What do Democrats stand for?

There was a Washington Post/ABC News poll last week (the Post has an article about it here, including chars for some of the findings) which I thought was interesting and warranted a bit of discussion.

The last chart, in particular, is of interest at the moment (Included here): "More say Democrats stand against Trump than for their own agenda".

Obviously, I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but I thing the truth is a bit more nuanced than that. I am in the independent group of the chart, however I think that the majority of democrats both "stand for something" (their agenda) and "just stands against Trump"; I do not find the two options to be mutually exclusive at the current time.

The Democratic agenda, those policies that matter most, tend to include items which aim to improve the lives of the people (arguments can be had about the actual outcomes of the policies, but the intent is there). These include equal rights, the advancement of fair practices, regulations and oversight of unethical business practices, providing education and health care among other things.

In the current political environment, the Republicans, the party in power, seems to only have one agenda: to undo the policies of the last administration. They were vocal about this for much of Obama's presidency, and now that they've got control of the three branches they've got a clear path to do that (were it not for the in-fighting).

So, to advance the Democratic agenda currently requires the direct opposition of Trump and the Republicans. At this stage they way to do that is simply to try to preserve the advances that have been made, to minimize the damage that is done. Honestly, at this exact moment, there seems to be no hope for pursuing additional gains - there is a ruling party which is largely dogmatic about rolling back "the opposition's" policies (they've been promising for years that they'd repeal Obamacare, they have to keep that promise (if that's the only one they do keep), consequences be damned!).

One should view this as a change in priority based on the current climate. Ideally, politics shouldn't be viewed as a battle between opposing sides; the sides should have a mutual goal, and should only differ on the details of how to get there and be willing to work together along the journey. That being said, I'm going to use war as an analogy for the change in priority. The end goal of an advancing army is to reach a target (a goal); sometimes they can make progress and move towards that goal; other times they must protect the gains they've made, and resist falling-back. The agenda, the target, the goal is still the same; it is simply a change of immediate priority and tactics that are dictated by the environment - we are simply in protect-mode currently.

I do still believe that, overall, the democrats are largely about advancing the causes mentioned above. There are likely some who would be anti-republican in the absence of Trump. Sadly, I cannot say the same for the other side though. After eight years of opposition and grandstanding against Democratic policies, I have come to believe that the Republican party has moved firmly into the no-compromise, 'my way or the highway', mentality and they've demonstrated this time and again.

I have always been a registered independent. However, once upon a time, I might have considered myself more closely aligned with republicans. I still consider myself libertarian; now I include the additional label 'rational' to that. I am a rational libertarian: in an ideal world, the libertarian ideal could work - unencumbered trade, no regulation, free market economies, etc. ... let me live my life as I see fit, and I'll return the favor. But I know, rationally, that this is not an ideal world. Protections are needed, industries have proven themselves to be incapable of acting ethically without regulations, people deserve to be treated equally, and deserve to have equal opportunities in life. I find myself more closely aligned with Democratic policies than in the past. Given the actions of the Republicans of late, I find this a very good thing.

Perpetuating Failure (part one)

In a rational system, a process or policy which has shown to be ineffective, counterproductive, or destructive would be abandoned.

In a rational system, a process or policy would be based on truth and evidence, rather than emotions such as fear or greed or the misguided beliefs of even a majority of leaders.

We have seen firsthand that the policies that our leaders pursue do not stem from a rational system. Therefore, the conclusion is that we do not operate in a rational system.

This leads to the following questions (and undoubtedly more):

  • What are the costs of irrationality?
  • How did we move toward irrationality?
  • How do we fix the problem?
    • How do we move back toward a rational system)?
    • How do we eliminate ineffective and malignant policies?
  • How do we help those that have been hurt by the malignant policies?

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Why the truth matters.

Truth and facts, why are they important?

Why does it matter that they are important?

I believe that to make the best decisions, a person must be well informed.  Informed of the relevant information, facts.  If the data is incorrect, then the decision is made in error.  What are the potential consequences?  In the case of an airline, the instruments must be accurate - without this (if the sensors are incorrect (intentionally or not)), lives are put at risk.  In the case of public policy, lives are still put at risk.

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Why I March

​This past weekend, on Saturday January 21, I joined with about the sixty thousand women, children, and men in Atlanta who marched from the Center for Civil and Human Rights to Liberty Plaza, across from the Georgia State Capital.

I was there not because I think Trump is an illegitimate president (though there is enough evidence to support the claim).  I was there because I believe that women, the LGBT+ community, racial minorites, and other underrepresented people deserve equal representation and consideration.  Their voices deserve to be heard, their concerns are valid and they shouldn't have to stand alone fighting to be heard.

The problems we face are not simply the policies of old white men (though they are usually the ones in power), but the larger threat  that is conservatism and religious zealotry.  Conservatism seeks to hold us back to bygone eras which are only glamorous in the memories and the entertainment media.  Times when children always behaved their parents, parents slept in separate beds, and quiet towns like Mayberry were the norm.  Times when manufacturing plants killed and dismembered the workers (adult and child alike), mining accidents were shrugged off, and the miners which survived did so with respiratory problems.  Times when a man could be a man, and treat his woman (whose place was in the home, or to be seen and not heard) just like any other piece of property he owned - justifiably because the family Bible told him it was just.  Is this what the target is?  Is this when America was great before?

Perhaps I'm being a bit hyperbolic.  But think about what the "good old days" refer to.  When was it, what happened, what did it look like (in actuality and in the media (news vs. entertainment))?  Is that what we want or do we want to make progress as a society?

I vote for progress, I vote for equality for all. Sure there were issues with both candidates, but only one showed the promise of progress.  So, I march to ensure that my voice, our voices, can be heard.  I march in support of the rights of the disenfranchised, the dismissed, and the oppressed. I march against racism, sexism, and xenophobia.  I march against legislated morality.  I march for logic and reason as the basis of policy.  I march for truth, justice, and the American way for all of its citizens.

Be excellent to each other.