The results of the Presidential election and the make up of the new Congress will depend, to a great extent, on who gets out to vote. State governments which are controlled by Republican governors and legislators have gone out of their way to fight the practically non-existent problem of "voter fraud" by tightening up early voting opportunities and identification requirements at polling places. This is a ruthlessly calculated voter suppression scheme designed to deter minorities, college students and senior citizens from voting in the numbers they did in 2008. These groups usually vote Democratic. Some of the restrictive laws have already been rejected by courts but it is unlikely that they will be taken off of the books before Election Day.
Early Voting Being Reduced in Many States
The proper thing to do would be to postpone the November election until all of the litigation challenging these laws is resolved. All the cases can be consolidated and put before the Supreme Court without delay. Only after they have rendered their decision should the election take place. If this is done quickly, the election date may not even have to be delayed. (If this were happening in a third world country where we were encouraging the development of democracy, we certainly would not permit such a contaminated election to take place.)
Why wait until Election Day to vote? If your state permits "early" voting, mark down the dates and vote that way, or even better, request an "absentee ballot" now, so you can vote from the comfort of your home. After all, it may rain on Election Day.
What's Behind Democratic Party's Puzzling Plank on Israel . . . If Anything?
The “planks” which political parties adopt at their conventions are not necessarily the views of the candidates. They are attempts to tell the parties’ members what things the party stands for and also cater to the party members' and supporters' ideas so that there is something there for everyone. As the membership of political parties changes and as the part of the electorate to which the party wants to appeal changes, there may be subtle changes in party platforms. They are sales pitches and should be taken as such. The candidates, as I have said, do not necessarily adhere to them.
The omission from the Democratic 2012 platform of mention of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, something whch had appeared in the 2008 platform and the absence of which resulted in many (including this blogster) complaining, caused a last minute floor vote correcting that omission from the 2012 platform. The following 2008 language was then added to the 2012 platform, over an unexpectedly large "Nay" vote from the floor: “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.” The Republican platform contained similar language.
Today's Democratic Party is no longer the party of FDR, Harry Truman, Hubert Humphrey's Farmer-Labor coalition, Lyndon Johnson or even Bill Clinton. The role of "big city bosses" and labor unions in turning out the vote has diminished; the Party's identity seems to be in flux and it is important for Democrats to be watchful of changes taking place within their party. Many long-time Republican voters were surprised to wake up one morning to find that their party had been hijacked by its extreme right "tea party" wing. Democrats must not let similar extremism take over their party.
But, as I have said, the platform's "sales pitch" and the candidate’s positions are not always synonymous and President Obama has assured all Americans that our support of Israel’s security will not waver, and the Democratic plank was generally strongly supportitive of Israel, as was the Republican party plank. (The major difference between the 2008 and the 2012 G.O.P planks in regard to Israel is that the 2012 plank omits the 2008 statement that the U.S. Embassy should be moved to Jerusalem, something their 2012 candidate has nevertheless been saying.)
AFTER ALL IS SAID AND DONE, ANY CONCERN OVER WHAT IS OR WHAT IS NOT IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY'S 2012 PLATFORM IN REGARD TO ISRAEL DOES NOT COME CLOSE TO NEGATING THE TREMENDOUS SUPPORT THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS PROVIDED TO ISRAEL. EXAMPLES OF THIS ARE THE HIGH TECH MILITARY SYSTEMS WE HAVE PROVIDED AND OUR OPPOSITION TO PALESTINIAN ATTEMPTS TO SECURE STATEHOOD VIA THE UNITED NATIONS, BYPASSING NEGOTIATIONS WITH ISRAEL .
Republican efforts to paint him as someone who is "throwing Israel under the bus" are merely pathetic attempts to reduce traditional Jewish voting patterns, with the aim of securing a G.O.P. victory in November. The President's efforts to achieve some stability in the ever-changing Arab world can only serve to hasten the day when Israel and the Palestinians can sit down and negotiate realistically.
And as for the Iranian threat to Israel, the unprecedented sanctions the President is imposing on Iran stand an excellent chance of curtailing their nuclear program, and if they do not, I believe that the inevitable Israeli attack on those facilities will not lack American support, regardless of the President's reticence, for political reasons, to come flat out and say that.
What do you think of this as a party platform that you could wholeheartedly support?
(I considered including both Republican and Democratic platform planks on Israel from both the 2008 and 2012 conventions on the blog, but decided against doing so because of their size. I encourage you to read these "planks" by "googling" the appropriate platforms.)
Sometimes Ya Gotta Know When to Keep Yer Darn Mouth Shut
The remarks of the former Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman concerning fundamental Christianity and Israel made at the Democratic convention remind me of other comments which were better left unsaid.
Mitt Romney on his recent visit to Israel compared the economic achievements of Israel with those of the Palestinians and attributed them to "cultural" differences.
During the G.O.P. primary campaign, Newt Gingrich commented on what amounted to the artificiality of "Palestinian" nationality. There are good arguments to back up both of these comments, but in the real world, such things can be thought, but are better left unsaid. That is the diplomatic thing to do, and to be expected of those who aspire to national leadership. Wounds do not heal if you rub salt into them.
Alan Siegel's comments to a right-wing journalist at the Democratic convention about the sincerity of fundamentalist Christian support of Israel have some basis in fact, which can be supported to some extent if you read Christian literature about the "Rapture," the second coming of Christ, Israel and Armageddon or search into it by "googling" the words Rapture and the Jews on your computer. As with most things theological, however, these subjects are open to interpretation.
Alan Siegel and one artist's interpretation of the "Rapture"
As firmly as Siegel may believe what he said, these are things which one just doesn't talk about. Even fundamentalist Christian leaders, some of whom might even share Siegel's belief, know better than to talk about them to "mixed" audiences. I will be charitable and assume that Siegel made his comments because he either had too little sleep or too much wine.
(This is the final episode in what I am choosing to refer to as Sid's Family Summer Trilogy. If other readers have similar stories they would like to share, feel free to submit them.)
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