wanted: role model in chief

I don’t know about you all but here we are halfway through 2017 and I am exhausted…like feeling older than the hills exhausted.

I am old enough to remember when Michelle Obama said, Let’s be very clear: Strong men – men who are truly role models – don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together. 

It really does feel like a lifetime ago – yet it wasn’t. It was EIGHT MONTHS AGO!!!

Fuck!

When I was a little girl I looked to people like John F. Kennedy as an inspirational hero. Sure he was assassinated when I was just a toddler, but his influence and inspiration lived on; along with his brother, Bobby, and Martin Luther King Jr. Children look to the leaders, the men and women we see in media as role models to inspire us to aspire to our own greatness – the stuff that childhood fantasies and dreams are made of. Of course they are not perfect people, as no one is. But these role models show us strength, power, character in lifting up the weakest and bringing people together to do great things. It’s no surprise that for many children it is the Presidents that they look to for this. For my older children it was Bill Clinton. For my younger ones it was Barack Obama – and Michelle too. Yeah, like I said, not wholly perfect but, in a child’s view, larger than life, lifting others up and bringing others together.

And then there is the current President of the United States and…

Honestly, anyone with a child has to be asking themselves, how do I explain this President’s actions especially since he faces no consequences. Well, anyone except perhaps Sarah Huckabee Sanders. To defend a schoolyard bully saying he punches back harder when punched and that this is a good thing was beyond the pale – and laughable when suggested that the previous Administration was never attacked as much as this President and THIS President does show the dignity of the office every day in his actions.

All of America collectively smirks asking, you DO know Donald Trump?!

Pundits shake their heads and laugh at the expectation that our President of the United States should be a person above reproach in their character, dignified, a role model and a strong leader who inspires. This is Donald J. Trump, they tell us. And somehow, that is supposed to excuse him…excuse the tweets, the personal attacks, the misogyny, the bigotry…all of it with no apology.

NO!

We should expect better.

We deserve better.

Our children deserve someone living in the White House who inspires them to work harder,  to do better, to do good things, to do great things.

Currently there is no such person residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Sad!

 

it’s beautiful, we’re beautiful

Did you see the big game? You know that there was a game, right? Alexander Hamilpup proved to be quite the MVP. Yeah, Brady also finally joined the big game with the Patriots in the 4th quarter and upset the Falcons. That was definitely NOT the outcome we wanted to see under The Big Top. But my son-in-law won $5 accurately predicting when Brady would get sacked in the game. Most of our family circus was together under The Big Top. Together we all ate way too much finger foods, watched the Puppy Bowl XI, Super Bowl LI, the original Schuyler Sisters celebrating America, brotherhood and sisterhood, Lady Gaga’s amazing halftime performance that was patriotic enough to make the Trumpkins happy with a healthy dose of protest in there too…“liberty and justice FOR ALL..No matter gay, straight, or bi, Lesbian, transgendered life…and enjoyed all of the silly and the sublime that were the Super Bowl ads. Some argued that the ads were disrespectful and trolling the 45th president, known as Lord Dampnut here under The Big Top; but they were actually the sane and good things about America that makes us great…which might seem like trolling when one considers what the actual fuck has happened in the last two weeks in America. But this is where we are in Lord Dampnut’s America – and commercials that celebrate American values are an insult to him and the office.

Yeah.

Like the opening song and the halftime show, what I saw was a celebration of the diversity, the drive, the can-do spirit that made America great before an angry man with the worst comb-over ever and his even angrier people declared it to not be so.

Coca Cola’s It’s Beautiful ad actually first aired during the Summer Games broadcast but it was still relative as it was one of the first ads to play during the big game. More followed as did all the ugly, angry comments all over social media. Honestly, people were more angry over these spots than the fact that it took more than 3 quarters before the Patriots and Brady finally started playing like it was a big game.

Hate all you want, but pretty much all of us came from somewhere before we arrived here. Thanks to my father in law’s hobby, I know that my darling husband’s ancestors came here from England, Scotland and Ireland mostly before the Revolutionary War. My ancestry hails too from England as well as Germany, France, Switzerland and Scandinavia. Pretty much all of us come from immigrants fleeing religious persecution, famine, ethnic cleansing, poverty to seek something better. Some of us also came here against our will in chains. Like Budweiser’s Born the Hard Way ad, our people were likely greeted with a mix of open arms and outright hate, as it seems today. All of us, literally all of us, unless we are 100% Native American, came from somewhere else and, it’s beautiful. We are beautiful. America is beautiful.

And, were it not for an immigrant coming to America in THIS century looking for something better, my youngest child, my favorite son, would not be here right now calling me “Mom”.

THAT is truly beautiful!

2017, hope, and the next generation

There is something troubling to hear in the news of the sudden, but peaceful death of a pop music icon of your own generation when he is around the same age as you…because he died peacefully can be a little bit disconcerting especially when the news reports add that George Michael was only 53. Sorry, but only 53 conjures up the assumption that most 50-something people are NOT facing very soon the inevitable end of their lives because only 53 suggests that there might be a few more years left to live.

Meanwhile…

WTF 2016?!!

I’m not the only one who has been saying that literally all year long. Just hurry up and end already! Please!

Perhaps that is why the AP is feeling like their New Year’s poll of 1,007 people surveyed online accurately portrays the tone of Americans right now. Optimistic as we face 2017? We have a president-elect gas-lighting nations, Congress, media, Saturday Night Live and corporations alike on Twitter; and when he actually tries to act presidential reaching out to include all Americans, his Trumpers freak out.

Sorry, imagining the potential with this kind of, er, leadership, I’m just not feeling all warm and fuzzy about the near future. I’m trying. Really, I am trying. But I just can’t. I just can’t even. I, and a number of other people I know (regardless of our politics), seem to be thinking more in line with what Michele Obama said recently.

We feel the difference now. See, now, we are feeling what not having hope feels like. Hope is necessary. It’s a necessary concept and Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes. He and I and so many believe that — what else do you have if you don’t have hope. What do you give your kids if you can’t give them hope?

It’s true. What can I offer my young adult children, my teenaged son, my grand daughters if I can’t even begin to feel hopeful about the next four years…dear god please not eight years!!! It’s hard to imagine America while not having a grownup in the White House. Nailed it, Michele!

But thank you, Mr. President. Thanks Obama as you remind us of that generation right behind us, and I believe each successive generation, as long as we’re doing our job of being good models for it, they’re going to move this country forward in a better direction.

There is hope. Hope is right here. I’m willing to wait for it.

in the end, just a day

Checking my Twitter feed this morning, I found perhaps the perfect sentiment that sums up exactly how I feel this Christmas.

At this time of year, we’re bombarded with images of perfect lives, which bear little relation to reality as tinsel does to gold.

If you’re lucky enough to be with the people you love, warm and safe, with enough to eat, I’m sure you feel as blessed as I do.

But if your life is full of difficulties; if you aren’t where you want to be, either literally or figuratively,

remember that extraordinary transformations are possible. Everything changes. Nothing is forever.

Thinking back to my worst Christmas, I found it hard to believe that my unhappiness would pass. I was truly afraid of the future.

You never know what the future holds. Astonishing reversals of fortune happen every minute.

So if you’re sad, or lonely, or bereaved, or ill, separated from your loved ones or in any other ways suffering this Christmas,

I send you love and wish you luck and better times. Millions of us have been where you are now.

Remember Christmas is, in the end, just a day. It isn’t a test or a scorecard of you or your life, so be kind to yourself.

Merry Christmas!

~ JK Rowling

Looking back from where I am and where I came from, I can agree that during my worst Christmas ever, it was impossible to imagine a life where I would be happy…and full…and warm…and not afraid…and safe. But here I am!

Right here, right now, under The Big Top surrounded by some of my family circus and looking forward to tomorrow to spend more time with the whole circus together, I know that Rowling is right. Christmas is just a day. Just another day for me to give thanks because I am here.

Happy Christmas! Merry Hanukkah! Warm holiday wishes, y’all!

stronger joined together

It’s been a week now, and I am certain it’s going to be a LOOONNNGGG four years…with that administration that will take office January 20 and those who are probably already prepping for the 2020 election season.

UGH!

Anyone else struggling to think positively?

Already there has been too much ugly, too much anger, too much bitterness that divides…and I am not even talking about Trump supporters versus Hillary supporters. No. Family, friends, like-minded folk literally cannibalizing one another all because one is more right than the other…always.

It’s going to be so much more difficult I imagine before it gets easier. There is no getting around that truth. But we can, we should and we will get through to the other side…together.

We look different. We think, feel, dream, pray, love in so many different ways; but we are all humans together. Lovers, fighters, friends, family, black, brown, white, gay, straight, we are all together and so much stronger joined together.

Or we can focus on that which makes us different and separates us and could very well destroy us; because obviously there is only one right which is why family, friends, like-minded folk are fighting so damn hard against each other. 

Deep thoughts that came to me in the waning, but chaotic moments of the end of a long night at work. After lively o’dark thirty discussions about the election last week, and not just who our President elect is, because plastic bags are banned, recreational pot is legal, low level criminals will be freed and how about that death penalty and everyone on death row right now along with those god-damned safety pins. Sharp lines drawn, opinions expressed…but without name-calling or bridge burning because, just imagine, grown ups; and because we can and do indeed work together and work together very well, especially when we do what we do in my NICU.

We also put on some pretty kick-ass potlucks.

Diversity, tied together and making kick-ass potlucks together. Hurray for that! 

Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together.

~ Jacqueline Woodson