Browsing Tag: politics

    Miscellany

    Random Thoughts on the 2016 Election

    November 13, 2016

    Let’s see if I can share my thoughts online here — on my own website — and avoid the wrath and threats that I’ve received on Twitter from both Trump and Clinton supporters.

    I’ll state this right from the start: I am not a Republican nor a Democrat. I haven’t voted for a Republican presidential nominee since 2004, and haven’t voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1996. I’ve been disillusioned with both parties and their stranglehold on this country for years. I treat every vote I cast on an individual basis, and I generally tend to vote about 60 pct. conservative / 40 pct. liberal — i.e., independent and moderate.

    This year, I didn’t vote for either Trump or Clinton. As soon as it became clear that these two were their respective party’s nominees, I knew I wouldn’t be able to vote for either. So I started researching other parties and candidates and found that I could support Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. There were numerous areas where I didn’t agree with him, but there were far more areas of agreement than I had with any other candidate. That, combined with him having integrity in spades compared to Clinton and Trump made the choice an easy one for me.

    That said, it’s now about 24 hours (edit: I started writing this days ago, debated on posting it, and finally decided to do so) since the presidential election was called in Trump’s favor. I’ve watched more TV and read more articles about this election than any I can recall. Like most others I’ve come across, I’m stunned by the result. Just as I’ve done after previous elections, I want to put my thoughts down about this one.

    It’s Hillary

    Hillary has some very ardent supporters. But there’s an enormous disconnect between the level of admiration (I’d go as far as worship in some cases) they had for Clinton versus the level of dislike (or hatred in some cases) others felt toward her.

    As I see and read the reaction to Trump winning, it’s pretty obvious that Hillary’s fans are (or were) totally unaware of how many Americans can’t stand her and would never vote for her for president. Or dog catcher. Or anything, really.

    What Brokaw Said

    CNN’s Van Jones shared a poignant, emotional statement in which he wondered aloud how he’d talk to his kids about Trump’s victory.

    But of all the analysis I heard on TV (we switched mainly between CNN and NBC on election night), I thought the best came from former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw. I tried to paraphrase his thoughts on Twitter:

    cwznlanuuaa37mq

    I think there’s a lot of truth in that.

    Don’t Blame 3rd-Party Voters

    A lot of Clinton supporters are blaming her loss on people like me (well, the ones in swing states) who voted for a so-called third-party candidate. In many states, candidates like Johnson and Stein got more votes than what Clinton lost by … so clearly it must be those voters’ fault she lost!

    The mistake they make is assuming that all of these Johnson/Stein/etc. voters would’ve voted for Clinton. I think it’s arrogant to assume that, and it’s certainly not true. In fact, as some research has suggested, it’s likely that third-party voters helped Clinton in several states.

    Having supported Johnson for months — reading his Facebook and Twitter posts, interacting with other Johnson supporters, reading articles about him and his rallies — I know for a fact that a significant portion of Johnson supporters were moderates/conservatives who, like me, couldn’t vote for either Clinton or Trump. “Yeah, but what if there were only the two candidates, Matt? You would’ve voted for Clinton, wouldn’t you, because Trump is so terrible?” Nope. If there were just two candidates, I would’ve skipped that race on my ballot. I’m not going to vote against my conscience just because the system wants me to only consider two candidates.

    I’ve been criticized and even threatened with physical violence by random strangers who’ve seen me tweet support for Gary Johnson. People say I wasted my vote by not supporting Clinton or Trump. If you feel that way, I’d suggest reading D.M. Andre, who says you’re using a fear tactic to get people to vote against their will.

    “But look how Ralph Nader gave Bush the win in Florida in 2000!,” they say, offering that as proof that third-party candidates can sabotage an election. Nope. That claim has been debunked more than once. In fact, shortly after that election, a Salon article with the headline How Florida Democrats torpedoed Gore explained how Gore really lost:

    Now it gets really ugly for the Gore campaign, for there are two other Florida constituencies that cost them more votes than Nader did. First, Democrats. Yes, Democrats! Nader only drew 24,000 Democrats to his cause, yet 308,000 Democrats voted for Bush. Hello. If Gore had taken even 1 percent of these Democrats from Bush, Nader’s votes wouldn’t have mattered. Second, liberals. Sheesh. Gore lost 191,000 self-described liberals to Bush, compared to less than 34,000 who voted for Nader.

    Bottom line: There’s too much going on in a major election to declare that a third-party candidate steals votes that would’ve gone to one other candidate by default.

    Blame Evangelical Christians?

    The number I’ve seen going around is that 81 percent of evangelical Christians voted for Trump. And that’s always accompanied by some kind of criticism or question about how Christians could vote for someone like Trump, whose behavior is so often very un-Christian. It’s a great question/point, but I think I can provide some insight here because I know several Christians who voted for Trump. In one word: abortion.

    Trump had a lot of Christian support simply because they believe he’ll nominate pro-life judges to the Supreme Court. Personally, I wouldn’t be so confident if I were in their shoes — he’s changed his stance on abortion a few times over the years and seems unpredictable to me on this issue.

    But Clinton is not at all unpredictable. Her support of abortion is crystal clear, and she’s said that she wouldn’t want the government to interfere with late-term abortions, either. That’s a non-starter for evangelical Christians, and the possibility of President Clinton appointing one or more pro-choice judges to the Supreme Court was enough to get them to overlook Trump’s faults and vote for him.

    Final Thoughts

    It’s been a long time since I’ve been happy with the results of a presidential election. And it’ll be a lot longer still until that happens. I knew I’d be unhappy no matter whether Trump or Clinton won, so my hope was that Gary Johnson (or any third-party candidate) would get 5% of the popular vote, qualifying that party for federal funding in the next presidential election. That didn’t happen; Johnson ended up at about 3% — more than any non-Republican/non-Democrat candidate since Ross Perot in the 1990s, but not enough. So it looks like the next time we elect a President, we’ll be back to the same two-party dominance that we had this time. I can only hope the two major parties put up better candidates than they did this year. Hard to imagine any worse.

    Miscellany

    2016 General Election Voting Record

    October 28, 2016

    garyjohnson

    Sent my general election ballot off earlier today, and proudly filled in the Presidential section for Gary Johnson. He’s got no chance of winning, but that’s okay. Voting isn’t about choosing who you think will win, it’s about choosing who you think is the best candidate. And given that the two main parties are each running corrupt, pathological liars, this one was an easy choice.

    Johnson was the only third-party candidate I voted for this time. By my count, my overall breakdown of votes by party went like this:

    • Republican candidates/issues: 11 (or 61%)
    • Democratic candidates/issues: 7 (39%)

    We had several “races” where there was only one person on the ballot, so I didn’t bother counting those. But when there was a choice, I ended up going R about 60 percent of the time and D the other 40 percent. Based on my voting history, that seems to be pretty consistent in terms of how I tend to vote.

    Miscellany

    2016 WA Primary Voting Record

    July 24, 2016

    I’ve been trying to keep track of my voting record in the big election years to see which way I lean politically over time. I think I’ve typically tended to vote about 60% conservative, 40% liberal — which is about where I was during the 2012 primary election.

    We live in a vote-by-mail county, so I completed my ballot today and it’ll get mailed off tomorrow. I kept track of my votes, and they were as follows:

    • 7 Republicans
    • 3 Democrats
    • 3 Libertarians/Independents

    That’s 54% Republicans, and then 23% each for Democrats and Other. There were one or two races that were non-partisan, so I’m not counting those this year.

    This side of the state leans heavily conservative and every election there are several races that have only Republican candidates. I think there were three such races this year. So, who knows … things might be a little different if we had more variety to choose from. But I seem to be pretty consistent in voting 50-60% Republican and the rest Democrat/Other each big election year.

    And yes, I’m well aware this is probably only of interest to me. And that’s okay. It’s my blog, after all. 🙂

    Miscellany

    4 Thoughts on POTUS and the Supreme Court opening

    February 16, 2016

    1) I absolutely think President Obama should carefully weigh his options and nominate the most qualified candidate to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

    2) I absolutely think my conservative friends should stop suggesting he not submit a nomination because it’s an election year. Since when do we stop governing the nation just because there’s an election coming up? The US Constitution specifically says it’s the President’s duty to nominate Supreme Court candidates. So what other parts of the Constitution should we just ignore in this election year?

    3) I absolutely think the GOP-controlled Senate should carefully weigh the merits of the nominee and either approve, reject or filibuster long enough to delay the issue, as is their right.

    4) I absolutely think my liberal friends should stop acting like the Democratic Party has never done to a Republican president’s nominee what the conservatives in the Senate are threatening to do with whomever Obama nominates. To wit:

    https://twitter.com/redsteeze/status/699470242947403776

    For background on the 2003/Estrada reference, here’s an old CNN article about the 2-year Democratic filibuster that blocked his appointment … and this wasn’t even for the Supreme Court, it was for a US appellate court position.

    For more on the Alito reference, note this ABC News post from 2009 pointing out that Obama is the first President to have previously voted to filibuster against a Supreme Court nominee.

    And lastly, how about what Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said in 2007?

    So, to my liberal friends, please get over this idea that the Senate Republicans are doing something new and unsavory. They’re only doing what Senate Democrats have done several times in the past.

    And for my conservative friends, please get over this idea that President Obama has to stop governing our nation because this is an election year. You may not like him, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has a Constitutional responsibility to uphold.

    Postscript, Feb. 22: Turns out that, in 1992, Senator Joe Biden — currently our Vice-President — had some strong feelings on this same issue.

    Miscellany

    Nobody Has a Monopoly on What’s Good/Right

    March 24, 2013

    good-idea-lightbulbMy son recently listened to a speaker at his high school who was there to talk to the whole school about boys, girls, love, sex and relationships … and what all of those things mean to teenagers. His message, which Cari and I learned about by attending a two-hour+ parent session the night before, is essentially to encourage kids to choose abstinence.

    An acquaintance of mine tweeted his opposition to the presentation on the grounds that a “faith-based organization” shouldn’t be presenting to kids in a public school.

    Nevermind that the speaker was brought in by the student body association, not by school officials.

    Nevermind that the same speaker has also spoken at every other high school in the area, except for one that only opened four years ago.

    And nevermind that the speaker doesn’t appear to represent a “faith-based organization.” There’s no mention on the speaker’s website about God, faith, spirituality, religion, Jesus, or anything related to any kind of “Christian agenda.” There was also no mention of any of those topics in the two-hour+ presentation that I heard.

    My acquaintance didn’t really have a clue about the content of the presentation, aside from what the local newspaper wrote about in an article that mentioned how some students didn’t want to attend because the ideas seemed “outdated” and didn’t take LGBT students’ needs into account.

    Despite his ignorance about what was actually being shared with students, my acquaintance said it was a “slippery slope” for this kind of material to be presented to public school kids because it reflects “non-secular” thinking.

    WTF?

    We shouldn’t talk to kids about the ramifications of their sexual choices, and encourage them to make smarter choices, because it sounds Christian?

    Should we just accept that today’s teens are gonna screw around willy-nilly before they’re emotionally ready, and not talk to them about the life-changing ramifications of that? Is that a Good Thing?

    Is it good that kids are taking nude photos of themselves and texting them to their boyfriend/girlfriend, then getting tossed in jail and labeled as sex offenders because they’re participating in child pornography?

    And that they’re taking these nude photos and posting them online for the whole world to see as revenge after the boy/girlfriend breaks up with the other?

    Are these Good Things?

    Is it good that teenage girls are getting pregnant and either having abortions or giving birth to babies while they’re still children themselves?

    Families are getting destroyed by this. Kids are killing each other and/or committing suicide over the bullying, threats and revenge that often accompany teenage sexual activity.

    And we shouldn’t have a speaker in a public school to talk about an alternative lifestyle — i.e., abstinence — because he and/or his message sounds Christian?

    I’m sorry, but shame on anyone that thinks we should keep an important message from our kids for a myopic reason like that. And I’m not writing this to call out my acquaintance; we already ironed things out. It’s all good. I’m writing this because there are way too many people that believe the same thing.

    As a Christian, I’m sick of being told that my beliefs don’t have a place in the public discussion, in public schools, in general conversation.

    If we’re going to keep Christian-sounding messages and lessons out of public schools, then

    • we can’t teach our kids to respect their parents, because that’s one of the Ten Commandments
    • we have to teach them the value of violence, revenge and how to use guns, because “turn the other cheek” is a New Testament thing
    • we can’t teach them to take care of the poor and care for the less fortunate, because those are key themes of Christian life

    Is that really how we want to educate our kids? Avoid any message that might sound Christian or like it’s tied to a faith-based organization?

    Today’s teenagers are dealing with stuff that no one in my generation could’ve imagined. They need more information, not less, and if the information can help or save even one kid, it’s a Good Thing … and it doesn’t matter who the information comes from.

    This is the problem with our society today. Too many people think that they have a monopoly on what’s Good/Right.

    They don’t.

    This is why I hate the two-party political system and what it’s done to our national discourse. Republicans think any idea from a Democrat is bad, and Democrats think any Republican idea is bad.

    We need more Good Things and Good Ideas in this world and it shouldn’t matter where they come from — Republicans, Democrats, Christians, atheists, people of any color or sexual orientation … you name it.

    Your tribe doesn’t have a monopoly on what’s good or right.

    (Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)

    Miscellany

    A McGee Family Election Night Tradition (AKA, Wolf Blitzer Is A Dork)

    November 6, 2012

    vote-republican-democratIt’s about 2:30 pm right now on election day. In just a couple hours, one of my favorite McGee traditions will resume after a long break: Cari and I will sit down in front of the TV, with Outback Steakhouse take-out food in front of us, and we’ll settle in to watch many, many hours of live national election coverage.

    It may sound boring, but we have an absolute blast together … perhaps primarily because we’re as interested in watching (and mocking) the news coverage as anything.

    (That part of the fun predates our marriage, even, when we would watch live “breaking news” coverage on Los Angeles television and make fun of folks like Harvey Levin, who famously shouted “GET TO HIGHER GROUND!” repeatedly during some serious flooding.)

    I think tonight’s tradition began with the 2000 election, which was the first one after Outback Steakhouse opened up in Tri-Cities. We didn’t have nearly the amount of good restaurants in town then that we do now, so it was an easy choice to grab some take-out food and bring it home. We’ve followed this tradition each national election since, and I think even on most of the smaller election years, too.

    That first year, I remember us both trying to stake awake all night while votes in Florida were counted and re-counted. I outlasted Cari and stayed awake until about 2 am, I think, and the election was still undecided. As it would remain for the next 36 days.

    But probably our favorite moment happened last time out, in the 2008 election.

    We were watching CNN and Wolf Blitzer was leading their coverage, with a cadre of like a thousand analysts on set, too. Wolf was leading an interview — don’t recall who it was, maybe one of the party spokespersons or something like that — and he fired off a question that I also don’t remember. Just as the interviewee began to answer, Wolf interrupted with this:

    “I’m sorry, we have to cut away right now. But this is a great question and we’ll get back to it later.

    Yes.

    Wolf Blitzer asked a question then complimented himself on how good the question was!

    To this day, Cari and I often ask a question and then announce that our question is great. Cuz we’re kinda dorky. Like Wolf Blitzer.

    Here’s hoping tonight’s tradition brings more fun moments like that…..

    (Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)