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Bernie Sanders has said that: "I think the overwhelming majority of the American people know that we have got to stand together, that we're going to grow together, that we're going to survive together, and that if we start splintering, we're not going to succeed in a highly competitive international economy." Bernie supporters, I ask you this honestly. How does one affect change when even the DNC is actively splitting apart its base with supposed corrupted delegate counts like that in Nevada this past week? Is Bernie Sanders in denial of the reality that is American politics right now? Are the GOP and DNC splintering, and isn't this exactly what he was calling for not even a month ago when saying principal DNC party members are part of the "establishment"? How does one affect change when failing to secure the nomination? Or when standing in support of the same problem that is being targeted by your campaign as too corrupt? You do not affect change in this manner. Bernie Sanders has a massive following within the DNC base. As it stands today, he has an estimated 42% of the raw vote count, not talking super delegates here, just popular votes among Democratic voters. The reality of the actual delegate race (which I agree is ridiculously controlled by the party), though, makes it clear he will not be getting the delegates he needs. Super delegates will not bend to support him despite the wishes of their constituency. This reality is what made me hold back my enthusiasm for Sanders since he has made it abundantly clear he will unite with Hillary Clinton when push comes to shove. I've often pointed out that Sanders, whether he realizes it or not, is a shill for Clinton's campaign. Before you quit reading this article, bristling at the way I sound dismissive of Sander's efforts, please understand I am not even going to approach that type of narrative. Hear me out. There is only one reason why he is a shill for Clinton's campaign: he won't break away and run independently, and he isn't holding all parties to the election process accountable (which includes the voters). He has made it clear he will support Clinton if he loses the nomination. His inevitable endorsement of her will cause some of his supporters to swing her way. These will be supporters she wouldn't have normally received as his crowd is rife with first time and disaffected voters. Those who feel they have finally found a candidate that wants to move this country forward from corrupt government's suffocating control of the populace's will. With all the apocalypse style headlines bombarding this group, they will back Clinton out of programmed fear that the United States will regress to a pre Suffrage Movement type of government if Republicans win the general election. I'll give my thoughts on this scenario later in this article. Then you have those who self describe themselves as "Bernie or Bust" who will not cast a ballot for any candidate except Sanders. The number of voters with this mindset shouldn't be downplayed. It's nearly 25% of his supporters. Now, imagine if Bernie decided to go ahead and run independently. How many of his base would follow? I would wager more than that quarter iF it is under the explicit understanding it isn't because we want him to become president. This is where things might seem almost anarchist on my part, and maybe it is. My political atheism is going to flame brightly here, and I really believe it has some merit. Whether you are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or feeling the Bern, you have to understand that we have to break our system. Let me put out a quote from George Washington's "Farewell Address to the American Nation" to frame my argument: ".....With such powerful and obvious motives to union affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands. " This first quote states the obvious. Any individual, any group, any government, any media, any nation, that would want to purposely weaken our unity as a republic should not be trusted. Whether the motivation is to push agenda, create a better economy, or better the lives of our people, doing so by the alienation of the other, or worse, depriving voice and freedom to decide, we have to step back and recognize this is not how we do things at all. It is evident that creating distrust, breaking the bonds that join us together, and creating future generations of apathetic citizens in our wake, is precisely what President Washington is cautioning against. It's not always about influences from outside countries. We all have heard the saying that the ones closest to us can hurt you the most. And lately, it seems that has come true. This threatens the very bedrock of our nation's founding and future. As a unified nation, it is hardly contested we get the job done the majority of the time. All corners of our country, while separated by state borders, still rely on one another. It takes all of us together, not a handful of states, to send aid to stricken countries. It takes all of us together to keep our populace safe and protect our liberties not just from influencing powers abroad, but sadly from our self-created oligarchy. To be clear, I am referring to unity as a people, not political parties. We, the people, do not stand for "we the appointed bureaucrats," "we the corporate lobbyist," or "we the self appointed." Sanders, as I had quoted earlier, pretty much touches on the same idea, but not to the extent that President Washington did. At this point, his campaign should be about splitting up the corporate lap dog that the DNC has become. Even more importantly, continuing to wake up his base to the fact their consistent lack of participation enabled a lot of the political misery we are enduring today. To be American includes to be accountable, but not just holding everyone else responsible and standing clear of the consequences one helped enable to occur. This is the toxicity within our system we suffer from now, as parties and factions represent the majority of our patriotism for us. This, again, is something that President Washington warned about, and I cannot help but share his cautioning before I go into why these parties need to be destroyed, or at the least, rendered powerless. "I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the Spirit of party generally. This Spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but in those of the popular form it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy." (George Washington, Farewell Address to the American Nation) Yes, I said destroy, or at the least, render nearly powerless. I do not view parties as inherently evil, but it's plainly evident that they cannot have the level of influence within our republic as we have allowed them to possess because parties are polarizing in the long run. I've yet to experience a party that doesn't utilize alienation and divisiveness among the public of this country to accomplish specific agendas. This is where I've been called a social terrorist, an anarchist, and an idiotic cunt, for my views several times because of the short-term consequences I think we as a nation deserve to endure. Many, like myself, who favor more progressive, humanistic, invested social policies, and funding, tend to lean towards the DNC. I will admit, though, I am like Sanders and remain independent because I am well aware of the less than unifying way the party goes about pursuing a handful of interests we share. This has left me feeling dirty for the past decade when casting a vote. I know that voting for a ballot in support of local health levees is worthwhile; it was also a formal agreement to other issues I don't agree with continuing to be lobbied and pursued in separating tactics among my community. I wonder sometimes if it is worth the price tag, and more and more I am thinking it is not, unless we actually change the terms of the political process. Namely, break the system. I know I am not the only one watching the run-up to election day feeling that shame, frustration, and motivation to change things. Many of us have watched the political sideshows that are purported as primary elections. The incidents up in Chicago, Nevada, and other primary events have us wondering who to believe anymore. In a nutshell, it is you and I, dear readers, who have assembled a Frankenstein's monster of a political system. Our previous generations of Americans more than participated in this cobbling together of political gamesmanship too. The purported incidents of voter fraud we have watched blasted across every television, radio, and social media feed the past two election cycles show this is a systemic issue. But there is something about this broken process that no citizen owns up to. These conventions followed the rules. Sanders' campaign wanted the rules changed without following the rules to change the practices. Everyone is upset that such standards exist to begin with. That last sentence is critical, by the way. Please don't focus on what Sanders did or didn't do to dismiss the reality of that statement. All I can do is wonder how much more can Sanders' campaign be anymore polarizing? Sure, he is exposing ridiculously contrived rules designed to not exactly keep things clear and fair to the public, let alone actually reflect what the majority of the voter districts want (super delegates are a leash to control the general population's voice). Still, it cannot be ignored; he is also failing to expose a more significant injustice: the failure of the citizenry to participate and understand what rules they are playing by before it comes time to elect. Bernie needs to be made great again. Pointing fingers and yelling, "cheater, cheater!" isn't what makes this outspoken politician inspiring. It's his honesty, and he needs to be more honest with his supporters. Go ahead and show everyone the lopsided favoritism to be found in party politics. Expose the easily bought out politicians who offer contracts to their biggest super PAC contributors. Quit scapegoating corrupted politics and money as the only reasons why America is struggling. This nation's corruption is only a symptom of the larger issue of the electorate remaining complacent. Let me go back to splitting up the parties for a moment, though. For me, politically, the DNC plays just as dirty as the GOP when it comes to facing a loss of control and platform purity. Like I stated earlier, I've not seen a political party system that does not put self-serving interests above congruity. Change is merely a selling point, but not an actual practice when it comes to structure and control. Only in policy making do I give the DNC higher props than the GOP, and it's barely a few points above. Seeing the dirty tactics that have been purported upon the DNC base, and the GOP base for that matter means that Sanders' true calling isn't the presidency. Yes, I said just said that. The presidency is not his calling. It's busting up the system. It's breaking the monopoly-like control that is being exercised over the voting constituency. It's the chance to use our power above and beyond the party leashes. This would be Sanders' true mission if he were serious about bringing reform to Washington. He would be much more than another spoiler like Nader was. Sanders would be an authorized catalyst brought on by the American people to wake up a party, and maybe awaken the awareness of future generations of voters, that has fallen into the abysmal practices of bureaucratic mafia politics. The idea being he would be the start of a more significant movement by other public servants, and local citizens, to break a few cogs in the two-party political machine that is eating up our unity to further special interest gain. Please don't misunderstand my vision here. Sanders is only a single man who isn't wearing the tweeds of unity all on his own. He gives us a face to connect with a broader ideology we all desire within our American dreams. Until the last few weeks of his struggling campaign (you can deny the mathematics all you want), he has been a speaker of thousands of voices to our disconnected population. He somewhat neatly articulated what many of us wish not just for our future policy-wise, but also the path that requires us to travel away from the two-party system that has slowly been tearing our brotherhood apart. Unity between us as a people, not politics. This is why Sanders needs to continue his campaign, and I am glad he hasn't resigned yet. I hope he finds motivation to break from the DNC if he loses the primary and continues as a third candidate option. Could a Trump presidency be corrupt? Yes. Will nominations for the SCOTUS go to pot? Likely. Will women's right, feminism, racial equality, wage disparity, and healthcare get sidetracked? Quite possibly, and some of these issues will suffer more than others, even overlapping. I'm not trying to come from a position of privilege when I state this. This is something that troubles me deeply. What cost is too high for a long-needed reshuffling of our political system that is already barely giving many disadvantaged minorities and workers minimal benefit anyway? That I cannot say, because I cannot speak from one of those categories. So, what is the benefit of throwing votes to Sanders? What would his garnering enough popular votes to create a third party recognize? Or worse, what would his further damning Clinton, and the DNC agendas, accomplish, besides setbacks? It sets a lifetime example of what the authority of what the American people can do to the oligarchy that is overrunning their will. It demonstrates that yes, indeed, we have the power to give and take away said authority, even if it means some of us have to suffer to teach that lesson and help a system see we are seriously demanding it to straighten up its act. The GOP is nearly in the same boat right now with Donald Trump. I feel that Trump has been a very healthy disaster for the GOP in the long run. The party has lost control of its support base and is scattered within its congressional ranks thanks to Trump's securing the lead position in the nominations. Short of outright ignoring the very pronounced decision of its constituency, the GOP has zero options, but to accept their agendas are about to become more moderate. Nearly a third of their party doesn't even know if they can identify as Republican anymore because of Trump's less than conservative views on many different platforms. Now it is the DNC's turn to feel the same within their ranks with a leader like Sanders to help deal just as hard of a hit. While it is true, the GOP will likely come out ahead this election season (numbers are not favoring Clinton), their candidate, and a good 2/3 of their party support his less than conservative and openly compromising style of authority. Will he be a disaster in the area of foreign affairs? I have little doubt. Thankfully, he will have an extensive Rolodex of cabinet options to tap, and one thing Trump has never shied from is delegation. Knowing he is in the Oval Office still makes me wince, though, but we survived Reagan, right? To see party systems genuinely scattered is a valuable demonstration to the control we Americans hold over the powers that be in Congress. Instead of allowing ourselves to be bombarded with fear and propaganda about loss of guns, loss of privacy, loss of jobs, and keep allowing these parties to hold our processes at a virtual standoff for even more decades to come, we now tell them," Here is the real apocalypse you have been worried about, Senators. You must rebuild and listen, or continue to be powerless. Even to our own short term detriment." And that is the final piece of this article I want to end with: short-term and long-term detriment. Short-term would only be a few years to a decade. Long-term is a generation. To make this type of commitment is to be selfless and accept that this will be a generational change, and we might not reap benefits until my generation sees retirement, or possibly longer. Somehow our nation has been sold on the idea that change happens quickly, painlessly, consequence-free, and under the leadership of one man. When you buck the system, causing necessary chaos to create a realigning of interests and purpose, sometimes those who are forced to restructure will purport to fall out as a reason never to do such a thing again. This is an attempt to stop one from realizing the long term benefit of the short term price. What we see being depicted as chaos within the party races right now is not that. It is a controlled burn, like you see with forest fires, to curb the direction of the flames engulfing the landscape. You see, we are the controlled burn. A more vivid example would be imagining a fox hunt. We are the fox, stumbling in a panic through a forest of politically charged issues that are hounding us towards the glen where we will be caught by the awaiting party-line voting agenda we have been carefully chased toward. We can feel the breath of disparity on our heels chasing us. We can smell the overbearing scent of degradation. And we can hear the trumpeting blasts of potential powerlessness in our ears as we are pursued to the trap waiting for us in the perceived path to safety that all these outside divisive issues are doggedly running us toward. And the first few years in that political cage seems like the right choice until you realize it was an orchestrated path to get us there, to begin with, by both factions of our political system. Then the fatal bullet of complacency ends it all for us, as we refuse to realize we enabled our entrapment to begin with. We become content in that cage, forever a victim of our own refusal to take a stand and bite back. Or, our fear to handle the consequences of tearing down what we allowed to be constructed around us. Sanders brings about a need for selflessness, investment, and willingness to pay part of the price. Unfortunately, he needs to add on the price tag of what we owe as a nation and brotherhood, not only what we are owed by a construct we helped create. If he would do this, and break the system, the ensuing chaos would help put steps forward to not only end the monopoly in politics, but it would demonstrate what we have forgotten we have: authority.
The headline is colorful, chilling, and woefully short sighted about the issues of incest, pregnancy, and consent. I think it goes without much emphasis how quickly it hit all the wrong buttons that put me back to my youth being molested by my father. It made me immediately reflect on the moment I said yes when he asked if he could pretend I was my mother. That headline made me stand up and pace the room for a good three minutes, reminding myself how often incest happens: voluntarily - but with limited understanding of what it all means until the damage is done. Virginian delegate, Bob Marshall (R), is well known for his blatantly reckless, and often abhorrent, public airing of his reasoning regarding issues ranging from disabled children being nature's vengeance on mothers who have had abortions before, to making cursing in an email a misdemeanor offense if he had his way. When reading his rationale that there should not be an exception to an abortion ban in cases of incest because sometimes incest is "voluntary", one cannot help but wonder how many victims of incest, let alone those who became pregnant, has he ever been socially involved with. To take the attitude that because some victims were complicit in the demands of their abuser should automatically disallow abortion, even for those who were forcefully abused and impregnated, demonstrates how little this candidate is familiar with the dynamics of sexual abuse to begin with. My own experience of being molested by my father underscores the need for legislators like Marshall to understand that it is not black and white when it comes to abuse. My father was a verbally, physically, and emotionally abusive man. He pretty much left me walking on egg shells, anxious when working on projects with him, and never sure if I would become too annoying and he would find a way to punish me and make me go away for awhile to my room, or worse, take the belt to me. When my father approached me to come to his bed while my mother was nearly dying in the hospital from severe pancreatitis, and he was being gentle, caring, even conversational and patient, how could I at such a young age say no? I was completely ignorant on what sex was, or that his desire was inappropriate. My church never spoke on such things to children so young. All I knew is that dad wasn't acting like the normally recognizable monster that kept our home a nightmare of bipolar highs and lows, and I wasn't going to pass up on a chance to have a father that was calm and loving for once. Of course, I didn't realize he was hurting me until later on, and this is where Marshall's public opinion on "voluntary" incest is woefully misguided and lacking any real depth of the situation. It leaves out the reality that a lot of "voluntary" instances of incest and other forms of sex abuse are situations of "uninformed consent" -- which is assault..... It's been two years since Marshall made these statements, and sadly, he is in his 11th term of office, and even more politicians are taking the same attitude, but with different rationale. George Faught (R) state representative of Oklahoma, made it clear that except for genetic anomalies and Down Syndrome, that there shouldn't be an exception to an abortion ban. His attitude, like that of Rick Santorum and many other conservative congressional leaders, is that the suffering of one will "bring beauty from the ashes" in the form of the child that is forced to be carried to term, despite how it was conceived or the lingering psychological damage that the mother must recover from. Rape and incest, no exception, but genetic anomalies, kill it. The attitude that ultimately beauty comes from sexual abuse tells me they watch way too many Lifetime movies, or this demonstrates how much cognitive dissonance is at play in the policy making minds of many conservative congressmen in this country. The romanticizing of suffering, and the more personal an assault the better for such a process, is undeniable in the Bible. There have been many stories shared not just in religious studies, but in everyday life and story telling, of how a person is sexually violated, and the resulting child brings about a metamorphosis of recovery and strength to defeat all the odds against the victim. But as Faught seems to point out, a genetic deformity is not the same as sexual abuse. There wasn't an an act against one's will involved. There wasn't trauma. There wasn't a good enough story of a human life being shattered behind it. Worst of all, this type of romanticizing of suffering and humiliation of an individual creates an obligatory martyrdom that is then demanded to be shared publicly for all to gain a lesson from, which is atrocious and dehumanizing in my opinion. It takes away the right to process your pain in a manner that best suits you, and even encourages a suppression of hurt as there is an expectation to perform for the general public an astounding feat of an "overcoming the odds" underdog story of encouragement. It's pure selfishness on the part of these congressmen and ideologues pushing this line of rationalization to the general public. They are saying to victims,"We want a feel good story from your tragedy that reaffirms our faith values, Suzy, so you have to have that rape baby your daddy put in your belly. Don't worry, it's a blessing you can pay for, sweetheart." This is exploitation of the vulnerable to benefit the masses, and it must stop. Some might argue that it isn't about any of what I've just said, but actually a focus on the beauty of someone trying to survive and recover, and that the baby in the mix makes it all the more beautiful. But to whom? This refusal to offer exception for incest is not about the rare cases of sister and brother, or uncle and niece, who are of age, informed of the risks, and willingly in a desired relationship together. This is about the 15 year old, or 22 year old, who finds themselves pregnant after sexual abuse. They are feeling depressed, used, overwhelmed, and are struggling to survive. And you think that this notion that being in this predicament is benefiting them by showing others the strength and resilience of their desire to get through that mess? That in the long run, everything will end up like Queen Simonida of Serbia, and these abused souls will take solace in being the example for everyone else? That this constant recognition of pain and anguish will be a pep rally for their psyche to continue on and look back on their lives with a grateful attitude?