Stop. Just stop.

One thing has become exceptionally clear to me since election night. America is full of idiots. On both sides of the political spectrum. You guys need to just stop with all of the stupid. 2 things are clear. You don’t know how government works and you let yourselves be ruled by emotion rather than truth.

There are so many “Trump is gonna ______” statements being thrown around that I feel compelled to correct some of them. Bottom line is, Presidents are gods or kings or magicians, they have rules to follow.

Misconception #1: “When Trump is President, he’ll put a stop to all these riots!”  I hate to break it to you guys, but this is not a Presidential power. When the people saying this that have half a brain are corrected they usually follow up with some remark about the National Guard and the Justice Department prosecuting the rioters. These are also not going to happen with a wave of a Presidential wand. Dealing with civil unrest is up to the local law enforcement.  If the local law enforcement can’t handle it, the county can step in. If it gets out of control, the Governor of the state can call up the National Guard. The President can declare a National State of Emergency, but there are rules and laws that would make this a bit of an overreach of Federal power and resources. (This is also why he ins’t going to declare martial law) The Justice Department to put it plainly can’t do crap to stop the riots.

Misconception # 2: “Trump is gonna send Hillary to prison” We still have that pesky Constitutional Right to Due Process. No matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat, we all get the same Constitutional Rights. This means that a President of the United States can’t just throw you in jail because he says so. If you want a President with those powers, I might suggest North Korea is the place for you to be. So if you have this idea of getting a live feed on January 21, 2017 of Hillary Clinton in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit, you’re going to be disappointed. At most, Trump can make it known to Comey and whoever he chooses for Attorney General that he would like indictment proceedings started. Which means that a Federal Grand Jury will be convened and they will hear the evidence against her. I feel like I should also point out that for all the ways I personally think that James Comey mishandled his public announcements when it comes to HRC, we have to assume that if he says there is no way to prove intent, she is probably not going to EVER go to jail on this.

Misconception #3: “Trump is gonna arrest Al Sharpton for tax evasion” The reasoning behind why this isn’t in his power is basically the same as #2 so just re-read that.

Misconception #4: “Trump is gonna force people on welfare to work” Welfare is a State issue. There is (supposed to be) a clear separation of Federal and State powers. Trump ran as a Republican and a YUGE part of the Republican philosophy is limiting government and returning powers to the state. This will get no traction in a Republican controlled Congress and it will face heavy opposition from the Democrats in the minority. This is a wholly unrealistic pipe dream that you all need to wake up from. (I suppose if you are on welfare and this is a nightmare to you, you can wake up from the nightmare as well).

Misconception #5: “Trump is gonna revive the oil fields” At best Trump can give an impression that the government is going to be friendlier to American oil production and he will support removing regulations that impede that. He can also work with Congress on trade deals that decrease the use of and dependence on foreign oil. Other than that, Trump is powerless to do a damn thing. He also can’t magically make the oil available for drilling nor force the companies to start drilling again. They’re still private companies. One thing he does have going for him is the Republican party’s wishes to limit our dependence on foreign oil.

Misconception #6: “Trump is gonna be our President for the next 8 years” Although it is pretty common for the incumbent to win a second term, it is not a guarantee. He won by a sliver and the people who hated him are not going to sit back in 4 years and let him win. Republicans by and large wanted someone else, and it was only because there were a shitton of disaffected citizens who actually showed up to vote in the primaries, combined with Democrats who miscalculated their parties ability to beat him in a general that he won the Republican nomination. Unless he does some amazing things that Republicans and Conservatives can really get behind we’re going to nominate someone else, and you KNOW that the Democrats are going to lick their wounds, do some serious soul searching, and come back guns blazing in 4 years.

Misconception #7: “Trump is gonna make deals. He’s a master negotiator!” Wait a second, I thought that the reason everyone liked Trump was because he wasn’t a politician and he wasn’t corrupted by Washington D.C. politics. Now you guys are bragging that he is going to be a corrupt DC politician? Which is it?

Misconception #8: “Trump is gonna make it illegal to burn the flag.” There was a Supreme Court ruling (Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989)) that made this a protected act under the First Amendment. Whether or not we agree with it, doesn’t change the fact that it is currently a legal thing we are Constitutionally allowed to do. There are 3 ways to LEGALLY overturn Supreme Court decisions. The decision can be overturned by a new Supreme Court case. It can be overturned by a new Constitutional Amendment. Or it can be overridden by new legislation passed by Congress. None of this is done by the President.

Misconception #9: “Trump is gonna get us in another World War!” News flash, Trump actually has more respect from a lot of our powerful frenemies that Obama did (China, Russia, Syria). He might ask Congress for a new declaration of was on terror, but frankly we kinda need that. We’re over there operating under a decade old declaration. The landscape has changed and it needs clarifying. As far as pulling out of there, we simply can’t do that at this point. (This is a point I will happily debate at another time.) Bottom line, it looks like there is a greater desire for world peace since the election.

Misconception #10: “Trump is gonna set women’s equality back decades” Two words for y’all. KellyAnne Conway. The first woman who was trusted with a Presidential campaign AND SHE WON. This means that out of everyone Trump had to choose from to replace the second shitty dude he had as a campaign manager, he trusted a woman to do the job better. That’s actually a pretty powerful statement on how he sees women in the workplace. Has he said some really stupid things about women in the past? Yes. Does he seem to have a pretty narrow and sexist personal view on women? Yeah. Does that mean that America is suddenly going to force us all to stay at home and make dinner and babies. Absolutely not. Women will still have all of the same rights they had before he was elected. We’ll still be allowed to get the same education as boys, and to apply for the same jobs as men, and wear pants and not be forced cover our faces and hair with a headscarf, and vote, and really live our lives in the same damn manner we have for the last 8 years.

Misconception #11: “Trump is gonna deport all the Mexicans!” There are already laws on the books that says we’re supposed to deport ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, and that is all he has ever called out for deportation. Trump is very inelegant with words, so a lot of the time he just sounds like a jackass. One of those times was when he made the remark about illegals being rapists and criminals. Regardless, the President doesn’t have the power (or the funding) to round up all the illegals much less “all the Mexicans”. Immigration reform is something that we must address very quickly in this country, but it is a complex and multi-faceted issue that has to be addressed by Congress and the States. Trump can, at most, ask Congress to address it.

Misconception #12: “Trump is gonna un-marry all the gays!” Remember that bit about undoing Supreme Court rulings? Yeah, same thing here. Bob and Jim can keep their His and His linens on order.

Misconception #13: “If Obama got to use Executive Orders, so can Trump.” While this is technically true, it’s also the height of hypocrisy. Just because “our guy” is doing the wrong thing, that doesn’t make it the right thing.

Finally, Trump released a “First 100 days in office” plan and while it is ambitious, it’s also unrealistic that HE can actually accomplish it. He split it up into three areas of focus.
On cleaning up corruption:
1. Propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on Congress – The President can’t actually propose Constitutional Amendments……
2. Place a hiring freeze on all federal employees – this is actually something he can probably accomplish, but if he wants to accomplish anything on border security and immigration law enforcement, he’s going to have to lift that freeze.
3. Require that for every new Federal regulation, two must go – Trump can promote and encourage an environment in Washington that aims at reducing and removing regulations, but I’m not sure that it is Constitutionally possible for the President to make this a hard rule.
4. Place a 5 year ban on public officials becoming lobbyists after they leave office – this would be a legislative issue that he would have a hard time getting through Congress because many of them know that lobbying jobs are just about the best thing they can get after they leave office. This also smacks of way too much government meddling in the lives of citizens and once those elected officials leave office, that’s really all they are.
5.  Place a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying for a foreign government – see #4
6. Prevent foreign lobbyists from raising money for US elections – there are far too many working parts involved here for him to truly accomplish this on his own.
On protecting the American worker:
1. Renegotiate NAFTA – this is not something that can be accomplished in 100 days even if he spent every waking hour on it. NAFTA involves the economies of the US, Canada and Mexico and moving too swiftly on this would severely hurt MANY American companies and do major damage to the economy.
2. Withdraw from the TPP – This is actually probably doable.
3. Direct Secretary of Treasury to label China a currency manipulator – while this is something he can easily do, any effect that it might have on the American economy is probably negative. His time would be better spent working with Congress to remove regulations that stifle American economic growth.
4. This is a long-winded promise that basically says “Foreign governments are doing bad things that adversely affect the American worker” – this is a broad statement that he can technically do, but the effect (good or bad) and implement-ability  is hard to gauge.
5. Lift the restrictions on production of American energy – He might be able to easily do some of this in the first 100 days, but as I said earlier about Misconception #5, he can’t single-handedly revive the oil boom.
6. Green light the Keystone pipeline – This is something he can, and in my opinion should, do easily and quickly. Like first 10 days.
7. Cancel “billions” in payments to the UN for climate change – we don’t pay them billions. His fact checkers missed the mark on this one.
And finally on security and rule of law:
1. Cancel all the unconstitutional actions by President Obama – technically he can do this. Some might argue that he needs to look at the consequences and potentially ask Congress to address these issues legislatively (as Obama should have done) instead.
2. Select a replacement for Justice Scalia – Trump can name a nominee to Congress for a Supreme Court Justice position. He can’t just stick someone in the job. There is a still process in place that has to be followed.
3. Cancel all funding to sanctuary cities – What funding is he going to cancel? There are many different types of federal funding. It would be almost impossible for him to cancel all of it. And it might be un-Constitutional for him to cancel some of it. This is one of thse vague promises he likes to make that sound “good” but there is no substance to back it up.
4. Begin removing “criminal illegal immigrants” and cancel visas from countries who won’t take them back – We already have a mechanism in place to deport criminal illegal immigrants, a more honest statement would be “encourage ICE to ensure that illegals who are convicted of crimes are deported”. As far as cancelling visas, he can do that, but he might want to think on those unintended consequences first.
5. Suspend immigration from terror-prone regions and institute extreme vetting – The first part of this he can probably accomplish. The extreme vetting part, that’s more abstract because often there is no centralized location to vet these people through in those regions. It is also important to point out that this will only apply to legal immigration and do nothing to stop the flow of illegal immigration from those countries.

Trump finished this plan with some things that he’s going to “work with Congress” on. Since the point of my post here is basically to point out that many things he says he will do are actually things he must get Congress to do I’m not going to waste time going into those things.

The moral of this whole post is this: The President is not an all-powerful being, he has rules he must follow. It is our job as Americans to hold him to those rules, (as we should with ALL elected officials) and call him out when he doesn’t act accordingly. The best way to enforce term limits and to remove corruption in Washington is by staying involved, and in communication with elected officials and expressing our displeasure at election time if they are not serving our interests.

Candidates are only human

I’ve only recently gotten deeply involved in politics so there are phrases and terms that really mean very little to me. One that has been bounced around for a couple of months with almost Christmas morning like zeal by the media is “October Surprise”. Well, the one that was designed to sink Trump was a doozy for sure!

The Washington Post “obtained” and released a video of Donald Trump having a crude and careless conversation with Billy Bush on a bus. It is presumed that he was unaware that there was a hot mic recording the conversation and the things he said are in exceptionally poor taste. It makes it just a little bit worse when you find out that he was recently married to his beautiful third wife, Melania, so he might also be cavalierly talking about adultery. Wait, adultery and a the White House, haven’t we had this news cycle before? Oh right, that was an actual President, and a Democrat to boot so this is clearly completely different and way worse!

During the 2016 primaries here in Texas it came out that a local candidate for a state seat had a bit of questionable behavior and comments from his past come to light. I supported and admired that man before I heard about his transgressions, and I still support and admire him today. He won his primary bid and I will work for the next few weeks to help him win his general election bid and go back to Austin to continue fighting for Conservative principles. I said at the time “he’s only human, candidates are allowed to have a past with mistakes in it.” I would much rather a candidate have done some stupid things that make a campaign manager scramble to earn their paycheck than a candidate who has worked and angled their whole life to be electable. Candidates are usually only successful if they’ve lived in the real world.

Humans are fallible. Humans make mistakes. Humans sin. As Christians we were given the ultimate example to follow of love and forgiveness. We should humble ourselves before Him and beg for that forgiveness with the way we vilify others for being human. Judge not lest ye be judged and all that.

This is not an endorsement of Trump. This is not an approval of his behavior. This newest revelation has not and will not change my feelings on the November Presidential election in the least little bit. What it will do is 2 things. First it will put Trump and his family in my prayers. This is a horrible thing to have to deal with learning through the lens of the public. I’m going to pray for Melania to have the strength to cope with the humiliation, and that she has a good enough relationship with God to turn to Him with this struggle. I’m going to pray for Trump that he has repented for his behavior and is more respectful to women now. And I’m praying for their son. He’s just a child and I hope that he is being shielded from the worst of this but, he will eventually grow up and he’ll learn of this eventually. I pray for peace for him.

The second thing that this October Surprise does is the crucial one. It puts the rest of the races on the ballot in a pinch. There are so many races happening around the nation that are vital to the Conservative movement and those candidates are now going to have to fight even harder to win. Many voters will stay home now. If they were reluctantly for Trump but this has turned them off, they will wash their hands of it all and stay home. Some fence sitters will vote Democrat now. If they were on the fence but this will sway them to Hillary then they will just lump all Republicans together and vote for the Democrats on the ballot.

As Conservatives we have out work cut out for us now just as much as the candidates do. I was once told by a friend “one thing I can say for you Conservatives is that you put your money where your mouth is and you get out and do the work”. We have to do that now. It is CRUCIAL that we speak to as many people as we can and remind them of the races down ballot and how much those will affect our every day lives more than the Presidential one. We have to remind people that one bad apple does not mean we throw out the whole bushel. Just because the candidate with the R beside their name at the top might be reprehensible to them, it does not automatically convict the rest of them. And we need to help fund the races were it will be tight. It costs a lot of money to win an election. It’s October money is tight all over the nation and the holidays are right around the corner, but freedom and liberty need you now so if you can help financially, please do so.

This is potentially one of the craziest election cycles we will ever see as a nation. But it comes at a time when it is also one of the most crucial to the Conservative movement. We cannot give up the fight just because the storm at the top is making us weary. We have a couple weeks left to double down and push through. Let’s win some seats from the bottom up and reduce the damage that will trickle down from the top.

 

Uncomfortable Conversations and Shattered Dreams

They told me my daughter died today.

I knew it was coming, I signed up to hear it. That doesn’t make it any easier to hear, even when it isn’t true.

Let me explain; our high school participates in a program called Shattered Dreams every other year. Juniors and Seniors are given the opportunity to participate. Two years ago, my daughter came home and told me how powerful it was to see it all. She decided then that she would participate when she had the chance. As always, I encouraged her to follow her heart and be a leader, but then I basically forgot about it. A few months ago she reminded me that she would be participating. I said “Ok, just tell me when” and went on with my day. Then came the day she told me that there was a meeting to discuss the program; she said they would tell us when we had to turn in the obituaries that we had to write and everything.

Wait a damn minute! I have to write an obituary? For my own child? What kinda program is this anyways? Turns out it is a very immersive program that promotes responsible decision making and highlights the devastating effects of drinking and driving. The kids go to school on a Thursday and every 15 minutes one of the participants is pronounced “dead as a result of an alcohol related crash”. That’s the real life statistic, someone dies from an alcohol related crash every 15 minutes. Those students are taken from the classroom on a gurney with a sheet over them, there obituary is posted in the hallway, and for the rest of the day they are ghosts. They attend classes but no one speaks to them, they speak to no one.  Oh, and the parents are notified of their child’s death. A for real phone call that says, “I’m sorry to inform you that your child has been involved in a wreck and died.” I got mine at 10:28 this morning.

After school the participants spend the night at a camp where they go through a series of exercises that teach them about drinking and driving, and being a leader, and the consequences of making poor choices. The also read letters written to them by their parents, and write letters back to their parents. It’s supposed to be a pretty intense evening. I’ll have K tell me all about it tomorrow. I went to a parent workshop this evening where we learned about the laws surrounding underage drinking and the legal consequences of breaking them so that we could share those with our kids. Then we watched the video. I’ve seen the Shattered Dreams videos before, but tonight was hard. Being in a room with parents of children who participated in the mock accident, watching a mom break down and cry when the doctor pronounced her daughter dead on the screen, it made it all too real. I hope it hits the students who see it with their classmates the same way.

I knew the call was coming, I’ve dreaded it all week, I had a pretty sleepless night last night dreading it. But this morning, K was her normal cheerful self. I reminded her of a scholarship deadline and we laughed and joked on the way to school. It was NORMAL. Reflecting on it all I think that is one of the big take homes. You don’t usually get the warning, you don’t usually get to know the call is coming. All you know is that it is a normal day in your child’s life, and then it’s over. I’ve known people who have lost children as teenagers and young adults, and I have sympathized with them over it. I have uttered the phrase “I can’t even imagine” to them. Tonight, I can imagine. It is the most awful feeling in the entire world.

Friends, fellow parents, I beg of you to talk to your kids about making smart choices. Be real, be brutally honest, tell them all the bad stuff that might happen in gory detail. You can protect them from a lot. You can pretend that some of the bad things don’t happen. This isn’t one of them. Drinking and drugs are too much a part of the culture surrounding our youth to ignore this. You do NOT want to get that phone call.

The Republican primary process

This campaign cycle has brought new interest in the process from people who have traditionally not paid much attention. Voter participation has been in a pretty steady decline for decades, and I’d be willing to bet that the percentage of voters who are actually educated and informed about all the names and issues on the ballot is even lower. In 2008, the Democratic party put forth a nominee that got the nation’s attention; Barack Obama was really good at talking to people. He was the first African-American to ever be nominated. And he was not a Republican. All of those things made him very popular to many demographics that traditionally didn’t vote and others who were feeling disenfranchised. He brought quite a few new faces to the polls. The same happened during his re-election bid in 2012. While I have never been a fan of the candidate or his politics, I appreciate his contributions to voter participation in society.

We are experiencing more growth in voter participation with this election cycle. There are “outsider” candidates in both parties that have excited citizens who normally don’t bother participating. I am a Conservative and I vote Republican in the primary elections in my state (Texas has an open primary, but voters must declare a party at the polling location), so I can’t speak with much authority on how things work on the Democratic side, but we are seeing record numbers in Republican voters at primaries and caucuses across the nation this year. There are also many people taking an interest and expressing an opinion that never have before. All of this is fantastic, and pleases me very much. I have often said, the first hurdle is getting people to the polls and we would work on who they voted for next.

But now I think the next hurdle is actually an understanding of the process. I am seeing and hearing many comments about the fairness of the primary process and how votes should be cast and counted. I get the impression that some people think they are voting for the President rather than a party’s candidate for election in the general election. Other’s have implied that they think everyone should be allowed to vote on the candidate they support. And people seem to be confusing delegates to a party convention with electoral college votes in the general election. None of that is true of a Republican primary election.

Each state’s Republican party is allowed to set the rules for how they operate their primary process. There are some rules set by the National party that they have to abide by but state’s have a lot of choice in how they handle the process. This is important because a primary doesn’t only choose who the presidential candidate is. It also chooses the candidate in down ballot races that are contested and elects leadership in the Republican party. The key phrase here is “Republican party”. This primary process is a vehicle for a political party to choose which candidate they would like to present to the populace at large in the general election. If a candidate would like to be considered as the nominee for that party, they should be aware of the rules and procedures in that party and the states that make it up. If the candidate doesn’t think those rules are fair or that the selection process is “rigged” in some way to produce a certain outcome, they have a choice. The can either choose not to run as a candidate within that party, or they can work with the rules to generate the most favorable outcome for themselves.

All of this has been rather generic so far, so let me narrow the focus now. Trump has a history of supporting liberal, progressive and socialist platforms and politicians, yet he decided to run for the Republican nomination for President. Early on he wore his inexperience in the political arena like a badge. He would say to anyone who would listen “I’ve never done this before, I’m not a politician.” But as the primary season has rolled along he’s had a few surprises about how the process works and he has become defensive every time, blaming his setbacks on others rather than his own inexperience, cockiness, or laziness. Trump’s campaign has depended upon his brand to carry him along, and early on that was enough. But in order to win a nomination, and more importantly, to lead this country, you need more than a name and a shiny logo.

Recently he lost soundly in Colorado to Ted Cruz. The main reason he lost that caucus was laziness. Trump has refused throughout this process to put together a strong grassroots support system. Grassroots support is what gave Cruz the Colorado delegates and what is going to earn him delegates at a contested convention. While Trump is busy creating a media circus, Cruz is actually talking to the people and galvanizing them to go out and talk to others about supporting him.While Trump is making headlines, Cruz is listening to the people and making realistic promises. This is how he can win the nomination at the convention.

The Republican parties in most states bind their delegates at the National Convention to the first ballot only. A few go to the second ballot and others must be released by the candidate to which they are bound. But many people don’t understand how those delegates get there in the first place. Once again, each state can set their own rules, but in general they follow a similar process. In Texas, if you voted in the Republican primary you have the right to attend the precinct convention on election day. There are a few things that happen at the precinct convention, but the important one for the purpose of this post is that you elect delegates to the county convention, each precinct is allowed a certain number of delegates and alternates. That number is calculated by the formula that depends on the number of votes cast in the gubernatorial election 2 years prior. Those people then go to the county convention and put in an application to be a delegate or alternate to the state convention.

The bottom line is, people who show up and participate in the process set forth by the party are the ones who get to cast the vote, but anyone who wishes to be affiliated with the party (at least in Texas) can participate in the process. This is the same way that the recent process in Colorado happened, with the exception that Colorado’s caucus process requires that people participate in the conventions leading up to the state convention for their primary vote to be cast. (65,000 Colorado Republicans did participate in the process.) It is no one’s fault but Trump and his campaign advisers that they didn’t bother to understand the process and work within it to earn the vote. And if we go to a convention and no candidate has a majority, Trump will regret not having a stronger grassroots effort in place to court those delegates all along.

This isn’t about fairness, this isn’t about popular vote, this isn’t about whether the electoral college system is a good or bad one. This primary process is simply the way the Republican party has decided to use to figure out who they will present to the general populace as a candidate for President. No one is forcing anyone, including Mr. Trump, to participate in the process.

 

 

Defend education – call your Senators

President Obama has nominated John King Jr for appointment as Secretary of Education. Personally, I think that seat, and the whole U.S. Department of Education needs to simply go away. It is superfluous and the power to make decisions on education should be made at the state level. But that’s probably not going to happen with this administration, and the administration has 10 months left. Since we’re stuck with the position, we have to focus on who is appointed. The Senate education committee voted to confirm him 16-6 and sent him to the full Senate for approval this week. 
 
John King Jr. was the NY state commissioner on education before moving the federal level and while in that position he adopted Common Core standards and began a program that based teacher evaluation on student achievement. King’s actions and achievements while the head of NY’s education system basically mirrored the controversial goals of Arne Duncan at the U.S. Dept. of Ed., the guy he is replacing. During his time in NY he exercised more power than any predecessor in his position and also caused more controversy. The New York State United Teachers even brought a lawsuit against him and the SUPER LIBERAL Governor of NY, Andrew Cuomo pushed to get King out of office.

Another important thing to note is that while King is seeking appointment to the position at the end of the Obama administration’s tenure, he has actually been sitting at the desk for a couple months now. Obama gave him the title “Acting Education Secretary” because with that distinction he didn’t need to seek Congressional appointment. Obama has basically bought some time with a carbon copy of Arne Duncan who is continuing to push the very controversial education reform that America has been dealing with for 7 years. It was only at the urging of the Chairman of the Senate education committee that Obama made the nomination official. 

If you want to abolish Common Core, if you are against teachers being graded (and rewarded) for student performance, if you want to see less government overreach in the life of our children, call and email your Senators (every state has 2), and encourage them not to confirm him.

For Texas the Senators are John Cornyn and Ted Cruz (yeah, he still has to do the Senate stuff while he’s campaigning). You can reach Senator Cornyn at his DC office 202-224-2934, or by message through his website https://www.cornyn.senate.gov/contact . You can reach Senator Ted Cruz at his DC office (202)224-5922 or by message through his website http://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=email_senator .

It is our civic duty to be informed and educated about the decisions we are asking our elected officials to make and to let them know how we feel about those decisions. We are a culture of people who complain about our elected officials, but we don’t do our part to make our voices heard. We need to change that. 

An election night experience

Folks, do I have a story for you. I have recently become an activist. While I’ve been vocal to anyone who would listen for a while, I’ve actually started putting shoe leather to the pavement these last few months. As a result of that, I’ve met some awesome people and learned some stuff. Today included 2 firsts for me due to the people I’ve met and the things I’ve learned. I worked as an election clerk at a polling location this after noon, and I attended my first precinct convention after the polls closed. Because I was totally clueless about the precinct convention process, I didn’t get the magic card saying that I voted in the Republican primary when I participated in early voting; but I was told that the election clerks at the precinct where my convention would be held could verify that I had voted already and give me a card, so I made sure to get there before the polls closed. That’s when the drama started.

I waited until about 6:50 and went in to the polling location. I was trying to explain to the clerks what I needed, so they swiped my ID to see what it said. If a person had already voted, it would show that they had done so throughout the day. (Looking back, I wonder how they came to know that. Did people try to vote twice?) But my information came up as if I hadn’t voted. WHAT?!?!?! I almost hyperventilated. Now, at this point, I’m trying not to freak out, one election clerk is suggesting that they call someone, and the other is thinking that they need to get me in the system so I can have a vote counted before the polls close.

At this point, the situation deteriorated because of a loud, screechy, rude, and generally disagreeable woman. She managed to talk to both of the election clerks, me, and the Republican election judge like we were all complete idiots all the while professing not to know why my vote wasn’t showing up or what exactly needed to be done. Meanwhile, one of the election clerks is trying to calm her down so she can get the number to call the elections office. This woman told me that she didn’t care if my vote didn’t show up. She told me that I should never have come back to the polling location for the card I needed. And she told me and the clerks that she was closing her polling location, regardless of the concerns I had and I was absolutely not going to vote no matter what. This woman? She was the Democratic election judge!

Can you imagine? I’m standing there having a pleasant discourse with 2 ladies who are trying valiantly to do their job correctly and this woman comes in like a wrecking ball. She berates her employees publicly, and tells a voter that she isn’t willing to allow her to exercise her Constitutional right because she didn’t know how to deal with the technical aspects of the situation. Meanwhile, the election clerk who printed the little sticker that says I’m voting there is sitting there unwillingly to do or say anything because of the tongue-lashing she just got, and the other is still trying to get the Election Judge to calm down so she can get the number to the elections office. As you might imagine, I got a little heated about the whole situation, and snapped when she told me that I absolutely could not vote even if they couldn’t find records showing I had voted the week before. I told her that I would be allowed to vote, it was my right, and she needed to call the elections office and find out what was going on.

The woman was multi-tasking the people she was being disrespectful too. The Republican Precinct Chair was in the room as well and I thought this election judge was about to physically try to throw her out. She very shrilly demanded that the woman get out of the room and let her close her polls, she couldn’t use the room for the precinct convention until she said so.

Eventually, the elections office was contacted, and they were able to verify that I had cast a ballot in the Republican primary and there was no harm done by printing a new sticker. All of this happened in about 5 minutes or less. But it could have taken about 2 at most if she had just stayed out of it.

Is it just me or should we expect a little better, at the very least, a little more professionalism, of the people who are in charge of the elections process? I plan to contact the County Elections Administrator tomorrow and file a formal complaint. IMG_20160301_232956199

An open letter to Taya Kyle

I have become aware over the last few weeks of the depths some local politicians will stoop to in order to keep their cushy kickbacks from lobbyists in Austin. Charlie Geren is a liberal who hides behind his “experience” and counts on the voters in HD99 being low information voters who don’t pay attention to what he is actually doing in their name in Austin. He has a challenger in this primary for that seat and the voters are sending him a message. They LIKE the strong principled Conservative values that Bo French stands for. Geren sees that he is going to lose this race and has become desperate enough to pull out the only ammunition he has. In late 2013 and early 2014, Taya Kyle filed a lawsuit against her late husband’s business partners at Craft International LLC. The suit was about the continuation of the business and Taya’s place in it. There was no real basis to file the suit, and it was eventually dropped. A resolution was met as to the disposition of Craft International and all parties have moved on. Now Geren has lobbed this grenade at the French campaign in a final act of desperation, but Bo has the facts on his side to dispute it. But now, Taya’s people have convinced her to wade into the muck and mire. It is unforgivable, in my opinion, to drag her husband’s memory through the cesspool that Geren has created. Below is my open letter to her. I hope she eventually sees it.

 

Mrs. Kyle,

 

I have great respect for your husband and the sacrifices he made to keep America safe. He was a great American hero and he was tragically stolen from a world that adored him way too soon. I sympathize with the heartache, despair, and outrage you must feel about his loss. I am heartbroken that your children must grow up without their father. No child should ever have to go through that.  Justice for your children was reason enough for me to celebrate the conviction and sentencing of the man took their father from them. I  told you all of this so that you can understand better where the rest of my message might be coming from. I am a staunch defender of our veterans, and an unapologetic supporter of our military. I am a Constitution loving Conservative. And I am a Christian.

 

I am also a supporter of Bo French and his bid to replace Charlie Geren in the Texas State House of Representatives for District 99. The very first night I met Bo his business dealings with your husband and the lawsuit you brought against him after Chris’s death came up. When responding Bo managed to be honest and forthcoming about the lawsuit  while still painting you in a favorable light. I have never heard him cast aspersions upon your character or in any way say anything remotely offensive in reference to you. It is clear to a person who listens to more than just the words that are being spoken that Bo had immense respect for your husband and cares deeply for the Kyle family, especially your children.

 

It has long been understood by people supporting Bo French that Charlie Geren would become desperate at some point during the Republican primary and bring up the lawsuit that you brought against your husband’s business partners at Craft International LLC. Charlie Geren is not a respectable man so it’s no surprise that he would use public sentiment and sympathy for Chris Kyle’s family as a  stepping stone on the pathway he is trying desperately to clear and maintain back to Austin. It is despicable behavior and should not be accepted by the constituents in House District 99. But it is not surprising to those of us who pay attention to what happens in Austin.

What is surprising is the cease and desist letter that you sent to Bo French. You do a great disservice to your husband’s memory with actions like that.  Bo developed a relationship with many members of your husband’s family and he has maintained many of those friendships. Jeff Kyle was Chris’s brother and he has every right to say his brother’s name and claim the relationship. You do not have a monopoly on the man that many people loved, and just because it does not fit your current agenda does not mean that you get change history. I never had the honor of meeting your husband, but I have read his book, and I have heard from people who love him, and I feel very confident in saying that if your husband were alive today and given the choice of helping Charlie Geren return to Austin to continue pushing liberal policies down the throats of Conservative Texans or helping his friend and business partner get elected to serve the citizens of this great state that your husband loved and to ensure that Conservative values are upheld and respected, Chris Kyle would choose Bo French.

Many people look to you as the embodiment of Chris’ legacy. Honor that legacy by distancing yourself from Geren and men of his ilk. He is bad for HD99, bad for Texas, and bad for the Chris Kyle legacy.

Respectfully,
Anna Golden