Melissafrei’s Weblog

An Evolving Consciousness

Archive for Democracy

CHANGE vs EXPERIENCE

I have been quiet lately due to the fact that I have been overwhelmed by the history taking place in front of me.  It is the obvious historical inclusion of a woman, a Hispanic, a Mormon, and an African American running for the position of President of the United States.  The greater historical event and by far, most significant, is the activity of the population of the country.  Those that will participate in the election and those that will not.   

It has been described as a movement that surrounds Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee.  In spite of lack of money or ethnic make up, these two individuals are making a stand in this race.  Why is this so?  

I would submit that it is the masses of people that have arrived at the breaking point at the same time, all the events that have taken place over the last seven years that have challenged and changed the “every man”.   

I don’t know if you have heard the phrase, “you will until you won’t, and you do until you don’t”.  This phrase has always represented the “tipping point” for me … the point of equilibrium that is reached due to the preceding chaos of creation that has occurred. 

As I wrote in a post on January 1, 2008, I am ready to take responsibility for the change that I want to see in the world.  This is and has been the only primary election year in my life that I have ever looked at my choices and felt that I actually had a choice.  There are probably only two people on the Republican or Democratic side that I would never vote for or want them to win the election and the second person just recently put themselves on that list. Most of the candidates who are running in this election are people that I have held in the highest regard throughout the years for their service to this country and their accomplishments.   

That brings me to the EXPERIENCE vs. CHANGE argument.  One of the things that comforted me in the George W Bush administration was all of the experience that we had in the cabinet appointments.  I didn’t agree with Mr. Bush on issues or particularly care for his personality, experience or resume, but I looked at the people that he surrounded himself with and they were seasoned, thoughtful, intelligent people who had accomplished much in their careers.  I trusted the EXPERIENCE.   How bad could this be after all?  These were all people who have been in government for years with a wealth of knowledge and experience.   

So what happened?  I personally believe that these people placed their EXPERIENCE and REPUTATION before the health and security of our country.  They did not listen, hear or see any thing.  They were unchangeable and inflexible due too all of the things that they THOUGHT THAT THEY KNEW BASED ON THEIR EXPERIENCE.   

This is why I personally am going to harness whatever COURAGE that is within ME and as Bill Clinton says, “toss the dice, believe in the fairy tale”.  I made the rational, logical, conservative move last time and look what that got me.   

I have reached the “TIPPING POINT”.

I want in my next President, flexibility, the ability to think outside of the box and not depend on the usual solutions to problems that we have been dealing with for years.  I want in my next President, someone who is objective driven and will work with whoever it takes to meet a set of objectives and present me, the people, solutions.  I want a President who will be honest with me even when I do not like what I am hearing.

I want a President who believes in the United States of America, the People, the Democracy. 

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Choices, choices

Well, I have finally narrowed my choices down to four candidates for the primaries.  My choices currently are:

  1.  John McCain
  2. Barack Obama
  3. John Edwards and…
  4. Mike Huckabee

Now, I can see the look on some of your faces.  This is a rather different group of people.  What do they all have in common? 

First, I believe that any one of these individuals represents change at a presidential level.  They all say what they feel is the best for this country regardless of where they are ranking in the polls on any particular day.  I have decided that for me, this election is about change and my individual role in bringing this about.  

Second, each of them is elect able.  Yes, I did say elect able, that is if you and I will elect them.  I will let you ruminate on that.  

Third, even though there were other candidates, like Biden, Dodd, and Richardson who have strong qualifications to hold the office of President, they just simply have not been able to effectively get out their message.  I would still love to see any of these three as VP candidates on the ticket.   

I had thrown out political parties quite some time ago and left that to the “POLITICAL ELITE”, those that profit or perhaps see politics as a game of some sort.  I would personally take the most delight at the end of the primary season to see that the people have selected Obama and Huckabee as the nominees.  Why would I be perfectly giddy with this outcome?  Because this would be the outcome that the “POLITICAL ELITES” never thought would come into fruition.  Even though, the media has been quite friendly to Obama, they counted on a population of fearful, biased, uneducated people to never elect someone who had an African ancestry.   

Huckabee on the other hand is the nightmare of those who profit off of division.  He is probably the closest that we have seen in the last twenty years to a true “Compassionate Conservative”.  Now, I know that there are those who will pull out the list: his views on abortion, homosexuality, taxes, immigration, ect.  Well, even though I differ with him on some of these issues, I am counting on the integrity that I believe that this man possesses. 

McCain, well, he is simply someone who I respect for his consistent sound judgment, integrity and service to our country.  He is also someone who places the welfare of this country before his own personal gain and political party.   

Edwards on the other hand has been signaling that he has intentions of taking Washington by storm.  I simply would not mind seeing exactly what that would look like.  I could be disappointed but I am betting on him as the strongest change agent in the race.  

The one thing that I know for sure is that I am extremely tired of the lies, and corruption in Washington DC and throughout our society as a whole and will accept my personal responsibility for my contribution to it which is just being silent and apathetic.   

I am a better person than that and we are a better country than that.     

IRAN and the National Intelligence Estimate

I am sure that you have probably heard that the National Intelligence Estimate was released today and it suggests that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.  There is much discussion out today about the administration being wrong and what our stance on Iran should now be.   

I am going to take a break from the election today to ponder another thought. I doubt very seriously that Iran has halted their plans for nuclear weapons.  Why?  Because, basic common sense tells me that it would not be in their best interest to do so.  Let’s discuss this on a very personal level. 

  • I (IRAN) live in a community (the world) where my neighbors (US, Israel, Europe, ect) tell me that they can have weapons but I cannot.  The reason given is that they have better controls than I do and that I shouldn’t worry because they will protect me should someone threaten me.  Now, I have a history with my neighbors that clearly do not coincide with what I am being told.  Currently, my pit bulls are being threatened because even though they are fenced, my neighbors believe that they have been sneaking out at night.  They are not for sure; but there is a hint fear.  Just last week my neighbors blew up the guy’s house next door over a hint of fear (weapons of mass destruction).  I didn’t get along with him anyway, but that’s not the point.  My neighbors have also told me that if I make any move to try and secure my home, they will prevent  other people from conducting business with me.  Oh Yeah…..a while ago, they gave the guy next door (the one that they just blew up) support to kill off several members of my family.  I know that if I get the weapons, I would probably be a lot safer, because the other guys up the street who have weapons, are left alone.

 I have just never been able to rationalize how we could tell other countries that they should not have nuclear weapons but we (and our current allies) can.  This just makes no sense to me.  It would be one thing, if we worked to get rid of all nuclear weapons, but that is kind of unrealistic since the genie has been let out of the bottle.   

It would seem that we would benefit more by: 

  1. Being better neighbors and working in a larger community to form a “community watch” like organization to police ourselves since we all have weapons.  
  2. Should have some international laws and an international court that would hand out stiff penalties for any of us not handling our weapons in the safest way possible.   
  3. Staying out of other countries affairs unless someone makes a request of us and other members of the national community. 
  4. Taking seriously our role as a member of a larger community and working more effectively with organizations like the UN. 

This is just something to ponder. 

The Presidential Candidates….a real opportunity

The pundits have narrowed the fields in both the Republican and Democratic races.  For the first time since I have been old enough to vote, I actually feel that I have choices. I am sincerely hoping that we do not buy into the media hype that is being played out on the political stage.  This race is not just between those candidates that the establishment has elected to toss money and support to.  We still have a wide open race and we will have that until the last primary takes place. 

Candidates like Bill Richardson , Joe Biden and John McCain have impeccable foreign policy credentials.  They each have laid out in detail their philosophies regarding foreign policy and how they would proceed to rebuild our relationships around the world.  The War on Terror has ignited hot spots all over the globe from Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, to Georgia 

Others like Dennis Kucinich, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul and Chris Dodd appear to possess a true integrity and would make every attempt to do what is in the best interest of the country and not their individual parties.  

 I was rather surprised and delighted with the American people in the 2006 midyear election.  We demonstrated that we can move government when we truly have the will to do so.   I am mentally laying out my priorities for what I would like to see the next administration focus on and perhaps that will allow me to get somewhat closer to who I am going to support. 

  • Foreign Policy issues will more than likely be at the forefront of American politics for some time to come so my candidate must have a strong foreign policy background.  It will be essential that we elect someone who has the ability to speak the language of diplomacy and at the same time possess the experience and wisdom that will allow them to execute policy decisions.

  • Possessing a strategic economic domestic vision is also extremely important to me.  By this, I do not mean more of the same stances of globalization, importing goods and exporting jobs.  I would like to see a well managed trade policy and a refocus of education in this country.  We need someone who will not put the interest of multinational corporations and profits before the people of this country.

  • Next, I would want someone who is GREEN thinking.  How can we become a leader in the world on environmental practices and innovation?  We should be first in producing new forms of energy and transportation. 

  • Finally, I want someone who is serious about Universal Healthcare.

We have a real OPPORTUNITY to shift the POLITICAL PARADIGM in our country. That is…..if we have the WILL and the COURAGE to take a stand.  

Media Matters

“The press is the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man, and improving him as a rational, moral and social being”

Thomas Jefferson

 “I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master.” 

Thomas Jefferson 

One of the cornerstones of a democracy is a free press.  We here in the United States consistently lambaste other countries, such as Russia, China, Pakistan, ect. for constraining their media.  The Freedom of the Press in the US goes back to the American Revolution.  The trial of John Peter Zenger, in 1735 was one of the cases that supported the foundation of a free press in this country. 

The First Amendment in our Bill of Rights state that: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So, with that background, what do you think happens if I decide to go and buy up all of the TV and radio stations along with all of the news papers?  More than likely, you are going to get my perspective of all events that occur and if I don’t think that you need certain information, I can make it extremely difficult for you to have access.  Certain Voices are forever shut out of the discourse of many of the debates needed to maintain a healthy democracy. 

I know that you are thinking that, well, we do not have to worry about such a thing….this after all is the number one democracy in the world……our freedom of the press is guaranteed.   

Currently the FCC, the Federal Communication Commission, is stripping away the rules that prevent extensive media consolidation.  Corporations and wealthy moguls will be able to purchase broadcast TV, radio stations and newspapers in the same market.

 Do you remember how the war was propagandized by the media……the GROUP THINK that occurred?  Well, lookout, much more from where that emerged from.  I don’t know about you, but this is extremely disconcerting to me. 

The one thing that I try to do on this site is remind us about the Power of the People. The future of this country and the rest of the world will depend on the evolution of individuals. Of each of us taking responsibility for what we see occurring in front of our eyes.  I will tell you what I will be doing about this threat to democracy and provide sources so that, if you CHOOSE and this is important to you, you can take whatever action that you deem necessary.  I will be writing my congressman, Senators and Representatives.  I have links on this blog to all contact information for our Congress.  I will be contacting the FCC at:

To Contact the Commissioners via E-mail

Chairman Kevin J. Martin: KJMWEB@fcc.gov
Commissioner Michael J. Copps: Michael.Copps@fcc.gov
Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein: Jonathan.Adelstein@fcc.gov
Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate: dtaylortateweb@fcc.gov
Commissioner Robert McDowell: Robert.McDowell@fcc.gov
http://www.fcc.gov/contacts.html 

http://www.freepress.net/ 

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/11162007/profile2.html   

Ethics of Connectedness

Recently, I was listening to a conversation with Bill Bradley, ex Senator and author of “The New American Story” and he used the phrase, “Ethics of Connectedness”.   I have ruminated over the meaning of these words since I first heard them and find myself in awe of the very idea of an ethic of connectedness.

He seemed to be making the point that, “we are all in this boat together” and “we will either sink or swim together”.  This does sound rather basic, but how simply true.

What if we arose tomorrow morning and we looked out into the world and realized that we were connected to everything in it.  We were not some separate and disconnected unit, but as a grain of sand on a beach, we were apart of a larger landscape.  Would our behavior change?

I find that I must re-educate myself on so many levels as I embrace my connectedness to universe.  How does this apply you ask to politics, since I do write a political blog? 

One, I am being challenged more everyday to respect difference in others and at the same time embrace my own individuality.  There are things that I am firm about for me and me only.  These are my truths.  At the same time, I can respect the right of another individual to hold their own truths and not seek to be influenced or influence the other party. 

For example, spirituality.  I describe myself as a deeply spiritual person but not religious.  I fail to see how my relationship with my higher power depends on your behavior.  Or, why my success must mean that you must be or have less, or if I win, you loose.

I look at our politics and our political choices and they make no sense.  I cannot for the life of me understand:

  • How one could blow up a building to protect the life of an unborn child, but will not provide a dime to feed or educate a child that is already born.

  • How we spend more money to imprison people but will not spend less money to educate them.

  • Why we do not have a voting machine, like a cash register, that allows you to ring up your candidate (vote for your candidate) and then keep a copy of the receipt and place the other copy in a box.  At the end of the night, verify the count by comparing the paper totals to the computer totals.  Now, for someone to tell me that we can’t do this with a candidate but we can do it for a candy bar……

  • Why we are not ensuring that every child in this country can compete for jobs with the children of China or India

  • Why we are not leading the world in green innovation

Just a few of the things I just don’t understand.

http://www.billbradley.com/

Red or Blue

Today let’s discuss the boxes, let’s discuss the things that supposedly separate us.   What am I? Red or Blue?   

Well, these are some of the beliefs and ideas that I hold today.  I say today, because, I happen to live in a dynamic universe.  Things are always changing.  As I am exposed to different information, these beliefs and ideas shift and change.  I think that you may call this growth, learning, evolution……. I also think that this should be occurring unless I happen to be dead.  But, this is my belief today.   

  1. I happen to be Pro Choice and Anti abortion.  This means that before anything, I believe that I have no right to tell another person what to do with or to their body.  This goes for smoking cigarettes, wearing a seat belt, and taking drugs.  At the same time, I also believe that people should have all the information needed to make informed decisions about their choices.  For me, abortion has always been defined as my choice to kill my child before he or she reaches their first trimester in my body for whatever reason I may have.  It could be rape, or incest, or lack of control over my own life to the degree that I would not want to inflict that on my on flesh and blood (my child).  Please note, that I said, that this is how I have defined abortion for me.  With that said, that core belief has led me to be Pro Choice for all of us and Anti abortion for me personally.  I will have much more to say about this topic later. 

  2. I happen to believe in term limits of no more than three terms for Senators and three terms for Representatives. http://www.cato.org/pubs/handbook/hb105-5.html 

  3. I want a balanced budget amendmenthttp://www.cagw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=homePage

  4. I want an educational system that provides the highest level of education whether the child is in the suburbs of California or the poorest county in Mississippi.  I believe that all of our children should be fluent in a minimum of two languages before they leave high school and three by the time they graduate from college.  They should have math classes every semester through out their educational experience along with physical education.  I will have more to say about this topic at a later date also.

  5. I want universal health care.

  6. I believe in capital punishment for mass murderers, serial killers, and pedophiles.  I chose these particular criminals because there is usually a preponderance of evidence against them.  I don’t believe that we can be that certain in other cases.  I also believe that this should be the law in every state.  Whether you commit mass murder in Texas or Rhode Island, the penalty should be the same.

  7. I believe in the “Right to bear arms” as stated in the constitution and I also believe in “Gun Control”.

What am I? Red or Blue? 

Quotes for the day

Politics – I don’t know why, but they seem to have a tendency to separate us, to keep us from one another, while nature is always and ever making efforts to bring us together. 

~Sean O’Casey
 

There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle. 

 ~Alexis de Tocqueville