Tom's Thoughts

Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Friday, August 29, 2008

On PUMA's, Rhetoric, Etc.

Those who scream that they are going to vote for John McCain just because Hillary Clinton didn't get the Democratic nomination are beneath contempt. Their candidate didn't win. So get over it. You say you're going to vote for McCain out of spite. So you vote against yourself. McCain will continue using the Constitution for toilet paper, will appoint judges like Scalito to the Extreme Court to see to it he gets away with it, will plunge us into more wars than our military will handle so he will have to draft your sons, and will bankrupt the middle class. But that's all right to you, huh? You want to sacrifice the livelihoods and perhaps the lives of your children just so you can get your whiney-hiney point across. Get a life.

I remember being bitter about Robert Kennedy entering the Presidential race after Gene McCarthy had done all the hard work of showing there was a strong anti-war vote out there. I went to sleep praying Kennedy wouldn't get the nomination one night, and the next morning I heard on the radio he had been assassinated. Talk about your wake-up call!

A few months later I was at the beach wearing my McCarthy button, and a fellow asked me if I would have voted for Kennedy. I thought about it and said I would have. Thereby I think I won over another McCarthy voter.

Little good it did, since Humphrey won the nomination, anyway, and our protests in the streets of Chicago (I watched on TV, but I was there in spirit) helped Nixon win the White House. You see how much good that did.

I grew up, and it's time for the PUMA's do do the same.

Now, I heard Bill Richardson's speech at the convention last night, and it did my heart good to hear him tear into the Republicans over shredding the Constitution, torture, etc. The one thing that made me uncomfortable was his criticism of McCain's plan to give tax cuts to oil companies that are swimming in profits. He kept calling them "tax breaks." That's Republican language. We don't need to let the Republicans define our terms. We need to define them for ourselves. It is the estate tax, not the "death tax;" it is a tax cut, not a "tax break." It isn't as though the taxes these hyperprofitable companies pay now is such an outlandish burden. So we need to call these gifts to the fat cats what they are: tax cuts.

I couldn't stay up for Obama's speech last night, but what I heard about it on the radio made me feel a lot better. I may even go back on my pledge and go ahead and contribute to his campaign. I'm still ticked off about the FISA vote, but the attack attitude he took last night made me feel that finally a nominee had found his backbone and stood up on his hind legs and let the Repuglicans have it the way they deserve.

John McCain, it is reported, is going to name the governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, his Vice-Presidential candidate. I don't know much about her, but I see this as trolling for the PUMA vote. I believe we can still whip them if we stick together and keep our message strong.

I must say, now I am looking forward to voting for Obama this fall.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On the Real John McCain

A fellow USNA graduate and fellow POW who knew John McCain in both situations has an excellent article on why he won't be voting for the media's favorite "war hero."


I highly recommend it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

On Party Platforms

Party platforms perform a purpose, I suppose. They lay out the stands of the party on various issues, give the candidate some backing for his/her campaign statements, etc. They also express views of the party that may or may not reflect what the candidate actually stands for. In which case, some voters may be attracted ( or repulsed) by what the platform says and others attracted (or repulsed) by what the candidate says, if it is something different.

Back in 1996 I heard Fred Grandy, who was then a Republican Congressman, talking on NPR about his proposal that the Republican party replace its platform with a mission statement. He gave a proposed statement talking about relying more on private enterprise than on government, etc.

But I have been thinking ever since about that idea. This year especially, since the Democrats who made Barack Obama the nominee apparent are so disappointed in his capitulation to the Right, in the guise of "running to the center," a strategy which has lost all presidential elections save two since 1984 and all congressional elections from 1994 through 2004.

What if we didn't have a party platform? What if we put out a mission statement instead?

Every business and organization, even most churches, now have mission statements. It's one of those fad things that run through the corporate mind set from time to time. My university has one, and so does the department in which I teach.

So why not one for the Democratic party?

Let me start by proposing this one, which can be perfected later:

"We, the Democratic Party, are dedicated to electing officials of government who share the values of the majority of the American population. These values include a respect for the Constitution and a belief in the strict division and equality of the three branches of government the Constitution lays out. We believe that the entire society benefits when every person has a chance to succeed on his or her own merits rather than being exploited by persons or institutions more powerful. We believe government has a role to play to ensure the safety of both workers and consumers, and to ensure fairness in competition. The Declaration of Independence asserts the existence of inalienable rights, and the Democratic Party is dedicated to ensuring those rights for all people."

Any thoughts?

Friday, August 15, 2008

On the Edwards Affair, Unfortunately

I don't really want to comment on how disappointed I am in John Edwards. But I will say if his wife can forgive him then the rest is none of our business. I understand that men who have power and importance tend to think they can do whatever they want with whomever they want, especially when an attractive woman is available. I just wish they had caught W. Bush and Condi Rice in flagrante so they would shut up about the Democrats.

Of course, catching Larry Craig, et. al. didn't do the trick Oh, well.

Then, too, if every politician who couldn't keep it in his knickers were to be made ineligible to be President, then George Washington, Thomas Jefferson(?), Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhour, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson would have been banned from the office.

What I want to gripe about is the news coverage.

I present to you two politicians, both candidates for President of the United States.
Candidate 1 had an affair while his wife was in remission from her cancer, ended the affair and confessed to his wife, who reconciled with him, and he ended his run for the White House.

Candidate B had multiple affairs after his wife was crippled in a car wreck, divorced his wife and married his trophy mistress and is still running for President.

So which one is the media hounding?

Give me a break.