Wednesday November 22, 2017

Always Foward with Education & Reason

Blue Jean Nation - "Fed up with one, let down by the other" PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Tuesday, 17 May 2016 09:38

bernie-sandersDemocrats have a habit of compromising with themselves. Democratic voters love the ideas Bernie Sanders is putting out there, yet Hillary Clinton is considered the safer presumptive nominee.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 May 2016 11:08
Playing Nice in the Sandbox and the River PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Tuesday, 17 May 2016 08:09

wakeboardingThe recreational sport of wakeboarding is popular along the Black River, but the constant large wakes caused by the boats has effected people’s use of the river and caused damage to piers and docks and erosion of the shore. Sen. Kathleen Vinehout attempts to find a solution that allows everyone to enjoy the river.

"Skunks at the picnic" - Blue Jean Nation PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Tuesday, 10 May 2016 10:45

donald-trumpDonald Trump is the Republican Party’s new national standard bearer. Trump’s pitch appeals to the darkest impulses, but it also zeroes in on how everyday Americans have been betrayed by ruling elites and how the government is serving a few at everyone else’s expense. The establishment types of both parties have conspicuous blind spots to this appeal, as both Trump and Bernie Sanders are seen as unwelcome intruders.

ALTOONA, WI - Establishment Republicans are having to come to terms in a hurry with the unsettling reality of having Donald Trump as the party’s national standard bearer. Nowhere is the discomfort higher than in Wisconsin where top GOP leaders and right-wing talk radio mouthpieces led the #NeverTrump movement, uniting behind a candidate they can’t stand in hopes of derailing one they despise and fear even more.

While they either can’t see it or won’t admit it, in some ways Trump is a perfect reflection of what the Republican Party has made itself. In other more important ways, Trump exposes the party leaders’ biggest blind spots.

Trump understands something the party brass can’t bring themselves to accept. Most voters — including many who consider themselves either Republicans or Democrats but also the self-described independents who make up the biggest single voting bloc — hate both major parties and believe that your average politicians are nothing but self dealers, interested first and foremost in advancing their own careers and feathering their own nests. Trump appeals to quite a few of those who are thinking this way because he’s already rich and famous and doesn’t need to hold any office to make a name for himself or line his pockets.

The other blind spot Trump is exploiting is that Republican insiders figure most Americans hate the government, period. For decades they have demonized anything having to do with government. Their message has been self-centered, putting the individual on a pedestal, and their policies have torn at the fabric of society. It’s clear Trump sees a miscalculation here. He’s found sizeable numbers of disenchanted voters — especially working-class white men — who clearly yearn for some common aim or uniting cause. He seems to instinctively sense that it’s not the government itself they hate, it’s a government that they believe stopped working on their behalf quite some time ago that has them exasperated. He’s offered them common enemies to unite around, tapping into powerful feelings of nativism and nationalism.

Trump’s pitch appeals to the darkest impulses, the fear of outsiders, the fondness for walls. But it also zeroes in on how everyday Americans have been betrayed by ruling elites and how the government is serving a few at everyone else’s expense. All of this leaves the Republican Party at greater risk of splintering and disintegrating than at any time in living memory.

bernie-sandersYou’d think this would put the Democrats in the proverbial catbird seat. But Democratic establishment types have conspicuous blind spots too. Those blind spots explain why they couldn’t see the Bernie Sanders insurgency coming and why they still can’t seem to fathom Sanders’ appeal, especially to young Millennials. Like Trump, but for different reasons, Sanders is immune from the “typical politician” characterization. With Sanders, the immunity was built up over a lifetime of standing on principle even when those principles weren’t fashionable. And like Trump, but in a vastly different way, Sanders calls Americans to a common purpose while Democratic insiders continue to cater to their most loyal constituencies and ignore other very large swaths of the population.

To party regulars, both Trump and Sanders are seen as unwelcome intruders, as skunks at the picnic. On one side, the skunk is feasting. The other side’s skunk is being shooed away. But the fact that the inner circle on both sides see both Trump and Sanders as such says a lot about the similar mindsets in the two major parties and the glaring vulnerabilities both parties have.

— Mike McCabe

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 May 2016 11:09
"The curse of can’t-do thinking" - Blue Jean Nation PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Saturday, 07 May 2016 16:43

statue-of-libertyIt’s almost as if the unofficial slogan of the U.S. has become No We Can’t. Forgotten is how past generations of Americans who had far less than we have today made great progress. But we seem to lack their optimism and boundless faith in America’s potential.

ALTOONA - From the time of the nation’s founding through the first 180 years of the American experiment, our country’s motto was E pluribus unum. In 1956 it was officially changed to In God We Trust. But as more and more Americans grow increasingly pessimistic about the future — even more pessimistic than people in economically underdeveloped countries — it’s almost as if the unofficial slogan of the U.S. has become No We Can’t.

When it is suggested that we should stop sentencing the nation’s youth to debt and make education as affordable for our children and grandchildren as past generations made it for us, this aspiration is widely dismissed as a pipe dream. Some bitterly grumble about “free stuff” while many others wonder aloud how we could possibly pay to extend the promise of free public education all the way through college.

Seemingly forgotten is that past generations of Americans created and paid for a system of free public education through high school, and they were far poorer than we are now when they did it. Many who did the paying had no high school diploma of their own at the time, but knew that industrialization meant that many of their kids and grandkids would be leaving the land and heading to factories and offices and would need more education and job training if they were to have a shot at experiencing the American Dream. So they dug deep and provided future generations that shot.

Last Updated on Saturday, 07 May 2016 17:02
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