Searching for common sense in politics

Monday, January 16, 2017

Why I Can't Wait for Trump's Inaugural

I've made no secret of the fact that I thought both major candidates for president in 2016 were horrible. America was pretty much screwed either way. I have also been very open about my overall distrust in, and dislike of, Donald Trump's petty vindictiveness and the danger it presents to our country.

Still, I'm very much looking forward to his inaugural speech on Friday. It could be one for the ages. Here's why I think that:

1. There is no way that Trump doesn't attack his enemies in the speech. 

Nobody holds a grudge like Donald J. Trump. The man does not let any slight - real or perceived, big or small - pass him by without responding. He's had some big stages from which to speak over the last 18 months or so, and he's never let an opportunity to bash his "opponents" pass. The biggest stage of all will be presented to him on Friday as he speaks to the entire nation. How many swings do you think he will take at those who have slammed him? I put the over/under at 7.



2. The other horrible candidate will be in attendance.

Hillary Clinton will be there as Trump takes office. Half of America wishes she had won. The other half thinks we dodged a massive pant-suited bullet when she lost. All of us will be "treated" to dozens of camera shots of her while Trump is speaking. As a seasoned politician who is used to having cameras on her, she is pretty good at looking stoic. But maybe - just maybe - we will catch a sneer or two on her face. Best case scenario: Trump gloats about his victory over her and, with nothing left for her to lose, she lets a look of utter disgust, and maybe even a bird, fly.


3. No Teleprompter can contain him.

I imagine there are several people who are working very, very hard to make sure that Trump does not go off script on Friday. They will make sure his speech is positive and clear of any vengeful statements. They will triple check that the Teleprompters are working. And none of it will matter when Trump gets in front of millions of people. He is at his best (or worst, depending on your persuasion) when he speaks from the "heart". If he does that on Friday, then this could be one of the all-time most memorable inaugural speeches. I guarantee that no President has ever said some of the things that he will say if he truly goes off script. As a student and lover of history, that would be very entertaining for me.


So even though most of us are concerned about the direction of our country, try not to take things too seriously on Friday. Enjoy Trump's speech for what it is: a mostly meaningless ritual that could provide tons of entertainment. That will make it all a little easier to get through.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Fight Over Obamacare: An Exercise in Futility

Note: this is a guest post written by Brandon Chillingworth, the managing editor of the Daily Moderator.

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My favorite comedian is Chris Rock. His bits are always funny, cerebral, and in a way deeply logical.

He has this joke about being liberal vs. being conservative, and he concludes that 'no normal, decent person is one thing'. (Warning: the video below is NSFW due to adult language).



When you really think about it, that makes a tonne of sense. How can your mind be made up on issues before even knowing what they are? You've decided everything that the other side does is wrong before you hear them out.

That doesn't make much sense....

Which leads me to the main point of this story: Obamacare.

I published an article about the Republican v. Democrat squabble on health care, which in summary, reminds me more of children fighting than it does world leaders affecting legislation.

I'll give you a rundown of the main events:

- Obama tried to get Republican support before he passed the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), but not a single member of the GOP would back him. He pushed it through a majority Democratic government anyways.

- Trump is going to repeal Obamacare, and they're going to replace it with something that will have a similar goal. He's going to push it through a majority Republican government.

Obamacare might die, but it's looking like it will still leave its mark on American health care. The 'law of the land' now is that every American citizen needs to have access to health insurance

Republicans have hated this idea for years, but they've come around to it. They realize part of their voting base gets insurance because of Obamacare, and don't want to risk potentially alienating those votes.

Summary:

Democrats want healthcare for everyone

Republicans want healthcare for everyone

Democrats will strongly oppose any health care bill that the Republicans propose

Republicans will strongly oppose any heath care bill that the Democrats propose

Conclusion:

It makes absolutely no sense.

Both parties want the same thing, but neither wants to work together to make it happen effectively. This is all so they don't have to seem like they publicly support anything that their opposition does.

It will be a messy affair, and the tires look like they will continue spinning in the mud for at least the next four years. Cooperation is the fix, but neither side looks like they're ready to hold hands just yet.

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This is a guest post from Brandon Chillingworth, the managing editor of the Daily Moderator.
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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The 5 Most Inspirational Inaugural Speeches

It's been almost two months, and yet I'm still shocked by what I'm about to say.

On January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States America.

As is the custom in this country, the new president will give an inaugural address after being sworn in. There are reports that Trump is planning on delivering a short inaugural speech, which I think everyone would agree is probably a good thing. Nobody likes to listen to a long speech, and some of the best inaugural addresses have been among the shortest. Plus, the longer Donald Trump talks, the more likely he is to stray from his prepared remarks, and that does not tend to go well.

The occasion calls to mind the inaugural speeches of the past. Most have been forgettable, either because they took place in mundane times or because the speech itself was mediocre (or both). However, a few inaugural speeches continue to shine on long after they were given. These are the ones that inspired us as a country, at least for a little while. Most of them took place in times of peril or great change. Here are 5 of the most memorable and inspirational inaugural addresses of all time, in chronological order.

Thomas Jefferson's First Inaugural

There are no pictures of Jefferson's inaugural because photography did not exist

The year:
1801

The situation: The strain of partisan politics was first impacting the US. Jefferson, a Democratic-Republican, won a bitter and hard-fought election over the Federalist President, John Adams. Just four years earlier, George Washington had warned us of the dangers of partisan politics, but the country ignored him.

The speech: Jefferson urged divided Americans to come together. "We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists," he insisted. Of course, partisanship was here to last, as we know all too well. But Jefferson's election represented the first time that power had been transferred from one party to another, and his conciliatory address helped to make that happen peacefully.

Read Jefferson's first inaugural address.

Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural


Lincoln giving his 2nd inaugural address

The year:
1865

The situation: In his first term, Abraham Lincoln presided over the most tumultuous time in American History, the Civil War. For four years, we actually ceased to be a nation, and North battled South. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost and millions more were impacted. When Lincoln gave his second inaugural address in 1865, the North was on the verge of winning, and the war was finally coming to an end.

The speech: Our 16th president was one of the greatest orators of all time. Before and during the Civil War, his graceful eloquence perfectly articulated the fight against slavery and secession. As the guns fell silent, he transitioned into a passionate call to mend the wounds of war.

With the war coming to a close, many Republicans wanted to hand down harsh penalties on the former Confederate states. Lincoln, however, had no interest in punishing the South, and his address proves that. He knew that the country could only survive if it quickly moved past the war and began to come together in forgiveness. In a short but incredibly powerful speech, he offered peace and friendship to the Confederates. He said, "With malice toward none, with charity for all...let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds."

Just over a month later, Lincoln was killed by a Confederate sympathizer.

Read Lincoln's second inaugural address.

Franklin Roosevelt's First Inaugural


Roosevelt giving his 1st inaugural address

The year:
1933

The situation: The nation - and the world - was reeling from the Great Depression. Millions of Americans were out of work, thousands of banks had gone under, families had lost everything. It was a dark and bleak time, certainly one of the most perilous in our history.

The speech: Franklin Delano Roosevelt won a landslide victory in 1932 over incumbent Herbert Hoover by promising to do everything in his power to stop the economic slide and improve the lots of poor and middle class Americans. His inaugural speech was meant to give hope to the beleaguered citizens.

Besides the ubiquitous "all we have to fear is fear itself," Roosevelt also made it very clear that he would stop at nothing to address the crisis, even if it meant stepping on some toes. He said he would "seek...to bring speedy adoption" to any good ideas that Congress had. But if Congress failed to act, he warned he would exert "broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency."

In his twelve years as president, Roosevelt held true to his words. He fully executed the power of the presidency to fight the Depression, and he greatly expanded the power of the White House. His methods and programs may or may not have been good solutions, but he undoubtedly calmed the fears of the nation and was a man of action.

Read Roosevelt's first inaugural address

John Kennedy's Only Inaugural


Kennedy giving his inaugural address

The year:
1961

The situation: Kennedy took office at the height of the Cold War. Tensions between the USA and USSR were very high, and the country was not far removed from the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950's. Suspicions abounded and fear of a nuclear war was a common emotion.

The speech: Kennedy did a phenomenal job of calling Americans to action. He railed against complacency and reminded everyone of their duties as American citizens. Everybody knows his most famous quote, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

But he also made it clear that the United States would not back down to the communists. He eloquently stated our dedication to democracy by saying, "Let every nation know...that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty." Less than two years later, he held true to that pledge as he stared down the Soviet Union in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Sadly, Kennedy's presidency was cut short by an assassin's bullet after less than three years in office.

Read Kennedy's inaugural address

Ronald Reagan's First Inaugural 


Reagan giving his 1st inaugural address

The year:
1981

The situation: The dawn of the 1980's was an uncertain time in America. We were only 7 years past Watergate and there was widespread distrust of the government. The economy was weak and inflation was high. The Cold War raged on hotter than ever. American citizens were being held hostage in Iran. Reagan's victory in 1980 represented a revolution of sorts, as he promised a drastic reduction of government interference in people's lives.

The speech: Reagan was not the most graceful orator, but he got his message across. He gave hope that America would return to it's glory days of peace, strength, and optimism. And he held firm to his campaign rhetoric about the evils of big government. "We are a nation that has a government," he said, "not the other way around."

In two terms, Reagan achieved much but also left much unfinished. He laid the groundwork for the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. On the other hand, instead of slashing government spending, the budget deficit actually ballooned under his watch. But his greatest strength was his optimism, and that was contagious. Even millions of Americans who disagreed with his policies bought into it and voted for him in two historic landslides.

Read Reagan's first inaugural.
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