Day: May 13, 2010

The Military And Adaptation To Change: Not Easy, But Essential!

The American military is facing demand for change in many different ways, more than in a long time!

Among the changes about to occur soon are:

1. The likelihood of the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, therefore allowing openly gay men and women in the military.

2. The banning of smoking on submarines.

3. The introduction of women to submarines, the last vestige of gender discrimination falling by the wayside by 2012.

4. The growing number of air force pilots who work out of Nevada with robotic drones in Afghanistan that are computer controlled, with these pilots working long shifts and then going home to their families!

The technology issue is probably the easiest to adapt to, although many Air Force pilots probably look down at those of their group who are not literally in the combat zone, facing possible death.

Smoking bans have been growing all over the country, but forcing it on submarines will be a cultural problem for many, but essential for promotion of good health.

Having openly gay people in the military and women on submarines will be the most difficult to adjust to, for many culturally conservative military types.

But life IS change, and overall, these steps forward are good for the military and for American society as a whole!

Public Opinion Polls And Arizona’s Illegal Immigration Law

The Arizona illegal immigration legislation has become the topic of conversation all over America, and many Americans are blaming illegal immigration as the major reason for the problems this country faces.

This is, of course, tremendous exaggeration and scapegoating, and has no basis! Most people in this country illegally are law abiding citizens who work hard, pay their taxes, and stay away from the legal authorities, and just want a better life! A small percentage are involved in crime or drugs or gangs, and of course, must be pursued and dealt with to the full extent of the law!

But to scapegoat all Hispanics and Latinos, whether legal or illegal, is unacceptable in our democracy! And that is why the fact that many public opinion polls indicate that a vast majority of Americans support the Arizona law and want it expanded, it cannot be allowed to be pursued on the basis of those biased, emotional feelings promoted by fear and hysteria! 🙁

Let’s face the facts: If we were to ask Americans if they would prefer that African Americans NOT have equality, that there be no civil rights laws, that women be treated again as second class citizens, that gays be subject to prosecution for being what they are, that Catholics and Jews be the subject of persecution as in the past, and that labor be returned to harsh working conditions, it is very possible that many, if not a majority, would support such reversion! 🙁

But we cannot allow prejudice, discrimination, racism, narrow mindedness, ignorance, hysteria, panic and emotionalism to become the basis of denying ANYONE human rights! We are NOT going back to the past when many groups in America were mistreated and denied equality! Those days are over forever! 🙁

Florida Republican Gubernatorial Race: Is Florida To Go The Way Of Arizona? :(

The Arizona illegal immigration law is having reverberations elsewhere, and is now affecting the race for the gubernatorial nomination of the Republican Party in Florida! 🙁

Republican Senate nominee Marco Rubio, himself a Cuban American, has denounced the legislation, as has former Governor Jeb Bush (whose wife is Mexican American), and Independent Governor Charlie Crist, who is running for the Senate. Democratic gubernatorial front runner Alex Sink and Democratic Senatorial front runner Kendrick Meek have also come out against it!

But now Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who had no significant opposition until a few weeks ago, when wealthy entrepreneur Rick Scott started a television barrage against McCollum after announcing his last minute entry into the race, has come out in support of the Arizona law, due obviously to the fact that Scott had earlier endorsed the legislation!

Imagine this: The Republicans can certainly be seen as having the advantage in the Governorship race, based on Florida becoming more Republican steadily since the 1990s. Does this state with so many Hispanic and Latino residents, a large percentage of them illegal, really want to go down the same road as Arizona? And do we really want a possible future Governor who pushed for the payment to George Rekers of substantial payments to argue against gay adoption, in the only state that does not allow that, realizing that Rekers has now become involved in a gay sex scandal that was big news a few days ago? 🙁

Is Bill McCollum the man we want to represent Florida, to become the chief executive of the fourth largest state? Are we not entitled to a more open minded, tolerant chief executive?

Under the circumstances, let us hope that this man, who has a despicable record in public office, and has been defeated numerous times in seeking the governorship or senatorial nomination, be once again defeated by a multimillionaire, who has unlimited pockets of money to spend! Then, hopefully, this upstart, who thinks he can “buy” the job of Governor, can be shown as a man without experience who does not deserve the highest executive office in the state, and that it belongs with the state’s Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink, a woman of principle and convictions!

Major League Baseball And The 2011 All Star Game In Arizona: Move It!

Thirty percent of major league baseball players are of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, and with many of the other players being African American, it is time for major league baseball commissioner Bud Selig to listen to the growing demands that the 2011 Baseball All Star Game be moved from Phoenix, in protest of the discriminatory, racist, illegal immigration law signed into law a few weeks ago in the Grand Canyon State!

It is time for the players union also to announce that should Selig refuse to do the right thing, that all of the baseball players will boycott the game, forcing his hand!

This weekend, in Cincinnati, the second Civil Rights game is being held, with the St. Louis Cardinals playing the Cincinnati Reds, in celebration of diversity and recognition of the long struggle for equality in this country! The players will wear uniforms reminiscent of what was the attire in 1947, when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Just down the street from the stadium is the National Underground Railroad Museum and Freedom Center, which honors the struggle against slavery in the 19th century.

This is the right time and situation for Bud Selig and Major League Baseball to refuse to endorse racial and ethnic discrimination and prejudice, and punish Arizona for its outrageous violation of civil liberties and civil rights!

The Coming “War” Against Incumbents In Congress: Is It Good For America?

The anger among the American people is strong, based upon recent polls, and the indications are that we are about to see more incumbents, those already in office, losing their seats than possibly at any time in American history! This, along with retirements, portends more turnover than is customary!

Already, Republican Senator Bob Bennett of Utah, and Democratic Congressman Alan Mollohan of West Virginia, have lost their seats, and the evidence is strong that Senate Democrats Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas are in deep trouble in their primary contests coming up on May 18, as well as Republican John McCain of Arizona in his primary in August!

Other Democrats are in trouble in November including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and those Republicans who are not facing election in the fall are getting hints that they will be fought against when they come up for reelection in the future–including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Orrin Hatch of Utah, and even Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky!

While this is an attack particularly, it seems, on Democrats, even Republicans who have been on Capitol Hill for too long and are seen as not conservative enough, are therefore at risk! Kentucky is seeing Rand Paul, favored by outgoing Senator Jim Bunning as his replacement, attacking Senator McConnell as if he were his opponent! This could be because McConnell is favoring Trey Grayson, seen by many as the “establishment” candidate, while Rand Paul, the son of Ron Paul, libertarian Congressman from Texas, is seen as the hero of the Tea Party Movement!

So with the decision of many Republicans and Democrats to retire, and many others facing defeat, there will be a lot of new members of Congress come next January, probably at least close to 50-60, meaning more than ten percent of Congress!

This is not necessarily better, as although new blood can be a good thing, the problem is that the likelihood is that we will see much more gridlock and stalemate, and more refusal to “cross the aisle” to cooperate on legislation, than we have now! The John McCain and Orrin Hatch style of bipartisanship at times may be gone for good, and the country will suffer as a result, as the chasm between the parties, and between the Congress and the President will only grow!

So the American people will continue to be angry, and the likelihood is further defeat of incumbents in future elections! Flux and chaos is likely in the halls of Congress, in a way not seen since the era leading up to the Civil War in the mid 19th century!

Is this good for America–the housecleaning? In the short run, it may satisfy, but in the long run, it is detrimental to the smooth functioning of American democracy! 🙁