Democrats, Elections, politics, Republicans, Uncategorized

Why Does It Matter?

I read an article today that said that the Secretary of the State of Georgia, Brian Kemp (R), wants to keep newly-registered voters from exercising their Constitutional right to vote in the June 20th run-off election in District 6.

He has declared that these voters are only eligible if they registered by March 20, which is 92 days before the 6/20 election. His justification is that the run-off is simply a continuation of special election to replace Tom Price, who was appointed to the President’s cabinet

However, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 says clearly that the deadline for voter registration for a Federal election is 60 days, whether it be general, special, primary or run-off.

Why does this matter?

I believe this matters because most of us were raised to believe in fairness — that the process by which a result is produced is as important as the result itself. More and more I’m seeing that our Republican leaders are willing to manipulate the processes to produce the desired result.

Why does this matter?

I believe this matters because each of us has been Constitutionally guaranteed the right to vote our conscience to choose the best candidate for an elected position. By manipulating the system so blatantly, those in powerful offices are negating our ability to choose and stifling our voices. They’re saying they know better, and we don’t know what we’re doing.

Why does this matter?

I believe this matters because even though most of us don’t want a lot of government interference in our lives, by voiding our rights to vote, government is interfering and controlling our lives. We as citizens will lose our right to dissent. Already, there are attempts to curtail our rights to assemble (and protest), speak freely, and have a free press.

Why does this matter?

I believe this matters because there is a systematic eroding of our Constitutional rights, with the end result being that our liberties to gather together, to criticize our government, our freedom to determine our own paths, will be taken away from us by an elitist few who think they are better than us. If Republicans continue to change the rules arbitrarily to manipulate the outcome to suit themselves, I can see them trying to avoid free and open elections completely.

Why does this matter?

This matters because this is not strictly a Democrat issue. Just because you’re a registered Republican doesn’t mean that your freedoms won’t be curtailed too.

We all need to step up and say no.

You need to step up and say no.

We all need to step up and say stop this.

You need to step up and say stop this.

 

 

 

Democrats, Elections, politics, Uncategorized

Bolhafner: Tough to Say, Easy to Know

I always invite people to ask questions: What would you like to know about me?

GrandmaNina284
Great-grandma Nina was born in Sicily.

My great-grandparents one my dad’s side came from Sicily by way of Naples. My mom immigrated from Korea in 1961. Her growing up years involved parts of WWII and the Korean War — she doesn’t talk much about it.

MeMomSanta2
Mom & me, circa 1964

My first job was as a cashier at my local A&P grocery store, and I’ve continued to work hourly-paying jobs all my life.

Currently I work at a low-income, HUD-subsidized apartment community where, if the tenants are able to work at all, their wages are often $8 or $9 an hour. The program, and the programs attached to low-income housing, seem to be stacked against a person trying to get out of the program and into self-sufficiency (a topic I’ll cover at another time).

Seeing my tenants struggling to meet rent and other responsibilities, I started to think about other people around me — the police officers who monitor the security desk at the building, the maintenance staff, and the people who live around me.

All of us want to live our lives – comfortably, freely, and with dignity.

As Americans, we don’t mind paying our fair share, but it becomes a strain and a burden when we’re asked to pay more than our fair share so that corporations can reduce their taxes on profits. A 12/12/2016 New York Times opinion piece points out that United Technologies (the parent company of Carrier who was/wasn’t sending jobs to Mexico) paid an effective Federal tax rate of 10.3% over a 15-year-period from 2000 through 2014. United Technologies reported sales of $57.2 billion for 2016. (Which may have resulted in a tax bill of $5.9 billion — if we went with the straight math of $57.2 * .103.)

United Technologies, however, is a big, big company. A blog I found, from February 2016, points out that this company has moved $29 billion in profits abroad, where it cannot be taxed by the United States, thereby leaving the shortfall on the backs of people like you and me. For a company that enjoys over $6 billion a year in government contracts, this seems highly un-American.

The people we have elected to represent us in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are no longer connected to us. Doctors. Lawyers. Good professions, yes, but hardly part of the mainstream after a while — especially if they’re re-elected several times.

I have no connections to big business. I have not scratched anyone’s back nor have they scratched mine. I have a passion to serve, and to serve as many people as possible in the time I have left.

I’m asking you to think of me. Remember me. Tell your friends about me. Contribute to the campaign, any way you can, even if it’s $5.00 a month.

I cannot do this without you.

Democrats, politics, Uncategorized

Let’s Talk

The other day, when I realized I really, really do want to run for the US House of Representatives, an old schoolmate asked me how popular am I?

I don’t know.

I’ve never been the person who got invited to the “cool” parties. I wasn’t in the “cool” cliques. I didn’t matter to me then. It doesn’t matter to me now.

What does matter to me is that this election cycle, like no other in my lifetime, overwhelmed my feelings —  I’ve felt frustrated, I’ve felt frightened, I’ve felt powerless. Worst of all, I’ve felt hopeless and helpless. I know I’m not the only one who’s felt this way — regardless whom you voted for.

I don’t understand feeling hopeless and helpless, even though I have felt these emotions, and my way of dealing with these particular feelings is action. I have to do something.

I readily admit I’m a novice at politics, but I’m a quick study. I’ve been working with low-income people for the last few years (and frankly, most of us are dangerously close to meeting the area median income). I work for an hourly wage, I’m taxed, and I live paycheck-to-paycheck.

I have a car note. A couple of credit cards. A personal loan. I’ve been married. I’ve been divorced. I like ice cream and road trips.

I’m a lot like you.

The American middle-class is the lifeblood of this country, and yet it has been deliberately and methodically, exsanguinated. My goal is to stop the bleeding.

My action plan right now, is to meet with people, in coffee shops, small groups, book clubs, wherever, and fact-find.

What do you need that your current representatives are not providing? Do you feel that the billions of dollars in tax money collected are mismanaged? Do you feel that tax collecting is done under implied threat of violence?

I want to hear from you!

Let’s talk!

 

 

 

politics, Uncategorized

Look Out Below

The other day, at work, while worrying about deadlines and waiting lists and TANF letters, I had an epiphany of sorts.

Like many others across America, my nights have been restless; I wake in the morning wary about what I’ll read in the news. Updates through the day aren’t better: legislative bills to sell of public lands (i.e., national parks, etc.), confirmation hearings for people who have never worked in the sector they are being charged with; executive orders signed with no input as to the ramifications.

I voted in my first election when I was 18: Mario Cuomo was running for Lieutenant Governor of New York State. He had spoken at my eighth grade commencement at Immaculate Conception School in Jamaica, Queens, New York — the very same Jamaica, Queens, that our current President hails from. Mr. Cuomo’s children also attended ICS, so I was happy and proud to cast my vote for him, and I am just as happy and proud that his son, Andrew, was elected to the same office.

And now we are here, a million years from yesterday. To quote “The Godfather”: How did things ever get so far?

In one of my friends’ posts on Facebook, someone suggested that we are here now because the incentives to be President should change, and that got my hamster wheel brain turning. I realized that serving the people of this country, in whatever fashion possible, is its own incentive, and so I wrote in response:

“What more incentive does one need than to lead the nation forward while preserving and protecting the values outlined in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights? The Presidency, and Congress, are not offices to get rich from; they are the repositories of the peoples’ trust in you for their future and the future of their progeny.”

As a nation, what are our values?

I believe our values were clearly outlined for us in the three documents our Founding Fathers drafted for us to follow: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is the soul of our country. Each amendment to the Constitution and Bill of Rights that is ratified by 38 of 50 states (3/4) is an agreement that our culture has changed to a degree and is deserving of acknowledgement.

Elected officials who seek to curtail these rights inherently do not trust their constituents, but the rights this country were founded on has inspired others (“Liberté, égalité, fraternité”), and human nature will always strive for freedom and happiness.

This does not make us weaker.

It makes us stronger.