Posts Tagged ‘what is a democrat’

The Brooklyn Brawl

The Brooklyn Brawl

If one thing was painfully clear after the CNN debate on Thursday, now dubbed the Brooklyn Brawl, Hillary Clinton is obviously disgusted with the fact she can’t seem to be able to put away a 74 year old, self-described “democratic socialist” from Vermont. It’s obvious she underestimated Bernie Sanders and she has no clue what to do about it.


After a 14 point drubbing in Wisconsin on April 17th and another double digit shellacking in Wyoming the next weekend, she can no longer hear the heartbeat of momentum that once pounded for her. Now all she hears are footsteps, and they’re closing fast. It’s become a real horserace folks, and don’t let anyone tell you any differently.


This brings us to the biggest prize left on the slate until California in June.


New York, you are in the driver’s seat. The question is, what course are you going to set for the Democratic Party and quite possibly the future of our great nation? And to answer that question, I guess it all boils down to what NY Democrats believe it means to be a Democrat in 2016.


For me it’s simple. I’ve been a proud Democrat all my life. You could even say I was born to it.  My last name literally means “the people,” Demos.  I’m a first generation natural born citizen, a US Air Force veteran and yes, I’m a Greek-American (half Swiss too), and if there is one thing Greek descendants will always be monumentally proud of, it’s being the birthplace of modern Western democracy and the concept that those who govern shall not be beholden to anyone, or anything, other than the will of the people – everyone should have a voice in deciding the trajectory of their collective future and the majority will rule.


It’s what our founding fathers believed in too, crystalized in the first words that introduce the magnificent document which embodies the very soul of America, “We the People.” It’s a purity that transcends political parties, and as such, the greatest leaders in American history also embodied that purity, Republican and Democrat alike. Our greatest leaders sought to unite us, not divide us, to serve us all, not just a privileged few, based on truths that are held self-evident, that all of us are created equal.


But over time, things seem to have gotten skewed and jumbled, we somehow got split up. We’ve become idealistically twisted, broken and disillusioned. Now the party of Abraham Lincoln, the Republican President who enacted The Emancipation Proclamation by executive order to end the unforgivable scourge of slavery in America and who stood on the battlefield in Gettysburg stained red with the blood of brothers and proclaimed, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Just imagine what Lincoln would think of his party today, with its leading candidates bent on division and derision. He would be sickened, as am I, so no Republican party for me in this day and age.


No, instead I embrace Democratic ideals, at least I thought I did.  But to tell you the truth, I don’t recognize the Democratic Party today either, and it saddens me. Today, FDR, the President who both led us out of the Great Depression to unrivaled prosperity, and led America’s might to crush tyranny and imperialism by inspiring all Americans to selflessly play their part in liberating foreign masses of strangers from oppression in lands across vast oceans, would be labeled a socialist, and be very quiet saying it, because that’s a dirty word, even though the most appreciated and relied upon safety nets of modern American society, like Social Security and Medicare, are just that – socialist.


Mine was supposed to be the party that would strive with all its might for every American of a legal age to be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote, without regard to their gender, race, physical ability, sexual orientation or financial standing.  Instead, the state with the most populous city in our nation, a blue state no less, is ensuring that thousands upon thousands of voters will be disenfranchised by spitting in the face of the core principles of democracy. If you are an Independent, hopefully you were clairvoyant, because you were simply not going to be allowed to gain any insight into the candidates through the vetting process the primary season is supposed to afford. You were not even going to be allowed to know who already dropped out, who may become immersed in scandal, or any other reality which may have transpired during the process before it was time to make your voice heard.  You basically had to throw a dart back in October while blindfolded and hope you hit something you would be happy with.  And if you were just recently inspired by a candidate because of something you saw, heard or felt when they were finally in your neck of the woods – sorry, too late, you had to know that almost a month ago, so your voice will not be heard.  Iowa gets their chance to weigh their choices up close and personal each year, with many candidates practically living there before those first votes are cast. Then the rest of the country gets to start tuning in to apply whatever personal criteria they use to weigh and measure everyone running using the information that starts getting exposed both in national and social media circles. That’s the way the process is supposed to work. Instead, my Democratic Party is smelling an awful lot like ultra-conservative Republicans are in charge these days, for whom uncontested contests are their best chance of exercising iron-fisted control, democracy be dammed.


With that being said, every registered Democrats in NY has some real soul searching to do.  You have been handed an enviable opportunity lend great weight in defining the soul of the Democratic Party, not just for today, but for generations to follow.


You have the chance to illuminate which ideals will be embraced, and you have two stark choices, an insider and an outsider, a pragmatist and an idealist.


Hillary Clinton is obviously a known commodity. For better or for worse, she is a creature of establishment politics. She’s rubbed all the right elbows in the inner circle and she works best behind the scenes, always negotiating from the center. She knows policy, she understands the system and how to leverage it.


She also knows how to catch a political wind and fill her sails with it until another, stronger wind comes in from another direction. Then she’ll change her rigging and tack a new course.  She’s about maintaining speed, but not truly focused on an actual destination. It’s also a big reason why her trustworthiness and honesty are constantly questioned.  If you can be against something, then for it, then against it again, voters can simply not trust whether or not the positions she’s running on are what she will actually try to deliver in the end, or even close. Is she a moderate, or a progressive? Well, that depends on the day and the audience. She is also shrouded in secrecy, from her transcripts and emails, to her special interest ties and some often dubious connections through the Clinton Foundation. There also seems to be something lacking in her ability to engage and inspire masses. If you are happy with things as they stand today and are only looking for incremental change around the edges, she is the poster child for your vote.


Bernie Sanders is a horse of a completely different color. For better or for worse, he’s a man of personal conviction and lofty ideals, his message and beliefs don’t waver. For him, the destination is the only focus. He will try to sail through a hurricane if the destination he wants to reach is on the other side, and yes, he is even willing to get arrested if that’s what it takes to send a message against evils in society like racial and/or income inequality. He can be brash and outspoken, often without regard to the subtlety of political correctness. He will name names and confront an enemy head on, whether it’s the head of the Federal Reserve, or the CEO of a multinational corporation or bank. His colleagues, his supporters and everyone else has a pretty good idea of what he is going to say when he opens his mouth. He doesn’t negotiate from the center, he typically starts from a position so far from center the opposition feels like they are looking at him through the wrong end of a telescope when the back and forth begins. Ties to the big money of corporate America and Wall Street simply do not exist. In his view, the ever-widening gap in income equality both in America and around the world stifle the voice of the 99% and rig the political system and the economy to work best for only a handful of billionaires. If you want to grab “the system” by the shoulders and really shake it up, he is the poster child for your vote.


So the question remains NY, who do you think best represents what the Democratic Party is supposed to stand for?


As for me, it’s not even close. I want our democracy back, not pay for play.  I want average Americans to once again have a voice which will be heard, not a mute button which silences all except a privileged few.  I want someone who understands what Aristotle meant when he said, “He who is a citizen in a democracy will often not be a citizen in an oligarchy.” I want millions to be inspired to collectively embark on a journey with a grand destination in mind, like JFK did when he that tossed the cap of our future over the wall and challenged us all to follow it, all the way to the moon. I want the undiluted truth when so much is on the line, however ugly it may be. I want someone who can actually diagnose a problem right the first time before trying to solve it, otherwise we will once again end up being set on a false course of treatment which could end up being fatal.  I want someone who starts and stays on the right side of history, not excuses and apologies for more bad judgements.  I want someone who will never err on the side of war. I want someone who will beat any Republican candidate they eventually choose to let into the ring.  I want the stresses and miseries of millions and millions of Americans to be confronted, not put on the back burner until it’s far too late. I want someone who will fight, toe to toe, with whomever tries to destroy our collective wellbeing, no matter how big and powerful they may seem.  I want Democrats, Independents and even Republicans to be welcomed into our party with open arms to build a coalition which will move our country forward in big steps for years to come. That’s the Democratic Party I believe in.


If you’re still undecided, please take it upon yourself to look beyond force-fed news, this election is too important for anything less.  I’ve spent many, many hours researching on my own. But it really takes less than five minutes of personal research to see corporate media is nothing but entertainment masquerading as news, and obviously they have a vested interest in keeping Bernie Sanders out of the spotlight as much as possible. With YouTube, you get to unravel the past.  You get to see how Bernie fights, like an attack dog, but always on message and direct.


You also get to hear the all the lies spill from Clinton’s own lips – sniper fire? Really?


I also remember her race against Obama and every underhanded political maneuver she employed to “disqualify” him in the eyes of the public, and now she’s embracing his legacy with open arms to pander to minority voters. I find it appalling.


As for winning the general election, Hillary Clinton can absolutely NOT beat Donald Trump. He is the one person in this race who is positioned to level her in a way she will not be able to recover from. I don’t think it’s an accident he recently settled on a new nickname for her, “Crooked Hillary.” And it doesn’t have anything to do with Bernie Sanders. It has been his plan all along, Bernie just made it convenient for him to get started and take it for a test drive. All Trump has to say is that he has a personal history with the Clintons, which is a well-documented history,  and tell America that she is on the take, whether he can prove it with physical evidence or not. As a businessman, and not a lifelong politician, he can always claim the highroad in this particular fight.  In his typical boastful fashion he can say he greased her palms to get something done in New York, he had to, that’s the way the game is played. A businessman playing a rigged system to achieve, maintain and further his financial success? Nothing shocking there, he only cares about winning and his base loves him for it.  But for a politician, especially in an election where it is quite obvious the vast majority of people are angry with the “establishment” governing from ivory towers and inner circles, it’s a game changer. You think not releasing her transcripts has people wondering? That’s child’s play by comparison. He will use her favorite tactic against her, just keep repeating it until people believe it’s true.  Does anyone honestly believe he wouldn’t go there? She can cry foul all she wants, all people will hear, according to her trustworthiness and honesty numbers, is WOLF! And before you know it, the next name she will be calling him is Mr. President – God help us all.


Feel the Bern New York. Let’s have the revolution that’s been a long time coming. It’s time to take our democracy back and finally get a seat at the table.