Tag Archives: Obama

Republicans are listening… The Dems should pay attention too…

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Trey Radel is possibly the future of the Republican party. He is a conservative Congressman from Florida who is under 40 and therefore able to still able to evolve a bit with respect to his political stances.  He has the capacity to connect to a younger generation of voters. He’s a good looking guy and has no problem being appropriately aggressive with liberal reporters and has been an advocate of bipartisanship to get things done in Washington.  Congressman Radel is more comfortable with playful appropriate confrontation in the media in a cool frat boy sort of way and he’s only been in office all of 3 months. While he did engage in some questionable decision making during his run for office, he managed to pull through all of that and maintain the support of his party and obtain a respective majority of the vote. These are the things that most parties look for in future leaders and candidate, one either is or isn’t “that”.  Congressman Radel appears to be “that”.

Radel is the type of politician that Democrats need to watch. Careful. He is likable and unlike Marco Rubio, he seems more sincere when making quips about Lil’ Wayne and other mainstream musicians. Radel seems as comfortable talking to people of color as much as he does with his base constituency. He also is an early supporter of former Governor Jeb Bush for President in 2016 and Bush appreciates the support. This is significant because Bush has been clear in several recent speeches that if Republicans keeps losing presidential elections, the Republican agenda will be lost. He’s right. Neither men are interested in the fringe groups of the party, they are cultivating a new Republican identity. They will hold true to their conservative roots while playing moderate and center…

The Democrats should be mindful of this and respond accordingly. We do not have the next Obama in the Democratic party. And Democrats are pining their hopes on the current leadership – Hillary Clinton in 2016, but if she isn’t willing, who do the Dems have?  The Republicans took their whupping and now, they are retooling. The Democrats should pay attention, and plan accordingly.

Marco Rubio is the GOP Saviour – Only Not So Much…

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In 2011, a young Latino from Florida was elected to the US Senate.  His name was Marco Rubio. Rubio rode into prominence on the backs of and with the support of the Tea Party movement; he was the extreme right’s response to Obama. He was young, good looking, articulate, and… Brown.  A perfect poster boy for the Tea Party’s rebuttals to any claims of racism. You could almost hear it –  Surely we cannot be as racist as the rest of the country believes we are if we own support this guy, Marco Rubio!

Over the last three years, Rubio has worked diligently to separate himself from the more extreme factions of the Tea Party party while maintaining his GOP conservative principles and credentials.  More recently, he was recognized in Time magazine as The Republican Savior to which the Senator promptly and “modestly” responded via Twitter (and I paraphrase) that Jesus is the only Saviour.  That said, he’s relished the spotlight and has played up to the notion that he can turn the party’s image.

The GOP has had high hopes for Rubio. He is now the poster boy for GOP diversity, a son of  Latino immigrants, coming from a family of modest means, and having benefited from student loans and government programs for his educational attainment and subsequent success. His own mother is a current recipient of Medicare.  All government sponsored programs based on policies that Rubio would oppose based on a fiscally conservative GOP agenda.  While I am loathe to call him a hypocrite, I would argue a level of inconsistency and hypocrisy in Rubio’s positions over the last several years.  He’s done a bit of the Romney flip flop enough to lead us to wonder what his real positions are.

In his rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union (SOTU) speech, Rubio proceeded to crash and burn… horribly.  Now I will stipulate (as have others) that is not easy to follow the SOTU, especially when that person’s last name is Clinton or Obama.  But if you accept the task and are seen as the second coming of the GOP (and we all know the GOP needs a major shift), you better be able to handle it when the cameras come on and its time to speak.  I felt awkward FOR Rubio. It was uncomfortable and an important moment for the GOP fell apart.  If Rubio is supposed to the be the new face of the hip cool conservative who knows who Tupac is (and allegedly listens to him a la Paul Ryan’s playbook) and this was supposed to be a bi-partisan introduction akin to a blind date, then we were introduced to a sweaty, nervous, shaky, and uncomfortable disaster.  And the chemistry was off. And it was a let down.

First impressions mean a lot.  They matter. Especially to someone who doesn’t really know you.

Let’s look at Rubio’s response to the SOTU. He noted that his parents immigrated to the US, yet his original position on immigration reform was decidedly anti-immigrant, until recently, and it’s still questionable. Rubio benefited from many of the government programs that made him the “successful” person he has become, only now, he would like to cut many of those programs that offer opportunities for low and middle class people coming up behind him.  Rubio offered JFK and Ronald Reagan up as supporters of free enterprise as a means of growing the middle class arguing Obama is opposed to the notion.  Only it is VERY obvious that Obama has more in common fiscally with Reagan than any current sitting Republican member of  Congress, in fact, given an introspection of the Reagan’s policies of the 80’s relative to today’s current GOP climate, he never would have made it out of California much less to the presidency (you can thank Republican Jeb Bush for that bit of insight).

So what now?

It is time for the GOP to seriously reflect on who they are as a party.  This really is a historical time for the party to consider who they wish to be, what they wish to represent, and how they plan to get there for the long haul.  Its not that difficult.  There is a strong history of reform in the Republican party until they decided to be the party of old, white, and privileged.  Putting forward members of the party who have more pigment will not help the party.  Re-establishing itself as a more moderate and sane party would go a long way for attracting a more diverse group of people.

The Democrats managed to do this successfully during Clinton’s years in spite of the fact that some of Clinton’s policies were decidedly unhelpful to many people of color.  Yet, their perception of Reagan/Bush played a huge role in how the two parties were viewed among African Americans and Latinos in this country.  So Democrats were able to enact welfare reform legislation under Clinton that hurt more than helped the poor and communities of color who were impacted.

So Republicans, Rubio is not your saviour, he doesn’t even come close. You will have to find a more sincere way of revamping and retooling your image, by actually doing it.  You will have to align more with the middle, you will have to take a page from Meagan McCain’s book, you will have to made some hard decisions. You will have to get rid of the Tea Party/GOP image.  You will have to become more bipartisan and not because you feel that you have no choice, but rather because democracy and accountability calls for it.

Rubio can be helpful to the GOP, he can be a leader in the GOP, but as far as being its saviour? Mmm, not so much….

Aside

I am no expert in health care policy but I do know what it cost to be fat and sick. I know that if I did not have health insurance it would cost a lot more and I would be in much worse shape than I am now.  I think that healthcare policy requires a more comprehensive common sense approach only made complicated by the lobbyist for this industry.

I also know that in this country there is less emphasis on  preventative care and a major emphasis on medicinal maintenance when someone becomes ill.  There is a pill (and profit) connected to every conceivable condition – conditions that by and large can be avoided if we had a different relationship to food and health.  In 2009, health care accounted for 16% of America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with the expectation that this will increase by nearly 10% by 2025.  We have a population that is living longer with chronic conditions driving up overall costs associated with health care.  Overall, we have a more obese and less healthy overall population in this country.  And the health care lobbying efforts have ensured that our leaders continue health care policy to place emphasis on maintenance rather than prevention.  

Prevention advocates argue that using such an approach in the context of healthcare policy would result in reigning in increasing healthcare costs and creating a more healthy society.  “The Trust for America’s Health reported that prevention programs could save the country more than $16 billion annually within five years, a return of $5.60 per dollar invested.  The Commonwealth Fund estimated that reduced tobacco use and decline in obesity would lower national health expenditures by $474 billion over ten years.” At a time where we are talking about reducing deficits and spending, this is an opportune time to really focus on this issue.


Unfortunately, though many Americans are indoctrinated to eat and drink to excess the wrong things, the real problem is that our policies and national leaders protect the very companies that benefit financially from our illnesses; this means the capacity to advocate for a sensible approach to health care policy against these powerful corporations is more than difficult.  For example, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2005 there were 535 members of Congress compared to 2,084 health care lobbyist; this means for every member of Congress, there was approximately 3.8 lobbyist lobbying them on behalf of various drug and health insurance companies.  Further, according to OurFuture.org, in 2004 the health industry was credited with giving approximately $14M to 11 members of Congress who were created with negotiating the Bush Medicare Plan

So what are the costs associated with chronic disease in America?  Let’s take my personal favorite chronic illness, diabetes.

Diabetes

There are a total of 25.8 million children and adults in the United States which means that 8.3% of the population has diabetes with approximately 7 million undiagnosed.  As of 2010,  1.9 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people 20 and over.  This is part of the reason why there has been a substantive increase in the number of diabetes related advertising and why we’ve begun to experience a sense of “normalcy” relative to diabetes.  Rather than focus on preventing Type 2 which is largely tied to weight, we are being socialized to learn to live with it.  There are approximately 79 million pre-diabetics in the United States; for diabetes drug companies and companies that produce lancets, blood glucose readers, and diabetes related products, that’s a lot of potential customers and money.

 After adjusting for population age differences, a 2007-2009 national survey data for people diagnosed with diabetes, age 20 years or older showed that 7.1% were non-Hispanic Whites, 8.4% were Asian Americans, while non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics made up 12.6% and 11.8% respectively of those diagnosed.

There are a host of other related conditions associated with diabetes including:

Heart disease and stroke

  • In 2004, heart disease was noted on 68% of diabetes-related death certificates among people 65 years or older.
  • In 2004, stroke was noted on 16% of diabetes-related death certificates among people 65 years or older.
  • Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes.
  • The risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes.

High Blood Pressure

  • In 2005-2008, of adults aged 20 years or older with self-reported diabetes, 67% had blood pressure greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg or used prescription medications for hypertension.

Blindness

  • Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20–74 years.
  • In 2005-2008, 4.2 million (28.5%) people with diabetes 40 years or older had diabetic retinopathy, and of these, almost 7 million (4.4% of those with diabetes) had advanced diabetic retinopathy that could lead to severe vision loss.

Kidney Disease

  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of new cases in 2008.
  • In 2008, 48,374 people with diabetes began treatment for end-stage kidney disease in the United States.
  • In 2008, a total of 202,290 people with end-stage kidney disease due to diabetes were living on chronic dialysis or with a kidney transplant in the United States.

Neuropathy

  • About 60% to 70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage.

Amputation

  • More than 60% of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.
  • In 2006, about 65,700 nontraumatic lower-limb amputations were performed in people with diabetes.

Morbidity and Mortality associated with diabetes:

In 2007, diabetes was listed as the underlying cause on 71,382 death certificates and was listed as a contributing factor on an additional 160,022 death certificates. This means that diabetes contributed to a total of 231,404 deaths.

Cost of Diabetes

The total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2007 was $174 billion, with $116 billion for direct medical costs, and $58 billion for indirect costs (disability, work loss, premature mortality). After adjusting for population age and sex differences, average medical expenditures among people with diagnosed diabetes were 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.  Does anyone see the economic benefit for prevention here?

The American Diabetes Association created a Diabetes Cost Calculator that takes the national cost of diabetes data and provides estimates at the state and congressional district level.  Factoring in the additional costs of undiagnosed diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes brings the total cost of diabetes in the United States in 2007 to $218 billion.  In my lovely borough of Brooklyn, in the 11th Congressional district where I live, the total cost of diabetes for people in Congressional District 11 in 2006 is estimated at $551,100,000. This estimate includes excess medical costs of $376,200,000 attributed to diabetes, and lost productivity valued at $174,900,000.  For the entire state of New York in 2006, the cost is estimated at $12,860,000,000. This estimate includes excess medical costs of $8,676,000,000 attributed to diabetes, and lost productivity valued at $4,188,000,000.  So clearly, this is a chronic disease that can wreck havoc on someone physically if they aren’t maintaining it, but the costs associated with this disease is astronomical.

I could have used cancer, heart disease, or some other chronic diseases in the same vein to prove what should be obvious to everyone.  It cost so much more to our government and our society to be chronically ill than to take a comprehensive policy approach to preventative healthcare in this country.  The Obamas have worked hard to create an awareness of this through Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative, but we have to do more as leaders.  As Americans we need to change our mindset and relationship to food and we need to demand that our leaders on both sides of the aisle engage in real leadership by reforming how health care policy is done in America.

2013: Prevention as a Healthcare Policy in America

Aside

If there is anyone in the world that I believe has a credible opinion of Susan Rice…. It’s Madeline Albright.  Rice is a former classmate of Albright’s children and Albright has had the opportunity to interact with Rice since she was 4 years old.  That (to me) actually gives Albright a fuller and more comprehensive notion of the type of person Rice may be. So when Albright declares the situation as “ridiculous“, then it goes without saying that it’s possible that it is ridiculous.

I have heard in personal conversation and in multiple articles that Susan Rice is blunt and has sharp elbows. Well, yes, she may. But it’s not like Condoleezza Rice was necessarily the most beloved or diplomatic diplomat in the world.  And its not like she did not speak out of turn regarding the existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s); after all, she was given intelligence information and testified that Iraq and Saddam Hussein had WMD’s.  This is what led to the Iraq war.  And in spite of this major misstep, Condi Rice still became the Secretary of State.  It is worth noting that the two men (Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham) who went after Susan Rice with incredible hostility defended Condi Rice for the very same actions.

So what does that tell us?

Like her, hate her, or feel ambivalent about her, the reality is that Susan Rice was thrown under the bus and the witch hunt was led by Senators Graham and McCain.  To her credit, Rice withdrew her name understanding the politics of this situation.  Rather than play politics and be forced to fight for a position that many thought she was qualified for, Rice opted to remove herself from the distractions.

For that I respect her.

As for Senators McCain and Graham, they will soon find themselves not relevant in politics. They have both damaged their credibility and hurt their party.  This will also hurt Obama, though less so.

On November 27th when this issue first began bubbling I tweeted that the GOP wanted Kerry to replace Clinton as Secretary of State in order to get a second shot at the Mass Senate Seat for Scott Brown (they believe in spite of losing to Elizabeth Warren, he can win it). The GOP also will want a republican to take Patreaus’ place as head of the CIA (Hagel’s name is now being floated)…  This is now being discussed on news channels.

While all of this political chess playing could then help Obama regarding the

 fiscal cliff discussions and may give the GOP a temporary win in the present, the party engaged in a witch hunt and the gamble will not pay off in the long run.

The GOP has suffered significantly since their November election losses.  This does nothing to aid them in repairing their party’s public perception.  And so they will keep losing. (Since I’ve written this, it seems that an independent report cited the State Department for being grossly negligent with providing security in Libya…  so how does Rice own that?)

The Susan Rice Witch hunt … And why it only hurts the GOP

America Nears El Tipping Pointo – With Ignorance

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In a recent articles in both the Huffington Post and  Latina magazine online, Ann Coulter is highlighted as attacking hispanics.  You can read her entire musings here.  As always, Coulter  serves as the conservative right’s “in your face “attack dog”.   The fact that she’s considered pretty perhaps makes it easier (and more scary) for some to sit there and listen to her ignorant pronouncements; pronouncements that serve to stir the emotions of many on both sides.  We’ve all heard snippets likes “Our Blacks are so much better than their Blacks.”  Snippets meant to incite, meant to gain publicity, divide, and meant to get her paid.

Coulter does not care about this country.  She may argue differently, but ultimately, her words and rhetoric speak far louder.  She is paid to be hateful, something that she seems to enjoy doing when you watch her on conservative news programs. The sad part in all of this is that Coulter will often mix in “facts” without citing the sources; this means that more often than not, her facts are pure fiction. I continue to submit to those who bother to pay attention to her diatribes that rather than have an emotional reaction to her statements, it’s important to understand the purpose of the statements and dissect them appropriately.

I refer back to my November 17th blog where I critiqued and discussed the need for the Republican party to evolve and become more inclusive.  Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal have both moved forward in publicly decreeing the need for Republicans to move past this election cycle. These men along with the McCain women have noted that the party must diffuse  the perception that it cannot move past this election loss with grace and dignity.  The party itself has to take the long view to ensure its sustainability by no longer pandering to extremist. In fact, this notion was bolstered more so by Speaker of the House John Boehner’s decision to remove Tea Party Republicans from key financial committees in the House.

In fact, in spite of Coulter stating clearly on the Sean Hannity Show  that the Republicans should cave to Obama on the issue of taxes because “We lost the election“, she and the most conservative among the GOP can’t seem to let this election go.  So they write what they write without any real logic or reasoning…  just emotion.

And while that is good for rallying up the crazy crew, it provides no value or service to the citizens of this great union.  In fact, Coulter’s recent musings about Latinos is straight out of Lee Atwater’s 1981 Southern Strategy play book with respect to using her scribes to speak to her constituency in code.  The underlying message is that by 2024 “you” (Whites) will be the minority and that is a scary thing.  Why? Could it be because connected to that message is the subliminal and irrational fear that “they” may treat “us” like “we’ve” treated “them”?

Let’s take a moment and really look at what Ann Coulter is saying.  After all, she is no Rachel Maddow, when she talks, it’s more like verbal vomit and not necessarily factually based.

“What the youth vote shows is not that young people are nitwits who deserve lives of misery and joblessness, as I had previously believed, but that America is hitting the tipping point on our immigration policy.  The youth vote is a snapshot of elections to come if nothing is done to reverse the deluge of unskilled immigrants pouring into the country as a result of Ted Kennedy’s 1965 immigration act.  Eighty-five percent of legal immigrants since 1968 have come from the Third World. A majority of them are in need of government assistance.”

  • Ok, let’s look at this. The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act was passed and we saw it’s implementation in effect by 1968.  This means in a 44 year period (1968-2012)  Coulter can’t speak to which ethnic groups have come here during that time?  Ms. Coulter said a majority of them are in need of government assistance but there are no facts as to how many received any assistance.  There is no data to support how many received assistance in 1968, 1978, 1988, 1998, or even 2008.    This matters because while Mexicans were Latin America’s largest immigrant group after the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, there was also an influx of Asian, African, and Middle Eastern immigrant groups as well.  However, Coulter speaks of no other immigrant group.  Why is that?
  • Further, according to data provided by the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, over 9/10 of “subsidies” go to the elderly, disabled, and working households. “Federal budget and Census data show that, in 2010, 91 percentof the benefit dollars from entitlement and other mandatory programs went to the elderly (people 65 and over), the seriously disabled, and members of working households.  People who are neither elderly nor disabled — and do not live in a working household — received only 9 percent of the benefits.” (Source: CBPP) So how much actually goes to immigrants?
  • Additionally, according to a 2008 article in Bloomberg Businessweek entitled, “Immigrants Are More Likely to Be Entrepreneurs”, there is conclusive evidence based on a survey of 2.054 companies, that immigrants are more likely to be entrepreneurs by establishing a small business niche in local communities.  50% of Silicon Valley engineers and tech startups were founded by immigrants in comparison to 25% nationally. “Now, a November 2008 study by Robert W. Fairlie, a professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz, gives the strongest evidence to date that critics of open-immigration policies have misjudged the impact of immigrants on the U.S. economy.” (Source: Bloomberg Business Small Business, Immigrants are More Likely to Be Entrepreneurs-  on November 25, 2008)
  •  Coulter completely fails to define “third world”.  Are we talking third world in terms of political and civil rights? Or in terms of economics and the country’s Gross National Product (GNP)?  Or perhaps she defines third world in the context of human development, poverty, or freedom of the press.

This distinction matters.  It matters because  when you attack an ethnic group and set them up to essentially have to defend itself against lies and distortions, you need to be prepared to support your lies with facts.  While snippets and sound bites sell books and get you a place on television, the truth always comes to light. However, I suppose the ignorant and extremist will cling onto the mistaken notion that Hispanics and Latinos are the same. Immigrants from another country of origin who speak the same language, have babies out of wedlock, lacking in formal education or civility… Except we aren’t.  That’s like suggesting all eastern Europeans are essentially one in the same, especially if they share a common language.  Except, they aren’t.

“That profile has nothing to do with recent Hispanic immigrants, who — because of phony “family reunification” rules — are the poorest of the world’s poor.  More than half of all babies born to Hispanic women today are illegitimate. As Heather MacDonald has shown, the birthrate of Hispanic women is twice that of the rest of the population, and their unwed birthrate is one and a half times that of blacks.”

  • Again, facts are skewed and distorted.  Heather MacDonald’s 2006 article can be found here .  The fact is that she focuses on the Mexican population and uses the term “hispanic” interchangeably with Mexicans.  Additionally, the reasoning (fear) behind the MacDonald report is in part a concern for family values and structure but more importantly to bring home the notion of fear with respect to a White minority in America. “The dimensions of the Hispanic baby boom are startling. The Hispanic birthrate is twice as high as that of the rest of the American population. That high fertility rate—even more than unbounded levels of immigration—will fuel the rapid Hispanic population boom in the coming decades. By 2050, the Latino population will have tripled, the Census Bureau projects. One in four Americans will be Hispanic by mid-century, twice the current ratio. In states such as California and Texas, Hispanics will be in the clear majority. Nationally, whites will drop from near 70 percent of the total population in 2000 to just half by 2050. Hispanics will account for 46 percent of the nation’s added population over the next two decades, the Pew Hispanic Center reports.” (Source: Heather MacDonald – “Hispanic Family Values”, City Journal, Autumn 2006)

The reality is there are disparities among Latinos related to class, culture, politics, policy, and socioeconomic status. and immigration reform.  Similar to that of other immigrant groups who came here, including Germans, Polish, Jews, the Irish, the English, Italians, etc.  Things change with the passing of each generation.  For example, contrary to the claims of Coulter and MacDonald, a November 30, 2012 Pew Research Center study has shown that birth rates among Americans have in fact dropped with Latinas showing the largest decline.

Coulter claims that by 2024, America will have a white minority.  It is inevitable.  And not something to fear.  The factors that will bring about this reality aren’t just a growing Latino population, but an increase in multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-racial relationships that have produced non-White babies, including Barack Obama and my own child.  By in large, many of these households consider themselves progressive households because at their core, their relationships have been considered “progressive” in a society that so long been seeped in institutionalizing racism.

Ms. Coulter, in your article, you skew your facts in order to form a more perfect distortion that Obama won because the majority of our fellow Americans voted for him.  Now it is time for you and your extreme right to consider working with the party moderates to determine how to better at engage the party and diversify the membership. Again, as you acknowledged on Sean Hannity’s show, “We lost the election, Sean.” So get over it and move on with it.

Until then, this married with one child American born legal Latina with a Master’s degree thanks you for the amusing chuckles you provide and the opportunity to respond with data to your insidious claims.

Respectfully,

Akilah Rosado-McQueen

The Death of the G.O.P… And the Rise of the Dems…

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So we’ve survived this last round of presidential elections and I managed to only discuss it in the Twitterverse.  Then Romney and Ryan and the other annoying “r” guy… Rove, began their assault on the voting public due to their failure to acquire a win.  There are some significant lessons to be learned here for Democrats and Republicans alike.

But first, a little history… In 1991, at the tender age of 18, I registered as a Republican for my first election.  Why? Well, it was contrary to my parents political views and I did believe it to be the original party of Lincoln.  Parenthetically, based on the cheesy films I was exposed to in the ’80’s, I also thought it was the party of rich people and by being one, I’d somehow be rich.  That never happened.  Ultimately, William Jefferson Clinton happened to me and I was wooed over to declare my status as a Democrat where I have remained since, firmly aligned with core democratic values and principles.  But I digress.

It is worth noting that Ronald Reagan began his career as a Democrat and later switched to the Republican party. (Under the Republican party he served as Governor of California and ultimately succeeded Jimmy Carter as President of the United States.) While I began as a Republican, I associated myself as a Republican with liberal leanings, who was very concerned with social issues and ensuring that all people had basic needs met, without necessarily having big government.  In short, I was and continue to be at heart, a Lincoln Republican. This context is relevant because as a voter who is (1) female, (2) a child of social and political activist, (3) Caribbean descent (specifically Puerto Rican and Barbadian), and (4) politically astute, I am not your typical run of the mill voted down the ticket voter.  I vote and have voted across party lines.  I stay informed on current and historical trends.  I live and love politics and believe in our government and leadership.  I’ve read the constitution, the bill of rights.  In short, I am a true Lincoln Republican/moderate Democrat.

But the reality is that party of Lincoln no longer exists.  And Reagan Republicans have been forced out of the Republican party because they are too moderate and/or liberal in their leanings to be accepted.  Even Senator John McCain’s daughter and wife have advised Republicans to evolve or die.  And while many liberals  and conservative, extreme leftist and right wingers don’t care if the Republicans evolve or not, I do.  I care about those who have been left out of the political process because they don’t fit an either/or category.  I care that it is in the interest of the citizens of this country to have at minimum a two-party system (if not a multi-party system) which, focuses more on policies than rhetoric.  Americans should have a real opportunity to choose the best leaders to represent us, not least bad of two.  And more importantly, I care where those votes will go over the next four years, in 2016, and beyond.

So, where does that leave us?

With a Democratic party that was against the ropes in 2010 and rebounded thanks to a sect of extreme right-wing social conservatives that managed to hold hostage the Republican party.  And with GOPers became weak-kneed and scared that folks like the Tea Party Movement (note movement, not party) had somehow created a large and concentrated base that required pandering to.  Everyone jumped on that fascist band wagon and Republicans moved from the middle to the far right in order to show an essentially racist coalition, that they were on their side.  In 2010, the Dems were reeling from a butt kicking, the GOP is now in the same boat.

2008 brought back the Lee Atwater Southern Republican strategy (a la Karl Rove per Reagan) to scare the crap out of White Americans regarding African Americans.  They increased their efforts around utilizing  “code words” to speak to those fears publicly and institutionally in the hallowed halls of government.  And it was this particular strategy, the Atwater strategy, that Romney and Ryan employed in this election.  Only we saw it.  We knew.  And, as Americans (with a slim majority 50.6% vs 47.8%) we did not find it acceptable.  This election was a fight about the soul of America; who we are and what we represent.

Let me be clear (and I say this as an Obama supporter) I agree with my good friend, Obama would not have won had Romney stayed true to his core moderate Republican roots and base.  Had Romney remained centered and not pandered to the racist and extremist base as he did, women, liberals, Latinos (who are a diverse and disparate voting bloc), independents, and those who were disappointed in his performance would not have voted for Obama.  But instead, Romney’s inconsistencies, his rhetoric, along with those of Fox News idiots, and the Rush Limbaugh’s of the world ensured an Obama win through their Atwater-ish stupidity. And even now they continue.

The GOP need to realize, people by in large did not vote for Obama per se. They voted to reject the GOP’s message and proposed policies.  They voted to send a message to the party that while they were pissed off at Obama in 2010, they are thoroughly disgusted with the direction that the party has gone in 2012.  Marco Rubio is changing his stance (passively), Bobby Jindal is back to opening his mouth after being silenced by his party,  and other prominent Republican leaders are suggesting that the party reflect and regroup (via a proctology exam).

The GOP as is should die.  The level of hate and racism emitting from the party’s leadership and its pundits is divisive and horrible for this country.  As Meghan McCain stated in her Tweet, it must evolve, it must reflect the growing diversity that is America, it must embrace its roots as the party of Lincoln, it must review in great detail, it’s decision to move so far to the right and those implications. OR it should embrace it’s current extreme configuration with aplomb.  And if they do, those with any basic sense and love for this country, should create a nationally recognized 3rd party that holds true the core principles of the Republicans while ensuring its evolution.

And my fellow Dems should take heed. We should not pat ourselves on our collective backs or rest on our laurels.  People, throughout this nation, are pissed off and disenfranchised with their political leadership.  From local state races to major national races, the people are getting tired of the bullshit.  And they should.  With social media being utilized to share information and call out mis-information, we have a more sophisticated constituency who seeks results and accountability of its leadership.  Obama won by 2.8%.  That isn’t much and it is a message for those in either party willing to listen.  While the GOP is licking it’s wounds, now is the time to batten down the hatches, take a good look at ourselves, and make sure that the next election (when the campaign begins in roughly 2.5) we can give the voting public a clear reason why they should continue to let us represent them. Because the jury on that is still out.  And there is enough time to rebuild a  party or create a New Republican Party…

The Sun Rose on America

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I am still processing the last 48 hours.

When I got home last night, I laid down, and fell asleep  on and off for about 90 minutes as my husband anxiously watched the returns. I informed him that the decision would not be drawn out, rather, the people were clear and this election  would be swift when the returns came in, no questions.  We, the people were going to be very decisive about our next president, Barack Obama.

Around 10:30, I woke up with a start.

Shortly thereafter, the new president elect was announced.  I cannot find the words to describe the feelings and emotions that I am experiencing in all of this.  I received an email from a friend in Albany who told me I was wrong.  She was referring to a conversation we had in 1998 in which she insisted that a Black man would be president before a White woman, I insisted the opposite.  I told her I was happily incorrect in this case.

And yet, as I look at what has been achieved, as I look at this accomplishment, one thing is for certain, to me.  My generation of young Blacks and Latinos no longer have the crutch that they sometimes cling to at times.  “Da man”, while he does still exists and presents challenges to us, Obama is proof positive that perseverance can overcome obstacles, given the right support, given the right time, given the right circumstances.

We now are being called to the mat to set an example of achievement, of producing results and outcomes that support rather than detract from our communities.  Because the reality is that we are not saddled with the baggage of living in a  Jim Crow America.  We did not have to experience physical bondage.  The America of George Wallace and legal barriers do not represent today’s America.  We know we can be whatever it is that we wish to achieve IF we are willing to work and struggle and remain focused.  We must put in the work to make it happen.  The days of claiming can’t due to racism is no longer an acceptable.  We have to own our successes and failures.  We have a responsibility to ourselves, our ancestors, and our children to get past the ignorance of some and ensure we reach our end goals for the many.  It is what was done for us.  Last night, we smashed one of the hardest glass ceilings that could be smashed in this country.  It was done with the blood, sweat, tears, sacrifices, and struggles of those who came before us and those who come with us.  It was done in a collective manner, hand in hand, with multicultural and multiracial support.  We have to now honor this legacy by being true to who we are as a people, all human beings.   While we are in some measure, representatives of our cultural and racial collective, the fact is that we form into a whole country, America.

I am humbled by the work that people put in, all people put in to make Senator Obama into President-elect Obama.  The real work starts now, it will be imperfect as we all are, it will require the collaborative spirit and energy to push this agenda forward.  But today, as I wake up, I am more hopeful than I was 2 years ago.  I watch Obama and he makes me want to be and do better in my commitment to faith and community.

Today, the sun rose on America and it was beautiful.