Monday, February 29, 2016

Super Tuesday

Friends, Family, those who like me, and those who don't: tomorrow is Super Tuesday. And if your state is one of the states that votes in the primary, I urge you to go out to the polls and cast your vote. I would argue that there has never been more at stake in our lifetimes. The future of our country and possibly the world depends on it.

On the Democrat side, you have two extremely qualified, intelligent, and compassionate candidates, both of whom have devoted their lives to public service. They stand for better access to education, healthcare for all, fairness and equality to all people, and equal rights and pay for them as well. Both of these individuals seek to solve the lingering problems our society still faces in 2016, or at the very least make a major dent in them. Racial injustices, massive income inequality, unacceptably low educational and criminal justice outcomes for our young people, especially those of color. They have worked tirelessly to bring a voice to those who have none.

Over on the Republican side, things look quite a bit different as even my Republican friends readily admit. And it is not subtle. Aptly labeled a 'con man' by Marco Rubio, you have the bombastic frontrunner #Trump. He has risen to immense power these last six months by spewing racist and fascist rhetoric. Donald Trump has already done immeasurable damage to the United States both domestically and abroad. Far worse than his existence of course is the reality that millions of Americans are cheering loudly for him and acting on his words right in front of our eyes and on live cameras. This shocking rise is no better or worse than watching Hitler's rise to power. I do not use that comparison lightly, but if you look at the facts, it is a fair and terrifying one. At his core, he is in egomaniacal entertainer, and most likely doesn't mean all the things he says to get those votes… But the damage is already done both here and abroad. He must be stopped. I send that message out to my Republican friends as well as my Democrat friends.

After that guy, you have two religious fanatics, Cruz and Rubio, seeking to turn back time and reverse all equal rights victories over the last 100 years for disenfranchised people in America.  Also, while scaring the crap out of conservatives in this country, telling them over and over again that 'the Muslims' are here to institute Sha'ria Law, they themselves have mounted a not-so-secret campaign to institute their own distorted Christian brand of Sha'ria Law.

But here's the thing. This is America. We cannot let that happen here and I urge you to stand up and say enough is enough. No more fascist rhetoric against one group or religion of people. No more threats to take away basic human rights from one group of people whom your lives might not resemble. America is better than that, though many here have forgotten that.

Please,I beg you to look inside your hearts and forget words like Muslim, Gay, Enemy, Liberal, Conservative, etc and instead imagine these terribly damaging things were being said publicly about you and your family. Vote your conscience then. Imagine these people were threatening to deport you and your family. Vote your conscience then. Imagine your sister, mother, or daughter has been violently assaulted and became pregnant. Imagine the horrifying laws the right is trying to enact to control every decision that involves their body and mind. Vote your conscience then. Imagine you are an innocent family living in a country that the US government has labeled an enemy. Imagine walking through your every day life, just trying to build a better life for your children, and yet always being aware that at any moment a drone strike can destroy your lives forever. Think carefully about the temperament and mental balance of the person you want controlling those drones and the command of our military. Vote your conscience then.

I travel all over the world and the two things I am most asked about are our inexcusable gun violence epidemic and the hateful rhetoric that comes from the conservative politicians and is acted upon frequently by millions of citizens who agree with it. A politician giving a speech in Nashville yesterday said 'all around the world, no matter what they say about us, they all want to be us!' While the phrase was rewarded with rousing applause and cheers, I can report back with confidence and authority that among developed industrialized nations, this is simply not the case.

So I urge you all to think very carefully about what you want the next mouthpiece speaking for our nation to sound like. Are we a country of hatred, bigotry, ignorance and exclusion? Or are we instead a country of freedom, opportunities, equality, compassion, tolerance, progress and inclusion. Are we prepared to lead the world or instead are we poised to destroy it?

Everything is at stake. Don't give in to fear and rhetoric. Please consider these issues as if your own lives depended on it, because they do. Find your conscience. Listen to it. Be brutally honest with yourself. And vote your conscience.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dear New Hampshire

To my friends eligible to vote in #NewHampshire today as well as my friends across the #USA, I want to explain why I still support Bernie Sanders for president and have for a long time. #BernieSanders is the only candidate running for #POTUS with plans that will benefit all of us as a nation. Conservatives, liberals, rich, poor, black, white, women, men, everyone. All of #America stands to gain from a Sanders presidency. And our standing in the world will rise considerably.

Here is my layman's analysis of your choices today:

Hillary Clinton: status quo, friend of Wall Street, nothing of change though, not where it counts. She is a terribly divisive and unlikeable character (not really her fault) and no one on the other side wants to work with her. Nothing will get done. I am a feminist. I would love to see a woman lead our nation. If Hillary gets the nomination, I will most likely support her. She is a foreign policy wizard and respected all over the globe.

Bernie Sanders: honest (if a bit whiny), lifelong public servant (mayor, senate, candidate), works well with both parties, has never once waivered from core beliefs and those beliefs have universally been shown to help nations and in the analysis below would being ours to a place we have only dreamt of. His domestic policy is quite literally second to none.

Donald Trump: besides being a complete egomaniacal asshole devoid of substance, he has already done America measurable damage around the world and at home. Trust me, I travel often to other countries and field questions about that guy. He cares nothing about you or your family, ONLY of money, greed, and his own self-image. He is the very definition of a terrible human being.

Ted Cruz: apparently a smart and well educated man, but exemplifies everything that is wrong with the conservative movement. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the ideals of America. Conservatives claim to be Christian... So help the poor as Jesus would or as Bernie Sanders will. House the homeless, feed the poor, and take care of our health. Conservatives also claim to want small government. This is a compete lie. They want HUGE government when it comes to discriminating against certain types of Americans or attacking foreign nations. They speak of Sha'ria law coming to America. Yet it is already here in the form of their Christian conservative movement. It doesn't belong here. No more than Al Qaeda or Isis does.

Marco Rubio: I almost cringe to include him here. But I feel it is important. He is a very dangerous figure. He speaks very well and with passion. He is extremely handsome (compared to the other candidates). His youthful exuberance hides the fact that although he sounds intelligent, he isn't. He is a xenophobic idealogue which should be cured by looking in the mirror. But it isn't. He would be absolute misery for our country.

So there you have it. My take on things. I never know if people think I am brilliant, insane, a complete moron, or some combination of the three. But I lived with our military in the desert for a while. I travel all over the world. I would like to think I bring an educated perspective to these matters.

If you, the people of America can get past all the liberal democrats telling you: hey, Bernie did a good job but it's time to get serious and support Hillary; and if you truly look at the man's record and read his policy papers for a Sanders presidency, I am confident you will come to the same conclusion I have. If you are willing to be honest with yourselves, both republicans and democrats should be supporting Bernie Sanders for President of these United States.

US citizen Russell Wolff

PS He's a funny guy.