Tag Archives: election

What can you say?

10 Oct

Today is my brother’s birthday.  Unfortunately, it’s also the anniversary of my father’s death, which really probably puts a damper on my brother’s celebrations.  It also happens to be a milestone birthday this year for him.

He’s reached the big Five Oh, as they say.  I remember when thirty was practically retirement age, at least in my opinion.  Forty was really ancient, and fifty, well…you were just occupying space until you died.  After all, what could you do when you were half a century old?

Little did I know then, right?

You can do a lot after fifty.  Most of the nation’s population is now at that age, and we’re doing a lot of stuff.  We hike, bike, backpack, tour, write, read, make movies, do business, create, innovate, and a lot of other things.  I’m now suspicious of those without a few gray hairs, because after all, what can someone without a bit of experience under their belt possibly have to offer me?

What can you say?

It seems I suffer from prejudices.  Pretty arrogant of me to not want to admit it too, actually.  It takes a two year old, or rather an almost-two-year old, to remind me of the things that youth has to teach us.

Like in the purely sensual pleasure of taking a mini cupcake frosted with luridly colored “buttercream” (it actually contains no butter and way too many chemicals to possibly pronounce) and licking it with a rapidly flicking tongue as though you were a lizard is pure delight.  You don’t notice the greasy texture of the frosting, but your tongue will positively spasm with delight at the sweetness.  It takes a good fifteen minutes to enjoy that tiny bit of frosting that way, compared to the two bite “adult” way of eating a mini cupcake.  Then, you still have the cake to enjoy too.

You don’t have to worry about what to say then either.  She isn’t into verbalization much, it’s all about sound, facial expression, and tactile expression.  Jabber a bit, laugh a lot, smile more, and give hugs and kisses with total spontaneity, and hey…life is good.

What can you say about that?

Grief.  There are no words to ease that pain.  I know that, I’ve been there.  I’ve mourned a lot of people, from childhood friends to my son, to my father and all of my grandparents and great grandparents.  Aunts and uncles, cousins, co-workers, acquaintances…I’ve lost them too.  It hurts, and it’s different each time.  With the intensity of the grief, people are under the misconception that it gets better over time.

Hogwash, total hogwash.

About all I can say about it is that you get used to it.  It’s like a scar, it’s always there, you never forget it is there, and it never goes away.  You just get used to looking in the mirror and seeing it.  When my son died, it felt as though I had this massive hole through the very center of my being, and part of me was shocked that the sun still shone, the birds still sang, and I still breathed.  How could that be, when my world had ceased to be?

Now, it’s been over ten years.  Longer than I got to have him, I have grieved for him.  I still feel tears well up sometimes when I think about it, and we still talk about him, as well as talk about “That Day.”  I still will cry, and I still remember him, every day, not just on the anniversary of his death or his birthday.  I still miss him.  We still laugh about some of the things he did, as well as some of his idiosyncrasies, and that’s good too.

I grieve for my father too.  Not in the same way, for we know from childhood that our parents are probably going to die before we do and that we’ll have to grieve for them then.  Part of my grief with my father is over our rocky relationship, which we had managed to repair in the last years of his life.  I grieve for the fact that there were so many missed opportunities, so much more that the relationship could have been, if only things had been different.

Grief comes with guilt too.  You second guess yourself, you wonder what you could have done different over time, if you could have changed some of the worst parts of the relationship in some positive manner if you had been that perfect person we all strive to be.  That’s normal too.

But it’s also normal to be normal and not that perfect person.  I think the perfect person, the one that I hold as a mental image of who I’d like to be, would scare me half to death.  Who could be that calm, that rational, that loving and considerate, and not have angel wings and a halo?  Most of us don’t interact daily with angels, and if I suddenly became one…well, I’m not sure anyone would see me or even admit that they had seen me.

Come on, what would you say if you saw an “angel” walking down the street or shopping in the local store?  What could you say that didn’t have your family wanting to lock you up?

That doesn’t mean we should quit striving for the impossible goal of becoming that perfect person we’re striving towards though.  I may not be an angel, but sometimes, you don’t have to be perfect, don’t have to have a halo, and you don’t need angel wings to make a difference to someone else.  Angels come in many forms, you know.   Sometimes, they are a middle aged woman bringing groceries to a single mother who is struggling to feed her children.  It might be coats for someone who can’t afford to buy coats that actually fit their kids.  It might be stopping to help someone change a tire on a summer Sunday morning, getting dirty and making yourself late for church in the process.  It might be helping a neighbor move in or out.  It might be giving some bread to a man standing on a corner begging, or to a young homeless couple that is probably addicted to drugs.  It might be helping an old woman get her groceries from her car to her door.  It might be hiring a guy who has been looking for a job so long that he has nearly given up daring to hope that his application will ever get any attention.

All it takes is to care actually.  To do more than merely go through the motions.  Sometimes it means not only doing the letter of our “job” in the course of the day, but actually putting real effort into it, going an extra inch or two to help someone.  Other times, it cuts into our “play” time, or means giving up something that we’d rather be doing in order to make someone else’s journey a little bit easier.  Other times, it may be as simple as reaching into the groceries that you just bought, and taking out the bread you don’t really need…and handing it to someone outside the store that does need it.  Another day, it might mean that you simply do your best to solve your own problems.

Sometimes, it is also a case of minding your own business instead.  That is especially the case with gossip.  Too often, gossip is mostly fiction, but presented in a manner that makes it sound perfectly plausible.  It may seem innocent, but the problem is…it can seriously damage someone’s life and cause them a great deal of problems, all for something they never did or said.  It can lead to real financial hardship on occasion as well.  I know in my own case, I was once upon a time merely amused about gossip about me, never realizing the damage it was doing and would continue to do even years later.  (Gossip had my life far more interesting than reality ever was!)  Ultimately, it almost cost me my job, and had repercussions that pursued me for over a decade, and the truth is…none of it was even based on truth.  I was judged guilty, plus never had the “fun” of committing the acts!

What can you say?  Your mother was right.  If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.  If you don’t know that it is true, don’t repeat it.  In addition, sometimes, things aren’t exactly what they appear to be.  Be kind.  Be considerate.  Try walking in the other person’s shoes.

If all else fails, along with words, there is always the option of opting for non-verbal communication too.  And no, I don’t mean giving someone “the finger”, but rather a smile.  Don’t wait for Washington to bring us change, be the change yourself and be the change.

It takes something, someone, some act to be the catalyst for change.  It can be you.


Ron Paul–a real media black out or just a lot of whining?

23 Feb

I’ll confess.  We don’t have a television in our house.  We own one, technically, but after over a year in our storage unit, it was “loaned” to our granddaughter.  Therefore, I have to confess, I have no clue what is available on television.  I do read the local paper several times a week, but most of my news is found online, via Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

That means I find out about things in a haphazard manner, I suppose, and see the world through slightly distorted glasses as a result.  I don’t really know what the big networks are putting out in their news programs.  I also don’t think I’m missing much.  I was disgusted by television programming a long time ago.  I’m equally disgusted at the packaging of channels by cable and satellite companies.  I deeply resent being forced to buy channels that I will never watch just to obtain a handful that I may watch sometimes.  So…we opted out, a very long time ago.  Contrary to what some people think, I’m not a television snob…I’m just not interested in a non-stop parade of pseudo-news, sports, soap operas, silly sit coms, and game shows.  I don’t have the attention for “night time drama” either.  I refuse to schedule my life around television programs.  But…there are some programs I love…when I have the chance to see them.  Like “River Monsters”…or “Swamp People”…and even a lot of the cooking shows.  I think Ellen Degeneres is hilarious, and I like her talk/variety show.  I liked Oprah too, and I think she is an amazing woman.  There is a lot of great stuff on television…I just can’t be bothered with remembering when and where to find it.  On the other hand, the trashy stuff…is just trashy.  It encourages people who lean that way to indulge in progressively trashier behavior in my opinion, but they’d likely find an excuse anyhow.

But enough on the whole television thing.  What has come across my screen in a gazillion posts, blogs, websites, etc. is how poor Ron Paul is being blacked out from the media.  Now I’ll admit, I have a bad taste in my mouth over Ron Paul courtesy of one fanatical supporter who spammed me to death last week with garbage about him.  That chip on my shoulder has already got me glaring at his name.  But I can’t help but wonder…

Is all of this hype about how he’s being shut out by the media and “powers that be” of GOP more publicity to gather attention than reality?  It’s starting to look like that perpetually tattling 5 year old on the kindergarten playground running to the teacher with 101 offenses by his classmates to get attention for himself.  I see something about Ron Paul on the average of once every five minutes.  How in the hell is that a media black out?

I will admit…fanatics also scare the dickens out of me.  Fanatics are the kind of people that make car bombs, that shoot doctors outside of abortion clinics, that try to hire a hit man to shoot someone wearing fur, or do any of the other 1001 acts of terrorism that occur each year.  Ron Paul has what seems like an inordinate number of fanatical supporters.

I wonder if these are the same kinds of supporters who think that same sex marriages are a hazard to our society, that think that personhood laws should protect fetuses and embryos even at the cost of the mother’s life, who think that those who think or act differently from them should be punished for the offense…or any one of the other really scary right-wing bills we’ve seen floating around the nation are good ideas.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not a true liberal.  I’m a conservative liberal on even days, and odd days, I’m a liberal conservative.  I believe in balance and common sense.  I don’t like a government that is invasive into normal, law-abiding citizens’ daily lives.  I also don’t think the government has any business deciding whether or not I will have a baby, get my tubes tied, take birth control pills, who I should or should not marry, etc.  (I’m done on the marrying front, by the way…Greg and I did tie the legal knot last fall.)  I do think we should have universal health care, but I’m also not convinced that the current Obamacare plan is going to do anyone a favor, let alone make universal health care available to everyone.  I think our government is too big, that corporations and big business have gone too far in terms of our politics and their ability to influence laws and politicians too.  I believe in our constitution too.   I think we need some serious house cleaning in terms of Washington D.C.

But I’m questioning whether I want someone like Ron Paul doing it.

I’ll admit, I like some of the things he says, but I’m also old enough to know that a lot of what is said will never happen after the oath of office is taken.  His supporters are what scares me, as I wonder…how much of their ideology does he really support?  How many of these people will follow him into Washington if he is elected?  How many of these people are going to have the ability to influence how I live my life?

That is what scares me.

That and the whining about how he’s being picked on.  Is it real…or just an attention grabbing ploy?

I don’t know, and it’s still months until ballot time, but this upcoming race is depressing.  We have few choices, and most of it looks like a choice between a rock and a hard place.  Sometimes, I think that the GOP offerings are designed to ensure that President Obama has another four years in office.  They are doing their best to make him look good, middle-of-the-road, and far less frightening than what they are intending to see happen in the Oval Office.

What do you think?  Which of the Republicans do you see making the grade and ending up on the ballot?  My best guess is that it will be Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, or Newt Gingrich.  I can’t see any of them choosing their competition as their running mate either, so the VP candidate could be interesting too.

November doesn’t seem far away enough right now to suit me.

Republicans, birthers, teabaggers, Obama, and 2012

9 Apr

I read somewhere that Obama has officially announced he’s running for president again in 2012.  Great.  I hope he loses this time.

I hear a collective gasp out there, and fingers raised to point that all purpose “You are a RACIST” accusation at me.

Ha, you are wrong.  I’d have been thrilled if he’d done a good job leading our country through hard times.  Instead, he’s divided the nation in every single way he could: religion, race, political party, economic status, and educational level.  To make it even worse, he’s not doing a good job at international relations or even keeping his own promises.

The frosting on the cake?

It’s that silly birth certificate.

Why is it silly?

First of all, I can’t imagine that the Democratic Party didn’t vet him to ensure he was a legal candidate, so he had to have had one and proved he was born in the USA.  So we’ll go with the concept that it does exist and he was born in the USA.  Or was he?

It is conceivable that he did, in fact, believe himself to have been born in Hawaii, only to discover afterwards…he had been born elsewhere.  That would provide ample excuse for hiding it now.  He wouldn’t have been the first baby to be born somewhere other than where their birth certificate was issued, usually as the result of a court order somewhere about something.

So if he is hiding where he was born, what could that court order be hiding?  What else could he be afraid of the public finding out, something that is even worse than enduring the perpetual haranguing about producing his birth certificate?  It’s already come out that the marriage between his parents wasn’t exactly what it seemed, since his mother and his father weren’t usually in the same place and his father had another wife in Kenya already…and what’s the big deal about that?  There are a lot of Americans with peculiarities performed by their parents in terms of relationships.  We already know he was primarily raised by his grandparents in Hawaii, which doesn’t paint a happy family picture either.  So that’s public knowledge.  What else could it be?  Why is Obama refusing to answer to the challenges about his birth?

It isn’t going away either, especially since Donald Trump has taken up the cause.  I don’t think Donald Trump is being racist about it either.  There is a question that the president refuses to answer, to be made accountable to answer, and Donald Trump is echoing what more and more Americans are wondering themselves these days.

Why in the sam hell won’t he show the thing and put this controversy to rest?

There is only one answer.  Obama’s given it himself in many a speech.  The only people who have secrets are the ones who have something to hide.

I’ve had to produce my birth certificate on numerous occasions.  Most of us have had to.  I keep an official certified copy on hand.  You also have to have it in order to get a passport, which presumably, the President of the United States does possess.  Or is a President exempt from the requirement?  Surely he has a certified copy of his birth certificate, there are many reasons why a person has to produce it on occasion.  I’ve known people to even pay a fee to have their certified copy expedited because they needed it in a hurry.  Surely our president can afford these fees to get himself a copy?  (He still gets paid, even if the Federal Government shuts down due to the lack of a budget.  His check won’t even be late, isn’t that nice?  Soldiers, however, don’t enjoy that same luxury.)

I applaud Trump, actually.  He’s standing up and saying, I’m showing you mine, you show me yours…and Obama hasn’t responded.  That’s interesting in itself.  It doesn’t make me comfortable, however.  I’m now more worried than ever about Obama’s legal status and what discovering that he was in fact born outside of the USA would mean to the country and its citizens.  I don’t think that kind of scandal would help us at all.  I think it would be incredibly damaging to the United States, both here and abroad.  I think it would have ramifications that we’ve not even been able to think about yet.  I feel like saying “Say it ain’t so, Mr. President…say it ain’t so.”

Looking ahead, I hope Trump runs for president.  I feel comfortable with the idea of him moving into the White House.  I can imagine him streamlining the government, and telling a few people who have overstayed their welcome “You’re fired!”  He knows how to manage a large conglomerate with many facets.  He knows business and he knows people.

Funny thing is…I’ve never been a Donald Trump fan.  For years, I’ve wanted to take away his hair spray and take him to a barber shop for a new “do”.  That look was fine in 1979, but it needed to go a couple of decades ago.  I perceived him as cold, I disliked what I saw of his reality show, I wearied of his photo appearing in magazines with the woman of the week on his arm.  In my mind, he qualified as the “Ultimate Asshole” and he just annoyed me.  He reminded me of many local cocksure creeps I’d encountered over the years.

Maybe that wasn’t fair, but that’s the truth.  But a lot of the characteristics I’d perceived him as possessing over the years that made me regard him with suspicion and dislike are the same characteristics we need today in that Oval Office.  For the first time in my life, I may actually vote FOR a candidate rather than AGAINST a candidate.  My grandmother, a die hard Democrat who advised me in my youth to ALWAYS vote straight party ticket…would roll over in her grave in horror.

I’d have to register as a Republican to vote for him in the primary.  I’d have to vote Republican in the election too.  I would do that in a heartbeat if Trump were to run.  Why?

Because I believe he can do the job.  Period.

What do I think about Obama being re elected?  I think we’re in for more of the same: uncertainty, distrust, division, and looming bankruptcy.  America has lost hope in the candidate that represented hope and change just a few short years ago.  Instead, he’s become a figurehead riding the wave of controversy, distrust, conspiracies, and betrayals.  The transparency he promised has vanished as he plays a game of blowing smoke and ignoring the birthers’ repeated requests to produce the birth certificate and be done with it.  Many of us that couldn’t believe he wasn’t a natural born American have started to question it now, because what else could he be hiding with that steadfast refusal to produce his birth certificate, a piece of paper that most of us produce numerous times in our lives?  Whoopi Goldberg, of whom I’ve always been a fan, stated that no white president has ever been asked to produce the birth certificate.  (On The View, when Donald Trump made his comments about Obama and the birth certificate.)  I don’t know if she’s right or not, but a heck of a lot of white and black and brown people have been asked to produce it that weren’t the president, so why should he be exempt from that?

In some cases, perhaps the nitpicking is about race with Obama.  Personally, I don’t care.  Good and bad people come in all colors, sizes and shapes, and race doesn’t mean diddly to me in that regard.  I resent the fact that there is a shadow cast on a president that he could easily lay to rest, and yet continues to avoid responding to it.  I resent the rumors that indicate that both President Obama and his wife have had records from their school years sealed from public view.  Secrecy is only important when you have something to hide.  Yet Obama continues to maintain this aura of secrecy about himself and his wife, creating doubt when none should exist.  What are they hiding, a failing grade in civics or something bigger?

If President Obama cannot create a cooperative Congress capable of passing even an annual budget, how can we dream that he’s going to keep this nation together as divisions keep splitting us further apart?  If he can’t show us a single piece of paper laying to rest a controversy that has plagued him from his election forward…how can we dream of transparency and accountability of our government?

So, Mr. Trump, if you are listening out there, since you have shown us yours (birth certificate) we’re willing to show you ours (support for the presidential race).  Maybe you better get your ducks in a row for a 4 year leave of absence from the Board…to run a formerly great country known as the United States of America.  Just don’t pick Sarah Palin as your running mate, please.  It’s pretty tough to fire your vice president even for gross idiocy and foot-in-mouth disease.