Dan Lopata

Live, Love, Listen

Archive for the category “politics”

Where did the friendly Sky go?

Last Friday my oldest daughter got married. This wedding was a huge milestone. As a kid she went through many many struggles which included many trips to the hospital and tons of therapy. She is content with a full time job that she likes, a townhouse that suits her needs and found the perfect nerdy compliment to her and married him. My wife just posted a really nice picture of me with my kids at the wedding, but I can’t ‘like’ it. It’s missing one. It’s missing my youngest who was not able to attend. 

He is in the hospital battling similar stuff that my oldest battled. As an addition, he’s transgender which adds to the severe social anxiety he deals with. 

I miss him, I’m worried about him, I don’t know how to help him. Chances are good he’s going to a long-term inpatient program located an hour and a half away.

My heart, being filled with joy for my oldest is completely broken for my youngest.

I’m depressed, literally (I take meds and do therapy for it), and I’m lost.

Most of you know I’m also very much the activist for progressive causes; BLM, Gun Control, Economic parity, Universal Health Care, and LGBTQ rights. So when I’m dealing with my son I’m completely immersed in Transgender issues. When he came out, I swore that I would not let his gender identity consume me and become the primary signifier of my identity. That is impossible. 

Jeff Sessions has decried that gender identity is not a protected class and employers can fire people purely because they are trans. Trump has issued an E/O barring transgender persons from serving in the military. Bathroom bills are passing in states across the nation, further alienating my son and those who are gender non-binary. The suicide rate of transgender individuals is close to 50% and transgender individuals are murdered at a higher rate than any other class of people. Because they aren’t a protected class under Title VII or Title IX, their murderers cannot be charged with a hate crime.

The cards are stacked against him for simply being himself.

And there’s nothing I can do to make it better. There’s nothing I can do to make him better from the internal issues he deals with and there’s nothing I can do make it better for him externally.

The only thing I can do is talk about it, write about it, and try and educate people in order to help change the oppressive culture we live in.

It’s hard for me, it’s lonely for me, I can’t even fathom how hard and lonely it must be for him. 

Knowing all of this, you’d think it would be easy for me to call out offensive language and behavior toward minorities, women, and the LGBTQ community, but it’s not. The behavior is so ingrained and accepted in society it’s hard not to feel like “the bad guy”, “the over-reactor”, and guilty for calling people out. It’s hard for me, even when I’m so close to those being oppressed.

I need your help. I have no energy left. I need you to pick up the slack of calling out the language and behavior of repression while I focus on what’s best for my son. Can you help make the world better while I help make my son better?

All I want is for my kids to find contentment and comfort with being themselves like my oldest has. You can help.

Retraction, not voting 3rd party, but kind of am…

Really short

I have taken closer looks at platforms, campaign methods and candidates, and even though I live in NY and want more than two parties, I want to vote for a Third Party I believe in. Right now the Working Families Platform most reflects my beliefs… IT IS NOT PERFECT. I will be voting on that line, because their platform more closely conforms to my beliefs. So yes, it is kind of a Third-Party vote, but you find that all of the candidates on that line are also Democrats, so it isn’t a Third-Party vote. I’d welcome more independent candidates endorsed by WFP, so there’s that.

UPDATED: Why I am voting for a 3rd party presidential candidate and why you may or may not consider doing so yourself.

Go Here for Retraction : Retraction


“But you’re wasting your vote,” “Voting third party is a vote for Trump.”

Nope, I live in New York State. Right now Hillary is polling at 50.3% to Trump’s 33.6% in NYS. I can check these polls up to October, and if it changes to the point that Donald is within 5 points of Hillary, I will vote for Hillary. But as it stands, me voting for Hillary now works against my/our best interests of breaking the two-party system.

Now I have a lot of friends saying that if every Democrat in NYS did this then Trump would win NY. First, if we go with that actual hyperbole, if every Democrat voted Green in NYS then Jill Stein would win NY getting all of the Electoral votes in NY and preventing both Trump and Hillary from getting 270. That would be fun! Secondly, what kind of reach and influence do you think I really have? But if that is how you feel, okay, that assures me that my reach and opinion holds little sway and therefore Hillary will win NYS because too many people feel this way. Look, there is a 3 million vote buffer in NYS, do you really think that many democrats understand what getting a third party to 5% of the vote means? I didn’t think so.

But, to appease my friends in Blue States, let me then make the pitch to ALL Democrats and independents in Red States:  ID, MT, ND, SD, WY, UT, KS, TX (Primarily Texas), OK, MO, AR. AK, LA, MS, AL, TN, KY, IN, SC. Look, your vote for Hillary isn’t amounting to a hill(ary) of beans, you’re not beating Trump in those states. All Democrats voting Green in TX, TN, and IN alone would get the Greens to a 5% threshold. Your third party vote wouldn’t be a vote for Trump because you wouldn’t win anyhow; it would be a vote FOR breaking the two-party gridlock. GO OUT AND DO IT!

What about Battleground States? By all means, if you live in NV, AZ, CO, MN, IA, NE, WI, MI, OH, ME, NH, PA, VA, NC, GA, FL vote for Hillary, We can’t afford a Trump Presidency. Particularly if you live in PA, OH, MI, FL. Your third party vote in those states are a vote for Trump, this is bad.

“So you keep talking about this 5% Threshold Dan, what is that all about?”  The Federal Election Commission offers great perks for Political Parties that break this threshold. These include:

Since no third-party candidate received 5% of the vote in the 2008 presidential election, only the Republican and Democratic parties were eligible for 2012 convention grants, and only their nominees were eligible to receive grants for the general election once they were nominated. Third-party candidates could qualify for public funds retroactively if they received 5% or more of the vote in the general election.

So, this is NOT a protest vote. This is not a vote for Trump, and it is not a wasted vote for me. A write in becomes a wasted vote because unless the name is recognized by the federal commission it is discarded (A Bernie write in is a horrendous vote, it means NOTHING). This vote is a vote FOR something, not AGAINST something. This is a vote for viable alternatives to the two-party system which frankly has become a party on the right and another party on the far right.

I think we all can say that we are really fed up with politics as they are. I’ve heard many say that they will stay home because their vote “doesn’t matter” and in non-battleground states this is true for the Presidential election if you only vote Dem or Rep (Not so true about down ticket elections). So here is an opportunity to take on status-quo politics and make your vote matter.

Furthermore, many have said, and I agree, that third parties need to start at the local level then grow. This is true, third parties will be taken more seriously when you see them with records in government from Dog Catcher to Mayor to State Senator to Governor to Congressperson, but part of the effort to get those names and policies seen by voters come from funding at the federal level. This is why getting that national ticket to 5% helps the grass-roots effort of building a viable third party. So yes, I will be also voting down-ticket for people and policies I believe in. To be honest the Greens that have run locally are not good candidates, nor are they always better alternatives to the traditional parties, so I will vote my conscience in these local elections. That does not mean I won’t get involved and not have discussions with the local Greens. I would hope they would run some better candidates because I like their platform.

Also, I’ve heard that Jill Stein is not the best candidate. Let me be clear, I am not voting for the candidate, I am voting for the platform and I am voting for MORE DEMOCRACY by getting more voices in the public square. I do not agree 100% with the Green platform, but I believe it is better than the Democrat’s and the Republican’s platforms, and I believe it is important to have more voices in the process.

The final objection I’ll address is that having a Green Party just distills the Democrats and assures Republicans a win. Not so, It becomes an opportunity for Democrats to adopt planks in the Green Platform thereby eliminating the need for a Green Party. The same can be said on the other side of the equation with a socially liberal Libertarian Party forcing the GOP to adopt its planks. More voices = more democracy and greater representation, no matter how it happens.

So, when you fill out that card in November, I ask you to take a moment to think. Will my vote really matter in stopping Trump, or will I and the nation be better served by voting FOR more  voices in our democracy? The answer will be different for each person based on what you believe and more importantly by geography. I for one would like my NYS vote to mean something for a change.


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