Bob Schwartz

Category: Elections

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Possibly the most famous and prophetic quote from the American Constitutional Convention is attributed to Benjamin Franklin. America was not just a new nation; it was a new kind of nation, so naturally people wondered just what kind of a nation it was to be:

As Benjamin Franklin left the Constitutional Convention, on September 18, 1787, a certain Mrs. Powel shouted out to him: “Well, doctor, what have we got?,” and Franklin responded: “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

America has voted, there will be a Democratic-led House, and it appears that the Republic, which has been under serious internal siege for the past two years, is a little closer to again being kept.

It is just one step toward having an effective check on a leader and a ruling party intent on subverting virtually all of the principles that Franklin and friends embodied in the new nation. But a step in the right direction it is.

Franklin and friends are cautiously relieved. They, more than any, know how hard this is. So they are smiling a little. And so are many Americans.

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Time for Billionaires and Companies to Spend Money to Protect Democracy and Make Elections Secure

Washington Post :

House GOP refuses to renew election security funding

House Republicans on Thursday approved a spending bill that excludes new money for election security grants to states, provoking a furious reaction from Democrats amid a national controversy over Russian election interference.

The spending bill passed 217-199. Democrats’ bid to add hundreds of millions more in election spending was rejected 182-232 — as Republicans were unmoved by Democrats floor speeches decrying the funding changes and chanting “USA! USA!”

At issue is a grants program overseen by the federal Election Assistance Commission and aimed at helping states administer their elections and improve voting systems; Democrats want to continue grant funding through 2019, while Republicans say the program already has been fully funded.

A number of Republicans, especially in Congress, no longer seem to believe in democracy, because they do not want to risk losing on a level playing field. That is precisely the reason that Trump accepted (or solicited) Putin’s help in winning his election, and why Republicans now worry about helping states make elections fair and secure.

That’s why American billionaires and companies should step in and fund state election security, since the Trump-run government apparently won’t. This isn’t a controversial or partisan matter; it is an American matter. These billionaires and companies can and should offer assistance in many ways—all of which require millions of dollars, all of which these people and companies have.

How could any American billionaire or company find the funding of secure and fair elections objectionable? Even if it sometimes seems that some do.

President John Barron

Things happened so fast in this campaign that it is hard to remember everything. I had forgotten, and was just reminded by a previous post of mine, that Donald Trump reportedly had called up journalists pretending to be a publicist for Trump named John Miller or John Barron (Barron is the name of Trump’s youngest son).

This gave me an idea, to help those who are still having trouble with the election results, and may have trouble for a while to come. Consider identifying the next President as either John Miller or John Barron. (Between the two, President John Barron has a very presidential, almost royal, sound to it.)

The news about the next administration may not be easy for some people to accept. But if you think of it as the administration of President John Barron, that might make things just a little bit easier.

By a Captain You’re No Captain

child-captain

There’s an old comedy bit that appears on a bestselling comedy album from 1965, You Don’t Have To Be Jewish. My Son, The Captain is about a rich guy who’s proudly showing of his new yacht and his captain’s outfit to his parents. His father puts him in his place.

Son: Well, Mama, Papa, how do you like my new yacht? Cost me $84,000, with the twin diesel engines, top speed 35 knots. And here we are on the open sea, with the sea and the sun and the wind in our hair. It’s a little different than the Bronx, huh, Mama, Papa?

Papa: Yeah.

Mama: That’s right.

Son: And look at this uniform I’m wearing. Custom made, from Abercrombie and Fitch. How about it, Papa. Your son is a regular captain, huh?

Papa: Listen, sonny. I don’t have to tell you, by Mama you’re a captain, by me you’re a captain, and by you you’re a captain. But by a captain you’re no captain.

After the Election: No Path Without Guidance

Feelings are magnified about the election right now. They will remain strong for a while, and may get more pronounced as the actuality sets in.

These strong feelings can be a motivator in trying to move things in a direction you view as better. You will think about what that direction is, and you will think about what actions can contribute. This can be all good.

But strong feelings and well-meaning thought and action can be ineffective, counterproductive, and even harmful, if we don’t seek guidance. However bad you feel, however smart you are, you need to look outside yourself for that guidance.

The kind and source of guidance depends on which voices and principles have served you in the past. And if you haven’t spent much time with such voices and principles, you might take this opportunity to try it.

This doesn’t at all mean just religious, spiritual or philosophical voices to listen to. In a political situation, you will find plenty of great political thinkers, some ancient, some contemporary, who offer sound and principled advice.

The point is not to listen just to yourself, and not just to individuals in your circle of like-minded people, who may be just as passionately unsettled as you. You may have good ideas and approaches, they may have good ideas and approaches. But hard as it is to believe right now, there is nothing new under the sun, even in politics and governing, and people have been refining their thinking about this not just for decades or centuries, but for thousands of years.

When it seems dark, politically or personally, we may think we can find a path solely by our own lights. Almost always, we are wrong.

Lessons from the Election: Vote Even If You’re Not Fired Up or Feeling It

Many Americans are not happy with the results of this presidential election. And many of those  people did not vote, or are not even registered.

People have a lot of reasons for why they don’t vote. None of them are good.

You don’t have to be fired up and feeling it to vote.

Millions of Americans go to work every day not feeling it. They may not put a smile on their faces. They may curse their bosses and torture their coworkers at every opportunity. But they show up.

Millions of Americans have sex with their spouses or partners not feeling it. Sometimes, of course, this is because of coercion or aggression, which is a bad, bad thing. But sometimes it is to help the relationship and because they care.

The next election, don’t wait until you’re fired up or feeling it. Vote because you will win the right to legitimately complain (which non-voters don’t have this time around). Vote because something good might happen or something bad might be prevented. Vote because you care.

Sojourners: Time for Healing. And Resistance.

time-for-healing-and-resistance

Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, has long been the loudest, most articulate, and most respected voice on behalf of social justice from a genuinely Evangelical Christian perspective. Not “Evangelical Christian” in the sense of those who have made that identical with a right-wing political agenda. “Evangelical Christian” in the sense of what Jesus would have those who claim to follow him do.

His post-election essay, Time for Healing. And Resistance. is so coherent and inspirational that it doesn’t bear quoting from in pieces. Please read it, whatever your religious or spiritual leanings, if any.

Jim Wallis writes, “I just want you to know that I AM IN for whatever this will require of us.” He is speaking to and about Christians, but he is really challenging those of all faiths or of no faith at all to speak out and stand up.

Veterans Day and Operation Unite America

veterans-day

Friday, November 11 is Veterans Day, which this year arrives during the same week as Election Day (you remember that day, don’t you?)

The great Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) has organized Operation Unite America:

Veterans Day 2016 is just 3 days after Election Day. Join IAVA’s campaign to do the impossible: bring together all Americans.

After a long, brutal and disgusting election season, everyone’s had it. It hasn’t been a good look for America. Everyone is exhausted–many are outright embarrassed. But Republican, Democrat, Independent, Other…we’re ALL sick of the bickering, the commercials, the debates, the politics, the fighting.

Here is your mission (if you choose to accept it!), JOIN US:

Tag your Veterans Day activities on social media with #veteransday

Donate $11 to IAVA to help us support veterans

Attend a #veteransday #VetTogether

 

tammy-duckworth

In the wake of Election Day, it is happy news to report that Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois won a seat in the U.S. Senate. She is an Iraq War veteran, awarded the Purple Heart after losing both her legs. She joins a number of women warriors in Congress, which needs more women and more experienced warriors who know how to choose our wars carefully. And who will take good care of other warriors when they come home.

Sweet Things Happened on Election Day Too

cupcakes

Eight dozen cupcakes were baked, filled and decorated here on Election Day, having nothing to do with Election Day. Lemon, red velvet, chocolate raspberry, etc. Sweet things from the heart happened and will continue to happen. (They are delicious!)

Readings for the Day of National Healing

Medicine Buddha Mandala

Here are readings for the Day of National Healing from Ocean of Dharma: The Everyday Wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa, a recommended collection of very brief excerpts from his talks and texts. The image above is of the Medicine Buddha.

THE FUTURE IS IN OUR HANDS

We hold the threshold of the future of the world in our hands, on our path. When we say this, we are not dreaming. We are not exaggerating. We hold a tremendous hope, maybe the only hope for the future dark age.

We have a lot of responsibilities, and those responsibilities are not easy to fulfill. They won’t come along easily, like an ordinary success story. They have to be stitched, painted, carved, step by step, inch by inch, minute by minute. It will be manual work. There will be no automatic big sweep, or solution.

When something good is done in the world, it is usually difficult. It is manual, rather than automatic. When something bad is done, usually that is automatic. Evil things are easy to catch, but good ones are difficult to catch. They go against the grain of ordinary habitual tendencies.

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE

Humans are the only animals that try to dwell in the future. You don’t have to purely live in the present situation without a plan, but the future plans you make can only be based on the aspects of the future that manifest within the present situation. You can’t plan a future if you don’t know what the present situation is. You have to start from now to know how to plan.

CONVERSING WITH OUR NEGATIVITY

You can always count on the fact that our aspect of viciousness or apelike quality will reflect back to us. Then we can either project it onto somebody else or we can reflect and realize the situation within ourselves. Quite precisely, when you are in that particular state of mind, there is a kind of conversation going on. You may try to tell yourself to calm down and not worry. But then the undercurrent of the force of the projection tries to pierce through again and again. There is always this conversation going on with one’s own negativity. The neurotic aspect of mind is always willing to fall into either the extreme of left or right. The right extreme is anger, the masculine extreme. The left is passion, the feminine extreme. This symbolism is true and universal—a cosmic symbol, which happens with all of life. These symbols are not based on Indian, Buddhist, or Tibetan stories at all. These are utterly cosmic principles, as far as the symbolism is concerned.

WORK WITH THE PRESENT SITUATION

The buddhist tradition teaches the truth of impermanence, or the transitory nature of things. The past is gone and the future has not yet happened, so we work with what is here—the present situation. This actually helps us not to categorize or theorize. A fresh, living situation is taking place all the time, on the spot. This noncategorical approach comes from being fully here, rather than trying to reconnect with past events. We don’t have to look back to the past in order to see what people are made out of. Human beings speak for themselves, on the spot.