Bush and Clinton: Democracy or Dynasty?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Two Political Peas in a Pod

In our household we receive two newspapers in the morning the old-fashioned way: The Palm Beach Post and The Wall Street Journal.  WSJ had on their front page today “Clinton Freezes Rest of ’16 Field” by Peter Nicholas.  The Palm Beach Post had in their second page of the front page “Jeb Bush airs campaign ethos” by Peter Baker of New York Times.  Is it already time for 2016 presidential candidate talk?  Evidently it’s been happening for awhile now and only gaining momentum.

Shortcut Update

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was recently in Texas and made some public comments that Mr.Baker writes about saying “even as he sharply criticized President Barack Obama for his handling of foreign affairs and health care, Bush made clear that he would run against the style of politics that has characterized recent Republican nominating contests.”  Mr. Nicholas’ opening line in WSJ says it all: “Hillary Clinton’s phantom presence in the Democratic presidential-nomination stakes–neither in nor not–is freezing the rest of the field, creating formidable obstacles for other candidates needing to raise money and set up an organization.”

What’s in a Name?

When we hear the name “Clinton”, what does the general public call to mind?  Is it Bubba and his saxophone on the Arsenio Hall late night show?  The first black President of the United States?  The blue dress? A congressional call for his impeachment and the question of what “is” is?  Or is it first lady Hillary Clinton “standing by her man”? Perhaps it’s the pacification of President Clinton when his two term presidency was over and then Hillary Rodham Clinton was finally able to pursue her political career beginning with a U.S. Senate run, presidential run and most recently our Secretary of State during the first years of President Obama’s tenure.

How about “Bush”?  Enough negative press was showered on this name in this century alone that it may be appropriate to assume that the name “Bush” immediately invokes “Iraq” or “War on Terror”.  The truth is that most adults who are between 30 and 40 years of age can’t recall too much prior to 9-11-01.  We were just finishing school years and starting careers or families when that national tragedy struck and started that decade into a hurtling mess of economic disparity and loss of privacy in the name of national security.  Can we remember what President George H.W. Bush was known for? Vice-president for the iconic President Ronald Reagan? “It wouldn’t be prudent”?  Or was it the obvious loss to the more photogenic and charismatic Democratic presidential Bill Clinton-Al Gore ticket in 1992?

Buzz Words and Who’s Listening

It’s a somber reality that most of us will not be ready for the multimedia onslaught of presidential buzz words of who’s the possible candidate for this party and that.  The American public is pretty weary after weathering various difficulties–especially economically–that hit the middle-class and below quite hard.  In an era of people learning about how to simplify and return to organic and holistic means of living, we are also being inundated with talk of Obamacare and how we ought to sign up now for our health care security.  So now I hear from people in person and now in print media that it may be a Clinton versus Bush episode–is this a democracy or a dynasty system?

This rhetorical question doesn’t intend to belittle or insult what former Secretary Hillary Clinton and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush have done in service to our country.  However, we should try to stop for a moment if possible and consider what we truly want when it comes to choosing a presidential candidate to lead our executive branch of the federal government–serving as the proverbial “leader of the free world”.

Political Benediction

Depending on who’s reading this either you may love politics and follow everything closely or you might abhor the nonsense of the rhetoric and corruption that seem to follow anything affiliated with the government.  I would encourage anyone who is a U.S. citizen reading to remember that we are all Americans together, despite the party or non-party affiliations.  This country isn’t perfect by any means and rather young when you look at the history of the world in general–still, it’s our nation and we do have a right to continue to ask questions and seek out whomever we think should be in the power seats we’ve set up through our governing system.  Please don’t forget that we are a country “for the people by the people”.

R.V.S.B.

 

 

Price of Privacy: Isolation or Ignorance?

price of privacy june 24 2013

Follow the Rabbit

Thanks to Edward J. Snowden’s current life adventure, the question of our privacy in 2013 and beyond has come into question again. Mr. Snowden isn’t so special, however, as there’s weekly news bulletins that highlight how transparent we’ve become whether we know or like it—hardly anything is a secret.

Remember the Red Seal?

There was a time when official state or personal correspondence was sealed with a wax imprint to ensure the privacy of its contents. Today we may have certified mail or services like FedEx for direct correspondence but the majority of us conduct both professional and personal discourse through the internet and phone texts. There’s no guarantee that these interactions are safe from unwanted monitoring or hacking.

Blame the Governments?

The fact remains that the U.S. government is unable to truly “spy” on everyone’s conversations or internet blah-blah: there simply isn’t enough manpower and the computer algorithms in place are just barely keeping up with the real terrorist/hostile enemy threats to U.S. citizens and interests. Personal responsibility remains the ugly elephant in the room—when you log in or have your phone on, you are placing yourself in a vulnerable position.

Perception is Revealing

The next time you post photos on your social media website of choice, try to imagine that you just ran them on one of the huge screens at New York City’s Time Square and any other major metropolis in the world. Let’s take that a step further and consider that the text you sent earlier today blasting your boss was retrieved by your human resources department at the job—oops. An entire article could respectively be devoted to the exposure of our financial, medical and other very personal assets in this “connected” world.

Concede or Recede?

I personally don’t know what the answer is to this question of our privacy in the 21st century. It must be a conversation we continue to have without too much malice for one group or another–respect for each other is the best foundation to find what’s our common ground.  Please remember that those who work in the government are still people just like you and me. In order to live freely in America we’ve had compromise through the decades of contentious things like the Civil War, Civil Rights and now access to information–personal or public.

R.V.S.Bean

note: for those catching up on news of Mr. Snowden, a recent New York Times article found here http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/25/world/europe/snowden-case-carries-a-cold-war-aftertaste.html?_r=0

and I recommend watching Ben Affleck’s “Argo” for a Hollywood-style reality check on just how deadly information in the wrong hands can be (I’m sure there are many other films in this category, this was the most recent I’ve watched-cheers!)

America and Greece: More Alike than Some Would Like to Admit

Veteran’s Day Morning in SoFla

This morning at Saint Mark Greek Orthodox Church in Boca Raton, Florida we had a color guard and an acting officer in our U.S. military present both the American and Greek flag in celebration and honorance of Veteran’s Day.  As a congregation we sang in unison both respective national anthems with our hands over hearts. The speeches, music and unified revere for both nations created an emotional atmosphere.  It was a reminder that the United States and Greece are still bound with more similarities than we realize.

U.S. Presidential Election Redux: So Easy to Throw Punches

It’s less than a week since our nation had our elections and already the discussions abound as to how our country can move forward and actually tackle some of the immediate problems that affect our citizens: among some of the major topics being a sluggish economy, widespread debt in personal lives as well as the municipalities and the ongoing threats to our active military posts.

It was just a few weeks ago during the second publicized debate between President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney that Greece was mentioned in a less than favorable manner.  In short, Mr. Romney verbally attacked President Obama’s notions and policies as sending America down the path of becoming like Greece.  Just in case you missed it, this was a grave insult hurled at Greeks both in America and abroad.

Roots, Entanglements and Exercises

Documented and debated history points to Ancient Greece as the cradle of what we know as modern democracy today.  For instance, about 2400 years ago in Athens they would draw 500 names from the citizens of Athens (excluding women, children and slaves/servants) who would serve as the law makers and all eligible citizens were required to vote on proposed legislation and such—the formation of various city-states like Sparta and Athens were formed around 1000 B.C.

Fast forwarding to the 20th century, modern Greece entered World War II in late 1940 and the country itself suffered through a famine that killed thousands between the years 1941-42.  By January 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was persuaded to create a new 112nd Infantry Battalion to be based in Camp Carson, Colorado.  Incidentally, the number “122” had a symbolic meaning at the time representing 122 years of Greek Independence from the Ottoman Empire.  This battalion was comprised of Greek-Americans who would be sent over to help Greece as she fought against the Nazis’ occupation and such.

Whether it be by infused political and military philosophies, shared love of food and fun, the athletic contests of the Olympic Games and several articles that could be written on the subject matter we have in common—The United States and Greece have a historic love affair with each other that we can readily embrace or with weak arguments try to disguise the existence of such a liaison.

Dollars, Euros and Sense?

In today’s the New York Times, there is an article referring to Greece’s most recent struggle to face the specific realities of its current economic problems—“Friedrich Schneider, an economics professor…in Linz, Austria estimates that about 120 billion euros in Greek assets lie outside the country…representing an extraordinary 65% of the country’s overall economic output”.  The piece outlines the current idea to create an amnesty program for those who have evaded taxes in the past with a lure of a 15-20% flat tax on everyone. For more of the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/12/business/global/greece-renews-struggle-against-tax-evasion.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Here in America, the latest from newly re-elected President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have been trading sound bites on their hope that both sides can work together avoiding the infamous coined “fiscal cliff”.  Although President Obama should be able to garner support with House Republicans since he’s going into his second and final term and doesn’t have the political pressure to stay sole party line—in turn, Republicans should be willing to work the President for the common goal of bringing American back to financial health and onward.

From President Obama’s 2012 Campaign: How Do We Go “Forward”?

I’ve only mentioned a couple of items that both Greece and the United States have to tackle despite the general consensus of negative attitudes toward the government and the sparring respective political party factions.  When will the goal of government leaders become to harness power to work for positive change in the interest of their citizens rather than trying to convince their citizens as to why they are the better ones to have the power over their political opponents?

What Greece and the United States have shown in their respective election cycles and financial meltdowns is that a change in philosophical mindset and public discourse is happening whether those in governmental power recognize it or not.  Greece will forever hold a place in the United State’s history of a democratic influence and today the U.S. is linked with her still as we are trying to navigate this new ground of adjusting our economic policies and trying to energize our population to continue its education, creativity and overall American way.

Americans and Greeks alike have changed the course of human history when they summon the courage to go forward for the right reasons and sacrifice the wrong reasons to blaze a positive and resounding trail forward.

R. Saridakis Bean

Sources:

http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/articles/ossgreece.aspx

http://www.ancient-greece.us/democracy.html

www.wikipedia.com

www.nytimes.com

Wyoming Life

"God bless it and keep it wild"