when in the course of human events the truth hurts

Yesterday, as I have already shared, was the anniversary of my late brother’s birthday. Of course it was also the 241st birthday of these United States and their Declaration of Independence from England and King George III – which of course all Americans know is why we have parades everywhere and why we wear all the red, white and blue stars and stripes, watch that Will Smith movie and why we enjoy anything and everything under the hot July sun, as well as the blowing up of all the rockets red glare, legal and illegal.

We all do know this?

Right?

Of course we all do because we are Americans it’s ‘murica that we are celebrating as we celebrate our Independence Day.

Right?

Naturally, it would be safe to assume that all of us Americans would recognize the Declaration of Independence because, after all, that is what we are celebrating on Independence Day – these United States declaring their independence from Great Britain and the British Crown.

Of course we all would.

Except we all don’t. Some Americans don’t recognize it at all. And some might even take it as a personal attack on their politics and their Leader and…well, it’s sad to imagine that some of us who wrap ourselves up so tightly in the Stars and Stripes imagining that they are more American than anyone who does not ascribe to their beliefs can not recognize the words of the sacred document that was the catalyst of the birth of our Nation.

Sad.

And laughable too.

Sad!

No, it was not an attack against the man who is sometimes in the White House, nor is it not a call to arms to overthrow him and the Party who, for now, is in charge of all branches of the Federal government; even if some passages might remind us of the weird that is history repeating itself sometimes.

Some Americans might not recognize the actual words of the Declaration of Independence when they hear it or read it, but I am certain that 15,000 new American citizens do – as they must pass a citizenship test which SURPRISE includes questions about the Declaration of Independence.

on the deck of the USS Hornet, Alameda, CA photo credit – Sharon Rummery

Congratulations, my new fellow Americans!

For what it’s worth, I tested myself too and I am really embarrassed to admit that I missed one of the 20 sample test questions.

Whenever you feel that future is threatened, whenever those values of liberty and justice for all that drew us here seem under assault, you need to speak up and speak out. That’s the whole point of the freedoms we cherish.

Senator Kamala Harris

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!

 

through all the noise and fury, we are one

An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us…
There are many memories from this day we will want to forget, and many images we will not want to see again. But there is one image in particular that this House should keep. And that is a photo I saw of our Democratic colleagues gathered in prayer this morning after hearing the news…

photo credit: Rep. Ruben J. Kihuen, NV

We feel so deeply about the things we fight for and believe in. At times, our emotions can get the best of us…
For all the noise and fury, we are a family. These were our brothers and sisters in the line of fire…
So before this House returns to its business, I want us to slow down and reflect, to think about how we are being tested right now…
I ask each of you to join me in resolving to come together…to lift each other up…and to show the country—show the world—that we are one House

I am not a fan of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. I am not supportive of his vision nor most of his rhetoric. But today, in the aftermath of the the attack on the GOP Congress baseball team, I found myself comforted, encouraged and inspired by Mr. Ryan’s speech before Congress. Not an easy task to accomplish in times of National troubles, nevertheless, it is something we look to our national leaders to do. Mr. Ryan did just that.

There was a lot of awfulness in Washington today. But, out of awfulness (almost) always comes some good. Mr. Ryan’s remarks today honoring the victims and the heroes; and urging unity very much qualifies .It’s easy to lose sight of our common humanity — whether you are a member of Congress or not. The tendency, particularly in our current national political environment, is to focus on what divides us, how different we are. Step back from that narrow focus, however, and you see we have much more in common than we differ on. Family, friends, food to eat, a place to live. Dreams and hopes. We tend, in circumstances like these, to remember the bad stuff. But, Ryan’s right. We need to push all that out and put some good images there instead.

Slow down.

Take a breath.

Realize that the goal of attacks like this is to highlight our differences. Allowing that to happen makes what the shooter did have real power. Coming together after such an attack neuters it of meaning.

It is that humanity which will win the day. It always will.

Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, members of the House and Senate, America, we must move forward and work together for better because enough is enough. No one should ever fear being gunned down while in the workplace or at the mall or in a clinic or at church or temple or in a movie theater or a fast food restaurant or at school or on a baseball field.

No one.

Ever.

Enough.

millennial misconception

In the Be Careful What You Post On Social Media files this week we have Harvard rescinding acceptances for at least ten students for obscene memes and then we have poor, young Katie McHugh.  

Oh Katie, you poor thing, you! Fired for your social media activity.

Crazy! You, a young up and coming ultra-Right Wing journalist tweeting something wholly not true because history and the Irish Republican Army and The Troubles and being called out for that by the Twitterverse because obviously you weren’t paying attention in Modern World History. Of course you react with racist taunts; which seems to be the reason you were fired? I don’t know. Life comes at you pretty hard sometimes it seems and so you react with crowdfunding for monetary support.

Speaking as someone who once was as young as you, dear Katie, and was fired for saying things wholly wrong and inappropriate, I have to commend you on your youthful resourcefulness and BALLS seeking handouts to support you while you recover from being fired. It would be  easy to blame your entitlement on your millennial-ness because everyone knows it’s millennials and their want for all of the avocado toasts and the ruining of all the Applebees that is what is wrong with this world today – and you, Katie, are part of all of that. At least it might seem to be so to the old people.

Katie, I’m going to offer you a little bit of grace for your youth and lack of wisdom that is hard earned through life experience and try not to judge you as entitled – not too much. Girl, you need to just suck it up, learn from this sour life lesson and move on, up and out. We all do. It’s adulting, Katie. Something every generation has had to learn – the lazy, self-absorbed, slackers that were the Greatest, Boomers and Gen Xers.

Yes, all of us, ahem, old people have been there and have done that – thank god it wasn’t on social media.

No, really. Thank. God.

With millennials in the news like Katie it’s easy to assume much – and assume wrong.

Millennials are a generation that is very much about owning and controlling their destiny in a way that other generations haven’t been. Like most of us, millennials are happiest spending time with their family and friends. Salary isn’t everything: They value finding a sense of purpose in their work more than their income. Though they are arguably the most tech-savvy generation, they feel that human connection is the best way to keep in touch. Most importantly they value happiness.

Those 18-34 years olds? Most of them are nothing like those Katies. Thank goodness!

The kids, they’re okay. Maybe they are even more better than us all.

does character even count anymore

In the current news cycle we have witnessed the character of men in positions of power and respect that almost compels us to shield our kids’ eyes and cover their ears. Someone tell me please, when did it ever become okay for a potential Member of Congress to grab someone by the throat and body slam them to the ground because they are tired of being asked questions? Is this really acceptable behavior, as some Greg Gianforte supporters stated today while exiting the polls in Montana? They want a Congressman who will react with violence? Members of Congress too? Paul Ryan and others stated today to the public that the gentleman did a bad thing and should apologize but they still support his run for office.

Nearly just as concerning is Gianforte’s aide Shane Scanlon’s statement of what happened; which certainly does not sync with the actual audio tape or the account of the Fox News reporter who was in the room when it happened. In other words, it was FALSE. This is okay?

Today we watched the man who is the current President behave so boorishly at the NATO summit that he proved to be not only a national embarrassment, but an international one as well. Mr. Trump represented our nation today as The Ugly American in Chief. Can someone please stop his European adventure now? Ivanka? Please? Liz Gumbinner is right – kids, don’t grow up to be like this.

This last week, I witnessed first hand questionable character in some that, well, disgusted me. Daniel’s graduation day was fast approaching and we found ourselves short just one ticket for Daniel’s sisters and parents. Just one ticket – how hard could it be to find one more ticket? Hard! After asking classmates and teachers with no success, I took to local social media and the results really surprised me: just forge a ticket, it’s no big dealsneak in either by lying or waiting until after ceremony has started. I was also lectured about my family’s size and the over-population of the planet. Daniel, upon hearing some of this offered that this is not who we are. It isn’t. Of course, there was much kindness, encouragement and support from friends, a member of the PTA, a former teacher and Daniel’s principal. We managed to find one ticket more and yes, Daniel’s dad, myself and his four sisters all got to be in that auditorium as he graduated from Middle School.

A very good thing because Daniel, his parents and his four sisters all were very pleasantly surprised as he was called forward for a special award recognizing his character.

Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness. Yes, we all cried a little because this is the young man that is our son and our brother. It really was a Wonder moment right out of the book. Character DOES count!

Watching Daniel and his classmates up on that stage, hearing some of them speak and their teachers speak, I believe that the kids will be better – so much better.

Meanwhile, we must continue to persist and hold on. Hurry up kids!