The Different Drummer

By Carl J. Petersen

Politics, Family, Music and other Musings.

Employer-Based Health Insurance Works - Until It Doesn't

Health care must be recognized as a right, not a privilege. Every man, woman, and child in our country should be able to access the health care they need regardless of their income. The only long-term solution to America’s health care crisis is a single-payer national health care program.

- Bernie Sanders

I listened to the small talk as people slowly filled in around the conference table and wondered to myself how many other people actually realized what was going on. If the seemingly random makeup of the people in this surprise meeting was not enough of a clue, the stack of large envelopes, the presence of the newly appointed head of the company from our new parent company and the stranger that accompanied him should have been. My streak of 31 years of employment, 14 years with this company, was about to come to an end.

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One (White, Property-Owning, Gender Specific) Man, One Vote

My view is that every vote matters. And the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting and that means get rid of the Electoral College.

- Elizabeth Warren

The will of the people is clear: Democrats have won the popular vote in six of the past seven presidential elections. Yet, in the country that holds itself up as a shining example of democracy, the voter’s wishes were ignored. In two of those elections, including the last one, Republicans won the Electoral College with a minority of the vote and were given control of the Oval Office.

I would rather have the popular vote because it’s, to me, it’s much easier to win the popular vote.

- Donald Trump

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The Trump Years: Politically Driven Willful Ignorance

I love the poorly educated."

- Donald Trump

In a 2017 poll, 57% of the respondents who said that they voted for Donald Trump “said it was ‘definitely true’ or ‘probably true’ that [President Obama] came from Kenya.” While the rest of the world debates how to deal with climate change, only “70 percent of Americans believe ‘global warming is happening’”. A survey in 2016 suggested, “that one in three supporters of Donald Trump believe vaccines do indeed cause autism.

While much has been made of the fact that Trump has been no more faithful to the truth than he has been to his wives, this ignores the greater threat facing our country. A president’s term in office is limited and Trump will eventually leave the Oval Office. However, the minority of Americans who placed him in that office will remain, ready to close their eyes to reality and support the next charismatic leader who comes along.

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Sometimes It Is All About the Benjamins

What [Ilhan Omar] said is so deep-seated in her heart that her lame apology..was just not appropriate.

- Donald Trump

On August 11, 2017, white-supremacists marched through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia chanting “Sieg heil” and “Jews will not replace us.” The next day James Alex Fields Jr., “who a former teacher said was fascinated by Nazism and Hitler”, purposefully drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters to the “Unite the Right” rally, killing Heather Heyer in cold blood. Donald Trump responded by saying that there were “fine” people on both sides. There are no “fine” people in a crowd of people chanting Nazi slogans.

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Trump's Wall Hits the Popular Vote

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George H.W. Bush Led a Different America

You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.

- George Bush to Bill Clinton

January 20, 1993

My birth as an activist occurred during the presidency of George H.W. Bush. As the GOP gained traction in their attempts to overturn Roe vs. Wade, I spent many Saturday mornings protecting access to women’s health care clinics as mobs of anti-abortion protesters tried to shut them down using physical force. Often standing by my side were members of the activist LGBTQ+ community who exposed me to the personal side of their fight, which at that time included an AIDs epidemic that was unchecked.

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Universal Acceptance

“It is our goal to provide every family with an enjoyable and memorable visit to Sesame Place, and we are proud to offer specialized services to guests with autism and other special needs.

- Sesame Place

As parents of two daughters on the autism spectrum, my wife and I have made it a priority to make sure that they are not hidden away from the world. Jeopardizing our own sanity at times, we have worked through their challenges to include them on family adventures. When successful, we have been rewarded with the joy of watching our daughter dancing and singing along at her first Queen concert. On the other side of the spectrum, I’ve also sat outside an auditorium trying to calm down her overly stimulated sister.

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The Real War on Christmas

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A City Councilman's Parting Gift

I will be staying on in my position as Councilmember until the end of this year and will remain laser-focused on continuing to represent my district as I have always done.

- LA City Councilman Mitch Englander

Ignoring the responsibilities that he accepted by running for re-election, Mitch Englander announced last month that he would be “vacating [his] Council seat as of December 31, 2018.” While promising that he would stay “laser-focused“ on the needs of his constituents during his remaining time in office, it seems that he has neglected to perform one very important task since drafting his announcement to the community; it seems that a formal letter of resignation has not been submitted to the Los Angeles City Council. Therefore, they have been unable to schedule a special election for the community to select his replacement.

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A House Strategy for Retaking the White House

I’m not done fighting for working families who voted for a president that would stand up for them and instead got a President surrounded by Wall Street millionaires and socialites.

- Richard Ojeda

While the victory in the midterm elections was not as definitive as some had expected, the Democrats did secure a majority in the House of Representatives and with it a much-needed firewall to Trump’s policies. Assuming the Democratic caucus stands firm, additional deficit-exploding tax cuts for the 1% are off the table. Legislative paths towards criminalizing abortion, legalizing discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans and repealing Obamacare have also been blocked.

For the many who have been endangered by Trump’s bigoted policies, the ability to finally play defense should provide some sense of relief, but it is not enough. Since they did not gain a majority in the Senate, Democrats have no way to block Trump’s judicial appointments. This will certainly result in the judiciary being stocked with judges whose sole qualification is a willingness to engage in judicial activism to push a conservative agenda. We cannot rely on the courts to protect the historic progress that our country has made in the last half-century of civil rights battles or to provide the check on the Executive Branch that our Constitution mandates. Have no doubt, the condition of our country will worsen in the years ahead.

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