Tag Archives: Democrats

My Thoughts on the Election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States

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“I pledge to every citizen of our lands that I will be the president for the American people. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past . . . I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so we can work together and unify our great country.”

 

As the clock moved from 8:00 to 9 to 10:00 p.m. and then all the way past midnight to 1:00 in the morning, I could see the dream that I and millions of other Americans shared of a Hillary Clinton Presidency—the first woman President—come crumbling and then eventually crashing down.  I wanted this woman—whom I know in my heart—to be a kind, caring, and compassionate person—I wanted this extraordinarily talented brilliant woman to be our President and to usher in a time of greater understanding and greater tolerance for all.  Let me not understate the degree to which I believed in Hillary Clinton and in her commitment to the American people—especially to those who have not been able to share in the American dream.  I—like so many of you—am devastated by the Clinton loss and the Trump win.

 

Having said all that, however, I am determined to make my grieving process just as short as possible.  I was despondent for a full 6 hours as I stayed glued to my TV screen, surfing the news channels—looking in vain for the glimmers of hope to miraculously transform themselves into a narrow Clinton victory.  Such was not to be the case, however.  Miracles were in very short supply, and those miracles that were in the air, were captured and enjoyed by the Donald Trump supporters.  By 1:30 a.m., I had seen and heard all that I needed to realize that Donald Trump was to be our 45th President of the United States.

 

As I awakened this morning just before 7:00 a.m., the news from Charlie and Nora and Gayle—along with that of Chris Cuomo—confirmed my worst fears and the certainty of Donald Trump’s election.  Yet, having said all that, I refuse to dwell on recriminations.  I refuse to linger on the what-if’s.  I refuse to excoriate Mr. Trump and his legion of supporters.  I know and you all know too many people—colleagues, facebook friends, relatives—who love our country and are intelligent, caring  people—who voted for Mr. Trump.  Some did so unabashedly or with pride, and others did so despite some serious reservations.

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For me, even now, it is time to begin to pick myself up and begin to move on.  For me it is time to pull together whatever fibers that I have of a resilient personality and move on.  For me, it is time to do what I had urged the Republicans to do 8 years ago when Barack Obama was elected.  That is, to realize that our nation—as a whole—has spoken.  We have elected a President that for the next four years will serve as the President of ALL of the people.  As much as it may pain us, we need to do what we urged the Republicans to do 8 years ago:  give him a chance.  Look for common ground in ways to improve our country and the lives of its people—including especially those who have undergone intolerance, prejudice, and economic and social despair.

 

I began this essay with Donald Trump’s pledge, last night, to all Americans.  I repeat that here because it is the focus of this piece:

 

“I pledge to every citizen of our lands that I will be the president for the American people. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past . . . I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so we can work together and unify our great country.

 

I am taking Mr. Trump at his word—that he actually wants our guidance and help.  I choose to believe that because I do believe in the innate goodness of human beings—even those who have made the jarring, hateful remarks that have characterized the campaign of Donald Trump.  I do believe—or I choose to believe that each of us–including Donald Trump—has the capacity to listen to the “better angels of our nature” and to act on those noble instincts.  I also believe in both the ego and the determination of Mr. Trump.  Sure, those characteristics have deservedly raised more than a few red flags, but they also offer some hope.  I am convinced that Donald Trump wants—even now—to take his place in history as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents of all.  He wants to be remembered as the President who cared about all the people, who rebuilt our infrastructure, who supported our veterans.  Last night he said, the following:

 

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“Every single American will have the ability to realize their fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, schools, hospitals. We will rebuild our infrastructure. Which will become second to none, and we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.

 

 

We will also finally take care of our great veterans who have been so loyal and I’ve gotten to know so many over this 18-month journey. The time that I have taken with them I consider among my greatest honors. We will embark upon a project of American growth and renewal. We will call upon the best and the brightest to leverage our tremendous talent to benefit all.

 

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If he means what he says, and in this instance, I am hopeful that he does, then his ego, his determination, his perseverance, and his tenacity may lead him to become a far better President than we could have imagined.  In any case, for now, I am—for a time—willing to suspend my disbelief, take him at his word, and offer him a few words of “guidance”—just as he requested.

 

  1. Look forward, not back. Forget the cries of “Lock her up” and realize that months or years of charges and investigations into Hillary Clinton and the Clinton foundation serve no one, anger the nearly 50 percent of Americans who supported Secretary Clinton, and distract you, the government, and the American people from the real challenges that we face in our country.

 

 

  1. Surround yourself with really good people. Make your litmus test be that they must be not only people who have strong convictions, but they must be people of strong character—people with good hearts.  Seek out people who have great intelligence, but also great wisdom and a healthy measure of common sense.  And make sure that there are a reasonable number of individuals whom you respect, but may have differing views than your own on our nation’s challenges.  They must be people who will not be afraid to clearly express those conflicting views—people to whom you will actively listen.

 

 

  1. Do not scrap the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—in its entirety.  Get rid of those parts that are not working, if you must, but keep the parts that are important to the American people.  Keep the parts about pre-existing conditions, the parts about limits, about keeping young people on their parent’s insurance until 26, the parts about free preventative services, and limits on health insurance payout.  Keep all the good parts that really are benefitting our people.

 

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  1. Search the Senate and the House of Representative for five Republicans and five Democrats that are highly respected and valued by the entire legislature and the American people. They must be people who are valued for their character, their creativity, their intelligence, and their ability and proclivity to compromise—to compromise with others to come up with real workable solutions to    Sit these people down in a room and let them tackle the great problems of our day—and agree to abide by their eventual conclusions.  One month they would confront immigration, for example, and work to come up with the best possible plan.  The next month, they might tackle health care.  The month after that—infrastructure needs.

 

 

 

  1. Realize that you—as President of the United States—are a role model for every child and every adult in our country. Please act like it.  You may have set some less than stellar examples in the past (surely an understatement, at best), but the past does not need to be prologue.  Your past comments and actions need not determine your future behavior.  You can begin weighing your words more carefully, noting that words DO, in fact, matter.  You can stop the insults.  As I and others have always insisted, before you say anything, ask yourself two questions:  Is it true? and Is it kind? And if the answer is “No,” then simply don’t say it.

 

 

  1. Be very cautious of trusting Vladamir Putin or any of a number of other leaders of countries with whom we have adversarial relationships. Take the full measure of a person by looking at their past behavior and deeds, meeting and talking with them, and also listening to what I hope and trust will be a diverse cadre of experienced, knowledgeable, trusted advisors of high character.

 

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  1. Make every possible effort to understand the needs, the problems, and the gifts of various groups in our society—women, people of color, immigrants, people of all religions, all nationalities, elder Americans. Reach out to them; sit down with them; listen—really listen–and then work to better the lives of all of those people. Work to end sexism, racism, prejudice in our society.  Help all to live better lives.  And don’t forget our youngest Americans—infants and toddlers.   Provide for their needs, as well, including universal preschool and quality daycare for parents who need it.  As a father, you are aware of the needs of children of every age—including teenagers and young adults.  Do all you can to strengthen schools, encourage and support good teachers, promote an atmosphere of learning, and provide the best possible education for every single child.

 

 

  1. Develop and implement a plan to successfully deal with an opiate crisis which is a scourge on our country and all its families. We all know someone whose lives have been tragically impacted by opioid abuse.  Surely we can put steps in place to curb opioid use, and to help those whose lives have been diminished or destroyed by the use of these drugs.

 

 

 

  1. Support those who risk their lives for our country—our military, or police, our firefighters. Help our veterans as they return from service.

 

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11.   Protect the environment.  Visit our National and State Parks and other natural areas to see their glory:  Bryce Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Acadia, Denali, Rocky Mt. National Park, The Grand Canyon, the Smoky Mountains, Yosemite, the Everglades, the Badlands, the Painted Desert, and so many more.  Realize that we would never have these areas today for our families had not Teddy Roosevelt and other Presidents protected them for our children.  They will not be there tomorrow–nor the Elk, the Grizzlies, the Wolves–unless you and Congress protect them!  And Climate Change?  It’s real and its a threat to our future unless you and other world leaders work together to make changes which will improve the situation.

 

 

 

12.  Be the kind of leader that we need–the kind who truly brings us together–because, as you know, we are so divided right now!  Appear frequently on television to sit down with us and really TALK to us.  Tell us what you’re thinking–and why.  Be honest with us.  Encourage us when we need encouragement.  Console us when we need consolation.  Keep making every possible effort to bring us together, even when it gets tough.  Do the kinds of things that will reassure ALL of us that you are listening, and that you HEAR us.  When Americans ask you to seriously consider common sense gun control legislation, at least listen with an open mind.  When you hear the other side talk about the importance of the Iran Nuclear treaty, at least listen to their points of view before deciding.  When people protest, invite a few of them in to hear their real concerns.

 

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If you can do that, Mr. Trump, you WILL, in fact,  go down in history as one of our greatest Presidents—a President who brought people together, who worked to really improve the lives of ALL of our citizens.

 

 

With all my heart, Mr. President-elect, I wish you the best.  I wish you courage, compassion, strength, and wisdom.  Your success will be our success.  Godspeed, and God bless.

 

 

Sincerely,

Mitchell R.Grosky

Athol, Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

 

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New Hampshire: Standing Up and Speaking Out for Hillary Clinton!

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On September 28, I spent the day covering the Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders Campaign Appearance at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH. for my political/social issues blog “This Week With Mitch Grosky.” In addition to taking over 500 photos, I also conducted brief interviews with a number of the people there.  After being addressed by a number of college officials and state officials, Governor Maggie Hassan (now running for Senator) spoke to the crowd.

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Governor Maggie Hassan

She was followed by the entrance of Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders.

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Secretary Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders Enter Together to Loud Cheers and Enthusiastic Applause

Bernie Sanders spoke first, speaking of the importance of electing Hillary Clinton as President. He also spoke about some of the issues–education, climate change, minimum wage, and others–that they share in common.

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Senator Bernie Sanders

Then Hillary Clinton spoke about some of these same issues, as well as the importance of universal pre-Kindergarten (pre-school), spending most of her time addressing the theme of the day: “Debt Free College.”

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This is her education plan which would dramatically reduce college costs for most students. The plan calls for making public colleges and universities tuition-free for families who earn less than $125,000 per year, making community college free for all students, and helping students to significantly lower their current debt by refinancing at lower interest rates.

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After speeches by Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton, there was a panel discussion or Question and Answer session in which both featured speakers answered pre-selected questions from the audience about their plans for education reform. The enthusiastic full-capacity crowd of 1,200 seemed to really enjoy both the speeches and the bonus question and answer session.

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I was struck by a couple of things:

 First of all, it was easy to discern and appreciate the real excitement in the audience as people waited in line to enter with eager anticipation, and as they actually listened carefully to the speeches of the afternoon–especially those of Secretary Hillary Clinton, U.S.Senator Bernie Sanders, and Governor Maggie Hassan.

Secondly, I was impressed that the people there expressed nearly universal approval of and strong praise for Hillary Clinton.   Sometimes when people look on facebook or on the various news programs, they get the impression that everyone sees this election as a choice between the “lesser of two evils.”  That was certainly NOT the case here.  These are people who strongly believe in Hillary Clinton, who deeply admire who she is and all that she has accomplished in the past approximately 30 years.  These are people who enthusiastically support her and are totally committed to her.

In each brief interview that I conducted, I focused on two major questions.  First of all, I asked, “Are you here to support Hillary Clinton or to make up your mind?”  In nearly every single case–including those involving former Bernie Sanders supporters–I found that people had already made a firm commitment to support Hillary Clinton.

Secondly, once they acknowledged that they were already supporting Secretary Clinton, I asked them, “Could you give me a couple of reasons why you feel that she is the best candidate for President?”  People voiced strong opinions in support of the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State.  What follows are excerpts from some of the conversations which I had with well over a dozen supporters.

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Clai from West Berlin, New Hampshire

I see a woman who is brilliant, knows policy inside and out, and who cares for everyone around her. . . She came out at the beginning of her campaign talking about (reasonable gun limitations) when nobody else did, and she’s met with survivors (of gun violence) all over the country in small groups . . . it’s on her agenda.”  –Clai from West Berlin, New Hampshire

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Deb from North Hampton, New Hampshire

“I’m here as a volunteer, for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and we’re concerned about the gun violence that’s taking the lives of over 30,000 Americans per day, and Hillary has come out and said that she’s going to fight the NRA and fight for sensible gun laws, and Donald Trump has not said that, so I’m very much supporting Hillary for that reason. . . Here in New Hampshire, there are a lot of gun owners, and there’s no reason that the second amendment can’t go hand-in-hand with sensible gun laws.” –Deb from North Hampton, New Hampshire

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Veronica from Cambridge, Massachusetts

“Her message ‘Stronger Together’—I firmly and confidently believe in that.  She’s all for getting our country together—something I firmly believe and I think that’s what we need today, especially with all that’s going on.  The world is a scary place, and thinking about Trump ruling our nation scares me to death.  It took me a while to come to Hillary, but I strongly believe in her message, ‘Stronger Together.’”–Veronica from Cambridge, Massachusetts

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“I’ve been a supporter of hers for like 15 years . . . I lived in New York; I volunteered on her staff and so on . . .  I feel that she brings a view and she understands the problems that are going on in the community, and I think she will do so much better than Donald.  I mean Donald is very upsetting because he’s spouting bigotry . . . he’s spouting separation.  It’s just amazing the things that he’s said.  He makes me feel that he doesn’t feel sorry for the words he’s expressing. . . He’s saying things that some people feel, and they’ve been afraid to say—whether (those things) are right or wrong.  He’s given them carte blanche to say those things . . . and it’s very scary because you have a population that might THINK those things about their neighbor, but he’s expressed it so (it seems like it’s) OK to say those things.” –Denise from Roxbury, Massachusetts

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Allison, Executive Editor of “The New Hampshire,” the School Newspaper at UNH—from West Hartford, CT

“I am neutral right now.  What’s important to me is that the students are educated (about) the candidates and that we get as many students as we can out there to vote on Election Day. . . The biggest issue that I’m interested in is education. I’ve always been really interested in education, and I’m listening to what the candidates have to say about student debt . . . This is not something that is on the forefront of most people’s minds, so it is our responsibility to make sure that issue is covered, and that we’re voting in favor of what’s best for our generation —Allison, Executive Editor of “The New Hampshire,” the School Newspaper at UNH—from West Hartford, CT

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Natalie, originally from New Hampshire but now living in Florida

“I’m here in support of Hillary Clinton.  I think she’s fantastic.  I’ve been following her for years.  I think she’s absolutely brilliant.  For me, personally, it would be the ACA (Affordable Care Act or Obamacare), but it’s having a first woman President . . . it’s huge; I mean we have to break that barrier . .  . everything that the Democrats stand for, quite frankly, and what the Republicans are against.”  She indicated that she was “not at all” impressed by Donald Trump—“It’s very scary; we can’t have that; we just can’t have that . . . I think he’s dangerous; I think he would take us down financially.  I think he would promote hatred, and other countries would be coming against us, and we would bear that—that hate and that burden.  The Supreme Court is also at stake; we’re looking at 3-4 Supreme Court seats – the next 20 years . . . I have zero confidence in Donald Trump (in making those appointments), and I’m terrified quite frankly.  –Natalie, originally from New Hampshire but now living in Florida

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Keith from Kennebunk, Maine.

“I’m already in support of Hillary Clinton.  She’s good for jobs.  She’s good for the colleges.  She‘s good for the college students.  She’s good for a lot of issues that the American people are concerned about.  I’m not interested in Donald Trump’s candidacy; I think he’s a farce.  He talks a lot.  Big talk, but I don’t think he can put anything behind his words. . . I don’t believe him; he’s lying to the American people.”  –Keith from Kennebunk, Maine.

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Chad from Ipswich, Massachusetts

“Those are the two reasons (that I’m supporting Hillary Clinton)—daughter number one and daughter number two –those are the number one and two reasons that I’m supporting Hillary Clinton. (The fact that she’s a woman) is important to me because it’s kind of unprecedented.  We’ve seen our first African-American President, and that’s amazing, and it would be nice to see . . . a woman, and it’s not a party trick in my mind.  I think that she is the most qualified person for this job, and the fact that she’s a woman is really icing on the cake.  There are only a handful (of her positions) that I have any disagreement with her about.”  He indicated the following as important issues for him:  “The issue of racial equality; that tops for me right now.  The environment is tops for me right now.  Not as much for me the story of the economy.  I’ve lived in a lot of countries in the world, and I know what world economy is, and it takes a little bit of perspective to understand what economy is like in this country.  Granted I’m a somewhat privileged person, but even with that, it’s hard to compare poverty in Guatemala and Haiti to what everyday working class people are feeling in the United States.  But I will say that over the last 8 years, we’ve seen a whole lot of positive change that we never saw in the previous 8 years.”  He indicated that he “absolutely” liked that Hillary Clinton would continue the politics of Barack Obama. . . “I’m very much aligned with the ideology of Barack Obama, and Bernie—absolutely Bernie, as well.  Gun control, by the way, is also right up there on the list. . . I think we just need reasonable gun control. It’s obvious.  It’s sensible.  You go anyplace else in the world and people talk about the United States.  (They ask) Does everyone carry a gun? Do you have to fear for your life when you walk down the street?  The answer is no, but that fear is there for a reason, and you spend time in other developed world countries and they don’t have the same issues we have . . .”             —Chad from Ipswich, Massachusetts

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Sylvia from Salem, Massachusetts

“I’ve made up my mind (to support Hillary)–since 2008.  Experience, Brilliance, Commitment. -–Sylvia from Salem, Massachusetts

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–Ted from Durham, New Hampshire

“I’m supporting Hillary.  I’ve been a Democrat most of my life, so that’s part of it, but I also think that I’m not so much afraid of Donald as I am of the image that he portrays, and the ability for the rest of this country to look at that and have bad behavior because of it.  He noted that the image he projects to the rest of the world “is even scarier.  .  . the lack of respect for all human beings and the inclusiveness that he rejects . . .”  –Ted from Durham, New Hampshire

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Bill from Durham, New Hampshire

“I’m supporting Hillary Clinton.  She’s far more experienced and she knows what’s she’s doing whereas I don’t really like Donald Trump.  What about Donald Trump particularly bothers me?  Oh, let’s see:  the fact of his bigotry, the fact that he once went on record saying that he wouldn’t mind dating his own daughter, the fact that he went over to Scotland and kicked people off their land using . . . eminent domain. . . In addition to that, he led basically a lynch mob against the Central Park Four who were accused of assault.”  —Bill from Durham, New Hampshire.

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Jared from Exeter, New Hampshire

“I’m supporting Hillary Clinton.  I agree with most of her plans, and I think she’s a strong leader, who can cross beyond party borders.  I support most of her social plans, like I support  the LGBT community and the Black community especially.”  –Jared from Exeter, New Hampshire

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Menat from Exeter, New Hampshire

“I’m supporting Hillary Clinton.  I think Hillary has more of the majority of the people around our country’s  needs in mind—over Trump, and that’s the way I think our next President should be.  I think there’s a lot of unemployment currently . . . she has plans like implementing solar panels that will solve two problems in one—to make sure we have clean energy as well as employing more people. . . I think Donald Trump has this certain mindset that the top one percent of our country has, and that’s just not the majority of the thoughts and opinions of the people in our country, and I don’t think that the President should represent just the top one percent.”  Menat from Exeter, New Hampshire

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More Faces in the Crowd at the University of New Hampshire Event for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

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For over 300 MORE photographs of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Maggie Hassan, and Others at this event, please check me out on facebook at Hillary and Bernie Visit UNH!

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Won’t Get Fooled Again: Governor Romney’s Terrible Record in Massachusetts

A Video Spotlighting Governor Romney’s REAL Record in Massachusetts

Although I am a lifelong Massachusetts Democrat, I once made the mistake of voting for Mitt Romney (back “home” after saving the Olympics), and though I was hopeful, I almost immediately began to regret my vote–as did thousands of other Democrats who crossed party lines as well as independents and even some Republicans who realized how much he let our Commonwealth down.  The show is an indictment of Romney’s term in office, and is an excellent counterpoint to all the boasting that he has done about all that he supposedly did for our state.”  I feel strongly that studying Governor Romney’s record in Massachusetts is important if one is to understand what he might do if he were elected President.  It is important to note that earlier in his campaign, Mitt Romney asserted, “If people want to know what I stand for, they can look at my record as Governor.”  Consequently, I explore Governor Romney’s record in Massachusetts in the following four areas:  jobs and the economy, education, women’s issues, and leadership style.

The Show is entitled “Won’t Get Fooled Again:  Romney’s Record as Massachusetts Governor.” I am  a retired Massachusetts teacher and principal, a professional photographer, a husband and father, and a political blogger.  I have become very active in state and local politics since joining the Athol Democratic Committee this year. I  produced the eleven-minute slideshow which features a quite a number of my award-winning Massachusetts photographs in order to spotlight Mitt Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts.

At this point, the video–which has been online for just over three weeks–has been viewed and “liked” by nearly 50,000  individuals on the internet–from 48 out of 50 states across our country, including an especially large number of viewers from such battleground or hotly contested states as Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia, Arizona, Indiana, and North Carolina.  In addition, the video has drawn substantial and significant interest from over 17 foreign countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, New Zealand, Peru, Sweden, Austria, Japan, Ireland, and Saudi Arabia.

The video has been featured on several major Political websites:  “Voice 4 America,” “The Boomers Voting Democratic,” and “I Will Vote for Obama in 2012,” and “Positively Barack.”   In addition, it has been viewed on the following websites:  “Formidable Republican Opposition,” “Colorado Democrats,” “Obama for America – Pennsylvania,” “The Huffington Post,”and “MittRomneyVideo.com.” The afore-mentioned sites have a viewership of well over 200,000.  In addition, it has been posted and re-posted innumerable times on “Twitter,”  “Zomobo,” “Twikle,” and–of course–“Facebook.” The video has been “shared” by viewers on their own websites over 2500 times, and it has generated over 400 comments–overwhelmingly positive–from interested individuals.

If you wish to view the video, you can go to the following link http://tinyurl.com/cmz2ywu or just Google “Grosky and Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

 

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What does Obamacare–the Universal Health Care Plan—actually say and do?

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MAJOR NEWS BULLETIN! Supreme Court UPHOLDS all portions of Obama’s Healthcare Law—despite all the conservative majority on the court–and despite all predictions! Conservative Chief Justice Roberts sides with the majority on this 5-4 decision. Great news for all Americans! Court said that the mandate is constitutional—despite the conservative republicans in 27 states who said that this was unconstitutional. The court said that this individual mandate was not upheld under the commerce clause but WAS upheld as a constitutional tax on those who choose not to buy insurance. Clear victory for the Obama administration. Clear major defeat for the Republicans in 27 states who sued—saying that it was NOT constitutional. Now the supreme court of the land says that those states (and all those Republicans) were absolutely WRONG—and that the President was RIGHT……..can’t get any clearer or plainer than that! Here is a case where the very conservative Chief Justice Roberts put the law and the constitution above politics to make a decision based upon what is the right thing to do—strictly according to constitutional law. Kudos to Justice Roberts, to the Supreme Court, and to President Obama!

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Reflections on the 2012 Massachusetts Democratic Convention

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As you can see from the photo collage above, I was very excited about being a first-time delegate to the Massachusetts Democratic Convention this past weekend in Springfield, Massachusetts.  Having recently joined the Athol Democratic Town Committee, I eagerly looked forward to being directly involved in the Democratic (and democratic) process of selecting a candidate to oppose Republican Scott Brown in the race for Senator of Massachusetts.  I spent much of Friday evening enjoying Springfield by visiting separate receptions for U.S. Senate candidates Elizabeth Warren and Merisa DeFranco, as well as receptions for Lt. Governor Tim Murray, and State Treasurer Steve Grossman.  I also had occasion to see Congressman Richie Neal from Springfield and my own area congressman Jim McGovern.  I owe my friend on the Democratic Committee (as well as my wife) a big thank you for successfully wielding my camera and taking some really nice photos of me with the various candidates, a favor I returned, in kind, for him.

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Marisa DeFranco’s reception was rather sparsely attended, while Elizabeth Warren’s reception was absolutely packed with eager supporters.  The line waiting to get into Ms Warren’s reception at Theodore’s extended nearly a block outside throughout the evening. I enjoyed some barbecue ribs and conversation with supporters, but then moved on to other receptions, as there were hundreds of supporters waiting for a spot inside the restaurant, and we were unsure if Candidate Warren would show up, and if so, when?  (Note:  I did very briefly meet Candidate Warren later on in the evening as she was leaving Theodore’s).

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We moved on to a much smaller reception for Candidate DeFranco in the courtyard of Adolfo’s Restaurant.   Still, the smaller size of the DeFranco reception allowed me and my party to sit down and relax at a table, and to speak for 15-20 minutes to an enthusiastic DeFranco supporter who was explaining why Marisa was a great candidate   When Ms. DeFranco came in, I encouraged her to come to our table to speak to us, and she happily obliged, spending about 15 minutes with us–earning strong points for her warmth, her sincerity, her background as a lawyer for immigration issues, and her feistiness in carrying the fight to Scott Brown.   I was impressed with her, yet overall was more impressed with Elizabeth Warren, when I heard Ms. Warren speak twice on Saturday.  I like what Elizabeth Warren espouses regarding support for the middle class, jobs and the economy, accountability for Wall Street, protecting Medicare and Social Security, and civil rights/equality issues.  I also very much respect her background in education and her instrumental role in the founding of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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The next morning I went to the AFL-CIO breakfast at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, to see Elizabeth Warren and Joe Kennedy III speak. The room was packed, so my buddy and I sat on the edge of the stage with some other delegates while we munched on bagels and coffee.  We were shooed off there—naturally—once the speakers began arriving.  That worked out fine, however, as it earned us standing positions just 3 feet in front of the stage—great for viewing and listening to speeches (in a noisy room) and for photographing and videographing the speakers.  The speeches seemed designed to energize the crowd, and—as such—they were shorter versions of their usual stump speeches.  I plan to include excerpts of these speeches on my YouTube site sometime in the next day or two (http://www.youtube.com/user/mrgrosky1?feature=watch).  I enjoyed seeing and hearing from many Democratic Party luminaries from past and present including Tim Murray, Steve Grossman, Martha Coakley, Joe Kennedy III (running for Barney Frank’s seat), Former Governor and Democratic Presidential Candidate Mike Dukakis (with his wife Kitty), Rep. Richie Neal, Rep. Jim McGovern, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Ed Markey, former Democratic candidate for governor Warren Tolman, State Auditor Suzanne Bump, Newton Mayor and Former Senate Candidate Setti Warren, Massachusetts AFL-CIO Secretary Louis Mandarini, Jr., Secretary of State Bill Galvin, and Governor Deval Patrick.

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Elizabeth Warren’s speech showed both  passion and boundless energy, and helped to further energize the crowd.  It also helped me to begin the process of finalizing my decision on the race.

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After the breakfast, we headed to the Convention itself in the arena.  We saw tributes to retiring Congressmen John Olver and Barney Frank and then a rousing and emotional speech by Governor Patrick.  We then saw video tributes and fiery, passionate speeches by first Elizabeth Warren and then Marissa DeFranco.   After the speeches, it was time to vote—one by one—as we shouted our vote to the teller in our area.  From the votes I heard, I said to my friend, “I don’t think that Marisa DeFranco is going to get anywhere near the 15 percent she needs in order to get onto the ballot.  From the votes I’m hearing, I’d be surprised if she even got 5 percent.”  As you know by now, Elizabeth Warren won with 95.7 percent of the vote.

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In response to those on the internet or in the media who claim that Marisa DeFranco did not get a fair shake at the convention, I strongly disagree.   First, I was not pressured there by either of the candidates or by their supporters.  I felt–as did the overwhelming majority of Democrats there—from nearly every town and city in Massachusetts—that it was our responsibility to put forth the very best candidate who could best beat Scott Brown–something we regard as extremely important to the Commonwealth, to the nation, to the average citizen—to the middle class and the poor. Among the ways that Brown has hurt middle class Americans is 1. His filibustering of the American Jobs Act, 2. His filibustering of the Teachers and First Responders Back-to-Work Act, 3. His filibustering of the Rebuild American Jobs Act, and 4. His filibustering of the Middle Class Tax Cut Act (TWICE) Consequently, we need to ensure that the candidate who faces Scott Brown in the fall is the strongest possible candidate.   It is NOT our responsibility to put forth 2 or 3 candidates—just to honestly vote for the person we felt was the best possible candidate. No one was railroaded, steamrolled, or run over by a bus. All that happened was that in an absolutely free vote by delegates (elected freely by local Democratic committees) the vast majority of delegates (95.7 percent) voted for Elizabeth Warren rather than Marisa DeFranco.  For disapproving Republicans, this was—in fact—the exact same process followed when Christy Mihos did not receive the required 15 percent when he ran for the Republican primary two years ago against Charles Baker.  For a nicely-written blog on the very OPEN and FAIR voting process, please visit http://www.richardhowe.com/2012/06/02/elizabeth-warren-and-the-95-77/ For more notes on the convention visit http://www.richardhowe.com/2012/06/04/notes-from-the-democratic-convention/

Note: ANY registered Democrat can join his or her Democratic Committee, become a Delegate to the Democratic Convention, and vote as he or she wishes at the Convention.

Nearly all delegates with whom I informally spoke believed that Elizabeth Warren is an excellent candidate—and the strongest candidate to oppose Scott Brown.  Many felt—as do I—that a 2-3 month primary fight against a Marisa DeFranco would have unnecessarily drained time, energy, and money from the Warren campaign, resulting in her beginning the fight for the actual seat the Senate until the fall.  If DeFranco’s polling numbers and finances gave her even a long shot’s chance, that may have—just MAY have—been feasible.  But to waste months of campaigning time, as well as personal energy and campaign financing—on a primary fight against someone who may be a fine person, but is simply has virtually no chance of winning is a poor strategy for success against Scott Brown.  I believe that Elizabeth Warren has an incredible intellect, a strong record, and a genuine concern for the citizens of both our Commonwealth and our Nation. She will be an extraordinary candidate, and I eagerly look forward to her upcoming debates with Senator Scott Brown.

Note:  Many more photos from the Convention are posted on my flickr site which can be accessed very easily by clicking on the link in the sidebar at the lower right hand corner of this page.

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The Feb. 22 Boston Solidarity Rally for Wisconsin Workers

 

The Boston Statehouse Solidarity Rally for Wisconsin Workers

 

The headlines for my local newspaper today–while not unexpected–were still stunning.   “Wisconsin Assembly OKs Bill Taking Away Rights!”  What’s more, Wisconsin’s governor and state assembly–by their actions today– may have created shockwaves that will be felt nationwide over the next year to three years.

At the February 22 Boston Solidarity Rally for Wisconsin Workers, I was able to observe up close and personally how the actions of the Wisconsin governor and the Republicans in the legislature have divided our country.   On (mainly) one side of the street adjacent to the Boston Statehouse were the unions—the teachers, the firefighters, the ironworkers, the nurses, the Teamsters, and others who were protesting the attempts by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to not only force public employees to contribute more to their pensions and health insurance plans, but also to totally eliminate collective bargaining with the single exception of bargaining over salaries.  In the event this scenario passes, one might assume that bargaining over such rights as pensions, health care, working conditions, hours, sick leave, vacation time, promotions, layoffs and termination—all of these and more would no longer be subject to collective bargaining.

 

Participants in the Rally

 

 

On the other side of the street–adjacent to the Public Gardens, were the Tea Party members and like-minded individuals who were supporting Governor Walker and seemed to feel that the unions had too much power and that union members possessed too many benefits which were bankrupting the states.

While the rally was peaceful, there was little love lost between the union members  and the tea party members.  Those with union ties  see their  benefits and family security being threatened.  Teachers spoke about needing the best possible working conditions–including reasonable class sizes–in order to provide the best education for their students.  They pointed out that Massachusetts has the best scores in reading and math in the entire country, words echoed by Governor Patrick in his speech near the end of the rally.  Other workers spoke about unions having secured safe working conditions in dangerous industries.  Many hearkened back to the time of their parents,  grandparents, or great grandparents who had to struggle with unsafe conditions prior to the advent of unions.

 

Teachers at the Rally

 

For the Tea Party members, their focus was on what they see as excessively generous benefits of those in the unions, especially those in the public sector.  They repeatedly shouted that unions should have to give up money and benefits–just like others have done in these difficult economic times.  To this argument, many union members noted that unions had already sacrificed salary and taken furlough days at difficult economic times in the recent past—that their benefits were hard-earned–often at the expense of no raises or raises which barely met the cost of living increases.

What seemed to be particularly galling to the union members to whom I spoke (some on and some off-the-record) was that the tea party members and their families were all profiting from the work of unions in demanding decent pay and benefits for all—a 40-hour week, a decent minimum wage, safe working conditions, sick leave, protection from unreasonable termination—all benefits that many people simply take for granted today.  That these Tea Party members should now be attacking those unions who secured them these benefits that we often call working rights seemed not only extraordinarily ungrateful, but even outrageous.

 

A Different Point of View

 

While union leaders have declared that they would make concessions in both retirement and health care contributions–concessions that would amount to an 8 percent  pay cut– as long as they could maintain their rights of collective bargaining for working conditions and benefits,  the Governor has turned down that offer and has refused to sit down and negotiate.  Governor Walker, for his part, has “refused to either negotiate or compromise.”  He is quoted in USA Today as retorting, “We don’t have any money.  You can’t negotiate in good faith if you don’t have anything to give…For us, negotiating about not balancing the budget is not an option.”

It is clear that  all of the vitriol leveled toward teachers and public workers on radio and television talk shows is having an effect.   I heard many of the tea party members mouth words heard on shows featuring Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck.  While driving to the rally, I tuned in to talk radio to pass the time, and managed to hear  Rush Limbaugh tell his audience that he compares the situation with public workers and teachers to that of bank robbers who have been robbing banks for 30 years and suddenly find that they can no longer rob banks for a living. ”  This level of mean-spirited and vicious hyperbole is unacceptable and even contemptible in a democratic society which at one time prided itself on its ability to discuss even the most controversial topics with not only rational thinking, but also at least a modicum of civility and decency.

At this important juncture in Wisconsin’s history, I urge the Governor and the legislature to reconsider.  Sit down together.  Talk.  Surely the words of the Bible would resonate with many of the conservatives in the midst of this battle.  “Come now; let us reason together.” (Isaiah 1:18)  If all of the stakeholders in this dispute could sit down together–the best and the brightest–who’s to say that better, more equitable solutions would not be in the offing?  Some have suggested that perhaps some concessions might be more palatable and more fair if they wer made effective only for workers who entered the profession in the future, while those with 10 or 20 or 30 years of service would be grandfathered under the current benefits packages.  There are many creative ideas out there—some offered by politicians, others by teachers or firefighters or nurses or administrators.   Yet as long as people shout at one another and rely on threats instead of rational discourse, these ideas may never come to light.

To view the video highlights of the Boston Solidarity Rally for Wisconsin Workers, please see my 3-part video series at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7jNKgFP78Y and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6sCjYi1niI&feature=related and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3vEOjgSlx0

or just Google “mrgrosky1” –That’s mrgrosky with the number 1 attached at the end!

To view photos from the rally, go to Mitch Grosky flickr website:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrgrosky/sets/72157626010505141/show/

 

 

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President Obama’s December to Remember

 

President Barack Obama

 

 

Way back on July 3 of 2010, a reader of my Mitchell R. Grosky Photography Blog responded to my entry on “The Hope and Promise of Barack Obama” by writing, “How’s that hope and change working out for you?”  At the time, G.M.’s comment left me speechless.  Of course, I could have spoken out about the success of the Stimulus in helping to the stop the bleeding of the Bush recession and to begin to turn the tide on the economy.  I could also have pointed to the fulfillment of his pledge to end the War in Iraq.  Instead, I remained silent, knowing that I had certainly pushed the envelope by optimistically  placing our new President among his predecessors on Mt. Rushmore.

You can see the original blog entry at

http://mrgrosky.wordpress.com/2009/01/20/the-hope-and-promise-of-president-barak-obama

but my major point was this:

“In Barack Obama, I feel that we have a dynamic, compassionate individual whose wisdom, intelligence, and willingness to listen to others will be essential in confronting the enormous problems that confront America and the entire world. With the support, sacrifice, and work of the American people, it is my hope that President Obama will lead us into a brighter future, one in which people of all colors, races, religions, ethnic origins, and life choices, live in mutual respect. I look to a more peaceful world, one in which the greatness of America is manifest by the elimination of poverty and by the establishment of equal opportunity for all.”

Well, with the actions of President Obama and the Congress over the past two weeks, I now feel emboldened to respond not only to G. M. , but also to all of those others who may have asked that same question:  “So how’s all that hope and change workin’ out for you?”

To all of them I respond that President Obama–at the end of just the first two years of his Presidency–has accomplished an extraordinary amount!  Not only has he ended the  War in Iraq, not only has he passed a sweeping health care bill, not only has he taken steps which are leading to an improving economy, not only has he improved the outlook on America among nearly all of our allies, but he ends the year with these five amazing successes:

ONE:  He has fulfilled his commitment to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”–ending discrimination against gays and lesbians who fought for our country but were removed from the military.

TWO:  He has extended the tax cuts which will ensure nearly all working Americans a payroll tax cut of at least 1,000 dollars—even at the expense of continuing those tax cuts for the rich (which he had hoped to eliminate but was unable to do so because of the Republicans’ intransigence) .  This bill also extended unemployment insurance for millions of Americans still without jobs.

THREE:  He has passed his number one foreign policy initiative: the Arms Control Treaty with Russia–the new START treaty which will “scale back leftover cold war nuclear arsenals” and make for a safer world.

FOUR:  He has secured a deal for a bill which will provide 4 billion dollars for medical care of first responders who became ill after inhaling fumes and dust from Ground Zero on Sept. 11.

FIVE:  He and Congress have passed new sweeping changes in food safety, increasing inspections of food processing facilities and forcing recalcitrant companies to recall tainted food.

Each of these accomplishments is significant by itself.  Together they establish President Obama as a very successful President in just his first two years—especially when all of these successes have come despite the Republican party’s announced goal of ensuring from Day One that President Obama not be given any successes at all.  Having proven beyond a doubt that he will do all he can to fulfill his campaign promises, President Obama begins the second half of his first term with a new respect for his perseverance, his intellect, his compassion, and his commitment.

Sure—the Nobel Prize may have been premature, as was my semi-tongue-in-cheek anointing him as heir to Mt. Rushmore……but the accomplishments noted above prove that President Obama is well on his way to a Presidency of Extraordinary Success.

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