The First Time

I thought it would be more painful.  It wasn’t completely painless, to be sure…, but after 63 years of absolute abstinence, there was bound to be a little discomfort, at the least.  Luckily, it didn’t last long.  It was over almost before I knew it.  I was left with some feelings of guilt…, maybe remorse.  Time will tell about that…, I guess. 

I left my name, mailing address, phone number and email address.  No physical address.  I learned that lesson many years ago.  When all I used to give out was a post office box for an address and had an unlisted phone number…, not even the IRS could track me down.  And they were trying…, family and ex-employers told me so.  Two weeks after I got a phone listed in my name for a house I was sharing with the rest of the logging crew working on an out of town job…, an IRS agent left a note on the door for me.  But I digress…, in this case I want some acknowledgement of my contribution.  Then again…, I don’t want it to turn into a constant and relentless demanding…, or begging…, for more.

Yeah…, it’s already started.  It wasn’t a demand or a beg really…, more of a thank you note via email, with a not so subtle hint that it would be ever so helpful if I could give again.  Maybe I shouldn’t have been so generous the first time…, probably should have taken it a little slower and easier.  But after all these years, I felt that if I was going to do it…, I was going to do it right and go all the way.  Or at least as far as I felt I could, without feeling some real pain.  So I clicked that $100 button…, and it was over and done with.  No turning back now.  And I am not feeling too bad about it at this time…, I guess.

Yeah…, I donated to Bernie Sanders campaign.  The first time ever, that I have contributed as much as a single penny to a politician.  I might just do it again before it’s all over…, though most of the pundits in the media say he doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in this global warming climate of acing out Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. 

I don’t know…, those same pundits were saying the same things about Obama and Hillary six years ago.  Think about that for a moment…, after you consider what’s been in the news about black men out on the streets of America lately.  That a black man was able to woo voters away from Hillary says a lot about her.  I think voters were looking for an anything but Hillary nearly eight years ago…, and they may be again.  Sure, all the big time Wall Street money is bet on her…, and believe me…, that money will be pouring out like water over Niagara Falls for her if Bernie starts to gain some traction.  Well…, I don’t know just how afraid the oligarchs and plutocrats are of him right now…, but if his common sense approach to the issues starts to resonate with the voters of this country and sparks a bit of a fire…, we could see some real panic in the boardrooms…, not to mention the Clinton bedroom.  “NOOOO…, not AGAIN !!!”  And that will be before we get out of the primaries.

I only voted in one presidential election…, ever.  And never in a primary.  They say now-a-days that it makes no difference if you vote Democrat or Republican…, they are one in the same.  I thought that for years before folks started saying it.  Then the Wee Bush got elected…, twice.  Yeah…, I voted against him the only time I ever voted for (make that against) a president.  And I was physically sick when he got re-elected.  That experience doesn’t give me a whole lot of faith in the voters of this country.  That they couldn’t see then, the train wreck that was riding the rails of a Wee Bush re-election still flabbergasts me.  Well…, a hell of a lot of them woke up after that train wreck.  As the late Joe Bageant described that awakening, “Either they have suddenly developed a streak of conscience, or they simply don’t want to be associated with the trail of crime, blood and feces Bush and his cronies have obviously tracked across the carpet of American history.  My bet is on the latter.”  Yeah…, a pumpkin-headed pogo stick could have trounced any Republican candidate after the stench and stigma left on the Grand Old Party by the Wee Bush.  The stench was so complete and long lasting that a pumpkin-headed pogo stick could probably do it again in 2016…, and probably will…, if we don’t find some way to wake up some rank and file, common sense voters to get out and vote for Bernie Sanders in the primaries.  They say that big money buys elections these days…, but this is a chance to show the oligarchs and plutocrats that their money is not always well spent.  I don’t know how many more presidential elections I will have the chance to participate in at my age…, but at least this one could be a chance to vote FOR someone…, as opposed to voting for the least worst option.  And I am not at all sure if there is a least worst option between Hillary and Jeb B.? 

Sanders is running on the Democratic ticket as a strategic move…, but he has served 20 some years in Congress as an Independent and describes himself as a “democratic socialist”.   That won’t scare the educated and thoughtful folks who understand what socialism really is…, but for the knuckle dragging, Neanderthal, FOX news, Rush Limbaugh junkies and Republicans?  Well…, I just wish that Stephan Colbert and Jon Stewart were going to be around to have me rolling on the floor, pissing my pants laughing, as they make fun of the talking heads screaming bloody murder, the sky is falling and the barbarians are at the gate…, as Sanders gains in the polls.  The Scandinavian countries have survived and thrived quite nicely with a socialist form of government.  And after bearing witness to the free market, private enterprise example of the too big to fail and too big to jail Wall Street banks and banksteers…, I would welcome the nationalization of those entities…, not to mention the nationalization of the health care industry were private insurance companies run a cost plus, monopoly business model.

Here’s the “platform” statement from Bernie’s “thank you” email along with a link to his website:

Income and wealth inequality: In the United States today we have the most unequal wealth and income distribution of any major country on earth — worse than at any time since the 1920s. This is an economy that must be changed in fundamental ways. 
 Jobs and income: In my view, we need a massive federal jobs program which puts millions of our people back to work. We must end our disastrous trade policies. We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. And we have to fight for pay equity for women. 

Campaign finance reform: As a result of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, American democracy is being undermined by the ability of the Koch brothers and other billionaire families. These wealthy contributors can literally buy politicians and elections by spending hundreds of millions of dollars in support of the candidates of their choice. We need to overturn Citizens United and move toward public funding of elections so that all candidates can run for office without being beholden to the wealthy and powerful. 

Climate change: Climate change is real, caused by human activity and already devastating our nation and planet. The United States must lead the world in combating climate change and transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainability. 

College affordability: Every person in this country who has the desire and ability should be able to get all the education they need regardless of the income of their family. This is not a radical idea. In Germany, Scandinavia and many other countries, higher education is either free or very inexpensive. We must do the same. 

Health care: Shamefully, the United States remains the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people. The United States must move toward a Medicare-for-all single-payer system. Health care is a right, not a privilege. 

Poverty: The United States has more people living in poverty than at almost any time in the modern history of our country. I believe that in a democratic, civilized society none of our people should be hungry or living in desperation. We need to expand Social Security, not cut it. We need to increase funding for nutrition programs, not cut them. 

Tax reform: We need real tax reform which makes the rich and profitable corporations begin to pay their fair share of taxes. We need a tax system which is fair and progressive. Children should not go hungry in this country while profitable corporations and the wealthy avoid their tax responsibilities by stashing their money in the Cayman Islands. 

And these are just some of the issues that we will be dealing with. 

Stand with me and endorse this platform for our campaign.

Yeah…, common sense, down to earth, plain and simple, to the point, easy to understand…, and impossible to argue against.  I am not saying that it will be easy for Bernie to get any of those things implemented if the gets elected…, the man is honest enough to tell you that himself.  I will say that I am as certain as I have been about anything in this long life…, that none of those things will be implemented by Hillary Clinton or Jebby. 

A few months back I posted a link to Bill Moyer’s interview with Bernie Sanders here at The Agonist:

Here’s the link to the TV program (again :)):
Full Show: Bernie Sanders on Breaking Big Money’s Grip on Elections
And a quote from the program:

BERNIE SANDERS: Yes. The only point, there is a difference between social issues and the economic issues. And I will not deny for one moment that taking on the ruling class of this country and the billionaire class, it’s tough stuff. It is tough stuff. So I don’t have any magical solutions. But what I do know is that if we do not create an economy that works for ordinary people, if we do not end the fact that 95 percent of all new income now goes to the top one percent. We’ve got to end it, and the only way I know to do that is to rally ordinary people around the progressive agenda. So our job is to create a 50 state, grassroots movement around a progressive agenda.

I also posted that link to the Moyer’s show on my Facebook page with the comment that if Bernie ran…, “I will get involved”. 
He did…, and I am…, for the first time.  

And I am feeling better about it all the time…, and that ain’t no guess.

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Scott R.

A "rehabilitated" former logger and now a "wannabe" cowboy..., and writer. Living and loving with my drop-dead gorgeous wife Julie here on our "Ranch"..., on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula of Washington state..., with our three horses and too damn many dogs, cats, and chickens.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  •    I grew up with political parties which had different views on what was best for the country, but their views were aimed at the country. Since then, I’ve watched the parties devolve into groups fighting to enhance their own wealth and power at the expense of the general welfare.

    From Joe Bageant’s Rainbow Pie:

       Being of a Republican stripe made Cotton Unger a rare bird in the strongly Democratic Morgan County. Today he would be even rarer, because he was a Republican with the common wisdom to understand something that no Republican has ever grasped since: he realised that any wealth he might acquire in life was due not only to his own efforts, but also to the efforts of all other men combined — men who built the roads that hauled his merchandise; men who laid rail track, grew crops, drilled wells, and undertook all the other earthly labours that make society possible. Whether they were Democrats or not, he needed the other citizens around him as friends, neighbours, and builders of the community. To that end, he provided transportation to the polls at election time for farmers without cars — and they were many, Pap and Maw among them — full knowing that nearly every last one of them was going to vote against his candidate. In his ancestors’ time they had voted for Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, James Polk, James Buchanan, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman — all Democrats.
       The old-timers say that Cotton always looked kinda weary around election time. And well he must have been. On election day, Cotton chauffeured around Democratic voters, people who would vote against his interests, vote in favour of higher business taxes or to increase teachers’ pay to the point where the school-marm could almost make a living. But Cotton also understood that his personal interests resided more with his community and neighbours than with his political affiliation. Republican politicians in faraway Charleston took the back seat to his face-to-face daily life with his neighbours. Cotton, like his father Peery, and his grandfather, C.J. Unger, before him, knew that when you depend directly on neighbours for your daily bread, you’d damned-well better have their respect and goodwill. And you’d best maintain it over generations, too, if you plan to pass the family store down to your sons and your sons’ sons. We may never see that level of operative community democracy again.

       Like you, Scott, I have never given a dime to a political campaign, though I did a bit of volunteer work many decades ago. And like you I will be donating to Bernie Sanders – and any other politicians with the guts and integrity to support him. I don’t expect him to win the presidency – we’ve had 100 years of conditioning against the Left to make that unlikely until it’s a choice between Socialism and Revolution (and even then, fascism would be the more likely result of revolution). I don’t even think Bernie will win the nomination. The best we can hope for IMHO is that he will push HRC (and her constituency) further left; but mostly that he will move the Overton Window back toward the Socialist side. The Rethugs have been consistently moving it to the Right since Reagan and it’s time to correct that.

       This may well be the last chance for this country to pull its collective head out of its collective ass. It may already be too late, but it’s worth a shot.

    • “This may well be the last chance for this country to pull its collective head out of its collective ass. It may already be too late, but it’s worth a shot.”

      Right on partner…, write on. My feeling exactly…, we are bumping up against so many brick walls simultaneously right now. Be it climate change, debt drowning, inequality, rampant militarism, total surveillance…, and I am too damned old to pick up a sledge hammer or a torch or a pitchfork to knock them down. This is about the last best effort I can muster.

      Here is a good one from CounterPunch by Andrew Levin:
      Elections: What Are They Good For?

      Webb and Sanders are on hardly anyone’s mind. Few people know who Sanders is; fewer still know anything about Webb.

      Also, at this point, the smart money has it that the question is moot because the chances of stopping the Clinton juggernaut are nil.

      Nevertheless, there is no timelier question in American electoral politics today.

      With few exceptions, people, especially “progressive” people, don’t realize this –first, because they don’t have a sound purchase on what elections these days are good for; and, second, because most of them have never taken the full measure of the harm that the Clintons have done to progressive causes, and therefore don’t appreciate what is at stake in getting that wretched family out of public life.

      It is the family, the former President as well as his First Lady, that must go. For all practical political purposes, she and her better half might as well be one and the same.

  •    I think Webb’s heart is in the right place and he has the right values but I question if the presidency wouldn’t be out of his weight class. (He’s certainly be more capable than GWB, but then, Dubya didn’t make the decisions; Cheney et al  did.) Webb would make a fine VP and attack dog and might actually be Bernie’s best chance of detaching a lot of people from their insistence on voting against their own best interests by their knee-jerk response to the Right’s Bible-Rattling. Getting them back into the Dem camp would give me some real hope.

  • Quote From Joe Bageant…,

    Neither a Ron Paul, nor a McCain nor a Huckabee nor Obama or anybody else is going to blow the trumpet and have the walls of Jericho’s corporate gulag/surveillance state fall down. They’ll fall down as the walls of empires always do, when the rot inside them becomes too great, when it is stretched too thin and runs its course. Until then, if a single righteous candidate ever does make it through the bullshit to get close enough to throw a Molotov cocktail over the walls of power, I’ll light the goddamned wick.

    The quote comes from the essay Getting Out the Bling Vote penned in January of 2008.

    Yeah…, my wick is lit here in 2015…, and I am passing that cocktail over to Bernie Sanders

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