Thursday, November 17, 2016

Jersey Shore meets Dallas and Moves to DC

By Bob Ferris

I have been wrestling with a lot lately.  All of us have.  This morning I am trying to wrap my mind around the idea that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner delayed the work of the Transition Team to have a territorial fight with Chris Christie—the New Jersey governor whose staff (and maybe he) blocked bridge traffic as political payback.  Jared’s animosity towards Christie stems from Chris’ efforts to put Jared’s father in prison for among other things hiring a prostitute to have sex with a witness and then filming her work product to create leverage during his trial for campaign finance violations and other charges.  Amazing.  Thanks for bringing this to White House.

It is sad that Mr. Kushner is picking this fight at a time when this country so needs leadership and hope.  It is interesting in this that he is advising an administration led by the grandson of a man who was kicked out of his native Germany for dodging the draft and there is evidence that the grandfather made an element of his fortune through the labors of prostitutes.  Weirder still is the fact that the grandson was put in office, in part, because he was the “golden boy” of Evangelical Christians who spread massive lies in order for their candidate to win.  How all this gets sorted out in the irony and hypocrisy spectrum is anyone's guess.

So now in addition to having a presidential candidate talk about the size of his member on national TV, we have an administration that is not even in office, yet seems like a hybrid from the mating of a soap opera and a reality TV show (i.e., Dallas meeting Jersey Shore).  All this while thinking and compassionate Americans watch the popular vote ticker indicate that their candidate earned something like a million more votes than the person showing no leadership but still tweeting during this ugly and acrimonious transition.

Put this all this in a pot that is liberally seasoned with voter suppression (1,2,3), fake news (1,2,3, 4,5), voter intimidation (1,2,3), and foreign intervention (1,2,3) that is all stirred by an Electoral College system that gives more power to some voters while taking it away from others and one has a hard time arguing that those marching in cities across America are unjustified.  In fact they are righteously pissed and scared all at the same time and they should be.

And while some mock the idea that California would want to make their own way separate from the US (Calexit), critics should understand that president votes in the state are about .85 (2008 figures) as powerful as the national average because of the Electoral College (see above math problem where Y equals the Electoral College).  So in addition to sending more tax money to DC and getting less back, their votes are discounted as well.

Certainly if you are in Montana where your vote weight is more than twice California’s (175%) and you get about $1.50 back for every dollar sent to DC you might see this as silly.  And Wyoming has a similar tax return but their votes count three times the national average (318%).  Essentially it takes nearly four liberal Californians to balance out a conservative from Wyoming in a presidential battle.  Seems fair, but I would urge my conservative friends in Montana and Wyoming to take a deep breath and walk in California’s flip-flops for a few steps as you might see visions of the Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill or Valley Forge appear before your eyes and you might understand the anger of a populace that is increasingly seeing their government move farther and farther away from what they believe and their core values.

During an election season we see a lot of flags and there is much talk about liberty and justice.  And there should be.  But right now we have a situation where a minority of folks far removed from the will of the people or even the true character of America are plotting a course that will make us poorer and sicker as well as damaging the quality of our lives and our world reputation.  These bad things will happen to the “normal” white people in America, but for those who are different in any manner the impact will be much, much worse.

The Electoral College can right this wrong but they might choose to avoid this responsibility because it has risks.  That is probably correct, but how long can a country last—particularly one that promotes democratic principles—when most of its citizens are watching a regime that they do not support or they voted against?  This growing disconnect between the populace and the government can be maintained for a time but it is not sustainable and fixing it later will likely be much more painful.  But that is really the essence of leadership: Weighing the facts and making a decision for the long-term good of the country.

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