Respect is Earned

Respect

I am sick and tired of people telling me to respect Trump. Just because he is President of the United States does not earn him my respect. I was always taught that you have to give respect to get respect. The alternate is true, if you give disrespect, you have earned disrespect. I am not disrespecting him just because I don’t like him or his politics, I show disrespect because he has earned it by disrespecting millions of Americans, a lot of whom are friends of mine.

How has he earned my disrespect you ask? Since I am not interested in writing a book on this issue, I will only cover the top 3 items that directly impact people that I know and love. Lets start with his “Repeal and Replace” plan, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), aka Trumpcare. This is not even remotely health care legislation. This is a gift to the health insurance companies and corporations. Trumpcare will take away healthcare from 23+ million Americans, including many of my family members who did not have healthcare until The Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, was passed. Obamacare is far from perfect, but it helped millions of Americans purchase health insurance that they wold otherwise not be able to afford. Trumpcare would take that away from them and many other Americans.

Trump’s Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III,  is looking to restart the war on drugs. This is a horrible plan that will imprison millions of Americans for low level drugs crimes while increasing drug induced death rates. Look at Portugal, they decriminalized ALL drugs. As a result, they now have a drug death rate of 3 deaths per one million citizens. Compare that to America’s 147 deaths per one million citizens. I have family and friends that were taken too soon due to drug overdose. If drugs were decriminalized like they are in Portugal, they may have been able to receive the help they needed and could still be with us today.

Trump’s racism, misogyny and sexism have effected many of my friends and family. The day after Trump won the election, I had LGBTQ and Muslim friends and family who called to tell me they were scared and asked what could be done. These are good, hard working people that deserve respect and the ability to achieve the American dream just as much as anyone else. Trump and his rhetoric is very damaging, and if he has his way, gay marriage will be reversed and Muslims will be detained and refused in a manner we haven’t seen since Japanese detention during WWII.

So, while people are telling me that Trump deserves my respect just because he is President of the United States, I respectfully disagree. Republicans showed less than zero respect for President Barack Obama, a President that earned the respect of the American people for his accomplishments. Trump, on the other hand, has earned the disrespect he is receiving in spades. I have zero admiration for Trump’s abilities, qualities or achievements, I actually have disdain for them instead. Seeing as this is the definition of Respect, it is obvious that Trump has not earned my respect.

Decriminalize Or Legalize?

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There is a debate happening in America right now on what should be done about marijuana and all other illegal drugs. Should we decriminalize or legalize? In my opinion, we should decriminalize all drugs and legalize marijuana.

Here in American we have an epidemic of drug abuse, specifically opioids. Most of us know someone that addicted to or has overdosed on some illicit drug. Personally, I lost a cousin to heroine addiction. The problem that most people have with their addiction isn’t that they don’t want to quit, it is that they can’t get the help that they need because they are afraid of the legal repercussions of their addiction. Decriminalizing all drugs would solve this problem.

Sending someone to prison for their addiction does not solve their addiction, it only succeeds in ruining their life, pushing them back towards addiction and costing the American people millions of dollars annually. Rather than sending drug users to prison, we should allow them to get the help they so desperately need. Portugal has already done something similar to this. Initially, there was a small increase in drug users, but after a while the numbers started to decrease, especially among the young.

As for marijuana, I believe that it should be legalized and regulated like alcohol. There are a number of reasons that I hold this belief:

First off, compared to alcohol, marijuana is a much safer recreational drug, both to the user and the bystanders.

Second, while marijuana is a schedule 1 narcotic, most of what is required to be a schedule 1 narcotic is not applicable to marijuana. One of these is a high potential for abuse. There is a higher degree of abuse of alcohol and tobacco, both of which are legal. Another requirement to be a schedule 1 narcotic is that there is no current accepted medical treatment, meaning that there is no medical use for the narcotic. This is also false. There are studies that show marijuana helps relieve chronic pain and helps with cancer treatment.

Third, due to legalization in states like Oregon, Washington and Colorado, we have seen that legalizing and regulating is extremely economical for state taxes. In 2015, Colorado collected over $70 million in taxes on marijuana sales alone, nearly double what was collected from alcohol sales ($42 million).

In conclusion, I believe that we need to decriminalize all drugs so that addicts can seek the help that they need without fear of imprisonment and we need to legalize marijuana, both medical and recreational.

Apology, Smology – We Must Unify Now Revisited

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Back in December 2016, I wrote an article titled “Apology, Smology – We Must Unify Now” that discussed how the Democratic Party needs to come together to fight the upcoming disasters that Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans were bound to force upon us.

Since the writing of that article, we have united on some key issues; The Women’s March, The March for Science, and multiple other protests and rallies. However, since Hillary Clinton emerged from the woods and “joined the resistance”, the division has widened again.

Here is the thing, THE 2016 ELECTION IS OVER!!!! The Bernie Sanderes / Hillary Clinton infighting is doing nothing more than splitting the Democratic Party and making it more difficult for us to fight the Trump / Republican agenda. Yesterday Republicans in the House passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and replace it with something that will likely kill 43,000 people per year due to lack of insurance, being under insured or pre-existing conditions. With any luck at all, this bill will not make it past the Senate.

We have had a number of horrible pieces of legislature pass on the state level here in Iowa; voter suppression, destruction of collective bargaining rights, etc. We need to be united in order to fight back against these horrible pieces of legislature. As long as there is still infighting between the Sanders and Clinton factions, we are not united and will face a tough uphill battle when it comes to fighting back.

In addition to fighting back against what is happening now, we need to look forward to the 2018 and 2020 elections. It is highly unlikely that Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders will run again in 2020, so the infighting between the two factions is completely irrelevant and needs to stop. This infighting is a large part of what put us in the situation we are in now; a self-absorbed, misogynistic man-child president and Republican controlled House and Senate on both the national and state levels.

We, as a party, need to grow up and put the past behind us so we can move forward. I have said it many times and I am sure I will say it many times more, the “old guard” (mainly Clinton supporters) have the experience and knowledge while the new guard (mainly Sanders supporters) have fresh, new ideas on how to move forward. We need to unite the old guard and the new guard to build a juggernaut of a Democratic Party so we can fight back the horrible atrocities that Republicans are trying to force upon us.

We Are In Better Shape With Our New DNC Chair, Even If He Isn’t Our First Choice

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While I was a supporter Keith Ellison, Tom Perez will be a far superior DNC Chair than we had before. Have we all forgotten that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was more interested in elevating herself than party building? Debbie Wasserman Schultz was widely unpopular and a part-time chair. With Tom Perez, we now have a highly qualified, full-time chair that is committed to building the party at the state and local levels.

Choosing Keith Ellison would have unified the party quicker than choosing Tom Perez, but I believe that both will make us a stronger party. What we need to do now is exactly what we have been doing since the election of Donald Trump as our 45th President of the United States, rallying with fellow Progressives, Democrats and even some Republicans to make our voices heard. We are making a difference and we must continue to show our outrage to those that we sent to elected offices that are not representing the majority of their constituents.