Sunday, September 9, 2012

It's "That Time" Again & Awesome Flash Fiction Contest!

It's that time again. The time that comes around every four years. The time where huge distinctions are drawn and friendships and family ties are tested. The time when political ads rule the airwaves and bumper stickers declare our allegiances. The time when we look deeply at who we are and determine what values define us.

I believe this election provides the clearest choice in modern history. The candidates are distinctly different not only in their race, religion, and backgrounds, but - and this is far more important - in their vision for America.

I love politics, but I have to say, I'm a little disappointed this election cycle. Sarah "Moosehead" Palin was far more entertaining than Paul "Blue Eyes/Black Heart" Ryan (or as my fiance calls him. "Captain A-Hole.") Truth be told, I had so much fun during the last election. Of course, I can't take all the credit, after all, Sarah made it SO easy. (I'm a maverick! You betcha!)

This time, however, it's not nearly as funny. In fact, it's downright serious and some might argue, frightening. That's because this time we've got two candidates whose values, visions, ideals, beliefs, backgrounds, and ideas for the future couldn't be more distinct.

Here are a few of the basics: (Links included so you don't think I'm making this stuff up.)



Of course, this is just a brief overview, but the choice is chillingly clear. We will either have...
  • An America that believes in equality for all, or equality for some. 
  •  An America that is guided by personal religious beliefs, or by what is best for all Americans regardless of religious (or non-religious) beliefs. 
  •  An America where men are valued more than women, or one where women are equal to men. 
  •  An America where gays are denied the right to marry, or one where they are granted the same rights as straight people. 
  •  An America where women can choose what is best for themselves and their families, or one where the government makes those choices.
  •  An America where healthcare is withheld from millions of people, or offered to all. 
  •  An America where those on welfare are considered "bleeders," or simply people who need help when they fall.
And if the big issue for you is fiscal, then remember this: America has created more jobs and done better fiscally EVERY SINGLE TIME A DEMOCRAT HAS BEEN IN OFFICE. Trickle down economics doesn't work. Or, let me rephrase. Trickle down economics doesn't work for anyone who isn't fabulously wealthy. Although the GOP wants us all to believe the myth that the Republicans are better at all things fiscal, it's simply not true. And, assuming you're not a bigoted, right-wing zealot, I imagine you agree the GOP's conservative viewpoints on social issues are anything but inclusive, practical, or kind. Therefore, if they are not better fiscally OR socially, why on Earth would you vote for the backwards values of the GOP? 

In case you missed the conventions and haven't been following Mitt and Ann's story, here they are talking about how they struggled. Mitt actually had to sell some of his stocks when they were in college in order to pay the bills. (I know, hold back the tears.) I, for one, can't imagine how difficult that must have been. 

So, what are your thoughts on politics, my friends? I'd love to hear them. 

Also, I have a question for my fellow writers: Are you of the mind that you should keep your mouth shut on politics and religion because you may alienate readers, or do you feel life is short and nothing should hold you back from speaking your mind? 

(Obviously, you know how I feel, but please don't let that stop you from stating your point of view.)

Also, writers, don't miss this AWESOME FLASH FICTION CONTEST going on right now over at my friend Suzy's blog with an opportunity to have your query or first ten pages reviewed by agent Anne Bohner of Pen and Ink Literary or editor Vicki Lame of St. Martin's Press. But, hurry! The deadline is midnight EST on Saturday, September 15th.


Jamie Mason said...

I don't feel like I have to reign in my opinions because I am a writer, but I do find myself reluctant to engage politically, in depth, on public forums. And it is a writerly concern that shackles me: I don't know that I'm very good at it.

I'm a mediocre cook, and two-and-a-half-star singer. I'm pretty good at Charades and Pictionary, and I'm a reliable, albeit amateur, Dear Abby. I'd like to think I'm a good writer. I can usually bend the nuances of English around the idea in my mind.

But political opinion is a complicated web of history (both personal, national, and international,) circumstances, disposition, and projection. It's complicated enough that I doubt my skills to get it out on cyber-paper, clearly and accurately, with the proper citations to shore up my conclusions.

So, I leave it to the studied and the intrepid. I nod or scowl at the screen. Sometimes I even have my opinion tweaked (occasionally even changed) by what someone well-more confidant that I will write on these vital topics.

So, please, all you opinionated, passionate, civically-minded people - write it down. Post it online. Link your sources.

I need you.

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Jamie, You are wonderful beyond words (hah!). I've been engaged in the political process since I was a child. I actually remember "campaigning" for Humphrey and against Nixon when I was young The strange thing is, my parents weren't politically active - I guess I was just born with that fire in me. Politics fascinates me and I think it's so vitally important, that no matter how I try, I can't keep my mouth shut.. I love your honesty and your mastery with words. You always inspire me. (((hugs)))

Daisy Whitney said...

I don't care for politics and nobody wants to know mine so I prefer to discuss dog fashion on social media

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Daisy, Good for you. If I wasn't interested in politics, I wouldn't talk about it, either. And, I could never inform the world about dog fashion, so I'm glad you're there to do it. Also, you're one of the most supportive writers I've had the pleasure to meet along the way. I'll never forgot hte books you sent me. xoxo

Anonymous said...

All to often, dicussion of politics to seeems to driven by trying to be of identity?

When one side is right all the time .....I wonder, why is one side right all the time?

Many people I talk to, can not find it in them to give the other side credit, even when they deserve it.

If you can not see the value in there "other" opinion, how can your opinion have value?

I don't's a mystery.

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Anonymous, That is a great point. For me, there are things the GOP have done in the past that are commendable. Where the problem lies today, is how the Tea Party has so completely hijacked the party and tossed it as far to the right as it can go. If I were a Republican, I'd be demanding my party take a long, hard look in the mirror to determine who it wants to be moving forward: either the respectable party it's been, or the RWNJ party it's turning into.

jedlight said...

Thank you for posting your opinion. At first I thought I shouldn’t get into politics; that politics and writing don’t mix, but it turns out they are the perfect combination, especially in this election where truth is getting a beat down. I thought I’d lose all my followers on Twitter during the past 2 weeks with my political tweets, but it turns out that writers aren’t afraid to speak out or listen. Strangely enough all the writers I follow seemed supportive of the broader Democratic agenda. Maybe it’s that writing is an art, that we think things through, or maybe it’s just the writers I follow, but I was heartened.

I did write a blog entry at the height of the RNC when I could barely stand to watch, which can be found here

Since then I’ve been fond of writing that Romney/Ryan are trying to take us back to 1984 . . . to Big Brother and Newspeak.

Thanks again.

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Aline, Thanks for your thoughts. For me, regardless of which side you're on, as long as you are well informed and speak your mind eloquently, I will listen. I sincerely hope Obama wins by a landslide and we can continue to move forward with the restoration of our country. It took eight years to destroy our economy, and will take at least eight to repair it. Also, I read your blog post. Well written, and I couldn't agree more.

George Edwards said...

I am not a Republican, of course, but I am certainly not a Democrat. During Clinton's administration there was relative prosperity in comparison to Bush and Obama. You could say that Clinton engineered that prosperity... but I don't think people want to hear or see anything but correlations that confirm their own bias. So yeah.. this looks like an article filled with confirmation bias. After all, Republicans were in the majority in both the Congressional houses. Did that have no influence?

Honestly though, there is very little difference between political candidates once they enter office. George Bush and Barack Obama are basically the same people. They both practices the Keynesian school of economics (debt spending, war, and quantitative easing). These policies don't work... or the economy would have turned around when Bush passed the first stimulus package.

Equal pay for men and women? According to an economic study, men and women DO have equal pay as long as you adjust for time a mother spends bearing and raising children. This detracts from women's experience in the workplace and their chance for pay increases. Equal pay is an honorable ideal but no law can make it happen without consequences that are worse than the initial problem. For example, price controls in world war 2 created artificial scarcity rather than more affordable prices for consumer goods.

The solution? For me it is reducing the size and scope of government. They kill more people than any other institution in human history. In the past 100 years, government have killed more than 270 million of their own people. This DOES NOT include war. War is also a terrible terrible thing. With people like Bradley Manning in jail... there is no justification for it. Obama has bombed Libya, Syria, continued in Afghanistan where he should have withdrawn. When the truth is revealed a low ranking soldier goes to jail. Does Obama free him? No. He is a sad excuse for a moral person. I don't say this in support of another candidate (save maybe Ron Paul), but because the entire system is inherently bad. Markets and spontaneous order work a heck of a lot better. The market production of defense (anarchy) would be a lot more cost effective and a lot less violent.

Anonymous said...

As long as you adjust for the time women spend raising children?
As a father who stayed home, I find this assumption flawed and sexist. Equal pay for equal work done at the job.
You have alienated single women, non-mothers and same-sex couples.
I am saddened by your small-minded and narrow defense of unfair practices!

Robin said...

Debra, I don't think either party is right about ANYTHING.

However, Obama's Healthcare Bill is enough to get me to vote for the GOP. The digger you deep into that travesty, the worse it gets. It is NOT healthcare for all. It takes money away from Medicare... money that every taxpayer has paid into since they started working and shuttled it into his healthcare bill. It throws seniors under the bus. I don't know what it will do to people like me on Social Security Disability.

Here is what I do know:
*It has eliminated ALL money for residency programs for med students electing general practice as their field. I know this because my doctor works at a research hospital and is aware that all of these programs have been CUT by the Health Care Bill.
*The goal is for Private Business to pick up the tab on these programs. Parlay that out, according to my doctor, and in a matter of years, the only person who will be able to see an MD will be someone who works for an IBM, GM, or other big business.
*What we will see is big business "buying" doctors because they are funding their residency programs.
*The average person will not be able to see anyone higher on the food chain than a PA. Those practices will have an MD who oversee the practice, but does not see patients. That is what your healthcare will get you.
*People will become disenchanted with this system. Who wants to pay for healthcare when they cannot actually see a doctor? I know I wouldn't. If you don't pay for the health insurance, you will be FINED. Much like car insurance.

Robin said...

*Another friend of mine, who is a realtor, is already aware of this situation. She doesn't have health insurance through her realty company because the premiums are so high. She looked into catastrophic insurance, but decided she would rather just pay one of those centers in the event she had a problem. She is young and healthy.
*Turns out that she got a memo from her company that she would have to pick up Obama's Health Insurance. The coverages are not much better than the catastrophic coverages she already investigated and the premiums are MORE expensive.
*She is going to pay the FINE.
*However, if she were a MINORITY she would be exempt. She could check a box and get FREE health care. Basically, nothing about her situation would be different except that would be a minority. She could RIDE THE SYSTEM and live off the rest off of us. The people who were working could pay for her health care.
*The other thing about the Health Care system is that grants automatic citizenship to illegal aliens. No longer is there a test. No longer do they have to learn about this country, etc. It takes away from all of the hard work that every other illegal alien who worked his/her collective butt off to get into this country. They studied to learn about this country because they LOVED it and wanted to make something of themselves. This system just allows people to live on the government dole. It disrespects every single one of those people who LOVE THIS COUNTRY and WORKED TO GET HERE. And now they will be disrespected because of this system because no one will know who is who when the truth comes out about this horrible system. People will turn on each other and hate will run rampant and we will tear each other to pieces. Anyone who is not white will get the short end. People will turn on each other. It will be ugliest thing American History has ever seen. It will be like a YA Dystopian novel... only it will be real. We will have crumbled from the inside.
*And it won't be just the GOP. If Obama gets re-elected, the worst offenders will be the people who voted for him. They will feel the MOST betrayed. They trusted him the MOST. I already don't trust him. It will be all the people who believed him. And it will set this country on fire. Nothing hurts more than betrayal.

All of that said, freedom of speech is the one thing that makes this country great. I think that everyone should feel confident about posting their beliefs. And I still respect yours. And I believe in many of the things that you believe in. Right now, I believe we have to save ourselves from someone who is trying to destroy us from within. When Nancy P. stands up there and tells you not to read a bill and just "sign it," the system is flawed. And when people do it, they need to have their heads checked.

Read Obama's books.

Love you, Debra. Never stop speaking your mind.

Robin said...

I just read George Edwards comment... LOVE RON PAUL.

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Wow, some interesting comments here.

George, Thanks for your well thought-out words. I agree with "Anonymous" regarding equal pay for women and disagree with you regarding Obama's stance on war. He got our troops out of Iraq, and plans to do the same in Afghanistan in about one year. He also repealed DADT, which Romney would never have done, and has said he is favor of marriage equality, which, of course, Romney is not in favor of. These are HUGE differences in both vision and policy.

And, Robin - I appreciate your thoughts as well. I have very close ties to some doctors (including my ex), and I don't believe any of what you said about them in regards to the health care bill is true. In fact, my GP is thrilled with it. Also, there are many great parts of the Affordable Health Care Act, like coverage of kids on their parents' insurance plans until they are 26 and coverage for people regardless of previous health conditions. Did you see the family at the Democratic convention speak? Without "Obamacare," their daughter would most likely not survive due to insurance limits. Here's a clip:

J.R.Roper said...

I vote for Debra Lynn Lazar.

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

J.R. Hah! I'm afraid I've got too many skeletons in my closet. The GOP would have a field day with me. That said, I'd gladly release my tax returns. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Your political opinions left me with a clear sense of whether I would read your books. No, I wouldn't because of the depth of your investigation --I too want the things that you listed-but upon further investigation, you would see that some of the means of getting those things are red herrings.
As writers, we have to look beyond the obvious story.

Sincere best wishes, and may we both see this reaction as a way to write deeper and more original words.

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