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Gender: Male
Hometown: Maryland
Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 10:39 PM
Number of posts: 78,055

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Centrist and Moderate pols will be the biggest electoral college defenders in any reform effort

...because they stand to lose the most if it's eliminated.

Most of our party's support comes from large cities and urban areas where the vast majority of Americans are clustered, and who are decidedly more progressive than rural and central regions of the nation. Rural voters have a disproportional influence on the Dem party, buttressed by the electoral college, which forces the majority of us to cater to 'centrists,' basically conservatives who don't give a damn how most of us live.

Moreover, "fully a quarter of the nation’s economic output comes from just a handful of the largest metropolitan areas: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco."

Centrist-dominated politics are a drag on progress for most Americans, including on those who live outside traditionally Democratic regions of the country. The only cause endemic to Democrats they justifiably advance is this anti-democratic adherence we're seemingly inextricably bound to, using the Electoral College as an arbiter of what the nation wants and needs.

Thing is, that adherence to the EC keeps centrist-dominated states insulated from progress, and only serves to protect those things which keep those regions poor and socially deficient; keep people from affordable healthcare; from being allowed basic human rights; only serves to keep those states and regions from realizing the full beneficence we endow in the federal government, keeping their people impoverished and fettered by their conservatism.

That's the reality, and it's the reason we won't have truly representational democracy in America until rural and centrist states and regions recognize that the Electoral College protects the cynical, avaricious interests of centrist and conservative pols, more than it benefits the people who live there.

A Sentimental Journey

I know most of us are heeding the warnings about traveling and visiting family this Thanksgiving, but every year I have a hankering to pull this old softie out to commemorate the Thanksgiving holiday. It's the dominant theme and music running through my head this time of year, and I just can't resist giving it one more spin . . .

____ I'M staying home this Thanksgiving and our two adult boys have only to travel the stairway to the upstairs to eat a decent meal, and to grace my wife and me with their interminable charm and wit. It's nice to not have to gussy-up and head out to the in-laws. I'm going to have old movies on all day and board games later. Who can ask for anything more?

I haven't always shunned traveling to see relatives on the holidays. Nowadays there's just us 'kids' to gather together, since all of the old ones are gone. There's also a sibling each on both sides of our family missing from the table, as well, so getting together for the holidays these days is less ordered and optional. But there was a time when traveling to see the in-laws for the holidays was a pretty big deal.

Bad blood between my parents and their brothers and sisters always prevented my family from traveling with more than one of them when they journeyed back to their hometowns. Mom would usually take my only sister and me, by train, to Charleston, WVa., to see our grandfather; Dad would drive us to Reading, Pa. to visit his family.

Union Station in D.C. was my mom's territory. We'd usually arrive on the run, with the baggage porter following behind with our luggage. We'd hit the train platform with the steam blasting across our path and get a hand up onto the train from the most polite men I've ever encountered (sometimes just as the train was starting to pull out of the station). We'd pull the sliding door between the train open and settle back into the mohair-covered seats with the paper-covered headrests and watch out the window as the city shrank out of sight.

The long journey always led me to memorize every contour of the yellowing plastic controls on the handle of the seats, and to balance the weight of the elegantly molded metal footrests that I raised and lowered incessantly (to my mother's practiced consternation). As I type this, I'm looking at one of the little hand games that she'd pull out of her purse to keep us occupied that she saved over the years. It's one of those little plastic board puzzles with sliding letters that you had to unscramble with the benefit of only one open space. I've also got one with the Adams Family on it, and there were ones with ball-bearings and holes like a miniature pinball machine.

In-between fiddling and snacking on the saltines and mints she'd pocketed from the many restaurants we'd frequented, I'd steal a little freedom from my schoolteacher mom and make a couple of adventurous trips through the doors separating the trains to the restroom. It was a rather chaotic arrangement where the trains were coupled in those days, often with little more than a chain or bar keeping you from falling out the sides between the cars. Later, there would be a more elaborate barrier, but the effect was still the same rush of danger as you could see the tracks whizzing by underneath the shifting metal plates on the floor. I can remember sticking my little head outside of one of the windows to recklessly gauge the violent wind as the train sped along.

When we'd arrive at the station in Charleston, Granddad would be waiting with his huge Oldsmobile that smelled like the cigars, pipes, and Pall Malls he smoked constantly; smelled like the spittoon he spat in that sat beside the patched-up red recliner where he watched his ball games with the sound turned up way loud and his eyes closed.

The rest of the trip was a memorable and exhausting string of visits to relatives -- capped off by an extraordinary meal at my cousin Gussy's who would cook greens in ham fat until they literally melted in your mouth. She had two trees in her front yard that were painted white halfway up the trunk and tiny red bugs crawled up and down. There was an active railroad track a few feet from her back door where we'd put pennies on the rail for the passing trains to flatten. Life was ancient and slow in Charleston; as slow as the snails we poured salt on; as deliberate as my Uncle Moore who would be watching the game with an unbreakable concentration . . . except for that one day when I came down hard on the ground with a branch in my hand from one of the trees out front and he thought I might be dead.

Travel on the holidays with Dad was a decidedly less formal affair. There weren't any of the social rules and the prim and proper trappings that Mom insisted on maintaining while in her company. The three of us would pile into one of his Impalas (Caprices) and hit the turnpike. There would be rest stops and Stuckeys along the way with string licorice, frosted funnel cakes, and giant lollipops to make our little exodus more enjoyable.

We'd sing every song we knew on the AM dial out loud, the three of us. Roger Miller would come on dozen or more times and we'd belt out every line of 'King of the Road'. I think it was Doris Day who would come on with 'You Are My Sunshine', and Sinatra would sing 'Sentimental Journey' as we sang along with the radio. We were the best of friends in that car, away from the strict eye and tongue of my well-meaning mother.

Even my Dad would abandon his suits for the trip (he'd change out of his work suit and tie everyday and put on another to go shopping) and opt for his Army fatigues and sweatshirt. He was the only one of 9 kids to make it out of that town, so the buttoned-down bureaucrat look just wouldn't cut it in the town he said was famous for 'pretzels, prostitutes, and beer' . . . We'd eat at Grandma's house and Granddad would even be welcomed back for dinner.

Grandma was a striking Indian woman with long blond-white hair and a voice that sounded like angels purring -- but she was a powerful woman who raised her nine children on Relief after Granddad had fled with them, up to Reading from Black Mountain, N.C., after he had some trouble with the sheriff. He kept the kids out of school until the state would agree to provide clothes for them and about half of them ended up integrating the Quaker school there. Later in life, Granddad could be found every day outside of the factory gates at noon and at quitting time watching the women go by.

All of their kids but two would show up (one who died young from a stabbing, the other died young due to another misfortune of their rough life). One Uncle had to sneak in after dark as the sheriff would always lay in wait to try and arrest him (especially at the funerals) for neglecting the several children he had here and there around town. We'd eat a magnificent meal cooked in the tiny kitchen at the back of the house in iron skillets and served on thick, ancient porcelain dinnerware. Granddad, dressed in his purple suit, yellow shirt, and green shoes, would say grace . . .

I own all of these holiday memories from my childhood now, as all of the members of the immediate family I grew up with have passed on. I can only remember the good and the bad times with equal nostalgia. I am the only one left who can recall the sights, smells, and flavor of that past. It's all become part of a wonderful stew of memories to measure my own family's holiday experiences against. Holiday travel; always a sentimental journey . . .

Gonna take a sentimental journey
Gonna set my heart at ease
Gonna make a sentimental journey
To renew old memories

Got my bag, I got my reservation
Spent each dime I could afford
Like a child in wild anticipation
Long to hear that: "All aboard!"

Seven, that's the time we leave at - seven
I'll be waiting up for heaven
Counting every mile of railroad track - that takes me back

Never thought my heart could be so yearning
Why did I decide to roam
Gotta take this sentimental journey
Sentimental journey home

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Girl Of My Dreams

It's my 41th wedding anniversary and I dragged out up this true story I wrote out a few years back (for my wife to read again), hopefully finding room this weekend to share it with folks here, again. . . I loved relating this story here, and just can't help reliving with such a caring and generous community that resides here at DU. So, fwiw..

____Is there someone you met in the past who so captivated you that their image and the event was permanently planted into the recesses of your memory to be measured against all others? I'm not talking about some consummated meeting or relationship, but a brief, almost casual encounter which left you imagining what life would have been had you said or done something differently or pursued them more aggressively.

I was eighteen and making my first stand away from home in Cumberland Md..when I met her. I had just been released a few months earlier from what the State called a forestry camp atop Mt. Savage outside of Lonaconing, Md.. I had stolen some stuff the summer before (as a juvenile) gotten caught, and had been granted the benefit of an alternative to the frightful detention center by a judge exasperated that I'd spurned his home detention ruling and skipped town to pass my eighteenth birthday with two of my best friends in a barn on the property of a girls school on an old Shaker community property right across the Mass. border in upstate N.Y..

We had taken a train ride to visit my buddy Gary's girlfriend who was in residence there; an impulsive decision to travel made after a night which began with a Neil Young concert which opened with Neil sitting cross-legged atop a massive box singing 'Silver Mountain' to a crowd which didn't stop cheering from beginning to end - and finished off with a gallon bottle of port wine shared between us in a church parking lot.

We spent five glorious, life-transforming days in N.Y. drinking brandy by day and Southern Comfort every night. One of the memories which sticks out was stumbling upon what I believe was a grave site in the middle of an overgrown woods with several short stone columns arranged in a rectangle, linked by an enormous iron chain, and a short monument or marker at one end. I tripped over the chain, and unable, somehow, to regain my feet, I crawled over to the stone obelisk to read the inscription. I memorized it:

"In loving memory of the members of the Shaker community," it read, "who dedicated their lives to humanity, passed on to immortality. Hands to work, hearts to God."

That evening I took my friends to the top floor of one of the aging barns and showed them where I had taken my pocket knife and scratched each of our names into the wooden wall at one end. Underneath them I had carved, "Lest We Forget."

I eventually surrendered and called home to face the music right after we were discovered in the barn and escorted to a truck stop at the state line by a school administrator. Dad arranged passage for me on a plane home and I literally said goodbye to my youth (and my friends) right then and there at the airport as they went on to spend more time in Mass. and I went home to jail.

I did my court-ordered time in a state-run forestry camp cutting dead trees down with a crosscut saw and cutting them into cords with the same aggravating tools. We split the $10-$12 dollars we earned between the 11 of us . . . I took the time to study botany out of a book one of the bus drivers for the camp gave me. I made plans to be a forester and I spent my nights reading and studying from his advanced text.

I got myself admitted to Allegheny State College while I was still locked-up and, after I was released, I had my Dad drive me to Cumberland and drop me off at the Y.M.C.A. in the middle of town. It was dingy and had a weird smell, but, when the old man put $75 dollars in travelers' checks in my hand and drove off, I was at the top of the world . . . for about an hour or so.

The small town was indifferent to downright hostile to my presence. That was something that took this suburban boy a while to get used to. I had imagined working and going to school, but it quickly became apparent that there wasn't going to be work to be had anywhere I could travel to in that miserable place.

I ended up staying on the Y.M.C.A roof for a few nights until I got caught. Desperate and running out of cash, I talked a nice lady into letting this would-be student rent a room. I got lucky. I got a nice place with a sink, stove, a bed, and a bath. I readjusted myself and headed out into town the first night.

Center Street runs down the middle of Cumberland with the hospital and graveyard up above and the railroad tracks down below. I headed up there with the few bucks I had left to see if I could buy some weed or anything other than beer. I had just turned 18 that year, but I had no ID at all, so I wasn't even in a good position to buy alcohol (even if I wanted it). So, I took a good position against the wall outside of one of the string of bars and waited . . . and waited. After awhile, a few folks came by and walked over to me, hoping the the stranger had better connections than they did. Good luck with that. I got a few promises that they'd come back if the guy they knew came through . . . I waited some more.

After an eternity, something was finally happening across the street. There came a girl, in a hurry past a group of guys who were walking on the same side. They hooted and cajoled at this chick, and, all at once, I realized that if I wanted any action at all I was definitely on the wrong side of the street. I could've been over there hooting and whistling at the only decent girl I'd seen in the entire time I had been in town.

I was kicking myself, when suddenly, she was right beside me! The girl from across the street had gone by and doubled back to where I was leaning against the wall.

"Can you please do me a favor?" she asked. "Can I just stand here by you until they leave? I can't handle it when they do that," she said, "and I'm scared of them. Can I just stand here until they're gone?"

I was in shock, because I hadn't had more than a few minutes of casual conversation with any female in my life. Now this girl wouldn't shut up. She went on and on about how she hated it when men did 'that' -- how she hated to be treated like an object, and so on, and on.

"Don't you?" she asked, not waiting for the answer. "You looked like a kind person and I knew I'd be safe standing here, I hope you don't mind."

Truth is, I did sort of mind. Here was, perhaps, the girl of my dreams, asking me to come to her house to meet her brother who played guitar and might know where to get some weed . . . "Are you coming?" she asked, now walking away toward the street where she lived. I waited until she was a ways down the street before I resigned myself to give up my vigil for weed and follow. She looked back and I waved her on.

"I'm, coming, I'm coming," I waved her on again and followed her home. Sure enough, her brother was there with a friend. No weed, but this girl was growing on me. She was staying in a one floor building (shack) at the rear of another larger home. Her painted art was scattered all over the place and there was a quirky self-portrait hanging right by the front door. It was the perfect hippie haven -- even without the weed.

We talked for a few hours, her brother left, and eventually, so did I - with just a memorable and careful kiss goodbye in the moonlight - but, after a long sleepless night with the impression of that kiss spurring me on, I went back to her house the next day with a couple of Grolsh beers and some carnations that I blew the last of my money on. I threw away the tacky paper they were wrapped in and presented them and myself, once again, to my future, surprised, but pleased, wife-to-be.

I remember she put a Steve Miller album on her simple stereo and our mutual tastes for music immediately put me at ease. It was my very first time in a young adult's home, however, and I marveled at something as simple as a refrigerator full of food, and that she actually cooked.

We'd been eating and talking awhile and I heard this noise from the backroom. She played it off, but there it was again! I got up and opened the back bedroom door and there he was -- a little bitty baby boy. She had been thinking the kid was some kind of deal-breaker and had kept the lid on him, I was totally cool with it, and I wondered if she would let me stay and hang out with them. I was still such a kid, myself, she being 4 years my senior. I lied to her about my age . . .

Later that evening her landlord delivered a letter in which he had tripled her rent. The call we got that night with a woman whispering 'n****r-lover, n****r-lover over the line put the sudden rent increase into perspective. One night and a day in her house and the townfolk had revolted against us. I resolved to stay one more night.

I was supposed to go to my first day of college the next morning, but after a night of my first real lovemaking, we both heard a rooster crow and realized then that her blackout curtains had hidden the full morning and afternoon which had unfolded away from our view. I had blown my first day of college. We both decided we would leave town together and set up another house in College Park Md.. She packed up the next day, gave me her last $175 dollars, put me on a bus and we promised to meet the next day when her friend brought her and her son to College Park, I guess to stay with my sister until we got settled.

What a crazy plan, as I look back on it. She was leaving the town where her mother, father, and her younger brother were living; practically her home town, given the years she had lived there after moving from Falls Church Va.. She was going to meet me at the entrance of the University of MD that next afternoon with a car full of everything she owned. Insane. Yet, there I was on the bus back to my hometown of Bethesda, Md.. There I was, back on the street, out drinking with my buddies.

There I was, in jail for trespassing when she arrived the next day; me, nowhere in sight. By a hair of luck, she reached my sister, practically minutes before just heading back to Cumberland. I wrote her a poem in jail which I held up to the window between us in the visitor's room:

I am where I am
Meant to be
I am settled here
For warm currents of love
Pulling you
In a wide circle
Past the place
Where I am waiting
And you drift back
To me, after all.
Gather me
Up in your journey
I belong
Where you are going
Like the first night
We met
As I sat waiting
Where I had been
Drawn up in the
Warm currents of love
That carried us
Here together.

We married a couple of months later -- poorer than when we arrived, but deeper in love.

Now my wife is certainly my dream girl, but I'd be lying if I said she was the only girl etched into my memories of my youth. There was one particular encounter that burned into my memory and flooded my imagination with things that might-have-been on one of those glorious summer days which never seemed to end; then ended way too soon.

My friends and I used to pile into a van or car and just head out, barefoot, to the country with our guitars, our weed, and our craziness. We'd go down to Great Falls and climb around on the rocks or track through the woods before settling in a circle somewhere and passing the bowl around. We'd go to Sugarloaf Mountain and we'd climb to the top to just look out and ride the world.

Funny thing was, my wife had also taken day-trips during her youth to most of the same spots my gang liked to hang out -- like Sugarloaf, the Falls (on the opposite Virginia side), or the quarry at the base of Sugarloaf Mt., full of amazingly blue spring water with frighteningly high cliffs to dive off.

In fact, we seemed to live dual lives, even though she lived in Falls Church, Va. and I lived in Bethesda, Md.. We both lived like our hippie idols; already (happily) out of touch with the rest of society before we met and married. We both grew up listening to James Taylor, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Rod Stewart played over and over again on WINX radio. Later, we both grew up further listening to WHFS; me, enjoying their station situated in my home town, and she, listening to the alternative folk-rock from her town in Falls Church. It kind of shaped us the same way. Kind of folky and artsy. . . hippie wannabes.

We'd seen some of the same concerts and both had enjoyed Georgetown's then-bohemian weekends in their heyday. We'd talk about those days as we grew older together as if we'd lived them together and not from opposite states. It's a blessing to share similar memories to recall together. We'd climbed the same mountains, swam the same lakes; albeit, apart from one another; oblivious to each others existence. We'd both swam the crystal-blue waters in Dickerson Quarry at the foot of Sugarloaf, braving the high cliffs and having the time of our lives partying with the dozens who showed up there every summer.

In fact, it was at Dickerson quarry where I met one particular girl - one I obsessed on; a girl I measured all others against; a momentary encounter I had recreated and embellished in my head a thousand times a year thereafter.

I still remember that summer afternoon as clearly as if it was yesterday. Two guys I knew, Peter and Alex, had gotten wind of a fellow who was going to drive the motorcycle that had killed his buddy off of the highest cliff at Dickerson. A bunch of us piled into Peter's van and drove to the quarry so we could see the happening and so they could film it with their new video camera. A pretty large crowd gathered on the banks of the quarry and watched the spectacle unfold. The biker revved his engine a couple of times, hesitated, and then drove straight off the cliff into the water. He fell for what seemed like an eternity, then finally, flipped forward over the handlebars as the bike fell out under him. Big cheers all around as he surfaced, mostly unharmed.

Not to be outdone (I was actually outdone), I took my first 'dive' off of the next-to-longest drop. I got out of the water and took a second dive off of '14', the tallest drop (not anywhere close to 14 anything - more like 100 or something). Well, I got bored and decided to show-off for my indifferent hosts just one more time. I headed through the woods to the cliff we called the 'running-jump'. The trick to this cliff was that it sloped outward so far that you had to get a good run up before jumping way out to avoid the cliff and the little pine growing out from the rocks underneath.

I got to the top of the cliff and looked out. By that time I was shivering so badly that I could feel the ground shaking beneath my trembling legs. I was both cold and scared. I thought of giving up, but the folks I had told to watch were at '14' waiting. I paced around in the woods awhile, shivering and shaking uncontrollably now. I resigned myself to give up and walk away.

I had just hit the path when I spotted someone running towards me and the cliff. It was a girl! Yes. Exclamation point, girl!

"Hey man!" she said to me, as if she knew me. She was at least a head taller than me, and real aggressive. My sister was the only girl that tall who had EVER bothered to say more than a word to me; especially not "hey man" like I was cool or something. But, I was cool. Cool as shit. Damn cool. But, my hair had gotten wet and I had on my uncontrollable clown hair with one side inevitably sticking up higher than the other. I felt like an idiot there, bare bird-chested, shaking like a leaf.

She didn't seem to care. "So, you gonna jump, man?" she asked me, with respect and attention that I'd never really experienced from a girl before; especially not an older one.

"Yeah, but I'm chickening out, I think." I said, not bothering to care how wimpy I sounded. "I'm cold and shivering . . . are you going?" I asked her.

"Yeah man," she said. "It's not hard. You just have to jump out way far."

"I've been practicing jumping as far as I can into the woods to get ready." I said.

"You don't have to do all that, man. Just get back as far as you can to get a good run. It's easy." And with that, we both went to the edge and looked out and down. "I'm going," she told me. "I'll wait for you at the bottom if you decide to go."

With that, she went as far back into the woods as she was able, ran to the edge of the cliff and propelled herself out and down into the water. There she waited, wading water as she called for me to go next. There was no way I wasn't going, so I loaded up whatever courage I had, made myself realize that could be my last moment alive on earth, and I jumped . . . I landed right beside her.

"Cool, man," she had said to me, or something like that. I thanked her briefly and she said goodbye and swam over to 'Beetle' -- the smallest drop in the quarry; where most of the girls drew the line if they were inclined at all to jump off of cliffs into crystal-blue water.

So, from that brief encounter, I had experienced the most time with a girl in my entire 14 years on the planet -- and she was taller and older, at that! Silly, I know, but, you see, I'd had just a few close encounters with girls before I met my wife, and, whenever I thought of Dickerson quarry, I also fantasized about what that moment would have been like; if I had just taken more advantage, perhaps.

I fantasized about that moment for so many years, that there I was sitting listening to music with my wife of 25 years on day long removed from that iconic summer of my youth; thinking of Dickerson quarry and remembering that wonderful girl who had made me feel less of the gangly kid I was and more the way I'd imagined myself to be. I relived the magical afternoon that moment and tracked the distance in my mind across the quarry and back to where my friends had been watching.

I remember that I got back to the top of '14' and the guys that gave me a ride were nowhere to be found. I had waited until, finally, they came out of the woods with their camera and sheepish grins on their faces. As I recalled in my daydream, they'd found two girls in the woods by 'Beetle' rock and had filmed them in their immodesty. . .

Pink Floyd was playing the same song on the stereo that had consoled me in the van on the way back home that summer day way-back-when, daydreaming along with 'Breathe' of my ultimate romantic encounter with a girl.

Breathe, breathe in the air
Don't be afraid to care
Leave but don't leave me
Look around and choose your own ground
For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be...

I turned off the music. Silence.

"Honey. Listen . . . I have something I want to ask you," I said to my wife. "Listen, it's important."

"Okay," she replied, not certain what confession was forthcoming; not sure if she should be interested or angry.

"Do you remember," I asked, "that you told me once that you'd seen a guy ride a motorcycle off of the cliff at Dickerson Quarry. Do you remember that?" I asked.

"Yes," she answered. "I'd driven up there with Becky because she told me this guy was going to do it, so we went to see him."

"How many times did someone ride a bike . . .," I thought to myself. "Honey," I asked slowly, taking a deep breath as I waited for the answer. I had something . . . "Did you see a couple of guys with a video camera that afternoon (so very rare in those days) trying to take your picture?" I asked her.

"Yes I do," she said, after a short pause. "I was hiding in the woods because my shirt was wet and see-thru," she explained. She had to get it by now . . . That persisting vision of Peter and Alex at the end of my mind-reel of memories from that day was the missing piece of the puzzle. Why hadn't we realized this earlier?

"I knew those guys," I told her. "They brought me to the quarry that day to see the motorcycle jump. Honey," I said, "I've got something to tell you. We met that day. No, really met, in a big way."

I told her about the running jump; the tom-girl a head taller than me, and my years of daydreaming on that magic moment in the woods . . .

"You're kidding . . ."

After talking it through, we realized it was absolutely true. Turns out, the woman I had married 25 years earlier, without realizing it, was the very woman I had spent almost 30 years daydreaming about -- in fact, dreaming about at that very moment.

She remembered, at once, a skinny brown kid with lips blue from cold; helping me overcome my fear of jumping off of the cliff; going first and waiting to make sure I was safe... a perfect metaphor for our lives together.

Much to our surprise and my chagrin over 'cheating' on my wife at that moment, dredging up memories of that youthful encounter at the quarry - memories I had held as precious and defining of my youth for years and years - I had, in fact, actually married the girl of my dreams.

Happy anniversary, my dear.

Salad days...

Where are the calls to get to know the Biden voter?

Eugene Scott @Eugene_Scott 2h
“The former vice president could win as many as 306 electoral votes, exactly Trump’s 2016 haul. Yet there is no clamor for Republicans to get to know ‘the Biden voter,’” ⁦@EJDionne https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dont-define-bidens-victory-down/2020/11/08/ea3dbe4e-207c-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html

____Consider that in 2016, Trump won only 46 percent of the popular vote, losing it to Hillary Clinton by nearly 2.9 million ballots. He carried the three key states by minuscule margins — Michigan by 10,704, Wisconsin by 22,748 and Pennsylvania by 44,292.

Yet conservative commentators used this flimsy victory to insist that the media, liberals, academics and “coastal people” bow before the altar of “the Trump voter.” (As it happens, most Democrats, and particularly Biden, needed no lessons in empathy for working-class voters — of all races.) A thuggish Republican whose share of the vote was barely larger than John McCain’s in 2008 and smaller than Mitt Romney’s in 2012 was suddenly the prophet of a new age.

Now, look at what Biden achieved. He won the vote with 75 million ballots — more than any presidential candidate in history — and enjoys a lead of more than 4 million that is likely to grow substantially.

Biden’s margins in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are comparable to Trump’s in 2016 while his margin in Michigan is more than 10 times larger. The former vice president could win as many as 306 electoral votes, exactly Trump’s 2016 haul.

Yet there is no clamor for Republicans to get to know “the Biden voter,” no call on conservatives to be more in touch with the country they live in.

read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dont-define-bidens-victory-down/2020/11/08/ea3dbe4e-207c-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html

...a clear majority of Americans live in blue 'coastal' states.

Red states (and others) should recognize the results of this election where the vast majority of Americans who voted for Joe Biden did not materialize from their communities, but from districts which are decidedly less conservative.

I'm done with trash takes on our party from republicans who denounced Trump

...and no, I'm not providing examples. You know who they are.

Trump trashed their house and they've come stay with us until he leaves. But that doesn't make them family. If they want to join us as Democrats, fine, but if they don't their first task is confronting McConnell and McCarthy, not opening up on Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, or even rank-and-file members like AOC, or any other of our party's progressive members.

That's not their place, and they need to come correct if they want anyone to align with them.

Angst about the closeness of Joe Biden's imminent win misses what we've accomplished

...it stands to any reason that a victory is important here, but this one shouldn't be looked at like it's some kind of harbinger of a hopelessly broken electorate.

If you thought our racial and social divisions were going to be solved on election day, you might be a bit disappointed this morning, even as we angle to unseat the defacto leader of the nation's white supremacist movement. But you're on the right track in expecting for the election to begin the task of reparing some of the tears to our social fabric.

Here's the thing. Achieving the presidency will be just as consequential as it was for Trump's ascendance to office-this time for the good. There will be actual leadership, changing outcomes for Americans and changing minds.

This time we will have a president who got to office with the support of a clear majority of votes cast, something which appears to be a Democratic hallmark, a measure of legitimacy not shared by the opposition. Moreover, Joe Biden will have achieved the presidency against a virulently autocratic incumbent, something remarkable and significant no matter how you view the strength of the incumbency.

Look at what Trump did with three million-plus votes in the hole. Joe Biden will exceed that 2016 margin and begin governing with the actual support of a majority of Americans. Imagine that.

Looking Back At That Awful Day - Remembering How This Began

..here's what I wrote to the temporary server when DU was hacked:

ON Tuesday, less than half of America declared war on their fellow Americans by sending a dangerously unstable demagogue, a obsessive compulsive megalomaniac, to lord over us in the White House. Prominent among those who voted for Donald Trump was a sizable bloc of people who share his racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and bigoted views.

As I sit here watching Pres.-elect Trump's plane land, as he makes his way to the White House after accepting the invitation of the man he insisted for years wasn't a U.S. citizen, and unqualified to be president, I'm absolutely overwhelmed with anxiety and foreboding for the futures of my fellow countryfolk.

I’m looking at the official reception of Trump’s presidency, and I’m witnessing a critical disconnect between the warnings Pres. Obama gave about a man with Trump's character and temperament assuming responsibility for our nuclear arsenal, as well as the rest of the myriad levers and hair-triggers of the presidency - mechanisms which can work to keep us safe and secure, or, conversely, plunge our lives into chaos and devastation - contrasted against the post-election politeness coming from him and Trump’s campaign rival, Hillary Clinton, urging us to 'keep an open mind,' and to give this man room to succeed.

So much of the Trump appeal in the campaign was directed at assuaging those forces which are actively working to limit or eliminate our government's protections, defenses, or aid to the vulnerable, imperiled, or afflicted among us. There was zero conciliation with the targets of his often vindictive agenda - no healthcare alternative offered, for example, to replace the Obamacare he pledged to repeal; no regard expressed for the innocent, productive, but undocumented residents who are now facing a very real threat of a major upheaval of their lives as Trump and his republican-dominated legislature threaten to muscle them out of the country, as he promised. Only his self-promoting insistence that whatever he devised would suit us all.

Trump supporters at the polls voted to effectively allow 100's of thousands of us to die unnecessarily every year for need of life sustaining medical care enabled through the ability to obtain or afford insurance.

Trump supporters voted to allow our planet to die, with the candidate promising to reverse and eliminate every vestige of the Obama administration's efforts to unilaterally move ahead of the republican Congress' obstinacy and resistance to efforts to confront and address climate change and global warming.

Trump supporters voted to re-institutionalize racism and bigotry - usher in a new era of 'Jim Crow' - rallying behind their candidate's promise to 'ban' Muslim immigrants and advancing the man who openly disparaged the character and reputation of Mexican immigrants and citizens, alike. Trump supporters voted to uproot the lives of 742,000 young DREAMers, and place Trump in charge of thousands granted refuge and protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Trump supporters voted allow a regression in women's rights, from their candidate’s threats to reproductive choices, to implicit disregard for, and pledged hostility toward, declared victims of sexual assault. They’ve advanced a man to the highest office in the land who has been recorded bragging about his ability to ‘grab’ women in the most private of places - bragging that he’s essentially entitled to the assault by the mere virtue of his position.

Trump supporters have voted to allow Russia a role in our government’s consideration which is as dismissive as their candidate has been of Putin’s government’s abuses and intrusions into our political process – not to mention the myriad other activities of the regime which run counter to the legitimate and vital interests of our nation and our allies. Not surprisingly, just this morning, news came that a Russian ambassador is bragging of coordination between the actual Trump campaign and the Politburo.

Trump supporters have voted to legitimize white supremacy, most notably, the Klan, advancing a man into the White House who hired an avowed white supremacist as a senior coordinator of his campaign for president. Indeed, the entire white supremacy network is openly celebrating the Trump presidency as validation of their own brand of bigotry, racism, and divisive hatred.

Trump supporters voted to allow, sight-unseen, any conflict-of-interest their candidate will almost certainly have as president between his office and his many business interests and debts. Whatever he’s been hiding in his tax returns will tell that sordid tale. Couple that with an upcoming court date in his Trump University fraud trial, and you have a presidency so mired in scandal that it will have zero authority to dictate anything from that high office.

One of the only believable rationalizations offered for the disturbing and consequential statements Trump has made in this campaign, and what he’s said in the past, is that, perhaps, he didn’t really mean any of it. It was all just self-serving patter designed to win an election. That would make some sense, looking at the contradictions, duplicity, and flip-flops which have marked any (rare) discussion from the candidate about policy. He’s just an opportunistic demagogue.

What I believe is that Trump supporters have elected a dangerous, life-threatening sociopath who will only tolerate the needs of Americans as far as his own narrow, often personal, interests are defended and enhanced. I really don’t need any more evidence of this. Trump’s entire campaign has been a stark and sobering preview of the horror-show ahead. I truly fear for our nation in a way that I don’t really believe I even fully comprehend the depths we will sink to before we have hope of recovering.

We need to prepare for what will be a long and grueling opposition. We need to prepare and organize.

...and again, a week after inauguration

We should consider Trump as more than just a threat to democratic institutions/principles
...but a threat to our democracy, itself.

Among the most troubling of Donald Trump's actions have to be the almost daily tweets and declarations from the Chief Executive denigrating the press for daring to criticize him, the majority of his statements opposing them proven demonstrably and unequivocally false.

There's also the, now rescinded, gag orders on several government agencies which would have effectively blocked the free flow of information about the actions and product of our government offices.

In addition, there has been a flurry of executive orders from Trump which has exceeded those issued during President Obama's first week., on track to far outpace the former president's reliance on EOs to overcome republican obstruction. There's no such barrier to legislative progress for Trump, so it's a curious and contradictory exercise considering his and other republicans' many criticisms of President's Obama's.

His behavior reeks of every pattern of the history of autocratic heads of state who fomented severe disruption and destruction of democratic institutions in their countries and ushered in dictatorships or other imperialistic rule.

That's not to suggest that our own democracy is so degraded to easily allow some sort of swift takeover. Yet, there's also a functionally compliant republican legislature in place, well prepared to manipulate our democratic process of law and elections to accommodate and perpetuate such an autocratic rule.

So, plainly speaking, we should be openly asking if Trump is dismantling our democracy in favor of autocratic rule, especially since many of his major actions are directed at taking away so many vestiges of our compacts between government and American citizens, like health care and other social and economic benefits; all the while enriching himself, personally, with unaccountable business interests conflicting with our nation's interests here and around the globe.

I believe, very reluctantly, but resolutely, that Donald Trump is proving himself to be a threat to our democracy. What's less sure to me is where we institutionally trigger that distinction or determination. What I fear is that the closer we allow ourselves to come to that point, the greater the risk that he succeeds.

Posted by bigtree | Sat Jan 28, 2017, 10:58 AM

How Most Of Us Feel Right Now

Leftfielder™ ‏@DaleMoss2
“We feel the difference now. See, now, we're feeling what not having hope feels like" - Michelle Obama
Posted by bigtree | Fri Jan 20, 2017, 01:24 PM

You know what's going to happen if those poor suckers Trump left in the field succeed

...it means the death of countless numbers of us, impoverishment of others, rights eviscerated, humanity stripped away from millions.

They've already turned their backs on America, content with letting thousands die, indifferent to determined about spreading their covid-infected selves around without masking or distancing. They're an absolute danger to society and they need locking up.

I despise what they represent, I abhor what they'll do to the country if they get their way. That's not political hyperbole, it's absolute desperation, because after we vote, if we fail, we're on our own. Every American against the cult; against these very same suckers in the field.

For the sake of my family, for the nation, I can't give a fuck about them right now. Not until they'll either agree to keep their spittle to themselves, or they're forced. Tonight they can find their own way home. It is what it is, and I don't care.

Joe Biden is excellent at delivering his message

...more than just simple 'messaging,' Joe delivers lines that have impact, give relevance to his position, and define the opposition.

As disjointed as the first debate was with Trump's interruptions, and in last night's where Trump tried several times to divert Joe to his scandal mongering, Joe managed to get in a dozen or so solid hits on Trump which are being repeated this morning on broadcast and cable news.

It really wasn't clear to me during the debate that his points would resonate through the din, but lo and behold, after each debate, Joe's remarks carried the coverage, cogent and substantive, providing a solid counter to Trump's rambling campaign prattle.


The MVP of the Biden campaign so far

IUOE AFL-CIONewDemocrat4ever @reesetheone1
The MVP of the Biden campaign so far..... (Marc Elias)






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