Leveraging Your Lies Won’t Get You Elected

Having focused so much attention on the e-mail scandal the past couple days, I missed a much more serious issue involving John Oxendine.

Apparently, John Oxendine was so put off by the fact that Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-13) would not endorse him for governor, he created a non-scandal in an attempt to discredit Westmoreland.

Westmoreland has perhaps the best combination of social and fiscal conservative cred in the GA Congressional delegation. Westmoreland’s supporters extend beyond his 3rd Congressional District, and are comprised of those that we generally accuse Ox of pandering to. His supporters are those that Ox covets. When Cagle dropped out of the Governor’s race last April, Westmoreland was thought to be the immediate front runner if he chose to enter the race. During this time, calls from Oxendine increased in frequency, essentially begging Lynn to endorse the Ox. Lynn would have none of it.

So it was rather strange, this week, for Congressman Westmoreland to get a call from Georgia Public Television asking for his comment on his involvement in the failure of Southeastern US Insurance. Strange because the reporter listed his source as one John Oxendine, Insurance Commissioner. The man who pledged in an earlier call to do everything in his power to keep Lynn’s role from the press was now calling GPTV (the press?) to put pressure on Westmoreland.

In yet another case of being blatantly obvious, it sounds like Oxendine attempted to influence Westmoreland’s position on the race for governor by issuing subtle threats. It’s pretty clear he used the investigation of Southeastern US Insurance as leverage and in this case it didn’t work.

How many times as Oxendine done this over the years? He’s been Insurance Commissioner since 1994, or whatever, so I’m sure there are probably a lot of people out there who “support” him because they thought they had no other choice.

What a shame. It’s so much easier to stand tall, to be honest, and to be upfront. When you get to telling tales, you end up chasing tails as well, and if the person you’re chasing stops to quickly you never know where you’re going to end up but you know it won’t be pretty.

If this accusation is true (which is sounds more and more like it is), the people of Georgia need to kick Oxendine to the curb.

The last thing our state needs right now is an unethical governor who’s not ethical enough to control his e-mail list, let alone principled enough to sit in that chair.

Oxendine & Sheffield: The Truth Shall Set You Free

When I wrapped up my post last night I was convinced that the John Oxendine campaign had shared their e-mail list with the Maria Sheffield campaign. Like I said in my post last night after researching the connections between John Oxendine and Sheffield’s campaign manager, as well as Maria Sheffield herself, it was bluntly obvious that some back scratching was occurring.

This afternoon, I received an e-mail response from Kathryn Ballou, Maria Sheffield’s campaign manager. Her response was rather long-winded (who am I to talk about people being long-winded) but she answered my question, honestly.

This will be my final post on this issue. I believe, after receiving the response from Mrs. Ballou that the issue has been resolved, and my original inquiry has been addressed, albeit with some snarky responses and a whole lot of political mumbo-jumbo thrown in to boot.

First, here is the original inquiry that I sent to Kathryn Ballou.

Hi Kathryn,

My name is Michael Barrett, and I have a question regarding the mail list for Maria Sheffield’s campaign.

On February 5th, I received two emails from the Sheffield campaign. I never signed up for, nor did I consent to receive any email from the Sheffield campaign, and I would like to know how my addresses got on your list.

Did you get the list from another candidate by chance?

Please let me know as soon as possible, as I would like to get to the bottom of this.

Michael T. Barrett
Temple, GA

When I sent that e-mail I was already convinced that the Oxendine campaign had released the e-mail addresses to the Sheffield campaign. While Kathryn didn’t come out and say she received any list from the Oxendine campaign she left that possibility wide open in her response.

Michael, thanks for contacting the campaign – I appreciate anyone who takes the time to get back to the campaign regardless of the issue. I have to give a dig back to you (and I say this good naturedly) about this email, though – it went to my gmail account and not the one we have on record with the campaign. I could ask where you received my gmail account as I can identify everyone who has it – I assume someone has forwarded it on to you. Just the way it works sometimes :>)…

We are fortunate that Maria has worked with the industries regulated by the Department of Insurance for 15 years and the Republican Party for 20+ years. During this time, she has kept a database of all of her contacts and has a nice size base upon which we have built. Unfortunately, we do not have the base several of our opponents do.

We have made a huge effort to build upon this database in the past 6 months by asking associates, friends and supporters for their group lists, copying emails from messages that were sent out and the recipients were not blind copied (several campaigns have sent out emails without blind copying their lists), obtaining lists from groups that Maria is a member of or has spoken to, researching all sorts of media contacts as well as any and every blog which has any political bent, business sources, etc.

I am not going to go into detail of where we look as you may be supporting one of our opponents, but assume they are using the same resources. It is not difficult to find the resources, just time consuming.

There are 2 types of candidates. Those who do the research and reach out to as many voters as possible and those who rely on special interests and Capitol contacts. Maria makes no apologies for being a candidate who puts a high priority on listening to and communicating with voters. Often, this is done via email. With all due respect, the campaign reached out to you, and by so doing demonstrated respect for you as a Georgia voter. The campaign followed standard, social protocol by installing a user friendly opt out link.

In the only email we have sent to date, Maria received fewer than 100th of a percentage point of people choosing to opt out. If you would like to opt out as well, please let me know and we will delete you from our database. I see you are in Temple and I appreciate that you are a Georgia voter. If you have not already chosen a candidate in this race, I hope you will at least read our materials and consider Maria.

Kat

Before I write about some of the finer points of her response, here is the response I sent back to her this afternoon.

Good afternoon Kathryn,

Thank you for responding to my inquiry. What started as a simple inquiry into why two e-mail addresses which I have never used for any other political e-mail list other than John Oxendine’s campaign were added to Maria Sheffield’s e-mail list has turned into quite the adventure of deception and deflection. I appreciate your attention to this matter, and I also appreciate your explanation which answered my question without being deceptive nor deflecting from my original inquiry.

All I wanted was a response from either campaign which answered my question, how did my two e-mail addresses wind up in Sheffield’s database? Thank you again for answering my question. Although your response was very political in nature and a bit long-winded, you answered my question and removed any doubt that the Oxendine e-mail list was shared with the Sheffield campaign.

I received your gmail address from someone connected with the Republican Party of Georgia. I had mentioned my e-mail concerns to them and they offered me your address in confidence that you would be able to address the issue directly. I have worked on many political campaigns over the years and I know that contact addresses on the candidate’s website don’t always go to, nor are they always read by, the campaign manager. My contact wanted to make sure my concerns were addressed as quickly as possible and reached you directly, which is why they offered your gmail address. Also, (tongue in cheek) it’s a little bit different obtaining an e-mail address of the campaign manager for a political candidate as opposed to mining two private e-mail addresses from another candidate’s database.

Thank you again for your response,

Michael T. Barrett
Temple, GA

I know she mentioned the e-mail address issue “good naturedly”, and I addressed that in my response to her, so let’s move on with everything else she had to say. Let’s start with that third paragraph.

We have made a huge effort to build upon this database in the past 6 months by asking associates, friends and supporters for their group lists, copying emails from messages that were sent out and the recipients were not blind copied (several campaigns have sent out emails without blind copying their lists), obtaining lists from groups that Maria is a member of or has spoken to, researching all sorts of media contacts as well as any and every blog which has any political bent, business sources, etc.

As she explained the process by which Sheffield has been building her e-mail database, she removed all doubt that the Oxendine campaign shared their list. “Asking associates, friends, and supporters” for their lists made it pretty clear. My addresses are on no other list (together) than John Oxendine’s and her explanation just verified everything I thought had happened.

We all get spam. Spam is just part of the daily process if you have an e-mail account. Does anyone else find it a bit disturbing that a political candidate would be relying on mailing lists where recipient addresses were not blind copied to build their own database? As a web developer and the owner of a web hosting company I am quite familiar with OPT-IN and OPT-OUT e-mail marketing, but I will address that issue in a few moments.

The next paragraph made me laugh out loud. She actually took the time to tell me that she was not going to go ‘into detail’ of where they look for addresses because I may be supporting one of their opponents. Ha ha. Wow. I just had to laugh out loud again as I typed that.

She already told me where they look, by “asking associates, friends and supporters for their group lists, copying emails from messages that were sent out and the recipients were not blind copied (several campaigns have sent out emails without blind copying their lists), obtaining lists from groups that Maria is a member of or has spoken to, researching all sorts of media contacts as well as any and every blog which has any political bent, business sources, etc.”

Yes, I am still laughing.

Kathryn Ballou goes on to state that there are 2 types of candidates. “Those who do the research and reach out to as many voters as possible and those who rely on special interests and Capitol contacts.”

I honestly thought she was being “good naturedly” again. Was she serious? If doing research to reach out to voters includes borrowing and grabbing unsolicited e-mail addresses for your campaign then I don’t think you’re much better than those special interest and Capitol contacts. In fact, just for the record, none of those special interest and Capitol contacts have ever spammed me before either, so that speaks volumes about the character of the Sheffield campaign.

She continues with, “With all due respect, the campaign reached out to you, and by so doing demonstrated respect for you as a Georgia voter. The campaign followed standard, social protocol by installing a user friendly opt out link.”

Respect? Spamming two of my e-mail addresses with unsolicited campaign e-mails is their way of reaching out to me and demonstrating respect to me as a Georgia voter? Pardon me while I try to remain “good naturedly” here, but that’s a load of bullshit and she knows it.

The Sheffield campaign did not reach out to me. They spammed me. They demonstrated a complete lack of respect to me as a Georgia voter by sending me a pair of unsolicited e-mails to two addresses that do not receive political notifications, except from one other candidate.

Until February 5th of this year I had no idea who Maria Sheffield was, and if her campaign wanted to reach out to me they could have done so using any number of means to do so, one of which is to contact me directly through my blog. Mrs. Ballou stated previously that the campaign was “researching all sorts of media contacts as well as any and every blog which has any political bent”. I guess scraping my addresses from one of their many sources was easier than finding 101 Dead Armadillos somewhere down the road.

The final paragraph of her response claims that the e-mail she sent had “fewer than 100th of a percentage point of people choosing to opt out”. There’s probably a good reason, or reasons why this is true.

The first could be that many of the e-mails sent were automatically marked as spam and deleted by anti-spam software before the recipients ever viewed them. Spam Assassin, the anti-spam solution we use on our servers give customers the option of automatically deleting spam. Recipients would never know they received the spam therefore they never would have opted out from the list.

Another possibility is that people didn’t see a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient could opt out of getting email from them in the future. The CAN-SPAM Act, which applies to businesses contains seven main requirements.

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
  3. Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
  4. Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.
  5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.
  6. Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
  7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.

As you can see in this screen shot of the bottom of the e-mail that was sent, there are links to subscribe and unsubscribe, but they seem to get lost in all of the social networking, “paid for”, and other links polluting the bottom of the e-mail message. Basically, there is no clear notice that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand that they can opt-out of receiving future emails.

 

The term “opt-out” doesn’t even appear in the e-mail message, and honestly, I doubt many of the people who “junked” the e-mail never even checked the bottom of the message before they clicked that “junk” button in their e-mail client.

So in summary, I was correct in suspecting that the John Oxendine campaign shared my e-mail addresses, which makes Tim Echols look pretty bad this evening since he assured me just yesterday that “We do not sell or give our list to anyone, so unless it was stolen or hacked, I don’t think it was from us”.

As an independent conservative in the state of Georgia, I choose to support the candidates who are the most fiscally conservative and hold themselves to the highest of standards and the strongest of ethics.

It may be a pipe dream to think that I might one day find a candidate who possesses all of those requirements but that hasn’t stopped me from looking for them. It also hasn’t stopped me from calling out those who claim to possess any of them when they clearly do not.

Slamming Into A Brick Wall

I’m still working hot and heavy on a project so here’s another short post tonight.

It seems that the Scott Brown win in Massachusetts special election to fill the people’s seat (formerly known as Ted Kennedy’s seat) has had a ripple effect in reality, or the Obama administrations perception of reality anyway.

Erroll Southers has officially withdrawn his nomination to run the Transportation Security Administration. Funny isn’t it? It was obvious from the beginning that Southers was not a viable candidate for the position because of his natural aversion to answering simple yes or no questions and his expertise in violating the privacy of everyday citizens. Yet, he stuck it out since September and was prepared to go the distance until it was painfully clear that the Democrats no longer had a filibuster proof majority.

President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Transportation Security Administration withdrew his name Wednesday, a setback for an administration still trying to explain how a man could attempt to blow up a commercial airliner on Christmas Day.

Erroll Southers said he was pulling out because his nomination had become a lightning rod for those with a political agenda. Obama had tapped Southers, a top official with the Los Angeles Airport Police Department, to lead the TSA in September but his confirmation has been blocked by Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who says he was worried that Southers would allow TSA employees to have collective bargaining rights.

I disagree that his nomination had become a lightning rod for those with a political agenda. His nomination had become a lightning rod for anyone who valued truth, justice, and privacy. He will never see it that way, but that’s okay. I’ve grown accustomed to the fact that many people associated with our current President couldn’t tell you the definition of truth and ethics if you gave them a dictionary.

The Rebirth Of Restrospective Hypocrisy

This may be old news to some people, but I thought it would be interested to point out something I find quite striking about Nanny State Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her minions running the U.S. House of Representatives.

Here we are, more than three years after Nancy Pelosi took control of the U.S. House of Representatives and she’s accomplished nothing, unless you count the fact that she has proven to the American people that she and the people who support her are nothing more than hypocrites with no intention of doing what’s right for America.

Let’s look at a report titled, Broken Promises: The Death of Deliberative Democracy (PDF).

Despite their vows to open up the rules process and restore deliberative democracy to the House chamber … they used closed and highly restrictive rules to prevent Members from offering amendments that would have provoked real debate and forced Members to go on the record on real issues.

We’ve all seen how Speaker Pelosi runs the House. There is no room for debate, discussions are usually conducted behind closed doors, legislation is voted on before it’s even printed, and Republicans are not allowed to offer amendments.

But wait. This report wasn’t written by House Republicans. It seems that Democrats had issues with Republican House leadership back in 2006, as stated in this “Congressional Report on the Unprecedented Erosion of the Democratic Process in the 108th Congress”.

Back in 2006 the Democrats were upset because they thought Republicans were using closed and restrictive rules to prevent members from offering amendments and participating in real debate. Ironic, isn’t it? Isn’t that one of the very complaints that has been made against Nanny State Nancy since she took control in 2006?

Do you remember November 16, 2006 when then Speaker-Elect Nancy Pelosi said,

This leadership team will create the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history

I guess it all depends on what your definitions of honest, open, and ethical are, huh?

In that same report, Democrats had some recommendations for Republicans.

  • Open up the process by allowing debate and votes on more serious amendments.
  • Allow more bills to be considered under open rules.
  • Spend more time on major, substantive legislation and less time on suspension bills.
  • Bring back regular order…
  • Give Members three days to read conference reports.

Wow, they wrote the report and they made the recommendations, yet they are 0 for 5 when it comes to carrying out even one of those recommendations since they’ve been in control of the House. It’s been three years, you’d think they might have implemented at least one of their own recommendations before now.

According to their own report,

The purpose of the House Rules is to balance the majority’s right to pass legislation in a timely way with the minority’s right to offer amendments and to otherwise participate in the deliberative process.

But now that they are in control, I guess those silly House Rules really don’t matter to the Democrats do they? The more you read the report, the more hypocritical the Democratic House leaders appears to be. Although I didn’t think they could appear any more hypocritical that they already were.

The most basic measure of how a majority is managing the House is the percentage of special rules it approves for an open debate and amendment process versus the number of times it considers legislation under a closed process.

That one is especially ironic since they are currently negotiating one of the largest and life-changing bills in our nation’s history, yet Republicans are being locked out of that process and many others.

On the other hand, a majority interested in jamming legislation through the process with as little deliberation as possible uses highly restrictive and closed rules to make sure that Members with “conflicting opinions” have little or no opportunity to bring those opinions to the House floor for debate and votes.

After reading through the entire 147 page report I realized something. The report was not a critical report on the leadership under Republicans. It had nothing to do with the way Republicans were treating Democrats in the House, it had nothing to do with “making things right” for anyone.

That’s not how Nanny State Nancy and her minions operate. As long as they can point out one instance where Republicans might have “done it first” (even if it’s not entirely true), they feel their actions are justified and legitimized when their own honesty and ethics are questioned.

You could say that Nancy Pelosi is the national poster child for hypocrisy, but then again, it turns out that report was nothing more than the final draft of the “Democratic Playbook” for running the U.S. House of Representatives and they were just biding their time.

The Chosen Path

When I started blogging more than 12 years ago, before they even called it “blogging”, I wrote a lot about items and experiences in my personal life. I know many bloggers do that on a daily basis, and I still post personal stories from time to time, but I still feel uncomfortable writing about me (or my family) all the time. This is one of those times.

A long time ago, I found my “niche” per say and realized that I enjoyed blogging about current events and politics. I’ve spent more than a decade doing just that. I have written about some interesting topics and I have been on the receiving end of some vicious attacks. The most memorable was the professor from Columbia who had a hard time reading the truth and tossed veiled threats in my direction many years ago.

When you decide to start blogging you open yourself up to the possibility that some people just cannot remain civil during a debate. You have to be willing to accept the good with the bad and expect that there are going to be trolls hiding underneath many of the bridges you must cross while making the journey known as blogging.

One thing I never expected was the fact that the most vicious attacks would come from family members. I am completely stunned by the attitude of some family members and their attacks on me and my wife.

That being said, a good friend told me that I shouldn’t write about this particular “issue”. Now that I am writing about it, I think he may be right, but some things just need to be said.

The family members in question need to take a step back, look in the mirror, and realize the good that’s been done over the past 12 years. They need to review what they said and decide if acting this way was appropriate given the fact that their words will forever change our relationship with them. They need to decide if insulting us, calling us names, and attacking our character was something they were proud of doing or if an apology is in order. Only they can determine which path their lives will take, but I can guarantee you that their chosen path might not be the same path we are willing to take.

All my life I have treated everyone, especially family members, with respect. If I did something to wrong someone, anyone, I always apologized, learned from my mistake, and grew from the experience. I expect nothing less from anyone else, especially family members.

This is not the first time I have been insulted by these family members, but it’s definitely the last time I will allow anything like this to be said to me, my wife, or my children without raising my voice and letting it be known how completely unacceptable their actions have been.

The Evolutionary Clock Is Running Backwards

Something has been gnawing at me for a while now, more so in the past few days than ever before, and I want to see if it’s something you have noticed as well.

It seems to me that good, honest, debate has been shoved to the wayside as more and more people insert their ideological positions into any discussion and cement their “truth” with assertions that any dissent whatsoever is nothing more than an affront to the good of society.

These same people have no intention of debating the issues or participating in true political discourse to help solve our country’s problems. They simply want you to fall in line, obey the leaders of the party which holds the majority in our government, and shut your mouth.

If you choose to exercise your freedom of speech and voice your concerns about a particular piece of legislation you are accused of being nothing more than a right-wing hack.

If you choose to exercise your right to peaceful assembly and tell the government that you feel you have been taxed enough already, you are told you must be crazy.

If you choose to speak up and make your voice heard because you’re concerned with the direction the current administration is taking us, you are branded as a racist.

Things are getting completely out of hand.

During the Bush administration anti-war protests were held all the time. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told us at the time that it was patriotic to protest an American President.

Believe it or not, under most circumstances, she is right. Protesting and making your voice heard, in a republic, is one of the most important things you can do for your country. Well, it used to be anyway.

Now that Barack Obama sits in the Oval Office, Nancy Pelosi has changed her tune and now claims that those who protest the health reform bill are “un-American”.

That makes no sense at all, does it?

Debate is good. Debate is healthy. Good, honest debate helped shape the founding of our nation. Without healthy debate there can no longer be any honest discussion of current issues, and the chance to reach a productive end is null and void. How do we continue to shape our nation if there is no longer room for debate?

Like I said before, it’s getting real bad.

Back in August a man showed up at an Obama opposition rally carrying an AR-15 assault rifle. For several days MSNBC used this man as an example of the “racial undertones” of those oppositionseen at these rallies. From their report,

“Here you have a man of color in the presidency and white people showing up with guns strapped to their waists or to their legs.”

Take a look at the video.

Video coverage showed him from the shoulders down, from the back, and MSNBC used that situation in Arizona to demonstrate that there was a “disturbing trend” that racism would soon be on display at town hall meetings across the country. It turns out the man was black. There were no racist undertones, there was no disturbing trend, other than those which existed in the media.

The media itself has successfully turned any honest debate about health care ,or opposition to any of Barack Obama’s policies, into a not so subtle accusation of racism against those who protest. Even former President Jimmy Carter has jumped on the racism bandwagon by stating,

I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of a belief among many white people not just in the South but around the country … that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance and grieves me and concerns me very deeply.

I’m not even going to get into the debate about why Jimmy Carter chose this particular moment and this particular event to open his mouth, that’s a topic for an entirely different post. But I will say that Jimmy Carter has done more damage to the United States of America than any other President in U.S. History. Maybe one day we’ll debate that issue, that is, if debate is still alive by the time we get around to it.

What’s with all the deception in the media? Have you watched many of the news programs lately?

There is no discussion, there is no debate. On many networks you simply listen to a pundit and his or her “guests” discuss one side of an issue. Their side of the issue. You don’t have to watch any of those programs very long to notice the fact that debate does not exist anymore. Yelling is not a form of debate.

It’s not just the media either. Listen to the conversations around you. The disturbing trend to completely ignore “the other side” has expanded to company water coolers, coffee shops, Twitter, Facebook, and even the family dining room. In fact, some of the nastiest, personal attacks seem to be coming from those closest to you.

As you know I analyzed the health care bill, H.R. 3200, and then I pointed out the glaring contradictions of President Obama’s speech on health care to the Joint Session of Congress. During those series of posts I quoted the source document whether it was the bill or the speech, and I made my point(s) accordingly. I opened the floor for debate, hoping people would (at the very least) become educated about what is going on in their country.

I admit that I inject a lot of personal ideology into my posts, but it’s my blog, so that’s expected isn’t it? One thing I don’t do, however, is slam the door on honest, intelligent, civil debate. I studied the health care bill so I would be prepared for such debates. I criticized the President’s speech because he made so many glaring contradictions with the bill. I wanted people to have an honest, intelligent, civil debate, but what did I get in return?

Over the course of the past month I received sarcastic, snide comments, antagonistic replies, and then the most insulting diatribe I have received from anyone since I started writing about the health care bill. I learned quickly that the persons most likely to attack you and insult you, are family members.

I’m not going to quote the comment exchange because the actual words are no longer relevant. What matters to me is the fact that a family member thought it would be better to insult me, call me crazy, resort to second-grade name calling, and claim that my “complaining” didn’t matter because of the “democratic control” in Washington, rather than participate in a civil, honest, intelligent debate on the issue.

It just goes to show you that even those people who are highly educated sometimes lack the common courtesy and civility to communicate with family members, let alone society as a whole.

And therein lies the issue I wanted to discuss tonight.

What happened to the ability to debate? What happened to civil discourse? What happened to treating each other with respect while we discuss the issues important to us as individuals, as family members, and as a society?

Is it just me or have people lost the ability to truly debate the issues?

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Albert Einstein