Friday, January 10, 2020

What's new is old again

Ed Stanton is retiring as General Sessions Court Clerk. An important position here in the land of the Grit n' Grind. 

Reginald Milton (the likely winner) will run for the seat against a crew of fellow challengers that represent the problem here in Memphis. One is John Ford who delusionally thinks that he can run as a convicted felon whose rights have not been restored and also, really? Fellow commissioner Eddie Jones is also running. There's also Thomas Long, the former Clerk and perennial loser, Dell Gill. Dell is up there in the why are you running when no one will listen or take you seriously lane with Boudini Brown wannabe, Latroy Williams.

I want to stress this, I think Reginald will do an excellent job. I think he is the most qualified and up there on the list of qualified people that I know. That aside, my problem with the candidates we have is that they never seem to change. We have council people jump to the commission and vice versa due to term limits. Once they exhaust that, they run for clerk positions in the city or county. The state Representative and Senate seats turn over less often a car with a dead battery.

Combine the lack of open positions with lack of sheer opportunities due to lack of positions and you see the problem. We have too few positions that are too large in both the city and county. The commission could be twice as big honestly, the council-eliminate the super districts, and the Education Board- double it. 

Why? Because the seats being so large means they don't represent their areas properly. It costs too much to run, leaving candidates beholden to lobbyists and special interests. It makes districts unwalkable. 

Further, too many of the elected officials we have try and pass on their seats to their son or daughter or hire family members to work in their offices, giving them a leg up when that seat comes open. We don't need this. We need fresh people in there running. 

Hell, the Republicans do it. Why can't we? You know how they took so many seats from us throughout the South in the 70s through the 2000's? Replacing their members frequently. Notice how very few of them transitioned laterally or down? No, it was always up or out. Nepotism was cut way back until the Trumps with the exception of the Bush's. 

We'll never progress unless we start making the new the new.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

THIS IS 2020

However, I am not Barbara Walters, as you know.

After receiving encouragement from my co-blogger and semi-adopted son, Jon Carroll, who will also be writing here again (as you have noticed), and from my friend and legendary reporter, Jackson Baker, I have decided to come back for this year.

As Jon has already noted,  we know who we are and what we are called to do, we need to do it.  ALL of us.    We have a great deal of work to do to register voters and get them to the polls. NON-VOTERS, more than the Russians, more than the Jill Stein voters, more than any other sector of society, are the reason we have Donald Trump today.

Millennials and Gen Z are saddled with heinous debt and lack of real opportunity and are naturally pessimistic with the state of things, and with good reason.  Boomers who fell for Reagan's schtick in the 80s have turned into the Trumpites of the teens.  (NOTE: WE ARE IN THE FINAL YEAR OF THE TEENS.  ENOUGH SAID.) 

However, no matter how much you complain, I can only say this to you:  NO ONE WILL GIVE A DAMN UNTIL YOU SHOW UP TO VOTE.  PERIOD.   Frankly, this starts NOW.  (Yes, I know a lot of millennials and Zs who have been doing that, but it is only a start). 

You have a lot more to worry about that I did when I was becoming of legal age to vote.  My predecessors fought for 18-year-olds to have the right to vote so we could elect people that would get the US out of Vietnam.  It worked!   You are not alone, and those who are active can help you get active, because you need to do so for no other reason than self-preservation as individuals and as a society.

We saw some signs of this in 2018 around the country, not as much in local and state elections in 2019.  Here is another thing: THE MORE LOCAL YOUR ELECTION, THE MORE LIKELY IT IS TO AFFECT HOW YOU LIVE.  (I can hear it now: Cracker, I notice that you didn't mention this when we went into city elections a year ago, why not?  BECAUSE YOU SHOULD ALREADY KNOW THIS.)

Another thing that I will NOT tolerate in this, possibly the most important year in the history of this republic, is whining about POLITICS.   Politics is defined, literally, as "THE ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES".   The market CANNOT DO THIS EQUITABLY, IT IS NOT SET UP THAT WAY.  Markets are set up for people to exploit for profit, not help anyone, and we need to understand this.

People who complain about politics are too lazy to do the very things they need to do to survive and thrive.  What people say when they complain about politics and say that "politics" cost them something they wanted are really saying they were not willing to work with other people to get what they needed. 

I get that people who are introverted (as I once was myself), will get steamed because it is difficult for them to get involved in what is going on around them.  However, if you don't, you will not get what you and your community needs in this day and age.  Stand up, and others will stand with you because you are showing courage.  I have already seen that in the Presidential Primary campaigns, and I think it is a great sign.  We need to keep seeing this wherever you are.

This is called leadership, and as the Artist Formerly Known as Newscoma, our beloved Trace Sharp, is fond of saying, LEADERS JUST LEAD.  As more people stand with you, you will understand the joy of common purpose.  We need leaders who can bring people together for a common purpose, which is what GOVERNMENT IS SUPPOSED TO DO.

Private entities can only do so much due to limited resources, GOVERNMENTS CAN ALWAYS DO MORE BECAUSE OF THE POWER TO TAX.  The first person to say TAXATION IS THEFT means that they want YOU to pay THEIR fair share of governance, so the hell with them.  You don't like how your government is spending your money?? GET INVOLVED.

AS Democrats (which I presume most of you who are reading this happen to be, or even further to the left), this year is critical because the GOP is Trump and Trump is the GOP.  Republicans will NOT revert back to being kindly old curmudgeons who will suddenly care about governance once Trump is out of office.  Neither Howard Baker or Fred Thompson are walking through that door, people.  Even if they were alive and in their prime, neither could win a primary because they would be called LIBERALS.  Think about that, Joe Biden, OK??

We need to win at EVERY LEVEL of government, not just the White House.  That will not happen unless people who either have never voted or quit voting return to the practice.  You don't know about state House and Senate races and who is running?  LEARN. Your very lives may depend on it.

I am not going to say a lot about the upcoming Presidential primary except that, at the moment, I am voting for Elizabeth Warren.  I agree more with Bernie Sanders but I am skeptical of his ability to get done what he wants.  I could vote for him in the general, though.

Toward this end, Jon and I are in the process of developing a podcast, which you will hear more about in the coming days.  I am grateful to Jon and Jackson for getting me up and running again.  I have to remember what Jon said in the prior post, because it applies to our elected officials, as well as to each of us:

DO YOUR JOB.


Happy New Year, and let's get to work.



Do your job

It's a mantra that I have always stressed. It's stolen from the greatest NFL coach of all time, Bill Belichek.

Belichek is not warm and fuzzy. He is if anything, the exact opposite in public and with the media. With his players he tends to be different, more warm (to a point), joking, and caring. But always with the belief and desire to do his job and have you do yours.

That is what we want our representatives to do. The job we elected them to do. Be it a city councilman, a court clerk, or a county commissioner or someone who works directly for them. No matter what, we want them do their job. 

Congress has ultra low approval numbers, but individual congresspeople have high ones. Trump has sky high approval for Republicans, dumpster fire low with Democrats. 

Why? Because they are seen as doing their job by the people who elected them. We think Jim Jordan is a fast talking obstructionist carrying Trump's water. They see Jim Jordan as a fast talking truth finder defending the president. 

Guess what? He's doing his job as the people who vote for him see it. 

We change this by changing the people who vote for him/her. We change this by registering voters in districts. We change this by electing representatives who will change the district's maps. 

We do this through the grind. Future901 for example is not concerned with just 2020, they are concerned with all the elections leading up to 2030 as well. They y want to change the narrative here. We need to work on this state wide. Look at Virginia for an example for us. Look at North Carolina in 2010 for them. The grind went in to change the people voted in. 

We do our job of the grind. We do our job of changing the people. We do our job of changing the people's lives.