GET OUT THE VOTE!

Standard

Today is Election Day, and as we’ve seen in the last three years, ALL elections are important ones. On Friday, I was at a Nanowrimo kick-off event and I saw signs for early voting, which is new in New York. I took the opportunity to give it a whirl. It all went well, and it gave me something to talk about with one of our local candidates who was going door-to-door this weekend. It was a good talk, and I felt very confident in my side of the conversation which is unusual for me. As it happened, I had voted for him.

Check your state’s polling hours, and make sure you go to your appropriate polling place.

Close you phone, tablet, and/or computer, and VOTE!

Election Reflection – Split Decision? Or Blue Wave?

Image

​Last Tuesday, I had planned on spending the day watching twenty-four hour cable news. The idea of doing that filled me with dread. I began to have minor flashbacks of the same day two years before when I ignored most of the day’s goings-on since I knew the outcome. I, and  many of the country (about sixty-three million of us) were wrong. It was devastating, and the more I thought about seven days ago, the more I realized that I did not want to sit at home, waiting for results that would not come until late in the evening.

I decided to vote early and go to my local religious retreat house for a day of reflection centered on Thanksgiving. It was exactly what I needed, and it helped me through the rest of the evening and into the week that followed. Sometimes stepping back is exactly what’s needed in those stressful circumstances that this Election Day was going to be.

One week later, and there are still some outstanding races. As I write this, Arizona’s Senate race has just been declared: Kyrsten Sinema (D) has won the seat previously held by Jeff Flake. She will be the first woman Senator to represent Arizona. That was worth waiting for.

The main question Republicans and pundits (but not that many Democrats) are asking is whether this was really a blue wave rather than a puddle or a correction or a split decision, and I can tell you from my personal research (unscientific) on Facebook and Twitter, while we went to sleep just a week ago on Tuesday night only slightly less queasy than at the same time in 2016, waking up and continuing on during this past week of continuing counting of votes, rescinded concessions, no concessions in the case of Arizona and Georgia, and the huge increase in Congressional diversity, I can safely say that BLUE WAVE it is!

It is a complete repudiation of the Trump Administration and its policies that favor his laziness, bigotry and cronyism and nepotism. We said strongly that Mueller and his investigation must be protected and with Democrats on oversight, he will be.

For starters, some of my (least) favorite people have been defeated, including Scott Walker (WI), Kris Kobach (KS), Dean Heller (NV), John Faso (NY), Dana Rohrbacher (CA), Pete Sessions (TX), and the counting still continues in Georgia (governor) and Florida (governor and senator).

One hundred seventeen women!

The first (2) Muslim women.

The first (2) Native American women.

The first black woman from Massachusetts.

Openly gay governor for Colorado.

First woman Senator from Arizona, who is also bisexual.

Youngest woman elected to Congress from New York.

Lucy McBath won her seat in Georgia. She is one of the Moms Demand gun sense candidates, and part of a wave that added gun sense to the roles of Congress while defeating twenty-one NRA backed and A-rated candidates.

In Houston, ALL 19 black women who ran for judicial seats won!

In state legislatures across the country, 350 seats flipped as well as six state legislatures.

In North Carolina, the Republicans no longer have a supermajority, which lets the Democratically Elected Governor do his job.

Amendment 4 in Florida re-enfranchised millions of voters.

Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska all voted to expand medicaid.

Arkansas and Missouri voted to raise the minimum wage and Missouri passed a pro union ballot measure.

Teacher protests across the country happened in conservative states and helped move things forward; things are changing across the country.

The big question from Crooked Media’s Lovett or Leave It is how do we get Democratic politicians to be as popular as Democratic policies? Across the country progressive policy is popular, but for some reason conservatives continue to vote against their own interests.

In Red State Texas, Beto O’Rourke came within three points of beating incumbent Ted Cruz. If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know who Beto O’Rourke is, find is farewell email to his supporters; it highlights his character and beliefs.

In Georgia where the current Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, who is running the election for the state as well as running for Governor in the election he’s overseeing is defending his voter suppression in court while his challenger, Stacey Abrams is within one point of winning and they’re still counting.

In Florida, they haven’t finished counting the original election totals, and are still waiting for overseas military ballots to come in. When the original count is finished, Gillum and Nelson will qualify for a machine and a hand recount, respectively.

The biggest takeaway is flipping the House.

The Democrats now have oversight power, and can perform a check on the Executive branch of government despite the Republicans relinquishing their duty for the last two years. There will now be accountability so the White House, the President, and his Cabinet can’t go further into their already documented corruption and circumventing the rule of law.

This was one of the biggest turnouts in a midterm in history, and if we can keep the momentum going through the next Presidential election, we can right some of the wrongs of the past two years. If nothing else, it will be a reminder that the President is not a King; he answers to us, the people, and we will now hold his feet to the fire, and ensure that he does his job, not just for his small base, but for all Americans, no matter their party or their income level.

We can change the gerrymandering laws to make them more fair to everyone (including Republicans); we can reverse some of the unfair ID laws like the ones in North Dakota and Georgia and Indiana. We can pass bills for automatic voter registration so all eligible voters are able to vote in the next election.

As we’ve seen by this very Blue Wave, we can take back our country.

When we vote, we win.

What Was This Week?

Standard

It’s been next to impossible to write about politics this week. I started to, a number of times, but they all ended with me tearing my hair out, and screaming into the void.

I began the day before Election Day in a flurry of anxiety and excitement for Tuesday, and then the Blue Wave hit. I started keeping tabs on races, and began an excited post that I planned on posting sometime late on Wednesday.

Then the President had his news conference, and he was quite nasty to some journalists, including Yamiche Alcindor, Jim Acosta, and Peter Alexander, not to mention April Ryan.

Then Jim Acosta had his credentials revoked.

Jeff Sessions, Matt Whittaker, Robert Mueller, Tucker Carlson’s lunacy, which I’ve just discovered doesn’t match up to the police report, but wait, there’s more.

Then the President attacked journalist, Abby Phillips.

Then he backed out of the Veteran’s Day visit to the American Cemetery in France during the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, the end of World War I.

Then he was two hours late to dinner with the other leaders.

I’ve been offline for most of today, and I have to say it’s been a blessing.

I need to catch up, but I think I’m waiting for tomorrow’s podcasts to catch me up. I especially like MSNBC’s Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace.

So, what I’ve decided to do is to write a short piece on my feelings on Jim Acosta’s credentials, a slightly longer one for Tuesday, the one week anniversary of the Blue Wave about the Blue Wave, and completely ignore the disgrace of the man in the White House as he manages to embarrass this country once again with his petty, selfish, unAmerican conduct.

In his place, many others have stepped into the open space, and added their messages of honor to the veterans, all of them, but especially those we remember from one hundred years ago as they defeated the enemy, and brought the world together in peace.

I’ll leave you with these words from Laurence Binyon‘s poem, For the Fallen, published 21 Sept 1914:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

TODAY IS THE DAY! VOTE!

Standard

On Instagram, I’ve spent every day posting a political pin, and today is the final one. Scroll through and see what I chose to share in the last days towards this Election Day. When you’re finished looking and thinking about and commenting, head over to your polling place and VOTE. This is the most consequential and important election of our lifetimes. I just heard Dan Pfeiffer say on The Axe Files that young people felt secure and comfortable under President Obama, they thought they were safe and things were going to be okay – the President has this. Well, I’m 51, and I felt the same way. I was comfortable not paying attention to the minutiae of politics and political discourse for the first time in my life, and now I’m terrified. For my children, yes, but for myself as well. What have we allowed to happen in the last two years?!

VOTE

I Will Vote 11.6.18 from Penzeys Spices. (c)2018

From Star Wars: A Woman’s Place is in the Resistance. In honor of Carrie Fisher.(c)2018

The Liberty Bell. Philadelphia, PA. Remember our history. (c)2018

Equality Includes Everyone. Everyone Equals Everyone. (c)2018

Nevertheless, She Persisted. In honor of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Shethority, Me Too, Times Up. (c)2018

3 pins from Penzeys Spices. Kind heart, Soul (of America), Embrace Hope. (c)2018

A riff on Cyndi Lauper’s hit song, Girls Just Want to Have Fun. (c)2018

Created Equal pin that my son picked up for me on his school trip to Gettysburg. He knows me. (c)2018

NoRA, March for Our Lives. (c)2018

I couldn’t get a pussy hat, so I got a pink pussy cat pin instead. (c)2018

The truth. (c)2018

Looking back on someone who was thought to be a not so good president, but he really wasn’t that bad. He got a bad wrap. The current president won’t have that benefit – he’s the worst. But…Ulysses S. Grant won the Civil War, and wasn’t a bad president, and was actually a good person. Read Ron Chernow’s biography. (c)2018

Science Matters. (c)2018

Be Peace from the Dominican Sisters of Peace. (c)2018

Children First. Education by Educators.(c)2018

Facts Matter. From the Newseum in Washington, DC.(c)2018

Votes for Women. A gift from my friend from the Molly Brown House and Museum in Denver, CO. Suffragettes – votes for women and voting for women. (c)2018

LGBT+ Equality. (c)2018

I can’t even. I don’t remember what the news of the day was that made me post this, but it was probably awful and immigration or free press related. (c)2018

Education by Educators. Odyssey of the Mind in NY. (c)2018

Embrace Hope from Penzeys Spices. Always a good message. (c)2018

So simple, and yet so much meaning. Women’s rights, women’s equality, reproductive rights, ERA. Women’s rights are human rights. (c)2018

I VOTED! Now you. (c)2018

Are we a Nation of States What’s the State of Our Nation?[*]

Standard

i wrote a piece, a second part to last week’s Now What? about Dr. Christine Ford’s testimony and the fall out. It was supposed to post Wednesday morning. I had intended to re-read it, tweak it a bit, and then post, and I did finally do that last night. However, the last two days since the original first draft have been a minefield of emotion and anger. Rage. Continue reading

October – Fall into Halloween

Standard

​October is my favorite month for a lot of reasons. It is also the beginning of a very stressful and anxious time for me. It’s almost every year, and once this was brought to my attention, I was able to pay attention to the signs, to be self-aware, maybe a little overly self-aware to remember to take care of myself and to enjoy what I do enjoy and push through what I find difficult.

For one thing, school is humming along. All of the back to school paperwork has been handed in, drama club has begun, my son’s birthday is in two weeks, the leaves are changing, we’re planning our applepicking day, choosing Halloween costumes, not buying candy so we don’t eat it before the 31st, and I’m kind of getting ready for Nanowrimo. For the past two Halloweens, we’ve only started buying candy on the 29th and 30th. So far, so good.

I have a lot of medical stuff getting done this month. I’m about to schedule a mammogram, and my physical and colonoscopy is near the end of the month. I’m getting hearing aids in two weeks, which is nerve-wracking, depressing from a getting older perspective, and also excited anticipation so I can hear half of the things I’ve been missing.

I was also just informed (cautiously, nicely, with as much gentleness as was possible) that my oldest child is moving out. To be honest, I know he’s ready, and he’s thought it through, and he’s good and decent and it’s time, but also to be honest, I’m devastated. I can’t think of anything else. He’s been working two or three jobs for the last year, so it’s not like I’m used to seeing him around anyway. His main job is an overnight, so he gets home in the morning while I’m still sleeping, and he’s sleeping when I get up for the day. He hasn’t eaten dinner with us in weeks (months, really), he only answers about half my texts, and so physically not much will change.

But I’m still distraught.

The depression is building.

It’s also an election year – it is the most important election year in our lifetimes. That is no exaggeration. It’s time for those of us in the majority show the rest of the country what that actually means.

We are about to seat a new Supreme Court Justice, and the nominee (without the baggage of credible allegations of sexual assault) is the least qualified, the most lacking in temperament, the most self-entitled man to be chosen by any President in modern times. I’m also still deeply pained by the disgusting partisan insulting treatment of Judge Merrick Garland, and the traitorous  behavior of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, not only for that, but also for refusing to sign onto a bipartisan statement informing the American people of the Russian election interference in the 2016 election.

I am not over that election. I will never be over that election.

A foreign government put their finger on the scales of a fair and free election, and our Republican party helped.

I do apologize for this political outburst. That is not what this monthly blurb is about, but this hangs heavy over my October this year.

I’m going to take a deep breath, and make a few suggestions to you, and to myself while I try to keep October on an even, mindful, centered keel. As the campaign season winds down to Election Day (in thirty-four days), more than likely we will all need some form of self-care, and October actually lends itself really well to some unique ways to bring ourselves back to the center.

1. Take a drive to see the fall foliage. Many regions of the US have a beautiful change of season. I am very lucky to live in the Northeast, so it goes from green to bright oranges, reds, and yellows, sometimes in a matter of days.

2. Go applepicking. While you’re there, definitely eat one apple from the tree. Clean it on your shirt, and listen to the sound of the crisp, juicy snap of that first bite of the apple, its stem still attached, the leaf brushing against your nose. My favorite variety is the snapdragon, a relatively new hybrid.

3. Cook something comforting. Stew, chicken soup, chicken pot pie, mac&cheese, apple bread, apple pie.

4. Have a cup of tea. Or better yet, a mug. And keep them coming.

5. Light a scented candle. I like lilac.

What would you add to this list?