Sunday, October 4, 2015

America's Dysfunctional Government - Who's to Blame?

Many insist that both major political parties are equally to blame for America’s dysfunctional government. Some use this as justification for supporting the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump, Ben Carson or Carly Fiorina, who they view as non-politicians and outsiders.  However, if you study the history of the contributions and ideology of the major political parties the truth becomes clear.

The Democratic Party, while far from perfect, has consistently represented the interests of the majority of Americans. It is the party responsible for the implementation of Medicare and Social Security, which Republicans to this day are committed to dismantling. It is the party that stands for equal rights (and pay) for all regardless of race, sex (or sexual orientation) and religion. It is the party that supports raising the minimum wage to ensure all Americans receive a living wage for their labor. It is the party that, like all civilized nations, believes healthcare is a human right not an unaffordable expense. 

The Republican Party, on the other hand, has tirelessly battled to free corporations from government regulation and for reducing taxes for the wealthy. It is the party waging a never-ending war against labor unions and raising the minimum wage as wages stagnant and the once strong middle class morphs the working poor. It is the party committed to eliminating all social programs designed to protect the poorest among us. It is the party that denies the science of climate change in order to allow industry to continue to foul the earth’s air, land and sea. The Republican Party is also the party that most often advocates replacing the secular government established by the nation’s Founding Fathers with a Christian theocracy.

When conservative politicians and pundits are not directing their hateful soundbites at the poor (lazy), blacks (thugs), Muslims (terrorists), homosexuals (sinners) and illegal immigrants (criminals), they are ranting about the ineptitude of the federal government. They decry government interference in the "free market" and would put an end to the critically important role of government in protecting investors, consumers, workers and the environment from corporations concerned only about profits and the disgracefully excessive compensation awarded to their executives. If the Republican Party has its way, America’s democratic form of government will eventually be replaced with oligarchy. 

There are major differences in the platforms of the two major political parties. It is critical for the future of this nation that the majority of Americans understand this. The Republican Party today is truly the party of "No". No good can come to the majority of Americans when it holds the reigns of government.

Background Checks--Really????

As the carnage continues, politicians attempting to make it look like they care call for stronger background checks and treatment for the mentally ill. I wonder how they can even propose this as a solution with a straight face.

Background checks wouldn't have saved the children and teachers at Sandyhook. The shooter's mother bought the guns and would have had no problem passing a background check. The shooter in Oregon last week acquired the guns legally. The vast majority of others who have turned guns on members of their family, friends, innocent strangers or  themselves have no history of past violence and could easily pass a background check.

There is a cliche that guns don't kill people; people kill people.  In truth, it is the increasing availability of guns that kills people. As long as people are allowed to keep guns, including handguns and weapons of mass destruction like assault rifles and high capacity clips, the death count will continue to mount.

The fallacy that increased background checks is the solution is a myth.  Guns are stolen in break-ins by criminals. Legally acquired guns are used by angry friends or family members. Unsecured guns in homes result in the death of far too many curious children. Guns often result in disputes quickly escalating from verbal confrontations or fist fights to fatal shootings. Suicides also increase when a gun is readily at hand.

The only thing that will reduce gun violence is less guns.  Other more civilized countries understand this, but these nations place a higher value on human life. After all, America is the country that is still debating whether the poor have a right to healthcare. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Terrorism Feeds on Hatred and Persecution

Are Christians really going to declare war on Islam? When Muslim extremists commit terrorist acts, a cry goes up for vengeance against all followers of Islam. Why doesn't a similar cry go up against Christianity when Christians commit acts of terror like Sandyhook, Columbine, or Oklahoma City? I've heard no one suggest that all Christians must be held accountable for the horrific crimes against humanity that occurred during The Holocaust.

It is not only unfair to paint all followers of Islam with the "terrorist" brush, it's downright stupid. Nearly 25% of the world's population are Muslims. Does it really make sense to declare war on almost 2 billion people? Wouldn't it be wiser to find out the reasons young Muslims in so many countries around the globe are responding to the recruitment efforts of organizations like Al-Qaeda and ISIS?

All that can come from the hatred growing like cancer in the hearts and minds of Christians, Jews, and others for Muslims is more death and destruction.