American values? Conservatives and Republicans seem more confident in their beliefs, and they define Democrats by default. Trump is promising both guns and butter. But, what are your core values?
ALTOONA, WI - If my travels over the last several years have taught me anything, it’s that America — or at least our little corner of it here in Wisconsin — is in the midst of an identity crisis. I’ve been given the opportunity to meet with every imaginable kind of group — urban and rural, young and old, haves and have nots and used to haves, white and black and brown, left and right. One time we meet in a church or a school. Another time it’s a bowling alley or tavern. Next time it’s a VFW or American Legion hall. After that, a public library or bookstore.
Everywhere I go, I’m given a chance to share some thoughts. But I also get to ask questions and listen. I’ve asked the same questions at every stop: What are your core values? What do you stand for?
When I talk with conservative or Republican audiences, I’m struck by how quickly and confidently and uniformly they answer. Six themes surface time after time. Less government. Lower taxes. Free market economics. Individual liberty. Old-fashioned family values. Patriotism.
Sometimes the freedom they profess to love seems to clash with their definition of family values. Sometimes their love of country takes the form of military might or homeland security. Other times it comes out sounding like fear or even hatred of foreigners.
When I meet with Democrats or left-leaning groups and ask them my questions, what I typically hear is crickets. I get puzzled looks. Pregnant pauses. A few might bring up issues or causes they care about. I stop them. I ask again. What are your values? What principles form the basis of your positions on issues? Sometimes answers never come, only shrugs. When answers are offered, they generally are neither confident nor uniform.
In the vacuum that forms, Republicans define Democrats by default. Since Republicans say they are for less government and lower taxes, that puts Democrats on the side of more government and higher taxes. This current understanding will probably persist until either Democrats reach a consensus on what values guide them or a blossoming Republican identity crisis reaches full bloom.
Now that the GOP is Donald Trump’s party, the commitment to limited government is fading. Trump is promising both guns and butter, with his demands for a massive military buildup and a trillion-dollar domestic building program. Free trade is giving way to protectionism. Intrusive government authoritarianism is increasingly trespassing on personal freedoms. Both in style and in substance, Trump is at odds with what Reagan-style conservatives consider traditional social values. Those on the right are having a harder and harder time recognizing their party and agreeing on what it should stand for.
So again I ask both Republicans and Democrats: What are your core values?
Here are mine:
Freedom with responsibility. Each individual has a right to be free. But with that right comes an obligation to make sure others are free as well.
Democracy, both political and economic. Both our political system and our economy should be of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Equality. We are all created equal, with inalienable rights. No one starts at third base.
Caretaking. This means looking out for one another, and having each other’s back. It means taking care of the land and water and air.
Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Martha Laning
Friday, 03 March 2017 15:24
Many people around here want and need important parts of the Affordable Care Act, but Republicans still have no plan of their own to replace it.
JANESVILLE - Vice President Mike Pence was here today with other top Republicans to unite his party around a replacement of Obamacare.
It is very telling that Vice President Pence, Speaker Ryan, and Secretary Price spent more time in invite-only meetings than speaking to regular Wisconsinites who are afraid that their health care will be taken away from them.
If they had spoken to a family no longer under a mountain of debt from medical bills, a part-time teacher who can finally afford preventative care, or a recent college graduate who no longer goes to sleep at night praying they don't get sick, they'd know that the Affordable Care Act is helping millions of our friends, families, and neighbors.
The fact is that the ACA is more popular than ever after helping 150 million Americans with pre-existing conditions gain crucial health care coverage, increasing mental health and substance abuse health coverage substantially, and insuring millions of young adults who can now stay on their parent's health insurance until age 26.
Republicans still have no plan of their own to insure the millions of Americans who got access to lifesaving health care under the ACA. And the few ideas they have put on the table would lead to worse care that is harder to get and more expensive.
Instead of trying to rip coverage away from Americans, we should be working to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and finding ways to expand access to affordable health care.
Martha Laning is the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair.
Politicians like Trump shovel praise upon our military, but feel that they, themselves, were too good to serve. It is time they learn the lessons of history. Wars do not beget peace.
TUCSON, AZ - Americans how long will it take for us to understand we have been “had?”
It is family, school, faith and community members who help each generation learn it is better to talk to people than fight, kill and destroy. These are the great Americans.
I am repulsed by so many politicians like Mr. Trump who shovel praise upon our military but who, themselves, feel they are too good to serve our Nation.
Nearly all the wars since WWII have been illegal wars of aggression under our Constitution, United Nations Charter and treaties. Yet the military, CIA, presidents like Bush, Obama and Trump and individual Congressional members keep howling for blood.
Did the Romans stamp out Christianity by all their killing? Did the US win in Vietnam by killing a million Vietnamese? Are we winning the hearts and minds of Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians, or North Africans by killing their families, lovers, babies and friends by the hundreds of thousands?
I say no! You cannot kill ideas with a bullet. Thinking human beings know that.
When Democratic and Republican presidential candidates call out “We will hunt down and kill all Al-Qaeda, ISIS, etc. members and their families” we know our Nation is being run by idiots.
Or, is it being run by lying actors who push wars for the benefit of the military/industrial/politician complex that makes big bucks off of continuous war?
On Nov. 6, 2018 we will elect a new Congress (all the House members and 33 senators will be up for election.) Is it time to throw the bums out, keep the few good ones and start turning America into a Nation of peace builders and turn our backs on war mongering?
Take your choice on Nov. 6th. And if you choose continuous war, get ready to donate your sons and daughters to war’s meat grinding machine – the draft will return because the American volunteer military is broken.
Trump and fools in Congress can throw another $54 billion on top of the $600 billion the Pentagon already gets for more tools of war. But the military system is broken and cannot be fixed with more dollars.