aren’t the stakes…too high???

The thought that Democrats are voting for Trump so that he’ll get elected, only to be trounced by Hillary Clinton in the general election is as foolhardy, I think, as gambling on…roosters…or pit bulls….or leaping frogs. I know my analogy may raise a few eyebrows and incur a few chuckles, but that’s how disbelieving I am that folks would gamble on something as important as voting for the most powerful leader in the world. Taking the most precious privilege we have as American citizens and tossing it up in the air to have it fall where it may…is as ludicrous to me as purposefully voting for Trump. Makes me wonder if these supposed, well-meaning Democrats are merely attempting to camouflage their desire to actually have the candidate win.

Democrats for Trump.

Sounds like an oxymoron. It’s been done before, but this time, with this candidate, I just can’t swallow the idea.

I guess it just raises the bar, yet again, for female candidate Clinton to have to roll up her sleeves and prepare for the mother-of-all slug fests with the king of mud slinging. How low will he go? That’ll be the million dollar question, or should I say Trump’s $10 billion dollar question. The man has no manners, no filter, no morals. Although he makes up for it with the biggest ego ever to go viral.

Hopefully, if the presidential match does come down to the…lady and the beast…Americans will be listening for the message and not let the messenger get carried away posting his own selfies to instagram and twitter.

This is not a reality TV show. Too many lives are at stake to gamble on who’ll win and who’ll place. Trump doesn’t play to place. He’s going to call in all his favors to make sure he carries the Oval Office. His ego is on the line.

Going forward, we all have to live with the FrankenTrump created by the Republicans…establishment and fanatics alike. What we don’t need is…

…the monster calling all the shots!

………hugmamma.

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long gone…the wild, wild west…

Repeated several times on CNN news this morning were the compelling stories of American hostages being held by the government in North Korea, as well as by ISIS terrorists in Syria. Anyone listening to their pleas for release must feel compassion for them and for their loved ones back home. No one would want to trade places with either the captives or their families.

I must confess that while my immediate reaction is one of sympathy, there’s also a niggling feeling that Americans tend to take risks without sufficient thought as to the consequences. Yes, I’m sure they reflect upon the matter, but not enough to dissuade them from their course it seems. 

For better or worse, we Americans tend to think we can go anywhere, do anything. We rationalize our thinking by either following our God-given right to do so, or our sense of morality. Meanwhile, we don’t take into account that other cultures might feel the same way about their rights and moral obligations.

That I can understand the other side’s viewpoint is perhaps owing to the fact that the Hawaiian Islands, my birthplace, were annexed by the United States against the will of the reigning Monarch, Queen Liliuokalani, and the majority of natives. 

Of course the transaction was not a simple one. It never is. There was enough finger-pointing to go around. However, the Western businessmen who prodded the U.S. Congress and President Cleveland into making Hawaii a Republic had railed against the natives as being ignorant heathens unable to rule themselves. 

Of the 150,000 Hawaiian residents, fewer than 800 were allowed to vote for the ratification of the Republic of Hawaii.

“Why is that?” you ask.

King Kalakaua, the queen’s predecessor, was unable to secure the intervention of other foreign powers to help thwart the efforts of his opponents. He was forced to sign into law a constitution which required voters to own property. It became known as the Bayonet Constitution. According to the well-written book Princess Kaiulani, Hope of a Nation, Heart of a People by Sharon Linnea…

This effectively took the vote away from most native Hawaiians and gave it to virtually every Western businessman, even those who weren’t citizens. Why did so few Hawaiians own land? For centuries, Hawaiian land had been overseen by the alii and his people–the concept of owning land was completely foreign to Hawaiians. When Western businessmen had begun to want to own Hawaiian property (and reap Hawaiian sugar profits), land formerly governed by alii had been parceled out to the Hawaiian people. Native Hawaiians, often unable to read English, had had no understanding of how a piece of paper could mean that they “owned” mountains or lakes or coastland, and they had been happy to sell the deeds to Westerners for cash in hand. In this way, many Hawaiians had ended up homeless in their own country. Now, according to the new constitution, the Westerners had bought up votes along with the land. The running of the country would now be in their hands.

Yes. I have empathy for fellow Americans who find themselves in life or death situations. However my eyes are also open to those who might feel we are trespassing upon their territory, their religion, their culture. So the fact that our government must tread lightly when our citizens find themselves on hostile turf is not altogether unexpected. 

…the days of the wild, wild west…are no more.

………hugmamma.

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

 

undecided?…or…independent?

Politics are personal.

Barack Obama in Des Moines, Iowa

Barack Obama in Des Moines, Iowa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Most of us don’t like revealing our voting choices. We like to keep them…close to our vest.

So it was a nice change to read the following by an Iowan, who claims to be an Independent voter.

I know about Independents…I’m one myself. I voted for George W. Bush the second time around.

What I hadn’t a clue about…were Iowans. Now I know them…a little better. And I like what I’m hearing.

On the college campus where I write and teach in Iowa, the trees are aflame with red and yellow leaves and the students — more than 90 percent of them if 2008 numbers hold strong — are ready to vote for Barack Obama. With early voting, many students cast their ballots before they headed home for fall break, to far-flung states where their votes may not matter quite as much.

Still, at least according to the media’s incessant reporting, a large segment of Iowa voters are still independent and undecided. And they’re getting a lot of attention. I’m a registered independent, and I’ve spent my whole life in the Midwest — MichiganWisconsin and now Iowa — so I’ve gotten a lot of calls from pollsters over the years. And every time they ask me whom I plan to vote for in November, I always tell them I’m undecided.

It’s always a lie.

I always know whom I’m going to vote for months before the election, though I’ve cast votes for at least three different parties over the years. For many Midwesterners, saying I’m undecided is akin to saying it’s none of your darn business. In Iowa, it’s often hard to predict how people will vote, largely because it’s a fairly private place (there’s plenty of elbow room) and it’s an awfully polite place, too. We try to get along despite our differences. Bumper stickers and yard signs go away swiftly once an election is over.

Defying Convention

While I can sort of guess whom most of my students will vote for based on their T-shirts and the Howard Zinn books sticking out of their backpacks, I’m less certain about the political leanings of my fellow bowlers on Wednesday nights or my fellow worshippers on Sunday mornings. Last week, at the same stoplight, I saw a Romney sticker on a Prius and an Obamasticker on a massive Dodge pickup. Iowa defies convention. Still, I believe these mythical swing voters will once again go for Barack Obama in 2012. Here’s why:

— We don’t like to change horses in midstream. Here in the Midwest, if we hire someone to do a job, we try to stay out of the way and let him or her finish it. It’s stoicism common among the farmers and laborers of the region. Good work takes time. You can’t solve a problem overnight. You plug away a little every day.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, a Democratic presi...

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, a Democratic presidential candidate, strolls the Iowa State fairgrounds Aug. 16 in Des Moines. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is, I think, a big reason George W. Bush won Ohio in 2004 and why Wisconsin GovernorScott Walker staved off a recall attempt earlier this year. It’s simply a matter of respect. Iowans remember, acutely, the economic collapse of 2008 and understand a community doesn’t recover from disaster overnight. Federal assistance and federal subsidies have helped Iowa recover from many unforeseen disasters in the past; while we don’t trust the government to do everything, we understand that effective federal programs, such as Obama’s economic stimulus, student-loan and health-care plans, can steadily help a nation work toward recovery. If we see some progress, we are patient people.

— Iowa’s a “live and let live” kind of place. I recently learned that a well-educated gay man from the East Coast, now living in rural Iowa, whom I met at a cocktail party, is probably voting for Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, an insurance company employee I met at church, a married father of three who dresses in khakis and polos, turns out to be one of the fiercest liberals I’ve ever met. I know a small-business owner who is still undecided, but he’s wavering between Obama and theGreen Party. A former student of mine in Ames, an Iraq war veteran, will probably vote for Obama, but may very well go for the libertarian Gary Johnson or write in Ron Paul.

Few Converts

He doesn’t trust Romney on foreign policy or civil liberties. Simply put, for those coveted independent voters, Romney-Ryan’s hard turn to the right on social and military issues is disconcerting. Most Iowans don’t like to put their noses in other people’s business, whether it’s a neighboring home or a distant nation. Divisive social issues and jingoistic nationalism, which Republicans are pushing hard in Midwestern swing states, may mobilize the party’s base but they do little to create converts to conservatism.

— Wall Street is very far away from Iowa. In the Midwest, we don’t trust fancy. And while those on the far right have long tried to paint Obama as the elitist in this race, in Iowa, Romney is going to have a hard time hiding the silver spoon that’s been in his mouth since birth.

It’s not that Iowans resent wealth; it’s more that they resent the kind of wealth that Romney has accrued in his life, most of it “unearned” income — wealth that seems to grow through the manipulated magic of Wall Street rather than the pluck and perseverance we prefer. Wall Street’s recklessness in the past decade has had a profoundly destructive effect on Main Street and the fields that surround it. It’s hard for Iowans to forget that Romney made his money in a system that exploited, in multiple ways, the modest resources of the average American family.

In Iowa, we tend to follow our strong opinions with a polite disclaimer: Well, I may be wrong, you know. And I may. Yet one thing is certain. No matter which way Iowa goes this year, it won’t be long before the pollsters come back to us, looking toward the 2016 caucuses, asking us whom we will support the next time the presidency is at stake. And we’ll get everybody excited, by letting out a low whistle, shaking our heads and muttering, “Well, gee, I don’t know yet. I’m undecided.”

Have a nice day.

English: U.S. Sen. Barack Obama campaigns in O...

English: U.S. Sen. Barack Obama campaigns in Onawa, Iowa on March 31, 2007. Onawa Public Library. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

(Dean Bakopoulos teaches at Grinnell College. His most recent novel is “My American Unhappiness,” now out in paperback. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this article: Dean Bakopoulos at bakopoul@grinnell.edu.

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Katy Roberts at kroberts29@bloomberg.net.

had me…scratching my head…

Do You know sometimes how you see or read something, and it’s got you…scratching your head?

Well, that’s how I felt about the following…

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/18/mitt-romney-auto-bailout-profit_n_1976651.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/bain-capital-sensata-six-arrests_n_1974554.html

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/14/koch-romney-brothers-mitt_n_1965366.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/mitt-romney-employees-voting_n_1975636.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/mitt-romney-women-bain_n_1974837.html

http://www.politicolnews.com/ohio-voting-machines-hig-bain-and-tagg-romneys-role/

I’ll let you peruse them at your leisure.

As I’ve said before, presidential campaigns produce a plethora of interesting information. Some true. Some false. And the bulk…somewhere in-between.

There’s no reason why voters can’t make substantive choices.

Armed with all that the media places in front of us, we can decide which candidate best aligns himself with our life experiences, opinions, and values.

In Flamingo Road, the 1949 Joan Crawford vehicle, David Brian‘s character says it best…

English: L. to R. : Joan Crawford, Steve Cochr...

English: L. to R. : Joan Crawford, Steve Cochran, Richard Egan & David Brian – Publicity still for The Damned Don’t Cry! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If people don’t care…then they deserve what they get.

…voting…our right…our responsibility…

………hugmamma.

present…and accounted for…

Barack Obama family portrait 2011.jpg…as a husband…and a father…President Obama.

(Photo credit to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_of_Barack_Obama )

Qualities that matter a lot to me…as a wife…and a mother. And yes, as an American enjoying the freedom to choose the person in whom I place my faith and trust to lead us forward in an uncertain world, keeping us safe from harm to the best of his ability.

Without the benefit of a father by my side as a child, mine having died when I was one, I have placed a great deal of faith and trust in my husband as my life partner, and as the father to our only child.

Knowing that he imagines us in those with whom he deals in his professional life, and compares our well-being with theirs, instills a confidence that my husband would do right by all. He wouldn’t knowingly hurt others while striving to make the workplace a better environment in which to function. Effecting change is done with measured determination, with efforts at conciliation, and without malice.

Barrack Obama is a husband, a father, and President of the United States. It’s my perception that he, like my husband, is a man who loves his family and imagines for all of us what he wants for his own family.

An America in which all can partake of the dream envisioned by the Constitution.

An America wherein the wealthy acknowledge their debt to society in willingly giving back.

An America where all are afforded equal opportunity…equal rights…equal benefits.

An America in which a person can preside in the White House, as though ethnicity and cultural and personal differences were insignificant.

…follow your own heart…choose a leader in whom you can place your faith and trust…

………hugmamma. 

a personal experience…voting…

The news is flooded with coverage of both presidential candidates, Obama and Romney. And there’ll be no letup until after the election in the fall.

How we vote depends upon our comfort level with each candidate, as well as our own life experiences.

Stanley Armour Dunham, Ann Dunham, Maya Soetor...

Stanley Armour Dunham, Ann Dunham, Maya Soetoro and Barack Obama, mid 1970s (l to r) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obama…the product of a divorced, multi-racial couple…a black child raised by a single, white mother in Hawaii… a child whose stepfather was Indonesian…raised by white grandparents upon the death of their daughter…college grad…public services worker…college professor…senator…U.S. President.

Romney…the product of a wealthy family comfortably ensconced in white society…college grad…businessman…governor…businessman.

Each man’s background and experiences define his candidacy. It’s unlikely he will shift away from the path he’s traveled.

Obama is mired in the morass of humankind as he struggles to lead. Romney won’t tolerate struggle. He’ll lead, even if it means a takeover. 

…your experiences…your choice…

Romney

Romney (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

………hugmamma.