Tuesday, May 31

The Day After Memorial Day

The article said: "Have you remembered the soldiers who gave all?" And I had to think about that. Had I?
Then I remembered a passing instant when I looked at the bedraggled Marine Corps flag of my neighbor, Jack Royston, who died without ceremony at 93 a month ago and said, "Thanks for everything, Jack."
   But my thanks was for the life not given in war, but for the life lived as a husband, as a neighbor, and a father, and as a grandparent. It was thanks for the decency and struggle he lived his life; for building his own house as he could afford to do it. It was for his shirtless lawnmowing perched atop a John Deere mower which was as regular as any clock.
   For the many midnight calls by the county to assist his wife and take her to the hospital and the lights on in his kitchen that followed. It was for the way he carried himself with dignity whether it was on hobbled knee or pushing his trash can to the curb.
   I thanked him for the friendly waves and loud "halloos" from his doorstoop while collecting his morning paper. It was for the tour of his home-made woodshop and his stories of The Old Soldier's Home in Dayton, the city we had in common.
   He was a "desk jockey" during WWII and was glad for that. He was lucky to marry the girl of his dreams and make Iowa City his home for most of his life. To be able to make children's furniture and raise money through a charity golf tournament.
   Thanks for everything, Jack. A life lived in service to others is also a life to be remembered. After 93 years, Jack truly did give all.

Friday, May 27

The Race to the Finish Should Lead to Philly

I was a mediocre runner back in the day, but even I understood the importance of running full-tilt to the end. Things happen, people drop out, get injured, find a second or third wind. So I understand why Bernie Sanders is neither dropping out or "phoning it in" at this time despite the rumblings. 900+ delegates have not been decided, the news about the State Department email issue has not made then Secretary Clinton look good, the polls in California have tightened, etc. And yet, some dyed-in-the-wool Ds are saying, "Wrap it up, Bernie. You made your point, but enough is enough."

    And I appreciate that viewpoint too. People have been under-estimating the Trump campaign in both parties and it is evident that the more free press he gets, the more the worry of a Trump Presidency becomes a real concern and hard to throw money at. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders polling numbers show that in a head to head competition, they can win, but at the moment, it depends on which numbers you look at and whether you believe that they will hold currency when November rolls around.

    For that reason alone, I say let the Democrats play this out to the conclusion and see what happens between the end of the primaries and the Convention in Philly. There are a lot of cards to be played, not the least of which is unifying a fairly frayed party. I firmly believe that the Democrats who are accused of having to love their candidate, can still fall squarely in like with whomever is selection. But how this happens depends on some factors, for instance:

1) The role of the DNC at the convention. Clearly there is a rift between party Centrists and the left-leaning wing that Sanders seems to have built up. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a lightening rod for a significant number of party members, but she has also be the spokesperson for the party. If it is seen that she is being thrown under the bus for unity and Chuck Schumer replaces her as scheduled, then things may not go well for Sen. Schumer, who is seen as another Clinton surrogate. On the other hand, if it becomes a battle royale between a Sanders leaner and Sen. Schumer, that doesn't help either.

2) If he does not win the nomination, significant face time for Bernie at the Convention and his tone in using his time will be closely scrutinized. If he begrudgingly is conciliatory or, as he has promised, backs Hillary Clinton fully and encouraging his followers to do as well, it will help. Likely as not, those who closely follow Sanders will join him, even though some younger or more skeptical may see him as then bought and paid for, if he does toe the line.

3) Choice of running mate by Clinton or Sanders will be important. It is not very likely nor advantageous for the eventual candidate to choose his or her rival. A fresh face or a highly esteemed neutral party will likely needed to change the conversation. There are lots of names bandied about, but if it is Sanders, he'll need either a progressive who is seen positively by Clinton's supporters and vice-versa for Clinton should she chose a more moderate running mate.

4) Focus on the prize. Whoever the next president may be, she or he will be naming at least one member, but possibly two or three more in their term. With a fractured military and unfocused foreign policy goals, a coherent policy must be constructed. And on top of that, living up to campaign promises will, be "yuge." Donald Trump in some ways is the least of their worries, but in the immediate space, must be dismantled in a unified way, but that will become more difficult as alliances on the R side are better formed.

There is not a real other option for the Democrats in terms of timeline. The will have to slog it out and get their house in order both in the backroom and in public at their Convention in Philadelphia. It won't likely be very pretty, but thankfully the finish line stretches further than November.

Thursday, May 12

Son of Popular Progressive

In 2013, I discontinued writing this blog. Then I learned that someone "spammed" the blog and people were not able to read my old posts, not even me. So, I did the only thing I could, I retrieved the blog and, like Dr. Frankenstein, I am bringing it back to life!

There has been a lot of good that has happened for the Progressives (both popular and otherwise). I intend to focus on the primaries and reconnect with old friends who never stopped blogging. If you are interested in following along, please do. Feel free to comment. Since I do moderate the comment section, please know that I believe in respectful (but humor is welcome) dialogue.

Concluding on the Frankenstein theme. There are some monstrous things going on out there, the least we can do is point them out and offer a better/different way to think about them. And with that, so long for now. Content will be coming.