The Op-Ed

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know exactly which Op-Ed I’m referring to. If you haven’t read it (and I hope you have), then you’ve at least heard about it. I’m talking about the anonymous Op-Ed in the New York Times, written by a senior official in the Trump administration, and published on September 5, 2018.

Entitled I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration, it is easily the most important Op-Ed in this nation’s history. It reveals the cracks in the foundation of the White House, and by extension, in our very democracy. It basically asserts what we Democrats have been saying all along: The emperor has no clothes.

Some of the many things this Op-Ed accuses our president of are:

  • Not fully grasping things.

  • Having misguided impulses.

  • Being amoral.

  • Having an impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective leadership style.

  • Ranting.

  • Being impulsive.

  • Behaving erratically.

  • Being unstable.

  • Making bad decisions.

This is the guy who is steering the ship of state. Right toward a freakin’ iceberg. This is the man who is tampering with our judicial system, our environment, our foreign trade, our citizenry, and our alliances. This guy, with his misguided impulses, is never more than a few feet from the football.

If you’re not freaked out, you’re not paying attention. But Trump is. And his head’s exploding.

But here’s what scares me even more: if this Op-Ed is true, and a lot of the senior officials are doing what they can to resist this insane man’s worst instincts, then the guy we put into office, love him or hate him, is being thwarted at every turn. In this specific case, I thank God for that. I’d really rather not be at ground zero for a Trumpian mushroom cloud.

But think of it in the broader context. If it’s possible to do that, then we will never be able to be confident in another president ever again. Based on this Op-Ed, presidents have been rendered powerless. We are being ruled by anonymous bureaucrats. And while the author of this Op-Ed probably meant his essay to comfort us all in these uncertain times, it kind of gives me the chills. Because I want to know who’s really in charge.

It’s time to clean house.

Crack

I wrote an actual book, and you can own it! How cool is that? http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Mean World Syndrome

People alive today have access to more news and entertainment than any human being in the history of the planet. If anything major happens in the world, we are all able to find out about it almost instantly. We’ve come a long way from the days when a hurricane could hit Long Island without any advanced warning for its residents. Surely that’s to our benefit, right?

Yes and no. We also have more access to misinformation and exaggeration, and our ability to think critically does not seem to be keeping apace. That means that many of us believe that the world is more dangerous than it actually is. This is called mean world syndrome, and it’s a serious problem.

If you don’t believe that your attitudes are shaped by the media, then you haven’t been paying attention. Without its influence, there’s no way that someone so deranged and unqualified could be in the White House. Without it, none of us would feel the need to keep up with the Kardashians. (For what it’s worth, I’ve never felt that need. But then, I don’t have a TV in my house, either.)

If it’s any comfort at all, according to this Public Radio International article, the world is a much safer pace than it used to be. War deaths have dramatically decreased. We just hear about them more often. We all work fewer hours each week. There is less poverty and homicide, and more democracy than ever before.

And this article from Psychology Today also states that violence against women and children has decreased worldwide. We are more likely to die of old age than in a hail of bullets.

And, lest we forget, the average life expectancy for the residents of this planet is now up in the 70’s, as opposed to age 48 back in 1950. That’s pretty remarkable, don’t you think? So stop what you’re doing, look about you, and breathe. It’s going to be okay. Odds are pretty good that you won’t encounter any lions or tigers or bears. Oh, my.

dorothy

An attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

An Open Letter to President Obama

Dear Mr. President:

I remember crying tears of joy when you were elected back in 2008. It felt like this nation had turned a very important corner and that we, as a society, were becoming enlightened. I was very proud.

I also cried tears of relief when Obamacare was passed. It meant I’d have health insurance for the first time in over a decade. I was finally able to sleep through the night, no longer having to worry about what would happen to me if I got sick or injured.

I also watched as you brought the economy back, kicking and screaming, after the human wrecking ball that was George W. Bush. You had to start 30 yards deep in your own end zone with that one. But you did it. You also overturned his torture policies. Well done!

You reduced restrictions on stem-cell research, thus allowing science to take several important steps forward. You also strengthened the Endangered Species Act, and were the first president to openly acknowledge climate change.

I was particularly proud when you repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and made it legal for anyone to marry the person whom they love. This allowed many of my friends and family to live the happy lives they deserved, and share the rights that I’ve always had.

And you had the most diverse cabinet in American history. That was impressive.

We all know that in a Trump administration there will be a roll back of many of these accomplishments. It’s heart breaking. It’s frustrating. It’s the dark side of democracy.

But you have a chance to do one last, epic thing before leaving office, a last good-bye, if you will, to show the American people that the Democratic Party is still the party for all of us, it hasn’t totally sold out, and that there is hope for the future.

You could stop the travesty of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Show that we respect the sacred lands of people who have been here much longer than America has.  And speak out against police violence during these protests.

Yes, I realize you aren’t a dictator. But you can suspend construction until a proper environmental review is done. You can have the corps of engineers actively make efforts to reroute it. You can be the nation’s moral compass one more time. You can stand up. You can speak. Reagan wasn’t a dictator, but he said “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” and lo, the wall came down. If he could do that in Germany, you can do this right here in our own country.

I beg you. Speak up for peaceful protest, human rights, and the environment! And for God’s sake, do it before winter sets in. Let me look at you, one last time, with respect, as you take your final bow.

obama

Like this blog? Then you’ll LOVE this book! http://amzn.to/2cCHgUu

EVERY American Deserves a Political Apology

No, I’m not talking about who won or didn’t win this election (believe it or not). As a matter of fact, I wrote the first draft of this entry well before election day. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, I think we can all agree that this whole campaign experience has been stressful beyond belief.

There is absolutely NO reason why a campaign should drag on for more than 4 months. If you can’t learn enough about a candidate in that length of time, someone isn’t doing his or her journalistic homework. And shorter campaigns would be less expensive, and therefore donors wouldn’t have the opportunity to burrow so deeply inside the candidates’ pockets.

We need to make this a law. No political ads, annoying phone calls, back biting, in-fighting, junk mail, interviews, yard signs, drama or stupidity prior to the day after Independence Day. This would also allow us a shorter period to argue with friends and family, and less hard feelings and bitterness as a country.

This campaign was cruel and unusual punishment. I’m not the only one who was impacted physically and emotionally by this. It seems to be the general consensus amongst all the people I’ve talked to. There’s no need for it. We don’t deserve this. After all this torture, we are all left with a sour taste in our mouths, and a level of cynicism that makes it very difficult to function.

And let’s get rid of this electoral college BS and Gerrymandering while we’re at it. We have reached a level of sophistication in this country where we can count above ten, and election results aren’t being delivered by horse and buggy. (I swear I’m writing this without having a clue whether the popular vote will fall in line with the electoral college vote. It usually does, but not always.) Every single solitary vote should carry equal weight.

Democracy should not be equivalent to abuse. If this is the shape of things to come, I absolutely, positively cannot take this every four years. I just can’t.

democracy

Portable gratitude. Inspiring pictures. Claim your copy of my first collection of favorite posts! http://amzn.to/2cCHgUu

This Takes the Cake

Sometimes I can’t believe there’s still a need to write about this sh… uh… stuff, but here goes.

I just read the most appalling article about Christians who are to the right politically and their take on the State of Oregon’s fine on Sweet Cakes by Melissa when that business refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

Oh, where to begin.

I will quote the article in bold, and then respond to these quotes, one by ignorant one.

“Let’s help the Kleins through this hard time as they fight for religous freedom.”

Has anyone stopped the Kleins from going to church? No. Has anyone told the Kleins that they could no longer be Christians? No. Has anyone confiscated their Bibles? No. Has anyone told the Kleins that they cannot believe what they want to believe in any way, shape, or form? No.

If your belief system prohibits you from certain actions or behaviors, then it might be a good idea to avoid careers that call upon you to do certain things. If you are against abortion, you might not want to work in an abortion clinic. If you want to keep kosher, then don’t work in a non-kosher meat packing plant. If you don’t believe in selling crack to minors, then don’t become a drug dealer. These are choices everyone has the right to make.

You have a right to believe what you want to believe. What you have no right to do is use your job to cram your beliefs down the throats of others. Sorry. That’s the price you pay for living in a law-abiding, democratic society. You don’t have to like it.

“The Bible does tell us to expect persecution as Christians, and we should understand that when this happens it’s an attack on Christ, not on us.”

First of all, persecution is defined as a program to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate people based on their membership in a religious, ethnic, social or racial group. If anyone in this scenario was being persecuted it was the lesbian couple who was refused a wedding cake. They were refused because they were lesbians. And by doing this, the Kleins broke the anti-discrimination laws in the state of Oregon. There are consequences to breaking the law. The Kleins made a choice to break the law. The fact that they faced consequences for that choice does not mean they were persecuted. It means they were prosecuted. It means that they were required to obey the law that every other resident of that state is expected to obey.

And talk about persecution—the Kleins published the lesbian couple’s names and addresses on the internet for all to see, because they wanted them to be attacked, verbally, and physically. There was no other reason to do that. That’s why the size of the fine was so large. The couple got death threats. This caused them to almost lose their foster children, whom they were trying to adopt. That’s sick. Twisted. And frankly, it doesn’t sound particularly Christian to me.

“And keep exposing as a lie the secular left claim that gay marriage has nothing to do with you and won’t hurt you in any way.”

Expose away! Please, do explain to me how someone marrying the person that they love, regardless of whom that person may be, has anything at all to do with me. How will this hurt me, again? How is it even any of my business?

If you’re afraid that all these gay people, parading around their gayness by getting married, will influence your children to go all gay on you, you might want to ask yourself a question or two. Why would your child make the choice to be discriminated against and marginalized if it really is the “choice” you think it is? Why would your child be so easily persuaded to change his or her entire life forever, based on someone’s marriage? Has someone’s marriage ever changed the course of your entire life? Really?

Oh, and by the way, people on the left can be religious, too. I am. The phrase “secular left” is ignorant.

“This whole gay marriage movement isn’t even about gays. It’s a pretext to attack Christianity and everyone who freely practices it.”

Get over yourself. The world does not revolve around you. Thousands of people aren’t running off to marry someone of their own gender, a lifelong commitment, just so they can attack a religion. Nothing about their marriage is going to stop you from practicing your religion. If your religion is so easily threatened you may want to work on that and stop looking outward in paranoia.

“Gaystapo”

That term is used a couple times in the article. Even in the headline. I find it particularly interesting. It’s a play on words, referring back to the Gestapo, the secret police of Nazi Germany. In 1934, a division of the Gestapo was set up to target homosexuals, causing 100,000 men to be arrested. So implying that gay people are like the Gestapo is absurd.

If anyone should be compared to a Nazi, it’s someone who supports the Kleins in this debacle. The Nazis restricted all sorts of services to many groups, the Jews being the most commonly acknowledged. But along with the homosexuals mentioned above, they also persecuted communists, socialists, social democrats, trade union leaders, gypsies, Poles, Slavs, Asians, the disabled, Catholic and Lutheran clergy, people who were in resistance movements, Jehovah’s Witnesses, “asocials”, and repeat criminal offenders.

If the Kleins refused service to a Jew, how would you react? How about if they refused service to someone in a wheel chair? Would it be okay for them to refuse service to a priest?

Where does it end?

Yeah, okay. But, uh... you don't have that right. Not in America. Thank God.
Yeah, okay. But, uh… you don’t have that right. Not in America. Thank God.

Why I Vote

I used to work with a woman who had never voted, had no intentions of ever doing so, and was quite proud of that fact. She hated this country and everything it stands for, and did not want to participate in it in any way. She dreamed of moving to the Australian outback, where she felt her family would be left alone. (I didn’t have the heart to tell her that voting is compulsory in Australia.)

But I have to say that whenever an election would roll around, I couldn’t stand to be in that woman’s presence. It took everything in me not to try to slap some sense into her. The very palm of my hand would ache to do so.

Yes, politics in this country (probably in all countries) is corrupt, and our elected representatives seem to have no desire to represent us. Yes, it’s annoying to have to choose the lesser of two evils rather than the best person for a job. Yes, it’s hard to sift through all the lies to figure out what is the best choice.

As much as I love Russell Brand and his activism, he has become the poster child for a movement that encourages people not to vote as a form of protest because of all of the above. Brand is an extremely intelligent guy, but on this one subject he’s being idiotic. Yes, it’s a broken system, but by not participating in it, you’re not going to make it go away, and you’re not going to fix it. You’re simply giving your power to others.

Here are a few reasons why I vote:

If you do not vote, as far as I’m concerned, you forfeit the right to complain, because you have made no effort to even try to be part of the solution. And believe me, I am as willing to complain as the next person.

If you don’t vote, the majority opinion is not properly reflected, and that causes policies to be enacted that most of us really don’t desire.

The act of voting is the act of reaffirming your democratic freedom, a right which Americans have been fighting and dying for since the Revolutionary War.

People still can’t vote in Brunei or the United Arab Emirates, and women can’t vote in Saudi Arabia. Elections in North Korea are only for show. China is not a democracy, and they are currently trying to roll back the rights of the Taiwanese. As long as there is even one person in this world who wants to vote and can’t, how can I choose to not take advantage of this privilege?

One of the last things my sister did before she died was take her son to vote in his first presidential election. She knew it was an important lesson to teach him. It was important enough to focus on even though she was dying, so your manicure can wait.

But most of all, I am a woman. Women did not get the vote in the US until the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920. It took 70 years of struggle to make that happen. Women died for it, went to jail for it, and had tubes rammed down their throats and were force fed when they went on hunger strikes for it. After all of that, what right do I have NOT to vote?

So if you’re not voting, you might want to tell me that from a safe distance. I take this very seriously.

Russell-Brand

See, to me that’s a reason to use your celebrity to get MORE people involved. Sigh.

[Image credit: openyoureyesnews.com]

Fireworks Fallout

Apparently I have moved into a very patriotic neighborhood. Even though the 4th of July is several days in the past, my neighbors on all sides are still setting off fireworks at random moments. Very random moments. Mid day. Three in the morning.

As I write this, my dogs are cowering behind me, under the covers. They will be shaking for a long time. This is never a good month for them. I have to force them outside to do their business. It takes them a long time to feel safe again.

I can understand the desire to celebrate, and I actually do love fireworks. I just like them to be predictable and properly monitored and not close enough to set my house afire. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

And if my dogs are terrified, I can’t even imagine what this month must be like for combat veterans with PTSD. It must feel like they’re back in the thick of things again, risking their lives. It must feel like death is imminent. Most of us cannot comprehend what that’s like.

Just like not everyone wants to hear your blasting radio as you go down the street, there’s a distinct possibility that not all of your neighbors find your fireworks fun. Patriotism doesn’t mean, “I’ll pursue my happiness, and to hell with you.” Freedom doesn’t mean freedom from common decency. That concept seems to be one of the finer points of democracy that has fallen by the wayside, and it’s a shame.

PTSD