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21st January 2017

Divided We Stand by Jeffrey P Frye

Politics affect everybody. It doesn't matter if you love them or hate them, because the simple truth is that human beings are political. From the 12 Tribes of Israel, to the halls of Congress and Parliament, to the pecking order at your job, to the cell block in my federal pen; politics are the way that we promote our agendas in the social arena.

What an election we had... and what a result. I write this a day after Donald J. Trumpís inauguration, which was greeted by almost as many protests as supporters. The former host of the reality TV program The Celebrity Apprentice, a person who has justifiably been compared to legendary circus owner P.T. Barnum, a person who has never before held public office, was formally made President of the United States of America.

Presidential inaugurations in America are about the civil transfer of arguably the most powerful job in the world. Elections also were a process largely governed by civility and self-control... but that was then and this is now. Now everyone knows politics is a blood sport, and civility has been trumped by base human ambition. And like our own social agendas, political ambition isn't something new... it's always been hiding in plain sight.

In America, there are two main political parties: the Republicans and the Democrats. The ideologies they openly promote are markedly different but, as we all know, a lot of the time a politician's walk doesn't match his or her talk. But let me try to simplify the core difference in ideology between these two political parties. I do this because I know that a lot of you who are out there possess the wisdom to click onto murderslim.com and read my blog are scattered to the four corners of the earth, and live in such places as Australia (Naomi) and India (Ujjwal at freedomfiction.com) and in Denmark (Rasmus). If you don't know the difference between a Republican and a Democrat, don't feel bad. The sad truth is that most Americans don't either. But who's more qualified to define politicians than a convicted Bank Blogger? Nobody that I know of. So let me try.

Democrats claim to be for the common man; for the minority. They believe in bigger government and that it's a person's individual right to expect their government to help them out financially through government-sponsored social programs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was a democrat who was the President during the toughest economic times that America had ever experienced. He created entitlement programs such as Social Security and Welfare to jump-start the economy and bring America out of the Great Depression. These programs still exist to this day and often define what an American's "rights" are. Democrats sell themselves as being the political party that's for The Underdog. Traditionally, they believe in taxes, spending, and their philosophies are construed to be more liberal. Democrats believe the government should serve as a wise and giving parent whose their to help (and sometimes support) their children. Republican's pretty much believe the exact opposite of this.

Republicans abhor this type of dependent philosophy and believe that it's an individual's responsibility to pull themselves up, not the government's responsibility. They are usually more fiscally conservative than Democrats and less inclined to fund social programs. They promote personal choice, but not as sponsored through government-backed programs. Republicans tend to be people who revert to and rely on the Constitution and believe it to be a literal document, not one whose interpretation evolves with time. They stick to the Bill of Rights, and such rights as the Constitution's Second Amendment right to bear arms (just ask any Texan).

Fundamentally, Republicans lean to what's called The Right, while Democrats lean to The Left. There are people in America who consider themselves Independents or affiliate with other fringe parties (Green Party), but they're in the minority and their affiliation (and beliefs) don't end up translating at the ballot box. At its basic level, the United States is a two party republic.

But, of course, the truth is things aren't really this simple. If you peel back the political onion you get to other layers. Layers that are much more ugly and not talked about.

For the last eight years, I've lived in federal prison. My demographic is comprised of the criminal class (who often have a twisted, self-serving philosophy of what's right and what's wrong). This demographic tends to be pretty base and often uncivilized. People in prison tend to see all the world through a lens of either black or white. Literally. I mention this because another characteristic and difference between Republicans and Democrats is unstated, yet it's reflected in each party's narrative. This characteristic is race.

A lot of the time, black people tend to believe that all Republicans are just for the rich and the white... and that they're racists. Conversely, a lot of Republicans think that all black people are Democrats who expect the government to give them a handout while the Republicans pay for it. These (often unspoken) beliefs are reflected in the narratives of each party, and also by the news organizations that tend to slant their way. If you doubt this premise, take 15 minutes in the morning and watch CNN's political coverage. Then take 15 minutes and watch Fox News. CNN favors The Left and Fox favors The Right. That's American journalism's modern definition of "fair and balanced." Even though there's some truth in both party's narrative, these narratives and points of view are racist in and of themselves. And part of the problem with the new-age millennial brand of diversity is that if you don't agree with a party's point of view, you're then labeled and demonized.

This type of diversity is the new segregation.

If a person believes in traditional marriage between a man and a woman, it doesn't mean she's a homophobe. Anymore than a person who believes that children should be able to use the bathroom for the gender in which they identify is a child molester or pervert. True diversity promotes inclusion... not exclusion. And just because a person is black or white or a Republican or a Democrat doesn't mean that they're a racist. It just means that they have different beliefs.

The people of America were obviously ready for a change and it didn't have anything to do with the color of somebody's skin. American's issues tend to be rooted to green, not black and white. Money talks. They didn't like that their premiums for their government-mandated healthcare went up 25% two weeks before the election; they didn't like the fact that a politician comfortably sitting in Washington was telling them how to think. The veterans who went to foreign lands and volunteered to lay down their lives for country and government were being tired of being denied decent physical and mental health treatment when they came home...all while the same government was fighting for people without American citizenship to be guaranteed healthcare. These are real issues that affect people and their ability to earn a living and raise a family, no matter what color you are.

Personally, I needed Hillary Clinton to win. She was committed to Criminal Justice reform and I'm smack-dab in the middle of a 20 year prison sentence. I likely would've received some type of residual benefit. As a prisoner, I have nothing coming from Donald Trump. That's not just opinion either. The day after his election, Wall Street rallied and had a record day. Take a guess which one of the sectors that performed the best was? The private prison industry.

People need to suck it up. George Bush had his era...then Barack Obama had his. Now, unbelievably, Trump is getting ready to have his. That's democracy. Everybody at least deserves the chance to fail. Only in America can a black President hand over the keys to the Oval Office to a somewhat polished used car salesman with no political experience. And only in America can a prisoner behind a wall blog to people all over the world about the result of an election that he didn't have the right to participate in. THAT is true diversity. That is also what makes America "great."

It's time to stop focusing on labels and race. It's time to stop promoting exclusion and spouting race-laced rhetoric. Or as President Obama liked to say, "C'mon, man."

Jeffrey P. Frye
Bank Robber's Blog