Tag Archives: TK McEachin
I wanted to share my thoughts today on what being a constitutionalist means to me, and why that means more to me than party affiliation, or any other political boxes I can check:
Folks, I am a constitutionalist before I am anything else. This allows me, to have political allies from all walks of life, as long as we can agree that the law of the land must be adhered to, as well as the legal blueprint for amending it. This doesn't mean the law is without imperfections, nor are those who created it. The same is true for those whose job it is to defend it. We're all inherently, flawed human beings. We make mistakes, and we must correct them legally as a society at times. History is replete with major and minor instances of this. This is why I consider Americans, who readily accept political legerdemain, used to circumvent legal procedures when it suits their interests, the most unpatriotic citizens there are.
As for me, I've accepted the inevitable reality, that putting my own personal agendas and biases aside, and honoring the constitution, means there will be things I am opposed to, but must allow to legally stand. That is, if my arguments to the contrary are not legally strong enough, to influence a different outcome. I really wish more Americans would follow suit. It's such a relaxing political place to be…
Until next musing,
So recently, I retracted a prior criticism of former POTUS Barack Obama – the whole “food stamp president” nonsense. While this post isn’t a retraction, I want to share my thoughts on another erroneous label affixed to him – the infamous “Obamaphone”. The ironic thing about this, is that it’s origins are rooted back to 1984 when some Americans were still in “Will we ever see a black president?” mode. A “Barack Obama” if you will, was still a dream. 1984? Yep. When Ronald Reagan was president. Some even argue that it goes back as far as Roosevelt, but I digress. That year, the FCC created the Lifeline Assistance program. That’s the actual name of the “Obamaphone” program, technically.
Obviously, cellular phones weren’t ubiquitous as they are now, in 1984, which is why the program provided free landline phone service, mainly to senior citizens. Interestingly enough, after eight years of the Obamaphone misnomer, so many remain ignorant of its history. Am I the only one who’s never heard of an “Reaganphone”? What about a “Bushphone”? “Clintonphone” perhaps? What about a “Trumpphone”? (that sounds like the world’s worst megaphone ever). You haven’t because they were never labeled as such, even though the program existed in every presidency since Reagan. In fact, Safelink Wireless offered the first such cellular (keyword alert!) phone service in Tennessee in 2008, near the end of Bush’s second term. Barack Obama wasn’t elected until November of 2008. The program started three months earlier.
There are some very, obvious motives and suspicious undertones, if I’m polite, associated with slapping this erroneous, derogatory misnomer onto the first black president, and literally none of his predecessors, but for now I’m not gonna go there (Hmm, no pun intended, but, did I just do that?). Now to be fair, the number of participants in the program, did increase significantly under the Obama administration, but that’s to be expected, with the expansion of any government program to assist the destitute in a recession. It’s a domino effect. If you had no problem with the program under Reagan, both Bush’s or Clinton, it’s simply hypocritical to have whined about it for the last eight years under Obama. I’ll be discussing three more things, I, and/or my political “macro tribe” got wrong, or, that were generally misunderstood or wrong when it comes to Obama. Then I’ll balance it by discussing the same number of things I stand by firmly, as far as my criticism of his presidency goes. Stay with me folks, this is about to get really interesting…
I’m back with my latest musing, on why I was wrong about a prior criticism of former president Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus package. As a Republican and Conservative libertarian, I have to work harder at objectivity when assessing his successes and failures. My missive here is to share one of his successes, which I erroneously deemed a failure:
After researching certain aspects of Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus package, I now see the labeling of him as the “food stamp president” quite differently. I haven’t written about it in a while, but I think a prior criticism I hurled his way was wrong. I didn’t agree with people calling him the “FSP” – I stand by that, but I understood why many called him that. Some attributed it to racism, and I’m sure that’s true for some percentage of his opponents, but certainly not all. I refuse to entertain the notion that all, or most Republicans are racists. It’s a stereotype, and I don’t play those games. In his economic stimulus, he expunged the work requirements, making the SNAP/FS program more accessible to Americans in need. We were in a recession, people were out of work and losing their homes. Many who had never received any government aid, found themselves swallowing their pride to feed their children. Most had at least one job, but simply didn’t make enough to make ends meet. It’s still true today that most SNAP recipients are working.
Barack Obama helped millions defray their cost of living by putting food on their tables. In other words, the criticism was that under his presidency, the highest number of people were food stamp recipients, due to the economic crisis. While there’s some truth to that, it’s a bit misleading for me and others (like Newt Gingrich), to assert, that he was responsible for the economic crisis, therefore forcing people on the SNAP program. That’s a faulty cause and effect. No, he recognized the crisis we were in, cause notwithstanding, and deliberately (key word) expanded the program, so millions could eat. The trade off was that the number of recipients under his watch soared. He deliberately took that hit on his economic report card. You don’t have to be a member of MENSA to understand, that loosening rigid requirements means more qualified applicants. You may not agree with his solution, and that’s your prerogative, but it was his solution, in his best judgment. The ends justified the means to him. That’s the job America hired him to do. If you want me to believe, that a Harvard educated attorney and former Senator couldn’t foresee, that the number of recipients would increase after removing work requirements, you may as well be asking me to believe in five-legged unicorns. Believing that is also an attack on his intelligence, and mine. You’d also have to ignore the trillions in debt, created by Bush before him.
Some will argue that his motive was to increase government dependency – one rung on the ladder of socialism. The problem lies in the fact that it never happened. We aren’t a socialist nation. If I’m wrong and that was his goal, he failed utterly, so it doesn’t matter anyway. There will be criticisms of him that I’ll stand by, but this isn’t one of them. I’m humble enough to retract this view. Of course, there’s a valid counter argument to this reassessment that isn’t lost on me. Once the economy improved and the recession ended (2012), the number of SNAP recipients should have done down. That didn’t happen. The question is why, but that’s a lateral issue, one that’s unrelated to the “food stamp president” label. That’s also another musing. I’m reassessing my view of his presidency, before writing a critical essay on his legacy. In order to fairly assess his presidency, you have to look beyond the numbers. There’s a lot of gray area. You have to dig deeper. Fair is fair, and this is one view that I’m totally comfortable with amending.
Until next musing,
Talitha K. McEachin
Happy Independance day to you all. As you celebrate with family, friends, fireworks & barbecue, here are my thoughts & memories of what this day means to me:
Yesterday was the anniversary of my Dad’s passing and I was totally fine. He’s been gone several years now. Today I remembered us rushing to the hospital, and the coroner literally waiting right near the front door to take his body. The nurse who called us kept her word, that they’d wait until we got there to see him, before letting them take his body. I remember being hit with the reality of his death when I kissed his forehead. It had already grown cold. I knew then – he’s really gone. This is just a shell before me. I smiled and cried at the same time. My sister’s wedding was in two weeks and she had to face the reality, that he wouldn’t be there to walk her down the aisle. She wasn’t going to have the father/daughter dance she had planned. My brother was the last one to see him alive. “Lance, I’m going for a walk. I won’t be long. I’ll see you when I get back,” he said. Those were his last words, except whatever sweet utterances he whispered in the ears of Christ, with his arms outstretched, upward bound. Though they’d been divorced, and amicably so, for several years, I saw my Mom cry for the first time in my life. As the eldest child, I knew that I had to be there for my family, and we had to plan a funeral. My grief would have to wait. I held it in so tightly that my pain manifested physically in the place of its emotional twin. A sudden, severe toothache sent me to the dentist the next morning. My blood pressure was sky high. My pain was going to be released one way or another…
We got in the car to leave and the phone started ringing. His corneas were to be donated to a recipient in need. He had agreed to this on his license and they were the only thing they could take from a 61 year old man with heart disease. Informing us was just a formality. Then we had the heart-wrenching task of informing family and friends. He wasn’t ill, his death was sudden. But what I remember most and first, is going to his home, looking in the refrigerator and seeing chicken already seasoned, ready for the grill – it was for tomorrow. Tomorrow. It’s not promised to any of us. We make plans, but God is in control. The next day was the 4th of July. He was a veteran (USAF) and very patriotic. This makes me a bit sad, until I remember his destination. He was a Christian and very keenly understood what that meant. He made sure my siblings and I understood it too. Often he would pray and ask God to spare him the pain of ever having to bury a child. God granted him that. Knowing he’d transition first, he spoke of wanting to see his three children again in Heaven. That’s up to us. He and my mother have done their part. Ironically, it was he who told me that I should become a writer, or a lawyer. At the time I scoffed at the idea that I should write, or argue for a living. I wanted to become a research scientist. Hmm. Now I’m a writer and I argue all the time. I’m thankful to God for you Daddy. We miss and love you. There has never been a day that has passed by when you weren’t in my thoughts. In a world in which so many don’t know, or don’t have their fathers in their lives, I’m so happy and blessed to not know what that feels like.
Until next musing,
Talitha K. McEachin
As promised post before last, here are my latest musings from social media, using the new format of sharing a few quick postings rather than one longer piece so that I can spend more time writing fiction. Enjoy!
Talitha, why don’t you discuss economic matters more?
Sometimes people ask me why I don’t speak out more on matters of the economy. I do, but those aren’t the social media posts that are popular. Most, if not all of our social woes in America, are inextricably bound to the fiscal ones anyway. I talk about fiscal matters to select audiences of people armed with the economic acumen to engage me. All else is a waste of my time. I can’t discuss the post-jobs economy, the ponzi scheme we affectionately call Social “Security”, quanitative easing, nor the mounting federal debt with people who retort with anecdotes, about their buying power, when the lack of wealth of certain groups in America is discussed. This usually comes from those whose cultural egos bruise easily, especially when our lack of wealth is pointed out by the likes of Donald Trump if I’m polite, any white person if I’m not. Many prefer that our fiscal, community, dirty laundry not be aired, and for some it’s a futile attempt to prove that race related poverty is mostly a myth. “I can keep up with the Jones’,” many insist. The keyword is “I”, which is irrelevant to the topic of what “we” can do, or have. Fortunately for me, I’m under no such delusion. An economic discussion is a moot one, when had with those who believe wealth can be measured by consumerism. This is America, where living beyond one’s means is the norm, and where many poor citizens spend frivolously, while many among the wealthy are frugal. We’ve got it all backwards folks, so one’s ability to consume has no place in an analysis of collective wealth. Some are asking me to discuss the blue sky, even though they’re stubbornly convinced that it’s green. Nope, I’m not doing that anymore, because it’s impossible to wake up people who are pretending to be asleep. Don’t fret though, such persons will never be alone. There’s always plenty of blissful room in Club Ignorance.
Slavery in America & Black Wealth:
Some Americans grossly underestimate the impact of centuries of chattel slavery in this country on black folks, in terms of the lack of wealth as a whole. And before someone says “Africans sold other Africans into slavery,” or, “There were black/Native-American slave owners too,” “White people were chattel slaves too,” (utter nonsense, btw), or, “Look at immigrant group X and emulate them,”- note that these are all irrelevant, red herrings. Let your fingertips take you away from this discussion – this one’s for conscious grown-ups, not childish, talking point spouting, keyboard commandos. Everyone else, as my friend & mentor Steven Barnes (NY Times bestselling author of LION’S BLOOD & ZULU HEART) said to me a few years ago – “There’s no such thing as a wound that takes less time to heal than it took to inflict,”. Using those excuses, is like breaking the legs of one man in a race, then shooting the gun in the air for everyone to begin running. After the race & his obvious loss, the winners ask him, “Now why is it taking you so long to start running?”.
If you think that other groups, under identical conditions, would have fared better, you’re a part of the problem. If we believe that there’s no such thing as race, and it’s just a social construct, any other conclusions drawn point to a belief in the inferiority of black Americans, or Native Americans, who aren’t doing so well either. There’s no escaping that. For those who often ask me, “What can we do to help?”, you can start by acknowledging our humanity. When some did have wealth long ago – land (40 acres & a mule), economic prosperity (Black Wallstreet) or, were entrepreneurs (black owned businesses in the Jim Crow south) this was forcibly & violently taken from far too many. That’s not our fault, so you’ll have to excuse me if I’m weary of the whole “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” rhetoric hurled at black Americans. We did that, and were re-victimized many times over LEGALLY. It’s still happening on some level today via the judicial system. Do some of us gain economic prosperity despite this? Absolutely! but that’s not the point. Individual triumphs are anecdotal, nothing more or less. Collective ones, however, are an indication of economic stability, which is needed to have & maintain generational wealth. That should be the goal. That is our inherited disadvantage.
Manufacturing Fear: Hillary Clinton as POTUS & ISIS
I’m going to preface this by saying that this is more or less food for thought that requires some level of objectivity. In a recent discussion, a friend brought up his committment to vote for Donald Trump, because he thinks having a female president will open the door for more terrorist attacks from radical, Islamic jihadists. His logic and that of others, is that a woman as POTUS will give the appearance of weakness exceedingly more, from members of a culture & religion, in which women are totally subjugated & have very little freedom.This is within the context of an extremist, radical, Islamic microcosm, to be differentiated from the greater, non-radicalized Islamic culture. Obviously, all Muslims are not radicalized, and I don’t mind going further to say that most aren’t. My intuition initially says yes, they could view America as vulnerable with a woman at the helm, but that’s not reason enough for us to not elect a woman in any election. In fact, that line of reasoning is preposterous. Moreover, America may be embarking on its first female president, but we aren’t the first such country – that logic is lacking in precedents to buttress it. Having a female president may be perceived as a weakness by ISIS, and perhaps even domestic terrorists, but this can be advantageous in our battle against terrorism. Perception often doesn’t match reality. Doesn’t it benefit us to be falsely perceived as weaker? I’m not a fan of Clinton for a myriad of reasons, but this isn’t one of them. It can’t be. It’s a provocative assertion, and not altogether flawed, but it seems to me its more of a fear tactic than a cohesive, valid argument. Maybe I’m just not paranoid.Your thoughts?
Have a safe & productive weekend! Until next musing,
Writer/Aspiring Writer Friends,
Great advice from Chuck Wendig on how to finish that book already! Even the most seasoned writers have days when they’d rather do the laundry than get the writing done. Plese beware, Wendig is very candid, sparing no ears the sting of his profanity laced blogs, but his commentary is always spot on regardless of his delivery:
That book you’re writing is mewling again in the dark. It’s a half-formed thing — all unspooled sinew and vein, its mushy head rising up out of the mess of its incomplete body, groaning and gabbling about this life of misery it leads. Its life is shit because you haven’t finished it. It’s flumping along on stump legs, pawing its way through your hard drive, bleating for attention. It needs words. It needs plots. It needs resolution.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE.
It’s okay. I’m here. I can help you.
CLICK THIS BUTTON TO GIVE ME $199.99 IN 78 EASY HOURLY INSTALLMENTS AND I WILL SHOW YOU HOW bleah okay fine I won’t charge you any money. I’ll do this for free. Because I like you. And because I feel bad for the ill-formed thing you call a ‘novel.’ And because I hope secretly you will respect my advice enough to one day form a cult of personality around me.
You wanna finish that book?
Here’s how you finish that book.
1. Stop complaining about it. I know, it’s hard. It’s easier to talk about writing than it is to actually write, isn’t it? And it’s extra-special-super-saucy-easy to get online and join with others who have joined the Aren’t Finishing Shit club, and it feels somehow productive to talk about not being productive. Trust me, I know. I’ve been there. I’ve done it. I’ve flopped about publicly and engaged in the illusion of productivity. But you gotta stop. I’m not saying you can’t vent about it — just vent after you’ve BARFED WORDS UP ONTO A PAGE.
2. Accept your limitations. You are not a perfect person. You are given over to frailties and foibles. Others have different frailties and foibles. Yours are yours, and others may possess privilege that you do not. (Also true: you may possess privilege that others do not.) That changes no part of the reality of how this happens: writing requires writing. It demands work. A little here, a lot there, whatever you can accomplish within your given time and considering your limitations. You can do it. Gotcher hands chopped off? Type with your nose.
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