Category Archives: Politics

March Was About Human Rights

dani

By Danielle Niemuth

I’ve seen quite a few women using the hash tag #notmymarch and proclaiming that they don’t need feminism. First of all, let’s clear up some definitions.

1. misogyny: dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women
2. misandry: dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men
3. feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.

People often equate feminism with misandry and “bra-burning”. By definition, feminism is for the promotion of equality in the sexes (this would mean it’s against “man hating”, BTW). Now, I think we can all agree that there are physical and mental differences between men and women. So this is when we need to remember that “equal” doesn’t mean “the same”.

A lot of folks want to simplify the Women’s March down to abortion and birth control, but that’s not what it’s about. You can agree or disagree with either of those topics until you’re blue in the face. Are there women and men at the March who support keeping birth control and abortions legal? Yes. Do you need to agree with that in order for this to be your March? Absolutely not.

The March is about human rights. And guess what? #womensrightsarehumanrights. The rights of the LGBT community are human rights. The rights of the disabled, both physically and mentally, are human rights.

Maybe you’ve never felt personally victimized by “the patriarchy” or society as a whole, and I hope that you never do. I hope you’re never the victim of sexual assault, much less one that results in a pregnancy you don’t want. I hope neither you nor your loved ones become disabled and need to rely on government assistance just to get by. I hope that you can continue to live in a blissful world where all of your rights are legally still your rights.

A lot of the posts about #notmymarch use their current rights as reasons for not needing feminism. We have the right to birth control, the right to own a gun, the right to work, the right to an education, the right to vote. But do you know how we, as women, got those rights? We didn’t get them because the government just one day decided to gift them to us. We got them because of women who marched. Maybe those rights will never be taken away, but maybe they will. So I hate to break it to you, but whether or not you agree with topics like abortion or think you don’t need feminism, #thisISyourmarch.

In the Worst of Times

spockette

By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE — Like many American families, we were watching the Election Night results in shock and increasing dismay into the early morning hours.

We flipped channels – from CNN to MSNBC to ABC to PBS – and watched each, hoping to hear some alternative spin to make us feel better, and turned away when we found their faces and voices too irksome.

Optimism turned to pessimism and pessimism into despair.

Meanwhile, our 9-year-old daughter, Sofia, had fallen asleep on the family room love seat before the ominous news became harsh reality.

A day that began with her going into the voting both with her mommy, who let her press the button to vote for what we all thought would be the first woman president of our internally wounded nation, ended with me carry her up the steps.

It used to be a common occurrence, me carrying Sofia to bed. I know it sounds strange, but it was always one of those small joys of parenthood that I not only enjoyed but where I made a small “note to self” to appreciate.

This time, it was different.

It had been a while. She was a lot heavier than she was a few years back, and I have developed more middle-aged aches and pains. Plus, I was more than tired. I was weary. Not only from the results but from the grind.

And from knowing my daughter would awaken to a different America.

I like to say I wear my heart on my sleeve. I wouldn’t call it a fatal flaw. It’s just the way I am. If I’m passionate about something, I can’t suppress it.  And I was passionate about this election cycle, perhaps more than any other in a lifetime of always being interested in politics.

My heart was heavier than Sofia’s body.

Even though her seeing a woman president so early in her formative years was an exciting prospect, I was more somber about who won than who lost.

Truth be told, I was never real high on Hillary Clinton – at least not at this point in time. She was facing a tall order, looking to push eight years of a Democrat in the White House into 12 or 16, and she really was not overly inspiring. That should not necessarily be a qualification for the job, but fact is that is a humungous one. And she picked a milquetoast running mate, which didn’t help her cause.

So, while I was “with her,” since her opponent was non-option for what seemed to obvious reasons, I was not the cheerleader that, say, my wife was during the campaign.

Manning my Facebook battle station, I spent way more time pointing out the infinite flaws of Clinton’s opponent and rarely touting her beyond the obvious, which was that she was so much more qualified that it was both a comedy and tragedy at the same time.

And despite some accusations to the contrary, it had zero to do with Clinton’s gender. I supported her, vigorously, during 2007-2008 primary season. I felt she was better prepared to lead us out the darkness of the Bush years than the new kid in town, Barrack Obama, who seemed to me more like someone who was more a future president than one ready to take the reins.

Once she was edged out by Obama, and once John McCain exercised horrendous judgment by tabbing Sarah Palin as his running mate, I supported Obama in the general election and remained a voice of support – whether in newsprint, here on my blog or in social media battles – throughout his two terms.

When these so-called media experts tried to frame the 2016 election as a foregone conclusion, saying it was going to be a showdown between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, it rubbed me raw.

Is this the best we could do, going back to same two families, I wondered? And was America not founded, theoretically, on the notion of breaking from the concept of royalty?

Turns out, I would have taken that as a choice – even after being one of the few and proud Bernie Sanders backers of my age demographic in the country.

Yes, that’s how bad the end result turned out to be.

I could have lived with another Bush.

We are left with the person, whose name I can’t even bare to write this morning, as he is also part of American royalty but who lacks any political acumen whatsoever.

He was the flashpoint of the “birther movement” that actually had a high number of registered Republicans – people who actually wake up, dress and fed themselves each morning and operate a vehicle to go out into their small bubbled worlds – believing Obama was born in Kenya and a Muslim.

After Obama produced his birth certificate, something no Caucasian president would never have to do, Bill Maher did a bit on his political talk show saying the current president elect should produce a birth certificate saying he was not an orangutan.

And the thin-skinned mogul behind the “birther” push did what he usually does. He lawyered-up, and filed a lawsuit.

What will he do as president? He will be sworn in with multiple court cases and lawsuits – from the serious, to the benign and ridiculous – pending for and against him.

Will he react like a baby to every critique and lampooning sent his way? Will he be able to handle one-tenth of the venom spewed at Obama to last eight years? Are we headed toward a police state?

This, and so many other scary questions, overloaded my brain as I trudged up the steps with Sofia in my arms and as I laid her to sleep and placed a gentle and sorrowful kiss on her cheek.

Before waking her up, I had already received messages from other devastated friends wondering about we tell our kids this morning and what kind of world we are creating for them now.

I got up early and drove our dog, Rex, to his weekly visit to daycare. I tried to lose myself in the music on the radio. As I pulled into the lot, Don Henley’s “End of the Innocence” came on. I sat in my parking spot – with tears welling in my eyes — and pondered the question about ours, and about Sofia.

My innocence has long since been gone, but I already mourn the day when it happens to our princess with a heart of gold.

She is very much her daddy’s daughter, in terms of her emotions. I knew telling her wouldn’t be easy. I was not sure if her mommy would have broken the news by the time I got back home, or if she would be stealing a few extra minutes of sleep before school.

Part of me didn’t want to be there, part of me did.

All of me knew I had to be.

We have woken her up to bad news before – up to and including deaths of pets and family members – and she would immediately burst into tears.

Turned out, she was still in a deep sleep Wednesday morning.

When I whispered the horrifying result to her, she just looked sad and stunned.

“Oh,” she said after a few seconds, “really?”

When I drove to school about 30 minutes later, she was quiet. I asked if she was OK, and she admitted to being a bit sad about it. My gut is that she was more upset for her mommy than anything, but I didn’t push it. Instead, I thought I would lighten the mood. I told her that maybe she would be the first female president.

“Not interested,” she said, flatly.

The thing is, Sofia is a pretty cool kid. She will be OK.

The same TV where we watched the end of the world as we knew it is also one of these newfangled Smart TVs that I was too dumb to figure out for three months before an angel of mercy from XFinity took pity on me and went above and beyond just fixing a phone issue.

Together, on that TV, she has willing been indoctrinated into watching Gordonville classics like “The Wonder Years” and her clear favorite – “Star Trek.”

Sofia has quickly become such a Trekkie already that she has Googled how to make Vulcan Plomeek Soup and announced that we are going to Las Vegas this summer for the next convention.

She was a Vulcan – “Spockette” – for Halloween, and made me wear a yellow Captain Kirk shirt that was so friggin’ tight, even as an XXL, that I could barely breathe.

So I just told her this morning that the election was like a Star Trek episode where they land on a primitive planet and that we will have to think logically to get ourselves to resolution.

Problem is that this is four years – if he lasts that long – not one-hour.

She understood and accepted my logical explanation.

Problem is that we are not in the future, and present-day logic is on life support.

We could use a timely beam-up from Scotty, but all communication has been cut off.

Instead, I’ll have to carry her up the steps.

And even as she ages and grows to the point when I can’t physically do it anymore, I’ll continue to hold her close and carry her anyway.

Even in the worst of times – and it doesn’t get much worse than this – it is all I can do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Cut Is The Deepest

Pence

By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE – A vice presidential candidate walks into a barbershop …

If this sounds like the start of a bad joke, you are picking up on the right scent.

Such was the scene recently in Norristown, when GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, was paired up on an awkward blind date in the inner sanctum of any black community – the barbershop.

Followed by CNN cameras – not like there were any surreal floods or forest fires going on, so why not? – the barber in question had to quell chuckles from the cheap seats as he had to fight through the layers of Brylcreem to kinda sorta cut and style hair that was, literally and figuratively, as white as you could get.

When the dog-and-pony haircut came to its merciful end, the CNN crew accidentally stumbled upon actually “news.”

Turned out the barber was not quite sure who Pence even was, having to ask his name, and then being somewhat taken aback when he learned he was on the same ticket with a candidate who secured his nomination by stoking racial prejudice in what we hope is a vocal minority of mostly angry white males who started demanding their country back a split-second after Barack Obama was elected the first president of color in 2008.

Spin Central tried to sell us that Pence was chosen for the bottom half the GOP ticket to make it look respectable.

Good luck with that.

The choice of Pence as VP wannabe, as exhibited by his track record, was merely an act of doubling down on the Make America Great (i.e. White) Again platform that bullied its away to the nomination.

Pence’s addition to the ticket only underscores the Molotov cocktail of ignorance and arrogance that is a self-imploding campaign that is sagging in the polls against a flawed, and beatable, candidate in Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The barber is not alone in not really knowing Pence.

Criticize him for that if you must, but why should he bother?

The nation has become so turned off by partisan politics that exist and subsist by and for the special interests and big corporations, that it is not too hard to tune it all out.

Fortunately, the information still exists for any who seek it. We may not know what goes on behind closed doors in Mike Pence’s world, but we know the basics from his actions.

For all those like the barber, who don’t really know who he is, considering the following a PSA (public service announcement) from GNN (Gordonville News Network).

Pence is the governor of Indiana. Nothing wrong with that, at least at face value. For those of us who have been there, the people are quite nice – well, up to a point.

John Mellencamp is a native son, as is Larry Bird.

But Indiana is also home to some of the most ridiculously soft gun laws in the country. When they talk about loopholes, put the Hoosier state’s logo on the poster (believe it or not, blind people can even own guns there).

The GOP presidential nominee is touting himself as a “law and order” candidate who will end violence – mostly in America’s urban kill zones (conservative code for where non-whites run amok) – about 12.2 seconds after stepping into office. The city often cited in these disjointed diatribes is Chicago, and it always mentioned how the Windy City has some of the toughest gun laws in the country but still has a mounting body count.

What isn’t mentioned? An estimated twenty percent of the guns used on the streets of Chicago are purchased in nearby Indiana, where Pence is the governor and vice presidential candidate on ticket vowing to save Chicago from its evil ways.

For that many guns — one in five –to come from just one outside state is downright obnoxious.

The blind shooters is only the tip of the gun-nut iceberg that is the Hoosier state. In 2014, Pence spurned state school organizations and signed a bill to allow guns to be allowed in cars on school property. He recruited the NRA to train the National Guard on concealed carry techniques (even when the National Guard questioned why they were being trained by a private agency, as if they couldn’t connect the dots there).

He also signed a bill in which lawsuits against gun manufacturers in Indiana – and sellers of ammunition and firearms – became almost impossible. It also retroactively terminated a lawsuit from the mostly-black city of Gary, Ind., where one would guess he would not be welcomed in many barbershops.

But what did he care? It was designed for the gun industry to view Indiana as gun-dealer friendly. He surely got his cut.

Now, while we know more about this guy with an A grade from the NRA, let’s look at how he came into our orbit in the county seat.

After losing bids for Congress in 1988 and 1990, the historically homophobic Pence built his brand with one of those slanted talk-conservative radio shows — the creatively named “Mike Pence Show” – where pro-gun rhetoric is like a stretching exercise before yoga class.

He billed himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf,” which is kind of like being a Dead Head on hashish.

Pence was elected to the House in 2000, sweeping in on the coattails of George W. Bush’s stolen win over Al Gore in the presidential election and the fact that his perpetually gerrymandered district was vacated when the incumbent ran for governor.

Pence stayed in the House until 2012, earning a battlefield promotion to Republican Conference Chairman (a thrown bone after losing to John Boehner by a country mile for Republican minority leader).

Pence then ran for governor of Indiana in 2012 (the outgoing GOP governor was “term-limited,” so it was not that much of a bold move to walk away from his Tea Party friends in D.C.).

To be fair, Pence made himself fairly visible as a “values” Republican while in the House.

As such, his views are out there. You need not be a political junkie to shoot his poison into your veins.

And these “values” would likely not make him welcome in too many black barbershops — let alone Mexican restaurants (opposed birthright citizenship) or places where women dare think to do anything but cook and clean and bring their husbands martinis (strongly advocated defunding planned parenthood).

If the Tea Party had the guts to set the rest of the GOP free from bondage and form their own party, Pence would be right there with Sarah Palin as a leader.

Consider the following:

-Pence declared that “freedom won today” when the Supreme Court took the people out of the political process with its Citizen’s United ruling in 2010.

-He voted against raising the minimum wage in 2007 because a hike from $5.15 to $7.25 would “hurt the working poor.”

-He was all in, from the jump, on Bush’s war of folly in Iraq that created thousands of American casualties, with a disproportionate number being black or Hispanic, and opposed withdrawal.

-As the GOP stance on immigration mysteriously softens, consider that Pence – as far back as 2006 – proudly put forward an immigration policy he dubbed “No Amnesty Immigration Reform.” Right on cue, he didn’t need more than a split-second to vote down the DREAM act to give children of undocumented workers non-immigration status.

Had enough?

We’ll send you away with these fun facts:

-He denies climate change, as he is still waiting on the facts not presented by 99 percent of scientists (whisper: he also claims that the full effects of tobacco use are not yet known).

-He opposes embryonic stem cell research, claiming those breakthroughs are “obsolete.”

-He believes in evolution.

Impressed when he showed up for a photo opp recently in Louisiana after horrific flooding, were we? Consider that he wanted to limit funding for Hurricane Katrina relief in 2005.

So, people, that’s Mike Pence.

And the first time he ever went against his own party’s playbook may have been when he walked into a black barbershop in Norristown.

And the barber didn’t know his name.

That was a well-deserved slap in the face.

 

Double Vision and Head Games

Split Screen

By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@managing2edit

GORDONVILLE – Go ahead, look up at that picture. Study it closely. It will tell you a lot about who you are and which side you are on in this country strewn by an endless and vicious cycle of subdivisions.

The picture has been making the rounds on Facebook a lot lately. What makes it intriguing in Meme World is that is a missile deployed by both supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders and those diametrically opposed – supporters of Donald Trump.

Sanders is on the left — naturally (wink) — getting arrested during a Civil Rights protest in Chicago, where he attended college. Trump is on the right, donning a military-style uniform that has medals attached to the chest (and it is not from his “college years,” as the labeling suggests).

Sanders people will say that their man was standing up for others, instead of attending a folk hootenanny and calling it a college experience. Trump backers will say that Sander was a malcontent while their man must have been in the military – perhaps serving in Vietnam – while hippies hid behind their fake morals and causes.

Well, every picture tells a story, and these two pictures – melded into one – tell a story as well.

And here it is.

While Democratic rival Hillary Clinton was campaigning for segregationist Barry Goldwater at the time, Sanders was fighting for Civil Rights and rightfully wears that past proudly. The picture is real. And the arrest – for disorderly conduct and a $25 fine — is listed in newspaper clippings.

The picture was snapped during a 1963 rally against segregation in Chicago, which was in line with Sanders leading a rally against draconian segregating campus housing policies. Sanders, a student organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), was passionate enough about this cause to be on the front lines on the home front.

Trump, contrary to what a lot of people would like to believe, never came close to a battlefield – whether in Vietnam or on the streets of a nation as divided by black and white as he has helped make it again with his presidential run.

The son of a wealthy Nazi sympathizer and closet Klansman, Trump was so misbehaved that he was shipped off to military school – the New York Military Academy (NYMA) – for eighth grade and kept there in high school.

At NYMA, he played dress up and marched around enough to be called a “captain.” Hence, the above picture – and “punch-me, please” smirk.

While he has arrogantly claimed to have emerged from this glorified reform school for rich kids more prepared for war than “most in the military,” he curiously avoided Vietnam with Houdini-like prowess.

Declared medically eligible in 1966, Trump received four student deferments while attending Fordham. In 1968, when the time came to show off his soldiering skills, he suddenly developed “bone spurs” in one – or both – feet (he can’t seem to remember).

“I actually got lucky because I got a high draft number,” he has since been quoted as saying.

No doubt he did. Money buys a lot in this country. It even buys you the ability to magically “get lucky” – which those who served, or who lost loved ones, should be deeply offended — but then have the gall to turn around and pander to veterans for support with a empty “Make American Great Again” slogan.

The thing is this, though. Who cares?

Our culture tends to judge the man by what war he fought and deduct testosterone points if he didn’t (even if, like Barack Obama, there was no war in which to serve during the “man-up” years).

In case you haven’t guessed, I am supporting Sanders for president. And while his past of being on the right side of history at almost every turn makes for a nice back story, it is more about what he is standing for in the present – with visions of a less dismal future for coming generations — that has made more passionate about a presidential candidate as I ever been in my five decades on the planet.

I believe Trump has appealed to the lowest common denominator among the American populace, ripping some pages out of Adolph Hitler’s shameful playbook, and that’s just unacceptable (Plus, I developed a strong dislike for the guy when he ruined the USFL back in the 1980s.).

I would rather see former Eagles’ coach Rich Kotite elected president over Trump, but it has little to do with what did or didn’t do during the war.

Anyone who served in Vietnam was a pawn in a game, poor kids offering themselves up as sacrificial lambs at the behest of their rich masters. It was not the World War of their fathers and uncles. It was an ugly and needless war.

But in that place and time, in that moment, there was not much choice for some but to go when called. And we have no choice but to thank them for their service and try and comprehend what they endured.

Anyone who didn’t serve was being just as brave, just in a different way. Sanders was a conscientious objector, and does not pull a Fred Astaire – like Trump, with the rotating bone spurs — when asked. He didn’t believe in the war, but does not disrespect those who served. He has a long history in government of standing up for the rights of veterans – often working across the aisle with Republicans – to back that up.

How veterans support Trump but not Sanders amazes me as much as how blacks, especially in the South, can support Clinton over a man like Sanders, who attended the 1963 march on Washington and was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech.

Trump? Well, as outlined above, it’s a little murky what he was all about back then. While it should not change to much in the present, we are in some serious perception and reality terrain and we could use a GPS to find our way out of Meme Hell. It should be cause for pause for anyone looking at the picture above with an objective eye.

I admit I don’t have one, but I will tell you what I see.

I see Sanders as the hero here, not Trump. I will choose wisely.

If Trump went to war, and served admirably, different story. He seemingly hid behind daddy’s checkbook and got deferments. If you think that’s OK, what you are really saying is that Civil Rights – Sanders’ war at home — was not a just cause.

And that is why America was not great then, or now, and won’t be until we face that reality and deal with it.

 

 

 

 

No Room At The Inn

https://ingordonville.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/no-room-at-the-inn_01.mp3No-Room-At-The-Inn

No Room At The Inn

A stampede on Black Friday
My brother got a bruised lip
Put up our decorations
Get chills as the tree is lit
No need to see the priest
I am cool with all my sins
We have our nativity scene
But there’s no room at the inn

Sat up for the late, late show
Saw Voyage of the Damned
That can’t be the truth
Just another Hollywood sham
America was at its best then
Don’t you dare flip the script
Had none of these holiday trees
And there was no room at the inn

Took a bus to Ellis Island
The Statue of Liberty too
Give me your tired, your poor
Huddled mass can’t look like you
You better learn to speak English
Like my kinfolk sorta did
It’s somewhere in the scriptures
That there’s no room at the inn

Gonna put it on the line
It’s all about me and mine
They got some strange ways
And that’s all I am gonna say
Maybe I’ve gone blind
Maybe I’ve gone numb
It’s hard to know the facts
So easy to stay dumb

I can’t see my enemy’s face
Just blends in with the crowd
I have the only solution
It’s best just to keep them all out
Well, I ain’t scared of nothing
Just some women and their kids
Get me a new gun for Christmas
There’s no room at the inn

No room at the inn

-Gordon Glantz

A Syrian