Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Today's Debate at Claude & Annie's in Fishers: Shawn Denney and Allen Ray Davidson, Democratic Party candidates for 5th Congressional District.

   We stream Civil Discourse Now "live" from 11 am to 1 pm each Saturday. You can catch The Show through "Indiana Talks" or Face Book. Our regular features---Kimann Schultz provides her "Fashion News & Muse"; Brandon gives his take on sports, and in "Tail of the City," the ever-corrupt Mayor Mallard uses TIFs to bilk the citizens of the fictional Marionville, Indiana. We will stream from Claude & Annie's at 9251 East 141st Street in Fishers. One of our guests will be Greg Purvis, candidate for Fishers Town Council.

   At noon we will have a debate between---I will try to switch the order of names for fairness---Allen Ray Davidson and Shawn Denney, candidates in the Democratic Party primary, May 6. The winner gets to challenge the winner of the Republican primary. Susan Brooks is the incumbent. She faces David Stockdale.

   There is another candidate in the Democratic Party primary, about whom I blogged yesterday. 

   Some people view politics, in the context of election campaigns, as a sort of game. Our culture is rife with analogies to sports. As children the notion of team play is drilled into us early as we learn the rules of football, baseball, and other sports. (Basketball, of course, is a genetic predisposition of people born in Indiana.)  Our school seemed to hire teachers based, first, on whether a specific candidate could coach. If he (always a male because the "real" sports were in the male competitions; females still competed in GAA back then) could fill a spot as a secondary coach in football or an assistant in wrestling, then he had a good chance of being hired. The coach-teachers would stress to use the aphorisms of Vince Lombardi and other sports luminaries---"Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."  "Show me a good loser and I'll show you---a loser." These views seeped into attitudes about elections. More than a few times people would say of a candidate, "I can't vote for him"---again, this was in the early 1970s, when few women ran for elective office in mid-North Indiana, and the few who did, like Katie Williams, lost---"he's just gonna lose the election and my vote will be wasted."

   The thing is---the outcome of an athletic contest is important to its participants, the fans of a particular team, and maybe some bookies. The outcome of a political race affects people's lives. To talk of election races as exercises in gamesmanship trivializes an important dynamic of our lives. If Florida's Secretary of State in 2000 had been a member of the Democratic Party, George W. Bush probably would not have occupied the White House. Gulf War II probably would not have been fought. We would not have run up trillions in debt to fatten the pockets of military contractors and oil companies.

   The third candidate in the Democratic Party primary for the 5th Congressional District is David Ford. David Ford IS NOT RELATED TO JD FORD---a candidate for Indiana Senate. David Ford declined our invitation to appear in today's debate as he had a conflict on his schedule.

   As I wrote yesterday, Mr. Ford appears to be a candidate who embraces principles of the "tea party." Five decades ago, the two major political parties embraced a wide spectrum of political views. There were Republicans who were liberals. The Democratic Party, since the Civil War, had held the "Solid South" in its pocket. FDR opposed Federal anti-lynching legislation out of fear he would lose the southern vote. "Dixiecrats" filibustered in the Senate to stop, or at least slow down, legislation for civil rights. Those were not times of which members of the Democratic Party should be proud. Then several things happened. In 1964, Senator Barry Goldwater won the Republican Party nomination for President and promptly lost the general election in a landslide. President Johnson signed into law measures to ensure the right of people, regardless of race, to vote. In 1968, Governor George Wallace, of Alabama, saw the rifts in politics and ran as a third-party candidate. Richard Nixon nearly lost the 1968 election. Wallace won electoral votes in the formerly Solid South. Nixon saw a chance to win over disaffected white voters in the South. The Republican Party began a shift to the right.

   The two major political parties, on a national basis, are dominated by wealthy elites. The Democratic Party has canted to the right to capture voters in competition with the Republicans. After all, that seems to say, why do anything to get the votes from the Left? For whom will people on the Left vote other than Democrats?

   David Ford's positions on some issues are vague. He was quoted as having said during Wednesday's debate that some matters are irrelevant, presumably to a candidate for the United States Congress, because those matters should be handled by the States. His general positions on government indicate someone who sees local government as being the solution to our problems. On health care, he dodges the main question---ACA or Obamacare---and sees our high costs for medical care in excessive malpractice premiums and high costs of medical education. His positions do not cite authority.

   In essence, David Ford is a person who appears to espouse principles of the "tea party," but avoids identifying himself as such. Perhaps he does so because a lot of people have become fed up with "tea party" members of Congress blocking actions by the government, or their shutdown of the Federal government---a shutdown that cost taxpayers an estimated $24 billion, according to Standard & Poore's.

   So-called off-year primary elections usually feature low voter turnout. Perhaps David Ford hopes to win the primary, as did Eddie Murphy's character in "The Distinguished Gentleman." People from "tea party" groups to which he has spoken can "cross over" and vote in the Democratic Party primary. Some people might confuse David Ford for progressive and Democratic Party candidate for State Senate JD Ford.

   I will say this again. If David Ford has run in the Democratic Party primary to win the nomination so he can launch a right-wing assault on the likely winner of the Republican primary, Susan Brooks---and my apologies to David Stockdale for that prognostication, but the numbers look that way---he should have said so by now. Otherwise, David Ford---who carries around a binder of quotes from JFK and Cicero---is advancing a knowing misrepresentation of the truth or engaging in a concealment of material facts to induce others to act to their injury. The misrepresentation of fact or facts are his real political views. The inducement is to get people who otherwise would not give someone of his ilk the time of day. The injury is those people will have voted for someone whose views they do not know and probably find repugnant.

   The elements I just have written constitute "fraud," according to Black's Law Dictionary. 

   Allen Ray Davidson and Shawn Denney will appear today for their debate. David Ford still is invited. At least Messrs. Denney and Davidson, as has Mr. Stockdale, have been open about their beliefs. Perhaps the problem can be stated differently. Let's say a county "tea party" group held its weekly or bi-weekly meeting and the usual 30 or 40 people (giving them the benefit of doubt) show up---but 40 or 50 "strangers" show up as well. These strangers pull out a copy of by-laws, ask for a vote, and elect those of their set to leadership positions of the "tea party" of that county. Maybe they even got a few votes from the "regulars" by raising a bible and talking about a return to biblical principles. Later, those people turn out to be socialists. They talk about the teachings of Jesus as canted toward helping the poor and giving little comfort to the rich. 

   Do you think the "tea party" people who be aghast?

   One aspect of the right to associate, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is the right to exclude. If we are to have two parties, there should be ideological differences between them. The "tea party" certainly has taken hold of the GOP. There are many who agree with me that the Democratic Party is not sufficiently to the Left. We should have had single-payer instead of Obamacare. With so much talk of budget cuts, none has discussed cuts to spending on the military. And if someone wants to get really old-fashioned, we can talk about restoral of a graduated income tax to the levels under Dwight David Eisenhower. In any event, if the Democratic Party is no place for someone with the "tea party" principles that have shut down or stalled our government and our economy for nearly five years.

   I wrote yesterday that David Ford is trying to perpetuate a fraud on the electorate of the 5th Congressional District. I neither have read nor heard anything to cause me to change my opinion.

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