October 14th: The Day After

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The sun rose – once again – upon Washington, D.C. on Monday morning. Today is Columbus Day. They day that we celebrate Christopher Columbus, the man that DIDN’T actually discover the land known as America. A holiday which is fitting the for the current state of affairs in our great nation.

Today is the day after the Million Veterans’ March held at the World War II Memorial to protest the shutting down of memorials in DC and cities across the nation. What was witnessed yesterday was nothing short of spectacular and inspiring. Veterans taking over the Memorial and then fanning out after remarks by politicians Sarah Palin and Senator Ted Cruz and a brief clash with US Park Police for blocking the road, not allowing access to the truckers there in support. Some went to the North lawn of the White House and carried on with chants and signs, invoking the DC Metro Police to call in the riot police. Others made their way to the Lincoln Memorial, where they tore down the barricades and carried them, as they marched, to the White House where the barricades were piled up in plain view of the South lawn. It was a statement. A statement that said, “We are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore!” Had anyone other than the Secret Service been home, they should have been shaking in their shoes. The whole scene resembled the beginning of a revolution in a Hollywood film. Surreal.

Today, though, there are no signs, no protesters and the barricades had been resurrected from the graves in front of the White House. There were also no camera crews and no politicians. In fact, the only representative of the US government was the lone US Park Ranger, sitting on the ground tying wire around the barricades to hold them together. But no politicians and no cameras.

I say it like that because it’s very apparent that when the cameras aren’t around, neither are the politicians. Sure, politicians claim to be there for the people, to help them fight the good fight, while the cameras are on, but when they go off, the politicians go away, to the comfort of their homes with their families, far from the problems of the majority of the citizens in this country such as living paycheck to paycheck. They are opportunists. Glory hounds. I’ve met used car salesmen that I trust more than I do the word of a “politician”.

Now, it is my belief that each party has its good and bad, its pros and cons, its failures and successes. So I don’t point fingers at one party and not the other because I feel that they are BOTH to blame for the current state of affairs. Some will disagree with that assessment and that is their right to do so and I respect that. With that being said, though, I feel that I need to talk a little about dear old, friend to the veteran, crusader for the Constitution, Senator Ted Cruz, only because he did show up yesterday and he IS the only one of the two currently occupying a seat on the Hill, wasting oxygen.

I’m going to “BASH” Sen. Cruz, because that accomplishes nothing. Instead, I merely want to call into question his history with hot  button topics. Now, before I go any further, I will state this and be held accountable to it: I promise not to only direct my attention, like I am about to do, on one party’s representatives or senators without doing the very same to members of the other party. In other words, while I may direct my attention to Sen. Cruz in this post, you can bet that I will highlight a member of the other party for the same. Which, I can promise you, for every Republican that does something there is an equal number of Democrats that have done it also. That being said, let’s get on with it.

Since I’m big on researching a particular member of Congress for whatever reason, the first place I always start when looking into a politician is their past voting record in their current position. What I found on Sen. Cruz was nothing short of predictable, having voted along party lines for the majority of votes. However, one struck me as really, really bad. And make no mistake, it wasn’t JUST him that decided to vote against this particular bill, there were Democrats also.

The bill in question is HR 325. Back in January of this year, when the Hill was in an earlier fight over the budget for the fiscal year, this bill was proposed by the Republicans that basically said that in the event of a government shutdown, Senators and Representatives’ pay would be withheld until a resolution was reached. In other words, they weren’t getting paid to NOT come up with a solution to the problem. The bill eventually made it to being signed by President Obama, but not unanimously. In the House, there were 144 votes AGAINST the measure! 144 votes AGAINST. That’s 144 representatives of the PEOPLE that believe that they should get paid for FAILING to do their job! If any of the readers failed to do their job they would be fired. No, these “representatives” don’t believe that should happen to them. They feel they should be continued to receive a check. The breakdown of voting against was 77% Republican and 23% Democrat, of the 144. But, the bill passed and went on to the Senate where it passed, but not unanimously. I received 34 votes AGAINST, or “Nay” votes. That breakdown was even more astonishing as 97% ( or 32) Republicans and 3% Democrats. Now, 3% would equal 2 Democrats, but, in reality, only Joe Manchin III from West Virginia voted against it with the last remaining Democrat not voting. So, in real numbers, that’s 33 senators that felt they should receive a paycheck for failing to do their job. Among those 33 was Ted Cruz. So, how is the friend of the people, the crusader against big government, fighter for the rights of veterans going to say, “Well, I’m not giving up my paycheck!” And that’s where I have a problem. The first “red flag”, if you will.

The second (ironically) is his historical stance on the 2nd Amendment. Back when he was the Texas Solicitor General, Cruz wrote the amicus brief for the case of DC vs. Heller, a case that basically found that in certain circumstances it was constitutional to regulate firearms. He even went further to make the case that military style assault weapons SHOULD be banned. I want to stop here for a moment and say, I understand that a person’s beliefs can change, that they can become educated in a certain belief and find himself agreeing with the belief. But this case made Sen. Cruz an EXPERT in the 2nd Amendment, or at least that is his proclamation. Now, the real problem comes some years later, when as a junior senator on the Hill, he and fellow Republicans fillibustered the appointment of Caitlin Halligan for DC Circuit Court Judge. Right now you’re probably asking, “What does that have to do with the 2nd Amendment and this whole argument?” The answer lies in the reasoning behind the fillibuster movement. See, it could be said that Cruz took the stance he did in the Heller case because he was the Texas Solicitor General and he was representing Texas as an attorney and he was giving his client – Texas – the best possible legal representation he could. He was doing his job. I can relate. He shouldn’t be faulted for attempting to do his job to the best of his ability, and most would agree. However, in fillibustering the appointment of Halligan, the argument was made that the arguments Halligan had made on behalf of her CLIENTS as an attorney, surely reflected HER OWN PERSONAL VIEWS AND OPINIONS. So, the question should be asked then: Should Senator Cruz be held to the same standard that he set forth in fillibustering the appointment of Halligan and have his represenation of Texas and the opinion that certain guns should be banned or regulated questioned?

Look, I know I’ve talked a lot about Senator Cruz. But these two examples of his political history are the EXACT reason why I have a problem with politicians regardless of party affiliation. Now, anyone could make the argument as to why I should be a Republican or a Democrat or a member of the Tea Party or a Libertarian or whatever. But you will NEVER convince me that either side is 100% right 100% of the time. It doesn’t happen. Don’t believe me? Here’s a test. Ask yourself this and answer honestly. Are you in a relationship (married/significant other)? Are you always right (no matter the issue)? Is your spouse/significant other always right? If you answered HONESTLY, you should have said NO to both of the last questions. The reason why is, no one is ALWAYS right. It defies the principles that guide us through life. That’s why there are actions that have a name: Mistakes. It happens.

The hope, for me at least, is that we, as American people, can begin to realize that in politics – as those of us that are married know and can confirm – the only way to success is put aside your personal agendas and beliefs and find the MIDDLE GROUND. There’s a Diamond Rio song I can remember listening to years ago. The lyrics went something like, “I start walking your way, you start walking mine. We meet in the middle, beneath that old Georgia pine. We gain a lot of ground, but we both give a little. And there ain’t a road too long, when you meet in the middle.” I apologize to any remaining Diamond Rio fans if I screwed those lyrics up, especially since I could have looked them up for accuracy sake, but you get the gist.

What I’m saying is basically what the song says. There’s a long road ahead of this great nation. But that road really isn’t that long if we put aside party bickering, finger pointing, mud slinging and name calling and become ONE, UNIFIED people and meet in the middle! As I said before, both parties have their pros and cons. Why can’t we just take the pros from both parties, the good parts, roll them together and come out with a strong unified party of the people and take control of this nation away from career politicians? It makes perfect sense to me.

I saw what this country could look like if we could find that common ground yesterday. Men and women bound together by the thread of patriotism, that had served in the military at one point or another in their lives, standing up for what they believed was RIGHT! But, today, that was merely a memory. One I will forever have etched in my mind, but a memory nonetheless. And it saddens me.

My hope is that the middle of the road can be found and a movement will start that WILL NOT end until there are REAL results. When the politicians that supposedly represent us see that the people mean business. A movement like that takes time, and, at the present moment, it doesn’t seem as though anyone is willing to sacrifice the time that is needed to make real change happen.

So, until then, our lives and destinies are controlled by the puppets of the campaign contributors, the political agenda supporters and the corporate elite.

God Bless.

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