Sunday, December 10, 2017

If Moore Wins in Alabama, America Loses

Judge Roy Moore
It's transparent what some Republicans are trying to do in Alabama right now, but no one is talking about it. They are using Judge Roy Moore.

He may get the last laugh.

Yeah, Roy Moore is back in the good graces of the Republican National Committee. After withdrawing from the campaign a few months ago, the RNC has jumped back in and is putting money behind a man who may be a serial child molester if the accusations made against him are true. President Donald Trump even joined the fight on Friday endorsing Moore.

That should surprise no one. Moore is as morally bankrupt as Trump. They are two peas in the same pod. Moore, however, is maybe even more sinister than the President. As is well-documented, Moore is a one man hate group. 

I believe Republicans at the RNC level see Moore for what he is, but they are just running behind him to keep the seat of Jeff Sessions in the red. If Doug Jones wins the seat on Tuesday, that means that the Democrats are one seat closer to taking back the Senate. That would be a disaster for the GOP agenda.

I honestly believe many Republicans have no intention of allowing Moore to take Sessions' seat. I think they wish to send him back to Alabama before he can do much in the Senate and replace him with another Republican that would be appointed by the Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey.  Again, as has been well-documented, this is something that is rarely done or rarely accomplished in the Senate. A Senator has not been expelled since the Civil War.

It's just sad that the Republican Party is even backing Moore again. It's going to come back and bite them where it hurts someday. The far right is a much smaller political coalition in numbers than the center right and the left. For Trump, backing Moore is a ready-made political ad. 

If Roy Moore wins on Tuesday, the United States of America loses. He will likely be a U.S. Senator, and his hateful views and opinions will serve with him. It's imperative that Doug Jones wins.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Indiana Dems Rally Troops By Electing Goodin...er...Nevermind

Republi...er...Democratic Leader
Terry Goodin
Terry Goodin, SERIOUSLY?

The Democrats got together in a conclave today and elected a new Democratic "Pope" to lead the Indiana House Minority into this critical 2018 session.

When the white smoke blew from the chimney from the Statehouse, you have to wonder if some of these Dems were smoking something before they voted and Curtis Hill was waiting outside to declare their activity illegal.

That's because they elected one of he most socially-conservative Democrats in the Indiana General Assembly, Goodin, as their leader.

By socially conservative, I mean socially conservative. You know...in the 1950's sense. I'm definitely exaggerating...but not by much. Look him up.

You know, if you are a Democrat that cares about social issues or gun control or really any of the core tenants of our party, this has to tick you off.

I guess these are the things that happen when no one's watching.

I'd say something stronger, but, as a member of the LGBTQ community, I just got slapped in the face so hard I'm picking my teeth off the ground.

Woo hoo! Go team. Starting to wonder if it matters here in Indiana. SERIOUSLY. If the Democrats "in power" are this completely oblivious and elect basically a Republican as their leader, why bother with state politics? Heck, Eric Holcomb may be even more of a Democrat.  Kegger at Bosmas to celebrate!

Scott Pelath...please...COME BACK!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Gerrymandering Resolution Passes City-County Council by 15-10 Vote

Current Council Districts
Last night, a bipartisan group of Indianapolis/Marion County City-County Councillors passed a proposal for a special resolution to urge the Indiana General Assembly to support reform eliminating gerrymandering.

Fifteen Councillors voted yes. Almost all of them were Democrats (two Republicans). Ten Councillors voted no. Almost all of them were Republicans (one Democrat).

Why has the Republican Party decided to take this position? After all, gerrymandering City-County Council Districts and eliminating the At-Large seats from the Council didn’t provide the desired result of a Republican-majority Council in 2015’s election. In fact, Democrats won two of the seats Republicans seemed to engineer to be in the hands of the GOP.

Gerrymandering dilutes voices, and, to be honest, both parties have been guilty of it. It’s one of the biggest benefits of winning a majority in a political system. Under the current set-up, the majority gets to draw the district lines. Usually, the party in power does so to protect itself.

It’s past time to reform this practice and eliminate it from politics. Unfortunately, this proposal didn’t pass 25-0. Below, note the people who represent you that voted for and against this proposal and, should they appear in public or at town hall meetings, make sure you ask them why they want to continue to gerrymander. If they don’t give an answer that makes sense, ask the question again.

Voted Yes on Proposal 285.
Zach Adamson-District 17 (D), Stephen Clay-District 13 (D), Jared Evans-District 22 (D), Colleen Fanning-District 2 (R), Monroe Gray-District 8 (D), LaKeisha Jackson-District 14 (D), Blake Johnson-District 12 (D), Maggie Lewis-District 10 (D), Frank Mascari-District 21 (D), Jeff Miller-District 16 (R), Duke Oliver-District 9 (D), Vop Osili-District 11 (D), David Ray-District 19 (D), Leroy Robinson-District 1 (D), Christine Scales-District 3 (D)

Voted No on Proposal 285.
Jeff Coats-District 5 (R), Susie Cordi-District 18 (R), Jason Holliday-District 20 (R), Scott Kreider-District 23 (R), Janice McHenry-District 6 (R), Mike McQuillen-District 4 (R), Brian Mowery-District 25 (R), Marilyn Pfisterer-District 15 (R), Joe Simpson-District 7 (D), John Wesseler-District 24 (R)

Monday, November 6, 2017

Say It Ain't So, Joe!

Senator Joe Donnelly
Joe Donnelly, you've done it again.

I've tried to defend you to my friends. I've tried to compare you to a statesman, and I've even tried to give you credit when you have done things right.

Last week, you made my voluntary job very difficult. If you weren't running against crazy in 2018, I'd gladly let you take up the mantle on your own and live with the consequences. That said, you've put me in the position of going to the polls and holding my nose to vote for you.

That's right. You have my vote, and that's probably why you feel comfortable voting for two virulently anti-gay judicial candidates put up by the Trump Administration for confirmation. You feel like you can take my vote for granted. 

You see, I like you, Joe. I think you're truly a good man who has public service in his heart, but I wonder if you like me. I wonder how you can look your constituents who are LGBTQIA+ in the face after you vote the way you did on those nominees. It's hard to, on one hand, court my vote and ask for my money while you vote against my interests.

No, I'm not a one-issue voter. That said, if someone consistently tells you that they want your money and your vote because they need it to go to Washington to serve you and then does the opposite, what would you do?

I remember standing in the hallway of the Indiana Democratic Party's state convention and having a long conversation with then-Congressman Brad Ellsworth. At the time, Ellsworth was wrong on many LGBTQIA+ issues, but he said something that will always stick with me.  He said to me that, on the issue of Don't Ask, Don't Tell that he was willing to risk his political career to vote the right way on that bill. He did. He voted to overturn the policy, and it was used against him in the 2010 Senate race.

Are you willing to do the right thing and put your career as a Senator on the line to do the right thing for Hoosiers? It's not like these nominees were going to fail, Joe. Without your vote, they still would have been confirmed. You did not need to be one of the eight.

I understand that you represent Indiana, Senator Donnelly, but putting these kinds of judicial candidates into our justice system is not helpful for anyone except he ideologues on the right. They are more than comfortable putting principle and party ahead of the people. Don't make that same mistake, sir.

Again, you have my vote. You won't get any of my money.

My "Note to Self"

In honor of CBS This Morning’s excellent “Note to Self” series, I’ve decided to write a letter to 12-year-old Jon Easter, a socially-awkward and bullied 7th grader.
---
Dear Jon,

You have no idea what you’ll miss if you go through with those thoughts in your head. The next 30-years are going to be filled with fun times, great discoveries and even some emotions you can’t even describe, but you will emerge as a strong-willed individual who loves life.

Right now, life doesn’t seem so simple, but it is. You have no idea what’s going to happen in the next few years. Spend more time with Mom and Dad and the family, even if they don’t have time. Drink up the advice and lessons you learn from them. You will need them later.

Related to that, realize now that your parents are wiser than you. Realize that you don’t know all the answers, even if you think you do. You’ll realize that later those lessons make sense.

Come to terms with those feelings inside. Everything is going to be fine, and the quicker you realize that you’re not broken and don’t need to be fixed the faster you’ll start to grow as a person. You are not crazy. You are gay, and it may still take you some time to understand that. One day, you’ll look yourself in the mirror, and you will admit it to yourself. It won’t be the end of the world, trust me.

As hard as it is, don’t be so hard on yourself.

Realize that those that treat you badly don’t really understand you, yet. Someday they will, or they don’t need to be in your life. That’s a brave decision at 12, but I know you. You’re very brave. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re not.

Stand up for what you believe in, and stand up for what is right. It may sound cliché, but you will gain respect if you stick to your principles while still understanding that you don’t know nearly everything.

Take every opportunity that comes your way, and don’t be so afraid to try new things. Put down that Nintendo controller and get outside. Enjoy the world and let the world enjoy you.

You are going to be a teacher. It will be the joy of your life, and you’re going to be successful at making a difference in the students you teach. It will keep you motivated and young-hearted, and it will give you an outlet for your precociousness. It will also keep you coming back for more each day. Never give up on anyone you teach, no matter how much they may give up on you. Always be there to soften their landing.

Love is going to be hard for you. Don’t accept second-best. Don’t settle. Take comfort in the friends that my make and know that some of them will be your second family. Continue to lead with your heart and continue to be kind.

Speaking of family, you will lose people you love. When they are gone, they will stay with you forever. You’ll cry sometimes, but you’ll smile mostly. Be there for them when they need you.

I don’t know where we’re going from here. You can only control what you’re going to control, but I hope to be around to have 72-year-old Jon write a letter to 42-year-old Jon. Who knows what we’ll accomplish between now and then? I just know that I’m still in the opening act, and I’m still not ready for intermission.

With love and thanks,
Jon

Thursday, October 26, 2017

I Say Run Joe, Run!

Joe Biden
Joe Biden has announced that he will not rule out running for President in 2020.

It's an uphill climb for old Grandpa Joe from Delaware, but I'm telling you that if he runs, I'll be all in for him.

It would be Joe's third bite at the big apple, and his first two runs ended rather quickly. He made it further in 1988 before he was derailed by a plagiarism scandal. He admits, he messed up. In 2008, he ran a credible campaign, but he came up short against Barack Obama.

Biden and Obama ended up as perhaps the closest Vice President and President in history.

My admiration for Joe Biden, however, goes back years. As a man, he's suffered and endured more pain than many. He endured the personal pain of losing loved ones, certainly, but Biden also survived an often fatal brain aneurysm. One thing that his personal pain has done is that it's humbled him.

That's why, even though he would be 78 years of age when inaugurated in 2021, I would enthusiastically support him. Joe Biden, unlike our current occupant of the Oval Office, understands what it's like on Main Street, USA. He's just Joe. That's why we love him.

I don't think there's a better embodiment of what it should be to be a Democrat than Joe Biden, but I also know that Biden knows how to get things done in government. He's an expert having stalked the halls of the U.S. Senate for years. He can heal the nation.

It's a long shot. There will be others running, and I know people will have their doubts. I'm just saying that I hope Joe Biden runs and that I get the chance to support him just one more time. Say the word, Joe, and I'm in.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Democrats Must Articulate Message for Future Success

President Trump
Harold Ford, Jr. was on Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday, and he said something that I've been saying for a while.

If Democrats are going to do anything in the next few election cycles, they are going to have to do it on message and not counting on making Donald Trump into a supervillain. My advice to the DNC would be to ignore Donald Trump and let him sink himself. He's doing a great job of it. What Democrats need to do is get back to being the party of the people.

Now, I do believe it's fair to talk about Donald Trump and his leadership. I think it's fair to talk about how he's been divisive, but that can't be the only message.

Trump has systematically rolled back almost every bit of progress President Barack Obama made on many fronts. We have to remind people why the progress was made is incredibly important. We have to become the party of defending the Affordable Care Act. We have to become the party of defending Dreamers. We have to become the party of human rights and equality. We have to push a plan and get candidates who can help Democrats to push it.

For 2020, we have to put forth a 50-state strategy again. If we take a winning message and put it behind a strong candidate, we will win. Don't expect a landslide, but expect those states that flipped in 2016 to flip back in 2020 if we hit the right message. We have to play electoral politics as well as we can play it and hope that we can bring some more states over, too.

It's just not going to be easy, and I would assume that Donald Trump will be President in 2020. Republicans have a civil war going on in their own party, and we can't do the same thing. We have to find a candidate that unites the party and get behind that candidate.

Finally, once Democrats get the message and the candidate, the move must be made to go digital. Work so hard on social media platforms...just like the Trump campaign and the Republicans did in 2016.

The bottom line is that without the first part of this, a coherent message that resonates, the rest of my plan won't work. We can't cede the messaging to Trump and the Republicans, and we certainly can't win by getting into the mud with him no matter how much he tries to take us down there.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

In Memoriam: Tom Petty (1950-2017)

Today, we learned of the death of rock and roll legend, Tom Petty. Tom was 66 years old.

Not to be petty, but it was a heartbreaker.

Tom's been a part of my life, whether he knew it or not, since I was a kid. I remember seeing his "Don't Come Around Here No More" video on MTV when I was a child of six or seven. I can remember being slightly frightened by it, but I knew it was special.

Petty's music was special. It was the soundtrack of a summer night or an afternoon at work. Tom's lyrics were subtly complicated but easily accessible, and, while his voice was never the best in rock, his showmanship and musicianship stand unquestioned.

"Learning to Fly" was an important song in my life. It came out when I was in high school, and I can remember playing it on WBDG during my student DJ days. The lyrics spoke to me, a young man trying to find myself in the big world, because they told a story and a lesson all at once.

Losing Tom Petty is like losing that friend you've had most of your life. You know he's gone, but his music will continue to inspire people, young and old, for ages to come.

Goodbye old friend.