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.

The Election of 2016

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​I’m stunned. I’m also shocked and saddened. Yesterday morning, I awoke at 6:45am so I could take my daughter with me to vote before she had to go to school. We talked about the ballot, why I was voting for some people, why I wasn’t voting for others. We whispered so we didn’t disturb or bother anyone else voting at the same time. I took pictures of both the ballot and she and the ballot and before and after pictures before we left the house and after our election day breakfast at McDonald’s. I was sure that we had just voted for the first woman president. To be honest, that was a bonus. I was voting for Hillary Clinton, someone who I had admired and watched since I was out of college. I learned so much about her over the years; what she believed in, what she did and would do as a public servant.

When she became my senator, I knew she’d work her ass off, and she did.

She was a fantastic Secretary of State.

In 2000, I voted for Al Gore, John Kerry in 2004, President Obama in 2008 and 2012. I voted FOR them, not against their opponents. I did not want George Bush, John McCain, or Mitt Romney to be President, but I knew in my heart that if they became president, they would do their best to bring honor to the office. I am not so sure about that this year.

I can’t express what I’m feeling. I’m usually asleep when my two children get on the bus for school. This morning, I made sure I was awake so I would have time to hug them and talk to them about the election results. They were both worried. My son went to bed with a headache, and my daughter asked if she would be forced to wear a hood. Their reactions did not come from us directly, but from listening to Mr. Trump’s rhetoric for the past eighteen months.

I hugged them, and told them not to worry and we wold get through this. It would be okay. The don’t know because they’re too young, but we’ve been here before, and we’ve gotten through it.

This one is a little different.

I never thought I’d see a President endorsed so heartily by the KKK in my adult lifetime. I never thought we’d elect an open racist and misogynist in my adult lifetime, certainly not in the modern age. The VP, a heartbeat away from the Oval Office is a proponent of gay conversion therapy, funerals for fetuses while limiting the rights of the women carrying them.

This isn’t partisan to me. This is insane.

I had planned on this post being one of my reflections on 50. It was going to be about politics and my lifelong love of politics, but I can’t write about that and ignore what’s just happened this morning. I think I need to take a couple days away. There are some posts scheduled in my queue that will post automatically, and hopefully, I’ll be able to continue my 50 reflections, but today…today truly is a time for mourning.

Crime will go up.

Abortions will go up.

Hate crimes will go up.

Homelessness will go up.

Unemployment will go up.

If you look at the statistics over the last century, I think you’ll find that this is what happens when Republicans are in the White House.

On a personal note, my husband will probably lose his job, which will have financial ramifications for years to come.

This wasn’t one election. This was a lifetime. This will affect those not born yet.

We, as a country need to reflect on the last year; the attacks on women, the attacks on journalism and journalists, the attacks on Muslims and Latinos especially, and the continuing stereotyping of African Americans who according to Trump live in hell and the inner cities. I’ll have to mention that to my suburban neighbors.

We need to look at who we are as a country, as a people, and decide where we want to go from here. We need to pray and meditate on what is going on, in whatever way that each of us does. We just decided that the most qualified person in the last half century still isn’t good enough; we want the reality TV star, who may have only won because his campaign manager took away his Twitter and the FBI Director lit a fire on a burned out shell.

Every. Vote. Counts.

Al Gore told you.

Bernie Sanders told you.

Joe Biden and Barack Obama told you.

When will we listen?

When will we do what’s best for all of us, and not just a select few? For some reason, they think that a thirty year public servant is more elitist than a millionaire who lives in a penthouse and wouldn’t know the price of milk if he were standing in the grocery store.

I don’t know what else to say.

It’s too much to take in. It’s only been real for about two hours for me. I went to bed at 2:15am, thinking there was some hope. I woke up knowing it was over, not wanting to know the outcome, but needing to know so I could tell my kids in the morning that it would be alright.

Voting and Food

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​Today is Election Day, and while this election has been one for the history books in more ways than one, Election Day does have a rich history and tradition.

Many are calling for a national holiday, so everyone is able to vote on Election Day. I agree with this, but having a federal or state holiday doesn’t always ensure that everyone has the day off. Retail people are not off on most federal holidays as well as police and fire, so it’s not a sure thing.

When I was in elementary school, schools were closed on Election Day. The schools were the polling places, and it was better for everyone if kids weren’t disrupting the march of democracy. Even though we were home, we had a regular babysitter, so my parents still worked during their regular work hours and would need to vote afterwards. Not voting was never an option.

Coming home from work with little time for kids and dinner and getting out the vote, we often had a simple dinner, much the same when my brother and sister had their weekly allergy shots appointment. A simple dinner consisted of tuna fish sandwiches, egg salad for everyone but me, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese or if we were really lucky, McDonald’s.

In small towns across the country, food and voting go hand in hand. Just this week, I’ve seen signs and advertisements for a roast beef dinner, lasagna, and an apple pie festival. In the past, I’ve seen pot roast dinners, BBQ, and chili cook-offs, not to mention school and church bake sales to raise money for clubs and whatnot. 

How many ways do we have to encourage people to get out, drop their apathy and vote. Apparently, food is number one. 

This year, there is a lot of talk of taco trucks on every corner if a certain candidate wins, and what better day for tacos on Election Day Tuesday to make it a Taco Tuesday.

My family will probably get pizza so we can watch the returns late into the night.

Personally, I love the I voted stickers, but they usually don’t have those when I go. A chocolate chip cookie after voting wouldn’t be unwelcome.

Clinton-Kaine 2016

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Today was a big news day on all fronts. The Republican National Convention concluded last night with its nomination of Donald J. Trump.

Jon Stewart returned to political television with a no-holds barred commentary, not just on Donald Trump but on the Republican establishment who relished in their hypocrisy and fear-mongering.

The Walking Dead dropped its season 7 teaser trailer at the San Diego Comic Con, and while of course, the trailer and the panel told us nothing of who died at the end of season 6 and Negan’s bat, it gave us so much to ponder for the next three months and one day that I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us, not to mention the horrifying new walkers previewed on Greg Nicotero’s Instagram.

Last but not least, Hillary Clinton chose Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia to run as her Vice President on the Democratic ticket.

I’ve been a fan of Tim Kaine for a long time. For some weird unknown reason, several of the Virginia politicians followed me for a short time on Twitter including the lieutenant governor under Sen. Kaine and the now governor, Terry McAuliffe.

Choosing Sen. Kaine was a good choice. He looks like a safe choice, but the reality was that Hillary Clinton had an overabundance of good choices and he may appeal to some of the moderate Republicans that were lukewarm at a Mike Pence VP.

When I heard Tom Vilsack’s name earlier this week, I knew immediately he was a red herring. Iowa. is not a state that Dems desperately need, although all states are important. He’s also too conservative for the Bernie Sanders’ supporters. WHile Tim Kaine isn’t as liberal as they might like, he appeals to several demographics across the board.

Personally, I was on Team Castro. I’ve been following Julian Castro’s career after hearing him speak at the Democratic National Convention in 2012, I believe it was.

Cory Booker and Sherrod Brown were great Progressive choices, and I’m a big fan of both, but in relinquishing their senate seats, the Republican governors in New Jersey and Ohio, respectively would have appointed someone of their own party, and we need them in the Senate.

The Senate also needs Elizabeth Warren to stay there and keep a fire lit under the Republicans.

Tim Kaine is a family man, more conservative than the rest of this list (with the exception of Vilsack), but is also progressive on issues of equal rights (LGBT+) and equal access (women’s reproduction). He speaks his mind, but does so without insults or hyperbole. He’s an optimist, which is something this country needs right now. He’s from Virginia, a southern swing state that has both liberal and conservative citizens, urban and rural areas, military and private sector and a variety of socio-economic people. It is a good state to look to for a microcosm of the country as a whole.

The most important qualification, however is would he make a good president if the need arose? Absolutely, yes.

Let. me know your thoughts on this team that really is Stronger Together. I have no qualms whatsoever at supporting them 100%.

Clinton-Kaine, 2016

Stuff and Things – Transistor Radio

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This is my Jimmy Carter peanut radio. It’s just one of those things that I can’t remember getting, but I’ve always had. I imagine that it was given to me early on in the Carter Administration or while he was campaigning for President. I know that my brother and sister also had one.

The battery cover is missing, and I think one of the wires has come out, so if I put a new 9 volt battery in it, it wouldn’t work, which is sad. I have some good memories listening to this radio.

No antennas, no plugs. The radio stations broadcast. If I recall correctly, it got FM. Not all of the radios that we had could pick up FM, so this was a big deal. FM had the cool music.

He’s also missing a top hat. He must have been modeling after Mr. Peanut. There were so many ways that politicians were good naturedly parodied and teased, but I kind of think that President Carter would like this. It shows his friendly, if toothy grin, the twinkle in his eyes, and of course, a homage to his peanut farming and farm life and family ancestry.

This is one of my childhood treasures along with a stuffed astronaut doll from the Kennedy Space Center. I will look for that later in the year, and share it with you when I find it. We discovered it again when we were cleaning my mother’s house out several years ago. It was a bit moldy, but I know we have it either in the garage or the basement.