Tuesday, March 19, 2019

By the People, For the People?

We've been hearing a lot about socialism. And oh honey, it's just begun. The truth is that there is a lot about socialism that makes sense. We have adopted social security, medicaid, subsidized housing and food stamps, for instance. What is the option? Letting our elderly, disabled and poor just die?

Does this mean, however, that we are moving towards a socialist form of government?

You can pick and choose policies that are in the best interest of a country as a whole, no matter the assigned philosophical designation, and reject the others. This is, in fact, the foundation of a democracy. Many (most) countries consider health care a right, not a privilege, or make education available cost-free through college. These are not socialist countries, just societies that prioritize human rights, those who understand that a healthy and educated society pays them all back in the long run.

Should we adopt these policies? Maybe. Certainly only if we can find a way to fund them. Should we be discussing them? Absolutely. Discourse is the hallmark of a free society.

And if believing that the basic human right of having a roof over your head and food on the table is wrong, I don't want to be right. No matter what label you place on it.

Ham and Asparagus Fettuccine are thick chunks of ham and asparagus with fettuccine in a creamy, peppery cream sauce. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #cook #dinner

Ham and Asparagus Fettuccine

Many of us who embrace capitalism run in fear of the word "socialism", a term now being weaponized in our country. We do cherish democracy, I get that. But does "by the people, for the people" actually exist at this moment in history? Shouldn't true democracy be a hybrid? Aren't we most able to be our best as a free society by curating individual policies from every option? And I have to ask those who are concerned about discussion of certain specific socialist values, what I am lately asking myself for other reasons, do we really live in a democracy? Because more and more I'm just not at all sure, and the evidence is building.

You do not live in a democracy if . . .

The election process:

Gerrymandering exists as a way to manipulate representation.

The ability to register to vote, access polling places, and the ability to vote on election day are deliberately hampered for a targeted segment of the population

The Super Delegate system manipulates (negates)  the democratic process (in both parties) of one  vote per person in the naming of party presidential nominations.

An inquiry is started into non-existent grand scale voter fraud but not into a foreign entity usurping and manipulating our election process.

The dissolution of norms:

Norms (like a president not publicly lying and not bullying individual citizens) and laws (like the emollients clause) are ignored with impunity.

Unilateral national policy decisions are made based on one person's "gut" or on the express purpose of negating the legacy of previous administrations.

The constant call to lock up political (or even previous) adversaries.

Lying to the American people has become commonplace.

Top Secret clearance is given to candidates unable to secure it, out of nepotism. 

The National Enquirer is held up as the standard and both the legitimate press and reporters personally are publicly called out as "fake".

The justice system is under assault, constantly being undermined and labeled partisan.

The word of murderous dictators is taken as truth.

Official government websites are taking down factual information that does not fit the current narrative.

Legal official special investigations are labeled a "witch hunt" and the head investigator vilified.

The White House tries to ban reporters or new outlets whose stories do not compliment the president.

Bigotry is clearly stated and exhibited.

Propaganda usurps fact.

Nominees to positions in the government are asked to pledge allegiance not to the country or the democracy but to the president himself.

By the People, For the People? A discussion of democracy. | Graphic created by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #politics #USA

On the global stage:

We have lost our leadership as a moral authority by removing babies from their parents and putting them into cages.

We distance ourselves from our allies and global alliances and these relationships are replaced with public adoration of autocrats.

Mention of our president in a vice presidential speech abroad is not applauded, as in the past, but met with uncomfortable silence. 

The president himself is often laughed at in his speeches abroad as they devolve into narcissistic monologues.

Our president actually gives away an ally's classified information to Russians in a White House meeting where only Russian and not American press are invited.

Meetings with dictators are held with either no American translators or, when an American translator is there, the notes are confiscated.

The system of checks and balances:

Congress does not hold the purse strings as per their constitutional mandate, they can be taken in the name of an "emergency", whether it actually exists or is just a political ploy.

The senate majority leader refuses to bring a popular bill to the floor for a vote, even if the result could be a prolonged shutdown of the government.

Transparency does not exist (for instance in the mandate given to the FBI concerning the parameters of their background check of a Supreme Court nominee).

Congressional hearings are suddenly dropped, unfinished, apparently in collusion with the White House, and the reports are not released in full but "synopsized" along party lines. 

I have to admit that none of these are a surprise to me, I've watched it all happen in real time. What does shock and sadden me, however, is the breadth of the evidence, how quickly and easily they all came to me.

And even more alarming personally is my own gullibility, I find myself wondering just how much of this is not new, is just my having believed in a process I did not spend enough time really understanding. Gerrymandering, Super Delegates, targeted voter suppression, this is not specific to our current political situation.

Are you as disheartened as I am? Exercising your right to vote is not enough. Contact your party of choice and start by making clear your dissatisfaction with the voting process itself. Fight for our democracy. We can do it, but the time to be proactive is now.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Ham and Asparagus Fettuccine

1 1/2 # asparagus
1# cooked ham steak
12 oz fettuccine
1 TBSP butter
2/3 cup chicken broth
2 oz diced pimentos, drained
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 tsp coarse black pepper

*Microwave the asparagus for 2 minutes. Cut into bite-sized pieces, set aside.
*Chop the ham steak into bite sized pieces.
*Cook the fettuccine to al dente and drain.
*While the fettuccine is cooking, melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Once hot, add the ham steak, heat and stir for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and pimentos and bring to a boil, stirring now and then.
*Whisk in the heavy cream and black pepper. Bring back to a low boil. Reduce heat slightly and boil for 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for one more minute. Add the fettuccine. Cook, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta, about 2 more minutes.


  1. I completely agree that your examples of behavior are shameful, but if I may pick a nit I remember one of my college professors (oh so very long ago) saying that the United States is NOT a Democracy, and was never meant to be one. In a true democracy, the majority rules and the rights of the minorities are not protected. That's always stuck with me.

    1. You may certainly pick a nit with me, but I do believe the United States was meant to be a democracy, that we believe the majority should rule. The difference is that it is the obligation, legally and morally, of the majority to value and protect the minorities. An obligation we are currently not meeting on any front.

  2. I agree! No sense in waiting until 2020 election is in full swing, the time is now. BTW, your recipe is spring. That said I dislike asparagus and this time of year it seems to be on every menu as a symbol of spring is here!

    1. If you dislike asparagus (and I'm surprised that you do) substitute broccoli.

  3. Now this was an interesting post that makes one think, we have to vote on Saturday and I am not one who takes voting as a joke like some that I know.


Warning: Comment at your own risk. I have Comment Moderation, meaning I approve all comments before they show up here. So go ahead, I'm not scared!