Trump/Sanders: The Odd Couple

2016 proved to be the year where an outsider candidate with more partisan views could capture the attention of the voters and steal the limelight from more seasoned and traditional candidates. This was very true of both Billionare, and now President, Donald Trump and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Both managed to tap into the frustrations of the middle aged whites and the youth. They have changed what is expected of a candidate and they types of policies acceptable on a campaign. There has not be such a progressive candidate for the presidency since FDR in the Case of Bernie Sanders, nor such a Bull-Moose since TR in the case of Donald Trump. Trump and Sanders proposed populist ideas such as protecting/expending social safety nets, fair trade, and infrastructure investments. Their anger towards the establishment and the way things are resonated with many Americans who felt the same way and were tired of voting for Clintons and Bushs. But the their more immoderate views such as building a wall on the southern border, and providing free education and health insurance for all, respectively, might take both of their parties further to the left and right, than to the middle like Clinton and Kasich would’ve preferred. In the future, more Trump/Sanders inspired candidates will most likely pop up and state parties will begin litmus tests in their primaries as to who is conservative or liberal enough. While we’ve seen this in primaries and elections before, the result of their candidacies have been felt. In Florida, House Speaker and likely Gubernatorial Candidate, Richard Cocoran, has pushed the house further to the right economically, in effect claiming Republican Governor Rick Scott’s polices aren’t conservative enough. The Democratic Candidates  for Governor, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Orlando Businessman Chris King both advocate for raising minimum wage and expanding healthcare access like Sanders. The future of political parties in the United States might get even more polarized, thanks to Uncle Don and Uncle Bern.

Happy to be Wrong

Over  year ago I wrote an open letter to Donald Trump, asking him to leave the Republican Presidential Primary. I truly believed at that time he would doom the party to another four years of exile from 1600 Penn. I was wrong. It became very clear he had struck a nerve for millions of Americans and received the most votes of any candidate in the history republican primaries. I was not one of those voters. I am proud of my vote for Senator Marco Rubio. For many months I titter-tottered between casting my vote for Hillary Clinton or Gary Johnson. 

Growing up as a McCain/Romney Republican, my personal views were very broad and represented my exposure to the those in the Tea Party Movement and those in the heart of the establishment. For a period of time it seemed that no candidate would earn my vote. Hillary Clinton, for as much as she wanted to be moderate, has a big blue streak running across the furthest left part of her heart dating back to HillaryCare in the 90’s. Libertarianism is too socially left for a Christian Conservative as myself and too economically right for the gerneral public to embrace because of the welfare state that has ballooned under the former Obama Administration.

So when Governor Johnson failed to make the debates and after listening to Senator Kaine speak his mind at FSU, it became clear to me that it was time to “come home” in November and cast my ballot for Trump. With a conservative like Mike Pence as second in command and the promise of a rightful heir to Justice Scalia on the Court, I got my ticket to board the “Trump Trian” and I am proud of my vote for Donald Trump. 

Millions of Americans believed, as I did, that the Obama Administration and a perspective Clinton Administration did not and would not, respectively, listen to the dissenting side. Hillary Clinton’s campaign alienated the same people who had placed their trust in her husband, from a Clinton Administration that claimed “the era of big government is over” now wanted to usher in a new era of big government. The “Hope and Change” candidate learned that it isn’t easy to change Washington and hope is a worthless currency in politics. While it was clear from the beginning that Donald Trump was not the perfect candidate and despite what anyone might say, there is no such thing. The only candidate an individual will always agree with is themselves. This is the heart of our republic, that average citizens would represent their communities and make our country a more perfect union. 

While President Trump continues to be surrounded by controversy, it is in the midst of sweeping reform. If he is able to follow through on his promises, against all odds, he could be the next LJB. I intend to expound upon this idea in the weeks to come.

A Reflection on the Holocaust Museum

           In my junior year of high school, the Harrison Singers performed Holocaust Cantata: Songs from the Camps and while in Washington, D.C. for a choral festival, we visited the National Holocaust Museum to gain a better understanding of such a dark time in our human history and to help further connect us to the work. Each floor told a certain story, the rise of the Nazi Regime, the genocide, and the liberation of the camps.

    I learned three things about myself: the type of leader I want to become, the type of world I want to live in, and the type of world I don’t want to live in. The first step in to this realization was holding a sobbing freshman who couldn’t understand how the world had allowed it to happen or how anyone could’ve done that to millions upon millions of people and neither could I. A portion of the museum, the tower of faces, extends two of the three floors and displays hundreds of photographs of the families and people murdered in the holocaust. It struck me, those faces looked just like me and like Alannah who was crying in my arms. “They all looked so happy.” She said into my shirt. There was nothing I could say to comfort her, no explanation. That day only reinforced my desire to enter public service and to become a part of the solution to the multitude of humanitarian crises that our nation seeks to aid and heal. 

          During a time when anti-immigration, anti-Catholicism, and anti-semitism was cultural norm, America was silent to the destruction of democracy and Jewish oppression in Germany. The 1928 Presidential Election of Herbert Hoover versus New York Governor, Al Smith and the refusal to port the SS Saint Louis was proof of an enabling America, a bystanding America. That is not the America I want to live in. My America lives by the creed inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” I was taken back by our ability to make a difference and our failure to do so until the end of the war because we had such isolationist policies in which I find selfish and disgusting. I firmly believe that America can be a force for good and when it has an opportunity to be it should be at every opportunity. So when dictators come to power, their demise are just as quick as their rise.

          At the door, I received an identification card. Inside it said, “This card tells the story of real person who lived during the Holocaust.” My person was Boria Lerner, a political activist and leader in the Jewish Resistance. At each page of his story correlated with a floor. Lerner fought alongside the Spanish Republicans against fascism and “after the war ended in March of 1939, he enlisted in the French army to fight against the Nazis. But, due to an illness, he was unable to serve and was discharged. In 1941 he headed a unite of the Jew resistance overseeing the assembly and distribution of bombs in German-occupied cities. He was arrested, tortured, and after giving up no information, shot before a firing squad.”

           His story begs us to remember what he and millions of others went through to preserve their culture and way of life. His story begs us to remember the Holocaust. His story begs us not to relive the mistakes of the past as we have before. His story begs us to question authority and demand the truth from our government and elected officials so that no one man or one group ever abuse its power so grossly as the Nazis had. We have an obligation to positively influence the world. Some say this is neither a task we asked for nor are obligated to carry out, but I say we are. Because if we don’t stand up for the things we understand to be right and just, who will? If this generation does not ick up the baton of leadership now, then when? This is an age old rhetorical question that demands us to answer it. Whether or not we realize it, we will answer it. We will answer it in how we live, in the men and women we elect, and in the policies we implement. Then we will be called upon to recount what we did “to make the world a bit better and more beautiful for having lived in it,” as philanthropist Edward W. Bok said.

Restoring the Heart of America

This past week, throughout our long history, has seen a great deal of bloodshed, frustration, confusion, fear, anger, and turmoil. Law Enforcement vs. the People and visa versa. So many lives have been take on both sides. There is no question both sides need to answer for these grivences, and our justice system needs many reforms

One of the major disconnects we face is the lower socioeconomic status of many minorities. This creates a negative stereotype that suddenly connects the color of one’s skin to their pocketbook, their zip code—to their worth. 

We can change this. Jack Kemp gave us the solution many years ago. Economic Development Zones for our most disadvantaged communities. In lifting every American’s quality of work, education, and life can we take America forward and truly realize the dreams of our forefathers. 

Turning our poorest cities into our brightest can solve a plethora of issues we face: minority unemployment, home ownership among minorities, quality of schools—quality of life will rise. Dignity for every American.

This police brutality must end and so must the anti-police sentiments. We must not give heed to the voices that wish to divide us. We must work to raise the quality of life for every American. In doing so, I think we’ll see the out-of-wedlock births fall and the incarceration rate fall among minority communities. But that can only happen when we lift them up instead of tearing them down. Giving them a hand, not giving them the finger.

And maybe one day, #BlackLivesMatter won’t just refer to the young men and women taken from us by police brutality and gang violence but the black lives that never make it out of the mother alive. What about those lives? In an edition of The Atlantic: “An African-American woman is almost five times likelier to have an abortion than a white woman, and a Latina more than twice as likely, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” It doesn’t have to be that way. As a nation we can provide the moral foundation and support to change the tide, give every life meaning, and every woman respect and dignity. 

Back to this belief in growing the middle class through economic freedom, Conservatism, has the potential to cure these ills. Conservatism can save the American family. Fiscal prudence and financial literacy will take us out of debt, personal and national.  Giving millions of Americans a chance at achieving the American Dream.

Because no American should have to doubt the validity of their hopes, dreams, or asperations because of the color of their skin or the uniform they wear. We can overcome the odds and stack the deck in the favor of justice and personal freedom. There are millions of stories, stories that shine upon the triumphs of human spirit. 

This crisis we face is one of the heart. Are we, the American people, capable of delivering on the promise we made to one another on July 4th, 1776? That everyone has the right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”? Of ensuring that a “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not parish from this earth.” We can deliver on that promise and secure the blessings of liberty, but it must be for all. Not just some. 

What do you think? Am I off base? Share your perspective with me in the comments below! 

Independence Day, Everyday

240 years ago, our founders changed the way peoples looked at and interacted with their governments. By declaring that “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursiut of Happiness.” Never before had a government been founded upon such principles. No government had ever admitted its own need for change. The brilliance of our founders is that they set up a government that could be bettered and perfected. Our Constitution has been amended twenty-seven times! In which we reaffirmed that all mankind is created equal, regardless race or gender, and their freedoms are not dispensation of government. 

But relating to the founders today, being able to truly appreciate the gravity of our freedom seems distant to grasp. Let’s meditate on the things, 240 years later, that still set us apart from many places in the world! 

In many parts of Asia and Africa, many young girls around the world are denied the basic right to pursue an education.

In America, while we may not like the out comes, our more recent elections (save 1960, 1968, and 2000) have gone unquestioned and undisputed. The same cannot be said for Austira, its Constitutional Court has ordered a new Presidential Election beheld because of voter fraud, “77,926 of the 4.5 million votes cast were affected by improprieties in how mail-in ballots were processed.” 

  • Equal Rights

While this conversation continues today about the treatment and employment practices concerning African-Americans, Women, and the LGBT community, America is still by far the most progressive (and humane) country on these issues. 

Everyday, right here in America, we get to decide our future and how we wish to pursue our American Dream and pursue our happiness because we have education for all, because we have fair elections, and we, generally speaking, have made strides to ensure the protections of our inalienable rights endowed to us by our Creator. And while America is far from perfect, we can continue to perfect it. That is what makes having an engaged and informed citizenry so important to the endurance of this country. That is what makes your voice so important. One vote won’t change an election, but 300 Million informed votes, cannot only transform America, but effectively, the world. 

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

When was the last time you picked up the phone to talk to a family member about this upcoming election? And not just the presidential election; the school board, city council, state legislature, courts, congress? Each one, believe it or not, is equally important and affects our lives in such minute, and not so minute, ways that greater investment and involvement would truly transform our country. 

So get out there, get in formed, and inform your friends and family; then make them do the same!

Happy Independence Day! 

Reflecting on D.C.

This past week, I was lucky enough to have spent three days in our nation’s capital on a Chorus trip and it was everything that I had hoped for. We visited the Holocaust Museum, the Smithsonian, Arlington Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial, the War Memorials, and the MLK jr. Monument. We did not get to visit the Capitol Building or the White House, but I enjoyed our trip nevertheless.

Walking through the holocaust museum was probably the most solemn experiences- reliving the horrors of man’s inhumanity to man. What saddens me most is the silence of the United States, during a time when anti-immigration, anti-Catholicism, and anti-semitism was rampant with the 1928 Presidential Election of Herbert Hoover versus New York Governor, Al Smith and the refusal to port the SS Saint Louis. 

For many, on their minds was the cruelty of Hitler’s policies but I was taken back by our ability to make a difference and our failure to do so until the end of the war because we had such isolationist policies in which I find selfish and disgusting. I firmly believe that America can be a force for good and when it has an opportunity to be it should be at every opportunity. As our communities become more globally minded, I think we should look to share our values with our global community. So when dictators rise, their demise is just as quick as their rise.

The Smithsonian American History Museum was rather lackluster and disappointing for me. I was really looking for an in-depth history of our political process and the progression of political thought in our nation which just wasn’t there. The Natural History Museum was fine and well if Science is your cup of tea. I was just not overall impressed with the museums I visited. 

  

My favorite part of the my time was visiting Arlington Cemetery. Such a reverent ground. Throughout the duration of our tour, I felt a great sense of humility and gratitude remembering the men who gave their last full measure of devotion to ensure that this nation not perish from the Earth. That this American Experiment of self government might continue for generations. That their children might live in a freer world- in a safer world. That their children would inherit the Liberty they had come to enjoy. That their children would not have to fear oppressive governments. 

  

I’ll admit it was rather chilly with great gusts of wind, but as I said to several of my friends, “I’ve got no right to complain about the cold, when what I’m feeling is equivalent to a minute iota of what these men gave that our nation might live.” I firmly believe that and I didn’t feel bad for putting them on the spot like that as we were there to remember and meditate upon their sacrifices. Certainly not to wallow in our own discomfort. 

Nor was I ashamed to question, to myself this time, President Kennedy’s place there as I have a problem with his Presidency in general- concerning his affiliation with the mafias, his severe medical conditions and addiction to strong medications that could have impaired his judgement as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, along side his extramarital affairs that speak to his poor integrity and character as a leader. 

We were fortunate enough to witness the changing of the guards at the tomb of the unknown soldier. What speaks volumes for me is that we honor all our dead, even those who we will never know by name. We let every foe know that our men and women are of the highest tier, of quality, of courage. What a way to honor our dead indeed. 

 Visiting the Lincoln Memorial certainly was not as powerful but its grandeur was certainly awesome. From the Great Emancipator to Tyrant, I’ve heard it all about President Lincoln, and in such a trying time there was no guidebook, no clause in the constitution to prevent the secession of states and I am thankful President Lincoln took all necessary actions to hold our Republic together at all costs. A United America created a safer world for generations to come thanks to Abraham Lincoln. 

  

I also took a moment to stand where Reverend King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Thinking about the powerful image of a civil rights leader standing before the memorial of the President who emancipated the slaves. Now make no mistake, emancipation was never intended to inspire social equality for blacks. You can see that clearly in speeches given by Lincoln on the issue of social equality but he recognized as many did, the degradation of slavery which was the first step towards social equality for the races. 

  

We then walked to the Vietnam Memorial Wall that recognizes all the lives lost in the was we’ve fought over the years. It was emotional to see the overwhelming amount of names that just didn’t seem to end. To think that these men died so there may be peace someday, that freedom might carry on- humbled me and filled me with great gratitude.

  

Our last visit during our trip was to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial where once again I was personally awe inspired by the monument. Despite his personal struggles with infidelity, Dr. King inspired love and citizenship into the hearts of millions who encount him, walked with him, and who still carry his dream today. I’m not sure if we are any closer that that scene he described at the end of his speech with the children holding hands singing that old negro spiritual but I’d like to think that we’re closer. As I’ve said before, long term progress is more desirable than short term success. 

  

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in the DC area in the fellowship of my classmates and our choirs received the highest marks at the music festival we competed in and I’m glad that we got to experience the majesty and reverence of such a historic city that has been a shinning city upon a hill as John Winthrop called our great nation, as President Reagan called it.    

My Next Step

On Thursday, March 12th, the Junior Class at Harrison School for the Arts will be voting for a representative to go to Washington, D.C. for week as a part of a program called, ‘Congressional Classroom.’ This is sponsored by The Randy Roberts Foundation.

“This program allows a representative from our school to go on an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. to receive a first-hand look at internal workings of the United States government. Students will participate in tours, meet with members of the Cabinet, House of Representatives, Senate and other policy makers, participate in a mock Congress and be hosted by local Congressmen.”

I am to proud to offer myself a candidate for this prestigious trip. I’d like to outline why my peers in the class of 2016 should vote for me:

Since the tender age of five, I’ve had a deep love of politics and government. This love has blossomed and matured as I’ve gotten older. My dad exposed me to the process when he volunteered on President George W. Bush’s Re-Election Campaign in 2004 and then Congressman, Adam Putnam’s campaign and again by taking me to McCain-Palin Rallies in 2008.

By the time 2012 came around, I was ready to get my first whiff of action, volunteering the duration of my summer going into Freshman Year of HS at the Lake Wales Republican Headquarters; where I made phone calls, talked to perspective voters, made rally signs, put together yard signs, made more phone calls, and waved signs on Hwy 60 for the duration of summer on to the election. It was election night 2012 I went to my first “Victory Dinner” yet by 10pm we had left optimistic. Then as me and my old Marine buddy from church, Jerry, drove home, state after state fell to Barack Obama and by the time he dropped me off at home, I was a broken man.

Fast forward 3 months.

Then Polk County Republican Party Chairman, Jimmy Nelson, gave me the opportunity of a life time, to serve as a messenger (delivering mail, notes, and other things) in the Florida House of Representatives 2013 spring session for a week. And when that time came, I was over whelmed with joy and responsibility. Waking up every morning getting the morning paper, a cup of coffee and walking two blocks to the capital was probably the most thrilling experience.

Fast forward to Election Night 2014.

As the evening went on, more people left and just those of us who had put hours of sweat and tears into Governor Rick Scott’s Re-Election Campaign crowded around the computer, listening to Fox News Live stream and keeping tabs on the election statistics. I had dedicated over 250 hours to this campaign – primarily going door to door, talking to voters, giving the them the tools they needed to participate in our great Representative Democracy, getting out the vote aka promoting political efficacy. – Again, just as two years ago, it is 10pm with Governor Scott titer-tottering for 48% against Charlie Crist. But when AP called the election in our favor, a sense of relief and pride overcame me. To know my work made a difference. 

Friends, I’ve dedicated most of my life to politics. The study and participation of politics. Many of you know I intend to make public policy and public service my life’s work. Because I believe in this American Experiment. I believe in man’s ability to self-government. I believe in liberty and free-trade. I believe in our countrymen and their resilience to pull themselves up by the bootstraps when things get tough. And I believe in our volunteer military, one of the most noble professions in protecting thy brother. Being your brothers keeper. These things are what make our Republic 238 years strong.

Send me to Washington, D.C.
Let Mr. Bique go to Washington.