Sometimes Less Is More

I read an article a few days ago about “America’s Falling Fertility Rate”.  My curiosity was piqued by the title, so I read on.  Turns out that women in the U.S. are having fewer babies than at any time in recorded history.  Okay, so … the earth is overpopulated, there are some 330 million people in the U.S. … what’s the problem?  Fewer people is better, at least in my book.

According to the experts, a replacement rate of 2.1 children per couple is necessary to sustain a country’s population, and at present the U.S. is only achieving 1.705 births per woman while Britain, Canada, France, and Australia all had fertility rates below 1.9.  So?  Again … what’s the problem?

Given the effects of humans on the environment and given that people in some parts of the world are dying of hunger due to the lack of arable land on which to grow food, it seems to me that lowering the rate of population growth could well contribute to saving the planet.  Oh, but wait … silly me, I wasn’t considering the wealthy corporations!

Some experts are calling this phenomenon “a demographic time bomb.” In coming years, lower fertility rates could have profound economic consequences, with employers lacking sufficient workers to grow the economy.  Le GASP!  Oh damn!  Microsoft and Apple won’t have enough workers to invent more useless software and market it for 5,000% of what it’s actually worth, and Wally World (aka Wal-Mart) will have to scale back on some of the junk they sell!  The world’s richest dudes will start losing money instead of languishing in obscene profits!  And they will learn, perhaps, to live a little less extravagantly, to appreciate their employees, maybe even to pay them a living wage.

So, why are women having fewer children today?  According to the article in The Week

A complex set of factors has driven down birth rates for almost all age groups of women — except for those in their late 30s and early 40s. As more women pursue college and advanced degrees and devote their 20s to career building, the mean age at which women have their first birth reached a record high of 26.9 in 2018. The Census Bureau reported that from 2000 to 2019 the number of 25-year-olds who had obtained a master’s degree doubled to 21 million and the number of those pursuing doctorates more than doubled. In a 2020 survey of thousands of women who delayed childbirth, 3 in 5 cited their desire to reach a certain job title or level before starting a family. Many feminists say this is necessary because many employers sideline mothers. Ashley Stahl, a career coach, points to a Princeton University study showing that for every child a woman has, her earnings potential falls 4 percent.

The article goes on to say that housing plays a significant role …

The National Bureau of Economic Research says that the largest component of child-rearing costs is housing. And the cost of housing in America has skyrocketed. The median U.S. home in 1953 cost $18,080, or about $177,000 in today’s inflation-adjusted dollars. Today, the median home price is $301,000. Young people who cannot afford homes or even a two-bedroom apartment are less inclined to marry and to have children.  One 2014 study published in the Journal of Public Economics explicitly linked housing costs to fertility, suggesting that for every $10,000 jump in housing values, fertility among nonowners fell 2.4 percent.

Now, I fail to see the problem.  As a person who is deeply concerned about what humans have done and are continuing to do to the environment, I can only conclude that fewer humans on this earth is a positive thing.  Fewer humans = fewer cars, fewer airplanes, fewer trees being cut down, less pollution.  As a supporter of animal rights and protecting the earth, again I see fewer humans leading to fewer species becoming extinct as a result of human activities.  Perhaps this is Mother Nature’s way of leveling the playing field.  I realize that the majority of people do not likely share my opinion, but rather see the growth of the human species as invaluable and essential.  I also realize that to a degree, my view of this complex issue is somewhat simplistic.

In my view, fewer humans means more trees, healthier animals, cleaner air and water … a healthier planet in general.  It may also mean that the planet can better sustain all the people on earth, that nobody will be without food, water, and fresh air.  Let’s learn to appreciate the truly finer things in life, the things that man, in all his greed and arrogance, is in the process of destroying.

Please do not rewrite history – there is too much to learn (a still needed reprise)

Our friend Keith has reprised one of his older posts about the whitewashing of history, the attempts to erase the mistakes we’ve made (and there have been many!) throughout the years. But, if we don’t remember our mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them. Thanks, Keith, for an excellent post, a timely reminder.

musingsofanoldfart

The following post was written about six years ago. Unfortunately, the white washing of US history continues as would typically be done in more autocratic regimes. If we do not bother to know history, we are destined to repeat it, especially by some who do not want us to know.

In the US, a few states have acquiesced to the push by some conservative funding groups to whitewash history. The target is the Advanced Placement US History curriculum. The problem the group is solving in their minds is we do not pat ourselves on the back enough and discuss American exceptionalism. I will forego the word exceptionalism as I can devote a whole post to this, but when we try to hide our warts and how we have protested or overcome those warts, we are missinga key part of our greatness – our ability as citizens to protest and…

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A Wee Bit Of Snark …

Yesterday was International Women’s Day.  I did not write a post on it, though another time I might have.  No, I didn’t forget, but frankly it just didn’t feel right to celebrate a day that is about women’s rights, when in this country (and many others) our rights are being chipped away.  And then, I came across this …


His name is Stewart-Allen Clark and he is was a pastor of the 1st General Baptist Church, in Malden, Missouri.  Here are a few snippets from his February 28th sermon …

“Why is it so many times that women after they get married let themselves go?  I’m not saying every woman can be the epic, the epic trophy wife of all time, like Melania Trump.  I’m not saying that at all. Most women can’t be trophy wives, you know, like her. Maybe you’re a participation trophy. I don’t know, but all I can say is not everybody looks like that. Amen. Not everybody looks like that, but you don’t need to look like a butch either. Hey, here’s something you need to know. You need to know this. Men have a need for their women to look like women. And sweatpants don’t cut it all the time. Wearing flip-flops and pajamas to Walmart, that ain’t gonna work. Ain’t nothing attractive about that. Men want their wives to look good at home and in public. Can I get an ‘amen’?”

Here is a picture of Mr. Clark …

Stewart-Allen-Clark

Wow … I can certainly see why he wants his women to look like supermodels, can’t you?

Mr. Clark has stepped down from his position and is allegedly “seeking professional counseling”.  Sorry, but there is no amount of ‘counseling’ that will turn this person into a human being.  Any person who considers former nude model and gold-digger Melania Trump to be the standard to which women should aspire needs a lobotomy.  How many centuries have we fought against being judged for our looks, but rather asking to be judged for our character, our intellect?  Funny, isn’t it, that Joe Biden was criticized for saying that “we don’t need that kind of neanderthal thinking”, and yet Mr. Clark is a dyed-in-the-wool, real-life neanderthal.


There are a number of newbies on the republican side of the aisle in Congress who, in my view, have no business being in Congress.  Four that come immediately to mind are Josh Hawley, Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Greene, and Madison Cawthorn.  Are these four radically racist, gun-toting fools the face of the new GOP?  If so, either the GOP or the nation are doomed!

The subject of my wrath today is Lauren Boebert and her gun fetish.  You’ll remember that last month, she logged in to a virtual House committee hearing with a virtual arsenal as her backdrop.   And she’s the fool who owns a restaurant that encourages servers to have a pistola strapped to their waist as they serve the chips ‘n salsa to their customers.  Well, Boebert is under investigation for her possible role in the January 6th attacks on Congress, but the fact that she could be expelled from Congress and find herself wearing an orange jumpsuit doesn’t seem to have penetrated the fog that surrounds her brain.  Take a look at her latest video demanding that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “tear down” the fencing around the Capitol.  Listen to the gunshot at the end.

This, my friends, is an example of what our country is becoming.  Guns have replaced conversation, radicals are being elected to our lawmaking body, and nearly half the nation finds this ‘acceptable’.  The fencing and razor wire are there to protect members of Congress in light of continued threats by right-wing white supremacy groups who have threatened another attack on the Capitol when President Biden addresses a joint session of Congress, date not yet determined.

Boebert has no committee assignments, and neither does Ms. Greene, therefore they literally have no work to do, and yet they are drawing a salary of $174,000 per year, paid for by you and me.  I hope … I sincerely hope that all four of the ones I mentioned are found to have had a role in the treasonous January 6th attacks, that they are expelled from Congress and escorted off the premises and to the nearest jail to await trial.


And on that note, I leave you with a bit of humour …

a-toona-toon-2a-toon-3

Religious Freedom Or Persecution?

Religious freedom … now there’s a term that has almost unlimited definitions.  My own, and one that I believe is in synch with that of the Founding Fathers back in 1787, is that each person has the freedom to believe in and practice his/her religion without interference from the government.  But today, there are those who define it as having the freedom to declare that their beliefs are the only correct ones and that every person should be forced to follow their religion and believe as they do.  Well, that ain’t how it works, and if you study history, you will see that this line of thinking has led to many of the wars that have been fought throughout past centuries. 

The United States is a secular nation.  This means that government and laws are not based on any religion and do not favour any one religion over others.  Many today seem to want to call this a “Christian nation”, but that is so wrong it makes my teeth hurt.  This is not a Christian nation, for we have a most diverse population that includes Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Jains, atheists, agnostics, and more.  Each person, regardless of religious beliefs, has the exact same rights and responsibilities under the U.S. Constitution.

Religious freedom means the right to practice and believe any or no religion.  It does NOT mean one religion has the right to impose their views on others.  Period.  Every religion on earth has its biases, and in the U.S. those biases have led to discrimination against others such as the LGBT community and women.  Today, there is a bill working its way through Congress called the Do No Harm Act.  Our friend Nan has written an excellent post about this bill, so rather than re-invent the wheel, I will let her tell you about it … thank you, Nan!

Nan’s Notebook: Religious Freedom

This bill, if passed, would not take away anyone’s rights to observe their religion as they wish, but rather it would restore the civil rights of all, would make it illegal to discriminate based on religious beliefs.  It’s really so simple.

All Eyes Are On Georgia — Part I

There are 26 days left until the two Georgia runoff elections to determine who will occupy Georgia’s seats in the U.S. Senate.  Ordinarily, those of us who don’t live in Georgia wouldn’t likely give more than a passing glance to these elections or the candidates, but with the demographics of the senate hanging in the balance, all eyes are on Georgia.  These two elections will play a huge roll in President-elect Biden’s ability to get his cabinet nominees confirmed, for starters, and down the road will be a determining factor in just how much of his legislation will be passed by Congress.  It will also determine whether the iron-fisted Mitch McConnell will continue to lead the Senate in his obstructionist manner.

So, let’s talk a little bit about the Senate candidates from Georgia, shall we?  This will likely be a two-part post, for I want to cover a bit about each of the four candidates … Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock on the Democratic ticket, and David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler on the Republican side.  Let’s start with the race between Raphael Warnock and Kelly Loeffler.


warnockRaphael Warnock has been the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta since 2005, following in the footsteps of his childhood hero, Dr. Martin Luther King. Warnock came to prominence in Georgia politics as a leader in the campaign to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  Ordinarily, I would not favour a religious leader running for a seat in Congress, but everything I’ve heard and read about Warnock tells me that he would take seriously his oath to defend the Constitution and would always act with the interest of We the People in mind.

I often complain that our members of Congress were mainly born with a silver spoon in their mouth and cannot possibly understand the plight of the average people or the poor in this nation.  The same cannot be said of Raphael Warnock who grew up in public housing as the eleventh of twelve children.  He knows what it’s like to struggle to pay the bills and put food on the table.

In March 2014, Warnock led a sit-in at the Georgia State Capitol to press state legislators to accept the expansion of Medicaid offered by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He and other leaders were arrested during the protest.  Kind of reminds me a bit of the late John Lewis and Elijah Cummings, both Civil Rights activists.


LoefflerKelly Loeffler currently holds the Senate seat for which she and Warnock are vying, but she was never elected to that seat.  Rather, she was appointed a year ago by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp after Senator Johnny Isakson stepped down due to health issues.  Far more is known about Loeffler than Warnock, none of it particularly impressive in my book.

Loeffler is, and has always been, a businesswoman, not a politician.  Which in and of itself would not disqualify her, but her bigotry and shady dealings should.

She was previously chief executive officer (CEO) of Bakkt, a subsidiary of commodity and financial service provider Intercontinental Exchange owned by her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher. She co-owns the Atlanta Dream of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

Loeffler has strongly aligned herself to Donald Trump and frequently bragged about her “100 percent Trump voting record” during the campaign.  She and other senators, including the other republican in this runoff election, David Perdue,  took advantage of non-public information to sell stocks earlier this year before the pandemic caused the market to decline … insider trading.  On January 24, 2020, the Senate Committees on Health and Foreign Relations held a closed meeting with only Senators present to brief them about the COVID-19 outbreak and how it would affect the United States (would have been nice if they had briefed We the People, huh?). Following the meeting Senator Kelly Loeffler and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, made twenty-seven transactions to sell stocks worth between $1,275,000 and $3,100,000 and two transactions to buy stock in Citrix Systems which saw an increase following the stock market decline.

When she was asked about the Donald Trump Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump discusses groping women, Loeffler replied that she was “not familiar with that”. When she was separately asked about a recording of Trump telling Bob Woodward that he was intentionally downplaying COVID-19 in public, she responded that it was “fake news”.  Never mind, I guess, that it was a taped conversation?

Loeffler supports ending the Affordable Care Act that provides health insurance to millions who would not otherwise be able to afford it, and she is staunchly anti-abortion and anti-LGBT rights.  In fact, she is so opposed to women’s and LGBT rights that in the past year, she has donated large portions of her Senate salary to anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ rights organizations.  Yes, you read that right.  Of course, she didn’t need the money, for with a net worth of $500 million, she is the richest member of Congress.

In October 2020, shortly after Donald and Melania Trump were diagnosed with the coronavirus after attending events where they closely interacted with other individuals while maskless, Loeffler, who often appeared at rallies and gatherings without wearing a mask, posted the following ignorant tweet:

“China gave this virus to our President @realDonaldTrump and First Lady @FLOTUS. WE MUST HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.”

Never mind that as of today, nearly 300,000 people in the U.S. have died from the virus, and never mind that the Trumps were given treatments that none of the rest of us could possibly afford, and never mind that … oh never mind.  Kelly Loeffler is an ignorant, arrogant rich bitch.  Please, Georgians, DO NOT return her to Congress on January 5th!  She is the antithesis of what this nation stands for … or once stood for.

The latest polls show Warnock leading by 2-3 points … let’s hope it stays that way, or even that his lead strengthens … which could well happen, given that Trump is telling republicans not to bother to vote in the runoff elections, that they would be ‘rigged’ – one of his favourite words.  The election has been coloured with nasty, untrue ad campaigns by Loeffler, attacks against Warnock, and I’ll say no more on that, for I am sick and damn tired of hearing the republican lies and watching people fall for the conspiracy crap.  For my part, I will stick to facts.

I will write about Jon Ossof and David Perdue, probably tomorrow morning since this sort of post is better done late at night when I have some uninterrupted time to read and research.

The Radical Right

My political ideology was once considered ‘moderate’. My thoughts, ideas and beliefs haven’t changed in the least, but now I’m labelled a ‘Socialist’ or ‘radical leftist’. The further to the right the conservative movement goes, the further to the left common sense seems to be. What we need is some middle ground, a place for compromise, but it’s long since gone. Our friend Jeff puts all of this into context and shares his thoughts after watching part of the debate between two of the candidates in the Georgia runoff elections on January 5th. Good thoughts, Jeff … thanks!

On The Fence Voters

I caught roughly 45 minutes of the debate between Senator Kelly Loeffler and Reverend Raphael Warnock last night. They’re both set to compete in the Georgia Senate runoff election on January 5, 2021. Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Senator David Perdue are vying for the other Georgia Senate seat. The two were supposed to face off in a debate on Saturday evening, but the coward Perdue was a no-show. Instead, Ossoff debated an empty podium.

We all know how vital this runoff is, with control of the Senate hanging in the balance. The moderators at the Loeffler/Warnock debate tried their best to get answers. I thought Warnock came across as genuine, decent, and thoughtful. Considering the attacks that came his way, it says a lot about the man.

I’m going to take some liberties here, for purposes of this post, and give you an idea of what most of Loeffler’s…

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Two great talents, two big hearts pass away

Our friend Keith pays tribute to two ‘good people’, people who had hearts of gold and left an everlasting legacy to this world. Thank you, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

Rightfully so, the passing of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a huge loss for our country. Her diminutive stature belied the large intellect and courage to fight battles, first for herself, and then for women and the disenfranchised.

There are several stories whose theme is around the only woman in the room, be it the first female rocket scientist, Mary Sherman Morgan, or the first black female NASA mathematician, Katherine G. Johnson. Ginsburg was often one of only a scant few women in the room, be it Harvard or Columbia law schools or when she first joined the Supreme Court following Sandra Day O’Connor. Being told you do not belong, either directly or implicitly, requires a courageous heart.

Ginsburg was unable to get a job with a law firm since she was a female and a mother. Her husband, Marty was quickly able to gain employment as…

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Letter To Republican Senator

What follows is the letter I wrote this morning to the republican senator from my state, Senator Rob Portman.  Feel free to amend and use as a template to send to your own senator, if you feel so inclined.


21 September 2020

Dear Senator Portman …

I am writing to you today to ask that you withhold your vote on the confirmation of any candidate for the Supreme Court between now and January 20th.  I’m sure you have received many such letters, as well as some by those who hold the opposite view, but please hear me out.

First, in February of 2016, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, when President Barack Obama nominated a very moderate judge, Merrick Garland, to fill Scalia’s seat, you stated in part …

“I have concluded that the best thing for the country is to trust the American people to weigh in and to have the confirmation process take place in a less partisan atmosphere. Awaiting the result of a democratic election, rather than having a nomination fight in this contentious election-year environment, will give the nominee more legitimacy …”

To change your mind about that now, when the country is even more divided than it was in 2016, is the ultimate hypocrisy and I must question your motives.  I know that Mitch McConnell is an unconscionable sycophant of Donald Trump, as are many of your other colleagues, but I always thought you were better than that.

Throughout your nine-year tenure as a U.S. Senator representing Ohio, I have seen you as a moderate, and while I disagree with you on some things, I was proud when you changed your mind and came out in support of same-sex marriage and voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.  Granted, I’ve been disappointed by your stance on climate change … too little too late … and other issues such as abortion, but overall you have always seemed one of the better republicans in Congress.

Now, however, you appear to be willing to compromise the integrity of the United States Supreme Court, and I must ask you why?  Do you not realize the implications of a court divided 6-3?  Do you not realize that not only will Roe v Wade be endangered, and thus women’s rights, but also Obergefell v Hodges, thus endangering the rights of the LGBT community?  Do you remember that the Court is supposed to provide checks and balances on the Executive branch, not simply rubber-stamp the president’s wishes?

I would like to remind you that you were elected to represent ALL the people of not only Ohio, but the United States.  Donald Trump appears to believe that he is obligated only to those who slavishly support him, but I would like to think you are a better man than he is.  Please remember that your constituency includes both democrats and republicans, as well as those like myself who are independent.  Your constituency includes people of all races, and people of every and no religion.  You do not solely answer to white, male, republicans, but to every man, woman and child, regardless of party affiliation, ethnicity or religion.

In closing, I ask you to seriously consider what I have said, seriously consider withholding your vote on Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, in order to give We the People an opportunity to have our voices heard.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, citizen, taxpayer, voter

A Sad Day … R.I.P. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Tonight, people all across the nation are broken-hearted over the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  No, it wasn’t unexpected, but still it was a shock.  When I received the first notification on my phone shortly after 7:30, I felt the tears immediately welling, as I’m sure many others did.RBG-1I wish that I could simply write a tribute to Justice Ginsburg without bringing politics into it, but unfortunately that is not possible.  Still, let me take a few minutes to tell you a few things you may not know about RBG as she is affectionately known.

Rejected after law school for a Supreme Court clerkship because she was a woman, she began her legal career as a law professor and pioneering advocate for women’s legal rights.  She got her first teaching position at Rutgers University, where she was paid less than her male counterparts because her husband already had a well-paying job.

Ginsburg went on to a number of other roles in academia, and worked to develop programs to strengthen legal protections for women. She’s credited with making significant advancements for women under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

Former President Carter nominated Ginsburg to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980, where she served until former President Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court in 1993.  She was confirmed by a Senate vote of 96-3.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said that she wanted to be remembered “as someone who did whatever she could, with whatever limited talent she had, to move society along in the direction I would like it to be for my children and grandchildren.”  I think there can be no doubt that she will be remembered as such, and more.  In some ways, this tiny woman stood taller than many of her colleagues. rbg-4Justice Ginsburg has long been an advocate for justice, for women’s rights, human rights, civil rights and has weighed in on some of the most important cases during her tenure.  At another time, I will write about some of these, and how important Justice Ginsburg has been to the development of this nation in the 20th and 21st centuries.  But for today, I must unfortunately discuss the potential ramifications of Justice Ginsburg’s death just 46 days before what will arguably be the most consequential election of our lifetime.

You will remember February 13th 2016 when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died.  With nine months left until the presidential election, President Barack Obama nominated a moderate, Merrick Garland, to fill the seat left vacant by Scalia’s death.  However, the Senate, as directed by none other than the unconscionable Mitch McConnell, refused to even interview Garland, let alone hold a confirmation hearing.  Why?  Well, according to Texas Senator Ted Cruz …

“It has been 80 years since a Supreme Court vacancy was nominated and confirmed in an election year. There is a long tradition that you don’t do this in an election year.”

Within hours of Scalia’s death, McConnell released the following statement:

“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.  Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

And yet, tonight, within an hour … a single hour after the news that Justice Ginsburg had died, McConnell said …

“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

Amazing how in just four short years he has completely changed his opinion, isn’t it?

Now, we all know that if Trump is allowed to place yet another Justice on the Supreme Court, justice in this nation will become a thing of the past for at least two decades, for it will leave the court heavily weighted in favour of those justices who tend to have conservative ideologies that believe women and minorities do not deserve the same rights as white men.  Plain and simple.  Call a spade a bloody shovel.

But there’s something even more ominous, I think. Consider this tweet I saw tonight from Robert Reich …

“GOP now arguing Senate must replace Ginsburg now because if the election is litigated, just 8 justices risks a deadlock, and constitutional crisis. Rubbish. Giving a last-minute Trump appointee power to decide whether Trump is the next president would be a constitutional crisis.”

Remember Bush vs Gore back in 2000?  A short refresher for those who may not remember.

On November 8, 2000, the Florida Division of Elections reported that Bush won with 48.8% of the vote in Florida, a margin of victory of 1,784 votes. The margin of victory was less than 0.5% of the votes cast, so a statutorily-mandated automatic machine recount occurred. On November 10, with the machine recount finished in all but one county, Bush’s margin of victory had decreased to 327.  Florida’s election laws allow a candidate to request a county to conduct a manual recount, and Gore requested manual recounts in four Florida counties. The four counties granted the request and began manual recounts. However, Florida law also required all counties to certify their election returns to the Florida Secretary of State within seven days of the election, and several of the counties conducting manual recounts did not believe they could meet this deadline.  Long story short, after much back-and-forth between the Florida Secretary of State, the counties, and ultimately the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court ruled in George W. Bush’ favour in an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia.

Now fast-forward to November 4th, the day after the election.  Assume that Joe Biden has acquired the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election, but not by any major landslide.  A difference in just one swing state might change the results.  Trump has been screeching about “voter fraud” (a figment of his imagination) for months now and has already broken the law by nearly shutting down the United States Postal Service, making mail-in voting less attractive to many.  Imagine if he disputes the vote, demands a recount, and for one reason or another it is left to the Supreme Court to decide.  What if Trump has just appointed another boot-licker like Brett Kavanaugh?  Can you guess the outcome?  I can, and it will no doubt keep me awake tonight.

The nation will miss Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  She spent her life powerfully and effectively advocating for America to make good on its promise of equality and opportunity for all.  Rest in Peace, Ruth Bader Ginsburg – you have earned it.

Trump’s Campaign Platform: Abortion

In this year, a year of pandemic, global strife, a looming recession, sky-high unemployment, mortgage foreclosures, millions without health insurance, etc., there are any number of things that I would expect to see on the platform of any candidate for the presidency.  Among them, in no particular order, are …

  • Climate change and environmental issues
  • Education
  • Gun policy
  • Immigration
  • International relations
  • Civil rights
  • Election security
  • Health care
  • Affordable housing
  • Income inequality
  • Minimum wage
  • Campaign finance
  • Taxation
  • Consumer finance protection

And the list goes on.  You may notice that nowhere in my list do you see the word “abortion”.  Abortion is not … or at least should not be … a political issue!  As I’ve said at least a hundred times before, if you think abortion is wrong, then don’t have one!  But don’t impose your religious or moral beliefs on the rest of us!

While it should be a personal issue, not a political one, a good chunk of time on Tuesday night was spent by the republicans at the Republican National Convention, dissing and discussing a woman’s right to have autonomy over her own body.  These people call themselves “pro-life”, but in fact they are not that at all, for most of them support the death penalty, and few of them are in favour of their tax dollars going to help support low income families who are struggling to feed their children.  Most of them seem unconcerned about the extremely high number of deaths from the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., relative to every other nation.  Most of them own guns and put their right to do so ahead of the rights of the public, and even their own children, to be safe … that in itself puts paid to the “pro-life” argument!

The religious right in this country has become a strangling, suffocating movement whose foray into the political forum is not welcome by the majority of us!  I very intentionally stay as far away as I can from any discussion or opinion on religion, for I truly believe that everyone has the right to believe as they will, and it is not my place or anyone else’s to attempt to bend others to my own beliefs.  HOWEVER … I also expect the same courtesy in return!  I do not expect to have evangelicals or any other religious group tell me what I can do based on the tenets of their religion … tenets that even they do not follow, except when it suits them!  This is exactly why we have separation of church and state.

Separation of church and state means that no religion or religious group has the right to set public policy.  There is good reason for this.  We are a very diverse nation with hundreds of different religions and a good number of us (23%) who ascribe to no religion, as is our right.  It is our right.  We … most of us … do not wish a specific religion to be taught in our schools.  We do not wish to be held to honour laws that are created by and for a particular religious sect, for they may very well go against our own beliefs.

For the right-wing religious extremists to call for government to interfere with a woman’s rights is beyond unconscionable … it is nearly a return to the days when women were considered second-class citizens, subservient to their menfolk.  For no matter how women view this issue, it is largely men who are making the laws in this country, even today.  In fact, one of the speakers at the RNC on Tuesday was a woman named Abby Johnson who sermonized on the ‘evils’ of abortion.  Ms. Johnson’s anti-women ideology goes much further, however, for back in May she spoke of her support for the idea of “household voting”, where only the “head” of each household would be allowed to vote …

“I would support bringing back household voting.  Each household would get one vote. In a Godly household, the husband would get the final say.”

If you are reading this and are not sputtering or spouting obscenities, then I’d have to question what planet you were born on.  And then, on Tuesday night she yammered about abortion …

“This election is a choice between two radical anti-life activists and the most pro-life president we have ever had. That is something that should compel you to action, go door-to-door, make calls, talk to your neighbors and friends, and vote on November 3.”

Really?  So, the republicans honestly think this election is about … abortion???  What about climate change, what about civil rights, what about education, what about health care, what about our relations with other nations, what about gun violence, what about … all of the things that really matter?  Frankly, if abortion, or rather anti-abortion, anti-women’s rights, is the only issue the republican voters care about, then there is a definite lack of understanding within the Republican Party.  There are far more monumental issues to be concerned about.

To the best of my knowledge, no woman in the United States has ever been forced to have an abortion against her will, and only about 1% of abortions are performed after the fetus becomes viable, those only in extreme cases to save the mother’s life.  Yet Trump claimed back in March …

“Virtually every Democrat candidate has declared their unlimited support for extreme late-term abortion, ripping babies straight from the mother’s womb, right up until the very moment of birth.”

It is this sort of verbiage that seems to fire up Trump’s base, despite being devoid of any facts.  In fact, not one single democrat has advocated for such.  I would remind voters that possibly the biggest, most lethal single issue that should be what they are considering, is that of the environment.  Frankly, if we do not re-implement environmental regulations, if we do not take fairly drastic measures and work with other nations to curb the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that we are emitting every minute of every day, you won’t need to worry a heck of a lot about whether a woman has an abortion or not.  You’ll be too busy fighting for every last breath to be worried about seedlings.