George Herbert Walker Bush (1924 – 2018)

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​Not sure if this is going to be longer later, but – I’m sad that George Bush 41 passed away. I’ve been listening to both the hagiographies and the realistic assessments of his presidency and public service career. Whatever else he was, he was a kind and decent person who cared about and loved his family and his country deeply. He had faith and beliefs that he kept in his heart throughout his life. He had a good sense of humor, and he made it okay for us to not like broccoli.

He signed the Americans with Disabillities Act and when he was asked to intervene in pushing back the Iraqi regime out from their invasion of Kuwait, he acted. He forrmed a multi-national coalition including Middle Eastern/Muslim countries, and when their objective was done (Hussein going back to Baghdad), he didn’t push an imperialistic doctrine.

He saw, and contributed, to the peaceful end of the Cold War after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, including the reunification of Germany, which is likely one reason that Chancellor Merkel came to pay her respects.

I didn’t vote for him, but I worked for him…kind of. I was a civilian in the Navy’s child development program. In addition to our regular group of military children under five, we were also joined by a couple of displaced kids when their parents were called up and their reserve units were activated during the Gulf War. Oddly, I was less politically active and vocal during Bush’s Presidency than just prior when I was in college and studying political science.

When he pledged not to raise taxes, then got into office, and saw the reality of the economy, he took a leap (and it probably cost him a second term), and for the good of the country, he raised taxes. For the good of the country.

He also closed military bases, which included my being laid off.

At 17, after Pearl Harbor, he enlisted, volunteering for the Navy and was the youngest aviator. He was shot down over the Pacific. He then went to college, and over the span of decades was Congressman, ambasasador, director of the CIA, Vice President and President of the United States. A lifetime of service. A good man.

He should be admired.

This eulogized more than I had originally intended.

The point I wanted to make is that if you’re waiting for someone who is unproblematic in order to eulogize them and offer condolences and respects upon their death after a lifetime of service, you may as well stop now. There is no such person. There will never be any such person. Even Saint Mother Theresa didn’t always believe in G-d, and she’s a saint. The point being that take a forward glance towards the future of state funerals and name the one, unproblematic one that we’re allowed to feel bad for, to admire, to want to emulate aspects of. They are all problematic to someone.

That doesn’t dismiss the valid feelings they invoke, but it may need some additional perspective. 

George HW Bush was a decent man, with morals and he attempted to be better, not better than anyone or any of us or anyone around him, but just better.

And in this world of Wisconsin Republicans overthrowing the duly elected incoming state government (is this the tyranny the NRA has warned us about? But that’s another discussion, isn’t it?), we could all use a little bit more decent.

Giving Tuesday

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In this time of holiday joy and generosity, please do what you can to support those organizations who help throughout the year.

ACLU

Planned Parenthood

RAICES

Random Acts

Where I Give My Support (list not inclusive)

Scroll down to the Stands links for a collection of worthy charities, all of whom do good works.

Add your own recommendations in the comments with how to reach them with donations and what their organization does. 

Election Reflection – Split Decision? Or Blue Wave?

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​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?

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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!

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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

A Melting Pot

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​When I was a kid, I would occasionally say that I was Canadian. My father would not have it. He told me I was an American, not Canadian. I tried to argue. But Grandpa was born in Canada. His family still lives there. Why aren’t we Canadian? We’re American he would say. And that was the end of the discussion.

It wasn’t a diss against Canada or our Canadian relatives, but to him it was more than important; it was pride, it was honor, it was a patriotic act.

When my kids have done their genealogy or ancestry in school or for class projects, they’ve asked, and we’ve told them where their families have come from. We’re Jewish so for us it wasn’t that we came from Eastern Europe, but that we were Russian, German, Polish, but always prefaced by being Jewish. It was our ethnicity more than our religion despite being both.

My kids are all of those things, but their families also come from Canada, Russia, Germany, Poland, and Ireland. We eat foods and follow traditions from all of those family histories.

I’m an American. And some of my family is Canadian. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, and neither takes away from the other.

When I heard the first time someone referred contemptuously to Elizabeth Warren’s nod to her Native American ancestry, I had to shake my head at their myopia. She wasn’t saying she was Native. She wasn’t saying she was Indigenous. She wasn’t asking for a government benefit or acknowledgment. She was simply relaying a family story that she’d heard her whole life about her heritage, about the traditions in her own family.

It was the President who made a political issue out of it, and then the racists jumped onboard with their laughter and their name-calling. The President continued with his name-calling just this week.

Even Democrats criticized her for bringing it up now, a distraction from the important midterms, although I would remind them that the President is the one who brought it up, and Senator Warren simply responded. I know what it’s like to have that continual gnawing inside when someone says something about you or your family. They say it, and it’s forgotten, but not by you, not by the aggrieved. The hurt remains and festers and dogs in to all those places that have been hurt before.

I think she also knew the President wouldn’t follow through with his promise of a charitable contribution; he has never kept his word, and he’s not about to start now, but still…

Was she supposed to ignore his taunts? Is she supposed to take it because the timing isn’t right for the election campaign cycle according to some pundits? Is she just supposed to sit down and be quiet little lady?

As someone who lives in a melting pot, I understand where Warren was initially coming from, and the more air we give to the nonsense that this President does and says, the more air he sucks out of the room, and the rest of us, the rest of us are suffocating.

So good for Elizabeth Warren.

One day my kids will be telling someone about their Canadian or Irish ancestry, and they will be mocked because they don’t have the proof; just a handful of family stories they cherish, and I hope they don’t back down either.

Election Reflection – 21 DAYS TIL MIDTERMS

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VOTE!

Vote Save America – check your registration. People are being purged and voters, especially minorities and Democratic voters are being suppressed. If Republicans had a message and could take the responsibility of governing, they wouldn’t need to cheat by suppressing legal voters from making their choices.

In Georgia, the Republican running against Stacey Abrams is also the Secretary of State of the state of Georgia, and is the one who validates the security and legitimacy of the election, including certifying the election. Currently, there are 53,000 voter registrations that are being held up. 70% of them are African-American voters.

Georgia Lawsuit is Latest…
The Supreme Court just ruled, merely a few weeks ahead of this year’s election that the North Dakota law requiring street addresses (rather than post office boxes) is legal and upheld. This disenfranchises many Native Americans voters, a voting group that primarily goes for the Democratic party. Living on reservations and on rural routes, the post office does not assign street addresses. This is significant.

Native Americans Decry Supreme Court Ruling on Voter ID in ND

Indiana is trying to purge voters in the weeks before this midterm election.

Federal Judge Blocks Indiana…

Again, I ask, what are Republican politicians afraid of?

We are still at risk from Russian election interference. Nothing has been fortified since the 2016 election that has been proved to have been compromised.

I’m worried.

You should be also.

Check your registration, drive your friends to the polls, and VOTE!