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”.




President Hillary Rodham Clinton: Hope for Women, Democratics and Republicans Alike

My Political Confession

When I was just an emerging teenager I was excited to get my hands on a Clinton/Gore campaign sign and proudly tacked it onto my busy bedroom wall–the “Pinterest” way of doing things back in 1992 was to clutter one’s wall with quotes, photos of celebrity crushes and so forth.  I couldn’t vote yet but I knew what it was to be on welfare and food stamps as my single mother of three children struggled to recover economically after escaping an abusive marriage and I liked what Bill Clinton said as I listened to him late at night playing saxophone and speaking with Arsenio Hall.

After September 11, 2001 I found myself moving to Washington, DC as a newlywed in January 2002 where I would embark on an amazing journey in just over half a decade’s time where I would serve several positions as congressional staff in the U.S. House of Representatives for a couple of Members–one of which was infamously known for the U.S. House Page scandal that preceded the fall of the GOP in mid-term 2006 election cycle.  In the wake of fall of 2006 I was able to accept the opportunity to serve President George W. Bush’s administration in the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

As the 2008 Presidential election debates waged before the respective Democratic and Republican conventions, I personally had just given birth to my first child and was reeling in the awesome responsibility and reality of my new occupation–politics seemed like a poorly written drama series that I watched bleary-eyed during frequent feeding for my newborn.  I understood and was at peace with that after 8 years of a Republican president who had been bludgeoned in public opinion here at home and abroad afforded the Democrats a clear path to the presidency.  Of course the question remained who would it be?

During the 2008 Presidential campaign our country witnessed an amazing possibility for two people of minority status (one a bi-racial man and another a woman), one of which would go on to win the Democratic nomination and the overall election most decidedly–namely President Barack Obama, our first bi-racial president.  Hillary Rodham Clinton, however, I personally felt was the woman for the job and although I’m a Republican, I believed in her ability to serve our nation as the first woman President and conduct herself fairly amongst the two major political parties.

Where Is Hillary Today?

It’s still less than 100 years ago that women in the United States of America were afforded the right to vote.  The right to vote!  If only we could describe the ridiculous nature of that reality to the young women today–that truly, women who bear life to men, support men, love men and ultimately will many times sacrifice for men, were not allowed to vote in matters of government.

It was a bitter pill to swallow to watch a woman who had every right and ability to serve our nation as President to be beat in some unfriendly exchanges and by political machinery supporting our present POTUS (President of the United States).  At the same time, it was impressive to witness how Mrs. Clinton took the loss and then proceeded to accept the opportunity to serve as our Secretary of State.  If you were paying attention to the weekly reports, she did a most impressive job at it up to her resignation recently.

Where is Hillary today? There is some silence with a distinct shuffling sound heard in the background–the power deck is being shuffled and perhaps the groundwork is being laid down.  You can conduct your own internet search via Google or other search engines: my own yielded a recent report from a Greek American online outlet http://usa.greekreporter.com/2013/02/11/exclusive-hillary-clinton-will-run-for-president-in-2016-confirmed/

2016: Change Will Happen, Is There Hope for Women?

There has been so much flux in most Americans lives in the past several years–maybe it’s the acceleration of our technology, our vulnerability to crazy things like terrorists or that we’re trying to find our bearings in a new global economy that reels almost daily from our connectivity.  What we do know is that anything is possible nowadays, especially in the realm of politics.

Although it was easy to attack President Obama for his lack of executive experience when he first entered the White House as our POTUS, we should be thankful that he helped pave the way for his successors.  It turns out that there is no perfect resume for this job–the best prerequisite for this work is dependent on the character of the person and their ability to adapt and proceed forward successfully despite the unexpected (public marital infidelity: i.e. blue dress), harassing public opinion (upon first being elected as NY senator), being disrespected on the campaign trail (Google anything from 2008 campaign shorts) and the list goes on for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

At this very moment I cannot formulate my ultimate opinion on the question on who it could be but I remain hopeful that there will be a woman President of the United States in this century and I believe it is possible to be a Republican and support a Democrat–as a Floridian I’m proud to say that many voters in our state have been this way for decades.  My encouragement to you is to do your own research on the candidates in the next Presidential election and then search yourself as to what you feel is best for our nation.

What Democrats, Republicans and any other political party believers can agree on is that there is no absolute party that is the best for the U.S.  We are free to discuss, debate and decide–we then have the personal right to try to support whoever (or whichever party) ends up leading our nation through the next round.  The political pendulum continues whether our man or woman wins the election, as Americans we must keep up hope and work together regardless of the results each time.

R.V. Saridakis Bean

RomneyRyan Florida Sunset





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






How Obama and Romney May Have Insulted or Inspired Women Tonight


Kitchen Shop Talk

In the hour following the second debate between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney, I donned a pair of my favorite high heel shoes while wearing my sleep pants and robe to go forth in our family’s kitchen and get it in order for the new day ahead tomorrow (technically as I write this we are speaking for this morning).  Why the high heel shoes?  A demonstration that things are not always as they seem—and yet, perception often translates what we understand to be reality.

Women Wake Up!

I often disclose that I’m a mother of two small sons, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter and many other roles that I care to share and others that are no one’s business…either way, if I were to enter the paying workforce today I would still put down that what I do on a daily basis is part of my “experience” portion of the resume.  It is a severe problem that people don’t even consider that when a woman “stays at home” that they are still contributing to society, with or without raising children.

Both Men Were Men

In tonight’s debate we were exposed to strong doses of testosterone—in one moment it looked as if fists were about to fly.  These men were dancing with words and trying at every exchange to gain the upper hand without looking too condescending.  As they went through the various “town hall” style questioning, it got awkwardly quiet when a young women introduced herself and asked what would be done about the fact that women still make just over 70% of every dollar that a man makes in the same job titles.

Romney Catered Hiring Practices But Lacks in Perception

Right away Gov. Romney garnered favor and extra time from the moderator Ms. Crowley as he waxed on about how he and his staff actively sought out to consider and hire women for his Massachusetts’ governor cabinet staff.  He cited how he had a Chief of Staff that was a woman and needed to be home for her family and so he agreed to let her go home at 5pm so as to be there to cook dinner for her children and spend time with the rest of the household.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, there was a noise made in the airwaves and internet when Democrat operative Hillary Rosen said that Mrs. Romney “has never worked a day” in her life.  Mrs. Romney had some comebacks in the press and there was some great conversations generated but we are still in the same perception paradigm.   Somehow, it isn’t considered “real work” if you’re not receiving a monetary paycheck as a woman and when you are recognized in the “real workplace” your time away is considered your own fault and counted against you.

Gov. Romney how will you ensure equal pay wages for women versus men?

President Obama’s Attempt to Appease Domestic Goddesses and the Paid Women Working

Frankly, I can’t recall all of what President Obama said in response to the women’s fair wages question except I heard him claim ownership of the contraception debate on whether or not healthcare providers should give women this accessibility. What followed in the moments thereafter infuriated me as both the POTUS and Gov. Romney had a verbal tussle with each other as to who was supportive of women having access to contraception coverage.

Let me be clear as to how that argument translated in my female brain: “I’m sorry ladies, let’s make sure that you have accessibility to contraception coverage in your health care binder so that you can help avoid pregnancies overall so you can actually have a fair chance at being consider a good worker in the paying workplaces that are so eager to hire overworking women at just over 70% of every dollar that other men—even less qualified—get to enjoy in their wages.  See how much I care for your equality?”


Mr. President how will you ensure equal pay wages for women versus men?

What We Can Do

In general, women need to get more involved in politics and public policy on whatever level they are able.  Some can go work in an office and hash it out continuously in the working-for-wages world.  Some like myself can make time to contribute to a local or federal campaign, run for local office or at the very least educate ourselves to know what is going on around us and look for ways to help especially if there is some policy or other situation that we disagree with and may have ideas on how to change them.

Please remember, ladies, that it was less than a hundred years ago when we as women were actually given the right to vote for those going into public office.  Can you imagine not having that right today?  It was just as much injustice back then as it would be today if that were the case.

Research, educate yourself and help your girlfriends too for even if we disagree as to who we should vote for this November, let us be heard as the strong women we are beside our strong men counterparts who are our friends, our family, our lovers, our acquaintances and overall our American citizen brothers.

R.V. Saridakis Bean