Why I Struggle with Joe Biden

This man is not a president for the modern era.

Yes, I know there are an unprecedented number of Democratic candidates this time out. All but one will fall by the wayside. And it’s fairly obvious, already, which ones will do the falling. That’s what’s making me sweat.

Unfortunately, Joe Biden has name recognition on his side. As we’ve learned all too well, that is often all that it takes. And there are a lot of things about Joe Biden that I really like.

But the things that I like do not offset the things that I don’t. Not by a long shot. And I’m not the only one out there who is saying this. I only wish my party would listen this time. Because we’re playing for all the marbles here, folks. It really won’t do to screw this one up.

Here are my three basic issues with Joe:

His treatment of Anita Hill. Yes, the Clarence Thomas hearings were three decades ago, and people were disgustingly backward about sexual harassment back then. But Biden bungled those hearings. There was no good reason for his not allowing the other female witnesses to come forward and corroborate her testimony. His choices then have impacted decades of women who have suffered the abuse of men.

Recently he apologized to Ms. Hill. Why now? Not because of remorse. Because he’s running for president. And from the sound of it, he didn’t seem particularly remorseful to me. She was not satisfied. Nor am I.

The second issue I have with him is the way he inappropriately touches women. So many of his photos make me squirm, because I can tell that the women in them are squirming, too. He claims he meant nothing by these actions, and that may be true, but I’m sorry, how many times do you have to be told it’s wrong before you listen? His apology for his behavior was, “I’m sorry you were offended.” That’s more of an I’m sorry for your reaction than it is an I’m sorry for what I did.

And issue three is this quote, which I mentioned in a post years ago. During a visit to Japan, he asked some women, “Do your husbands like you working full time?”

This goes to a mindset that should have been left behind in 1950. I mean, seriously? This man is not a president for the modern era, in so many, many ways. I can’t overlook these things, despite the good stuff.

And yet, if it comes down to a choice between Biden and Trump, I’ll be forced to hold my nose and vote for Biden. Because the pussy grabber is even worse, with his trophy wife and his inappropriate references to vaginal bleeding. The Republicans have made it blatantly clear that they have no moral compass with regard to this issue, so they’re not going to vote their conscience. I have to do what I can to at least partially reset the scale that is so heinously weighed down against women. Nothing quite like the lesser of two evils, no?

Okay, now that I’ve admitted that. I’m going to go take a shower and try to wash off the shame and disgust. I hope it doesn’t clog the pipes.


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Should Congress Be Paid During a Shutdown?

If we suffer, they should suffer, too.

I was discussing this on Facebook recently. I find it rather outrageous that our President, along with Congress, can cause the longest government shutdown in our nation’s history, and not have to feel any of the pain themselves. Granted, 45 is a millionaire, as is 25% of the House and 50% of the Senate, so they probably wouldn’t feel it very much. But if you’re going to turn thousands of people into unpaid slaves, and thrust even more into financial destitution, all for your own political douchebaggery, then you ought to pay some sort of price.

It does turn out that Congress has completely separate fiscal funding for a very good reason. This was put into place so that the executive branch couldn’t force Congress into compliance by withholding its pay. It was all about separation of powers. This applies to the judicial branch as well. That makes perfect sense to me.

However, I think we need to make it a requirement that Congress and the White House can’t force We, the People, into compliance by withholding our pay, too. They shouldn’t be able to make the nation suffer without suffering themselves.

We need to only elect people who are willing to agree not to draw a salary whenever the government is unfunded. Congress could also do this with a simple resolution. I suspect you’d see some very different motivation if that were the case.

I also think that if Congress and the President are going to get us involved in wars on foreign soil, thus forcing a percentage of our children into battle zones, then a certain percentage of their children should have to go as well. This could be done in a special draft system.

And if you’re going to vote that things like waterboarding aren’t torture, then you should first have to experience it once yourself, right in the capital rotunda. And politicians should also have to drink the same water as the citizens of Flint, Michigan, and eat the same lunch as the average elementary school student. Fair’s fair.

I’m sick and tired of these politicians sitting up there on some protected cloud of privilege while they have the potential to make life miserable for the rest of us.

(A special thanks to my friend Areiel for helping me flesh out my thinking about this idea.)


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Sitting Beside Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

She had so much to lose by coming forward.

Yesterday morning, I’m sure I knew on some level that the hearings regarding Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged assault of Christine Blasey Ford were about to begin. But I pushed that out of my mind. I mowed my lawn. I vacuumed. I took a bath and got ready for work. It was a typical day for me. At least that’s what I was allowing myself to pretend.

Driving to work at 2 p.m., I could no longer maintain that comforting level of dissociation. I listen to NPR on my commute, and the hearings were still in full force. By that time, I was listening to an outraged, belligerent Brett Kavanaugh.

I tried to keep an open mind. If I were falsely accused, I’d be furious, too. If people were ruining my reputation on national TV, I’d probably show my a$$ a little, too. And guilty or innocent, I’m willing to concede that the man has been through a lot.

Here’s the thing that I couldn’t ignore. When he was asked if he’d urge the president to allow the FBI to investigate, he refused. If you’re truly innocent, what do you have to hide? Why wouldn’t you allow a bevy of professionally trained law enforcement officers look in to the situation? If you’re innocent, the FBI would help you prove that, without a shadow of a doubt, and then you could waltz into your life-long Supreme Court appointment, vindicated, with nary a bad stench wafting behind your judicial robes.

He talked about a Democratic conspiracy. He talked about the revenge of the Clintons. But he did not want an FBI investigation, which would surely expose those things. True conspiracies are rather easy to expose. Why wouldn’t he be calling for proof? I sure as heck would, if someone were trashing my good name.

As I arrived at work, I knew that I’d have to hear Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony as well. So I pulled up a Youtube video of it, and to my horror, it was more than 4 hours long. But I had to watch it all.

Okay, I admit I fast forwarded through the lunch break, in which the cameras were trained on empty chairs. Same with the 15 minute break. But still. That was a lot of testimony.

I felt obligated to listen, with a critical ear. Fair’s fair. But it was a hard thing to hear.

And after all that I heard, I believe her.

If she were lying, why would she risk exposure by urging further investigation? If she were lying, why would she risk failing a polygraph test (which apparently she cried all the way through for good measure)? She had so much to lose by coming forward. She’s lost her home and her anonymity and her safety. Even if someone were paying her off, it would never be enough.

So as the testimony wore on, I found myself imagining that I was sitting beside her, holding her hand. Because what she did was incredibly brave, and no doubt terrifying. I’m sure millions of women who watched were sitting beside her in spirit, too. Because she was speaking for all of us. #WhyIDidntReport

If the Republicans ram Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination through without further investigation, I think historians will see this as the point when our democracy officially died.

This country is standing on a very dark and ominous precipice. No matter which way this goes, we’re never going to be the same.


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George Washington vs. Donald Trump

Can you imagine what it must have been like to be the first president? I mean, the first, ever. In the history of the world. No pressure, right?

George Washington was quite a character. First of all, he was hellbent on making sure that no one mistook the presidency for a kingdom. He absolutely refused to wear outlandish, royal clothes. No thrones. None of this fancy stuff for him. He was not a vain man. He didn’t want to be perceived as superior to the people. He wanted to be considered a unifier.

He spent a lot of time traveling, talking to the people. That’s why so many places can claim, “Washington slept here.” I guess you could say he slept around. In that way, the presidency hasn’t changed much. But it definitely has in other ways.

For example, Washington had a staff of two, as opposed to the thousands that are on staff today. Granted, he didn’t have the population, or nearly as much need to be an international player, that the position has now. Back then, you could walk right up to the White House door and knock without being tackled. People picnicked on the White House lawn. Those days are gone.

According to Wikipedia, Washington was also the first (and last) president to ride at the head of an army to suppress an insurgency. He did so during the Whiskey Rebellion.

I can sort of understand why people were so upset. Here’s this federally imposed tax on a commodity that was often used as a trade good in lieu of currency, when they had just fought the Revolutionary War because of taxation. But governments can’t operate for free, so Washington had to nip that in the bud.

Speaking of nipping things in the bud, I’d like to put to rest two rumors about Washington that seem to persist. First of all, he never had wooden teeth. I mean, hello. Wood expands when exposed to moisture, and who wants to risk splinters in their mouth? No, his extremely uncomfortable dentures were a combination of ivory and human teeth. While they often looked brown, that doesn’t mean they were wooden.

The other myth is that Washington was foul-mouthed. Not only was he not prone to cursing, even though he often had good reason to, but he prohibited cursing amongst his troops. All his writings indicate that he was a dignified man, not inclined to outbursts. He would have sooner died than utter the words “pussy” or “shithole”. In fact, according to NPR, he swore by a set of precepts called the Rules of Civility, as taught to him by Jesuit instructors, which included the following: “Use no reproachful language against any one; neither curse nor revile.”

George Washington was an honorable man. He’d have been horrified by Trump’s language and behavior. He would be sickened by Trump’s mocking attitude. It would have never occurred to him to ask for a military parade in his honor, and he certainly wouldn’t be upset that people did not applaud him when he thought they should. Washington was not about being worshipped or adored. And Washington would never, not in a million years, have dodged the draft.

George Washington was far from perfect, but in terms of ethics, morality, dignity and class, you might say that these two presidents are, indeed, centuries apart.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Yep. These are George’s choppers. Ouch.

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Take Your Marbles and Go Home

Dear President Trump:

Are you having fun yet? Are you getting tired of winning? Because you seem to be spending a lot of time in a rage or attempting to defend yourself.

And not a day goes by when someone isn’t either criticizing you or making fun of you in some way or another. Whether that’s “fake news” or not, it can’t be pleasant. I certainly wouldn’t bear up under that much character assassination, and I’m not even a classic narcissist.

I would think (because I’ll never know) that the whole reason for being rich is to be able to enjoy oneself. Otherwise, what’s the point? You should be able to golf on the weekdays as well as the weekends! Why haven’t you built a putting green on the White House lawn, at least?

Have you figured out what all of us already know? You’re being used. You’re the goat. The republicans can do their absolute worst without fear of retribution, because you will be there to take the blame. They’re laughing at you, Donald. And if you do get impeached in the end, they won’t care, because they’ll still be there. Nothing will have changed for them.

Why don’t you do yourself (and the rest of us) a favor: take your marbles and go home. (But wait. You lost them long ago, didn’t you?)

Surely this game has lost its appeal for you. Aren’t you bored? I suspect so.

But hey, if you do stick around, I’m looking forward to watching you defeat ISIS. Okay, I know you promised you’d do that in the first 30 days, but you’ve been busy, right? So anytime in the next month will do nicely. Seriously. Have at it.


The Voice of Reason


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El Primero

I always get goose bumps when I have a brush with history. I just had one on my drawbridge. I opened for a gorgeous old yacht called El Primero. It’s not in the best shape. It needs work. But considering it was built in 1893, I think it has aged rather well.

And this isn’t just any yacht. This used to be one of only two steam yachts that plied the waters of Puget Sound for decades. It was so luxurious that 4 presidents have ridden on it: William Howard Taft, Teddy Roosevelt, Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover.

It has since been converted to diesel, and it has two masts that were originally put into place in case of engine failure. It sleeps 22. I think El Primero is a work of art. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore. The teak alone makes me drool. (I’m funny that way.)

And it has a suitably Pacific Northwest history. Its original owner, Chester Thorne, lost it in either a poker or a craps game 5 years after he bought it. That astounds me. Who would risk such a beauty in a game of chance? One wonders what he would have gotten had he won.

The most recent news I could find about El Primero was from 2015. The article said that it was being refurbished and was set to be a floating museum. If so, I’ll be the first in line for a ticket. I don’t know if they followed through on that or not. All I know is that I’ve had the distinct privilege to open my drawbridge for it twice in the past week.

Welcome back, El Primero! I hope to see a lot more of you. You make the world a much more beautiful place.

El Primero

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The Ides of Trump

Today is the day when (I hope) many of us will be mailing a postcard to the White House to express our dissatisfaction with the current administration. This movement is being called “The Ides of Trump,” although I sincerely hope that no one wants him assassinated like Julius Caesar. I know I certainly don’t. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. And the last thing on earth that we need is to turn a man of such low caliber into a martyr for his warped cause.

I have been putting a great deal of thought into what I’d like my postcard to say. I realize that he’ll never read it. With each passing day, evidence mounts that he’s functionally illiterate.

The best I can hope for is that my card will be stored in some dusty archival box for historians of the future. So I’m just looking at it as an opportunity to vent my spleen. It will be a chance to purge myself of toxins that have been building up for months.

It would be easy to fill this card with curses and insults. (I must admit that I’ve been dying to use the term “shitgibbon” since the first time I heard it.) But all of that would be a waste of a perfectly good postcard.

There is so much I’d like to say to him. Where to begin? I’m kind of imagining what I would say if I had ten seconds of his undivided, one-on-one attention. Here’s what springs to mind so far:

  • You seem to forget that you work for all of us now.

  • If you really want any respect, you need to get rid of Bannon.

  • You’re fired.

  • I didn’t vote for you, and I’ll do all I can to resist you.

  • Are you having fun? I suspect not.

  • Do us all a favor and quit.

  • You are the worst thing that has ever happened to this country.

  • Global warming isn’t the hoax. You are.

  • I can’t wait ’til we make America great again by firing you and all your cronies.

  • I’m a woman, I vote, and I’m sick and tired of your disrespect.

  • Deport yourself. Leave everyone else alone.

  • You are a tiny little fraction of a man.

  • History will remember you as a destructive little joke.

  • Shame on you.

  • Do you believe your own lies? If so, get help.

  • Thank you for waking us all up and being the poster child for what we don’t want for our country.

  • Sad.

By the time you read this, my postcard is already in the mail. It will probably include some combination of a few of the suggestions above. Feel free to use any or all of them yourself. What would you say to Trump, if given the chance?


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10 MORE Quotes That Should Piss Off Any Woman With Sense

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog entry entitled 10 Quotes That Should Piss Off Any Woman With Sense. It was about some of the outrageous things that American politicians and pundits have said about women. Recently, that post has been getting renewed attention. I have no idea why. Someone must have tweeted it or put it on Reddit or something. No complaints here!

But in this current political climate, I’m inspired to do a sequel to that post. And sadly, it will be even easier. This time I can rely on one politician for all the stupidity. So what follows are all things that have actually, undeniably come out of Trump’s pie hole. They disgust me so much, I can’t even work up the strength to come up with snappy comebacks or reasoned counterpoints for them. All I can say is, may heaven help us all.

  • “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
  • “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
  • “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her — wherever. ”
  • “You wouldn’t have your job if you weren’t beautiful.”
  • “She’s not giving me 100 percent. She’s giving me 84 percent, and 16 percent is going towards taking care of children.” (About his wife.)
  • “I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?” (Regarding a 10 year old girl.)
  • “Thanks sweetie. That’s nice.” (to a woman who had survived 9/11)
  • “It must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees.”
  • “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”

That last one outraged me before I even knew it was something that Trump said. It inspired this post.

But the worst, the absolute worst thing he has ever been caught saying is in the picture below. How could anybody vote for this man after he said this? I will never understand it as long as I live. It makes me physically ill. It makes me want to knit myself a pussy hat and get out there and protest.

We’ve had bad presidents in the past, but this one is a mango-colored, misogynistic, megalomaniacal monster. Just sayin’.


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I Just Can’t

For the first time in my life, I will not be watching an American Presidential Inauguration. I’ve always watched them, even when the incoming president wasn’t the person I voted for. I watched them even when I wasn’t old enough to vote. It has always amazed me that this country, since its very founding, has managed a peaceful transfer of power. Every time. That’s pretty freakin’ impressive.

But this one is different. Not only is Trump entering the office with the lowest approval rating and the lowest percentage of American votes in history, but he is the most disrespectful, hate-filled, emotionally unhinged and destructive person ever to hold this office. And I’m terrified.

Part of me thinks I should bear witness. This is history, after all. But the other part of me feels like I need to preserve my sanity and gather my strength for the many battles that lie ahead.

I have to say that I haven’t felt this sick to my stomach since I saw the bodies falling out of the towers on 9/11. And just like back then, I feel utterly helpless and I can’t help but think that the world will never be the same.

So just for today I will avoid the internet and the radio. I’ll take a complete media break. I’ll lift my tear-streaked face up again on Saturday.

Be gentle with yourself, dear readers. Don’t forget to breathe. Live to fight another day.

56th Armed Forces Inaugural Committee

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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.


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