When I was much younger, I believed political action could save the world. During high school in Oregon I wrote letters to our senator Wayne Morse and later to the president. I asked them to please find a way to end racial discrimination. In June 1964 just days after I graduated from high school, three young civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi by the Ku Klux Klan.
Just a month later, President Johnson managed to force passage of the Civil Rights Act that President Kennedy had instigated not long before his assassination. Yet we have never truly vanquished racism in our country and it still permeates the lives of people of color.
Beginning in my early twenties I joined with tens of thousands of others to try and stop the war in Vietnam. It wasn’t until I was nearly 30 that the U.S. brought our troops home after losing over 50,000 men and women. Their names are listed row upon row on the polished black granite of the Vietnam War Memorial simply called The Wall.
I remember during one peace march, a gray-haired veteran of WWII surprised me by approaching and reaching out to shake my hand. Even more surprising were his words, “You young folks are fightin’ the good fight.” In 2008 I finally made my first visit to Washington, DC. My husband and I spent a day at the Wall, walking silently and reading names and dates. As I walked all I could think of was what an unnecessary and grievous loss to all those families and to our country.
In the 1968 Oregon primary election, I went door to door, manned the phones and stuffed a lot of envelopes for Robert Kennedy. While he lost that race to Senator Eugene McCarthy, Bobby went on to win the California primary just days later. That victory ended in tragedy just before midnight on June 5, 1968. After being announced as the winner, Senator Kennedy was gunned down. The next morning my three-year-old daughter was on my lap when they made the announcement of his death. She kept patting my arm and saying, “Mama, don’t cry.”
Those early efforts with civil rights and the peace movement led to other things. When Oregon’s major energy provider decided to construct a nuclear power plant right on the banks of the Columbia River near Portland, I joined one of the groups hoping to stop the project. It prevailed of course, but after only 16 years of operation, the plant was discovered to be irreparably defective and was shut down.
My first husband often ridiculed my political interests and efforts. He told me I was naïve and just wasting my time. There was some truth to his complaints. Looking back, there have been more than once that politics broke my heart.
Now we are in the worst political season I’ve known. There is meanness and ugliness and so much fear and anger in the rhetoric. With the crises that are affecting us, we need leaders who not only have wisdom, courage and integrity, but also a deep love for this country and all its people, a love for the world itself.
At 74 it’s been a long time since I thought politics could save the world, but I haven’t given up hope. Politics can certainly change things, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Last week I read this advice: “Choose your leaders like you’d catch a porcupine — very carefully.” The election is fast approaching. This morning I will fill out my ballot — carefully, very carefully.
Source:- Sonoma West
How to talk to kids about the election and fraught politics – CNN
Children are experiencing politics more intensely
Give them a sense of control
Help them understand the rules
Teach them to try to see both sides
Use stories from history
Remember each family, and child, is different
Trump administration vetted stars' politics for planned ad blitz promoting U.S. president's virus response – CBC.ca
Public relations firms hired by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services vetted political views of hundreds of celebrities for a planned $250-million US ad blitz aimed at portraying U.S. President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in a positive light, according to documents released Thursday by a House committee.
A political appointee at the department suggested creating a government-funded campaign to rival the Second World War icon Rosie the Riveter, according to the documents, and taglines such as “Helping the president will help the country.”
None of the celebrities agreed to participate — they may not have known they were being vetted — and the campaign has been put on hold.
Director Judd Apatow believes Trump “does not have the intellectual capacity to run as president,” according to notes made on a list of names of more than 200 celebrities compiled by one of the firms.
Singer Christina Aguilera “is an Obama-supporting Democrat and a gay-rights supporting liberal,” the document says, and actor Jack Black is “known to be a classic Hollywood liberal.”
A public service announcement by comedian George Lopez was “not moving forward due to previous concerns regarding his comments regarding the president,” according to the documents.
The names were among the spreadsheets, memos, notes and other documents from September and October released by the House oversight and reform committee.
The firms’ vetting came as political appointees planned to spend more than $250 million US on a confidence-building campaign surrounding the virus, which has killed more than 228,000 people in the United States and is a core issue in the presidential race between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.
Pushback from federal employees
While government public health campaigns are routine, the ad blitz planned by HHS was mired from the start by involvement from department spokesperson Michael Caputo, a fierce loyalist and friend of Trump with little experience in the field. In September, a spokesperson for Caputo said he was taking a medical leave from HHS as he battled cancer.
WATCH | Trump claims he is now immune to COVID-19:
Trump, a Republican, has repeatedly minimized the dangers of the coronavirus, even as the nation is in its third wave of infections, with tens of thousands of cases reported each day.
According to one memo compiled by a subcontractor to Atlas Research, one of the firms hired by HHS, Caputo suggested a series of sound bites and taglines for the campaign, including “Helping the president will help the country.”
The notes say that Caputo wanted the campaign to be “remarkable” and to rival Rosie the Riveter, the character who symbolized women who worked in factories and shipyards during the Second World War against Germany.
“For us, the ‘enemy’ is the virus,” Caputo said, according to the memo.
The documents also show pushback from some of the federal employees leading the work, who removed Caputo from an email chain and thanked one of the contractors for dealing with a “challenging” environment.
The Democrat-led Oversight panel said Caputo was overstepping his bounds, interfering in work that is supposed to be done by contract officers at the department and politicizing what is supposed to be nonpartisan.
“Of course, it is completely inappropriate to frame a taxpayer-funded ad campaign around ‘helping’ President Trump in the weeks and days before the election,” said House oversight chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, and Reps. James Clyburn of South Carolina and Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, both subcommittee chairmen, in a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar.
“This theme also ignores the reality that more than 220,000 Americans have died from coronavirus — a fact that should not be whitewashed in a legitimate public health message.”
Azar put the entire project on hold earlier this month, telling the oversight subcommittee led by Clyburn that it was being investigated internally.
“I have ordered a strategic review of this public health education campaign that will be led by our top public health and communications experts to determine whether the campaign serves important public health purposes,” Azar told the subcommittee, which is investigating the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Because public health policy around the coronavirus pandemic has become so politically polarized, it’s unclear how well a confidence-building campaign from the government would play.
HHS officials acknowledge a major challenge to any campaign would involve finding trusted intermediaries to make the pitch to average Americans. On health-care matters, people usually trust doctors first, not necessarily celebrities. And Trump has alienated much of the medical establishment with his dismissive comments about basic public health measures, such as wearing masks.
The 34-page “PSA Celebrity Tracker” compiled by Atlas Research and released by the committee does not say whether the celebrities were aware they were even being considered or if they had agreed to participate. The report says that no celebrities are now affiliated with the project but a handful did initially agree to participate.
Singer Marc Antony, who has been critical of Trump, pulled out after seeking an amendment to his contract to “ensure that his content would not be used for advertisements to re-elect President Trump.”
Actor Dennis Quaid also initially agreed and then pulled out, according to a document from Atlas Research. In an Instagram video post last month titled “No good deed goes unpoliticized,” Quaid said he was frustrated that a taped interview he did with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, for the campaign was portrayed in the media as an endorsement of Trump.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Quaid said, noting that the interview was still available on his podcast.
Antony and Quaid were among just a few celebrities who were approved for the campaign, according to the documents. Others included TV health commentator Dr. Oz and singer Billy Ray Cyrus.
“Spokespeople for public service campaigns should be chosen on their ability to reach the target audience, not their political affiliation,” the letter from the Democrats reads. “Yet, documents produced by the contractors indicate that the Trump administration vetted spokespeople based on their political positions and whether they support President Trump.”
Bipartisan Politics | Politics and Public Affairs – Denison University
But the ties that bind these four individuals are stronger than most. They, and several other Big Red alumni, are connected through Forbes Tate Partners, a bipartisan, full-service government and public affairs advocacy firm, founded by Forbes and his partner Dan Tate.
In today’s divisive political landscape it might be difficult to imagine that colleagues from opposite sides of the aisle can be, well, collegial. But according to Forbes, who has worked on Democratic campaigns since Al Gore’s presidential bid, that’s the whole point.
“People forget about the moderate factions in politics — and that’s where real work can be done,” says Forbes. So it made sense to build a firm that could work well with both parties and provide positive results for everyone.
And the work has become more complicated. “Lobbying has changed,” he says. “It’s not as much who you know – though that still matters. Today, you have to run a full-fledged campaign with traditional PR, social media, news updates. You have to make sure the people back home see the reason for what you are doing, to create that support before you move forward.”
So how did all these Denisonians find their way to Forbes Tate? You can credit another Denison tie, the Hilltoppers men’s a cappella group. Forbes was a member of the popular campus group, and several years ago a student Hilltopper reached out to him, struggling to figure out what to do for the summer. Forbes’ impulsive response, “Why don’t you come here?” became the beginning of an internship program that has brought scads of students from Denison’s hill to Capitol Hill.
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