The Different Drummer
Politics, Family, Music and other Musings.
By Carl J. Petersen
- 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.Read more
- 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.Read more
“Remember the attack on Merry Christmas? They’re not attacking it anymore. Everyone’s happy to say ‘Merry Christmas,’ right? Merry Christmas! That was under siege. You’d have these big department stores that say ‘happy holidays.’ They say where’s the ‘Merry Christmas?’ Now they’re all putting up ‘Merry Christmas’ again. And that’s because only because of our campaign.”
- Donald Trump, July 2018
It may have only been July, but the President had Christmas on his mind. Moving on from his war against contracting STDs, Donald Trump declared that he had personally saved Christmas. The holiday was no longer “under siege.” Now pass the suntan lotion.
- 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.
- 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.Read more
- Steve Knight
If this were Nazi Germany, David Brayton would have been wearing a brown shirt. Instead, he sat down to shoot a commercial with Congressman Steve Knight with a shirt emblazoned with the word “infidel.” This only hinted at his hatred of the Muslim religion and other “overt bigotry”Read more
- Richard N. Ojeda
If leaders are born out of a crisis, then once again the Trump presidency has been stillborn. Even though bombs were still in circulation and the perpetrator was still on the loose, Tweets from the President of the United States revolved around an unsubstantiated complaint that Twitter was limiting the number of his followers and the fact that the news was covering assassination attempts against his political foes instead of “talking politics”. Even worse, he fed right-wing conspiracy theorists by framing the word “bomb” in quotes, contradicting his FBI Director who directly stated that they were “not hoax devices”. Leaders put the common good above their own. Donald Trump is a narcissist who cannot stand a storyline that does not advance his own interests.Read more
- Hillary Clinton
Coming out of the 2016 presidential elections it looked like the Republican party was hopelessly fractured. Trump had steamrolled past primary opponents favored by the establishment turning party orthodoxy on its head. After a failed last-minute attempt to block his ascension at the convention, the party faithful fell into line and prepared themselves for a certain loss; they would regroup in 2020 and take on Clinton for her reelection.
But then Trump beat the odds and won. The Never Trumpers fell away along with long-standing planks in the Republican platform. The party that used to believe in free trade sat by while Trump instituted ill-conceived tariffs and started trade wars. While they once responded to complaints of abuse by police officers with the retort of “blue-lives matter”, no defense was forthcoming for career FBI agents subjected to Trump’s unsubstantiated charges against them. Former deficit hawks who used to insist on “pay for” for any social program gladly voted for a tax bill that primarily benefited corporations and the 1% while ballooning the deficit and increasing income inequality.Read more
- Brett Kavanaugh
Like a child who had gotten caught with his hands in the cookie jar, SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh looked into the eyes of United States Senators and the American people and said he did not do it. However, no amount of tears or righteous indignation will change the fact that placing “Renate Alumnius” on his yearbook page was not an act of “affection”, he was not old enough to legally drink at the time he allegedly tried to rape Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, or that he regularly attended parties like the one described by Ford.
- Brett Kavanaugh
Much like Dr. Christine Ford, Monica Lewinsky’s life was turned upside down by the glare of someone else's spotlight. While Brett Kavanaugh asserted that engaging in sexual relations with Bill Clinton turned “her life into a shambles”, from Lewinsky's point of view it was his boss, Kenneth Starr, “who turned [her] 24-year-old life into a living hell”. As tribal politics raged, it was not the sex acts, but Clinton’s use of her as “a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position” that provided his contribution to her enduring victimization.Read more