The Struggle is Real

My last twelve waking hours have been spent cruising the internet about Las Vegas and Puerto Rico and Trump and Fox News and the pros and the cons and the whys and the shoulds and the musts and the can’ts.

Large chunks of my mind tell me to shut it all down in self-defense. Throw the blanket over my head and hum La-la-la-la until peace washes over me.

The other chunk says to see more, watch more, look for a door that will lead us out of this madness.

CBS News, the world that gave us Cronkite, the world that now has Charlie Rose (and oh-my-gawd Gale King – what is that about) spent the morning asking the victims how they felt. Please.

I am more interested in what our government officials think, what the NRA thinks, what Trump thinks about Las Vegas. Not their prayers, what they are willing or not willing to do.

I am sick of news coverage being about network ratings. Can we please have NEWS instead of photo ops.

The coverage of Trump in Puerto Rico should have been details about what has and has not been accomplished. The Trump speech should have been an apology and explanation about why it has taken this long and what is being done to get things moving more quickly.

The Puerto Rican leader should not let him leave the island until he and the tidy first lady sat down on broken chairs and shared a meal of what a native outside of the improved perimeter could manage to put together with local resources.

All I can think about is the pending doom of civil war… the return of the awful clashes of the 50s and 60s. The younger citizens who have no memory and little education about how angry this country was, have no understanding of the impact of their rhetoric.

Steve Bannon and ergo Trump want anarchy. Corporations want war — it has always been good for business. Bannon says this out loud. The corporations would never say such a thing, but the stock market is rising.

Once again, I am the child of the 50s who saw the air raid shelter sign on my elementary school and even then knew that the mushroom cloud was bigger than my school. I was not fooled.

I want leaders who constantly search for peace.

I want leaders who constantly search for fair allocation of resources.

I want leaders who constantly search for solutions for waste.

I want leaders who know in their soul that we are a tiny planet filled with needy people and greedy people hell-bent on taking all they can get, but there must be restraint.

I played golf with a man whose career is morning radio in my small town. He yucks it up with his female co-host, supports local community businesses, at the forefront of good works and thinks the Trump administration is doing a wonderful job. He thinks gun control must never be considered. He thinks a border wall will keep us safe. He thinks univeral healthcare is a terrible idea.

Why does he think this? He is not inclined to share. He is mostly in the “it’s a good thing it’s not Hillary camp”. Now there’s an argument for the advancement of democracy.

What I think is, he does not need univeral healthcare, he is a white male living in a small town and is as safe as safe can be. He listens to Fox News and the voice in his head — stroked everyday by Fox New coverage — is that we must fear THEM. THEY are trying to take your freedom. THEY are infiltrating your safe little life.

And the very worst thing I am thinking is that Steve Bannon and company convinced a 64 year-old white guy to kill as many people as possible and then kill himself in the name of moving the needle closer to what Bannon wants.

He may be the first United States of America¬†jihadist…. or whatever you want to call a home grown terrorist who also hates everyone from the Middle East, South America, Africa, and Asia. The jury is still out on Scottish and French. We know the Germans are pissing them off but they think the Russians are cool.

Like I said. Blanket over head.

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Not really the same

I was just looking out my back window at a view that has pleased me since the day we moved here.

It looks like it did yesterday. Nothing has changed but the wind and the number of clouds.

Nothing has changed and everything has changed.

Today, Mr. President imposed gag orders on government employees.

Today, Mr. President complained about illegal voting. Nobody…. nobody agrees with him

Today, Mr. President did an interview where he said all media expect Fox News was wrong.

Today, Mr. President said torture was good.

Today, the president of Mexico cancelled a meeting because Mr. President said he was going to have Mexico pay for his wall.

Today, the entire senior staff of the State Department walked out.

Yesterday, the Dow Jones crossed over 20,000. I don’t know what that means but I think it has something to do with war being good business. I hope I’m wrong.

Last week, my family physician gave me an anti-anxiety drug. It’s sort of working but I may need to double the dose.

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Thoughts in the Night

While watching PBS’s American Masters featuring Sidney Lumet, I was suddenly struck by connection between artists and the Democratic Party.

Lumet told the story of being called before the committee for un-American activity. This awful committee was led by Joseph McCarthy. I had to look it up. He was a member of the Republican Party.

We are all molded by our personal experiences. Some come from family, others from affiliations throughout our lives. We are all capable of change but there are some markers that are difficult to erase. Others should remain as guideposts for staying the course.

I have said before that I have been a life-long Republican. I think I have been fooling myself.

A vivid memory is my mother’s repeated telling of the period in her life when she refinished¬†our living room furniture. If you have ever seen The Sixth Sense, it is the same furniture that was in the boy’s home. Rock maple exposed frame and loose cushions. Mom said she was so angry while watching the hearings led by Joe McCarthy that she almost sanded one of the arms off.

There are few people around ready to publicly defend the McCarthy hearings and yet many, too many are rallying behind the paranoid rantings of the rising Republican shouts.

The history of the naming of names and black balling that happened in Hollywood, the theater, and many other forms of art must still in the conscious DNA of those still living and those who are privy to the stories told by those who experienced it first hand. Small wonder they do not follow the party of McCarthy.

Today’s loudest Republicans point to Reagan as the acme of their ideals. Ronnie did not stand up against the intent of this committee. Looking back it appears that he did a gentle soft-shoe and kept his nose clean. Way to represent our Constitution.

I still prefer the fundaments of a capitalist ecomony but I do not fear socialism. Isolationism, bigotry, intrution into my personal life, corruption, treason… these are things to fear.

Refusing to recognize the human impact on the planet will be our doom — unless loose talk and tweets start launching the actual weapons of mass destruction.

“I asked her for some happy news, but she just smiled and turned away”

 

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Now What

Another blogger has challenged me to become politically active.

One of her first actions was to switch party affiliation from Green to Democrat.

I was born into a Republican community. In my early years, the formative ones before I was fully aware of my own autonomy, these were the virtues, the life directives, the foundations upon my life choices were/are made.

See what needs to be done and do it, you are responsible for you own actions, education is it own reward, expect nothing for nothing, The Golden Rule, your opinion matters, if you make like a rug people will walk all over you, save money, contribute to your community, write thank you notes, treat the planet with care and respect, wear a hat, close the door, seek new places, trust that voice in your head, make your bed, sometimes choices are made for the greater good.

There is much of what I think Democratic Party is about that goes against my fundamental belief that there is no free lunch. Public housing gives me the creeps. Generations functioning on the taxpayers’ backs is contrary to my being taught to handle my own life.

On the other hand, the current depiction of the Republican party is awash in corporate greed, bible thumpers who only read the chapters that fit their bigoted hatred of “them”. Does any one human being really need a billion dollars? How does a self-described Christian use any sentence or feeling with the word “hate” in it. Christ’s teachings were nothing but love and tolerance.

The construction of a new political party seems beyond my scope. In this age where it is tilted toward ME what about ME, consensus (the other core of my Quaker upbringing) feels too far out of reach.

Switching party affliliation delays the reining in that needs to happen now. I can’t wait and see.

I will personally introduce myself to the representatives of my party (such as it is). I will attend committee meetings and throw a wrench into the conversation.

I will not make like a rug, Mom.

 

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Since you didn’t ask….

I am a child of Huntley-Brinkley and Walter Cronkite. I can’t remember the guy on ABC, we (that being the tiny world of my immediately family – a highly opinionated, always right gang of eight) thought he was less than the other two.

Television news came on in the evening and lasted 30 minutes. The men sitting at the table talking into the cameras were actual news people who researched and wrote their stories.

They only had 30 minutes and they chose wisely. They understood that the human frailties of any given public figure was not a measure of their professional stance. They did not carry on about Kennedy’s Addison’s Disease and who he sneaked into the Lincoln bedroom last night – they were more concerned about the Bay of Pigs.

Of course there was bias, you can’t eat a peanut butter sandwich without somebody saying strawberry jam is better than grape jelly. That doesn’t mean they didn’t leave out the important stuff.

I have to scroll through pages and pages of crap in the hopes of finding some kernel of actual information on the internet. Scott Pelley tries but he has some contractual obligation to include a dosage of tripe in every broadcast.

Don’t get me started on Fox News… okay I’ll start. They need to change the name to Fox Speculation and Hype. I get so wrapped up in wondering what the people on their broadcasts look like without makeup that I forget to listen to the content. Oh, that’s probably a good thing.

I know how we got here. The rational voices on NPR radio have been explaining it to me for weeks. By the way, they also explained the housing crash in a way I finally understood. More people should listen to them BEFORE they make the next choice for public office.

So we are here. At least three times a week I hear something on the TV or radio that makes me so sad that I find myself weeping and I am not a weeper.

I am frightened. For the first time in my 66 years in the relatively peaceful country and my well above average life, I am afraid.

I am afraid that Trump’s flippant remarks and outrageous choices for staff will bring terrible things into this country. I live miles from a major military facility. It doesn’t take much imagination to conjure up a bombing strike getting a smidge off course and landing on my house — or worse.

As a child we were terrorized by H-bomb drills in elementary school. My only prayer was to be at ground zero so I wouldn’t have to suffer the radiation slow death…. how’s that for a thought.

I haven’t agreed with every law that has come down the pike in the last 50 years, but that’s just politics. Democrats and Republicans have moved in and out of the White House without much ado. Sure the schools are crap and the military spends too much money but I suspect the blame for that lies in the legislature.

The president doesn’t have that much power…. unless he’s an insecure loud-mouth bully with a twitter account.

On top of all that, I live in North Carolina. The land where our leaders think transgender individuals are likely to abuse children in restrooms. It’s never happened, but they want to make sure it never does…. meanwhile, the average high school graduate has to go to community college to learn how to read, write, and do arithmetic. Priorities people.

I have friends and family who think Trump is a good idea, celebrating his election. I still haven’t figure out how to handle that except to talk about the weather. The trouble is, I have a family legacy for not remaining silent.

My parents, my Quaker meeting stood up against the things that were of fundamental importance.

I don’t know where to begin with a friend whose explanation for her vote was, “I know he has said and done some bad things but he is going to be good for the country.”

So, I write my to my government representatives and a clerk transcribes my contact information so they can send me requests for donations to their next campaign… never mind that my letter said I will not vote for you again if you stay on this path.

What to do, what to do?

 

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Global warming on a chilly morning.

All of the discussion about what humans have done to Earth confuses me. If trees make oxygen and we cut them all down, there is less oxygen. If we dump our garbage in the ocean, the ocean is a dump. All fossil fuel is finite, have we no regard for man’s future? Why not find the solution now? Is another million in the pocket of the coal & gas man worth the negative affect on the environment? Our planet is no different than your home, if you don’t take care of it, it will eventually fall down. Certainly not in any of our lifetimes, but the human race has been bludgeoning the planet for a long time. It’s time to give the old gal a chance to recover. She knows how . We just have to stop picking at the scab.

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No horse.

What a shame you had to leave the pony at home.

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