Richard Elfers

Friends, enemies and political memories | Rich Elfers

“Friends come and go, but enemies are forever.” This was a comment from a small-town mayor who had been involved in politics for almost 20 years. His statement is also true on the national level based upon an editorial from Theunis Bates, managing editor of “The Week,” in the March 25, 2016, edition.

Deciding in a topsy-turvy election year | Rich Elfers

As you may have surmised from my last three columns, I will not be voting for Donald Trump if he is the Republican nominee for president come November. Because of that, I decided to attend the Democratic caucus. I know the Democratic primary election will not be used for determining this state's nominee; only the caucus counts. Not very democratic of the Democrats, but, hey, it's politics.

American voters will have the final word | Rich Elfers

“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” stated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Change course or suffer consequences | Rich Elfers

Every year there are 500 million border crossings into the United States, according to Philip Bobbitt in his March 9, 2016, Stratfor article, “Borders in a Borderless World.” Those crossings have resulted in 11 million illegal/undocumented immigrants living the United States.

GOP experiencing an identity crisis | Rich Elfers

Is the Republican Party in its death throes? Donald Trump’s recent victories during the Super Tuesday primaries show the Republican Party in a major identity crisis, according to Christian Science Monitor writer, Linda Feldman, in an article entitled, “Super Tuesday: Trump’s Victories highlight GOP’s Identity Crisis.”

Choose a path, live with consequences | Rich Elfers

“We’ve tried intervention and putting down troops in Iraq. We’ve tried intervention without putting in troops in Libya. And we’ve tried no intervention at all but demanding regime change in Syria.” These are the words of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who reflected on the decisions of western leaders who tried to plot the best course regarding hotspots in the Middle East.

‘Realpolitik’ strategy becoming clear | Rich Elfers

President Obama is seriously underestimating Putin's strategy in Syria, according to Reva Bahalia in a recent Stratfor article, "Ruthless and Sober in Syria." "Back in October 2015, the president dismissed Russia's involvement in Syria: 'Mr. Putin is devoting his own troops, his own military, just to barely hold together by a thread his sole ally. The fact that they had to do this is not an indication of strength; it's an indication that their strategy did not work.'"

Solutions neither loving nor smart | Rich Elfers

Sex before marriage was frowned upon in the 1950s. It was considered shameful for a woman to be pregnant and not married. Parents sometimes sent their daughters off to isolated places away from curious and critical neighbors and friends to avoid the stigma that accompanied premarital pregnancies.

European Union to United States of Europe? | Rich Elfers

The European Union has been shaken to its very foundation. The euro is straining relationships between the wealthy northern nations, especially Germany, and the southern nations, Greece in particular. Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and Afghani refugees are fleeing the civil wars that plague their nations for a better life in Europe.

Admit mistakes and take responsibility | Rich Elfers

Do you know people who stay in the same rut their whole lives? They never change; in fact, as they age they seem to get worse. If you listen to them speak, their mantra is always that someone else was to blame for failures – the government, their political opponent, their spouse, their children’s teachers, the boss, God, whoever.

Each side has strengths and weaknesses | Rich Elfers

President Ronald Reagan was a master politician. He created a conservative narrative about government that resonates with conservatives to this day. The problem with Democrats, according to Drew Westen in his book, “The Political Brain”, is that they have no competing narrative; in fact, they have no narrative at all.

The last freedom is the choice of one’s attitude | Rich Elfers

Recently one of my courses at Green River College was dropped due to lack of enrollment. I wasn’t happy about it but there was nothing I could do. That left me with a choice: to mourn the loss, or to appreciate that I had enjoyed the benefit for five years. I chose to appreciate what I had.

Thoughts of death shape our politics | Rich Elfers

Does this apply to you? “More than 250 experiments in more than a dozen countries have demonstrated that reminding people of their mortality – activating networks about the fear of death – tends to tilt our brains to the right” (Drew Westen, “The Political Brain”).

The pursuit of happiness | Rich Elfers

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness….” These words make up the heart of who and what America is as a nation. But what is this pursuit of happiness? What does it mean?

Let’s get ready for a tumultuous 2016 | Rich Elfers

After the 9/11/2001 attacks al-Qaeda became our terrorist enemy. Today it is ISIS. If the pattern continues and we are able to weaken ISIS as we have al-Qaeda, another terrorist group will rise like “whack a mole” to take its place.

Issues change, but attitudes endure | Rich Elfers

The opposing visions of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists have battled and continue to battle each other since the U.S. Constitution was ratified (passed) between 1787 and 1790. These political parties have switched roles at differing times in American history.

‘Anti-immigrant’ is an American tradition | Rich Elfers

“This refugee stance is so un-American,” wrote Karen Morris in a News Tribune letter to the editor on Nov. 12, 2015.

Inflexible nationalism and beliefs a danger | Richard Elfers

World War II era German theologian Paul Althaus noted, “We Lutherans see Hitler as a gift and a miracle from God.” Why did most German Lutherans follow Hitler and not pastors like Dietrich Bonheoffer?

A historical perspective of Islamic State | Rich Elfers

I cringed as I watched the bloodbath claimed by ISIS in Paris in the news recently and wondered, “Why Paris?” The world was shocked by the wanton murder of at least 129 people while they ate their dinners, drove down the street and entered a soccer stadium.

The fourth estate and its responsibilities | Rich Elfers

Have you ever been asked “Gotcha!” questions in a public forum? This is what happened to Republican presidential candidates in the third debate recently. A few of the candidates called the moderators out on this behavior. It’s no wonder Republicans have listed “the liberal media bias” as one of their key talking points.