Thursday, October 17, 2013

LTE: GOP shutdown affecting people, not just national parks

A chain closes off the River Raisin National Battlefield Park from visitors.
I just drove down E. Elm Ave.and noticed that the River Raisin Battlefield Visitor Center has been shut down. Apparently, when Tim Walberg shut down the parts of government that he didn’t like, the other parts got shut down, too.

Republicans can say they didn’t want to shut the government down, but I don’t believe them. I was at a recent town hall meeting with Tim Walberg when the subject came up. Enthusiastic, hand-picked, Walberg supporters literally applauded at the prospect of shutting down the government to stop Obamacare.

Walberg told his supporters that he agreed. Then he expressed his concern that if they shut down the government, the president would have more latitude over spending than Congress and could continue to spend money on Obamacare.

The Republican war on Obam­acare isn’t just shutting down our battlefield museum and cutting back social benefits to low-income working people. It is holding up federal grants that help fund the state and local levels of govern­ment.

It is also beginning to impact one of Monroe’s leading industries — agriculture. Who would have guessed the same program that provides assistance to purchase food also provides assistance to produce food? Apparently Walberg is willing to hurt farmers to avoid helping low-income families!

It’s time for Republicans like Walberg to admit that this is their shutdown; they wanted it and they got it. 

Ernie Whiteside Monroe

(Re-posted from Monroe Evening News, Wednesday, 10/16/2013, Page A4.)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I’m not just frustrated … I’m angry!

For many years I have been listening to the inside out, upside down, double reverse, white is black and black is white nonsense that flows off the lips of people who can only properly be described as idiots.

Probably nothing makes me loopy like hearing someone (an idiot) say, “… both parties …” I think I might need therapy if I hear that again.

The reasonable center is NOT being held hostage by the far left AND the far right! The far left will chain itself to a tree to save it; the far right will lock others in a burning building to save it … and then blame the fire department if they don’t put the fire out in time to save them.

There is a line in the Big Black Book that I am fond of, “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” I know that you are all with me in spirit, but sometimes my body feels just a bit lonely.

There is nothing quite like standing alone on the sidewalk with a bullhorn in one hand and sign in the other screaming at a building. There are usually two or three of us, so we take turns carrying the sign and screaming, but it is still hard to believe that we are winning the fight because we have something called “grassroots support”.

The budget is kind of puny too. They keep telling me that the ones who work to many hours to show up for actions send money, but I’m not so sure where they are sending it.

Meanwhile, up to 80,400 people file into Spartan Stadium and pay $80 or more each to be entertained. I desperately want to believe it isn’t true, but I think we have a collective priority problem?

Before I became an active member of the Democratic Party, I seriously believed that there where small, local levels of Party organization in each city and township and that the county Party had thousands of people who were actively involved and making small, medium and large contributions of time and money. Wow! I was sure wrong!

Did I mention that I was frustrated and angry?

The people that others elected to represent me in Lansing and Washington are literally shutting down our government. They are underfunding important public services so they can give tax breaks to big corporations and the wealthiest 1% of people. They are using tax dollars to outsource public services for private profit (it’s called privatization but it isn’t actually privatization).

And now they have literally shut down our federal government!

THEY are NOT Democrats … THEY are Republicans! And, there is a difference!

This can’t happen again in 2014, we outnumber them by a long short but we have to get behind our candidates and our causes and we have to show up at the polls.

The problem is that I just can’t figure out what it takes to get thousands of people motivated to adjust their priorities and invest in our collective wellbeing and the wellbeing of future generations.

Seriously folks, it doesn’t matter who wins the next big game at a major sporting event or who wins some contest on a reality show. Let the damned zoom machine set in the garage and collect dust for a while. Our future is in jeopardy and we can’t afford to be distracted by games.

We are in fact the majority and we need to act like it!

Do the minimum:

  1. Be registered to vote.
  2. Be informed about upcoming elections, the candidates and the issues.
  3. Share how you feel about candidates and issues with others.
  4. Vote in every election, on every issue and for every office.

Do more:

  1. Join the Michigan Democratic Party
    1. Be a member
    2. Participate
    3. Make a contribution
  2. Support a Democratic candidate or cause
    1. Put a sign in your yard, a sticker on your bumper or wear a pin
    2. Help out with door-to-door canvassing or phone banking
    3. Contribute some money
    4. Host an event
  3. Become a precinct delegate or candidate of the Party
  4. Write letters to the editor or blog to the Internet
  5. Ask others to help

I’ll bet there will still be time for some of those other things like sporting events, reality TV and zooming around on your zoom machine. It really is just a matter of setting priorities.

It isn’t just you or me; it is us and the future generations who depend on us. We must not let our collective best interests be jeopardized for the benefit of a small class of people who wish to exploit us for personal gain. We must not be apathetic, ignorant or foolish and we must not let those who are outnumber us at the polls.