Tag Archives: united states of america

What is a Progressive?

I wrote this article for the Urban News back in December.

In November 2016, it is time for us to reassess who we are. What do we believe in? Since Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss earlier this month, I have heard a lot of … well, crazy talk. “Let us move to Canada.” “Let us impeach the president elect.” “Let us move to California and secede from the union.” And there have been hundreds of others.

Does this sound very similar to the garbage that conservatives were spewing when Barack Obama won in 2008? We laughed at that rhetoric then and we called it crazy talk. We scolded conservatives and asked them if they truly love this country. Now, we need to look in the mirror and decide if we truly love the United States of America. Our talk about resistance and overthrow is, for the most part, wrong. It is treasonous.

So, as a progressive, what do you believe in? Now, I cannot speak for everyone, but I can tell you that I believe in a society in which the individual is given an opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential, no matter what side of the tracks they grow up on.

This means that I believe in public education. Not vouchers. Not charter schools. I want our public schools to be the best in the world.

We need to teach our children how to think critically. This doesn’t mean teaching our kids who to pass a winner-take-all test. Continue reading What is a Progressive?

How President Obama Won the Debate

President Obama won this debate by being President Obama. The formula was simple, really. Tell the truth. Don’t waver. Say what you mean. Don’t play around with long complex answers. Made it simple and to the point. In the video above, the president points out that he mentioned that Benghazi was an act of terror on September 12, the day after the attacks.

Here’s exactly what the president said:

Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe. No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.

Benghazi has been a weak spot in President Obama’s foreign policy armor. He and his team were slow to jump on this and put out the cinders before it was a big fire. I agree that questions remain. I admit that I don’t understand exactly what happened. I don’t understand the security situation. On the other hand, I haven’t seen or heard of any information that would suggest that President Obama didn’t act on intelligence or advice that would have saved or protected the ambassador.

Robert Reich points out why the President won:

Obama told voters what Romney’s plan was for women (take away their freedom of choice), and for Hispanics (allow police to stop them and demand proof of citizenship, as in the Arizona law “that’s his [Romney’s] policy, and it’s bad policy.”)

He took responsibility for the security lapse in Libya, but made sure Americans understood the danger in Romney’s shoot-from-the-hip, rush to judgment approach to foreign policy.

And the President explained why the way to create more jobs and to get the economy back on track is to strengthen the middle class, in sharp contrast to Romney’s trickle-down redux.

Romney was as combative as in the first debate, but our newly-invigorated president made Romney’s combativeness look like that of a child in a tantrum rather than a principled adult with facts and detailed proposals to support his position.

We have to do better

I wrote this last August. I hope you still find it relevant.

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For the last 25 years, we, the American people, have been sold a bill of goods. The pitch, on one level, appeals to our natural sense of right and wrong. We’ve been told that we pay too much in taxes. We get taxed in the morning. We get taxed as we drive to work. We clearly get taxed on the money that we make it work. We come home and we kiss our spouse. We get hit with the marriage tax. As we make our way to the kitchen we trip over toys that we bought for our kids and of course, those toys were taxed. We get taxed morning, noon and night. Finally, when we leave this earth, we get taxed again with the death tax.

We’ve also been told that our government is not to be trusted. If you give money to the government it is almost equivalent to flushing the money down the drain. Some of our elected leaders have gone so far as to say flushing the money down the drain is actually a better use of the money. The take home lesson is our government is wasteful and we get taxed to death. Cool story. Unfortunately, reality is different than this fantasy world. This week, in my opinion, we saw clearly the result of 27 years of cutting government programs and government spending. The evidence has been all around us but we’ve refuse to see it. Our infrastructure is crumbling around us. We’ve invested almost nothing in our schools, roads, government buildings, levees and, of course, bridges.

As I’ve pointed out in my book, A Letter to America, taxes are like membership fees to an exclusive club. The United States of America is the club that we belong to. Our club used to treat us like exclusive members. If you work hard in school you were almost guaranteed a job for which you can be well-paid. You could be secure in the knowledge that you would have this job until you retire. Once we retired we had a generous pension that made all those years of work, pain and suffering, worth it. Well, like any club, when you reduce the membership fees too far, the perks that made that club special are now not affordable. Continue reading We have to do better