A Teachable Moment

Former local teacher union pesident Morty Rosenfeld periodically attempts to make sense of the increasingly senseless world of public education.

Political Depravity

Political Depravity! Supporting someone credibly charged with molesting children to be a Unites States Senator is as depraved a political act as I can remember. There appears to be no end to what Republicans are willing to do to hold on to power. Yesterday, I wrote of how our expressed concern for children falls very short of our actual treatment of them. Now our governing party has publically supported Roy Moore for the Senate, a man banned from his local shopping mall for stalking young girls, a man who appears to have used a public office to exploit children. What’s left for Republicans to disqualify a person for public office? Is Mitt Romney the only national Republican leaders whose conscience remains intact? “Roy Moore in the US Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation. Leigh Corfman and other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity.”

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Appealing to Reflexive Republicans

Here on Long Island we have lots of registered Republicans who when you talk to them about politics appear to reject most of what today’s Republican party stands for. Their attachment to their party is more a matter of habit or reflex than ideological affinity. I’ve met many over the years who very openly expressed the view that since Republicans have historically dominated the politics of the Island, self-interest suggested supporting the party that might be helpful getting a summer job for one’s child or a variance for some construction project on one’s property. I’ve met Democrats who are more economically and socially conservative than many Long Island registered Republicans. To be sure, Republican like this can be found everywhere in the United States.

We need to develop a moral and ethical appeal to these Republicans. We need to connect voting for Republican candidates at whatever level of government with the economically, socially ethically regressive agenda of the national Republican Party and its leaders in the House, Senate and Whitehouse. Such a campaign can have two possible positive outcomes. Some can be won over to the Democratic Party, perhaps pausing at independent first. Some can be motivated to push back against the nihilist nuts who have taken control of today’s Republican Party. Many Republicans believe that healthcare is a human right. Many support reproductive freedom and economic equality for women. Many oppose granting huge tax cuts to the ultra-rich. Many know that successfully integrating wave after wave of immigrants is what has made the United States special. Many are passionate about protecting the environment. Many are believers in science and know that our response to climate change will determine our future as a nation and maybe even as a species. Many are not frightened by the fact that white people will soon be a minority in this country and are open to being citizens of a country that treats religion as a personal matter having nothing whatsoever to do with government. Many are good union members and understand the need to expand the rights of working people to join together in common cause.

Supporting the candidates of today’s Republican Party violates all of these beliefs

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Trumpcare Failure

My friends who cling to a Republican Party that vanished years ago – it is either time for you to get active and take your party back, or abandon it. I’m not asking you to join the Democrats. I’m a reluctant member of that crew myself. I know you to be people who subscribe to the ethical and cultural norms that allow our society to exist. I know for a fact that most of you believe we have a responsibility to each other – that there but for the grace of God go we. Believing as you do, you cannot have watched the heath care debate without seeing how your Republican leaders don’t share your beliefs. They sense no responsibility to others. They sense no responsibility to you. They were prepared to allow millions of people to lose their access to health care for no socially responsible reason whatsoever. Although their reasons I’m sure vary, many, I deeply believe, are motivated simply by a deep-seated hatred for President Obama who led the way to passage of the Affordable care Act. Remember, our president tried for years to convince us that Barack Obama was not an American.

Like most of the democratic world, most Americans have come to understand health care as a human right. Today’s congressional Republican Party does not share that understanding. While wrapping themselves in Christian pieties, they openly seek to return our society to a place where the fittest thrive and the weak support their luxury. Freedom to them includes the right to starve or die for lack of timely, effective medical care. To think that this political party was once the home of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower is, it seems to me, to be revolted by what passes for political leadership today. If ever a party turned its back on the public good, it is this pack of amoral hacks that have taken over our country and made us the embarrassment of the world. Republican leadership thinks you are with them. Your silence emboldens them. It’s time they heard from you.

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Anti-American Voter Suppression

Nothing has aroused my political passions more than the concerted effort of the Republican Party to suppress the vote of minorities. Whether it has been through voter ID laws predicated on a illusory problem of voter fraud, the reduction of polling places in minority communities, the abridgment of early voting in states that have it, the deliberate purging of voter lists from minority areas, pressuring the FBI to politicize the investigation of a candidate, or the outright attempt to encourage gun-toting civilians to intimidate voters in Democratic areas, the fact is the Republican Party has come associate its fate with making it as hard as possible for some people to exercise their franchise. It is a party that has been taken over by angry white nationalists who long to turn back the clock the progress we have made in becoming a more perfect union, one in which women and minorities are freer to enjoy the full benefits of citizenship. Nothing is more important for the future of our nation than repudiating them unequivocally. Does anyone seriously believe that those who would prevent millions from voting are going to become the champions of those they seek to disenfranchise?

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