repost from youngwritersblock.org
I’m not a card carrying member of any political party, nor do I see myself making any commitment in the near future. During my status as a voting citizen of the United States, I have sought to find a Republican candidate who I could be excited enough to vote for. Unfortunately, I’ve found myself only (to the best of my recollection) casting a ballot for Democratic candidates, either in favor of the candidate or against their opponent. While one may like to peg me a progressive (to which I’ll proudly accept), they should be careful not to deem me to be some type of ‘left-wing liberal’. I’ve developed a heightened level of disgust for the Dem Party, especially as a result of what I considered to be an all but absolute docile approach to the Bush administration’s method of governance.
Recently, I’ve been feeling as though Barack Obama’s plunge into the Oval Office may not have been in the best interest of its intent and purpose. With “Hope and Change” came naked hate and bigotry. Of course, we’re living in an era where unless a person comes forward with an explicit admission of being a racist or bigot, then it’s inconceivable that they would fit the description and forbidden to call them out as such. We all know how firm that line of reasoning is, in regards to being assumed ‘innocent until proven guilty’, right? We all know how firm that line of reasoning is when we come across the laundry list of mottos, slogans and clichés that have saturated the public discourse (perhaps, “Hope” and “Change” fits the bill as well). At any rate, the election of President Obama has come with a huge cost to society and race relations in the United States.
Throughout the ’08 campaign, Obama’s opponents made it clear they would resort to racial undertones and covert signaling. His fellow party opponents cleared the way for those on the Right to adopt a similar strategy (with similar outcomes). While it would have been too blatant for John McCain to espouse the hate-filled rhetoric, which we now see has become the rule of day for the likes of Donald Trump, an ‘attractive’ middle-age Caucasian ‘soccer mom’ would be the ideal front-woman for this task. And Mrs. Palin has done quite well for herself, rising to every occasion possible, in her pursuit to cast the President as a political pariah. She enjoys the support of the Republican Party (recently rebranding itself as the Tea Party) being showered with media appearance and speaking engagement opportunities, where she incites the audience with Conservative propaganda and Tea Party ‘take our country back’ rhetoric. At this point, only the dim and gullible are maintaining belief in the ‘smaller government’, ‘lower spending’ talking points that these politicians are pushing. Nonetheless, these front-persons for the anti-change movement do indeed have a following large enough to enable them in their spectacle.
A longstanding strategy employed by the Republican Party is to portray itself as being in line with the American consensus, even whilst many pundits have long maintained the premise that the country seems to be evenly split along left and right ideological lines. After further consideration of routine widespread methods of voter disenfranchisement, I’m forced to reconsider just how narrowly split the divide really is among the two dominant competing ideologies.
Acting as the Interim Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, Donna Brazile has recently hit the airwaves to denounce the Republican multipronged strategy of obtaining and securing power at the cost of democratic sanctity. My only concern is why Democrats haven’t vehemently pursued this issue previously, and with at least the same level of zeal held by Republicans in their efforts to [successfully] employ these grave tactics.
A recent New York Times editorial lays out several means used by Republicans to attack voting blocs that traditionally vote Democratic. These tactics include a blitz of legislative bills being passed through Republican controlled state governments, namely in the form of false allegations of widespread voter fraud and voter identification requirements. Personally, my interest peaked several years ago at the suggestion that voting machinery was being manufactured by corporations with political ties. I never bothered to look into these allegations, under the principle of ‘be careful what you go looking for’.
Nevertheless, I cannot recall the number of times I’ve been exposed to a situation where the party who were screaming foul play were merely doing so in an attempt to deflect attention from their own wrongdoing. This question has resurfaced in the wake of a highly contentious Supreme Court race in Wisconsin, where Conservative pundits had already begun beating the drum to allegations of voter fraud and intimidation when it appeared that the Democratic candidate, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg might defeat the Republican incumbent, David Prosser by a razor thin margin. Low and behold, after Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus held a press conference a day and a half after the election to report that she had committed a data entry error, which resulted in the omission of an entire city’s votes in her reporting to the Associate Press on election night, the Conservative tune went silent after Nickolaus’ error gave Prosser a more than 7,000 vote lead over Kloppenburg.
After the official numbers had been reported to the state elections officials, the tally provided Kloppenburg with a margin narrow enough to request a statewide recount at the expense of the state. In exercising her right to the recount, Kloppenburg played to chatter from her supporters by requesting a special investigation into the behavior of Nickolaus, who had also worked for Prosser approximately ten years ago, during the same term of which she had been granted immunity in exchange for her testimony against Republican and Democratic state senators for their roles in illegal campaign activities. Allegations against Prosser had ultimately failed to produce any criminal charges, due to a statute of limitation technicality. Since her election to the county clerk position in 2002, Nickolaus’ handling practices have been repeatedly examined and criticized, as a result of many instances of goof ups, which she always rationalizes to simple “human error”.
Perhaps, the perceived notion of the Republican Party as having support by some sizable voting populace throughout the United States has been trumped up by longstanding instances of ‘human error’.
Milwaukee, Waukesha and Grant counties were all recently denied federal disaster assistance for individual homeowners who experienced significant damage to their homes, resulting from the major floods during July. The decision was delivered about a week after President Obama issued a disaster declaration for the area, which makes local governments eligible to apply for federal aid that can be used for county cleanup efforts. More peculiar, the decision was issued a day after the President made a campaign appearance on behalf of gubernatorial candidate and current Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Meanwhile, hundreds of families have been devastated by the destruction of their homes, to the tune of over an estimated 50 million dollars in damage.
The responsibility to provide assistance to local citizens in the event of a major disaster rests primarily with the local government. However, Barrett stated, during a press conference a couple weeks ago, that he was refraining from making a decision to use local resources pending the outcome of FEMA’s decision. This is questionable judgment, as the odds that FEMA would provide individual assistance had decreased with every day that the decision had been up in the air.
More recently, Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines, Jr. has drafted legislation that will enable homeowners with flood related demolition orders to purchase a comparable city-owned single-family foreclosed home for $1. According to Hines, this move will not only provide relief to the flood victims, but also will “reduce municipal expenses, decrease the tax burden for other residents, expand the tax base for the city by increasing home ownership and add revenue for essential services”.
Hopefully, the move will get approved. (I’ll keep the timeliness commentary to myself.)
“A situation in which a desired outcome or solution is impossible to attain because of a set of inherently illogical rules or conditions.” This description (answers.com) could not more perfectly describe the outcome of the 1st phase of a federal civil rights lawsuit, in which a Milwaukee Police Officer, Alfonzo Glover, was found to have used unreasonable force against Wilbert Prado, leading to his murder in March 2005. They can cite this case next to the definition of catch-22.
The jury found that Glover was acting out of responsibility as an officer and awarded Prado’s daughters 1.85 million dollars, but also found that Glover was not acting as an employee of the city… o_O … Their decision temporarily removes the bill from city taxpayers, pending the results of the 2nd phase of the trial, in which the jury shall determine whether or not the police department is at fault for it’s ‘Always on duty’ policy. Under this policy, officers can be punished if they fail to intervene during the commission of a crime, even if they were not on duty at the time.
The murky facts of the case aren’t worth discussing here. Nevertheless, Glover committed suicide a little over a year after an inquest jury found that he was justified in killing Prado. Despite the nonbinding results of that jury, then, District Attorney E. McCann charged Glover with homicide and six counts of perjury.
The federal jury takes up the 2nd phase of the trial today. The attorney for the Prado family will likely introduce evidence that the police department’s policies are a perpetuation of systemic failures. Former police Chief Nannette Hegerty defended suggestions that she was too lenient on officers who were accused of misconduct, noting that she had fired about 60 officers during her four-year tenure as Chief.