Thursday, November 10, 2016

Post Mortem Day 2

It is finished and America has spoken.

Well, at least 47.5 % of eligible voters who decided to vote have spoken. 47.7% of them also spoke, for the other gal.

Those of you who "held your nose" and voted for Donald Trump? I have one question: how do we define whether or not he has succeeded? And if all of the things we fear come to pass, what will you do?

Alas, I’m hearing from folks now, and I truly appreciate the private messages, texts and emails asking me how I’m doing. I really do. Thank you.

Here’s how I’m doing. I’m vacillating. Yesterday was tough and at the oddest moments I would find myself starting to cry. A few times I had to bend over, feeling as if I would be sick. It reminded me of the early days after losing my parents. No, I’m not trying to be melodramatic. For those of you who can’t seem to understand how the “other side” feels, I can only say that when it comes to civil rights and the constitution some of us feel pretty strongly. The “crying binges” would occur when I would consider various aspects of our domestic and international laws and relationships that are going to be forever impacted by this man.

Today, though, I’m feeling two things. Apathy and anger.

Anger at the dozens of people we reached out to who did nothing but, today, are freaking out. Shades of 2012 and 2014 Kansas elections loom, when so many of us spoke out, yelled, shouted, wrote, begged and predicted the dismantling of the State of Kansas by Sam Brownback and his ultra-right minions in the Statehouse. Only roughly 64% of Kansans voted in the 2012 election and only 51% voted in 2014. That means only half of registered voters put Sam Brownback back into the Governor’s mansion. C’est la vie….

That was the year I decided to step back from Kansas politics. My patience for apathy, particularly when those complaining the loudest don’t step up, is slim.

The same thing is happening now. Many of those gnashing their teeth and lashing out on social media did nothing. In fact, some of the Kansas Democratic Party’s top leaders blatantly kept quiet on the Presidential race. You know who you are.

So now you want to know what to do. You are worried. You are terrified for the future of our children.

So am I. So WAS I. So were the thousands who made phone calls, canvassed, donated and spoke out.

It does little good to cry after the fact. The work has to happen BEFORE the election.

Which leads to my own apathy.

Donald Trump told us what he is going to do. He shouted it from the rooftops.

He will dismantle the EPA.

He will appoint justices like William Pryor, who believes Roe V. Wade is the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law” and who opposes Miranda warnings. Scalia’s open seat is just the beginning. The court’s two oldest justices are liberal and I highly doubt Justice Ginsberg lasts until she’s 91. That’s when the real changes will occur to civil rights, labor, environmental regulations, commerce, the First Amendment and, frankly, a checks and balances of the Executive Branch of the government.

Think Donald Trump won’t be able to do all of the things he says he wants to do, like require a religious litmus test to get into the country, build a massive wall, grab ‘em by the pussy, bomb the shit out of ‘em, and deport 11 million people? With Heritage Foundation picks from Trump sailing through confirmation hearings we may get exactly what he says he wants.

He will repeal the Affordable Care Act, immediately leaving over 20 million people without healthcare. I know, I know, you wanted that. I get it; the ACA is flawed but there are aspects of it which are vital to children and families in this country and the blame for flawed reform lies directly at the feet of our Congress for caring more about obstruction than getting it right the first time.

He will require generals to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS in 30 days. Because they’ve been just sitting back eating bon bons for the past ten years, I suppose? I’m wondering if it only took thirty days to plan the Normandy invasion. These things are so simple, you see.

He will pull support from international allies and disband trusted coalitions while withdrawing from all of our trade deals. What could go wrong?

I’m most excited, though, because he alone will fix the VA immediately, give China the “what for”, punish companies who outsource work (except for his own, I assume, not wanting to lose money on those “Make America Great Again” hats that are made in China) and construct an “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall.”

Oh, yeah, he’s also going to lock up his last political opponent.

Here’s the thing – 47.5% of eligible voters want these things. All of those voters somehow believe that we are worse off than we were when Barack Obama had a massive economic crisis dropped in his lap back in 2008. I REMEMBER those early years. Things are so vastly better now. It’s fascinating to me when today I hear people say Obama made things worse, many of whom just got back from vacation. Many of whom updated their homes recently or started a new business or bought a new automobile within the past few years. I raise my eyebrows when I see people on Facebook blast the President in one post and then, in the next, post photos of their recent social outing laughing and spending money. I spoke with a business owner last night who indicated he had to vote for his business best interest because he is buckling under taxes. Ironically, we were standing in his new store with Mexican immigrants doing the labor.

So today my attitude is, you wanted it so now you’ve got it.

And when only about 60% of eligible voters in this nation cast a vote….and when only a tiny minority of activists take any action to help national and local candidates….well, you get what you get.

White women, white men, fear, a love of authoritarianism, apathy for the bigger picture, ignorance of the layers and domino effects involved in governing, and a mind-boggling and irrationally visceral and rabid hatred of an individual who has dedicated her entire life to public service along with laziness decided this election. What’s funny is that those same white men and women may be able to survive a Trump administration and a Trump Supreme Court. It’s the others I worry about. It’s the others who leave that gut punch feeling in my stomach.

What will be, will be. Today I am not hopeful. I am tired and resigned. Maybe tomorrow will bring a change of heart.

For now, though, American hit “drive” on this roller coaster. We’ve peaked that first hill and can’t get off. How the ride ends God only knows.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Ugly Face of This Election

Two sides.

Good and bad.

Kind and cruel.

Forgiving and unforgiving.

Flexible and Rigid.

This is who we are right now. I feel it. I feel it in my mood, in my sleep patterns, in my driving and in my patience.

And I’m just a fortunate suburban woman living in the Midwest. Fortunate indeed; I won’t use the word “privileged”. To do so could evoke wrath, more anger, seething anger from those who have always had the entire cookie, not just a portion of it. The entire cookie for decades with pieces of the other half being doled out in bits, here and there, with messages of “now shut up finally, you are getting the rest of your cookie just like the rest of us, ‘mkay?”

If I’m feeling it, permeate into my psyche, how must it feel to be closer? To be right in the thick of it?

It’s the arguments that are getting to me. The stereotypes.

“ALL lives matter” being blasted on Facebook in whiny, petulant typing voices.

Ignorant memes bandied about with the responsibility of Michael Jackson dangling his baby over a balcony, tossing out numbers as if they are, dare I say it, black and white. Numbers are as subjective as opinions if they aren’t tenderly cared for, looked at through multiple magnifying lenses.

And a tinder box of emotions, exploding around us, ignoring history, poverty, racism, media manipulation and a system of law enforcement that has somehow, along the way, failed in screening a percentage of its own; failed in exploiting the greatest weapon they have at their disposal. A weapon that the most heroic of them have mastered beautifully: their voices.

All of this going on in the midst of a political cesspool, nationally and within my own state.

A major national party candidate who spews bigotry, ugliness, brash statements that sound irresponsible at times and downright unhinged at others. And his support base are the same voters who have bought the narrative carefully meted out to them over the past three decades that they need to fear; fear anything government related, fear anything with even the vile taint of “liberalness” to it, fear anything “other” or “different”.

A Kansas legislature that opportunistically took advantage of this same message of fear to turn what was once a sane and cooperative state government of two parties that created one of the greatest education bases in the country into a state falling apart, literally, in front of the nation. A Kansas Republican Party hell bent on ignoring financial “numbers”, hopeful, in fact, that the demolition continues so that they can usher in a new era of Christian Law and the destruction of all government services that have helped define our Democracy, our moral compass as it relates to citizens and our connections and value of each other.

So I’m tired today. And I think many of you are as well.

But I’m involved. And that is helping, enormously.

I’m fairly certain I’ve been “unfollowed” on Facebook by probably the same number of people that I have unfollowed. I do not mind differing policy opinions but will not abide outright lies and I cannot, will not, quit talking about this election because it is right in front of our faces, less than 50 short days from now.

An election that will determine the future of my state. An election that will send a final message to the rest of the world about us as a Nation and what we really, truly stand for. An election that could potentially give a man who questions why we do not use atomic weapons against our enemies access to our nuclear codes.

As the world watches, Donald Trump continues to fuel discord.

He speaks to a crowd of white people and claims that American blacks are poor, uneducated and live in war zones worse than places in the rest of the world. He spits out ugliness while crowds cheer loudly.

Trump bestows childlike nicknames on every opponent who crosses his path while using short sentences no more intellectual than as if taken from a 4th grade play ground.

He has attacked Muslims, Hispanics, Women, & African Americans while using terms like “disgusting”, “pig”, and “stupid” to describe people who disagree with him. He has openly mocked a physically disabled reporter. He re-tweets statements from white supremacist groups and, per their own statements, has given them a mouthpiece and a leader they finally feel understands them and represents their values.

And yet, just these past few weeks the jaw dropping hits keep coming because I see all of this played out right in my own community.

A “privileged” college educated woman I know posts a right wing conspiracy list of alleged murders committed by the Clintons. Her response, when told this is a conspiracy with no basis in fact, was that it hasn’t been UNproven.

A close friend, family man with a huge & generous heart, spews “I’ll never vote for that lying bitch”. The barely concealed viciousness was somewhat surprising within our conversation.

A house in Roeland Park proudly displayed yard signs, two of which included the words “balls” and “bitch”.

Trump supporters sport tee shirts at rallies emblazoned with the words “Trump that bitch!”

Those same supporters lament today’s world, where they are quickly losing their status as the ruling class, begging for a “return” to America’s glory days.

And the always reliable Facebook is a sure fire way to remember that Donald Trump has given permission to peel back the layers. Layers which have, at least for some time, kept a soft protective covering over the black hearted ugly that so many in this country have kept quietly hidden, as if waiting for the right person and right time to come along and give them permission to say what they really believe; what they really feel.

After all, isn’t that why they say they like Donald Trump?

So yes, Facebook has opened the floodgates.

A few weeks ago a black friend of mine read this on the page of someone she knows in response to an NFL player choosing to sit through the national anthem as a way to protest silently the string of black deaths in this country at the hands of police officers.

“Let me tell you something niggie, if you don’t stand your ugly black ass up I’ll put my size 11 work boot up your chicken shit ass boy and my redneck side of me will spread your ass cheeks boy George looking pussy your going to get fuck up niggie! !!!”

She held the Facebook page host responsible for not calling out the post. For not taking a stand. So the host finally deleted the message and, when a barrage of rebukes occurred, he posted a statement renouncing racism on his wall.

It took eight hours and a link to his business for him to do this. This wasn’t a comment by an anonymous poster under an online article. This was written by a man who lives in Overland Park. You may even know him.

I didn’t expect this in my community. I honestly didn’t. But if it is here then how badly must it be in other places? What in the name of all that is good and tolerant in this country has the Republican Party unleashed on America? And why, I keep asking myself, are most of their leaders silently letting it continue?

My children are watching. And your children are watching.

So I will not quit talking about November 8, 2016.

I will keep volunteering for local candidates and for Hillary Clinton.

I will not look back on this time and ask myself “what more could I have done.”

And I will not stop asking the rest of you to do something, anything, to be a part of the one thing which makes our nation a Democracy: free elections.

Whether you step outside of your comfort zone and actively get involved by attending a meeting, canvassing or phone banking; donating money; discussing issues with friends and family or, simply pledging to double check information from reputable news sources and put aside personal bias in order to be the most responsible and informed voter you can be, I’m writing this to ask you to do something, anything.

Just be engaged as these races wind down. Take your citizenship seriously and with utmost gratitude.

And for those of you who have been and continue to be a part of the process? Take care of yourselves and get space when you can. The emotion and ugliness of this election is unlike anything I’ve seen in my lifetime.

Take care of yourselves but don’t give up and don’t slow down.

Out state, our country and our children need you now, more than ever.

Addendum:

For my friends whose amazingly beautiful black children venture out into the world, I share this painful video. Get home safely. We love each of you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqJ-psD9vJw&feature=youtu.be

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Thoughts From a Past Candidate for Office

Campaign season is in full swing. Which means it might be time for me to explain a few things to my friends and acquaintances.

Pay attention because this just might alter the view you currently hold about people who run for office.

Voters complain. Too many phone calls. Too many mailers. And God help us if a candidate dares knock on the door.

Seriously, what ARE they trying to do?

And then there are those who bandy about statements like “they’re all crooks and liars; all of them.”

Honestly, I wish there was a reality show based upon local candidates running for office. A show that would follow them around for an entire campaign season. Maybe then things would change.

Let me set the record straight.

First of all, running for office doesn’t pay. A single dime.

Nope. It’s a six month full time volunteer job.

It takes you away from your family evenings and weekends and pretty much any other free time you have available unless you wise up and balance things. But that takes a first campaign learning curve to understand and appreciate.

It causes people you know to avoid you.

It causes sleepless nights and endless days.

It forces you to knock on the doors of strangers, never knowing exactly what will be meeting you on the other side. Sometimes hostility, sometimes kindness and support and, most often, usually apathy and irritation.

It also forces you to ask people to invest money in your efforts. I was never able to reconcile this part of campaigning for myself; there was always doubt that I wasn’t worth it. Which meant a large chunk of my campaign was funded by my family.

It exposes you to the ugly views of people who live just down the street that you previously were unaware of. I experienced neighbors in my own subdivision destroy my signs. And the day after the campaign, after I had lost? Picking up trashed and ripped up signs felt like someone had punched me right in the gut.

No, there are many things about being a candidate that hurt.

It can result in stomach issues and anxiety that never fully go away and are always right there, lingering.

It causes you to doubt yourself and carry the weight of disappointment when you lose after the very rare donor contributed and when the even rarer volunteer canvassed or made phone calls for you.

I’ve met many candidates, far more who lost their campaigns than won. And every single one of them volunteered to serve their community out of sheer altruism.

Some know that they can’t possibly win based upon the demographics in their community. They step up anyway, because they believe in their heart that voters deserve a choice. And because they hold a deep desire to make a difference.

Some have been asked to run because they have the skill set to make good legislators and their districts are competitive. For those candidates, the support is greater. They can be assured of, in small part, a handful of volunteers and potential donations from organizations.

But it isn’t easy. For any of these candidates.

Candidates receive a barrage of “surveys” from all over the state. Lengthy, sometimes confusing surveys, meant to pigeon-hole a candidate regarding special interest groups and their manipulation. They are told they need to raise a minimum amount of money by a certain date if they even hope to get a sniff from these same groups when it comes to donations.

Candidates have to set up their own websites, write their own content and create their own walking cards and ads unless they have the money to pay someone else to do it or unless they have generous contacts willing to do it for free. I was extremely fortunate and a wonderful local writer graciously helped me out. Not all candidates are as fortunate.

So I ask you, honestly, what would you like from them? How can they meet you, talk to you, hear from you and share themselves openly and honestly if they don’t reach out to you? Are you willing to go to their website, read about them, email them, attend a community forum or call them?

I spoke with voters who warmly agreed during our discussions about public education and the state budget. At the end of the conversation, many of them would grimace, shake their heads and say “but I just can’t vote for you because you are a Democrat.”

I met voters who, because my party affiliation is the glaring minority in this district, sheepishly looked left and right towards their neighbors and then would whisper “I’m sorry, I just can’t put out a yard sign because I don’t want my neighbors to get mad.”

I received emails from voters abruptly ordering me to remove them from my mailing list. The only problem is, I didn’t create the mailing list. The printers did. And they do their best to target non-party-base voters.

I was bit by a dog once while canvassing.

Told by two young professionals that they hated the current State Representative, were very impressed with me and thought I was extremely bright and sensible, but would still vote for him because he was a Republican. Period.

I listened to voters berate the state Democratic Party because we didn’t have a candidate in every race but none of those people ever offered to run themselves or offered to work behind the scenes to support local candidates.

I knocked on doors that were open and a few times even made eye contact with an occupant who just left me standing on the step.

I know a candidate who was threatened with being shot if she didn’t get off the property.

Another who was asked why she didn’t have children and if she was barren.

One fellow candidate was called a baby killer.

Here’s the thing.

It’s a free country, yep, that is for sure.

And you don’t have to talk to candidates. You don’t have to engage in the process. And you certainly don’t even have to vote.

Just don’t be an asshole to local candidates.

There’s no reason to be disrespectful, rude or dismissive. I didn’t receive any benefit from running other than knowing in my heart I was trying to make things better for my family and for my community. The current candidates I know feel the same way.

Sure, we may not always agree on the specifics of HOW to make things better but nobody puts themselves out there to potentially be abused, sacrifice their own time and money and work feverishly to learn about the political processes and current budget issues (talk about boring reading) unless they are a masochist, narcissist or, most likely, a darn good neighbor who cares.

So when a local candidate knocks on your door or calls, give them just a tiny bit of your valuable time. Without them, this great Democracy would cease to exist.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Why, You Ask, Am #IWITHHER? Here's Why!

I've been asked many times over the years why I appear to "know so much" about politics and how I "decided to become a Democrat." Sometimes I think the questions are sincere. Other times I'm pretty sure I am being mocked.

My usual response involves an acknowledgement that I quit watching cable and TV news a long time ago (other than C-Span when I've got a little caffeine in me), a list of reputable news periodicals that I voraciously read which involve international publications and the Associated Press (no, I don't have an unlimited amount of time on my hands; I typically spend several hours a night in bed reading, resulting in less sleep); a humbling admission that I allow myself to cheat at times and read clearly biased opinion pieces because, well, because I'm human and still have a school girl type crush on Jon Stewart (KNOWING they are biased is the key) and then I refer the inquiring person to the Democratic platform. Because that is obviously WHY I am a Democrat.

Nobody ever wants to read the platform, sigh. Too long?

The point of this blog, though, is that I get asked. And lately I've been getting asked how I can support Hillary Clinton.

I've started some form or other of this blog many times over the last six months. Someone wisely recommended that I should share positive things about her rather than negative beliefs about her opponent so I'm going to try. Here's the rub though.

It takes time to list all of the reasons I support her because the details matter.

The details really do matter.

They may not matter to the media or to Americans who like their news served up quickly, provocatively and with two teams always in opposition. The details may seem boring and mundane to a population looking for a bad guy, ready to interrupt any form of detailed explanation with a "yes, BUT!!!" They may not be of importance to a generation weaned on reality television and visual stimulation.

They matter to me though. Which is why I not only support Hillary Clinton but I've actively volunteered with the campaign.

I'm known for being wordy, writing and talking too long. I'll try to be concise, clear and to the point. I'll try to include links to evidence supporting my position, all the while knowing and understanding that for those of you who within your soul of souls openly, viscerally and passionately hate her (yeah, that really isn't too harsh of a word considering some of you openly wish to see her executed) you won't read this and, if you do, you will be frothing at the mouth ready to pounce.

Let's jump right in, though, and get Benghazi out of the way first.

A bad thing happened in a dangerous country, to one of our embassies. It has happened before. In 1983 in Kuwait, in 1983 in Beirut when 63 died, in 2004 in Uzbekistan, in 2006 in Karachi (one of our diplomats died), again in 2006 in Damascus, in 2007 in Athens, and in 2008 in Serbia and in Yemen.

Two details and then we can move on.

First, none of those attacks resulted in a single investigation.

Benghazi has resulted in more investigations than the Boston Marathon bombing, the Oklahoma City bombing, the 9/11 attacks, and the U.S.S. Cole attack combined. 3,184 Americans died during these combined attacks and well over 6,000 were injured.

Second, there have been eight separate (one ongoing) investigations that included two Senate and six GOP dominated House committees. Within these committees there have been 32 separate hearings. Thirty two. 32. Let me say it again, in case you didn't understand. THIRTY TWO HEARINGS.

$7 million and two years later the investigations found no evidence of negligence or wrongdoing by the state department.

This is why I do not engage, debate or argue with people who are still hanging on to Benghazi.

Moving on.

The emails.

Previous Secretaries of State used their private email accounts. Yes, there were differences vis-a-vis the server. Hillary is notoriously not tech savvy. Neither am I. Which is why I looked at the situation a little more closely. She was allowed to use it. She admitted, in hind site, it wasn't the best choice. Technology changes quickly and she had asked to be allowed to use her Blackberry (meaning requesting tighter security on it) because she was comfortable and familiar with it and had been denied.

The FBI investigated. The did not find a case that would support bringing criminal charges. The final statement as it relates the investigation: "Opinions are irrelevant, and they were all uninformed by insight into our investigation, because we did the investigation the right way. Only facts matter, and the FBI found them here in an entirely apolitical and professional way."

By many estimates, $20 million and a over a year later the Federal Bureau of Investigation found no evidence of criminal conduct.

This is why I do not engage, debate or argue with people who are still hanging on to the emails.

Moving on.

Except...one more thing. I have to assume that those of you who just CAN'T get past these many, many investigations must be FBI investigators yourselves or on the Congressional Hearing committees and somehow are aware of things that the rest of the general population and, dare I say it, even those who made the findings in both situations, are not aware of. If so, please speak up. Seriously. We want to know what you know that the people who spent years investigating her don't know.

These are the reasons I support Hillary Clinton, as succinct and brief as I can be.

Her 2002 vote in the Senate was to give President Bush the leverage she believed would help finish the negotiations between Saddam Hussein and the United Nations and I truly believe her thoughtful and deliberate speech from the Senate floor reflected what every good leader should do: research thoroughly their decisions. There are details within that speech, very important historical details, that help clarify and elaborate why she voted the way she did. Although President Bush used his ensuing authority in a way that resulted in thousands of American deaths through war I was impressed with her deliberation and strength in making such a tough decision. Remember, there was no crystal ball and we were reeling as a nation following the attacks of 9/11; an attack that happened in her very own Senate District.

Some may disagree with the vote but there is no denying she laid out her reasons clearly and voted based upon her knowledge of Iraq's threat rather than her gut or on impulse. Okay, I realize there may be a FEW of you out there who maybe DO have crystal balls and somehow, because of that, you must have private evidence that she secretly KNEW President Bush was going to immediately rush to war. Maybe you are the ones continuing to push the false narrative that she loves war. If so, share your insight with the rest of us. Truly.

Hillary has first and foremost been a proponent of diplomacy and her efforts to bring about a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel is a prime example. She's already forged respected relationships with Israel, Egypt and Palestine.

Speaking of relationships with foreign nations, Clinton's exhaustive travel resulted in her meeting with more countries than any previous Secretary of State. Her fingerprints are on many international policies, including securing the bipartisan supported START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) ratification with Russia, the release of political prisoners from Myanmar in 2012, and her participation in the Iranian nuclear agreement means she will already be in a firm and knowledgeable position to apply pressure from the oval office if she becomes President. With regard to Iran, she has been extremely firm as Senator but then accused of being soft while representing President Obama's stance; during the Iran deal she was able to work with China and Russia as well in joining the United States. Bottom line: regardless of a person's agreement on how firm she should or shouldn't have been there is nobody running for President in a better position to step into office on day one and deal with Iran. She has on the job experience in a way that can't be simply studied for or handled based upon an individual's whims or gut feelings depending upon the day. I trust her.

Secretary Clinton was also a pivotal player behind the scenes in opening relations with Cuba, something the Pope has even been a part of.

Let me pause for a moment and share something.

I didn't support Hillary when she ran for President in 2008. From the moment I heard Barack Obama speak at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 I began following him. He was my guy in 2008 and nothing Hillary could've done was going to change that.

I remember thinking and even saying "I think she's brilliant and experienced but it's not her time." As if I had any qualifications to determine when it was or wasn't her time. In all honesty, the real truth was probably that he spoke to me on a deeper level and, in hindsight, I didn't research her history. I just LIKED him more. This time I did research Hillary. Thoroughly. And what I found left me humbled for not realizing how amazing she really is. How in awe of her I am. How sick it makes me when I read the hate and vitriol online or when I hear "lock her up" chants or a call for her to be executed. It baffles me on a deeply profound level.

Moving on.

Her history with trade is complex, as international trade is known to be, and she's dealt with each trade situation case by case. But hey, "case by case" isn't a sexy two word sound bite, is it?

As Senator, she voted on 10 trade deals with a "yes" to six and "no" to four. An example of a "no" was CAFTA because she didn't feel it protected American jobs. She has always maintained that each needed to be looked at individually and, as with TPP, as more information is available a stance can logically change. With regard to TPP, though, folks often forget that she was representing the Obama administration as Secretary of State, not voting on it as a Senator. The roles are very different. She is opposed to it now and she has the freedom to be. When I look at her history I always try to explore what her job was at the time and what her responsibilities were. A Senator and a Secretary of State are different. A similar situation occurred with the Keystone Pipeline. As Secretary of State she was also representing the administration; because of this, she said they were inclined to back it but QUALIFIED (I know, not sexy) by noting that analyses wasn't complete and they hadn't taken a final position. Frankly, that is all she said until 2015 when she opposed it based upon that "further" analyses.

Sorry to do this, but let me pause again.

I'm married to an engineer. He painfully ponders every decision and may change his mind on something multiple times as new information becomes available and as he explores how different details work together within this new information. Because of this, I feel safe. I feel like I can trust him to never go off half cocked and put our family's finances, safety or future at risk. Maybe that is why I LIKE that Hillary has, at times, changed her mind depending upon her role and depending upon new analyses of information.

Moving on.

Haiti & Honduras are examples of two different situations that she was involved with. As UN special envoy in Haiti she helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars after the 2010 earthquake and as Secretary of State she visited multiple times and helped facilitate the securing of billions of dollars for the country. Honduras was far more complicated but at the end of the day was an Obama administration's call. Hindsite is always 20/20 and declaring a coup immediately would've shut off all international aid. The administration feared a civil war and loss of life. To intervene or not to intervene was the dilemma. When I talk about "on the job training" this is what I mean. She's got it.

Volunteering for the campaign has allowed me to meet a number of people who know her personally and they all say the same thing: she is at her best when visiting a third world country, bending down and talking to children. It is her ability to be nurturing in these situations when the spotlight isn't on her but, yet, strong and commanding when in a position of having to take a very difficult or controversial stance that makes me admire her even more.

She worked for children, farmers and veterans when First Lady of Arkansas and was behind the CHIP program which resulted in thousands of low income children receiving health care. She set the stage for healthcare reform in this country. Her speech on women's rights in Bejing is still honored today and is considered a game changer internationally. She walked through the rubble after 9/11 and worked to secure services for first responders and to rebuild. While Senator, she was respected across the aisle and it seems to be only when she is running for office that so much ugliness is directed at her. Her amazing work for foster children is actually one of the things I love the most about her and even more impressive is that she worked so closely with GOP House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in order to draft policy. One of the thing Americans are most frustrated with when it comes to Washington is the inability of both sides to work together. Hillary can and has worked very closely across the aisle with Republicans; they just won't admit it during a campaign season.

She trusts no one outside of her inner circle and I don't blame her. She's been followed, attacked and belittled for decades. Rumors and conspiracy theories abound but she stands strong. She stared down hours and hours of questions before Congress with no wrong doing to be found and, yet, people still repeat the rumors, the lies, the exaggerations, the stories devoid of specifics that would clarify or explain, and the right wing propaganda machine.

The speaking fees? She was paid because of her knowledge. It is her intellectual property, she was no longer in office, and there is absolutely no, nada, zero evidence that any "favors" were granted as a result nor that they would be. People with desired experience get paid to speak but it only seems to be a problem the handful of times SHE did it.

Before I wrap this up, in case some of you Hillary haters have made it this far, let me just address one more thing that I've taken the time to explore. The books about her. The juicy stories about throwing things or yelling profanities. David Brock, author of "Troopergate", has since admitted that he isn't certain of the truthfulness of his sources and regrets writing the book. Other supposed quotes in other books have no identified sources, often take her words out of context and, in some cases, make claims about her statements that by date and claimed places simply are not possible. These types of books I put in the "conspiracy theory" category.

In the 90's I wondered why she stayed with President Clinton after the scandal but then I married and had children. I realized I had been harsh to have questioned a decision so private, so personal and I continue to wonder how average citizens, with flaws and family secrets, can have judged her so harshly. Everything she has ever done she's had to do better, longer and with a thicker skin all while wearing heels, makeup and enduring comments criticizing her wardrobe, her figure, her hair and voice. And, yet, she continues to fight for what she believes in and for this country. She is stronger than I could ever be and she is a pivotal female role model for my daughter. She is not perfect but, then, who is? I don't know her personally and I don't want her to be my friend. I want her to be my President. I want her knowledge, experience and intelligence leading us.

Hillary is made of nails. She's prepared in a way that probably no other candidate has ever been prepared to step into the oval office on day one, look at our domestic and international issues with a fully discerning and pragmatic lense, able to act with deliberate thought and sense and not emotion or impulse, and she is, no question, the best choice for this country.

I don't always agree with her but I'll sleep soundly at night knowing she will get that 3 am wakeup call.

So the next time someone asks me why I support Hillary I will simply send them this link. Feel free to do the same and proudly proclaim #imwithher!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Most Important Two Words Bernie Fans Need to Keep Repeating

Last night's primaries solidified what was already a mathematical certainty: Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic Presidential nominee. The time has come for Bernie supporters to start repeating two words to themselves and every other person they know.

Supreme Court.

Bernie has done some downright amazing things. His crowds are jaw dropping. He has engaged millenials in the political process in ways that will hopefully have long term benefits for this country. He has pushed the dialogue to the left. He has made income inequality front and center.

We could discuss the subtle differences between Bernie and Hillary all day long. We could elaborate on their records and their experience as well but we are past that point. We could praise the merits of voters standing by their convictions at all cost. I'm not going to chastise or insult any person for wanting to do that. It would be noble if not for, well, if not for the Supreme Court.

It is my belief that the most important thing the next President of the United States will do is to appoint Supreme Court Justices. We haven't had a liberal court since the 1960's; electing Hillary Clinton will change that. Remember Roe v Wade? Brown v Board? Civil Rights? Do you want a Supreme Court that defends human and constitutional rights for ALL? If so then you must vote for Hillary Clinton. Do you despise Citizens United and believe it is the undoing of our entire democratic process? You can thank a conservative dominated Supreme Court. George W. Bush's entire presidency was decided by, say it with me, the Supreme Court.

There is a Justice vacancy right now. There will most likely be, based upon the ages of at least three current justices, two or more openings under the next administration.

So if you are an LGBT Bernie supporter and believe you and others like you are deserving of equal rights, including the right to marry the person you love, then it is crucial you vote for Hillary Clinton.

If you are a woman and believe in the right to make your own decisions regarding reproductive rights, it is vital for yourself, your daughters/sisters/cousins/nieces/friends that you vote for Hillary Clinton.

If you believe in the freedom of religion then Hillary Clinton is your candidate. If you despise Citizens United you absolutely, unequivocally must vote for Hillary Clinton.

If you understand the importance of unions to the American worker then Hillary Clinton has to be your choice.

Climate change, voter suppression, immigration, LGBT and reproductive rights; all of these and more will be up for consideration.

The Supreme Court's decisions on these issues will impact our country in monumental and irreversible ways. In, dare I say it, revolutionary ways.

I know you want this revolution. I know you are sick of politics as usual. And I know many of you deeply, fervently say you don't trust Hillary Clinton. This is unfortunate and points to the power of negative game playing and the media but that battle will be discussed another day. The power of the President is limited and the most important decision the next President makes will be Supreme Court appointments.

It really is this simple: Hillary Clinton will appoint justices who will put the civil liberties of all Americans first.

Imagine, if you will, three more Antonin Scalia justices on the Bench. This is what our nation will face if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is elected.

So as we move forward, with the proverbial primary writing boldly on the wall, please whisper these two words whenever you feel angry...whenever you think "I'm not voting"...whenever you think "I'm going to stand on principle and write in my candidate anyway"...whenever you think "let's burn it all down"... or whenever you get ready to share a negative story or comment about Secretary Clinton on social media: "SUPREME COURT".

Your revolution begins within those hallowed halls...please don't let it end there.