Archive for America

“America Speaking Out” for the Republicans

Posted in politics with tags , , , on July 19, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

As I was listening to NPR a couple of weeks ago, I heard of a new website started by the GOP called America Speaking Out. It’s an open forum started by the GOP looking to true and honest Americans for ideas in which to improve their government and America. Because of the open forum format, it allows all Americans, regardless of political affiliation to suggest ideas. Registration is free, and the process is simple: suggest ideas, vote on ideas, comment on ideas, and there is a badge earning system (for some reason).

There is just one tiny hitch, quoted directly from the website:

As House Republicans, we are committed to our principles of limited, more accountable government; economic freedom; lower taxes; fiscal responsibility; protecting life, American values, and the Constitution; and providing for strong national security.

Meaning: “Sure, open forum, suggest whatever you want. Just know that if your idea doesn’t follow party lines, it won’t be considered.”

This means that ideas that probably would benefit the majority of Americans–like health care reform, more taxes, or anything in which the government would be involved–aren’t going to be considered for inclusion, while ideas that probably would hurt the majority of Americans–like tax cuts, decreased unemployment benefits, or anti-abortion laws–will be compiled into a huge bill and taken to Congress.

Ordinarily, this wouldn’t bother me. This is a pet project of the GOP. They’re free to do whatever they want with the ideas they’ve been given. And even if this was a bipartisan idea, it’s impossible to take every idea into consideration, because most ideas will conflict with other ideas, and just the sheer amount of ideas that come in must be staggering.

But the thing that bothers me isn’t that they are picking and choosing ideas that go into the proposal to Congress, it was the way they presented the website.

Quoted from an article from Politics Daily:

There was plenty of bashing of Democrats in Congress and the agenda they developed “in the backroom in secrecy with just a handful of leaders,” as Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan put it, and lots of vows that Republicans, by contrast, would listen to the people.

Again, their conference, their freedom of speech, whatever. But if I can be perfectly honest, I think the Republican Party has lost any semblance of class that they once had.

I remember reading about politics of old, and about how even though the different parties had their different ideals, they would still all go out to the bar with each other. There was no bad blood outside of the halls of Congress, and yet somehow, all of that has changed. But that is for another entry.

As far as this new GOP website is concerned, I’m urging everyone to sign up. Yes, seriously, sign up. Submit ideas, vote on ideas, and earn your precious badges. The only stipulation I’m making is that the ideas that you vote positive on and submit are ideas that benefit Americans, and not Congress or the rich. Show the GOP that Americans have class, and are concerned about their fellow man.

I bet that if the website is flooded with beneficial ideas that don’t follow party lines, there won’t be much of a proposal heading to Congress in the fall.

Uniting America Again

Posted in opinion with tags , , , , , , on July 5, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

Yesterday was the Fourth of July, a traditional American holiday which includes grilling, fireworks, patriotic music, all in celebration of the Founding Fathers signing the Declaration of Independence on July Fourth. (Never mind that most of the signatures came in the middle of August. That’s not even important when there are brats and steaks on the grill.)

Sadly, in looking through the blogs and the tabloids, the focus is not on the celebration of the Revolution, nor is the focus on horrific fireworks accidents (which are horrific, but also kind of funny, depending on the ridiculous scenario that is being presented). Instead, the same old arguments that showed up during the election are returning: Obama’s Presidency is illegal and unconstitutional. He was never born in the US, he’s a Muslim, he has a fake birth certificate, and so on.

It’s frustrating to me that in a time when we are supposed to be united as Americans, we are still so bitterly divided amongst ourselves. Abraham Lincoln, paraphrasing a passage from the Gospel of Matthew, said, “A house divided amongst itself cannot stand,” and honestly, I feel we’re on shaky foundation.

There is too much division amongst ourselves, it seems. And it goes well beyond the political world. Fans of different teams are often cutthroat in their hatred of one another, with the most vivid example I’ve seen of this being from a Vikings-Packers NFL game at the Metrodome, when the cops were called after a Vikings fan kicked a Packers fan down a flight of stairs.

Then there is the world of literature, where it seems like fans of Twilight are up against the entire world. Even author Stephen King has joined the fight, saying that Stephanie Meyer “can’t write worth a darn,” which has prompted many Twi-hards to state that Stephanie Meyer is obviously a better writer, because none of Stephen King’s books have ever been made into movies (if you don’t count The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, Carrie, Christine, Cujo, Stand By Me, The Mist, The Shining, Children of the Corn, and a couple of others).

It’s frustrating. My bleeding-heart liberalism tells me that we should all just get along, and that there should be no violence or strife left in the world. And yet, despite all of the advances in the world of equality, there is still blatant racism, there is still blatant bigotry, and there is still hatred of all sorts coming from all sides.

In a time of celebration, we should all remember back to a younger America, one that had to pick itself up by its bootstraps, and fight for their right to be equals amongst themselves. We cannot sit back and just watch everything we’ve worked so hard to accomplish be tossed aside because of some little difference like religion, skin color, lifestyle, favorite brand of beer, or different colored eyes. We must unite like we did in 1776, fighting for equality in the world, and showing everyone that we have something meaningful to offer.

We are the United States of America. We are One Nation, Indivisible. Or have we forgotten the Pledge already?