Sunday, October 23, 2016

Response to David Brooks. New York Times.

In his recent opinion piece in the New York Times, The Governing Cancer of Our Times, David Brooks attempts to define American politics and present “anti-politics” as the inexcusable motivations of Trump voters.

Brooks first offers this definition, “Politics is an activity in which you recognize the simultaneous existence of different groups, interests and opinions. You try to find some way to balance or reconcile or compromise those interests, or at least a majority of them. You follow a set of rules, enshrined in a constitution or in custom, to help you reach these compromises in a way everybody considers legitimate.” In other words, Brooks defines our politics as being about legitimate compromise.

Bernard Crick is the first authority Brooks uses to bolster his defining premise. Crick was a Democratic Socialist who was born in London and passed away in 2008 at the age of 79. He was a political theorist and an acknowledged intellectual elite. Brooks mentions Crick’s book, “In Defense of Politics” that was first introduced in 1962 and subsequently placed on the reading lists in many universities. Crick also offered a definition of Politics, saying, “Politics is a way of ruling divided societies without undue violence.”

The 1828 Webster's dictionary disagrees and explains that politics is “The science of government; that part of ethics which consists in the regulation and government of a nation or state, for the preservation of its safety, peace and prosperity; comprehending the defense of its existence and rights against foreign control or conquest, the augmentation of its strength and resources, and the protection of its citizens in their rights, with the preservation and improvement of their morals.”

The current edition of Miriam Webster defines Politics as activities that relate to influencing the actions and policies of a government or getting and keeping power in a government.

One of the first people to define the word as we use it today was Aristotle. He essentially said that politics is an imprecise science that is more of a craft - a craft of noble actions rather than of production or words.

What all this means is that politics has long been defined and understood. What Brooks described wasn’t the accepted meaning of American politics. Instead, Brooks defined little more than a negotiation, which is often an element in politics but not the defining principle.

Aristotle also understood something that is often forgotten but is vital to effective politics. He believed politics presupposes an acknowledgment of human nature. It is this important point that David Brooks overlooks.  

Brooks believes it’s crucial to learn about people’s differences, saying that it's "an endless conversation where we learn about other people and see things from their vantage point." That's an effective idea in negotiations, but when it is applied to politics, it creates a schism. Politics is most successful at crafting a cohesive society when it appeals to our common ground rather than our differences. All people, no matter their language, ethnicity or culture are subject to their own human nature. It is our beautiful, ugly human nature that all Peoples share. It’s our common ground. We all get angry. We all understand a new mother’s soft smile. 

Like it or not, human nature exists... and it cannot be legislated. Only the fruits of human nature can be legislated. In other words, one cannot make a law saying it’s illegal to be angry but injuring or hurting other people or property does fall under the province of politics. Under classic Aristotelian thinking, Politics seems to be the system where the good of our human nature seeks to protect us from the bad of our human nature.

In the context of our inescapable human nature, division happens when you focus on dividing factors rather than unifying factors. Almost every troubled marriage shows us this simplified lesson. The more a couple focuses on their partner’s differences, the more resentful they became. Instead, they seek common ground to help rescue their marriage. Further, as the mother of a disabled child, I can tell you that my son’s differences, though I understand them well, are neither how I define him nor how I relate to him.

Next, Brooks pens himself in the midst of a distasteful group who wants to elect inexperienced people. Outsiders. These people are dismissed as nothing more than anti-politics rabble. He goes on to describe these disgusting people in hostile ways using phrases that suggest these people trample customs and cling to victorious doctrines but have little to offer except incompetent dysfunction.

Here he proves his idea of politics is invalid because he doesn't see how his own human nature tripped him up. Brooks is clearly disgusted at the Trump Voters. So disgusted that while he goes about the business of insulting these people, he completely ignores his own political definition that would charge him to “learn about other people and see things from their vantage point.” Instead, he attempts to marginalize this group of people and delegitimize their ideas and opinions. David Brooks certainly doesn't "walk his talk." 

As one of those Trump Voters, I can adamantly state that seeking an outsider who is not a career politician does not equate to "anti-politics." Further, I can personally verify that Brooks has displayed no knowledge or understanding of my motivations in his article. None. His explanation is pure fiction.

Nonetheless, Brooks is on a mission to shame these “political narcissists,” so he presses on into the Dark Realm of Authoritarianism… by, ironically, presenting us with an authority.

Matthew MacWilliams, a political scientist, believes Trump supporters are authoritarians. He believes this because of their answers to four questions about parenting styles. Let that sink in. Only four questions on PARENTING are enough for David Brooks to label an entire group of people – people who think differently than he - as “Political Narcissists” and to hysterically declare “Politics is in retreat and authoritarianism is on the rise worldwide.”

Interestingly, neither David Brooks nor Matthew MacWilliams trouble themselves to describe the striking difference of an Authoritative parent versus Authoritarian regime.

David Brooks also mentions 33 pages of insults curated by The Times as further evidence of Trump’s unsuitability. He forgets that 95% of the time, Trump is returning an attack. People that insult Trump can say anything with impunity. It’s an ugly mentality that seems to say, "Hey, it’s just fun to attack people we don’t like… and then revile that person for fighting back."

That's not appropriate nor is it healthy for society. The way forward is to seek our common ground. To celebrate that which unifies us. So, perhaps surprisingly, my conclusion is that David Brooks is right about one thing. The answer to all of this IS politics. I mean, of course, the classic Aristotelian definition of Politics. Something that speaks of the preservation of safety, peace and prosperity for ALL citizens, not Bernard Crick’s 50-year-old Socialistic brand of politics that have failed the people of every country in which it has been applied.


Additional reading:

Monday, October 17, 2016

Haven't Even Blinked.

My support for Donald J. Trump has never wavered. Why? I’m looking long term and at the big picture, which — if he’s elected — will be our best opportunity to work for a constitution-based USA. 

We have strayed from the checks and balances intended for our democratic republic. We are electing mere mortals to Congress who become out-of-touch millionaires within a few years. We have an administration that uses the federal agencies as handmaidens who fear him enough to defy their missions to serve citizens and not political powers. We find thugs being glorified in the White House, while heroes are lowered into graves with no commendation from either the White House or Hillary Clinton. Law and order are anathema to these two; their actions speak louder than hollow words.The constitution is ignored by the president, his current cabinet and Hillary; proof is everywhere, in fact so plentiful we are confused about where to start when citing flagrant abuses. We have documentation of coverups in the State Department, IRS, Justice Department and other agencies. We learn our president participated in and knew about the illegal private server in Hillary’s home. We have ISIS because we circled dates on calendars for our enemies to prepare for filling a vacuum after our troops left. We have a Secretary of State who — to me, even worse than the inept decisions leading to four deaths and injuries of numerous patriots — had the gall to lie to the families of those fallen Benghazi men, claiming deaths were due to an amateur video very few people in the world had ever seen. Hillary’s hateful observations about almost every group (blacks, women, poor people, Christians, Catholics, Jews, nurses even, and so forth) are ignored by her media. Well, I find I’m only getting started on all these deficits we find ourselves in.

He can give us back our pride, 

hope and belief in ourselves again. 

Before choosing whom to vote for, I assess where we are, and what needs to start happening to correct national problems. From living my life here in South Florida to watching our relationships, or lack of, in the international arena, I find deep crevasses. With such problems facing us, we need a proven problem solver. I’ve read Donald Trump's books, his positions and plans and vision as president. I’ve watched him in this year-long, uphill, increasingly monstrous battle against powerful Democrat, GOP, media, pay-for-favors establishments. He stands up for us, taking the wildly horrendous and false attacks by the Clinton Cartel, which has long and violent tentacles. It hurts, knowing he is working and fighting for us — not any lobbying group, not a handful of media elite, not foreign governments that embody everything our constitution forbids. It hurts, knowing we are — or have been — a country of generosity, tolerance and acceptance of decisions made by a majority of people. Yet, forces beyond my comprehension are ferociously attacking the one person who, in this period of our history, can lead us to economic and military security, can heal our divisions (if the extremists will forgive and allow themselves to heal). He can give us back our pride, hope and belief in ourselves again. 

Because he needs all the help he can get, I don’t want November 9th to come and — whatever the outcome — ask whether I did all I could. I served as a Trump poll watcher during early election and will again for our early voting in Palm Beach County. I attended the upbeat, inspirational rally in Boca earlier in the year, and also the recent one in West Palm Beach. At it, he  spent between 60 and 70% of his time on the issues, yet not one world of those important plans were reported in our local, very liberal media. You’d think 1990 was yesterday and frivolous claims of publicity-seeking-friends-of Hillary represented the only challenge facing us. Last week, I attended a training session to learn how to knock on doors, and the 15th was my first day out. I highly recommend it: four hours and only two people admitted to voting for the other candidate. Every Trump supporter knew the issues, his tough battle, media deceit, Hillary corruption, the president’s failures…oh, it was pure joy meeting so many well informed people. I’ll also work phones at GOP phone banks and will continue knocking on doors — which gives an 18 percent return, higher than any other form of campaign outreach. Trump models selflessness for a great good, and I’m trying to mimic his tireless example for his greater good and, by extension, for us all. 

All this to say, if you’re reading this, please participate in the “ground game.” Go to the Trump campaign website, click on volunteer and do something. The GOP will give you addresses and names of potential Trump voters; it doesn’t ask you to knock on a lifelong Democrat’s door. The phones will even dial numbers for you. There are guidelines for you. I’m NOT a Republican. I’m an independent deplorable. I’m very concerned about what was once a beacon for everyone on the planet because of our freedoms, those same freedoms eroding with each passing day under Democrats. 

Kathyleen Sherrod

Greenacres, FL

Kathyleen Sherrod 
A career in communications — from NBC affiliate, to independent Florida Newspaper, to US Congress and for trade/lobbying groups.Earned national, state and industry journalism awards, using news reporting as a platform for strategic political communications in Washington, D.C. Eight years in U.S. Congress; as media analyst/news editor for 1980, 1984 and 2000 presidential campaigns; Peace Corps headquarters in Reagan administration; the first communications director for the biotechnology industry; advertising and PR executive, and VP of communications for the replacement union to PATCO. Personal interests: animal and environmental advocate, activist for fiscally conservative  political candidates though politically independent because no political checks all my issues of interest or my positions regarding them.

More Posts By Kathleen

It's rare to Vote FOR someone.

Presidential Motivation

For me, it comes down to Motivation. 
Why are these two candidates running? What is behind their choices? 
The Left and the Media will tell you that Trump has a huge ego and is running because he likes to be popular and is a circus showman. 
They will tell you Clinton is an experienced leader who supports the poor, women and children, and will lift up Lady Liberty's light to the yearning masses. 

So, I looked deeper. 

Trump had a top rated reality show. ( I have never watched it nor read his books.) He made decent money from it and it increased his brand. He was popular. (Rappers made songs about him. "Up Like Trump.") He is 70 years old. His children are set for life. He could have simply retired in luxury and comfort anywhere in the world. He could have become a Political pundit. People with large egos don't like negative press and every pipsqueak with a keyboard is writing awful things every time he opens his mouth. Trump, however, has put quite a bit of his own money into a race that he has no need to make. The White House is a step down in luxury living quarters for Trump. It's not a career move or even a grand finale to long career. In fact, it's completely out of his comfort zone and he's made some dreadful mistakes. Ego-driven people stay in their comfort zone where mistakes aren't likely. 
So the media's Trump spin is incompatible with simple logic. None of their reasons stack up. 
Now Hillary...
Hillary has spent 30 years in the political arena. She knows it well. She, unlike Trump, speaks the language well. She is practiced. She is poised. It's what she does. It's what she knows. The political morass IS her comfort zone. She clearly wants to go down in history as the first female president. 
That's a pretty big ego.
But, okay, at some point a female President will happen. She figures she's got the ability and experience. 
Trump says he's running because he loves his country. 
Hillary says ditto on that. 
Let's look at America:

Under the Clinton/Bush dynasties how has America faired in the last 30 years? 

  • The National debt is huge. 
  • Manufacturing has left at alarming rates. 
  • Education is expensive and yet, does a poor job. I mean, seriously, the culture holds up The Kardashians as role models. 
  • War and poverty have taken a huge toll in both lives and economics. 
  • Health care has stopped innovating.
  • Regulations have slowed housing loans and almost crushed small business. 
  • The tax code has expanded so much, you have to buy software or hire someone to help you.
  • Under our politicians and their Vast Experience, we've lost the war on Drugs. More jail time and incarcerations and more addicts prove that. 
  • If our kids are drug free, they are almost zombies with video games and smartphones.
  • And our country screams at one another on social media and riots in Democrat run cities.  

How has Trump faired in the last 30 years? 

  • He's come back from failure, bankruptcy, and debt. 
  • Screwed up a couple of marriages but managed to stay on good terms with the children and the ex-wives. (Not easy.) 
  • He's built palaces of gold all over the world. see photo.
  • He's created large numbers of jobs. 
  • He's guided some amazing kids who don't have drug issues and who all give back. (Eric Trump has given huge amounts to Saint Jude's Children's Hospital. Millions!) 
  • He's has over 500 successful businesses. 
  • He stood up for Blacks and Jews in Palm Beach. 
  • Hired women in the construction industry in executive and leadership roles.  
  • Pays those women equal to men before it was cool or EXPECTED. 
  • And sometimes he says stuff that sounds awful on Social Media. 

My Conclusion:

Trump's motivation has either utterly escaped the media and the pundits and the doctors and the millions of people looking at the race... or it is exactly what's he's said. He loves His country. 
Clearly, however, it's not because of his big fat ego. He's already got the means to feed that MUCH better than this race has done. 

Hillary's motivation is a career finale. If Hillary were truly a great leader capable of running the country into prosperity, her influence over the last 30 years would be much more profound. 30 years is a lot of time to have made significant inroads in poverty, inner cities, equal pay, education, not to mention a world racing toward nuking one another.

Hilary's influence isn't profound...because she's simply another corrupt politician. She's become rich off of public service?? How is that possible. 

After looking at all this, I decided last year to vote Trump.

Hillary's networth  32 Million.