round-table-conferenceby baldilocks

Read this whole thing, just in case you were still fooling yourself about the party of the little guy.

[T]he emails that really matter are the ones being slowly released by WikiLeaks from the hacked account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta. They are last week’s scandal in a year running over with scandals, but in truth their significance goes far beyond mere scandal: they are a window into the soul of the Democratic party and into the dreams and thoughts of the class to whom the party answers.

The class to which I refer is not rising in angry protest; they are by and large pretty satisfied, pretty contented. Nobody takes road trips to exotic West Virginia to see what the members of this class looks like or how they live; on the contrary, they are the ones for whom such stories are written. This bunch doesn’t have to make do with a comb-over TV mountebank for a leader; for this class, the choices are always pretty good, and this year they happen to be excellent.

They are the comfortable and well-educated mainstay of our modern Democratic party. They are also the grandees of our national media; the architects of our software; the designers of our streets; the high officials of our banking system; the authors of just about every plan to fix social security or fine-tune the Middle East with precision droning. They are, they think, not a class at all but rather the enlightened ones, the people who must be answered to but who need never explain themselves.

Some might say “your party, too.” Yeah, sure. Show your work–if you can. Also, make sure you know which party flag I’m flying.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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640px-vfw_post_2408_ypsilanti_2I’ve driven by this place before. Image from Wikipedia.

So I’m a veteran.  I’ve even participated in a foreign war…well, a conflict really, since declaring war went out of style in the 1940s.  I’m relatively young, with a young family, and fairly active in my community, despite moving every few years.  While I’m not that good looking, I’ve got enough going to make me a good poster boy for the VFW.

But I’m not a member.  It’s not just me, VFW posts around the US are hurting for new members.  As a Rallypoint member, I’ve seen my share of “You should join the VFW!” posts.  Unfortunately, my personal experiences, as well as my dad’s (a Cold War veteran), find the VFW has too many problems:

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  • Female Veterans. VFWs still struggle to understand that yes, women in fact serve in the military as more than just nurses and yeomen (sorry, yeo-persons).  I’ve served with a number of wonderful female officers and enlisted Sailors, and to have them encounter resistance to entry is appalling.

youdohere

  • Action?  Besides having a hall to rent out and parades to walk in, most VFWs aren’t exactly places of action.  Young vets tend to be healthier and want to be out and about.  While most people enjoy throwing back a beer and sharing sea stories once in a while, that can’t be your main draw anymore.

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  • Updating with the times.  The VFW was slow to jump on the revolution in social media.  The sad part is that while it is now online, it’ll likely be too slow to adapt to whatever comes next.  If you want an organization that quickly adapts to it’s younger members, check out the NRA, which keeps it’s core mission while tailoring messages for women, minorities and police forces.

The really sad part of this is that if you look into the VFW’s history, this isn’t a surprise.  The VFW struggled to recruit members after the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and only did so when their existing membership began passing away in large numbers.  If they didn’t learn then, I can’t say I hold out a lot of hope for them learning now.


This post is the opinion of the author and doesn’t reflect the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or the Veterans of Foreign Wars. All images used were labeled for reuse on the internet.


If you’d like to read about how I’d change the VFW to be better, check out my blog.

I haven’t talked much about local or congressional races nor have I gone one of my traditional 3 state district hoping trips because my full time job precludes it, but there is a congressional race in my district that I care about, so I’d like to share with you a letter I sent to the editor of my local paper in support of Ann Wofford who is once again challenging Nikki Tsongas in my district.

There is one aspect of the race for the MA 3 district between incumbent Democrat Nikki Tsongas and Challenger Ann wofford that deserves more consideration by voters in the district in general and Fitchburg in particular.

Under our Constitution all spending bills must come from the House of Representatives, furthermore unlike the US Senate where the objection of a single member can slow down legislation, a member of the House has no such privilege meaning that to have influence on laws, you have to be in the majority.

In 2010 the GOP took the house in the “Big Red Wave”. They retained it during the 2012 election year and are expected to do so again in this election by a comfortable margin. Given GOP strength in midterm elections that means that Republicans will hold the house, and the power of the purse for the rest of this decade.

Wouldn’t it be good for the District in General and Fitchburg in particular, if for those last four years of this decade at least, it had a voice at the majority table when those spending decisions were being made?

As a conservative on issues like Obamacare Ann Wofford is a natural fit for my views.

But I submit and suggest that if you are a moderate or even a liberal who wants to be sure we get a fair shake when block grant and federal funds are allocated to the district in general and to Fitchburg in particular, you’ve got to have a vote that actually counts.

If we elect Ann Wofford to the House of Representatives we will. If we re-elect Nikki Tsongas we will not.

It’s that simple.

In fact there is one further point that for the sake of brevet I didn’t include in my letter to the editor.

If we elect Ann Wofford to congress she will be the only GOP member of the entire Massachusetts delegation. That means the amount of influence she will have will be amplified considerably, consider:

  • As the first GOP member of the House from Massachusetts in many years the GOP leadership would have a particular incentive to give ear to her positions to encourage her re-election.
  • As the only GOP member of congress from the state she would be the goto person for GOP governor Charlie Baker to advance legislative priorities for Massachusetts.
  • As the only member of the Massachusetts member of the majority pols from around the state including congressional democrats, would be coming to her for favors in the hopes of getting at least some hearing with the majority, that can’t help but put MA 3 in general and Fitchburg in particular in a better position vis a vis state spending and project.
  • Finally if we elect her THIS year, when the GOP majority increases during the midterms as it always does, Ann would have seniority over any newly elected members of the GOP majority that year increasing further the district and the city’s influence.

All of these political advantages are ours for the taking if we’re smart enough to elect Ann to congress this time around.

The golden days when Massachusetts congressmen like John McCormick and Tip O’Neill were House Speakers and we had real power in Washington are gone, but I submit and suggest that if you are a city counselor in Fitchburg, Lowell, Lawrence or Haverhill, who is looking to get funding for their needs,  particularly one old enough to remember those good old days, you should think long and hard before you send your people out to vote for Tsongas over Wofford and deny your city the power and influence that comes from the congressional majority.


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