SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

October 19, 2015

Voting and other considerations

While voting 4 Columbus Mayor, issues & Judges, I’m riled over Bernie

My friends, you just don’t know how lucky you are that I have restrained my ‘political junky’ behavior this season.  I bristle at the injustice of the National Democratic Party (of which I have been a member) headed up by Debbie Wassermann Schultz who has arbitrarily chosen to run the show single-handedly – asserting there would be only 6 debates.  The Majority of the non-Republican voters have been chomping at the bit to catch a glimpse of Bernie;  hear him speak at ANYTHING. Far too many Americans still don’t have a clue about who he is.  Those of us who only want Bernie in the Oval office have been frustrated beyond belief.   Few shows there are, kind enuff to give him snippets of air time here and there.   Bernie has been treated very unfairly;  his numbers are pointedly demonstrating the impact he is making with people who had almost given up on finding anyone brave enough to take on such a giant task “of serving the needs of ALL AMERICANS.”   Bernie however, is accustomed to the road less travelled and the nay-sayers abusive treatment;  apparently, his vision is not acceptable to the well-esconsed, locked-for-life establishment “others” who generally control stuff.  Or want to!  And that seems to be what’s going on.  

Why, and for what purpose would DW Schultz have to deny a hungry, angry  voting constituency to the very things for which they clamor?  Why is Bernie being treated like some kind of ODD  aside?. . .not possible for genuine consideration?   One hears things. . . ,   that her loyalty to Hillary and past affiliations in her prior run for president precludes a full-on fair and equal treatment. . .for any who aspire to run for president on the Democratic ticket.  The three other men also running are all worthy and accomplished, to be sure.  Have maintained a sense of appreciation for years for Jim,  good man.   The two Governors service, especially O’M’s oral delivery are pleasing. And who knows?. . .soon there may be another!   Is the vice President still figuring?  ?    Look, everybody, really – EVERYBODY loves this man and is sympathetic to his loss, for it is one of those indescribable experiences most can barely imagine, let alone speak of.  However, sympathy is NOT a reason to vote someone into office any more than – – “IT’S MY TURN.”   Joe,  leave office gracefully knowing that you’ve acquired a status seldom seen – – a VEEP  all love and admire and called the Best-Ever V.P of all time.

Several other NDP chairpersons are speaking up now.  When Tulsi Gabbard (also a co-chair) and truly distinguished Representative from Hawaii repeated the need for more debates, she was admonished by DWS and asked not to attend the debate!  How’s that for respect and equality?  I hope what I heard is true- – that she is to be replaced by someone more capable, honest and fair.    

In this presidential race, voters are hard-pressed to make sense of anything.  So much needs attention beyond what we are already trying to balance;  increasing costs on so much – especially health-care,.. .finding or keeping a job that can actually sustain a way of life . . . .trying to maintain dignity and cool head in the face of injustice and other  disparities. . . .above all – trying to keep “hope alive”. . .that things will get better.  Then beyond our immediate sphere,  how about the war-torn east? . . .global warming? . . . sending even more troops abroad? . . .. all those displaced, hungry,suffering people. . . . what in God’s name is to be done?   Can our natures handle so much? Are we expected to solve all this?    OF COURSE NOT!  But it remains out there, doesn’t it?  Its in the edges, the shadows and somehow impinges inward.  So, we aren’t deaf, dumb and blind. . .it is there.   If we would have balance,  we must keep our perspective.  You,  I,  can only DO so much.  We strive similarly, but we aren’t united or the same.  We are diverse.  A good thing!  Expected.  All need balance, perspective to survive. . . .what madness we see abroad is comparing  disparate entities. Doesn’t work!

My mess. . . I’ll fix it    Your mess – you fix it.  Can’t?. . .fine, live with it.   Can’t or Won’t?. . .want to dump it on the world? Me?. . . not acceptable, but can handle only fair way – – we’ll exterminate you.  All done.         Most of us learn as kiddies, that we gotta play nice with the other kiddies!  Only madness itself would expect the rest of us to just keep throwing good-will, money,  effort,  lives   into a burning pit of evil.   When will enough be enough?    So much is coming down to choice.      Think, then choose.

Happy to report that BILL MOYERS.COM is starting up his blog again.  He is one of the best Historians around so am over-the-moon. The article he sent was of another historian, also named Bernie called “What one Historian wishes Bernie Sanders said about being an Socialist”.    It was simply excellent.  Dated 10-16-15.  


What One Historian Wishes Bernie Sanders Said About Being a Socialist

by Bernard Weisberger   October 14, 2015 | Updated October 15, 2015

Debate’s first gotcha question from Anderson Cooper about whether the American people would ever elect a socialist to office was one that Bernie Sanders was no doubt expecting. Progressive historian and contributor Bernard Weisberger didn’t think his answer was altogether bad (watch above), but he took time today to write out the response he wishes the other Bernie had given. He also included a response to Hillary Clinton’s later statement about how “Denmark wasn’t the United States.”

Well, first of all, the last I heard Vermont was still an American state and the people of Burlington elected me as mayor four times and were satisfied because I gave them an honest and efficient administration. Then the people of the state as a whole sent me back to the House of Representatives several times, and next to the Senate. They responded to substance, not labels. I think we’re still smart enough to do that.
[As for our not being Denmark, I am not trying to turn the United States into Denmark or any other country in the world. But if we look and see that Denmark has a health care system that treats its people better than ours at lower cost, just as an example, are we forbidden to try it because it hasn’t got a “Made in America” label on it? We’re a lot smarter than that — and saying otherwise is a slander on our people.]

I consider myself a social democrat, yes. And for me, what social democracy simply means is a system that leaves room for small enterprises and individual liberty but also recognizes the fact that we’re all part of a larger community, and what hurts any one group of us eventually hurts us all. So there are some things we don’t leave to the so-called free market. We don’t want people going hungry or suffering from sickness or at the bottom of the ladder in educational attainments because they can’t afford them — especially when in economic downturns millions of us lose jobs through no fault of our own. So we tax ourselves to put money into a common kitty to make sure those things don’t happen and we’re all the better off for it. In other words we agree to bear each others’ burdens and make others’ suffering our concern, bound in “brotherly affection.” A far cry from the virtues of unrestricted and unregulated winner-take-all competition.

And do you know that that’s a basic American idea? What I just said comes straight from a sermon preached by minister John Winthrop to the band of fellow Puritans landing in Massachusetts in 1630. And it’s an idea picked up again and again throughout our history, from early state laws providing for public health and safety and punishing fraud, right on through to the Progressive period and the New Deal when we provided security for our elders, strengthened the bargaining power of workers, created public works programs to stimulate employment and spending, opened space for small business by breaking trusts, and reduced inequality to reasonable levels — without touching the basics of capitalism. That’s the American way and always has been, and I could name a long list of American heroes who embraced it if there were time. So let’s move past labels and start addressing the crises we face now.

This post has been updated to reflect that John Winthrop made his famous “A Model of Christian Charity” speech in 1630, not 1634, as previously posted.

Bernard A. Weisberger is a historian who has been by turns a university professor, an editor of American Heritage and a collaborator on several of Bill’s documentaries. He is the author of Many People, One Nation, a history of immigration to the United States.



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