A voting First

Today I had several folks tell me “I don’t know who to vote for, I don’t trust either one”. A fair assessment I think all things considered.

But for me a first …in my 40 years or so of voting I will make a stand I have never made before or I ever thought I would.

I have been fiercely independent in my voting over the years; always voting for whom I thought would be best regardless of party affiliation. I have worked for both Democrats and GOP elected officials. I always felt if your government asked you for help, well you should step up. I get accused of being a lefty radical, but I feel I am more of a progressive independent with my values leaning towards people and what is best and fair for the average person on the street, you know the majority of us.

I truly have been like Forest Gump and worn a lot of shoes in my life.  I have been a firefighter, a union officer, worked in a program helping Native Americans, worked in government during Presidents Reagan and “W” as well as Clinton. I even worked in the entertainment industry and toured nationwide. I have been a small business owner with a bicycle shop and sunglasses company. I’ve been lucky to travel extensively in my work, so I feel pretty lucky to have experience all that I have.

I left politics for a while, almost 10 years, but I got yanked back by several things that had a pronounced effect on me.

I was once involved with a national study on firefighters who were dying very young. We made some startling discoveries and suggested some changes in the way things were handled. Later this led to my helping write some legislation concerning the health of firefighters. I was met with strong resistance from GOP House members who just decided and I quote “If firefighters aren’t healthy enough to do the job we just need to get rid of them.”  This led to a change in the civil service rules for government employees signed by “W” that allowed states to deny benefits to injured civil servants if they could not come back to 100% duty in six months after injury or illness. They just cut them off cold.  Most recently I supported the health coverage for the first responders who were stricken with illness from 9/11 and the Twin Towers collapse. I was appalled that GOP Senators including those from Texas tried to filibuster the bill to help those firefighters/police/paramedics. It took a tremendous amount of public pressure to force them to let the vote go through.

While I was traveling, working in the entertainment industry, my mother had a heart attack and then a stroke.  She survived but requires 24-hour care and is in a wheelchair now. Before the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare her insurance provider told us she had reached her maximum in coverage.  Combined with cuts in benefits, again signed by “W”, our family was in a bind to get her the care she needed. Without the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare my mother’s care is at risk.  Yet the GOP wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act because they claim it is stifling small business but I have read it, not so. There is no requirement for business with less than 30 employees, and there are waivers for startups and the smallest business. The real reason the insurance lobby wants bigger profits.

In my travels as I toured the nation prior to 2008, I started to notice the decline in the nation. Slowly one by one I saw entire towns and communities just die, become ghost towns. Clubs and events we were booked at for years started to suffer, many went under. People were losing jobs as many manufacturing jobs went over seas; others just had to take cuts in pay and a loss of benefits. It was not a pretty picture. In Texas we were isolated from the extreme losses, but still many folks I know suffered. The fleecing of the nation by the GOP was going strong under the guise of fighting wars for patriotism and against “evil doers.”

I don’t think the Democrats are without some blame. There are bad politicians on both sides. Truth be told I have much more in common with the Green Party, but I am not naïve. I know a vote for the Green Party is a vote for the GOP. You see the Green Party attracts those who might otherwise vote for Democrats. That is one reason the GOP gives money to the Green Party, it means less votes against them by diluting the Democratic vote, sad but true.

So what’s my point? In all my years I have never seen such mean-spirited anti-America behavior from a political group.  In my opinion the GOP has earned the name American Taliban. They have tried to systematically disenfranchise minority voters – I was one of those questioned if I was a legal voter. The GOP has worked to deny women the right to decided their own health issues, cut education funding, cut funding to Planned Parenthood saying they don’t want taxpayer money used for abortions – never mind it has long been against the law to do so and they deny healthcare to low income women. The GOP has worked to repeal minimum wage and worker rights, promote racial profiling – again I have been caught up in that one several times. All this was done in the name of decreasing the nation’s deficit and increasing national security. Top that with the Birther Movement, the Tea Party, denying global warming, filibustering and holding job bills and tax relief bills hostage and lie after lie about Obama. It is no wonder we are in such dire straits. I hold them responsible for 90% of the mess we are in now.  I watched in dismay how time and time again the GOP did everything in their power to stymie Obama after he took office – I watch a lot of C-Span. I keep track of what happens and who is doing what and I don’t like what I have seen the GOP become and what they are doing to our nation is a crime

So for first the first time ever in my life I am voting a straight Democratic ticket. I encourage you to do the same, let’s stop the hate, the lies and the bleeding of our country.

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