September 19, 2012

I have been the 47% and most likely, so have you.

And the Truth shall...

Apparently in this instance, create a firestorm the likes of which you couldn't imagine. This week, Mother Jones posted video of Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser in Florida this past May. The GOP Nominee states, in part, it was not his job to worry about 47% of those who don't pay federal income taxes.  Many news outlets have attempted to unearth who exactly are the 47%.  

Before we get there, one would ask the question: how do you just say it is not your job to worry about them. You decide that it is worthwhile to give up on this population because they won't vote for you despite the fact that you would be president over them as well.  The safety net that you would all but demolish if you were given the opportunity to serve as president doesn't give you the urge to acknowledge and understand their plight and work to bring them to a place of less-reliance. Or understand that not all of them are poor, not all of them are democrat, not all of them are rubber stamps for the president, not all of them even acknowledge that they are members of the 47%. 

The Atlantic created a list of the states where the greatest number of their citizens do not pay federal income taxes. Not surprisingly, they fall in the deep south, as the south also houses some of the poorest states in the nation. Every state from New Mexico to South Carolina and Florida are in that top 10. Thereby, one should have create a quick correlation between those who don't pay taxes and poverty in our nation.  Most middle class and working poor are not paying taxes due to tax credits (earned income and child) or because they don't make enough money to qualify. But if Romney knew this he should be utterly confused by the fact that all electoral college maps have these states colored in red. Red as in GOP-SAFE states. Not leaning GOP. Not colored purple or yellow as toss-up states, with the exception of Florida.  So to say that "these people" are definitely voting for the president and he has no chance of gaining their vote is flat wrong. 

The Tax Policy center outlined the tax payers, which was illustrated in the Washington Post. Obviously, 53% of persons pay federal income tax.  Of the 47% who do not, more than half of them pay payroll taxes. The other portion are either elderly or in poverty, thus don't have enough income to pay either income or payroll taxes. On the other end of the spectrum they are very wealthy- approximately 18,000 who made or otherwise acquired over $500,000- and have qualified for capital gains and other tax deductions. Either way, the manner in which this would-be president speaks with such disdain towards a group of people the majority of which he chooses not to know, is striking.

So, why have I been a member of the 47%? Well another portion of "these people" are students. Students- and I have been a student twice- usually don't make enough money to pay federal income taxes.  Or if they pay income taxes they have credits to return their money. So, is Mr. Romney asking students to pay more in taxes as they are also attempting to pay their way through school? I understand that he wants us to ask our parents for money to attend college; however, all of us don't have the option.

I hope that the elderly, poor, students, military, rich and the rest of those who a members of this unworthy class are ready to vote in November. 

We've been asking who is the authentic Mitt. Well...I guess it is better to know now then on November 7th. 

September 13, 2012

Think before you speak

This adage is frequently spoken, but seldom done. It makes sense in theory. However, if you are no sorry for the things that you say, whether thought out or not, then it doesn't make a difference.  The ramifications of your speech; however, can be life changing as we have seen this week.

A few months ago, a professed Israeli-American, released an anti-Islam movie around the U.S.  According to reports, while it was in English, there wasn't much traction with the movie.  However, when the movie trailer was uploaded onto YouTube and translated into Arabic, the outrage was heard halfway around the world.

While many of us were doing our part to remember the horrific events of September 11, 2001, the rumbling of anger and resentment began in the north African countries of Libya and Egypt.  When the protests and violence ceased on that day, four Americans were killed and the American Embassy in Egypt was breached. All of this because people have an aversion to a religion that the most likely know little to nothing about?

Mitt Romney stated during his press conference on Wednesday, that he would not apologize for American values and principles.  I'm wondering when American values and principle included denigrating other religions. America was founded on religious freedom . . . as is freedom to worship as you choose. With very few restrictions we have kept that promise, so why now is it appropriate for persons in our country to attack and say reprehensible things about prominent figures in the Islamic faith?

As the President stated on Wednesday, I don't agree with the violence in Libya and Egypt. There must be ways to peacefully protest. However, you cannot condemn the violence in Libya without also condemning the reason for the protest.  When your children act out of character you chastise them but you don't disown them. Similarly, one can disavow the actions of the "filmmaker" in California without casting aside our values of free speech.  As with all of our rights in this country, there is a limit to Free Speech.

September 11, 2012

We Remember.

"Where were you when the world stopped turning, that September day?"  Alan Jackson's lyrics hit me every year.  It is the day that everything stops. Politics Stop. Crazy TV reports stop. All attention turns to those who were directly impacted by the attack on our nation.

We know that our nation was directly hit; however several nations around the world were impacted as their citizens were inside the World Trade Center on that September day. In all almost three thousand people lost their lives, because they decided to go to work, put their children into day care, or do their jobs as first responders.

In the years since, some have attempted to put the events of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 out of their minds.  To, in essence, move on from that day. A recent USA Today survey stated that 70% of Americans are trying to do just that. Michael Smerconish in his op-ed on this day recounted several times that the "world stopped turning" in the last 71 years including: the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Columbine High School Massacre and the Oklahoma City Bombing. He illustrates how quickly people have forgotten about these nation changing events.

We owe it to our nation and ourselves not to forget what happened on those days and this one. The actions of a few have changed the course of history for many. Failure to remember causes the pain to float back upon the shoulders of those who lost loved ones. We should remember how we truly became the embodiment of our nation's motto: Out of Many, One.

However, we should forget the great hatred that brewed towards people of Arab and Muslim descent. The way it became an "us" against "them", even though "them" included American citizens who also lost loved ones in the attack. We should forget the increase in racial profiling, the tolerance of persons who act out towards "others", and the lack of civility in our discourse towards people we believe don't fit our idea of Americana.

Maybe it was because I was too ignorant about the landscape of New York City and fearful for my cousin's life who lived in Brooklyn.  Or maybe it is because I sat in my room in Sojourner Truth Hall on South Carolina State University's campus and watched as skyscrapers crumbled to the ground. Or maybe it is the story of one of my closest friends on how her mother's life was spared because she was late to work. Or maybe it was because one of my other close friends knew someone who wasn't as fortunate. Or the ensuing war that took the life of my best friend's brother. Or the fact that my cousin was in the military.

There are countless reasons why I will never forget where I was when the world stopped turning that September Day.

August 28, 2012

In the beginning . . .

Well it begins today...sorta. The campaign for President and Vice President of the United States begins today, with the beginning of the Republican National Convention in Tampa.  
Now, the RNC really began yesterday, but with the threat of Tropical Storm Issac, they "delayed" the beginning of the speeches. 

Oh, but tonight the lineup is pretty thick. From South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Former GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum and tonight's headliners Ann Romney and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The leaked topics are wide ranging from Sen. Santorum speaking on Welfare & work to Gov. Haley speaking on "women's issues".  Ann Romney, the wife of the candidate is going to attempt to make Romney more "real". She has a difficult job but she'll give it one heck of a try.  Gov. Christie will make the first of many cases that Romney has the tools to fix America's problems.

The GOP started at a -10 because over the past week, there's been a vigorous debate about "legitimate rape," "dog whistles", birther-ism and the like.  The GOPs hidden ideas about when (if ever) a woman should be allowed to have an abortion and whether or not there are different types of rape caused a firestorm. The problem with the firestorm is that some in the GOP wanted to speak about what type of storm it was and not if they believed it existed. Most in the GOP hierarchy stated that MO Rep. Todd Akin's comments were reprehensible BUT few if any stated that they disagreed with his underlying premise: no abortion exception for rape.  

The problem that the GOP would like to cherry pick which parts of the government they want to be big and which parts they want small.  During the health care debate the theme was "we don't want government to make decisions on our health care" but in the same breath they state "women do not have the right to access abortion."  So if abortion is not a health care decision, then I'm not quite sure what it is. I can tell you what to do with your reproductive system, but I can't about your insurance. 

Doesn't make that much sense to me but... ok. SO let's talk... are you just now getting into the election? If so, what do you think?

August 11, 2012

Welcome to Front Porch Politics

Come on in and have a seat! Growing up, my family would go to my aunt and uncle's home and sit out on their front porch and watch passers by.  That porch was a great place to sit out, have a nice cup of tea or lemonade and speak to your friends and family on a myriad of topics.  Even now, when I make my pilgrimage back to Wolverine Country, it's one of my favorite places to go and enjoy good company and for my uncle to ask "So what do you think about ____."  This will be a similar space to inform, but also for you to speak your mind.

The current environment for political discourse can be (insert your favorite negative adjective here).  That, however, is wholly ineffective to iron out one's stance on the issues as well as look at the trees in this forest called American politics. What we will strive to do here is create a place where people can state their case. Let's discuss the issues intelligently and respectfully and who knows...maybe you aren't as (fill in your assumed political leanings) as you thought. 

Guest bloggers from different sides of the aisle will visit the porch, in addition to topics that may not facially scream POLITICS, but have political implications or overlaps. (Read: Trayvon Martin case in Florida and DREAMers protests in Arizona)

I can't wait to hear what YOU think!