My color is Ecru Cream

Alternative title – A Roze by any other name is still a Roze

I Have Been Weary

The other day, Jill Dennison of Filosofa’s Word posted “A SHARED OPINION …” in which she shared an article by Charles M. Blow of the NY Times, titled “You Have a Right to Weariness.” As usual, Jill’s comments to this article echoed my own thoughts.  It is a great opinion piece for our time of unsettling barrage of news stories. I have been weary.”   It’s not in my nature to ignore world events around me.  My eighth grade Social Studies teacher taught me, “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.” Winston Churchill.  Unfortunately, watching current events unfold makes me feel like I’m watching a train wreck about to happen, but I’ve no superpowers to stop it.

I thought I was Over It

As I attempt a smooth transition to my “Third Act of Life,” I am dealing with feelings and frustrations that I thought I had overcome or mastered years ago.  You see, I am a woman of color, I like to say it’s “Ecru Cream.” I describe Ecru Cream as a very light beige, like raw linen- almost white, but not quite. I lived most of my life that way-almost white.

I  am No One’s Anchor

I was conceived in Puerto Rico, and when my grandparents found out that their 22-year-old, unmarried daughter was pregnant; they sent her to Pennsylvania to stay with her married older sister, Evangeline.  Evangeline had migrated to the States a few of years before when her husband returned from his tour of duty for the US Army.  They bought a house and started a family.  My grandparents decided that Evangeline would be a good role model to help her sister in this situation, and so my journey of life began just outside “the City of Brotherly Love.”

No, I was not an “anchor baby.” My parents were born American citizens in Puerto Rico, and my grandparents were granted citizenship as young adults in 1917.  My grandfather was drafted to the US Military shortly after, just in time for WWI. Brooklyn

Nuyoricans “Passing” for an Opportunity

After I was born, my father came to see us at Aunt Evangeline’s house, and since my mother was “the love of his life;” we moved with him to New York City.  We joined his older sisters and brother who migrated and settled in Brooklyn. My parents seemed to quickly become accustomed to the new culture and way of life while maintaining and blending the traditional customs of the major holidays. We used to tease my mother that she learned how to be “American” by watching “I Love Lucy” and Days of Our Lives.”

My parents socialized very little with friends outside of work so that we spent our weekends and holidays with family.  For the most part, my family is very light skinned; my cousins and I grew up without accents, and our last names did not end in “Z.”  These characteristics gave people an opportunity to get to know us before realizing that we were just an illusion of whiteness.  Yes, we were “passing” as a means to have a chance.

In school, at the church and in the neighborhood, our friends were not Puerto Rican. Our friends were the first or second generation of immigrants.  They were Italians, Irish, French, English, Polish, Canadian, Brazilian or Middle Eastern. Most spoke a second language at home.  Together we navigated the Melting Pot culture of NYC and were absorbed into the American Dream.

Celebrity Magic Shows and Miracle Excelsiors

It wasn’t all easy peasy as my granddaughter likes to say and when I hear the rhetoric, I can’t help but feel a bit of fear and frustration.  I continue to say that DJT is not the problem. He is who he is and who he has been. He didn’t get more obnoxious on the campaign trail. He did gain more visibility. I was not a fan of his before, not as a businessman or as a celebrity. I never watched his reality TV show and rolled my eyes whenever he did a cameo in a movie that took place in NYC.  I was one of those that would have bet my last dollar that he would not get into the White House.  The American people would never vote a con-man into the highest, most powerful office in the country.  By Election Day, I had changed my mind.  I watched how Americans adored his bravado and his magic displays with smoke and mirrors.  I was not surprised by his win at all.  Mostly though, I was hurt.  I continue to feel betrayed by friends and family.

A Christian Education 

I knew race tensions existed, and I was aware the KKK was still alive and well, but the events of the past couple of years reach me at a very personal level. I am reminded of my years as a young adult, my first year away from home in a Christian Bible college.  It was a small Bible College in the North East, about an hour outside of The City.  In was presented as “interdenominational” in promotional events and material.  The leader of my city wide “interdenominational” Christian high school club recommended it highly.  Interdenominational meant that all Christians around the world were welcome. Even though Baptists founded it, the school welcomed students from Presbyterians to Pentecostals in all shapes, sizes, and color.  We had to include a photo with our application.

By the end of my first semester, I learned that indeed all that glitters is not gold and whitewashing walls is a quick, effective way to cover up dirt and imperfections.  We learned that the school accepted minorities and international students of color in pairs, one man and one woman.  It was preferable if they were already married.  One of our friends was “spoken to” because people saw her around campus accompanied by a Brown student.  To be truthful, I don’t remember what country he was from, but in my memory, I recall him as perhaps from India or Pakistan.  The girl was so upset by this situation that she did not return next semester.

The Founder and President of the school taught a class on Dispensations. It was in his class that I decided not to come back after my second semester. I did not go back to my local church either.  His beliefs did not resemble the Christianity I learned at home.  His lessons were peppered with digs and condescending, derogatory remarks about other denominations that were not entirely in accord with Baptist dogma. I questioned my beliefs, my faith.  It was years before I returned to an organized religious community.

Who Are My Friends?

There were many other things about the school that made me uncomfortable,but the most hurtful thing occurred after I left the school.  I had become close friends with my roommate and a few of the girls in my dorm.  Gwen, Margaret and I were inseparable.  Margaret and I made plans to visit our boyfriends at a Christian College in New England next semester. I continued to correspond with the girls by snail mail.  One day I received a letter from Margaret.  One line in the message hit me like a gut punch.  “Gwen and I miss you so much; we had to adopt another inner-city girl.”  Wow! I thought we were friends, real friends.  I thought she was my friend because we had a lot in common because I was smart, witty and fun to be around.  She saw me as an inner-city-girl who went to her school on a partial scholarship and lived in her dorm.

Disguised, They Came For the Immigrants…

Years later, I was working at a psychiatric day services program is a New England city nicknamed “The City of Immigrants.”  One day, after the clients left, and we were meeting to review the day’s events and planning.  There was construction going on around us, and the noise prompted a co-worker, Doug, to make some awful comments, similar to DJT’s views, about the men who were working on the project. 

The workers were mostly brown men if I had to guess they were probably from countries in South America and the Caribbean.  “I can’t believe you just said that,” I told him. His response to justify his words was worse. I explained that these men could very well be my cousin, brother, or father.  While he had never been disrespectful to me or made racist comments of our clients in front of me, it hurt me that he thought this way of these people he didn’t even know – just because of the color of their skin and their accents.

Doug was a man that I worked with for several years; we co-facilitated successful groups, we walked together at lunch, had our coffee together, I considered him a close friend.  He finally said, “I’m sorry, I  just wasn’t thinking.”  It didn’t make it any better if anything, it made it worse that he wasn’t thinking about the impact of his words.  Things were never the same between us.

Then They Came for Me…

People forget I am not “white,” I am a woman “of color,” Ecru Cream is my color.  If our country were to continue to erase all the progress made regarding equality for all people; if as a nation we lose respect for basic human rights what is left for us?  What becomes of me, of my family?  If someone comes knocking on my door and drags me away because of a flippant comment I made on Twitter, will my friends stand up for me?  Will they say, “Well, you shouldn’t have said that after all, he is our President.”  I remember the words of Martin Niemoller, “… Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

All this rhetoric brings all these emotions to the surface. DJT did not get to the White House on his own merits.  Witnessing day after day that our lawmakers condone and defend his actions is very draining.  I am reminded again: “…and when an experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  — George Santayana

Hope for Rational Government

The recent elections bring some hope that people realize that the current events are not just politics and business as usual, nor are they healthy for our Democracy.  On the flip side, the recent election shows that there is still lots of work to be done. The numbers were too close for comfort, and there were too many mistakes and too much irregularity at the polls. Yes, I am weary, but I am hoping that tempered and rational thought comes with the new legislators to Congress before we resort to “Hunger Games” for the dignity and survival of the 98%.  

Dem Majority can set useful goals in the House

Great opinion piece by Ronald A Klain of the Washington Post.   Now that elections are over, the democratic party needs to focus on prioritizing the needs of the people to restore some kind of balance in our Democracy.  Its time now to “resist” the negativity by getting to work regardless of what Twitter spews from the WH.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-first-five-things-the-democrats-should-do-with-their-house-majority/2018/11/06/54e99b3a-e1fc-11e8-ab2c-b31dcd53ca6b_story.html?fbclid=IwAR1TX4qnil1EtkKn_uGfggPyS_4niz6d0xByaMElll1j8ChGpPE8MdmE22k&utm_term=.8791018d4f7f

Why it Matters

The Question

During Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Senator Kamala Harris asked Judge Brett Kavanaugh the question that crossed my mind while hearing his opening statement.  “Do you agree that men can be friends with some women and treat other women badly?”  To which the Judge responded, “Of course, but the point I’m trying to emphasize is…” At which time he brought up the 65 signatures of women who have been his friends since he was fourteen. 

Here is a segment of Judge Kavanaugh’s opening statement:                                                  “Dr. Ford’s allegation stems from a party that she alleges occurred during the summer of 1982, 36 years ago. I was 17 years old between my junior and senior years of high school at Georgetown Prep, a rigorous, all-boys Catholic Jesuit high school in Rockville, Maryland. When my friends and I spent time together at parties on weekends, it was usually with friends from nearby Catholic all-girls high schools: Stone Ridge, Holy Child, Visitation, Immaculata, Holy Cross. Dr. Ford did not attend one of those schools. She attended an independent private school named Holton-Arms, and she was a year behind me. She and I did not travel in the same social circles. It is possible that we met at some point at some events, although I do not recall that.” Judge Brett Kavanaugh at Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

The Belief System

For several years I co-facilitated groups on Family Violence Prevention, specifically working with men who batter.  The educational model centered around the dynamics of power and control in relationships.  As part of the curriculum, we explore belief systems that present one person as inferior to the other and as such may imply permission to abuse another person whether physically, verbally or emotionally. 

One of the belief systems we addressed centered on the Christian teachings of the two Marys of the mentioned most New Testament. The belief dominates cultures based on strong Catholic traditions which include the Catholic Mariology dogma of a pure virgin, the Mother of God – Blessed Mother Mary.  The New Testament also highlights the story of Mary Magdalene, who according to tradition was a prostitute until she met Jesus Christ, and she became a vital figure in the community of believers.

During the educational sessions, our groups explored how these traditions are passed down through generations creating a belief that categorizes women in two roles; chaste, sober women as mothers and wives, while every other woman is of less value. One group of women is protected while the other is dehumanized. Strong language I know, but I think that during the past century we continue as a nation to figure out the boundaries and social norms in response to recognizing a women’s equal human rights.  I think the people in power feel threatened on many levels and in the effort to turn back the clock, we have lost that vision of justice for all.  

It is my opinion that this deep-rooted belief system may be the reason why there is a detachment from the events in Judge Kavanaugh’s memories; the reason he has no recollection.  In his introductory statement, he mentions the kinds of girls he chose to socialize with, girls from other Catholic Schools in the area.  I’ll bet that these probably were also the daughters of his parents’ friends or the sisters of his “brothers” at Georgetown or Yale.  He added that Dr. Ford “did not travel in the same social circles.”  One could wonder if that perhaps that made Dr. Ford a “non-person” to young Billy Kavanaugh and his social group.

Point of View: Privilege or Tradition

My theory can explain why her name did not get noted in his calendar and why he says he does not remember.  We tend to keep memories that are important to us.  It was a significant memory for Dr. Christine Baisley Ford but not for Judge Kavanaugh or any of the others.  The others did not feel trapped or fear for their lives.  It seems that for the others at the gathering, it was as Dr. Ford described it, just like any other “spur of the moment” gathering at someone’s house.  The other teens may remember it vaguely one of many chances to have a few beers, and if one got “lucky,” maybe get a piece of a$*.  Dr. Ford’s friend, Leland Ingham Keyser, came forward in support of her friend although she didn’t remember the event. We don’t know what she experienced that day. There were, after all, enough “friends” left in the house for another “triangle” –two boys and a girl.

During his testimony, Judge Kavanaugh made excuses for underage drinking.  Reports say he lied about the drinking age in Maryland at the time of the incident in question. Various online news sources point out the law was changed seven months before he turned eighteen in January of 1983.  A couple of times he mentioned that seniors at Georgetown Prep could buy alcohol because they were of age, but didn’t own the fact that he was seventeen when enjoyed his beer.  Is his view based on privilege or traditions and beliefs that “Boys will be boys?”  He avoided many questions with indirect answers, and instead repeated practiced statements to take up time.  Do we remember that he had coaching sessions before the hearing?   

Emotional Response

The Family Violence Prevention program also had an educational unit that discussed how people use angry outbursts to intimidate and get situations under control and to turn in their favor.  We see that displayed with Judge Kavanaugh and Senator Lindsay Graham, who I believe had additional reasons for his show of unbridled rage.  Kavanaugh started the afternoon as I saw many men in our groups, angry, blaming others and indignant that they were accused of such terrible things.  I would have had more respect for him if he had at least owned the allegations from his friend or his roommate, that he drank severely and that these circumstances presented so often, it was difficult to tell one from the other.  Instead, he belittled his friends in an attempt to make their recollection of him void, without importance or significance.   One he described a drug addict and the other disgruntled roommate – so much for loyalty.

How about those tears?  Was he ashamed or remorseful?  I’ll bet, not because he hurt these women, but because his future and the persona he worked hard to create was getting challenged.  The world was learning about another side of Judge Kavanaugh.  I believe Mark Judge’s testimony is in his book Wasted: Tales of a GenX Drunk, in which he described what life was like in the elite schools in the suburbs of Maryland.  In it, he has a character named “Bart O’Kavanaugh.” As a writer, I rename any character based on a friend or family member.  I play around with the names, leaving clues for some readers to recognize the person.   I believe Mark Judge did the same but put little effort into concealing the name to protect the innocent.  I wonder why?

Why it Matters in 2018

He was just a teenager in high school, a red-blooded young man in college, why does it matter now? Has it been an issue in his professional life before now?  Somehow the Judge Kavanaugh that we see now, managed to effectively play the game he was trained to win early on.  Could it be that his character was never questioned because he had the right credentials or the right pedigreed?  The current line of questioning centered on his professional experiences, until the allegations were made public.  After so many years in Washington DC, he was privy to the types of questions and then like a good athlete or debater, he began to practice and build muscle.  Besides the fact that there appears to be a cover-up of his character flaws, if we look back at his decisions in lower courts, we will notice patterns of consistent rulings or dissentions based on his beliefs and conservative politics.  In my opinion, they are not necessarily based on the merits of cases in front of him.  

blur close up focus gavel

I will briefly summarize points that caught my eye as they pertain to issues that are important to me.

-He has demonstrated that he does not favor separation of church and state. A 2015 dissent indicating ACA infringes on religious freedom and that organizations should not be mandated to offer contraception to their employees.  He has suggested that he is open to widening the flow of public funding to religious schools and during a CNN appearance in 2000 he predicted that the court would one day uphold school vouchers. 

– He wrote a 2016 opinion saying employers can require workers to waive their right to picket in arbitration agreements. 

-In 2014 ruling over an EPA rule on toxic mercury from power plants, he wrote in a dissent that EPA had acted wrongly in not weighing costs when it first decided to write a regulation. 

-He said the 2010 Dodd-Frank law had wrongly placed “enormous executive power” in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s single director, which Republicans and the banking industry want to replace with a multi-member commission. 

-In 1999 wrote on behalf of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a group that opposes race-based affirmative action in college admissions.

Character matters

I believe our core-self develops early on.  Definitely, by high school, our personality and character can reflect how we deal with what life brings our way. I am a firm believer that people can change. We mature, we evolve we come to terms with our beliefs, our strengths, and weaknesses. We remove or replace behaviors and make modifications in our lives to become better persons.  Likewise, of course, some people go in the opposite direction based on personal experiences that negatively mark their lives, but I have found they live with hope to change.  In either direction, in order to improve, we must acknowledge there is a problem.  There must be something we want to change. 

Here is another way to see what I’m trying to say.  rosalind.life/2018/09/29/with-the-mouth-she-kisses-my-kids/

Will he be confirmed if nothing catastrophic shows up in the investigation this week?  All things are possible.  After all, DJT is President, MRP is his Vice President, and the country is littered with government-sponsored zoos that exhibit human children in cages for their safety. 

Get out and vote on November 6th!

With the Mouth She Kisses My Kids

From the movie Analyze This                                                                                                 (Robert De Niro as a mob boss Paul Vitti and Billy Crystal as a psychiatrist, Ben Sobel)

Dr. Sobel: What happened with your wife last night?

Paul Vitti: I wasn’t with my wife, I was with my girlfriend.

Dr. Sobel: Are you having marriage problems?

Paul Vitti: No.

Dr. Sobel: Then why do you have a girlfriend?

Paul Vitti: What, are you gonna start moralizing on me?

Dr. Sobel: No, I’m not, I’m just trying to understand, why do you have a girlfriend?

Paul Vitti: I do things with her I can’t do with my wife.

Dr. Sobel: Why can’t you do them with your wife?

Paul Vitti: Hey! That’s the mouth she kisses my kids goodnight with! What are you, crazy?

I wanted to add the clip for a better understanding but I couldn’t isolate the clip of this scene. I’ve just added the dialog.                                                                                                   

adorable animal animal world cat

Think about that in light of the events of this week.  The situation is not a joke.

Stay tuned for my next post to see why it matters

In Remembrance

I heard the broadcasts this morning, “It’s been seventeen years.”  Each year as September 11 approaches we are called to remember the day when the unthinkable happened.  We will remember exactly where we were and what we were doing the moment we first heard the news that our great and powerful nation was attacked on our soil.  That day in New York City there were no Republicans, no Democrats, no white, black, brown, yellow, or purple.  There were Americans fighting to survive together. We are called to remember as one nation “indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”  Let us remember, let us never forget that all that we hold so dear can be gone in the blink of an eye.

For the first responders and families who lost a loved one, the remembrance has been 17 years.   Each day they wake up without a mom or a dad, son, brother, sister, wife.  They may wake up with a scar, an illness from the fallen debris or ash-filled air.  All I have left is to pray for their continued peace and strength as I promise never to forget and tell the stories to the next generation.   

Let us not forget, let us not take our freedoms for granted.  We are not perfect as a nation, but it is possible to make it work.  

Just Do It! Dream Crazy.

 

Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt

A few months ago I wrote a post about Freedom of Speech which included Roseanne Barr, Samantha Bee and of course a section on Collin Kaepernick.  In light of Nike choosing to work with Kaepernick for their 30th-anniversary campaign, and people burning their sneakers or cutting up their clothes, I felt the need to speak my mind about the way I see it – well because that’s what I do.   You’ve been warned!  (previously mentioned post can be found at the end of  this one)

How much “sacrifice” is enough?

silhouette of people beside usa flag

Let me start by saying that I support our Military and veterans.  I believe our veterans and their families make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.  Not just freedom for a handful of power-hungry individuals, for but for all Americans. I will add that it’s a shame that the money generated by owners of professional sports franchises and professional athletes themselves is obscene compared to what “benefits” our active duty military and veterans get.  I believe that one does not “honor” our country, our Republic by honoring a piece of cloth waving on a stick.  We honor our country by honoring its people – all of our people, all the colors, shapes, sizes and abilities. The dreams of our people have made us a great nation. We celebrate strength and persistence in our people. I believe that is the message of the Nike campaign. 

Let me follow that by saying, just to be clear; I do not purchase Nike products.  Not now, or as long as I can remember.  They don’t suit me.  The shoes are too confining, the shirts and pants geared to more athletic types, which I am not.   It’s a personal choice to be comfortable especially when I’m paying my hard earned money for a product.  

Having said that, I have to admit that Nike has excellent marketing and a catchy slogan.  I’ve used it myself when I’ve been obsessing about something I want to take on; for example, a new job, a major move to a new city or merely to get back on the treadmill and be more mindful of my food choices.  Usually, it happens that after weighing all the pros and cons, sleeping on it, consulting each and every one of my friends and family, I get up one morning and after I’ve brushed my teeth, I stare at the mirror and say sternly to myself “JUST DO IT!”   Suddenly I’m all pumped up and feel strong and confident like an Olympic athlete.  Actually, that’s how I started blogging one day. 

I want to share the full commercial that Nike is putting out as part of this controversial campaign.  I find it pretty neat.  It’s bigger than Collin Kaepernick, and it’s bigger than DJT.    https://youtu.be/Fq2CvmgoO7I

Over the past couple of days, the networks and all kinds of social and news media have had lots to say.  One of the first conversations I heard was that people took offense to the slogan that suggests that Kaepernick lost everything, but they contend, that Kaepernick had nothing to lose.  I don’t know much about the game; the sports reports indicate that he was a second-rate quarterback that had one good season and then was underperforming each year after that. That may be true, but I think sitting on a bench and getting an NFL paycheck is better than being without a job or sponsors even if you did walk away with one-third of your original signed contract.  ( ALL these sports guys get paid way too much anyway, but that’s another story.)

I also want to make clear that I am not a football fan, never have been – except maybe in high school because I was crushing on a couple of football players, but the charm wore off quickly as I realized I had more in common with the philosophers and artists.  The sport doesn’t hold my interest long enough to understand why all these guys run and pile on each other over and over again.  People have tried to explain it but – well let me be frank, I’m just not into it. 

I give Kaepernick credit for feeling so strongly about something that he was willing to risk the dream he had worked for since the fourth grade.  Maybe he just decided there was something better to wish for, like equality and justice for all.  2016 was a terrible year for high profile police shootings of unarmed African American men.  I went back to look at the disturbing footage before I wrote this piece but I will not engage in rehashing the past.  I will say that based on my experiences, I can appreciate the fear, the pain and the rage at the loss of life in an undeserving way.   

What is the issue?  

The other opinion I will share is that I believe the situation became toxic once DJT decided to make it an issue.  I watched his “get that SOB off the bench, he’s fired! ” speech in Alabama in 2017 in which he also complained that the game was losing popularity because when the players hit too hard, they get a penalty. When the not so subtle hints didn’t work, he started putting more pressure on the team owners because as he said, “…It will happen…most of them are friends of mine”. 

Before NFL team owners started getting pressure from the Administration to discipline, fire or get “control” of their players, it seemed that each team addressed the issue and the players’ right to “free speech” was respected. It was obvious to most that players were not disrespecting the veterans, the military, the country or the flag.  They still “worked,” paid their taxes, and obeyed the laws of this country.  Some commentators say the uproar over “taking a knee” would have eventually died down.  Of course, that didn’t happen. The team owners felt obligated to play the other game and drew up rules to appease the rhetoric.  Essentially they said, we don’t care, what you do, just do it where the public doesn’t see you

Let’s not forget after all, that there are groups that do not salute the flag, for example, the Jehovah’s Witness or the AnaBaptist like the Amish or Mennonite groups.    

 Jehovah’s Witnesses intend no disrespect for any government or its rulers by a refusal to salute the flag. It is just that they will not, in an act of worship, bow down to or salute an image representing the State. They view it as similar to the stand taken in Bible times by three young Hebrew men who refused to bow down before the statue raised up on the plain of Dura by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. (Daniel, chapter 3) – From Watchtower Online

and,

“The flag is fine, but we’re the only nation that worships the flag. It’s very heathen. The kingdom we live in, we pledge our allegiance to God, not the flag.” – quote from the PBS film “The Amish.”

All this research today, trying to get to the bottom of this leaves me with questions instead of an answer.  If Collin Kaepernick said was on a jet plane, and God spoke to him and told him to kneel before the flag instead of pledging, would it be OK? If it were Tom Brady, the number one quarterback in America, and who decided to take a knee to protest something that he felt strongly about would it be an issue. Maybe a better comparison would be Tim Tebow as another controversial figure and a mediocre quarterback who brought his personal beliefs on the field each time?  Is it really just a racial issue?  Was it more about saying “there is no problem here.”   Does Nike really aspire to inspire to unite?

Any ideas?

https://rosalind.life/2018/06/03/roseanne-samantha-and-free-speech/

 

Politics Anyone?

silhouette of people beside usa flag

Primaries are done here in Florida, and my two favorite candidates did not move on to November’s general elections.  I suspected as much, but I was hoping that others would get on board after they got to know them and saw how hard they were working.  Don’t get me wrong, we had many qualified candidates running for various seats, but these two guys gave me a good feeling.  They were in it, heart and soul; no frills, no deals –just hard work.  

I am pretty passionate about politics, not necessarily politicizing all current events or as in nonstop mud-slinging campaigns, but I am a firm believer that every vote does count.  I often hear people say they don’t vote because they don’t believe in the process or politicians are all crooks.  It is sad that people don’t care enough to do the research or look beyond the headlines.  In some cases, it’s getting past the smoke and mirrors to see behind the Wizard’s curtain as Dorothy did the Land of Oz.  It irritates me when the same people are the first to complain about the schools, roads, and the water pollution for example.  I have known a few politicians personally who sincerely got decided to get involved in politics for the love of their communities.  These individuals stepped into the arena believing one voice; one vote could make a difference.  We have seen it in recent history in Congress and the Senate and elections around the country.

I can speak most about the man who was running for a congressional seat in my district in this recent election. He lives in my city. I didn’t know him before, but I saw firsthand how he managed the campaign, but more importantly, how he handled himself, and I was moved to support him.  Let’s call him Fred.  

Fred is an educated professional, a trained social worker, and an executive director of a large healthcare facility.  If I were to guess, I’d say he’s in his early forties and looks fine in his campaign photos.  Fred is an unassuming family man who moved to Florida about 20 years ago from the Midwest, looking for a better life for his family with the chance to enjoy a variety of outdoor sports.  He and his family have been active in a local church and through the years have been involved in a variety of volunteer projects like Habitat for Humanity.  

Fred decided to get into politics after sitting with families in financial crisis due to medical bills while dealing with terminal illness and end of life realities.   Before the big news about toxic algae and intensified red tide blooms, he was concerned about the ecological changes to Florida’s natural resources and talk in Washington about eliminating Environmental Protection Agency safeguards.  In short, Fred decided to enter politics because he wanted to be a voice, an agent for change.   He had no interested in becoming a “career politician,” he wanted to get in get things done and get back to his family and his career, his life’s mission of helping the less fortunate.

During the campaign, Fred worked hard.  His was a barebones, grassroots effort.  He took pride in not taking any money from donors with big pockets who would later come knocking on his door for favors.  For the most part, he supported his campaign from his own finances.  He rolled up his sleeves to make signs, and tee shirts.  He traveled around his district knocking on doors and holding town meetings to hear the concerns of his constituents.   So why would a nice, qualified guy like Fred not make it past the primaries?   The answer is complicated. 

As I said at the beginning of this post, both primary candidates were well qualified but this is the Twenty-first Century, and it takes a bit more than good old blood, sweat, and tears to win an election.   His opponent, let’s call him Doug, decided to run shortly after newly elected officials began their term in 2017.  Doug then had a six-month head start to get his team together and get his name out there to begin networking and making connections for fundraising efforts.  Doug’s training was in administration and finances.  He had his own company and was skilled in marketing and selling his agenda in social circles.  He had a more integrated web presence including a well-organized and attractive web page.  These things are critical in today’s elections because our society has become reliant on social media for answers and information.   

Doug will need more funds for an intense media campaign to include TV and print ads as he looks toward the general election in November.   His opponent is the incumbent and has personal resources as well as the backing of the NRA and ultra-conservative Political Action Committees which can represent business, labor and a variety of special interests.  This brings me to why I am in favor of campaign reform, especially when it comes to fundraising efforts.

We have seen time and again good candidates, backed by well-meaning grassroots operations, unable to move forward due to insufficient funds.   We have seen special interest groups pour money into campaigns in order to cash in on favors that will benefit a specific group by way of policy changes or government spending.  In 2010 the US Supreme Court ruled that political donations and spending is a form of promoting free speech protected under the First Amendment.  Since then the Federal Election Commission, which regulates campaign money, has repeatedly asked Congress to amend the law.  If you follow politics, you will notice how much of what can be called “dirty politics” is protected under this law. 

I think we need to get back to protecting the rights of our citizens so that anyone who has the ability and the passion can run for office and succeed.   In the meantime, I will back the candidates that support my beliefs.  I don’t believe in extremes of black and white.  I think reality is mostly shades of gray.  The truth lies somewhere in the middle.  I believe that the United States of America is a great country. I believe that the writers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution had the foresight to know that the future would change their reality but the upcoming generations would be entitled to the same “unalienable rights.”  

With that in mind, I intend to volunteer for the candidates of my choice to represent me.  I will continue to encourage everyone to make informed decisions, to look beyond the headlines. Please don’t pass on misinformation just because the heading caught your eye. If something sounds outrageous, go beyond the headlines, look it up in different sites or publications.  Mostly I challenge people to cross over and listen respectfully with an open mind to what “the other side” has to say.   Not trolling for argument’s sake, but to really understand.  You’ll find that the average person on either side wants similar basic things.  Don’t buy into the fear and hysteria LOOK It Up and then share what you’ve learned. 

And there you have it my friend, my political spiel.   On to November! 

Why Is It So Hard To Reunite Immigrant Families Separated At Border?

I don’t begrudge this administration for getting tough on securing borders or irregular immigration (new buzzword from State Department). You will find most of us can agree on that, but I think all points of entry should be secure, not just the Southern Border.  I also oppose the spirit of the policies implemented to “uphold” the laws. The message has been clear that zero tolerance is for Muslims and people of color. 

Numerous fact-checking and media sites report that Barack Obama deported more people than any other president. DJT was correct on that one. Records show that he deported a couple million at least. All you have to do is type “Deporter in Chief” in your browser.  The difference is that the Obama Administration was upholding the law without the reality TV mentality, without fanfare or bells and whistles.  They followed the law as it was written by administrations before until they could make sustainable immigration reform. It was not all sunshine and lollipops, but they did not gloat in the predicament of those deported unable to obtain asylum.  They utilized family detention centers trying not to separate families, especially with small children. Unaccompanied minors were held in centers or placed in the least restrictive settings while trying to connect them with parents or families already in the US.  The Obama Administration did not set a goal of teaching lessons on illegal immigration to people from Central and South America.  The Obama Administration did not make a spectacle of the annual pilgrimage sponsored by religious groups and Pueblos sin Fronteras (translated People without Borders) to assure safe passage to people in need of Asylum.

The significant difference in 2018 immigration policy and procedure that has caused humanitarian outrage is the story of the “tender age” children that were separated from parents without warning.  Some too young to speak, others less than five years old didn’t know their parents’ real names or where they came from.  It has been reported that parents seeking asylum did not have an opportunity to speak to children to explain what was happening before the children were taken away. Younger children and toddlers, of course, are the most vulnerable.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that there was no reliable documentation about the separations.  No one knew which kids were sent where?  They need DNA to find kids to match with parents?   

I’m glad others have contributed additional information about the fate of these children, Lest we forget

Please read below.

https://wp.me/p14KRi-2eLU

DJT and the KGB

I had a few busy and fun packed days this month. I apologize that I didn’t have the foresight to plan ahead and schedule posts for the time I would be away.  Still learning, lesson learned.  Now and then I had a few minutes of quiet while the kids were playing outside and I would at least try to share something with you that I thought was interesting or thought-provoking.  Thank you all for the comments.  I always appreciate the feedback, and I answered folks that shared their thoughts with me.

In case you missed it:   

I was visiting my grandchildren in a “Bible belt” state, and it’s usually is a bit of a culture shock. It takes me a few days for my ears to adjust to the accent and for my brain to remember I’m in “polite company” in a very Red section of a Purple state.  I wish I could say I was totally disconnected from the news and social media, but that’s not who I am.  Despite spending days having fun with my granddaughters and their parents, it seems that the only thing my muse wanted to talk about was politics.The Red, White and Blue

A few crucial issues dominated the headlines over the past weeks, but today’s meeting between DJT and V Putin topped the cake. I’ve put my original rant on hold.

I started to watch the joint news conference after their meeting, and I had to stop.  It was like watching a bad spy movie, but it’s real.  It’s all too real; like a bad Reality TV show.  As I listened to DJT read his address, I wondered if KGB wrote it for him.  Our DJT was talking about the importance of diplomacy?!  As if!

There is no doubt in my mind that Russia is close to achieving its goal of replacing the USA as the leading world power.  With each step DJT takes toward isolation, KGB steps in and offers that Russia can help with that

I think the idea really hit me in June when Nikki Haley announced that the USA was withdrawing from the UN’s Human Rights Council amid criticism of the “zero-tolerance” policy that separated toddlers from their families at the border.  Ms. Haley used the “anti-Israeli sentiment,” but it was the Administration’s immigration policy that was on the table.  The US withdrew on June 20, 2018. The same day Russia put in papers for candidacy to the Council.  Russia had lost re-election to its seat on the Council in 2016 for its involvement in supporting Assad in Syria.  DJT has been talking about taking troops out of Syria for some time.  KGB feels they have what it takes to bring peace to the area and protect Israel’s interest.  DJT talks of leaving NAFTA, “Russia strengthens ties with Mexico.”  The primary purpose of NATO was to build an alliance to protect member countries from Soviet aggression.  Trump harshly criticizes NATO members and praises KGB. There are too many parallels to ignore.

It was shameful that he publically acknowledged that he chooses to believe KGB’s strong denial regarding meddling with elections as opposed to our own highly skilled professionals.   I wish DTJ realized that this is bigger than him; beyond him, his ego and his allies. Our democratic system was tampered with – period.  

I can only hope that DJT’s behavior has sparked enough concern among GOP leaders to use the tools written in the Constitution to pull the reigns before he does more damage.  I can only hope and vote them out in November.  Although the other major party is still somewhat disorganized, in general, it’s still a better option.

 

OH NO … I Have Caught … Trumpitis! — Filosofa’s Word

Thanks for sharing.  I think i have it too!

There is an epidemic, a genuine health care crisis in the United States, and I, dear friends and readers, have contracted a case of it. At first I wasn’t sure what it was, thought perhaps it was a normal part of the aging process. But, as time went on and more symptoms began to appear, […]

via OH NO … I Have Caught … Trumpitis! — Filosofa’s Word