It will be difficult depending on which political blowhard one chooses to listen to, as to how exuberant independent voters should be in the New Year.
Like many, I remain jaded when Democrats and Republicans firmly suggest they exclusively remain “the light and the way.” Especially if they suggest divine providence ordered their political involvement … and some have.
But I acknowledge some exceptional folks on both sides of the aisle. Presidents John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and father and son Bush are at the top of my chart. Plus former Senator George Allen and Senator Diane Feinstein remain two of the more civil and dedicated politicians I’ve had the honor to work with closely.
Sadly, their ability to reach across the aisle is not shared by their contemporaries. And the collective political failure of both parties has allowed the once dominant U.S. military to be decimated by an administration bent on unilateral appeasement through sequestration.
It’s a concern for Vietnam veterans like myself questioning the nation’s military resolve after 9/11 and Middle Eastern capitulation.
Sadly, America continues to deal with the difficult issue of race and immigrant status. The nightmares of Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, and presidential executive actions divide us.
President Obama’s egalitarian attempt to level the playing field for millions of Hispanic descendants of Bracero families who helped build and defend America was honorable. But Republican failure to advance legislation demonstrating outreach continues to disappoint. With exception, the Republican Party of Virginia’s desire to censor the use of the word poorly defines candidates worthy of swaying minority converts to the GOP.
But God forbid Tea Party extremists become the major movement locally and nationally. Not that the principles of the Tea Party are unworthy. The lack of racial inclusion by self-anointed leadership keeps the movement unpalatable.
It was a difficult year for Republicans seeing their outgoing Governor and his wife convicted of bribery and corruption. I stood with Bob and Maureen McDonnell many times in their quest to make Virginia the most vet friendly state in the union. They did, and the tragic circumstances of their conviction, and questions of parity in the judicial process, still has the public at large scratching their heads. Was it justice or simply the political assassination of a rising Republican star who sadly could not keep his family in check?
And one won’t easily forget the incredible political pandering with Henrico Delegate Joe Morrissey’s plea of no contest to sexual involvement with a 17-year-old office worker and his resignation. Convicted of a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor after entering an Alford plea, Morrissey still attempts to find a way back to elected office.
Local Delegate Bill Howell called Morrissey’s attempt a “… despicable, arrogant political stunt.”
While the circumstances surrounding Morrissey remain contemptible and he should have resigned, Howell’s selective moral outrage is again noted.
In Howell’s own district, never once has he had the temerity to challenge the questionable actions of convicted felon Republican Supervisor Paul Milde of the Aquia District who was prosecuted and jailed for possession of cocaine with the intent to contribute in 1986. Amazing how the sanctimonious Howell can stand with a conservative felon yet continue to pile on a misdemeanor democrat who will pay his debt to society.
Howell’s political opponent this election is Tea Party supporter and former supervisor Susan Stimpson. Her fitness for office is also being challenged by conservative Rock Hill Supervisor Cord Sterling. Sterling, a distinguished Marine Corps veteran, chastised Stimpson while in office for leading passage of development without proffers for roads, schools, or public safety. So who picks up the tab for the added infrastructure costs of those additional one thousand by-right dwellings? Yep … taxpayers. Amusing how Stimpson will boast as to not raising taxes during her short time on the board of supervisors.
Correctly questioning their political integrity, perhaps independents and Democrats will finally mount a serious effort to find more suitable candidates than Howell, Stimpson, or Milde as racial and immigrant demographics change.
Someone like legitimate businessman Carlos Del Toro, owner of SBG Technology Solutions Inc., whose engineering and consulting firm has doubled in size in one year. Del Toro, a native of Havana, Cuba, is a former naval officer and White House Fellow who was appointed to the University of Mary Washington’s Board of Visitors by Governor Terry McAuliffe.
And there are other stand-up grass roots individuals such as Sterling, or Supervisor Jeff Sili from Bowling Green and John Hardy Willson of Hanover County serving as GOP Vice-Chairman of Fundraising. All remain worthy of retention and advancement regardless of party. That is unless some bottom feeder tea party extremist uses Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals by isolating, alienating, and attacking decent men and women as a means to force unworthy candidates on Virginia.
Yep political change in 2015 at a glance … first your money … then your pants.
Daniel Cortez, a distinguished Vietnam veteran and award winning writer-broadcaster, is active in veterans and political affairs with an independent voter perspective. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.