutes if you’re 75 years old and have diabetes? ”

    Depends upon whether the state wants to pick up the ER tab, in case of diabetic crisis from the extra time. (Oops, I forgot, the state would rather pick up the ER tab than cover preventative care)

    “Do you think shortening early-voting time will make it easier or harder for families to get elderly relatives to the polls?”

    Harder.

    “I have more questions in my other suit….”

    Shoot.

    This is fun. Can I have my score, please? I know-I’d probably get kicked off the island ;-)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  5. John says:

    Also keep in mind NC ID cards are only good for one year. Meaning the voting process is even longer if you don’t keep going down to the DMV every year on your birthday. This is one of the main reasons non-drivers don’t have valid ID cards. The DMV is way out in West Asheville. If you live in Haw Creek – they closed the west side DMV a while ago – the whole process of getting a valid ID could take four hours on the bus if not more.

    This has to be part of the R’s thinking in passing a an ID card law. Not just in Buncombe either. Has anyone ever known the DMV to be located in a convenient location? Are all DMV locations even on a bus route? I doubt that’s true in a lot of rural counties.

    Does anyone know if there was a problem with provisional ballots that I’m unaware of in NC? Was there a rash of voter fraud in NC that the media didn’t report? Even the CT reported this was overblown just yesterday.

    Nothing about this law makes sense. Which makes me think this is nothing more than political theater that Perdue will veto.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  6. TJ says:

    “Which makes me think this is nothing more than political theater that Perdue will veto.”

    One would hope. Of course, over the past many years, I have found that most of what the government does not really make sense.

    Take something simple:

    A person can be considered disabled if they meet the requirements for a certain percentage of hearing loss. That same person may not get a hearing aid through Medicare (disability health insurance) because it’s considered “cosmetic.”

    Now-get more complicated situations, and it pretty much seems hopeless IME. I keep telling clients don’t just accept the first “no,” but I also tell them they may want to take a few Ativan for anxiety before they go to a governmental office (j/k about the drug-not about the stress).

    I’m sure there could be a whole week long thread of all the absurdities from the governmental podium, and we could hand out the “world’s dumbest” award to many close runner-ups.

    Maybe that should be part of the voting process ;-) . Who gets voted off the island this election?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  7. Tom Buckner says:

    I just remembered the time when I was recently moved to Boston (circa 1980) and for about five minutes considered working as a cab driver. Prerequisite to this was that I needed a Massachusetts driver’s license, so I went to the DMV a block or three from the Boston Garden, famed home of the Celtics, roughly in the same highly congested part of town as the Old North Church (Paul Revere, one if by land, etc.) The DMV was a vast old brick colossus, and once inside I saw nothing but hundreds of people in lines here and there. I gathered that it would take at least a full day in this bureaucratic maze to get a regular license, never mind a hack license… and I left.

    Some months later, on a trip to some small town in the western part of that state, I popped into the local DMV on a whim and got my license in an hour or so. No test even.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  8. TJ says:

    “Some months later, on a trip to some small town in the western part of that state, I popped into the local DMV on a whim and got my license in an hour or so. No test even.”

    Found the same thing here in NC. Smaller scale, I’m sure, but after seeing the lines in Asheville, went to Marshall(Madison Co) and went in and out (since no one else was there but the examiner) in no more than 30 minutes (including time for the paperwork), although I DID have a test.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  9. NW says:

    Bill clearly states BOE will issue a voter ID card, if needed, at no charge…I’m guessing if someone can manage to get to their polling station thaey can get to the BOE…also, if a voter shows up with no ID they can use a provisional ballot…

    Does an elderly person who hasn’t driven for 10-12 years have a state-issued photo ID, NW? see above

    Do you know how long it takes to get a state-issued photo ID, or where to get one, or how many sites that issue photo ID’s are pedestrian accessible? Again, see above.

    Can you point to any instance of voting fraud in North Carolina that would have been prevented by a photo ID requirement? No, seems like it would be hard to prove if all you have to do is show up and give a name and address, because you can’t check an ID.

    Can you point to one piece of legislation passed by this Republican legislature that would benefit low-income elderly people? NOt sure what this has to do with voting, but we should probably take a page from the Dems and just give them End of LIfe Counseling and we won’t have to worry about it.

    Do you think it’s better or worse to stand in line for an extra thirty minutes if you’re 75 years old and have diabetes? I always vote early and have never stood in line. I would imagine that that week isn’t going to make a thirty minute difference. But, it’s good rhetoric.

    Do you think shortening early-voting time will make it easier or harder for families to get elderly relatives to the polls? Monday on one week is the same as Monday on the next. I can’t imagine many folks being that hard up for time.

    Do you think voting is a right or a privilege? Right

    Wheres your other suit?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  10. NW says:

    BTW Tom, I don’t chew Tobacco…It’s bad for you…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  11. TJ says:

    ” I can’t imagine many folks being that hard up for time.”

    Actually, I can think of quite a few.

    Take a client of mine whose daughter just got out of jail. The client is disabled, and had in tow a 3 and a 2 year old, with only one car seat and no car. She has limited resources, few natural supports, etc. Getting out to vote would be very difficult for her.

    Another one: my friend who stayed in TN several weeks at a time, completing school for midwifery. She finished school, while I drove her son to school every morning, our sons being best friends, and all. Then, upon return, she was on-call all sorts of odd hours and had to deliver a set number of babies before she was considered done with her internship…again, I was on-call for her son’s ride to school. Now, done, she had to take another chunk of time out to study for her licensing exam. I’d hate to see what happened if she was stuck in TN when election time came around. Never mind that she will be delivering babies whenever and wherever, and I can assure you-time WILL matter to her.

    As for myself, I am frequently on-call, both at my “real” job with clients and on a crisis line. If a client calls in crisis, I doubt the licensing board would care to hear, “sorry, I was busy voting.”

    This isn’t to say planning and all such options are not available, but it is just a small sampling how shortening options CAN create difficulties when it comes to “free time,” even in such important matters as voting.

    I’ve only worked one job in my entire career where the agency heads wanted to know if everyone had taken the time they needed to vote and would allow a whole day off, if needed.

    Many people don’t enjoy such “rights,” and are not “privileged” with the easy access that most of us have available.

    I honestly don’t understand how so many people can sleepwalk so easily through life.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  12. Andrew Dahm says:

    Yes, I read up on the BOE ID component, thanks.

    I suppose that program will be funded with a surtax on North Carolinians making more than, say, $250K/yr? After all, these big-government initiatives have to be paid for somehow.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  13. NW says:

    TJ, I travel all over the US to work. I generally have to be onsite within 24 hrs of call and many times I am gone for 2-8 weeks at a time. I still manage to vote. Absentee in 2008 as I was in KY for 6 weeks leading up.

    I see what you are saying regarding your client. I’m still not sure that a week will make a difference to that person, but maybe it would. So, maybe there needs to be a voting van or something that peeps can call. I don’t claim to have all the answers and haven’t done a study on the impact of voter turn out and a week of early voting. It just doesn’t seem that difficult to find the time or a way.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  14. Big Ivy says:

    I can easily imagine being pressed for time when it comes to voting and I don’t have relatives in jail, etc. and I do have transportation.

    NW’s circle of acquaintances must be select as he/she seems not to know anyone who is burdened with a work schedule of 12 hour shifts on top of home and personal responsibilities that easily consume 6-8 hours out of every 24. Or, it could be that NW just wants to be obtuse and obnoxious. More likely, however, I suppose it’s a matter of “If it isn’t happening to you then it isn’t happening.”

    Yeah, I find standing in line 30 minutes to an hour a problem. It’s not just the time that makes it a problem; bad knees or a bad back can make standing in line quite painful.

    What is the substantive reason for not having at least a week of early voting?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  15. TJ says:

    ” So, maybe there needs to be a voting van or something that peeps can call.”

    Most of my clients have to rely upon “Mountain Mobility” for rides, and they only go to medical appts. It all sounds good, until you realize that MM doesn’t come and go at the beginning and end of an appt. You may get there at 9 am, but then don’t get picked up until 2 or 3 or 4, or whenever they are making their rounds at the end. It is time consuming, and I can’t imagine a one time event like voting being much more efficient, if at all. And for some people whom have physical pain, like one I know with former back surgery, and another with a need for double knee surgery, this is no small matter.

    “I don’t claim to have all the answers and haven’t done a study on the impact of voter turn out and a week of early voting. It just doesn’t seem that difficult to find the time or a way.”

    I don’t have all the answers, either, and perhaps it will not be all that difficult, but I don’t think that the “big guys” appreciate the day to day difficulties that a certain percentage of the population face each day. These changes may or may not make a big difference in these people’s lives, but why add another hardship, when for some of them, even the smallest change can feel overwhelming?

    It is not just a physical hardship, but them emotional toll, as well. For some, the fact they are even getting out to vote to have a voice in some matter is a huge accomplishment, and the changes can add to the already existing persisting feeling that they don’t “really matter.”

    Of course, that is what therapy is for. I’m just saying that they don’t need additional issues to complicate it further for them. I suppose one could say if they are that fragile, they should not be out there voting on important issues. I happen to believe that BECAUSE they are that fragile, they should have an even louder voice than those of us whom have learned to maneuver through life with all its’ craziness and uncertainties.

    If the whole more or less time for early voting is no big deal, as seems to be the argument, why not just leave it the way it is? It seems it may be thought a bigger deal than one cares to admit, or it could easily be agreed to just leave the time frame the same, and the matter dropped.

    “”The lady doth protest too much , methinks.” – Hamlet… seems apropos here.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  16. TJ says:

    “Yeah, I find standing in line 30 minutes to an hour a problem.”

    Never mind that number of years waiting in line, on hold, etc., takes away from our lives (I don’t have the numbers, but someone had calculated some average number of years-more than I cared to think of wasting). Never mind that most people get annoyed having to wait for more than 60 seconds for a waitress to come take an order (unless you’re looking at a new menu), or more than 5 minutes in a drive-through(and daggone it! don’t those three cars in front know I’m in a hurry?!). But somehow, something as important as voting can take as long as it takes? Do I want fast food faster over a chance to elect someone making policy decisions for me? Hmmmm….let me think a minute….or maybe an hour?

    “It’s not just the time that makes it a problem; bad knees or a bad back can make standing in line quite painful.”

    Wait a minute! If you’re my client, I promise I wasn’t talking about you! ;-)

    There you go, more than one person with medical issues (seems like many people have issues with diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., as well). Of course, debating this issue would raise the BP of some of them, now they can just go wait in line. MMmmm, maybe we can insist they serve food to keep people from going into a diabetic coma… or, maybe that’s the condition they want them in, so they can be more easily influenced ;-) (okay, really, not. I’m not a conspiracy nut. I just find this whole “issue” ridiculous, that it seems such a big deal to allow the regular time for voting early and all, but that’s the point. It IS a big deal, and the opposition somehow seems to think they can argue otherwise-while they continue to argue).

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  17. Doug Gibson says:

    Can you point to any instance of voting fraud in North Carolina that would have been prevented by a photo ID requirement? No, seems like it would be hard to prove if all you have to do is show up and give a name and address, because you can’t check an ID.

    In other words, the answer to the question “Can you point to any instance of voting fraud” is “no.”

    But we need to spend millions and create a few more hurdles in order to defend the process against an imagined threat.

    Next they’ll be clamoring for a bear patrol.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  18. Big Ivy says:

    @ TJ #16

    No, darlin’, I’m not anyone’s client. I’m just a gray-haired, older woman with a bad knee and chronic low back pain. I work full-time, often 12 hour shifts, have an elderly parent who requires a great deal of care, have her business, a disabled sibling’s business, and my own business to take care of and time is always short. A full week of voting allows me to vote as well as get both family members to the polls – sometimes requiring three separate days. Both the parent and the sibling are clear minded but an 88 year old just can’t handle lines so we do “in car” voting for that one. I can’t imagine what WOMEN with small children, daycare, and fulltime job do!

    I understand that the goal is to make voting difficult but I’ve yet to hear a rational argument about how that advances our society.

    BTW.. Regarding “End of Life Counseling.” My parents consulted an attorney in their late 60′s to have their preferences documented and to appoint a medical POA. I took the same action when I was in my late 50′s. One can, of course, revise these documents at any time. Such documents do not imply withholding all treatment regardless of the diagnosis and do not suggest euthanasia. Actually, I have “whether to treat, whether to operate” discussions with my physicians on a regular basis for routine problems and the same conversations are had regarding my 88 year old parent. (If I have appendicitis – operate immediately. If I have a bad knee, I will probably just limp and take some aspirin or Motrin when it’s really bad even though surgery is an option.) Should I achieve advanced age and have a major stroke, I would like to be kept comfortable but would prefer not to have $40,000. worth of diagnostic studies and a PEG tube. That’s my choice and others should be able to make the choice that is best for their circumstances.

    Is it ignorance or malice that causes some to scream about “End of Life Counseling?” I figure it’s malice and a deliberate attempt to frighten those who are ignorant. Perhaps I am too generous? It is equally likely that it is both – ignorance and malice.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  19. Hazelite says:

    We should not make it harder to vote, we should require people to vote (or to show up at the same time and fill in the “I decline to vote” box). Voting is a duty as well as a right.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  20. TJ says:

    “Homer vows that he and his family will help Apu. ”

    Well, Doug, at least someone vows to help him. That’s more than what the gov’t is offering as the cut away everything.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  21. TJ says:

    “Is it ignorance or malice that causes some to scream about “End of Life Counseling?” I figure it’s malice and a deliberate attempt to frighten those who are ignorant. Perhaps I am too generous? It is equally likely that it is both – ignorance and malice.”

    Ignorance often breeds malice.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  22. TJ says:

    “Voting is a duty as well as a right.”

    Yeah, but if everyone voted, then what fun would THAT be?!

    Sitting around and complaining about what is and is not being done would not be nearly as fun. We all have the right to complain, and by golly, it’s my duty to tell you what’s wrong with everyone “these days,” anyway.
    ;-)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  23. TJ says:

    “I understand that the goal is to make voting difficult but I’ve yet to hear a {rational argument about how that advances} our society.”

    Why, don’t you know? If all those “undesirables” are out of the way, we can make all the decisions necessary to make their lives even more unbearable…. maybe they’ll decide to leave, so we can make our society a “better” place without all the muss and fuss. Reminds me of a few other times in history in other countries (and no, you know who is not the only one).

    Never said it was compassionate, but it has a certain rationale to it.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  24. NW says:

    “NW’s circle of acquaintances must be select as he/she seems not to know anyone who is burdened with a work schedule of 12 hour shifts on top of home and personal responsibilities that easily consume 6-8 hours out of every 24. Or, it could be that NW just wants to be obtuse and obnoxious. More likely, however, I suppose it’s a matter of “If it isn’t happening to you then it isn’t happening.”

    My wife is one of those you are writing of. I am not being obtuse or obnoxious. What is obnoxious is when lefties auto response is stuff like “acquaintances must be select” BS as if I’m sitting around with all of my buddies at the country club sipping our martinis.

    You act as if only the Left, Dems, or Progressives have the card to have hardship. Have you had to live in a camper because you lost your house? I have. Have you had to tell your son you can’t come see him because you are broke? I have. I even had to go to a friend’s house to use their phone to call him. Why? Because mine was turned off. Oh yeah, I only have 30% rotation to my left with my neck after it was dislocated in a car crash, yes it hurts when I stand for long periods.

    Everyone has ish they have to deal with, some have the ability to deal and some don’t. Difference is I can deal. That doesn’t mean that I think “If it isn’t happening to you then it isn’t happening.” Does my hardship now qualify me to talk about it, or do I need to go work on getting Diabetes? My goodness people like you make my blood boil.

    Also Obnoxious is the Republicans hate poor people and don’t want them voting BS auto response from the left. If you honestly think that because I am a registered Republican I want to disenfranchise, make it harder, or anything else that could hurt poor people for reasons of politics or anything else, it shows how ignorant you are. That is just an absolutely ridiculous accusation.

    TJ, you seem to have a genuine concern about this, outside of politics, which is probably why what you are saying makes some sense. Those who can’t deal we should help whether D, R, L, and whatever the hell else is out there.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2

  25. barry says:

    Also Obnoxious is the Republicans hate poor people and don’t want them voting BS auto response from the left.

    One would hope you would recognize that this accusation is aimed at the Republican leadership, both state level and nationally. I think the evidence is clear, going back decades, that they (not you, they) seriously want to restrict voting for people who historically vote against them.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  26. TJ says:

    “TJ, you seem to have a genuine concern about this, outside of politics, which is probably why what you are saying makes some sense. Those who can’t deal we should help whether D, R, L, and whatever the hell else is out there.”

    Honestly, I’m in the learning stages about politics, as I’ve stayed on the fringes most of my life(of politics, that is). I’ve voted what I considered an informed vote, sometimes seeing what I vote for work, and sometimes not.

    My parents were die-hard R’s, my father being a Lt. Col., and all. Although I appreciate being an American, I can’t say growing up with him did much to encourage Patriotism, and all that. As an adult, I’ve watched as decades pass, yet human compassion still seems to be the most difficult “progress” that is brought about. Child abuse laws began with a law against animal cruelty being applied to a case.

    It seems as though people have gotten used to an endless number of bandaids being applied to crisis situations.

    Now, we have changes being made which will create more crisis. Rather than REALLY saving money, it is simply shifted around in ways which would probably land any one of us in bankruptcy or prison, but we (the American people) are expected to clean up their messes. So we have to form grassroots organizations to start to dig us out of a huge pile we’ve landed in.

    I see the human consequences of these messes. I don’t have to know if the person is R, D, L, P, etc. I see how they are impacted personally. Unfortunately, I will probably never be out of work. Really, I’d rather spend my time writing or studying philosophy somewhere. Although I love my work, I don’t love the underlying causes for people to need me.

    I agree with Barry…. it is not so much the R general population that is problematic (although, if they gave their leaders the message they did not like how they ran things, I think it WOULD help)…
    The leadership does not want anyone challenging their authority (much as my father’s attitude), and they certainly fear losing power. Like it or not, with money and prestige comes power. What the leaders seem to stay in denial of is that, like my father, one day, all the money and prestige will sit obscurely with no one left to claim it-as we all end up dead some day.

    The question that remains is what legacy would they prefer to leave behind? For many of them, that seems to be a non-question.

    So: What legacy do “we” (as fellow humans on the planet, whether we see our impact or not-it is there… and as Americans -for any future generations, including our own children and grandchildren) want to leave behind?

    Then: How do we bring about that legacy?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  27. Tom Sullivan says:

    Barry’s quite right about vote suppression efforts by the GOP leadership, not necessarily the rank-and-file, going back to Operation Eagle Eye in 1964. Or suppression sentiment going back to Paul Weyrich in 1980; many of these voting bills popping up around the country were drafted by the organization Weyrich founded.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caging_%28voter_suppression%29
    http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/dnc_v_rnc_consent_decree/
    http://www.bradblog.com/?p=8136 (w/video)

    As I suggested in another thread, it’s a distraction even to argue the relative merits/burdens of any one of these voting measures. It is the cumulative effect of laying multiple small obstacles that knock out a few voters here and a few voters there that is the whole point of these efforts.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  28. TJ says:

    “It is the cumulative effect of laying multiple small obstacles that knock out a few voters here and a few voters there that is the whole point of these efforts.”

    There you go. Classic magician’s slight-of-hand trickery. At least at the Magic Castle, it was a positive source of entertainment and skill.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  29. Andrew Dahm says:

    It has, in fact, been the Republican leadership, not the rank and file, that’s been working to restrict suffrage. NW, I hear you, and am sorry if I gave offense.

    This thread – and many arguments about policy initiatives from Republican legislators nationwide – are notable for their divisiveness. Another theme that’s frequently developed in such discussions is the “everybody does it,” “a pox on both their houses” stonethrowing that substitutes for substantive policy debate.

    And, by the way, suppresses voter turnout.

    If opinion polls are any guide, if everybody voted, there’d probably be more restrictions on gun ownership than there currently are, better access to sex education and birth control than we currently have, stronger environmental protections, wage-and-hour laws, etcetera.

    Each of us may or may not like one or more of these things. However, it would be what the Constitution of the United States set out as its goal: Government by consent of the governed.

    I’m curious, and throw this out as an honest question and not as a rhetorical trope: Do any of us really feel that the government we currently have – which is a result of voter suppression and divisive propaganda – represents who we are?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1

  30. TJ says:

    “I’m curious, and throw this out as an honest question and not as a rhetorical trope: Do any of us really feel that the government we currently have – which is a result of voter suppression and divisive propaganda – represents who we are?”

    Well, being new to politics here, perhaps I should refrain. However, never being one to sit silently long, and not given to deception, I will give my response. It has been stated in various comments throughout the blog, but here is my summary:

    No.

    Okay, I’ll elaborate briefly {I promise ;-) }.

    I believe a good number of citizens have either not read, or don’t remember what the constitution even says. I think we have been swept up in propaganda for so long, and dealing with crisis in one form or another, that we have lost sight of what our government leadership could-and should-be. Basically, we as a nation have been traumatized and continue to live out the trauma repetition by the way we do or don’t vote, in a reactive, rather than pro-active way.

    Having lived in DC and the surrounding Silver Spring, MD and Alexandria, VA communities for a number of years, I noticed a couple of things. One, there is an extreme dichotomy between what DC represents as a nation, and what the local residents in the area experience. Two, it is very easy to find ways to keep their eyes closed to the needs-even in their own backyard(even literally, the White House lawn)-and believe in the “good” they are somehow doing. This being the case, I find it very difficult to see how they can expect to act with their eyes wide open to what the rest of the nation is enduring, when they can’t even see in their own living spaces.

    Having said that, I also say WE (and, yes, I include myself) are responsible. The Constitution tells us that we have the right-actually, obligation-to step in and remove those from office whom are causing harm to those they govern (and, I believe those whom have more influence and capability are even more responsible than those whom have limited resources or understanding). For obvious reasons, there is no such thing as a drop-in visit to the President to discuss a pressing matter by a constituent, never mind by someone whom disagrees. There sure are no more regular broadcasts to the American people in general. If there is, we are all primed to hear of some disaster or threat.

    Is that what our founders envisioned, a country living in terror, waiting to respond to the next crisis?

    Again, I say: NO.

    And I say that regardless of affiliation or belief system. There comes a time to set that aside and look at the human toll of living in a traumatized nation. Unfortunately, that only seems to be an open door when there is something traumatic taking place.

    So, how do we get back to the place where we all worked together and try to find ways to allow for differences without cutting off an arm or leg from the body?

    Sorry, I suppose this went beyond the level of “brief,” I have to remind myself it really is okay to not have it all solved today, and I can take a deep breath.

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