Tag Archives: Obama

Will the People Who Took My Country, Please Return it?

I haven’t been on here in a while, but I’m feeling the need to vent, so here goes!   Jane

I have lost my country.  It happened without my knowing it, maybe while I was sleeping.   I didn’t ever imagine it could happen.  But it’s gone.

The country I’m talking about is the United States of my youth.  It seems to me that once there was a country that tried to live by a moral code, seemed to try to treat people decently, cared something about human rights.  That country inspired me in my childhood, when the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were passed, and I got a glimpse of it it again more recently, when we elected Obama.Image result for signing of the civil rights act

Image result for images of Obama being elected

I know it’s never been fully here, at least not the country I imagine in my head.  In my fantasy country, the Statue of Liberty welcomes all immigrants, we openly acknowledge that the foundation of our economy was slavery and we try to make reparations for it, our system offers equal opportunity to everyone to build wealth, every student has access to a free college education, and every person can get quality health care.  I know that country has never existed, but I used to feel comforted by the fact that there were a lot of people out there in positions of power and leadership holding that vision of a country in their heads and working hard every day to try to make it a reality.

I’m not so sure any more.

I’ve been feeling lately like it must have been kidnapped by hooligans.

How else can we explain the new rise in white supremacy groups?

Or our lack of any sensible gun laws?

Or Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court?

Or cuts in funding for Medicaid?

Or a rapist and liar in the White House?

Or, worst of all, those camps full of children on our southern border?

Image result for images of child detention camps

It makes me so sad that I have to turn off the radio and stop listening to the news.  It makes me want to move to a country that has a heart and a head, like Canada or New Zealand.

The fallout from this kidnapping of my country is so much damage to so many people that I don’t see how things will ever turnaround.  The ransom note we will have to pay is too high. So much trauma inflicted on those children.  So much harm to our governmental institutions by a president and his bully boys and girls who could care less about our system of government and just want to make a profit, tell lies, strut their stuff, look tough. So many nuclear bombs being manufactured in Iran.

All I want is to be able to hold my head high again and say proudly, “I’m American,” instead of cringing at the site of the flag waving.  I want a country that isn’t perfect but at least tries to treat people fairly, that doesn’t only reward the rich, that fights to hold down its racist tendencies, that doesn’t cavort with dictators, that joins with other countries to work to prevent climate collapse.

I want America back!

So, I’m begging you:  please, someone out there, find my country and bring it home!

On Climate Change and our Amazing Lack of Imagination

Jane I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately thinking about climate change.  My friend Gloria has talked to me about it for years, but, up to now , I’ve been able to push her message down into the deep recesses of my consciousness.  What has moved it up lately to the top of my list of “Worries about the World We are Passing on to Our Children” is 1) all the horrible natural disasters that have been happening and 2) President Obama’s commissioned study.  But here’s the interesting thing:  no matter how many bleak facts and predictions I hear, I am not out in the streets protesting or on the phone calling my representatives.  There is still a little part of my brain that says, “That information is too horrible even to imagine.”  And, since I can’t take it in, I don’t take action.  I just lie awake at night, worrying.

End Climate Silence

Here’s what worries me most:  I know I am not the only one out there choosing this course.

I’m starting to think that we humans have an amazing ability to “live for today,” despite all the advertising campaigns that seem to believe otherwise.  In fact, living in the present moment and not envisioning long-term future consequences of our actions may be what we do best.  I’m beginning to wonder if we are even capable, as a species, of living in anything but the present.  Maybe this trait got embedded in our DNA from the earliest homo sapiens who had no choice but to live in the present because they had such short tenures on earth,  what with all those predators lurking around every corner!  Maybe evolutionary biology equipped them with the ability to keep telling themselves that everything will be okay because if, for instance, they actually stopped to imagine their chances of surviving an encounter with a saber-toothed tiger, they would fall into despair and choose not to reproduce.  Maybe survival of the fittest actually means survival of the most oblivious.

I have to admit, I go back and forth on whether this is a good or bad human characteristic. There are times when obliviousness is the only sane choice.  But I know that chosen obliviousness  in relation to climate change will lead to disaster, and this time the stakes are not individual lives but the lives of everyone living on this planet.

Stupid

Think about this:  in the earliest days of Nazi Germany, there were a lot of people, many of them even in positions of power, who could see the writing on the wall about Hitler but who still could not imagine that the boot on the stair would ever really come for their country, so, as a result, they couldn’t take action early enough to stop it.  Or, closer to home, there were even, apparently, a few people at places like the FBI or the CIA who saw 9/11 coming but couldn’t themselves imagine, on a gut level,  the real possibility of it happening fast enough to motivate others to take action.

(I wonder if the heart of our obliviousness is a lack of imagination or a belief in a higher power who can work miracles.  I sometimes think the former, but when I see all the mess we get into as a result of strong, individual religious beliefs, I lean toward the latter.)

All I know is this:  if we cannot imagine the real possibility of climate change quickly enough to realize that it is truly up to us, and not our grandchildren or great grandchildren, to take action, it doesn’t bode well for our planet.

Yes We Can

We still have a chance,  so we have a choice.  Are we going to keep sitting happily and mindlessly on “this pretty planet, ” (to quote one of my favorite children’s songs), using it up until there is nothing left of it and the ground falls away beneath us?   Are we going to keep living in our so-called safe houses,  hearing the boot on the stair, and thinking it is never coming for us?  Or are we going to open our collective eyes, see the reality that is right in front of our noses ,and have the courage and the will and the energy it will take to turn things around?

I worry that, in this case, since we are all only human,  it’s not hard to imagine what choice we will make.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Jane

I was really happy to hear about a new organization that was founded right after the Newtown shootings:  Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.  Reading about them gives me hope, for the first time, that maybe the tide could start to turn a little.  Just think about how effective Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been in working against teenage DWI deaths!  Also, when I think about those women marching up to Capitol Hill, some of them pushing strollers, some of them breastfeeding babies, I can’t help but get an image in my head of my mother when she had reached her limit with us when we were little. When Mama had had enough, you knew it. And often, she didn’t even have to say a word:  her face was enough to inspire us to modify our actions according to her wishes.

The whole debate about gun control seems so ridiculous to me that I find it hard even to consider it worth debating.  When I hear people talk about the “right to bear arms,” which I wish to heaven had never been added to the Constitution, and I see people get all high-and-mighty about how that right is sacrosanct in this country, I can’t help but think there have been plenty of other “rights” that got written into our laws that then, over time, needed to be written out–either at the state level or all the way up to the Constitution.  Like, for instance, the right of white people to dominate black people or the right of only white men to vote or the right of our government to take away land from the Indians.  It’s good to remember that all of those so-called “rights” were written by human beings in the first place–and had to be unwritten by human beings.

Katerina Rodgaard, Founder, Introduces President Obama at Rally for Gun Control

Then there is the argument that people have the right to have guns in their houses so that they can defend themselves against intruders or aliens or whatever.  What about that district attorney in Texas?  His gun really came in handy, didn’t it?  He was running to try to get it when the intruder into his home shot him in the back! If a crazy person armed with a gun is coming after you, counting on catching you by surprise, in order to murder you, apparently you don’t always have time to find and draw your own weapon. I think about that poor man when I hear the ridiculous proposals to arm our teachers, and I wonder what he would think about that.

For way too long in this country, we have worried way too much about the rights of white men (according to the statistics for 2011, the largest group of gun owners are white men, ages 50-64, with a high school education or less).  It’s time to fight for the rights of other people, especially the ones who can’t fight for themselves, our children.  It makes good sense that the mothers of this country, most of whom don’t have time to take on this battle, are now taking it on.  They would have stayed away if they could!  I can almost hear my mother saying it, “Don’t make me come in there!”

Let’s join them in this battle for gun control.  Here is their website:  http://momsdemandaction.org/.

Wolfgang Borchert, a wonderful writer who had the unfortunate bad luck of growing up in Germany during World War II and getting conscripted into the Wehrmacht, wrote an incredible collection of stories and poems called (in translation) The Man Outside,which includes the powerful poem “Say NO.”  It is an anti-war poem, but its underlying message works also here for the fight against guns in this country.

Wolfgang Borchert

Check out this stanza:

You. Mother in Normandy and mother in the Ukraine, you, mother in Frisco and London, you, on the banks of the Huang Ho and the Mississippi, you, mother in Nepal and Hamburg and Cairo and Oslo – mothers in all regions on earth, mothers all over the world, if they order you tomorrow to bear children – nurses for military hospitals and new soldiers for new battles, mothers all over the world, then there’s only one thing to do: Say NO! Mothers, say NO!

 

 

 

Another Thanksgiving List from One of Our Readers!

  1. I’m thankful my husband is no longer having an affair.
  2. I’m thankful my daughter IS on drugs (anti-depressants).
  3. I’m thankful that my dog, Willard, peed in the house just once today.
  4. I’m thankful that my husband and I survived accidentally walking 6 miles the other day (we didn’t realize our destination was that far).
  5. I’m thankful for email so that I never have to have a conversation with my ex-husband again.
  6. I’m thankful that when my big toe toenail fell off it didn’t hurt, but it sure is ugly.
  7. I’m thankful that nobody at water aerobics has a rockin’ body.

      8.  I’m thankful that somebody at Duke invented Magic Mouthwash for the mysterious sores in my mouth.

9.  I’m thankful that the latest stray dog we have hasn’t gone into heat yet.

10.  I’m thankful that my collie who almost died this year is now healthy.

11.  I’m thankful that Obama, bless his heart, is president, even though nobody else in the country seems to be.

12.  I’m thankful for Lolo, my 85-year-old, extraordinary friend.

13.  I’m thankful when the dogs sleep past 7 in the morning.