Category Archives: Opinion

It’s Time To Take A Stand

As the Democrats roll out one centrist candidate after another and roll up loss after loss, here’s a suggestion for how they might get over the top.

“Take a stand.  Why don’t you?”

In my little fantasy world, henceforth referred to as MikeWorld, next week, 194 US Representatives and 47 US Senators (48, if Senator King of Maine cares to align himself) stand up and say with a clear and unified voice…

“We, the Democrats of the United States Congress, along with our friend, the Honorable Bernie Sanders of Vermont, stand united in our support of Representative John J. Conyers, Jr. and his bill, H.R. 676.  Furthermore, the Congressional Democratic Delegation does hereby state that we are 100% for single-payor universal healthcare which we call Medicare for ALL. We commit that is our stated goal which we will not back down from.  We may lose some battles and skirmishes along the way, but we will not stop until Medicare for ALL is the law of the land.

Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and John Conyers Jr. (D-MI)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has been a supporter of John Conyers Jr’s (D-MI) H.R. 676 since 2004. Mr. Conyers introduced the bill in 2003.

People may not realize it because Senator Sanders gets all the noise, but Representative Conyers has proposed H.R. 676 in every session of Congress since the 108th Congress in 2003. (We’re now in the 115th Congress.)  At the time, Senator Sanders was the at-large US Representative from Vermont and he co-sponsored H.R. 676 beginning in 2004.

At this point, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) should demand that H.R. 676 be scored by the Congressional Budget Office so that citizens can compare ObamaCARE vs TRUMPcare vs Medicare for ALL.  (Did you catch the subliminal message in that sentence?)

American citizens need to demand that politicians stop playing with our lives.  Give us some information and then turn us loose on the 535 (542, if Puerto Rico is admitted as the 51st State) men and women of the United States Congress with our opinions of which we prefer.

The National Democratic Party is going to be a dead animal if it doesn’t figure out how to inspire voters at the street level.  Clearly, it’s not happening now.

And so it goes.

On The Road To Insanity

Does anybody even bother to watch the news anymore? I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth it. After all, how many more murders, rapes, fires, and other sundry natural and unnatural disasters can we watch. Which brings me to the point of this piece.

I never thought you’d catch me saying this, but I’m beginning to side with those who think the government is out of control. It’s unresponsive to the people it’s intended to serve. That worries me, because if we all opt out of the program, what’s going to replace it. We have some clues.

Into the vacuum have stepped the Republicans, whose mission it seems is to save us from ourselves and those ne’er do wells, the Democrats. On the Democrats, I’m tending to agree but I’m also beginning to wonder if what we’re replacing them with is any better. You know the old bromide — that the cure is no better than the disease.

Consider that after the sound and fury of the Contract With America that nothing has really escaped the Capitol Beltway which would effect let alone benefit our lives save the abolition of the 55-mile an hour speed limit.  Is that to be the legacy of our times?  Are we better served by the endless Whitewater investigation?  Are we better served by the focus on the fiasco of the White House travel office?  What’s the point of belabouring the notion that Vince Foster was murdered by Hillary Clinton and her cronies?  Does anybody really believe that?  And, lastly, what’s the point of shutting down the government and paying its workers to do nothing, especially after nearly driving those same workers into default and depression?  Who’s minding the store?

Which, lastly, brings me to the real point of this commentary. The people who should be minding the store is us. Last I looked, the Constitution, which we claim to hold dear, began “We, the people”. That doesn’t mean the politicians. That doesn’t mean the news media. That means us, you and me. Are we really more concerned about satellite dishes, what’s on television, and going online than we are about that which affects our daily lives?

It’s popular for my generation to lambast the generations that follow about apathy and about Beavis and Butthead, among other things. However, maybe that says more about us than it says about them. After all, we raised them. We’re the ones who taught them about mindless consumption while giving lip service to taking care of our fellow man.

At work, like many people, I say:
“Don’t bring me problems!  Bring me solutions!”

Well, I’m sorry.  
No solutions today.

Ciao for now!
Mike

Bah! Humbug!

If you’ve been paying attention, and there’s no reason why you should, you may have noticed that I haven’t been around for a couple of months. I didn’t get tired. I have plenty of things to say. Rather, I suffered a shoulder injury. Throughout the entire month of November, it was unbearable to sit at a terminal and whack away at the keyboard. That’s a problem since my profession requires I do just that.

Since then, it’s been trying to regain my balance and catch up on work. So, of course, I wasn’t happy when the holidays rolled around starting with Thanksgiving. Who wants to fool around with a turkey when you can barely lift it? That passed quickly and my partner wanted to have our Christmas tree up that weekend. Sheesh! That did NOT pass quickly. It took a week.

After that, it’s been the unbearable, incessant running around to get prepared for the Christmas holiday. I had gifts to find, gifts to purchase, gifts to wrap, gifts to ship, and gifts to hide. Who needs it? Bah! Humbug!!

Does anybody really like this time of the year? I’m getting so that I hate it. The stores, the crowds, the cars… yuck!

Finally, though, in the last two days, we got to the part of the holiday I tend to like. You know. The part where we get together with the people we work with and realize they’re not SO bad, after all. The part where we contact long-lost buddies and renew friendships from time immortal. It’s the part of Christmas I like most. The gifts are great, but good friends are better. If we have a loving family to spend it with, that makes it all the more worthwhile.

So, I’m not such a Scrooge — even if I am ill-tempered. I’ll call my family back East and say “Hi! Merry Christmas!!”. I’ll make contact with my friends and acquaintances before the big day. My partner, Dave, and I will spend the day together quietly playing with our new boy toys. And, somewhere along the way, I’ll pray for the proverbial peace on earth, etc. etc.

I’m sorry. Pain makes me grumpy.
Has anyone seen my Kwanzaa candles??

Ciao for now!
Mike

One In A Million?


It is not one man nor a million, but the spirit of liberty that must be preserved. The waves which dash upon the shore are, one by one, broken, but the ocean conquers nevertheless. It overwhelms the Armada, it wears out the rock. In like manner, whatever the struggle of individuals, the great cause will gather strength.

Lord Byron (1788-1824)

I was not fortunate enough to be able to travel to Washington D.C. today to be a part of yet another historic occasion. After spending time in another of the “masses” in April, 1993, I can only imagine what it must have felt like to have been there. Rather, today, I sat and observed the happenings on CNN and C-SPAN. At various times, I cried. I laughed. I worried. I criticized. Generally, though, I came away happy, with a sense of good will and with hope for a better tomorrow for myself, my distant family, my people, and my nation. (I even learned a new word: diaspora.)

It was called the Million Man March, a gathering of African-American males from across the land, as far and wide as the land itself. There were many things said about the March, true and false. Probably still so. That women were not invited. That admission was charged. However, most charged were the comments that Black people should not participate because of the leadership which suggested the March.

Last week, when discussing the March with a Black male friend of mine, I was disquieted that Minister Louis Farrakhan was the principal voice behind the March. I’m still disquieted as I write this. I sat today and heard co-organizer Benjamin Chavis say that you cannot separate the messenger from the message. Al Sampson of Fernwood United Methodist Church in Chicago implied the same thing. Still, many others feel that the message and the messenger are indeed separate. Regardless, Minister Farrakhan should be respected for making the call. As stated in the American mythology Star Trek, “Only Nixon could go to China”.

However, I am even more disquieted by a gnawing at my insides. I’m sitting here wondering how I, a black gay male, would be received in the Black community’s new world order. Minister Farrakhan asked us to return to our neighborhoods, join an organization, join a church, give up drugs, and black-on-black crime. Is there tolerance enough in this movement to include me and those like me? Or, are we to suffer a distinction that will keep us apart from our communities?

I don’t have an answer for that; I’m not sure I should even care. For if the messenger is listening to his own message, then it should not matter whether I am gay or not. All that should matter is that I have something to offer like the other million or so men on the Mall today.

Ciao for now!
Mike