A Debate Worth Having

A Debate Worth Having

After watching only part of the Democratic debate, I’m hopeful Bernie will blow Clinton out of the water. Not only was he the sole politician on that stage to deliver legitimate answers, he was the only one who did not refer to African Americans as “colored” people. In an incredible show of integrity and responsibility, he even demanded the moderator move away from Clinton’s email scam and focus on the issues (something for which he could have easily attacked her). Finally, he was remarkably respectful to Clinton, despite her obvious jabs towards him, especially on gun rights. I can’t make it clear enough, Bernie clearly knows how to compromise in a country where “no guns” and “more guns” puts in us in unending circles (he may be the senator of a gun toting state, but he gets a D- from the NRA, a sign they are not in his pockets like other political gun activists).

Furthermore, I would like to point out Clinton’s ineptitude. She failed often to directly answer questions and often turned the tables on Republicans, which frankly has nothing to do with a Democratic party debate. She also was very vague with her answers and, when a colleague would respond to her, she would immediately jump and say “I didn’t say that!” The attack on Republicans and other Democratic candidates was not presidential and highly inappropriate: it is the desperate act of one caught in a downward spiral. Finally, keep in mind Clinton is part of an oligarchy. Wall Street is happily in her pants doing a party while Bernie is outwardly against Wall Street. Clinton’s stance on Glass-Steagall is to protect her own pockets. She also laid hard into key words involving families and women, but failed often to detail what she would do concerning those groups. Her answers were clearly rehearsed and unemotional. I would hope most of our country could see through her facade.

I would like to note, however, that while the above makes me sound like I’m feeling the Bern as if he was a preacher, I actually have points at which I disagree with Sanders. One, while I believe his demand to ignore Clinton’s email was the best move he could make on stage, I find it disheartening that our country is so under-educated concerning technology that we see it as slander rather than an important issue. Clinton using a personal, unprotected server for emails of the Secretary of State is a HUGE deal. Did we not go through the NSA fiasco to end up back where we started in terms of security? Technology is not magic, anyone could have (and probably did) find their way into her emails. The fact that we, as a country, don’t take this issue lightly (and no it’s not a scandal, it is a real problem) is embarrassing.

Also, as my previous post probably suggests, I am not a supporter of guns. With that said, Bernie made a highly intuitive point during the debate concerning guns: common sense, common ground and differences in rural and urban communities. In Minnesota, I’ve experienced that. While we don’t have one extreme (for instance rural as in Montana and urban as in New York city) or the other, I have noted in conversations concerning gun ownership to greatly differ depending on the community. That is not to say there aren’t exceptions. I know at least a handful who support (and have) gun ownership in an urban area. However, you are MORE likely to encounter such pro-gun arguments in a rural area. Vermont, compared to Maryland, is HIGHLY rural. The fact that Bernie recognizes common ground is important. He did not even suggest what his personal views on the matter were, but merely that it is important to make compromises for those who have demonstrated responsibility and, rather than penalize them, ensure that guns don’t end up in the wrong hands. I fully support his stance, even if I don’t agree with gun ownership. Such an extreme turn takes baby steps, and Bernie has proven in his legislation that he is willing to take those measures.

I would be interested to hear others’ thoughts on the debate and what they took away from it. Pros/cons of candidates? Issues?

*Note: I focus merely on Clinton and Bernie as they are the front-runners. I would note, however, that it was interesting how Chaffe seemed to often gently back-up Bernie’s points*

[Democratic Debate: Part 1]


Gun Violence: An Unfortunate Normality

It seems odd that what brings me back to my blog is a political subject. Yet, I find myself wanting more to write about the wrongs in the world as well as those problem solvers that are supplying solutions to alleviate those wrongs. For myself, it is fitting that I come back from my hiatus to discuss issues of our time in the hope that, along my journey to be one of those problem solvers, I might help spur the discussions and invite criticism of those that commit the wrongs upon our world. I hope that you will join me, share your insights and perspectives in a responsible manner and help in the progress of making this world a better place. 


My fiance and I were out on a date the other night, a delightful sushi place. Naturally, our favorite sushi place would have lightened the mood. But, as we sat down, I noticed the TV hanging ominously behind the sushi chefs. Yet more students gunned down. At that moment, I felt both secure and insecure, trapped between the reality that our country is unique in its normalcy of gun violence and the blissful thinking: it could never happen to me. But, wasn’t that what all those students, faculty and staff were thinking in Oregon?

My stance: there’s no reason that any citizen or cop should have a gun. I live in Minnesota, land of the “hunters” and so you can imagine my sentiment is widely unpopular. My argument against them, something a friend came up with one day, was that, even for hunting, a solution can be arranged. A licensed, locked down facility would not only ensure safe use of the guns, but ensure that no hunters are being irresponsible in their actions towards each other or the animals they are licensed to hunt. While gun proponents point towards mental health as the real problem (and yes, we should certainly be doing more for folks with mental health) it is merely a symptom, not the cause of gun violence. It takes one mistake and you could very easily shoot a friend or a loved one. It takes one night when you forget to lock your rifle away in the cabinet and your child pulls it out, thinking it a toy. One time is all it takes.

I know not everyone may agree with my stance on guns, but we can all agree (I would hope) that we deserve better than the routine responses Congress gives us, that we deserve to have strict gun laws that are better reinforced.

I would highly encourage anyone who is tired of our monthly gun deaths to write our senators and urge them to be leaders in a solution to gun violence. If you need a place to start to understand America’s unique issue with gun violence (and yes, we are one of the only developed nations with monthly gun deaths), here are some statistics:


Below are the senators for Minnesota, but you can click here for a quick, recent link to other congress men/women.

Sen. Al Franken
Phone: 202-224-5641
Email: Sen.Franken@opencongress.org
Twitter: @alfranken

Sen. Amy Klobuchar
Phone: 202-224-3244
Twitter: “@amyklobuchar”