Day 72: The Strongman Arises on the Left

Two pieces in the NY Times, I wish to discuss: California and Mandatory Voting.
An op-ed by an Australian illustrates the inability of the global elite to understand regional differences between peoples. His claim that mandatory voting moderates elections is really a reflection on the Australian character. Their treatment of refugees inspires Trump. Their treatment of race such as the unironic use of black face on national television fits into the views of the American alt-right.

Compulsory voting doesn’t stop voter ID laws and other attempts to stop turnout just adds punishment to those who fail to comply. If fear of fines is the motivating factor in minority turnout as he suggests then western nations have failed to assimilate outside communities.

Compulsory voting also is not inherently more democratic because more people vote in the final election. If citizens don’t participate in the primary process and the ballot question process (most sigs are bought for questions and funded by pacs) then is filling out a ballot truly a measure of civic engagement.
The act of the government enforcing voting is unconstitutional. We are the government and it represents us rather than the reverse as in order countries. Our rights do not come from elected officials as implied by compulsory voting advocates. The anger of Trump voters comes from active civic participation being perceived as ignored by long time voters and Trump inspired many to vote for the first time. His victory was not because he inspired a small GOP base but others outside the classic Republican coalition. A fact that the global elite appear incapable of understanding.
In California, the state is acting like Antebellum south believing their will and stances greater than their fellow citizens. Particularly Sheila Kuehl a member of the LA county board of supervisors who quote “I said ‘If you have to lie, cheat and steal, do it…Take federal money and just tell them you are going to do whatever they want.” That’s terrible to say as a private citizen outrageous to say as an elected American official. No one is above federal law. Think of the outrage Texas received when they played that role to Obama. A democracy is not one ideology system and to act as such as hinted at by California undermines our nation and empowers authoritarianism. Forget the fear of being cut out of Trump’s privatized infrastructure program (it will have no reward for the public). Fear the national guard coming down in ways Obama feared to act. There’ll be more death than in Ohio before 2020.
-E.C. Fiori

Day 72: Donations Don’t Give Experience

Please see Day 15 for my thoughts on DeVos and school choice.
Today I want to talk about the disastrous confirmation hearing DeVos gave yesterday. It is one thing to hold a controversial view but another to push a viewpoint without basic knowledge of the subject. 
As I have mentioned before I am an American with disabilities. My medical condition doesn’t interfere with my job duties but I wouldn’t have been able to graduate high school without IDEA. It allowed me to receive an education that accommodated my physical challenges. I was lucky to be in a school district that truly supported their special needs students but I know not all kids are as lucky.
That DeVos doesn’t understand that IDEA, a 40 year old federal law exists while trying to be in charge of its enforcement is disturbing. Her boilerplate answer of states and “locales” rights to most questions leaves not an impression of a true conservative but an ignorant one who cannot defend their own arguments. Tim Kaine’s criticism that people should have to move states to receive a fair education is a valid counterpoint to a moorless statement that she repeated like a parrot in response. She would be in charge of ensuring critical thinking and analysis is being successfully taught. 
This isn’t about if money should be able to buy influence. This is about a system where money is equated to intelligence. That stems from the modern concept of the meritocracy. Just because people have resources the act of having doesn’t make them smarter or more deserving to be heard. Actions speak louder than dollars to both capability and understanding. Letting DeVos control American education because she wants a pet project moves us closer to a Banana Republic. 
-E.C. Fiori

Day 70: Hey Hey LBJ

How Many Kids Did You Kill Today?
The New York Times like many liberal publications has been focusing on preserving Obama’s legacy in the wake of the Trump election. Today, an op ed claims Obama has the best democratic president since FDR. That’s 70 some years and a bold claim. Mainly in their dismissal of LBJ.
LBJ was a victim of history. His push on civil rights broke up FDR’s new deal coalition that depended on Southern racists to pass legislation which left out blacks and other minorities from benefiting from the greatest works of the Democratic Party. A compromise LBJ knew must pass for the nation to heal racially. On the other front, Nixon illegally interfered with the Vietnamese peace talks and extended the war by eight years. We don’t call his achievements the Great Society for nothing. His attempt to remove poverty from America was even a platform too left for Obama.
The liberal hate of LBJ seems to stem from most journalists background in the radical left of the 60’s. Could LBJ pushed more civil rights and faster? It is hard to say. On our side of the historic fence, it sure looks and sounds easy but this was also a period of time the national guard had to escort children to school. Now thanks to his efforts, we live in a land where that sounds as foreign as Star Wars. Vietnam is a complicated conflict largely escalated by LBJ before his attempts to resolve it. At the least, Obama should be judged the same for Iraq and Afghanistan. Both countries are still wracked by violence and our military still serves and dies on their soil.
In the liberal and progressive rush to canonize Obama, we miss that his legacy will take generations to understand the full effects. It is not the words of his disciples that cement his works but those who lived them.
-E.C. Fiori