White Privilege — Action Items

I ended a post about white privilege (although it’s really more general, it’s dominent culture privilege (like would you rather be a Buddhist or a Muslim in Myammar today?)) with a question, that being, what is the action item?  Those posting about it seem to simply want people to know it exists.  But aren’t there steps we can take to make our country more balanced?  Some political positions we might take?

Well I’ve thought of some that I put up for discussion.

Universal health care — even the playing field for those most in need of simply good health.

Free college education — even the playing field in a society that is ever more dependent on an educated work force.

No real estate taxes for schools — one of the greatest advantages of being white is living in a neighborhood where the schools are well funded by real estate taxes.  If state or federal taxes were used for schools instead, there would be a much better balance of education opportunities for those most disadvantaged.  And there would be no need for ‘white flight’ as parents try to optimize the educational opportunities for their kids by moving to ‘good’ school districts.

No homework — I watch my daughter-in-law work with her kids (my grandkids) on their homework.  She’s an amazing mom, makes sure her kids do well in school.  As I watch, though, all I can think is it’s simply not fair. Kids in school without a parent like her are simply not going to be able to compete.  Extend school hours, do homework in school with teachers around to help all, equally.

For any government programs that benefit a portion of our society, someone has to pay for it.  Who will pay for these things?  Well I would use my votes and tax dollars to support each of these programs.

Guns

I’ve never really liked guns.  Didn’t particularly enjoy going to the shooting range at Boy Scout camp.  Not very comfortable with the thought that the people I encounter on the street, or the driver who cuts me off, might be armed with lethal force at his fingertips.  But that’s just me.

Can logic change a gut feeling like mine?  Well yes, it can.  If I review all the data, the statistics, it appears that I don’t really have to worry.  People in nice middle class neighborhoods like mine aren’t randomly killing each other. Domestic violence, suicide, yes, but they’re not going to shoot me.

Mass shootings?  They’re in the category of plane crashes.  Scary, yes, but statistically unlikely that I’ll be hurt in one.

So I’m OK.

Yet, even though it doesn’t affect me, I still believe that our country would be better off without guns.  For the mass murders, sure, but I was more moved by the pleas of a black woman minister in Titusville, near me, who lamented that she’d lost six young men in her church, in separate incidents of gun violence.

Regulating bump stocks is not going to help the kids in her neighborhood.

I talk to people, reasonable people, who own guns, who feel it’s important to have one for defense of their home.  I believe that’s where the debate has to happen.

Admittedly, I only know of about 10 people who keep guns in their houses for that reason, but that’s the data I’ll work with.

None of these people has ever had to use their gun.  But it makes them feel safe. I wonder about the logic of that?

First, I would think that most people who want to break into a home want to steal stuff, and would rather do it when the residents are away.  So a gun doesn’t help there.

Hostile home invasions are scary, but just not that common.  It takes a twisted person to want to do that.  The question is, will having a gun make you safer in that situation?  I’ve seen enough cowboy movies to know that having a gun for self defense simply isn’t good enough.  You’ve got to be quicker and a better shot than the other person.

You’ve got to have the gun ready, and that means having it ready before the home invader is ready, so you can get the drop on him.  But he’s showed up ready.  And he’s probably better skilled at using his weapon.

So how many scenarios are there where having a gun for self defense makes sense?

It seems having a gun for self defense will only protect you against bad guys who have worse gun skills than you.

Isn’t making it harder for bad guys to get guns a better way to make us all a little safer?  Yes, there’s millions of guns out there, and maybe we can’t control them for our generation, but if we start now maybe our grandchildren will live in a safer world.

White Privilege

Why am I so bugged by the various posts explaining White Privilege?

I’m thinking maybe it’s the time old problem of an old person (71) not liking being told how it is by young ones.  This example from a 19 year old:

White Privilege, Explained in One Simple Comic

And this the one that got me started:

The first thing I was struck with when I first saw this is actually how cool it is.  How amazing it is to me that in our society, today, this needs to be explained.

It wasn’t like that when I was growing up, there was no need to explain white privilege.  It was obvious.  There were no blacks in the good high school I went to, there was one black kid in the Ivy League college I went to.

When I visited the South in the early 1960s, well I’d heard there were separate restrooms for colored, but it wasn’t until I went there that I learned there weren’t four, but three restrooms.  Two nice ones on the side of the gas station and one filthy unmaintained colored restroom in the back.

I visited small Southern towns where the inhabitants viewed black people as little better than animals, not in a nasty way though, these were good people who would no sooner mistreat a black person than their dog, but who, in their experience, saw them as closer to animals than civilized humans.

And given how the blacks lived, well they were right. The blacks lived in small rickety shacks, with no plumbing, no electricity.  They were uneducated and barely clothed, really, in the eyes of a white child growing up there, not much different than dogs.

No one needed to explain to any of us white people that we were a lot better off than black people.

It says a lot about how far we’ve come that today the problems of racism in our society have gotten subtle enough that it needs to be pointed out with screaming videos and cartoons.


I’m annoyed by the historical references when talking about ‘White’ privilege.  It’s a bigger, more general, issue than that. It’s people.  People have always sucked in that regard, not just white people.  Throughout history, and across the planet, there has always been significant privilege associated with being a member of the dominent culture.

Much better to be a Roman in Roman times.  And a Mongol under Ghenghis Ghan.  And a Muslim as that religion spread all over the middle east.  Want to try being a Sunni rather than a Shia in Iran?  And Africa? would you rather be a Hutu or Tutsi?

Yes, today the dominent USA culture is white, and mostly Northern European white, and yes, life is much easier if you’re part of that culture.

And yes, as with most all dominent cultures, our dominent culture doesn’t try real hard to make life easier for those not in our culture.  It takes leaders like Susan B. Anthony, or Martin Luther King to push for change.


I’m tired of being blamed for slavery, because I’m white. Yes, white people enslaved black people.  And it’s horrible.  But again, it’s people, not specifically white people.

The Old Testament of the Bible recognizes slavery as being OK and gives guidance on acceptable levels of mistreatment of slaves.  It’s how the pyramids got built.  It’s a human problem, humans have always been willing to enslave other humans.

And yes, those slave traders were awful.  But they bought the slaves from black tribal leaders who were capturing them in other tribes.  Another privilege example?  much better to be a member of the tribe selling slaves than the tribe being enslaved.

And my ancestors?  White people today say they shouldn’t be held accountable for the sins of their ancestors.

What if my ancestors were abolishonists?  What if my Northeastern ancestors were the ones who created so much political pressure that Congress made it illegal for slavery to extend beyond the South?

What if my ancestors went to war to end slavery?  What if some of my ancestors gave up their very lives fighting to end slavery.  Those ancestors were white.

(Oh, the Civil War was about state’s rights? Well I’ve read Jefferson Davis’ (president of the Confederacy) account of the Civil War. The whole first chapter is a history of slavery and slavery laws, and what should and shouldn’t be.  Yes, it was about state’s right, but there is only one state’s right that they cared about, and that was the right to own people as property and buy and sell them and make money.)

(This is the complexity of racial issues.  Reading Jefferson Davis one is taken with the intelligence of the man, the education, the fairness even.  He was clearly a remarkable man.  The disconnect was he simply didn’t see black people as human.  They were property, like horses.)

OK, fine, my ancestors also came over here and destroyed Native American cultures.  Yup, well, it’s what people have done to other people since forever.  (Have you ever read the chapter in the Bible about Joshua?  It praises genocide.  Joshua didn’t just take down Jericho, he took down over 30 cities and put all the inhabitants to the sword, because God told him the Israelites could have all that land.  These were peaceful cities whose inhabitants were scared shitless at the approach of the Israelites.)

And the beautiful native people of Hawaii, such a peaceful community, got that way by killing all the members of the tribe that was competing with them to live there.

So yup, agreed, there were awful things done by our ancestors.  We took the land from the Indians.  We feel bad about it, but you know what?  I’ve heard a lot of people say how horrible it was but don’t know a single family, white or anything else, that’s offered to give their home to a Native American family.


But I do agree, it’s good to continue to explain white privilege today, as, well yes, I and others probably aren’t that aware of it. It doesn’t affect our every day lives.  We might be out of touch, and it’s good to be reminded of the various statistics, and the unfairness they reveal, although those statistics are readily available and often presented in a less harsh manner in the mainstream media.

I am very much aware that I was born in both a time and place, in a culture and of a gender, in economic circumstances that made it easy for me.  Anything I read about almost any other time or place in history makes me feel very lucky in that regard.

I’m currently reading about the French Revolution.  Wow, the ‘haves’ then really had, and the ‘have nots’ really didn’t.  Much better to be born into that ruling class.  For a while.  Then much better to be in the other.

So how to raise my consciousness? I remember two instances where a prominent black, in one case columnist, and the other comic, hit me on a more emotional than intellectual level.

One was Leonard Pitts, my favorite columnist, who simply asked if a white father, teaching his teenager to drive, tells him to always keep both hands visible if pulled over by a cop.  Oh.  That brings it home.

The other was Richard Pryor, describing how the scariest thing for a black person to hear is some good ole boys going “Eeeh yah!”, cause you know someone is gonna get lynched. Same. That just-having-fun sound suddenly took on a much darker meaning.


I have a recommendation for those educating us about white privilege, and it comes from the idea behind Non-Violent Communication.  It’s designed to make it easier for people to talk about difficult issues, without resorting to yelling, shaming, and name calling.

It’s based on four simple steps:

1- non-judgemental observation of a situation. (Key, don’t blame, or accuse, just here’s what I see.)
2- how one feels about that situation.
3- what one’s needs are.
4- and a request.

What’s interesting about the two rants above is they only really cover the first, one can maybe intuit the next two, but, here I really do plead ignorance, I don’t see the fourth.

Here’s how the rants appear to me:

1- non-judgemental observation (clearly stated): there are a lot of benefits to being white in this country that are not there for non-whites.  OK, certainly true, no argument.

2- feelings (I’m inferring): that makes me feel as if our society is unfair.  OK, yes, it would, and should make you feel that way.

3- need (I’m inferring): I need to live in a society that is more fair and equally available for all cultures, races, religions, genders.  OK, very reasonable, I’d like that too.

4- request (I’m clueless here): So what I’m asking is for you to….  Yes?  Yes?  What?

Instead these rants seem to just want to tell me how ignorant I am.  There isn’t a call to action.  Instead one ends with “fucking educate yourself.”

Well you know, that just doesn’t give me a warm feeling, that just doesn’t make me want to do what needs to be done to make our society any better, it just makes me want to write a post like this one and say, “oh yeah, why don’t you go educate yourself.”

And that’s the sort of discourse that has replaced reasoned dialog in our culture today.

 

 

Jefferson Davis’ Civil War

Growing up in the North, I learned that the Civil War was about slavery.  But I’d heard, that in the South, they all thought it was about state’s rights.

In 2004 I moved to Asheville, NC and was wandering about the library when a book almost jumped off the shelves at me.  It was Jefferson Davis’ (President of the Confederacy) history of the Civil War (The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government). I wondered how he saw it? So I immediately sat down to read.

I read his introductory material and the first chapter, which laid the background for the war.

I was struck by the intelligence and humbleness of the man.  He takes great pains in the introduction to explain that he understands that he was too close to the events to be able to present an unbiased view.  But also notes that those events are fresh in his mind, so he decided to write them down, as fairly as possible, in the hope that they would be useful to future historians who could view the war from a more distant perspective.

He opens the book with a detailed history of the laws in this country that led up to the war.  It’s all about slavery.  He shows an amazing breadth of knowledge about exactly what was legal, in regards to slaves, when and where in all the states of the country.

(I hadn’t known that the importation of slaves was made illegal sometime in the early 1800s.  The only way you could buy slaves after that was from breeders, such as the businessmen in Charleston, SC.)

(Cynical aside — the South was in favor of the stopping of the slave ships from Africa.  It meant the market for the slave trade was all theirs.  But in stopping the slave ships, they cut the Yankees out of the profits of the business.  Hmmm.  Would things have been different if the North had still been getting a slice of that lucrative pie?)

Davis examines all these laws, many of them state laws, and makes the strong case that each state should be able to make it’s own laws regarding slavery.  Here was the answer to age old debate.  Yes it was about state’s rights, but the only state’s right they cared about was the right to own, buy and sell slaves.

Previous to discovering this book, I had been interested in Buchanan when historians were saying Bush was the second worst president ever.  The worst was Buchanan, president just before Lincoln.

It turns out Buchanan was the best educated and most experienced president we’ve ever had.  He is condemned by historians, however, for his failure to take steps earlier to stop the South from leaving the Union.  But the reason he didn’t was that he just didn’t see that our Constitution said anything about forbidding states from leaving.  While he regretted that the South might leave, he didn’t see how the Federal Government had any right to stop them.

Davis, in his book, expresses a lot of respect and admiration for Buchanan.

As I read through Davis’ historical perspective and his argued points of view, I couldn’t help but admire the breadth of his knowledge, and the reasoned intelligence behind his arguments.  If only people wrote and argued like that today…

But one point kept grating.  Everything he wrote, everything he believed, his entire intellectual edifice was built on one fundamental assumption.  Slaves were property.  Not people.  Property.

He would argue, for example, why should a person’s property in one state become not property after crossing a state line? (Remember the issue of the day was slavery in the Western states.)  He clearly viewed slaves in the same category as cattle, and that they should be covered by the same sorts of property law.

Mind you, there is nothing malicious or hateful in anything he wrote.  He doesn’t come across like that.  It seems his conscience was perfectly clear, and that he genuinely saw no difference between cattle and slaves.

Strange, how such an intelligent, well-spoken piece of work, such as his History of the Civil War, is based on a single fundamental premise, that slaves were property, not people.  That so many people would die because of it, that tensions would still run high a hundred and fifty years later.

Biased vs. Fake News

There appear to be polls that show a large percentage of Trump supporters believe the mainstream media is fake news, and that Trump’s tweets are more trustworthy.

Many on the more liberal side of things are surprised by that.  But I’m not too surprised.

First, there is a huge difference between fake news and biased news.  Fake news is, exactly that, fake.  The events didn’t happen.  Like the Bowling Green Massacre.

Biased news, on the other hand, is all other news.  It is impossible to write a story, or even pick a story to write about, without showing some sort of bias.

Now, any serious media outlet will have some bias in its reporting, but it will take great care to ensure the facts underlying a story are, in fact, facts.

So why aren’t they trusted?  Well I think anyone with political leanings away from main stream Democratic thinking was and is disappointed by this and last year’s media coverage.

If you liked Hillary, well then, you were probably pretty happy with what you read.

But if, like me, you liked Gary Johnson, you would have been bothered by: 1) the editorial decision to hardly cover him at all, and 2) the biased coverage given when he was covered.

He was only discussed in the main stream media as a spoiler.  Barely mentioned.  When he was discussed, two points were always made: he smoked pot and he didn’t know where Aleppo was.

Now, if I was writing the news, my biases would have shown.  I would have put in more coverage of him, and I would have noted that he could have been a viable candidate, and that in New Mexico he balanced the budget, created jobs, was very popular, and vetoed a whole bunch of special interest, lobbyist created legislation sent to his desk.  Basically he did all things I would want a president to do.

Now you might disagree with my editorial decisions, but they would be based on facts.  Just as the main stream media was factual.  Yet, when I read a serious news article that referred to him as Gary ‘Aleppo’ Johnson, well you can see how I might begin to not trust that news source.  It’s factual, he got the Aleppo question wrong, but there was a bit more to him than just that, and constantly harping on this one error was, to say the least, extremely annoying to me.

My son was very interested in Bernie Sanders (and Gary Johnson) and always enjoyed getting a lot of his news from NPR.  Well NPR gave Sanders almost zero coverage.  It was Hillary, Hillary, Hillary.  What about Bernie?  Nothing.  He was listening one day and realized it was the first time he had heard Sander’s voice on NPR.  Sanders was giving up and pledging support to Hillary.  That is, their editorial policy only covered him when he supported Hillary.

Nothing un-factual about that.  But very disappointing to someone interested in Bernie Sanders.  He doesn’t listen to NPR anymore.  He wonders, where should he get his news?

And Trump, I hate Trump and all he stands for as much as the next Trump hater, but I believe someone, anyone, even Trump, should be given fair coverage.

Here were the headlines at one point last year in the major news media: “Trump calls Hillary the Devil!”  Well, it was true.  But I was curious and went back and listened to what he actually said.

It turns out he was making a legitimate point.  He said he had respect for Sanders and what Sanders was trying to do, but that Sanders had sold out, compromised his principles, to support Hillary.

Well, that’s interesting.  He raised a good point.  You may or may not agree, but it’s certainly worth discussing whether what he did sold out his prinicples or not.

Then Trump used a common phrase for selling out, he said Sanders made a deal with the Devil.  And then, realizing how he could play with it, said, and Hillary is the Devil.

Next day’s headlines from Google News feed: Trump calls Hillary the Devil!  There was no coverage whatsoever of the legitimate point he was making, just outrage at the comparison of Hillary and the Devil.

It made me not trust their coverage of Trump.  The only way I could learn about the point Trump was trying to make was to listen to Trump himself.  The news media didn’t report it.  Nothing fake about that, just biased.  And very unsatisfactory.

I mentioned how I distrusted the media coverage because of how they treated Johnson, and my son distrusted the media because of how they treated Sanders.  I assume you’re reading this because you’re one of my many liberal friends, but put yourself in a Trump supporter’s frame of mind for a second.  How would you react to the main stream media’s coverage of him?  One issue of the New Yorker Magazine had six, that’s right, six articles each one describing another way Trump was horrible.

Well if you hate Trump, that’s fun, but would you read that magazine if you liked him?

And so, my son follows Bernie on the Internet, I look for news of Libertarians on their Web site, and the Trump supporters?  Well you can see how genuine fake news, straight from the horse’s mouth might just seem a whole lot more believable than truth as seen through the biases of the Washington Post or NY Times.

–Dennis

 

Center – Affordable Care Act

This is the start of what I hope to be a series of blogs looking for the center.  Not a rant from the left or the right, but a view from the center.

The Affordable Care Act — I feel it should be called by it’s official name, because ObamaCare it definitely is not.  Obama made it clear at the beginning that it was Congress’ job to come up with an appropriate health care plan.  Obama said he really didn’t care, he was happy with  nationalized health as an answer, or, get this, he was happy with a complete free market approach to health care.  Either would be better than the then current state of health insurance.

Congress did neither.  The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a compromise that not everyone is happy with. (All though the insurance companies seemed just fine with it, more customers guaranteed.)

What do the Liberals love about it?  It provided health care for many of those people locked out of the previous health care system.  Health care they couldn’t have afforded otherwise.

What to the Conservatives hate about it?  Well, if you are going to provide health care at a discount, cheaper than the insurance companies feel they need to charge for it, somebody has to pay.

Who pays for the ACA?  Two parties.  One is individuals who are required to buy health insurance, even if they don’t want to.  Penalties otherwise.  The other is companies with more than 50 employees.

Here is where we begin to see the incredible chasm between the Democrats and Republicans.

The Democrats sing the praises of all the people who now have health care who couldn’t before.  This is great!  (Can you see the gratitude that comes from this?)

The Republicans decry the injustice of who has to pay for it.  Some healthy 20-something, doing say construction work, taking care of his family, now has to buy health insurance he still can’t really afford.  Why?  Because some poor person can afford it?  (Can you see the resentment that might be built up here?)

And small companies, suddenly faced with a huge expense if they go over 50 employees.  They’re all refusing to hire, instead using contractors and part-time employees to avoid incurring this expense that will definitely impact their ability to do business.  (And the resentment that builds up here?  And the impact on jobs?)

This is a classic case of the government redistributing wealth.  It’s a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.  Which is not a bad thing, it’s what government does.  As always, Paul is really excited about it. Peter is pissed.  And there you have the Republican – Democrat divide over the AHCA.

So what’s the answer?

Clearly as a civilized nation we want to provide basic health care to all our citizens.

Clearly as a fair nation, we need to figure out some way to pay for that. Fairly.

We need the Democrats and the Republicans to sit down at the negotiating table.  We need the Democrats to say, our constituents are hurting, they can’t afford health care, they can’t take care of their basic needs.  We need the Republicans to say, our constituents are having a hard time making ends meet, the self-employed can’t be forced to pay for it, the small companies can’t be forced to pay for it as they are our best hope for new jobs.

So look across the table, Ds and Rs, talk about exactly how much health care to provide, talk about who is going to pay for it.  Work together for your constituents.  Understand each other.

Personally, I agree with Obama.  Either nationalize health insurance, Medicare for all, or take it out of corporations, make it an individual decision, pure free market, different products for different budgets, with regulation ensuring that pre-existing conditions, etc., can not be used as a criteria in the price of insurance.

 

Judicial Philosophy and the Immigration Ban

This isn’t really an opinion, but more like a report on what I just learned.

In reading about Gorsuch I learned he was a ‘literalist’, which is a conservative way of being a judge.  It means a judge interprets the law based on the words in the law and nothing else.  That is as opposed to a judge who might try to understand the lawmaker’s intent behind a law.

Backing up, what does the Supreme Court, and other Federal courts do?  They hear cases that challenge laws, difficult situations that require the court to interpret whether or not a particular law applies or not.

So how does a judge decide?  Well this gets down to whether you believe a judge should enforce the letter of the law or the spirit of the law.

A literalist judge will simply look at the words and reason from there.  The other approach is to look for evidence of what the lawmakers intended with the law, or maybe what the law, de facto, accomplishes, and use that to shape an opinion.

I’m sure this issue leads to some very deep intellectual discussions of the best way to judge.  Clearly there are many problems with trying to reason the intent of, say the Founding Fathers when writing the Second Ammendment.

A literalist judiciary puts the onus on the lawmakers to write laws that clearly express their intent.  This seems like a good thing. Maybe.

NOTE WELL that in either case, the judge’s own personal opinion on the matter should have no bearing whatsoever.  The personal opinions of the lawmakers, yes, definitely, should be encoded in the law.  But the judges can only interpret that law.

So how does this apply to the immigration ban?

Well it appears there are two legal challenges to it.  One is based on, I believe, a 1968 law that prohibits discrimintation based on national origins.  On the surface, it seems clearly in play here, but there are difficulties with it’s interpretation that I don’t want to discuss here, because I don’t understand them.

And my point is more about literalist judges and what that means for us as a people.  And that gets to the second challenge.

The second legal challenge is a constitutional one.  The Constitution bans any discrimination based on religion.

A ban against Muslim immigrants is clearly unconstitutional.

So what about this law?  Do you see where this is going?

If you take the law solely by it’s wording, if you make a judgement based on the words alone, well the law does not discriminate against Muslims, only on people from certain countries.

What if a judge considers the intent behind the law?  Well in that case Trump has many many instances of campaign rhetoric where he promised to ban Muslims from entering the country once he was elected.  Clearly his intent is to ban Muslims.

How can lawmakers use this to weasel around?  I’ve read that Trump’s team met with legal advisors to try to figure out how to ban Muslims legally.

The country of origin ban is what they came up with.

Whether it gets by the Supreme Court depends on whether the courts look at the words of the immigration ban, or the intent behind it.  Literalist judges, or not.  People are forecasting a 4-4 split if it goes to the Supreme Court.

(NOTE WELL AGAIN — in either case, for any of the 8 justices, it doesn’t matter what their personal opinion on immigration is.  They are simply deciding if the law violates the Constitution or not.  If it is a ban against a religious group, or not.  (And I believe the Supreme Court justices are all very honorable in this regard, they do do their jobs as they see it should be done.))

Gorsuch is a literalist judge.  If confirmed, it will be easier for Congress and the President to draft laws and directives that are legally worded but whose intent might be very different from those words.

In other words, it might encourage Congress and the President to pass laws, issue directives that, rather than clearly stating their intent, are crafted to obfuscate it.

–Dennis

29% Interest

In the 1990s credit card companies came up with an extremely efficient way to transfer money from the poor to the rich.  29% interest on credit card debit.

Elizabeth Warren thought this was just plain wrong.  She tried to get Congress to stop it.  She lost.  Congress thought it was just fine.

This was during the Clinton years.

My point again, there is plenty to be angry about in the way Washington DC has been running for decades, with any combination of Democrat or Republican President or Congress.

Bush making it illegal for us to buy cheaper drugs from Canada.  Another good way to transfer money from the middle class to the rich. Pharmaceuticals had poured more money into politics in those years than even the oil companies.

It doesn’t matter which major party is in charge.  It’s the money behind the politicians that matters.

If we’d had a Sanders or Johnson win, they would have been beholden to tens of thousands of people making small donations.  They would have been beholden to us.

If Clinton won, she’d be beholden to that dark money that’s behind our politics.

And if Trump won, well he did, at least we know who he’s beholden to.  Himself.

What Could Have Been

There is tremendous outrage against Trump, and I am as outraged as the next person.  But let’s consider what might have been.

If Gary Johnson had won…  sigh, nevermind, not going there.

If Hillary had won, we would have a President who respects women.  We would have a President who claims to respect the rights of all people, regardless of race, creed, color… We would have a President who is not a bully, an ego-maniac, paranoid, or crazy.  We would have a President that views Putin as a threat to the free World.

We would have a President with more experience in Washington DC politics than just about anyone, active First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State…

And we would have a President who raised more than twice as much money as Trump.  A President who a lot of people with a lot of money wanted to see elected.

And this is where I have a problem.  Before this election cycle Congress was at record low approval ratings.  And this goes back through multiple Presidents.

Consider the Affordable Care Act.  Obama wanted to fix health care.  He left it up to Congress, and said he didn’t care if it went totally free market, or single payer.  Either was better than what we got.

So Congress came up with this kludge.  And I know, it provided health care for many who couldn’t afford it.  But how did it pay for it?  By forcing healthy people who didn’t need health insurance to buy insurance.  Did you follow that?  By forcing more people to purchase health insurance from insurance companies.

Could it be the insurance company lobbies were somehow involved in Congress’ plan?  To sell more insurance?

Bernie is right, the whole system is corrupt, and has lowered the standard of living of everyone except for the very rich.  This has been going on since the 1990s.

So who were those people giving all that money to Hillary?  People who wanted to make sure our President respected women?  Who wanted to make sure illegal immigrants were treated fairly?  Who wanted to protect the rights of muslims in this country?  Is that why they gave millions and millions of dollars to help get her elected?

Or did they expect something else from their investment?

Was Hillary speaking the truth when she told those wealthy donors there were two governments.  A public one for the people and a shadow one for those pulling the strings.

If Hillary had won, we would have more of what we had already.  And we would all be smiling at her and she smiling at us as we continued to get screwed.

And I love Obama as much as anyone, what a class act.  But the same crap went on on his watch.  He supported Mary Jo White, head of the SEC, who says Elizabeth Warren is naive for wanting corporations to list their political contributions.  Warren wanted corporations to have to tell which campaigns they support.  White said you can’t do that because if people knew who corporations were supporting, people might not do business with them. And that would hurt the investors, and we wouldn’t want that.

That’s Obama!  That’s the good guy!  It sucks under him as well.

Do you see where I’m going?  We’ve been getting fucked by Washington for going on 30 years now.  Hillary would have been more of that.

Trump is a disaster, no question.  But instead of being angry at all the things Bernie Sanders says we should be angry at, http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/09/opinions/serious-questions-bernie-sanders-opinion/index.html we’re angry at offensive tweets.  We’re angry at this insane man.  We’re distracted from that which we should be really angry about.  A Congress that serves only the wealthy, and has been doing so for decades.

One of Trump’s idea, that I used to agree with, is term limits for Congress, to stop career policticians.  But as far as I can tell Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are the only two who are actually fighting for the rest of us.  So now I don’t even agree with his idea of term limits.