Friday, August 31, 2012

This Election Is Extremely Important If You Believe...

The upcoming election is extremely important if you believe any of the following:
  • Women should have reproductive rights and control over their own bodies
  • Planned Parenthood provides valuable health care services, including breast cancer screening, and should not be attacked and defunded
  • Austerity and tax cuts for the wealthy do not create jobs (see Bush years)
  • Investment in education is vitally important to ensure that the US remains a world leader going forward
  • Health care should be accessible and affordable for all
  • Medicare is a successful program that should not be destroyed and replaced with a voucher program that will cost seniors way more
  • Social Security is a program that has worked for years and is actually solvent for many years to come
  • Corporations are NOT people and should not get to pour unlimited money into political campaigns
  • Marriage equality is this generation's important civil rights issue
  • Global warming is real and needs to be addressed
  • Ending the war in Iraq was the right thing to do
Mitt Romney has been out-fundraising President Obama for several months now, and this doesn't even count the Super PACs that Romney's wealthy billionaire donors have been supporting. I started my own grassroots fundraising page to build the kind of grassroots organization that will be needed for President Obama to win in November. I want my page to show that political power can come from organizing at the grassroots level all over the country, not just powerful interests in Washington. Together we can protect the progress we've made, and build on that progress over the next four years.
Will you please support the President by making a donation of $5 or more to my page today?

Thank you for reading this message and hopefully considering donating to President Obama's campaign.

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Blog Post Syndicated on BlogHer!

I am very excited that my post ranting about those who get upset when people say "Happy Holidays" was selected to be syndicated by BlogHer, the largest community for women who blog! Check it out! Here is the link to my blog post.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Since When Did Saying "Happy Holidays" Become a Bad Thing?

It's the most wonderful time of the year! The holiday season is upon us, and apparently, we can count on two things - a showdown in Congress and whining about the supposed war on Christmas. It's ironic, isn't it? Everywhere you look, there are Christmas decorations. Christmas music is being piped into every store and restaurant. The Christmas season has stretched longer and longer, with Christmas merchandise now appearing in stores even before Halloween. And yet, somehow, this isn't enough emphasis on Christmas for some. Consider the following examples:
  • Recently, my sister heard someone respond to someone wishing them "Happy Holidays" by saying "We say 'Merry Christmas', not that holiday crap." 
  • My friend saw someone wearing a button saying, "It's OK to say Merry Christmas". 
  • I saw a bumper sticker saying "Keep Christ in Christmas", 
  • And of course, Fox News is having their annual whine-fest about something somewhere being referred to as "holiday" instead of "Christmas". In this case, a tree in Rhode Island.
Give me a break.

First of all, wishing someone "Happy Holidays" is at its essence an expression of good will. It is a positive thing to say, a kind gesture. Since when is it OK to respond to a kind expression with rudeness and rejection? Isn't Christmas also about opening our hearts? Peace and goodwill to all? Please practice what you preach.

Second of all, can we all just acknowledge and accept that NOT EVERYONE CELEBRATES CHRISTMAS! I know, this is shocking, but yes, there are Jewish people and Buddhist people and all sorts of other cultures and religions that do not celebrate it. Do you know for sure that the person you are speaking to celebrates Christmas? If not, then why would you wish them Merry Christmas? Saying "Happy Holidays" is a polite way of wishing someone well without making assumptions. The holidays can include Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years Day, and yes, Christmas.

Adding to the irony of people complaining about using the word "holiday" instead of "Christmas", did you know that the word "holiday" evolved from the words "holy day"? It just demonstrates the ignorance of these people that they are actually opposed to someone wishing them a happy holy day, and believe that it contradicts and does not encompass Christmas.

As for the sentiment of saying "Keep the Christ in Christmas", I can understand the frustration of seeing what to some is a very special, religious holiday turn into a spectacle of commercialism on steroids. I can agree that the original meaning of the holiday has been lost amongst the shopping and decorations frenzy. But you really can't have it both ways. If Christmas goes back to being a purely religious holiday, and you remove all of the secular trappings (and the people who celebrate it in a secular way), then that would correspondingly reduce the number of people celebrating it and the attention paid to in the retail world. Christmas is big business. It's called Black Friday, because that's when many retailers go in to the black, i.e. become profitable for the year. Remove that financial motivation, sorry to say, and there will be less "Merry Christmas" everywhere, not more. 

What makes Christmas special to me is not the presents and shopping but spending time with family. My husband and I enjoy passing along holiday traditions to our children and making our own. Part of that holiday tradition for me is also celebrating Hanukkah. See, I have one side of the family that is Catholic, and one side that is Jewish. That is why I am sensitive to the fact that not everyone celebrates Christmas. I always buy cards that say "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" so that I can send them to everyone on my list. I see this as being considerate and thoughtful. Not for one second is it meant to minimize Christmas for those who celebrate it.

For those who are getting so worked up about it, I challenge you to search within yourself to understand why it is so important to you. Do you need such constant validation of your faith? Are you really that intolerant of those that are not like you? Let me assure you that Christmas is alive and well. Look around you. Notice all of the green and red, the mistletoe, the Santas at the mall. Enjoy the reindeer on people's lawns, the lights on houses, the poinsettias, the holly. Hear the Christmas music played in the malls, and watch the Christmas shows and movies on TV. Read the cards you receive in the mail, the email greetings from friends, and the heartwarming stories in the newspaper of gifts donated to those who can't afford to buy their own. Christmas is truly a beloved holiday. It will be OK.

So from the bottom of my heart, I wish everyone the happiest of holidays.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Republican Strategy: The Two Santa Claus Theory

In order to understand the current political landscape, one must understand what the long-term strategy of the Republican party is. By now, it should be obvious that the GOP is only interested in power and that they are willing to throw this country under the bus in order to take back the White House. So, let's go back to 1974 to understand the big picture. If you analyze government spending and the national debt by President, you will see that the national debt is actually mostly attributable to Republican presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan. Why is that? Simply put, the two Santa Claus theory.Thom Hartmann, radio host and prolific author, wrote this comprehensive article on the Two Santa Claus Theory a couple of years ago, so you can read in its entirety, but here it is in a nutshell.

Democrats care about people. They believe that in this great nation, we should work together to help others. They put in place hugely popular programs like Social Security that have greatly reduced poverty among the elderly and ensure that widows and the disabled have a safety net. They structured Social Security in such a way that ensures it is a sustainable program. We each pay into the program through payroll taxes, and when we reach retirement age, we draw benefits. Even though the Republicans have been screaming that Social Security is bankrupt and in crisis for years now, the fact of the matter is that it is an extremely successful program that has never missed a payment and can pay 100% of benefits for next 20 or so years. If we implemented the simple fix of raising the cap on those payroll deductions so that those making over $106,000 continue to pay, it would be solvent forever. But I digress. Because Democrats care about people and put in place programs that actually help people, Republicans think of them as the first "Santa Claus".

The Republicans realized that they could never be as popular as the Democrats and needed to come up with a way to also be a "Santa Claus". Thus was born the mantra of cutting taxes. Cutting taxes is how Republicans are Santa Claus. And because they believe in supply-side economics, which absolutely does not work, they theorized they could increase spending too - just not on those social programs they hate. As Thom Hartman writes:
Republicans could be double Santa Clauses by cutting people's taxes! For working people it would only be a small token – a few hundred dollars a year on average – but would be heavily marketed. And for the rich it would amount to hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts. The rich, in turn, would use that money to import or build more stuff to market, thus increasing supply and stimulating the economy. And that growth in the economy would mean that the people still paying taxes would pay more because they were earning more.
Of course, since supply side economics doesn't actually work - revenue does NOT go up when you lower taxes - huge deficits build up under Republican presidents contributing to over 2/3 of the national debt.  They actually took advantage of this with a new twist - "starving the beast". This strategy seeks to hamper Democrats' ability to play Santa Claus when they are in power by running up huge deficits and then when Democrats come into power, forcing them to be the mature, responsible ones and rein in spending and raise taxes to put things back on track. Does this sound familiar? It should. When George W. Bush was in office, I did not hear one peep from Republicans about deficits or debt, did you? But the second President Obama took office? Here comes the Tea Party screaming about cutting spending, lowering taxes, the national debt and on and on.  The same thing actually happened with Bill Clinton as well. He balanced the budget and implemented welfare reform. Remember,  he handed a budget surplus to George W. Bush, who quickly got rid of it by giving huge tax cuts to the wealthy and spending billions on the unnecessary war in Iraq.

So there you have it. The Republicans have been playing this game for years, and it seems to be working like a charm right now.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"I Wish 9/11 Never Happened!"

"I wish 9/11 never happened!!" That is what my 9-year-old son said this morning when I turned off the TV  and said I couldn't watch the coverage of the 10-year anniversary anymore. He knew what I meant immediately. "It's too painful?" he asked. Yes, too painful. Most years, I avoid television coverage on the anniversary of 9/11. I don't want to relive that day. I started boycotting the coverage, because I imagined the terrorists sitting around in Afghanistan or wherever, enjoying the hell out of the annual angst this country goes through, enjoying seeing our pain, our sadness, our anger, our fear. After all, isn't that the primary goal of terrorism? To instill pain and fear? That day was a glorious success for them, and part of me wished we could just forget it and not give them the satisfaction. I avoided coverage, avoided seeing those images again, avoided feeling the shock and horror.

"I wish 9/11 never happened!" I tried to think of something soothing to say as I headed upstairs to hide my tears from my sons; like something positive that came out of it, some profound lesson we all learned, some lasting unity brought to our great nation. But no, I couldn't come up with anything, and so I just continued up the stairs, surprised at how much pain and sadness the coverage brought to the surface.

"I wish 9/11 never happened!" I do too. I wish those people didn't die. Each person was a son or daughter, husband or wife, mother or father, brother, sister, friend. Each story is unbelievably sad. I watched a special last night on the History channel that focused on voices heard on that day, crying the whole time: voicemail messages left by people in the upper floors telling their loved ones goodbye; a recording of the radio dispatches from the firefighter who made it all the way to the 77th floor of the South Tower, before it collapsed into a mountain of dust; stories from family members who actually got to talk to their loved one live on the phone who were trapped, awaiting their fate. Every single story is tragic and heartbreaking, and there are thousands of them from that day, an overwhelming thought.

I wish this country had not spent billions of dollars on futile wars, causing the loss of so many additional people.

I wish our fear had not been used to trample our civil rights and protections under the Constitution and justify torture.

I wish that a whole religion had not been tainted by the acts of a radical few, leading to bigotry, discrimination and hatred.

I wish the 9/11 first responders who survived were not still suffering today from a variety of illnesses and injuries. I wish they didn't have to fight for benefits to cover these illnesses.

I wish the twin towers were still standing.

I wish 9/11 never happened.

Friday, September 9, 2011

My grassroots fundraising page for President Obama

I watched President Obama's job speech last night, and it inspired me. Seeing the Republicans refuse to show support for the very reasonable measures the President is proposing to get this economy moving again was appalling. We must get out in force in 2012 and not only re-elect President Obama but sweep the Republicans and their obstructionism out of Congress. To combat big money unleashed by Citizens United, we must start building a grassroots organization now. That's why I started my own grassroots fundraising page today for Obama For America 2012. Here is what I said:
In the fall of 2008, I was inspired to start a blog - Working Mom, Democrat, Patriot - to share my thoughts on the presidential campaign. The 2008 election was extremely important, but 2012 is even more critical. We must re-elect President Obama so that he can continue his efforts to dig us out of the mess created by the previous administration. We must send a strong message to the other side that obstructionism and putting politics above country is unacceptable. If President Obama is going to win, we need to build a grassroots campaign that's bigger and stronger than anything we've built before. He will need donations from real people like you and me to compete against the special interest and corporate money unleased by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Please help me reach my fundraising goal by donating today. Thank you!
I hope you can check out my page and perhaps even donate.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

An Inspiring Woman

The last time I wrote a blog post was the day Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot. I blamed right-wing extremist rhetoric, and I stand by my comments. Since that day, the rhetoric has not been toned down as I was hoping. If anything, it continues to be uncivil, disrespectful, inflammatory, and in some cases, downright racist. Yet another horrific shooting has occurred, inspired by extremist right-wing hate.

The debt ceiling debate has been a joke - a crisis manufactured by the Republicans and used to take this country hostage and make irrational ransom demands - cuts that only hurt the poor, middle class, senior citizens, children, disabled and yet no shared sacrifice from wealthy individuals and corporations earning record profits while still taking subsidies from the government.

It has been truly depressing and uninspiring, hence the lack of writing since that terrible day in January.

Yesterday, however, I was inspired again by an amazing woman, Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who insisted on being in Washington DC to cast her vote for the debt ceiling bill; who received a thunderous ovation when she appeared; who has made a truly remarkable recovery; who is an inspiration to all.

As we enter this critical time leading to the 2012 elections, I will do my part to share what I know, what I think and hopefully inspire others to learn more, to get involved, to open their minds to different opinions, and most of all, to VOTE DEMOCRAT IN 2012!