Tag Archives: Mike Pence

Photo of the Week – October 10, 2020

There were supposed to be only two panelists on the vice-presidential debate stage last Wednesday evening.  But Vice-President Mike Pence had an unexpected guest to help him through the trauma of dealing with the much savvier and wiser Sen. Kamala Harris.  It’s times like this when television seems to manifest its true purpose.

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Dialogue

Last Wednesday’s debate between Vice-President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris was a glaringly stark contrast to the crap-fest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden the previous week.  For the most part, Pence and Harris showed those two other old curmudgeons how to remain relatively calm and focused during discussions about critical national issues.

I say ‘for the most part’ because of Pence’s tendency to interrupt Harris – the same way Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden – and to ramble beyond his slated time limit – again, like Trump.  I feel that both Trump and Pence fit the unpleasantly stereotypical image of the angry White male: men who believe only those exactly like them are qualified to speak out on any concern facing the country and should be allowed to speak adnauseam about it.

Harris, meanwhile, showed restraint and decorum by politely stating, “I’m speaking,” with a bright grin.  Many observers, especially women and non-Whites, viewed this as a typical response for someone like Harris.  Women and non-Whites, it seems, are always expected to maintain a sense of calm in the face of indignity and disrespect.  Otherwise, they’d be viewed as uppity or bitchy.  Harris, in effect, had to stay polite and professional; for if she had done a Joe Biden and yelled, “Shut up!” to Pence, political pundits – particularly those on the conservative end who already hate her for the mere fact she’s a dark-skinned woman daring to campaign for a national office, much like they did with Barack Obama – would have mercilessly slayed her.

Pence never really answered any question from moderator Susan Page who proved as equally powerless as Chris Wallace during the Trump-Biden fiasco.  But, for we independent observers – that is, those of us not satisfied with either Trump or Biden – Pence’s blatant disorientation during the debate signaled how dysfunctional the current White House administration is in the face of dual crises: the failing economy and the expanding COVID-19 pandemic.

To me Trump, Biden and Pence represent America’s past: still fighting the U.S. Civil War; the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 70s; law-and-order mantras; the Cold War; a caste society.  Harris, on the other hand, represents America’s future: attacks on economic inequality and social injustices; ending war; giving ALL citizens the chance to prove their merit and their value in a 21st century world.

Time doesn’t stagnate, except in the minds of conservatives.  Regardless of what one thinks of the vice-presidential debate, the 2020 presidential campaign continues.  It can’t end soon enough.

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So This Is Who We Have?

“I don’t make jokes.  I just watch the government and report the facts.”

Will Rogers

Both the 2020 Democratic and Republican National Conventions have come to an end, and I couldn’t be happier.  Last week former Vice-President Joe Biden accepted the Democrat’s nomination for president, while Sen. Kamala Harris accepted the vice-presidential role.  And, over the last few days, incumbent President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence accepted their respective nominations from the GOP.  Aside from watching these political love fests conclude, the only thing that excites me more about this entire process is that the demise of the 2020 presidential race is in sight.  I feel even more disenfranchised than I did four years ago.

Okay, one other thing that truly excites me is the prospect that Donald Trump will be voted out of office in November.  But I have to concede that I’m not too thrilled with the idea of a Biden presidency.  Joe Biden was good as vice-president, but I feel less secure with him in the role of Chief Executive.  I’m certain, though, he’ll be much better than Trump.  Hell, a stray dog would be better than Trump!

In 2016 I voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.  A physician, Stein had been the Green Party’s candidate four years earlier.  I knew Iceland would see 80-degree temperatures on Christmas Day before Stein would win the U.S. presidency.  But I didn’t like either Trump or the Democratic choice of Hillary Clinton.  Clinton supporters blamed people like me for Clinton’s loss in 2016.  But we didn’t cause Hillary Clinton to lose the 2016 presidential election.  Hillary Clinton caused Hillary Clinton to lose the 2016 presidential election.  Her and the Russians.  As we now know, Russia essentially elected Trump; just like the U.S. Supreme Court elected George W. Bush in 2000.  America’s role as the beacon of democracy seems to have been shredded over the past 20 years.

I just never liked Hillary Clinton.  I loved Bill (Whose Your Daddy?) Clinton, but I never took a liking to Hillary.  By 2016, she had acquired top much baggage; more baggage than a Samsonite warehouse or a Lufthansa flight fresh in from Berlin.

And I definitely didn’t like Trump.  Donald Trump had been running for president for some 30 years by the time he made it official in 2015.  The idea had arisen back in the 1980s, when his name and persona first became public, and much of the nation had grown enamored with the concept of rapid-fire wealth and public prestige.  As AIDS and cocaine rampaged, many in the U.S. found the likes of Trump appealing.  He survived the collapse of the financial industry related to the savings-and-loan crisis and the string of high-profile prosecutions that ensued.  It seemed there was a price to pay for fiduciary recklessness.  No one knew at the time, though, that Trump was actually a womanizing failed businessman and tax cheat.  We know that well enough now.  But he’s president.  And, as another massive health crisis grips the nation and the world, we see how incompetent and ineffective Donald Trump really is.

I’m sure Joe Biden can do better.  But I keep thinking Biden should have called it a political life after his vice-presidency ended in January of 2017.  He should have retired to his estate in Delaware to consult on other political campaigns, give speeches and write books.  He’d served his time in office; he’d done his duty.

For the Democratic Party, the 2020 presidential campaign had started with high promises and an extraordinarily bright future.  The field of candidates was the most diverse that had ever existed among any political party.  But, by March, we’d ended up with two old White guys: Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders.  Kind of like the Republican Party.  And I say this with all due respect to old White men.  I mean, I’m a mostly White man myself – in the golden days of middle age.  And, as I’ve declared before, White men aren’t the nexus of evil in America they’re often portrayed to be.  But I personally had hoped Sen. Elizabeth Warren would be the Democrats’ choice.  I would definitely be more excited with her at the head of the ticket.

As usual, there has been no real mention of either the Green or Libertarian Parties.  They’ve essentially been locked out of the convention hall – again.  And Americans are overwhelmed by the demagoguery of the Democratic and Republican Parties – again.  Indeed, the U.S. is becoming less and less like a democracy and more like an oligarchy.  Does my vote – or the vote of any individual – truly count?  Throughout the year the U.S. has seen covert attempts by the Trump Administration to thwart the right to vote – one of the foundational pillars of any free society.  That’s typical of social and political conservatives.  While the Republican Party of the 19th century pushed for the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it was the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that propelled many conservatives into the arms of the GOP.  Recent efforts to enforce voter identifications, calls for limiting early voting days and ongoing battles to undermine mail-in voting prove that conservatives – the ones who will move Heaven and Earth to protect their sacred gun rights – will do anything possible to circumvent the voting process.

And here we are: stuck with two old men who represent more of America’s past than its future.  I was enthralled with Bill Clinton and I liked Barack Obama.  Yet, I just can’t bring myself to get excited with the current campaign.

My two biggest fears?  If Trump is reelected, the nation will descend further into social chaos and economic madness.  If Biden is elected, he may die in office, which will send the nation into equally unending chaos.

I know I will vote nonetheless.  People have fought and died for this right – even within the past 100 years.  There are literally millions of people across the globe who would relish the chance to choose between the lesser of two or three evils.  The people of Belarus certainly wish they had that opportunity now.  Amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic and a rash of voter suppression tactics, I will stand in line to select a candidate for the U.S. presidency.  It’s my right and my obligation.  Besides, I have nothing else to do two days before my 57th birthday.

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Best Quote of the Week – August 15, 2020

“I’ve decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021.”

– Former Vice-President and current democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, in announcing that Sen. Kamala Harris will be his running mate.

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Worst Quote of the Week – July 25, 2020

“I would never ask someone to vote against their conscience, but I would challenge them to reconsider how their conscience is framed.  Remember that by voting for Trump, you’re effectively voting for many more people. Sure, Trump’s name is on the ballot for president, but you’re also voting for Mike Pence.  You’re voting for outspoken Christians like Mark Meadows, Mike Pompeo, and many other committed non-carnal Christ-followers.”

John Reid, in a column for “Christian Post”.

Reid also declared: “If you’re a Christ-follower who’s wrestling with whether to vote for Trump in 2020, I get it.  I understood your plight in 2016 and I understand it now, though less-so now.  I’ll admit that in 2016 I abhorred the man’s behavior and I certainly wasn’t confident that Donald Trump would be the conservative policy-pusher that the Christian-right wanted.  But I have no reservations now, and, my brothers and sisters in Christ, neither should you.”

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Photo of the Week – March 27, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci, at a White House press briefing on March 22, reacts to the incorrigible Donald Trump.

“I’ve been telling the president things he doesn’t want to hear,” Fauci declared.  “I have publicly had to say something different with what he states,” explaining that he’s engaged in “risky business” but insisting that Trump is not and has not been “pissed off” at him to date.  “I don’t want to embarrass him,” Fauci added.

Thankfully, Fauci doesn’t have to worry about embarrassing Trump.  The President does a good job of that all by himself.

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Morass

Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill conceded they didn’t get along personally.  O’Neill would go so far as to say Reagan was one of the laziest presidents he’d ever known.  It was ironic that two old Irish-Americans would have such disparate viewpoints, as they each reached the apex of their careers.  Yet, despite their differences in how government should function and what policies were best for the nation, they did try to work together.  Those differences fell into the background in March of 1981, when Reagan almost fell victim to a would-be assassin’s bullet.  O’Neill visited Reagan in the hospital and the two even read biblical passages together.

Flash forward nearly four decades and try to imagine such comingling in Washington now.  On Tuesday, Donald Trump gave his State of the Union address.  As required, he provided copies of his speech to Vice-President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Despite intense animosity between Trump and Pelosi, the latter extended her hand to the president – which he deliberately ignored.  After Trump concluded speaking, Pelosi ripped up her copy of the speech, explaining later that Trump had “shredded the truth,” so she saw fit to shred the speech.  Then, on Wednesday, the U.S. Senate voted to acquit Trump of both articles of impeachment the House had brought up at the end of last year.  Over these past couple of days, Trump has gloated over his acquittal; proudly displaying various newspapers announcing the trial verdict and – in a live press conference – condemned the entire fiasco; ultimately calling it “bullshit”.  Yes, he really did utter that word on live television.  Then again, it’s Donald Trump.  Nothing he says or does should surprise anyone by now.

I have NEVER seen anything like this in my lifetime.  In my own 40-plus years of studying American politics, these past four have been surreal and almost otherworldly.  Donald Trump is the stress test of all stress tests.  And I thought George W. Bush was disoriented!  Trump is one block away from full-fledged derangement!  Bush’s actions in office embarrassed me more than once.  But Trump has stained the U.S. presidency with a new level of disgrace and shame.

It’s disillusioned me to the point where I’ve begun deleting all incoming emails of a political nature – even from Democratic and Green Party candidates.  I disliked Bush, but I absolutely loathe Trump.  I don’t like to say I hate someone I don’t know personally.  However, Trump has come as close to it for me as have only a few others – animal abusers, neo-Nazis, Caitlyn Jenner.  Just to name a few.

And none of that gives me pleasure.  It’s easy to hate and demonize.  It’s harder to dismiss bad behavior, especially from our political leaders.  I’ve been watching this circus and cringe at the thought of foreign opinions.  The United States is the self-claimed beacon of democracy and national dignity.  We’re supposed to be far above these kinds of third-world antics.  Now we’ve dropped into the abyss of antagonism and mockery.  People in Somalia must be laughing.

After Bush ascended to the presidency in 2001, some outspoken liberals announced they would actually flee the country.  Even with the current political diorama, I’m not ready to update my passport.  Well…not yet.  I just don’t know when this somnambulistic nightmare will end.  But the dénouement can’t arrive soon enough.

Thanks goodness all bad things – like blind dates and ptomaine poisoning – must come to an end!

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