California, of The Not United States

I was Assistant Referee for an AYSO Soccer match yesterday. The team on my side of the pitch was “Watts United” and they were playing against the “West Adams Wolfpack.” Oh my!

Those area names will mean something to Los Angelenos. Perhaps, for outsiders, only “Watts Towers” and “Watts Riots.”

As I ran up and down the field, I listened to the coaches yelling out to their players. I got “frente,” “controla” and a few other words. I didn’t think much about it until afterwards. It was obviously all positive, and here in the AYSO that is all we ask.

But think about it. In Los Angeles, a team full of 13 year old girls were being coached in Spanish, and…nobody noticed. What a wonderful thing to be so normal and everyday.

North Torrance G U-11

Is it the Spirit of AYSO? The tolerant attitude of Soccer? Is it Southern California and the reality of diversity? I think it’s all of those things that suddenly impressed me. I live in one of the most tolerant areas of a (seemingly) intolerant Country. I love a game that has only entered the American¬†consciousness by forcing suburban mothers to drive their kids to it every week. The kids…they live in diversity and don’t know anything else.

See those kids above from North Torrance? They (hopefully) don’t know too much about hate and racism. It’s sad that they will have to learn some day while growing up in this America.

For my part, I hope that a few hours on a soccer field, in English or Spanish, will give them some joy and an attitude of inclusiveness they can carry on into their adult lives.

 

No More Politicians Running Political Parties!

Nothing but cheap snark! Why don’t you bring something substantive to the conversation?

A friend of a friend on Facebook has posted to say that he is leaving the Democratic Party “at long last” because of the narrow victory of Sec. Thomas Perez over Rep. Kieth Ellison for Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

That’s all it took. Really. A proven administrator was elected to an important administrative position and you are out the door.

Yes, I responded with cheap snark. There is no more arguing with these people. But let me try one more time.

Hillary Clinton won a democratic primary election over Bernie Sanders. Many of us supported Senator Sanders as long as we could. When the outcome was obvious, we swung our support to Secretary Clinton. We were Democrats. We supported our Party and realized that any other reaction played into the hand of the Republicans, or worse still, the Trumpists.

A few “Democrats” ran on with conspiracy theories based on hacked emails. They wanted to believe that Bernie was still the one, that he would somehow come back to life if they wished hard enough. They drove Debbie Wasserman-Schultz out of the DNC, and…they turned their backs on the Democratic Party.

We told them simply: “Do you want a President Trump, because that’s how you get a President Trump.” They didn’t listen and the rest is history. History, however, has a way of repeating itself for those who do not take its lessons.

Now some of these same folks seem to believe something that goes like this: “Hillary lost so now Bernie is the Head of Everything!” “Now the Party needs to ignore the¬†65,844,610 people who voted for Hillary and pay attention to us!”

OK. Kieth Ellison is a “Progressive,” if you will. He had the support of Senator Sanders. He had a lot going for him and still does, but he does have some major issues regarding this position. It is an administrative position and not a political one. The DNC must support all Democrats running for office while searching for the next crop. Nobody uses this position to springboard to the next thing.

Here’s the bigger point though. Bernie Sanders is not the head of the Democratic Party. Neither is Hillary Clinton. The current leader of the Democratic Party is our last elected President, Barack Obama. It was Obama who saw the flaws in Rep. Ellison’s candidacy and asked Sec. Perez to step up.

Well, that’s enough for now. Here’s some history. I am a Democrat. I was a Democrat in 1968 and supported the actions of protesters at the Democratic National Convention. That got us a split Party and Richard Nixon.

Think we have anything to learn from history?

We Do Have a Parliamentary System – Of a Sort

With the impending collapse of the Republican Party, I find myself thinking about our current form of government. Most notable was a call for a moderate Republican-moderate Democrat coalition to steer the Congress through to 2016.

I have often heard friends lament that the United States lacks a Parliamentary¬†system of government. By this use of “Parliamentary,” I think they mean “more than two parties.” Most of them do not understand the deeper workings of the system and they probably wouldn’t be happy with a Prime reagan-queenMinister AND President. (Some might be in favor of a Constitutional Monarchy. I remember actual calls for Ron and Nancy to become our first King and Queen.)

Their understanding runs to this: in other countries there are many political parties and they all have a chance at power. Nobody has to settle for the lesser of two evils, as they have a smorgasbord of parties to choose from.

What they may not understand is coalitions. With many parties competing, no one party can consistently win a majority and can only hope for a plurality. As a majority is needed to form a government, it is then time for coalition building.

Continue reading We Do Have a Parliamentary System – Of a Sort