Archive for June, 2013

Is the Supreme Court Upholding the Constitution?

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

constitution3A lot of important decisions were made by the Supreme Court this week—one good, another not in the best interest of democracy.

Most people are happy with the decision ending DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) acknowledging that the federal government recognizes same sex marriage in states that allow it.

However, gutting the 1965 Voters Right Act will certainly limit voting rights for many people in several states. Texas, Mississippi, Alabama  and other Republican controlled states have already changed their laws to demand voter IDs, are planning on gerrymandering districts even more to limit minority voting, most like going to further limit early voting and same day registration, among many other restrictions. These were all struck down in court last year as unconstitutional.

Americans, including Republicans, Democrats and Independents, need to be aware of how their democracy is being chipped away. Voting is a fundamental part of our freedoms. Citizens need to pay attention to what is happening and speak up against it in public forums and at the ballot box.

Women are gaining power in politics

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

SCENE-articleLargeThe 113th Congress is in full swing, albeit slow movement on any important legislature. However, as the number of women continues to grow in both house of Congress, more pragmatic solutions to issues will be instrumental in changing the country and the way Congress does business.

In the House of Representatives, there are 81 women currently serving. This includes three nonvoting members from Guam, the Virgin Islands and Washington D.C. Twenty, or 20 percent, of the senators are women. The largest number to date.

There is also more diversity. Of the 43 African Americans in Congress, 14 are women. They are also a number of Latinos, Asians and for the first time, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Congress also has its first openly gay senator, as well as Hindi, Buddhist and bisexual members.

With the increasing diversity in Congress reflecting our country’s changing demographics, more issues that were never discussed will begin to surface. But women are still less than 20 percent of the members, while they are more than 50 percent of the population. We need more thoughtful and pragmatic women on both sides who are willing to reach across the aisle and get something done.

Standing on ideology is okay for students still in school, but in the real world, real solution to real problems needs to be addressed and fixed. Thus far, this House hasn’t done that, but chooses to spend its days voting time and time again on dead and unconstitutional issues. Where are the jobs bills? Women understand the need to get our country back to work.

In order to change the dynamics and make the system work for most Americans, citizens need to elect more women to Congress in 2014, implement term limits rather than lifelong careers and continue to pressure their representatives to vote the way his constituents want, rather it be background checks on guns or immigration reform.

To elect more women, more have to run. Check out Emily’s List and how you can be a part of the process by running or supporting other women.

Why are Republicans continually waging war on women?

Friday, June 14th, 2013

meeting1I can’t even imagine why anyone would not vote for the Violence Against Women’s Act, but many Republicans opposed it. Many voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. They form all male committees to discuss women’s healthcare. Yet, they say they are rebranding.

After the disastrous 2012 election, Republicans said they got the message that Americans wouldn’t support the far right out of control people like Todd Akin and Richard Murdoch, but they don’t seem to have changed anything. While the Supreme Court has upheld Roe vs Wade, Republican-controlled states are making it extremely difficult for women to exercise their option of choice. Others are forcing unnecessary invasive procedures on women not recommended by a doctor. Many are defunding Planned Parenthood and refusing to take the 100% federal funds for Medicaid Expansion leaving thousands of women who deserve healthcare uninsured and unable to get preventive and necessary care.

What happened to the Republican Party of Reagan? What happened to the Republican Party I grew up with who had fiscally conservative values but humane social policies? What happened to the conservative compassion of George W. Bush?

Having two viable political parties that appeal to a multitude of voters makes our country strong. Right now I’m wondering why any woman would vote Republican. It’s voting against your own best interest. This needs to change so we can once again have two sustainable parties interested in listening to all their constituents, not just the far right extremists.
In 2014, you need to vote to make this happen. It would be good for women and good for the country.

Term limits increase diversity

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Wpeople1hile national legislatures must have term limits, many elected officials have had only this one job during their whole professional career, state and local governments need limits as well. Of the total of 7,384 state legislative seats in the 50 states, only 1,930 (26.1%) are limited.

By implementing a system of term limits at both the national and state levels, more people will be able to serve. People who are interested in serving their country, rather than themselves. Instead of career politicians holding office, a diverse make up of age, ethnicity, and occupation would prevail. Doctors, teachers, financial professionals, housewives, scientists, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, social workers, attorneys, and corporate executives could lend expertise to legislation. Global warming, healthcare, education, energy and business would have more innovation, more insight, and more cost-effective, realistic, practical, and workable solutions to our economic and every day challenges.

Elected representatives who are open to new ideas, compromise and working towards progress for the country would elevate our current system. With more diversity, various political views could work together to achieve a solid plan for governing, prosperity and growth.

Congress’ dismal approval rating would mosdt likely improve, better governing would take place and progress would prevail rather than fostering continuous gridlock.

Career politicians don’t serve the democratic process

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Serving in Congress should be privilege, not a career

When our Constitution was written, life spans were half what they are today. No one envisioned the possibility of Congress being a career of decades. Elected officials must leave Congress and worked in the real world under the laws they passed.flag1
This is not a new or radical idea. Term limits, or rotation in office, date back to the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson stated that Congressional term limits would “prevent every danger which might arise to American freedom by continuing too long in office the members of the Continental Congress.” Self-imposed congressional term limits occurred naturally throughout U.S. history until the beginning of the 20th century.
Unfortunately, the U. S. Constitution (1787 to present) left term limits out. Its inclusion is vital to our elected officials’ integrity and to preventing the dishonesty and dysfunction that is rampant in Washington today.
By the turn of the 20th century, the era of incumbency was coming into full swing. Following World War II, an officeholder class developed for Congressional members that matched that of the U.S. Supreme Court where tenure is for life.
The lack of turnover of Congressional elected officials approached nearly 100% by the end of the 20th century. Today the Senate has unlimited six-year terms and the House of Representatives has unlimited two-year terms. This has created a breeding ground for special interest groups, greed and corruption. Many voters are trying to reinstate term limits to encourage a think-tank that produces solid laws to better our country, rather than stagnation and obstructionism.
Members of Congress have become more accountable to the Washington establishment than to the people in their home districts. Both Houses of Congress are often unresponsive and irresponsible, arrogantly putting themselves above the laws they enact, and beyond the control of the citizens they have sworn to represent and serve.
Interestingly, term limits is an issue both Democrats and Republicans agree on. While large majorities of Republicans (84 percent), Democrats (74 percent) and independents (74 percent) favor the idea, today there are no term limits because Congress themselves don’t want them or care what their constituents want or think.
A recent study shows that 224 members of Congress have served 30 plus years.
Do unlimited terms seem like good government policies? After all, the Presidents can only serve for two terms. Why should Congress not have term limits too?

America: Losing Its Democracy

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

constitution2I love America, but over the last several years, I noticed it no longer functions as a total democracy. Our country, and the rights our constitution gave us, is too precious to let our elected politicians takethem from us. But that is what is happening.

This blog will be dedicated to education and information that every citizen should know and act on. As America tries to spread democracy around the globe, we need to ensure that every American has the rights they deserve, from hassle-free voting to owning reasonable firearms to freedom of speech and religion.

I believe in progress and change. I don’t want to divert back to the fifties, but there are definitely some things I miss about that era. When I was growing up, I was able to wander the neighborhoods without fear of being shot. I went with friends to the movies or downtown shopping on Saturdays. I felt safe in school even though there were no armed guards posted at the entrance. In the summer we slept with the windows open and often played outside or took the dog for a walk without locking the door behind us.

In every democratic society, people in government have understood that there would be different views and opinions on how to run and grow their great country. But they also grasped the importance of listening to one another. They recognized that in negotiations, no one gets 100% of what they want, and that compromise is good and productive. This style of competitive, but compromising, government helped us become a world leader, and one of the wealthiest nations. Today, that value system of compromise has been replaced by an obstructive voice that responds “No” to everything, rather than a voice of reason and solution.

Our government structure has three branches designed to provide necessary checks and balances to insure fair and just laws. Like a three-legged stool, if one branch is dysfunctional, the whole system is in peril of toppling over.

I’m not a political pundit, never been an elected official or lived in Washington D.C. But I am troubled by what I see and hope this blog will stimulate other ordinary citizens to take an interest in what is happening in our country and speak out for change.

In the following months, my blog will discuss term limits, campaign spending; gerrymandering, the Electoral College; responsible federal spending; saving social security, the Affordable Care Act and other health issues; our tax system; lobbyists, legislatures, and the Supreme Court; the gun debate; the President, Congress, and the media. I hope you become an active voice with comments and insights of your own on my blog, and let your views be known at the ballot box as well.

Make your voice heard. Make your vote count!