Election Reflection – The New Administration and Accountability

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​I know that for a long time I didn’t write about politics. I’ve always been a political junkie. I can’t get enough of the news shows. I was on a first name basis (in my mind) with the likes of Peter Jennings, David Brinkley, Brian Williams. I would shout out comments at the television, ask questions, and generally need to know everything.

That  changed at the end of 2012. I was tired of the stress, of the politics, of the partisanship that came from the GOP. I know that there are some who say that the Democrats are just as partisan, but that’s just not true. We compromise. We compromise because the prize that we eye is the greater good. We do what’s best for the country. Take a quick look at the last eight years and especially the last year of President Obama’s term and how disrespectful Senator Mitch McConnell was. Even today, as Democrats are taking pages from his playbook, he, and his cronies whine about how we need to respect and unify with the President, despite the way they treated President Obama. I wouldn’t treat my dog that way, and now they have the nerve to ask of us what they were unwilling to do?

I’m not an obstructionist, but I won’t sit idly by and watch those hypocrites tear this country apart.

That said, I hope everyone is watching this first week of President Trump’s Administration. His staff is parading him out like a circus animal and he’s letting them. I do understand that each new Administration has its own priorities and executive orders are the beginning. They certainly were with Presidents Bush and Obama, but I don’t recall there being multiple ones daily. His base is cheering, but it is us, the opposition who are rising up and protesting. We’re saying NO MORE.

And it’s working.

Somewhat.

They tried to gut the ethics committee. We said NO. We used our voices. We. The. People.

They tried to silence the science community in the government. We said NO. They rescinded the gag order.

Senator John McCain has said no torture. We’re with him on that.

Senator Schumer said no rubber stamps on the Supreme Court. If they’re not  bipartisan, they should vote no. Replacing Scalia isn’t the problem; it’s the rest of the retiring justices.

I am trying not to rant. I will continue to try not to rant. It’s not easy.

How many things has President Trump gone back on from his campaign so far this first week?

How can we let him reinstate DAPL when he’s an investor? This is a direct benefit to him. He is not divested in his business. That can’t go on.

Canceling the National Endowment for the Arts? It’s pennies.

Voter Fraud? The only voter fraud I’ve heard of was the Republican who tried to vote twice and the President’s advisor, Steve Bannon, who is registered in two states.

Banning Muslims when most of our terrorists recently are homegrown?

Forget causation; it’s not even correlation.

Scientists are planning on a protest at the nation’s capital. We’re arguing about science. Science.

There is no such thing as alternative facts. Facts are facts are facts are facts. The alternative is a lie. How can we teach our children right from wrong when this is the example they’re seeing.

My daughter asked me before the election about being forced to have a baby. She was ten. I told her the truth. No one would force her to have a baby if she doesn’t want one as long as I’m alive. Her response? What about when you’re gone?

She asked about World War III two nights ago.

My twelve-year-old son asked about 1984. I told him I think we have it in the basement, and he should check and read it. If not, we can get it for him to read. He’s not quite sure what it means, but he knows that people are talking about it and it is something to think about and ask about.

Last night, while we were getting ready for bed, watching Brian Williams’ The 11th Hour, she commented that she couldn’t understand or believe that girls were still fighting to be equal to boys. She doesn’t get it.

Frankly, neither do I.

We can’t belittle the President. We can’t pick on his spelling errors. We absolutely can’t disparage his youngest son who didn’t ask for this. We need to pick our battles. We need to pick the right ones, and we need to keep his feet to the fire.

We must hold him and his administration accountable. When they violate the Constitution as they’ve done this past week, we must call it out.

We must.

We will not go back. Not any of us.

Stand up. Speak out. Rise up.

This is everyone’s fight because it is everyone’s country.

If there are things happening that you simply do not understand, which I get; it’s a lot to ask for people to pay attention to the nitty-gritty of this daily, I would recommend Vox.com. They have a very good way of explaining what’s going on. Try them out. I find them fair.

The Neighborhood Drug Store

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​I don’t know how old I was but it must have been around high school or college; that young adult age before I could drive, and my mother asked me to run into Calvert to pick up whatever it was. Where’s Calvert? I asked. Next to the luncheonette was the reply. Now, the luncheonette wasn’t a luncheonette then, it was a five and dime, although in the 1980s it wasn’t a five and dime, and I don’t even think it was called that, more like a dollar store, but for a quarter or fifty cents. I think it was called Marty’s, but that was also the name of the luncheonette; when it was a luncheonette. I just can’t remember.

I tried to picture the row of stores where the luncheonette was the corner, the anchor, the first one you reached when you walked or biked through the labyrinth of suburban streets that led to this first bastion of civilization from the rows of houses set up in Levittown fashion.

Then my mother clarified: Kenny. She said it in the tone of someone speaking to a toddler who didn’t understand what to do with the sippy cup – Sink.

Oh! Kenny’s! 

Kenny was the druggist at the drug store where my parents got their prescriptions or we kids got ours when we were sick, which was almost never. He knew us all by name, and would just hand over our family’s prescriptions. There was no identification needed, no birthdate IDs, no signatures. He didn’t ask about our allergies; he already knew them. I was living elsewhere when he retired, but I was still sad. I don’t know where my parents went for their prescriptions when his store closed. I know that my mother had to get her insulin through mail order and that was a nightmare. It was never right. They had no concept of how that particular delivery system and how their way of dispensing it and refilling it was not only idiotic, it was absurd.

Kenny’s drug store was a small, square aisle-filled mecca of antiseptics, bandages, aspirin, aspirin substitutes, and whatever else he could fit. There were stationery supplies, a paperback book section, greeting cards, and more. If I recall correctly, he didn’t have much in the selection of gum. I’m almost certain that after Kenny’s, we’d take a detour to Marty’s and buy a pack of gum, look at the racks of magazines, maybe sit at the lunch counter if it was a special occasion. Very rarely, but sometimes, we would get an ice cream treat, a cone to take with us. He may have given us a Bazooka Joe piece of gum. I don’t think it was penny candy, but it couldn’t have been more than five cents.

It smelled like a hospital waiting room, and to get to the medicine, I had to walk all the way to the back of the store, to a huge, almost taller than me counter looming with Kenny behind it, smiling, wearing that bluish-white, collared short-sleeved pharmacist shirt, not asking what I needed because he saw me come in and it was already in his hand. I don’t believe there was a co-pay because I never remember giving him any money. It is possible that after the insurance, he sent a bill to my parents for any excess owed. There were no computers; only a big, metal cash register that clanged when the drawer opened.

Behind Kenny were the rows and shelves of medicine that he put into the bottles, printed the labels before he stuck them on, and then placed in the bags waiting for the customers; all done by hand. Sometimes, the labels were even crooked.

After we moved upstate, after I was married, and after Kenny had retired, we were looking for a pharmacy. They weren’t called drug stores anymore. Our landlord recommended a local place. It had been a local place for about seventy-five years, maybe more. We went there. The mayor was our pharmacist. His oldest daughter was on the soccer team with our oldest son. His neighbor, the mom of our son’s friends, was also a pharmacist there as well as School Board member. He is now an Assemblyman for the state. It was similar to Kenny’s, but not quite the same. We still go there despite living about fifteen miles away. I like the familiarity. I like that I have John’s phone number and he’s talked to me about saving money on my co-insurance at the end of each year. Although, one bone to pick would be that I have a hyphenated name, and they can never remember that the first part is not my first name. Come on! It’s been twenty years!

Still, I think I go there instead of the grocery store or the big box stores like Target and Walmart because it does remind me of a time before, of quality goods, of neighborliness, and care taken with the medicine that is there to save our lives and help us live longer and better. It’s just a little extra friendly that we could all use in our daily lives.

Obama Book Club

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As a writer, I am drawn to other writers and their processes. It is one of the main reasons that I follow pepole like Connie SchultzWil WheatonNeil Gaiman, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Another writer who I follow and get inspiration from was also recently the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

I’ve titled this based on Entertainment Weekly’s  article with a comprehensive list of Mr. Obama’s book recommendations.

Last week, he spoke to the New York Times about how reading and writing was his secret to surviving those White House years.

Beginning today, and for at least the next eight weeks, I will share one his book recommendations. I will also share if I’ve read it or if I plan to read it.

It was recently revealed that President Obama gave his oldest daughter, eighteen-year-old Malia a Kindle filled with books. I actually did this for my mother-in-law a couple of Christmases ago. It’s a wonderful gift for any avid reader. One of the books he put on it for her is The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing.

That is my first book suggesetion to you.
I have not read this book, but with my introduction about writers, and this book being about a writer and writing, I thought it a perfect initial choice. I have already added it to my reading list for when I get my next Amazon gift card.