Inspire. February.

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With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.

Eleanor Roosevelt

What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.

Ralph Marston
Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, Buffalo, NY
(c)2021
Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, Buffalo, NY
(c)2021

Despite the new year’s beginning in January much like the old year had ended, we got through it. We inaugurated Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our President and Vice President, and they hit the ground running.

Using Executive Orders to reverse some of the most heinous Trump Admin policies, reorganizing the Covid relief response so that it works for the American people, the Press Secretary giving daily briefings, answering all questions without lies and hedging, avoiding talking points and giving out real information has been a wonderful change of pace.

See the previous post for many of the Biden Admin Twitter follows to keep up on their news!

I’m optimistic as we head into the shortest month.

Lent is early this year, at least it seems that way, and so I’m already thinking about those forty days in the desert. You don’t have to be Catholic to think about the things that Lent brings out in many of us. Choose a random day, and begin your own forty days.

Change a habit.

Start a hobby.

Write a journal.

Take a breath.

Be inspired.

Election Connection: Welcome to the Biden Administration

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The Election Connection series will be a bit more sporadic, posted on a need-to-know basis now that we have an Administration that cares about its citizens in all the important and even in the most mundane ways. I still feel waves of PTSD at moments and then I see Press Secretary Jen Psaki swatting stupid questions, not arguing with White House correspondents, and offering experts to give briefings and answer questions, and I remember that it’s all going to be okay. It’s like the last four years were a dream, and I’m Pamela Ewing.

Unfortunately, the last four years weren’t a dream, and as nightmarish as it was to live through, it wasn’t a nightmare either. It was very real.

We need to take that same energy from the last years, the same energy brought to the Georgia Senate race, the same energy brought by the summer protests, and we need to focus it unrelentingly on the next two years, and then the two after that, and then the two after. We can never get complacent again.

Complacent = Complicit

We came very close to losing our republic. As it was, we witnessed a coup attempt, an insurrection that struck at the heart of our democracy. Five people died, including a Capitol police officer, but hundreds of others were injured. Two members of law enforcement have committed suicide. And still, there are Republicans who refuse to comply with law enforcement requirements to go through a magnetometer before entering the House floor. I mean, let’s be realistic and honest here, they’re also refusing to wear masks despite common sense and Executive Order, putting their colleagues and staff at risk (four members of Congress plus one spouse became covid infected because of Republican negligence on January 6th, and that was without their obvious complicity in the attack on the Capitol).

So, it’s time for a Civics lesson, and I will go extra slow as if I were speaking to the newly elected Senator from Alabama (this one) who doesn’t know the three branches of government (see below*) or a Supreme Court justice (this one) who doesn’t know the five rights guaranteed in the First Amendment (see below*).

Some things are etched in stone – the Constitution including the Bill of Rights is one of those things. The Constitution may be amended, and there are procedures in place to do that. In fact, we have amended the Constitution twenty-seven times, most recently in 1992.

Some things are not – Number of Supreme Court justices, the use of the filibuster. Supreme Court justices were based on the number of circuit courts, which have increased to thirteen. This is why many experts feel that the Supreme Court should be expanded to cover each circuit court with its own justice (as established in 1869 with what is known as the Circuit Judges Act).

The filibuster is not part of the Constitution, which makes it easier to change than amending the Constitution would be.

A couple of points:

Unity does not mean to continue to allow ourselves be abused or gaslit.

Unity does not mean giving in to bullies.

Unity does not mean power sharing when Democrats have a clear mandate.

Below the cut are Twitter follows of the Biden Administration, the House Managers of the Impeachment Trial, a selection of podcasts, and other accounts that I follow regularly and find are very informative and honest. Add your own in the comments and I can include them in the next Election Connection.

*Branches of Government
| | |
Legislative Executive Judicial

*5 Rights Enumerated in the First Amendment:
1. Freedom of Speech
2. Freedom of Religion
3. Freedom of the Press
4. Freedom to Assemble
5. Freedom to Protest the Government

Continue reading

Inspire 2021. January.

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Gratitude Art. (c)2021

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

– – Melody Beattie

What can we look forward to in this new year?

Beginning tomorrow, everything.

I’m optimistic. A new President and Vice President will be sworn in at noon tomorrow, and thus begins 100 days.

100 Days of mask wearing.

100 Days of vaccinations.

100 Days of returning to ourselves and becoming better.

A new year to set goals, to take chances, to create.

I’m looking forward.

Instead of publishing Election Connection today, I will publish the last one (unless times require updates) next week with ways we can continue to be civic minded every day, not only every four years. Persist, Stand up, Speak out, Rise up. Together, we can make things better.

Election Connection – Georgia Runoff – Why You Should Care About Georgia

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Living in New York, why do I care about a runoff election in Georgia? And more importantly, why should you care?

Two words, one hashtag: #MoscowMitch

Mitch McConnell, Senator of Kentucky and overall partisan hypocrite.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t start out with calling names, but believe me there are much worse that would be applicable that I am refraining from. He has no conscience. He has no shame.

We came out, 80 million + of us and we sent a clear message that we want the Trump Administration and its policies gone. G-O-N-E. With the amount of votes and the states that flipped from 2016 and especially the states flipping that have been Republican strongholds for years, Arizona and Georgia, it is clear that Republican tactics and policies have been rejected out of hand.

Currently, Senator McConnell is the Majority Leader in the Senate. He has single handedly halted legislation in Congress.

The House of Representatives have passed laws for the past two years – hundred of laws – and sent them to the Senate. Mitch McConnell decides what is brought to the floor for debate and to be voted on. He’s brought nearly none of them. Not voting rights, not covid survival checks for struggling American citizens, not state and local government monies to offset their covid spending for police and fire, not money for testing and PPE.

All Mitch McConnell does is confirm judges, most of them unqualified as determined by the American Bar Association. Many of them with less experience than anyone else on the bench. Mitch McConnell blocked most of President Obama’s agenda including judges and one Supreme Court justice.

On the night that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, Mitch McConnell was communicating his intention to confirm a “replacement” justice as soon as possible despite the election coming in mere weeks.

He cried in saying farewell to fellow Senator Lamar Alexander who is retiring and has yet to say any words of condolence for the almost 300,000 Americans who have died during the pandemic this year from covid.

He tells his followers that he doesn’t want to “bail out blue states” while ignoring the reality that the blue states bail out the red states each and every year, and blue states receive less in federal aid than Republican run states.

To put it simply, Mitch McConnell is despicable.

He has already said that he will block Biden’s choices for judges and any Supreme Court justices that are nominated. He will not advance for vote any Cabinet confirmation who he doesn’t agree with.

In other words, McConnell will single-handedly hamstring the Biden Administration that the majority of the country has voted for, has spoken in favor of.

President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Harris have been given a mandate to get this country on track and to be better; to move away from corporate welfare and debilitating trade wars and help the people in this country who desperately need the help. They can begin to address the racial disparity that’s been built into our system since its founding.

All that is for naught without the Senate though.

As of this writing (a few days before publishing), 126 House Republicans, 17 Republican Attorneys General, and untold numbers of GOP Senators have signed on, either by name or by silent complicity in attempting to overthrow the will of the people, to have the courts intercede and throw out the election with lies of nonexistent voter fraud and disinformation.

However, we have a chance to nip this un-American, unpatriotic behavior in the bud: if we win the two Senate seats in the Georgia runoff happening on January 5, 2021 and you can help even if you don’t live in Georgia and can’t personally vote for Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock.

Money is still needed.

Volunteers are still needed – for phone calls, for texts, for transporting voters to the polls on January 5th.

We also need to remind people that when they go to the polls during early voting beginning on December 14 (yesterday) and finishing on January 5th, they need to vote for BOTH Warnock and Ossoff. If they are BOTH elected to the Senate, the Senate will be tied 50-50, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be the deciding vote and the Democrats will control the agenda.

Start by going to Vote Save America’s Georgia Page. It will give you all the information you need to get started in volunteering, in getting out the information, and in getting out the vote.

Next week, I will talk about the current Georgia’s Senators’ blatant corruption.

Vote Save America – Georgia Runoff

Jon Ossoff

Rev. Raphael Warnock

Fair Fight