Thought for the Day

Hi, thanks for stopping by. I hope you’re well. With all this self-isolation and social distancing I don’t get to see you in person as often as I once did. So, writing is my only outlet.

I enjoy writing. Putting my random thoughts “on paper” is an art form for me. Writing is my method of expression. I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, and can’t carry a tune in a bag. But, I seem to have a way with words, at least that’s what some tell me. Now, I don’t post as often as I’d like and I don’t write if I don’t intend to share the finished essay here. Why is that?

It seems people have decided that it is proper to attack the author, the painter, the poet, and the songwriter. Not their work, or their thoughts, but the person. Too often the criticism received is personal in nature. Just the other day I mentioned that sports were meaningless and that in view of COVID they should be shut down to preserve the health of the athletes, They just are not that essential.

The comment I got was something about me being anti-sports because I was crushed by “the first tall black boy who dunked over me on the court in elementary school.” First of all, anyone who knows me knows I love sports. I played sports, I encouraged my son to play sports. I went to every game, I watch far too many sports on TV. My wife has surrendered and is now possibly even a more avid fan than I am. Secondly, anyone who knows me also knows that there are plenty of short white boys who could outplay me back in the day. So, this guy’s comment was just wrong. But, it was also personal.

There was no attempt to validate the need for sports. There was no criticism of the point I made about money being the driving force behind games this season. there was no defense offered for my statement that the athletes were being treated as gladiators in ancient Rome. If they were injured, their career ended, or if they died was of no consequence, as long as the people were entertained.

We call Facebook, Twitter, Parler, TikTok and others, “Social Media”, but we forget to be social. We need to get back to true conversations. Conversations that are an exchange of ideas, not a barrage of insults. We need to rise above the adolescent level of attack that can be grouped in the “yo Mama” category.

If you’re against masks, tell me why, don’t call me a sheep. If you don’t want the vaccine, tell me why, there are plenty of reasons for caution. If you are for the things Trump stands for, tell me why, don’t call me a libtard.

I promise I will agree, or disagree, on the merits of your comments. Not on the color of your skin, the color of your hat, or the color of your heart. I will treat you online the way I would treat you in person. I will listen and respond. Or, I will listen and, after excusing myself, walk away.

Now some may say that I could avoid all this if I just wrote more about Moose, because after all, who doesn’t love Moose? So, before I go here’s a picture of the big guy to bring a smile on a winter’s day. Even he wonders why we can’t just play nice.


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Giving Thanks

It’s that time of year when we collectively give thanks for the things we neglect to appreciate as we rush to get through each day and on to the next. How often do we say, “I can not WAIT for this day to be over”, only to find ourselves waking to more of the same?

So, I have decided to enjoy this day as it comes. To try to do the same in the days ahead. And, to share some of the things I am thankful for at this point in my travels through life.

It should go without saying how thankful I am for family and friends. I am so grateful for how Donna, Bobby, and Emily have loved and accepted me as I navigate the many changes in my approach to reality. I am not an easy person to live with.

I am thankful for the many friends who have offered support and encouragement as I strive to overcome the effects of my injury and as I rant against the government. I know my criticism has been strident and unwelcomed by many. But, many more have expressed respect for my positions, some even as we disagree

I am thankful that, thus far, COVID has not visited any of my closest friends and family. I’ve been effectively self-isolating since my injury, but have managed to take baby steps out into the world recently. Donna, Bobby, and Emily put themselves at risk every day and all we can do is hope for the best. I am also thankful for the many like them who put themselves at risk to make life as “normal” as possible. Healthcare professionals, maintenance workers, sales associates, and people in the supply and distribution chains have all gone above and beyond in these difficult days.

Finally, for now, a special shout out to the educators. I have watched teachers struggle to adapt to ever-changing teaching environments, Department heads struggle to create curriculum and guidance without getting sufficient guidance from their districts. Parents also need to be commended. They have had to improvise, adapt, and overcome changing schedules and the complications of remote learning. Getting a child ready to learn is tough enough without giving them the opportunity to work from home in their pajamas.

I have also had the opportunity to interact with many people in recent months. First as a Computer Operator for the early election process in my county and also as a Food Service Manager at the few Carolina Panthers games at Bank Of America stadium that allowed fans.

I am very thankful for the opportunity to learn new things at both locations. There was a learning curve at the polling station as I learned the regulations and process. I was impressed with the dedication of my supervisors and the other workers. Our party affiliation and desired outcome were never discussed. Instead, the focus was on giving everyone who wanted to vote, was eligible to vote, and who could be registered, the chance to register. Then they were given a ballot and the opportunity to exercise their civic duty and Constitutional right. Hand carried mail-in ballots were given extra scrutiny and special security to assure they were properly processed and forwarded daily. There were mistakes, but they were quickly and efficiently corrected. Everyone practiced COVID protocols and there were few complaints. There was a refreshing energy and enthusiasm at the polls. Cheers rose each time a person voted for the first time. I expected to see many young people voting for the first time, but I was surprised by the many middle aged and older adults who were voting for the very first time. People were eager to vote and grateful for the opportunity.

The same can be said for my work at the stadium. The learning curve was steep as changes were made. First, we go through four checkpoints, instead of one, before getting to our stand. One to make sure we should be admitted to parking, one to be sure we should be reporting for work, one for COVID protocol, and one for what has become “normal” security. So, the work environment is as safe as anyone can make it. Attendance has been limited to 5,600 people on two levels of the stadium or about 7.5% of its capacity. Transactions are totally cashless and all food is prepared and prepackaged in closed containers before the customer gets it. Sanitation is always a requirement and I am pleased to congratulate my ever chaging group of volunteers for getting 100% ratings for two years running, at three different stations. I am thankful that Supervisors, staff, and guests are all committed to maintaining COVID precautions even as they enjoy the game and a beverage…or few. Even that is different this year as all alcohol sales are cut off at the end of half-time.

But, most of all I am happy that I get another chance to experience another day, that could lead into another year. I hope to make some changes to this blog format to make it easier to read and more entertaining. Thanks for coming along for the ride.



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First Take

“Hot Mess, Inside a Dumpster Fire, Inside a Train wreck”-Jake Tapper

I take no pleasure in being right about my decision not to watch the debates last night. There was no reason to watch them. They didn’t move the discussion forward, nor did they inform. They simply demonstrated what a difficult time we are living through. We saw one of our foundational institutions reduced to it’s lowest point in history. A delusional out of control narcissist bullying a thoughtful, reflective, but overwhelmed opponent, as a “moderator” attempted to herd cats into the bag. We are diminished as a nation and we are diminished on the world’s stage. How we got here will be discussed for years to come. But, one thing seems obvious, this is the time that history will reference as the beginning of the fall of the US as a world leader. We still have military and economic power, but without intellect and intelligence, they mean nothing.

I’m sure I’ll write more on this in the days ahead.

God Help America.

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Why Bother?

I am less and less engaged in Facebook and Twitter lately. Now, I know that doesn’t seem possible given how often I post. But, you need to realize that for every post I make there are probably ten that I haven’t. That’s for any number of reasons, but often it is because I tell myself “Why bother?” “They won’t change their minds”.

My concern is that people will carry that attitude thru November. With the overwhelming volume of misinformation, propaganda, and outright lies that we see, will people stay away from the polls that matter on election day? Will people say, “Why bother?” Or worse, will people believe the propaganda and stay home or change their vote because all they hear are the lies?

So, I will comment at least once a day, hopefully twice at the most. I will offer a rebuttal of misinformation or a denunciation of the lies. Everyone should seek the truth. Don’t blindly accept or denounce what I say, I am woefully uneducated by most standards. Everyone should do their own legwork and put in the effort to find the truth. Go out of your comfort zone and look at media outlets that may offer an opposing point of view. Seek the truth, go to the source. Use your talent for critical thinking. Is the looting and destruction as bad as they say it is? Is the COVID on the run? Is the economy recovering? Do we really want four or more years of this uncertainty and unrest? Look around you, not for anecdotal evidence, though that can be helpful. Look at your community.

Has the looting and destruction affected your life directly? Are you back to work in a COVID safe environment? Are local businesses re-opening successfully? Are you comfortable sending your children back to school? Are you comfortable with the way your children will be taught? Will it be at home, at school, or in a hybrid mix? 

Biden can not fix this. Nor can Trump. Only we, the people, can put an end to this and put the country on a course to a better way of life. Only we the people can stop the inanity. We must make our voices heard. But, we must respond to indignity with respect. Lies and misinformation with truth and references.

But above all, we the people must, MUST, vote in the only poll that matters. We must VOTE! If more people vote for what we have now, so be it. But, this race can not be decided on a split decision. Both the popular vote and the Electoral College must agree. If not, I see years of civil unrest, if not a Civil War.

So yes, I will comment. Yes, I will engage, but not because I believe I am right, but because I think the overwhelming flow of information is wrong or misleading. I will probably antagonize some, not because I want to anger people or lose friends, but because I think the future of our country is at stake and it matters to me.

But, I promise I will try to do so with respect. With facts and with intelligence in the firm belief that this is the most important election of my lifetime. 

This blog post started as a response to a comment that said “Only 6% of the deaths attributed to COVID were from COVID alone.” Taking that at face value that means that ONLY  11,000 people have died from COVID with no other underlying conditions. ONLY four 9/11s have been because of COVID alone. I’m willing to concede that. But, I am not willing to accept that. If I am walking to the hospital for a chemo treatment and get hit by a car, the fact that I had cancer does not change the fact that the car killed me. Yes, I might have died from cancer eventually, but probably not that day. I had every chance to recover or live my life as I had, if not for that car. Same with COVID. The other 170,000 people who have died with COVID may have died from their illness, but not that day. Instead, they were hit by COVID and their immune system was overwhelmed. They didn’t die of their ongoing, underlying, pre-existing conditions, they died because on top of all that they were infected by COVID-19.

Why are we sending the best and the brightest among us back to college to be infected? Why are people rabidly shouting that sports must return to even our high schools and colleges? Why are people insisting that we return to normal, when things are anything but normal? 

I am 68 years old. I wear a mask when I will be within 6 feet of anyone in an enclosed environment. If Moose takes me to the park, I do not wear a mask, but I am even more aware of distancing. Other than that I am self-isolating. I am fortunate that I can visit my son and my daughter(in-law) because they are healthcare professionals and I know they are unlikely to infect me. If I infect them, however unlikely that is, they will be tested and treated quickly.

So, what am I trying to say?

If you choose to remain silent now, please vote when it is your time. If you choose to engage now, do so with knowledge and verifiable information. If you choose to engage now, do so with respect and an effort to understand the other person’s point of view, no matter how misguided it might seem to you.

Wear a mask, wash your hands, maintain distance, and restrict your activities. Right now you are more likely to suffer from being infected by the COVID-19 virus than you are from a gunshot. Why? Because you are probably not putting yourself in a position to get shot, but every time you leave your house you are exposing yourself to COVID.

Finally, cut through the noise. Seek the truth. Look at the big picture. Is this a one-issue election of are multiple issues at play? Is that one issue worth ignoring all the others? Is that one issue really the most important issue affecting our country?  

That’s it. Thanks for getting this far. Hope you enjoyed your coffee. I am looking forward to seeing you again soon. Say hi to the family for me, give them a hug.

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Brainiversary

Hi, thanks for stopping by. Guess what day it is!
It’s my brainiversary! On this day in 2011, I was in a crash with a truck. In an instant I became a stranger to myself. I was on a whole new path. I survived with little physical damage, but with a brain injury that affects me today and, most likely will affect me for the rest of my life. Come into my head for a few moments, I promise I’m not contagious.

It’s always best to start at the beginning. So, let’s start with the fact that this crash did not have to happen. State and local law enforcement, EMTs, and DOT are all aware of the danger, yet to my knowledge, have done nothing to make it safer.

The scene:

https://www.google.com/maps/@43.6374802,-72.4091014,3a,75y,81.6t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sQNXKL8B7-Mwsagzzy3SAVg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192 

I was westbound on Rte.4 (same as the truck in the link) in Vermont when I came to the Quechee Gorge. Speed limit is 45 on a two-lane road. That’s one lane in each direction. Quechee Gorge is a popular tourist area so it’s quite congested(by Vermont standards) on a nice summer day. Pedestrians have the right of way in VT. Vehicles are expected to stop to allow people to cross at crosswalks. Usually, not a problem and one of the things I enjoy about VT. But, tourists get lost in the state’s beauty and relaxed attitude. They forget that amidst all the natural beauty, people live and work there. On this day, an 80 something woman was walking and talking to a group of friends behind her. As I approached the crosswalk, she began to step into the roadway. With feet to spare, I slammed the brakes and stopped. I breathed a sigh of relief as I realized by the shocked look on the woman’s face that I did not hit her. My mood was quickly changed by the realization that the truck behind me could not stop and was using my small SUV as added stopping power. I was pushed into the walkway, but by now the woman had rejoined her group, out of the roadway. 

The Injury: My car took the brunt of the force of the crash pretty well. All the crumple panels worked as the truck collapsed the rear of the SUV, coming all the way past the back seat before pushing me forward. I, on the other hand, was forced forward toward the windshield(yes I wear a seatbelt), then back towards the back seat as my seat broke free of the floor. All indications are that my brain sloshed around in my skull like a bowl of Jello, snapping synapses in the process. Minimal bruising, no bleeding and I don’t think I ever lost consciousness. I did have a delayed onset concussion response, so for about an hour I was ambulatory, conversant and aware enough to move the car out of the roadway to a parking area about 50 yards from the scene of the crash. 

The Solution: Instead of just a sign and painted crosswalk, install traffic signals (walk/don’t walk) for both pedestrians and motorists. It is that easy. It has not happened to this day, despite the fact that police had responded to 61 incidents at that general location in the 7.5 months of 2011 before my crash.

 

 

What I’ve Learned:

No one knows what’s going on with you. Not the police, the EMTs, the ER doctors, nor the doctors who eventually attempt to treat the victim. Most importantly the victim takes time to figure out what’s going on. Then, once I had it figured out I had to find a way to communicate with the doctors. I gave my headaches descriptive names. Frontal, helmet, and fountain were a few. Words like fog, rocks, and mud soon became part of the conversation about how my brain was functioning.

I have had a headache every minute, of every day since the accident. They have been able to be masked and manageable but there is always a dull ache in the background. Frustration led to anxiety, anxiety led to depression and depression took me to some very dark and scary places. I learned to be open and honest with the doctors, not so much with the people around me. I learned that not every lawyer knows brain injury. I learned that insurance companies are ruthless (The first settlement offer was $500.)  

I have learned to be patient with those who are trying to help. I am still learning to be patient with myself. I learned to surround myself with a strong team of doctors and health care workers and have learned that they are not all up to the task. At any one time, my team has consisted of, a PCP, Neurologist, Cardiologist, Psychiatrist, Endocrinologist, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist,  Acupuncturist, and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. 

I have learned that mental health is not intelligence and cognitive ability. It’s so much more complex. People read what I write, or hear me talk, or see my test results and can’t understand my diagnosis. What they don’t see are the days I am curled in a fetal position in a dark room managing exhaustion and pain. The confusion when I am mentally fatigued. The frustration when Aphasia makes it impossible for me to find the word I’m trying to say.

The take away:

I am an individual. My injury is unique to me. But, there are some universal truths that can be applied. The best way to help me is also the best way to go through life.

  • Be patient with yourself and others
  • Be kind
  • Realize that not all injuries are readily visible
  • Realize that we each are dealing with circumstances that make us vulnerable
  • Be supportive, not judgemental
  • Be understanding, not demeaning, condescending or critical
  • Assume that everyone is the best version of themselves at that moment in time

Learn all you can about brain injuries before you or a loved one has one. Odds are pretty good that you’ll be involved with one in some way at some point in your life. Resources include your state brain injury awareness association. The Brain Injury Assoc. of America (https://www.biausa.org/), some Facebook groups (I’m an administrator of  UK and Ireland Brain Injury support  https://www.facebook.com/groups/ukibi ), Twitter, my fave is @michelle_munt and, believe it or not, I have found a few on TikTok, though I have no idea how to get links to them, nor will it matter if TikTok disappears in the States.

Thanks for being part of my journey. You have no idea how much I appreciate the chance to talk with you. Please reach out if I can help you with your journey. I have no qualifications except I have been on this path for 9 years. But, I have a ton of reference material and referral suggestions available. Hope to hear from you.

Coffee is on me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For What It’s Worth

So, how have you been? I mean really? If you take stock of your current situation how’s things?

I’m only asking because like many of you, I find myself more concerned about national and international events than I am about my immediate sphere of influence. Of course, my sphere of influence is limited to giving Moose commands…requests really, and if he thinks it’s worth his effort, he complies. Other than that I’m pretty much useless. So, I should be happy, right?

Why am I anxious and depressed? Why do I feel extraordinary anxiety every time I open the computer, turn on the TV or walk out the door? Am I alone?

We can’t blame the media. They’re just providing information. We can get biased reporting from many “news” shows, the misinformation that prevails on Social Media, or the conflicting information provided by Google searches. It is up to us as individuals to apply some critical thinking. It is up to us to dig through all the weeds and find the truth. That is where I find my personal disconnect. 

Friends, acquaintances, and people I interact with on social media platforms give credibility and influence to items, actions, or information I find nonsensical. Am I right? Are they wrong? Probably…not.

Wait, What?

I’m saying that in the words of the song, “nobody’s right, if everybody’s wrong.” We have all come to a conclusion. Can anyone truly say that they don’t know who they will vote for in November? Have you decided your vote doesn’t matter? So, you’ve made a decision. I can’t say you’re wrong. I can say I disagree with you, I can tell you why I disagree. But, I can’t say you are wrong. We have to get past the personal attacks. We have to get past questioning each other’s intelligence. We have to find a way to work through our differences or suffer the inevitable collapse of a house divided. 

Some things to consider:

Black Lives Matter does not mean that other lives don’t. It simply means that current and historic events have reached a point where special attention needs to be given to how people of color are treated by police. I experienced discrimination once in my life, for about an hour in a bar in North Philly with a black friend. It was one of the most uncomfortable experiences I’ve ever had. I can’t begin to imagine what it is like to live that life for a lifetime. 

Defunding police has to be the worst label ever applied to a worthy effort. I see defunding police as an avenue to consider that police lives matter. Take the money currently spent on law enforcement, but start with a zero-based budget. Build a better system to enforce the laws of the country. Start with education and training, providing for the mental health care that anyone doing that job needs, or will need at some point, look at salaries and scheduling, quality of life issues. Make it so police don’t have to moonlight with security positions just to make ends meet. Make it so police serve and protect again. Again, I am pro-police, but there are systemic flaws that need to be addressed. No child should view a police officer with fear, or distrust. Once a child sees that an officer deserves respect and is not a threat, we’ll go a long way to settling the unrest that exists. I’m not blind to the drug-related problems, or the domestic problems that pervade all races and societies. In fact, that leads to my next point.

I touched on education in my last post, and I’ll touch on it again. Until we can provide suitable learning environments for both student and teacher until we can provide a strong foundation of factual learning devoid of cultural bias and erroneous myth, we will not be the society we seek to be. We are a great country in spite of how we got here, not because of how we got here. We continue to mistreat the Native Americans. A problem that started when Europeans first set foot on this soil. We continue to mistreat Blacks. Another problem that started when the first slaves were dragged onto our soil. And, each succeeding ethnic group has had problems with mistreatment and difficulty assimilating. Italians, Germans, Irish, Scots, had it a bit easier due to their European blood-line. Latinos, Japanese, Chinese, Muslims, Jews, and other ethnic groups have and continue to have difficulty assimilating.

To protect themselves a group finds strength in numbers. There have always been ethnic organizations in the country. But, there was a commonality, a sense of making the country a better place. We came together as a nation in WWII and have been drifting apart ever since.

The problems are many, the solutions are difficult. But, we are the solution. We are all we have to fix the problem. We can blame the government, but we select the government. We can blame education, but we fund the school system and vote on the budget. We can blame “them” but everyone is a “them” to somebody else. My only hope is that somehow, some way we stop acting in our own personal interest and we begin working towards the good of the country as a whole. We need to stop blaming others and take some responsibility. 

You’ve read this far. Thanks for that. Now I ask that you take a moment to reflect. To change your thought process. Don’t look for someone else to blame. Don’t identify what is a threat to you. Consider the general good. Will wearing a mask harm you? Will registering a weapon harm you? Does calling a pan-gender person by their chosen name harm you? Will trying to understand what motivates someone else’s actions harm you? 

The United States of America is still a great experiment. It’s not easy. We need to participate or suffer the consequences. We are suffering right now. Will we crumble or will we survive and thrive? Let’s help each other get through this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting. Next time I’d like to talk about my brainiversary. It’s an opportunity to talk about brain injury awareness and mental health issues. Hope you’ll follow me as I begin to post on a more frequent basis. Let me know what you think. My skin is as thick as some think my head is. All I ask is that we talk about how to go forward without placing blame or personal insults.

 

 

 

 

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Teach Your Children Well

I’ve been talking to quite a few teachers lately. Actually, I’ve been listening. They tell me how important it is for kids to get back to on-site, in-person classroom teaching. How they miss seeing their student’s faces. How much they regret how last year ended.

Then they tell me about the need to prepare contingency plans for the kids who won’t be coming back to class. The ones who have underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID, or who just want to stay home out of an abundance of caution. They tell me about the changes to their classroom, the need for masks on the kids and full face shields for the teachers. The challenges are overwhelming.

But, the challenges are also awe inspiring. Too often in the past we took teachers for granted. We put our kids on the bus or dropped them off at the school’s door and went on our way. When the kids came home we’d ask how their day was, but did we listen? We asked if they had any homework, but did we help them with it to be sure they understood? Did we help them with it to show that education was important? Did we help the teacher show our children how to think and not what to think?

If these unsettled, troubling times have taught us anything it is that we have undervalued teachers for far too long. We’ve been too quick to criticize, too slow to support. We rushed to defend our student without standing up for the teacher. Those of you who needed to homeschool when the buildings closed in March must now realize how difficult a teacher’s job is.

As our students return to school I hope that you will thank the teacher, the administrator, the para, the bus driver, and the custodial personnel. The cafeteria worker who will now have to prepare and deliver food to each classroom. When the budget comes up for a vote, I hope you’ll consider paying teachers a fair wage and providing them with a fully equipped, functional classroom. It is shameful that teachers have to pay out of pocket for supplies they need to provide adequate instruction. We can do better. If we are going to handle the next pandemic better, if we are going to have fewer people in prison, if we are going to reduce the suicide rate, if we are going to truly reach a point in society where all lives matter because all people are given equal opportunity, we MUST do better.

At least that’s the way I see it. Coffee is on me, Hope you’ll stop by and tell me what you think. We need more conversation and less arguing, don’t you think?

 

 

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A Call To Action!

How have you been? I don’t have to tell you things have been a little unsettled around here since I last sat down to write. I mean, most of January was good and the year seemed to be getting off to a decent start. The primaries were in full gear and there was a feeling of positive anticipation for the electoral process in the year ahead.

Then the Democrats began to coalesce behind one candidate to the dismay of many of Bernie’s supporters and COVID swept the country. As usual, we got distracted. One would think that with a 24-hour news cycle and media outlets out the wahzoo(spelling?) that we’d be able to get accurate information about local news, State events, National crises, and International relations. You’d think that, but, no. Instead:

The cry soon became, “Impeachment and COVID and Trump. Oh My!”

Impeachment went nowhere as once again Congress failed in its duty to provide effective oversight of the Executive branch. The process was mired in politics and preservation of power instead of policy and protection of the Country. Mistakes were made by everyone and in the end, they reached a conclusion that satisfied no one. 

COVID led to death, shutdowns, and unemployment. Once again an opportunity to come together and defeat a common enemy was squandered. The response at the federal level was garbled. Even as scientists and medical doctors told us the breadth and depth of the problem. Even as those same people announced a policy that needed to be followed as closely as possible. Even as it became apparent that failure to follow their programs would result in more deaths. We failed to listen, we failed to hear. Instead, we allowed ourselves to be manipulated into believing that all that matters is the economy. Now we have ever-increasing death and an uncertain economy. 

People who condemned Democratic Socialism sang the praises of a government bailout that included $1200 cash to just about every citizen and millions of dollars to large corporations and special interests. People heralded the fact that the government would pay for all COVID testing, but the cost treatment was going to be borne by the individual. If they had insurance, great. If not, well, we’ll deal with that some other time. We had a case study in the value of a Medicare for All program but condemned those who advocated for it. 

As all this swept the nation. A man was killed for no reason other than the crime of being black. Then another, all on video and into the cybersphere. There are as many as six lynchings under investigation. In response, protests sprang up internationally. Riots broke out and crimes of opportunity exploded in the chaos. People who condemned a man for quietly, respectfully demonstrating for the right to fair and equal protection under the law, now condemned those who demonstrated loudly and lawlessly.  Radicals on both sides of the argument chose to inflame the issue in a seeming attempt to foment a race war. In the absence of coordinated, reasonable leadership, cities burned and businesses were destroyed. A police riot broke out in front of the White House, seemingly coordinated and executed under orders from the federal government. Nothing says we’re a beacon of democracy like sending armed troops to quell a peaceful uprising.

I am left to wonder what we are to do about all this? 

While protesting seems to be having some effect on society it also seems to be a shotgun (no pun intended) approach to a problem that requires focused thought and precise, productive action. It is past time to bury the animosity. It is past time to be arguing about what happened in the past. We have more than enough problems to solve right now. It is time to find a way to preserve, protect, and defend this country from all enemies, foreign and domestic. But it must be done through the system provided by the Constitution.

I will continue to express my contempt for things I feel are wrong or harmful. I will cite facts as I know them. I encourage each of you to search your soul for what you think will make the country a better place.  I encourage each of you to decide what will make this country better for you without abusing others or pushing others down to build yourself up. I encourage each of you to seek to understand what the BLM protests are about then help communicate that need to understand to others.

I am open to a reasonable and reasoned discussion. If you choose to argue with me, please do so with referenced facts and not with “Yeah, but” or unsubstantiated claims presented as fact by any politician or party. We need to get back to working the problem. We need to stop the petty partisan bickering. We need to stop focusing on the person and focus on the problem. Eventually, we will be asked to vote for the person we conclude is the best option to represent our beliefs. Before we can pursue, “Truth, Justice and the American Way!” we must define each of those terms. Only then can we claim the heritage and pride we think we have earned but have not.

In the meantime, I have contacted my county Board Of Elections to offer my services in any capacity in an effort to support a fair, open, and accurate election process. I have no interest in partisan politics, it just seems like a good place to use my skill set and insert myself into the process. I will vote my conscience and encourage others to vote theirs. What will you do? This is not the time to sit back and choose not to participate. Nor is it the time to shout into cyberspace, basking in the echos, or condemning the opposing thoughts. Now is the time to get involved. What will YOU DO?

Please comment on this. Tell me if you agree or disagree. I only ask that you do it in a respectful manner. Tell me what you are doing. 

But above all, research, think and ACT!

 

 

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Do You See What I See?

When I was in high school, through college, the war raged in VietNam. In the United States, the battle cry of the right was, “My Country, right or wrong.”

History has shown that we, as a country, made many mistakes at the time. Our country was often wrong. In our effort to show loyalty, and to support the President, laws were broken. In his effort to stay in office powers were abused. The President was forced to resign before the impeachment process, and before his term,  was completed.

Presidents are given a wide-ranging power that should be allowed to be used as that President sees fit.  As long as the checks and balances provided by the Constitution are applied by Congress and the Courts. I firmly believe that with very few exceptions the electoral process should be preserved and officials should be permitted to serve their full terms unimpeded by petty politics and bickering.

So, it has not been until recently that I felt that impeachment should be considered, let alone begun. I believe that history will once again show that this Administration has conducted itself improperly. Whether it is enriching itself monetarily through questionable business practices, or politically through questionable international relations and interactions, many of the policies of this administration are detrimental to our nation and our world.

The actions appear to include withholding documents, obstructing a lawful oversight effort, and invoking executive privilege where none seems to exist. This administration has promoted alliances with our enemies, damaged relations with our allies and undermined the credibility of our State Department, Intelligence agencies, law enforcement communities, and the free press.

The actions seem to be accepted as indefensible by both sides of the aisle. Instead, the motivation of the accusers and the process of the investigation are being called into question. There is also the “Yeah but…” defense. The fallback defense of this administration’s alleged misconduct which is often, “Yeah but, look at what Hillary did, Obama did it,  Bill Clinton didn’t do this”, and on and on.

Whether that last part is true or not doesn’t matter. Now is not the time to revisit any of the past allegations. Even if it were, it would not change the reality that there are some serious problems that also need to be considered now. Just because someone else has committed possibly questionable acts in the past we can not overlook the illegal or unethical acts happening right now, right before our eyes. We can’t ignore a murder that happened today because there is a murderer who was not caught in 2008.

I want to approach my concerns while removing personalities from the equation. Is it wrong to seek opposition research from a foreign power? Is it wrong not to act to defend our country against election interference from a foreign power? Is it wrong to vacate treaties that the other parties have abided by? Is it wrong to undermine the foundational principles of the country?

These are all questions, not allegations or accusations. If we can start by answering yes to all of the above, we can start trying to determine if this administration has acted properly. Are our differences based on policy or process? Political or personal?

In order to be fair, we need to collect evidence and information. Information that should be readily available given the system of checks and balances employed by three co-equal branches of government as described in the Constitution.

The way forward is to allow the information needed to come to light. Questions about motivation, conduct, authority, and policy must be answered. We the people should demand that Congress receive the information they have requested. We should demand that all branches of Government and all members of those branches, honor their Oaths and, “Preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.”

This would not have to take anything away from the other pressing issues of the day. In fact, by tasking the appropriate sub-committees to act on finding those answers, the rest of Congress and the administration can focus on immigration reform, health care and pharmaceutical costs, infrastructure, education, environment, and human rights.

Don’t get lost in the echo chamber of social media or even “mainstream media.” Look for the facts, find multiple sources. Don’t passively watch as others act. Participate in the process, communicate with your legislators, cast an educated vote.

I love my country. But I do not like what is happening today. I despise what has happened to get us here. I want a better future, for myself, my son, his family and our planet. It would be easy to blame one person, one party for all that is wrong. But, the fact is that we have a government, “Of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We have only ourselves to blame for the divisions, we have only ourselves to blame for the hatred and we, individually and collectively are the only ones who can make America a great, enduring and respected country.

True citizenship and true patriotism is not loyalty to any one person or political party. Instead, we can only preserve our way of life by honoring the Constitution. In the words of another cry from the Sixties:

“The whole world is watching”

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You Want Outrage?

I have seen repeated cries from women about the lack of male outrage regarding the recent efforts by many states to totally ban abortion for any reason, at any time. I understand a woman’s frustration since every potential abortion automatically involves a man at some point in the process. Yet, women want it both ways. In effect asking men to influence what women’s rights are as they pertain to their body, while being angry that men are attempting to control women’s rights to the control of their bodies.

The following statements are true:

  1. I am Pro-Life
  2. I am Pro-Women’s right to choose
  3. Pro-Life is different than Pro-Birth

But, these are State issues that must be fought at the State level first. I do not currently live in a State that has brought this matter to the level that I can effectively make my voice be heard at this time. My outrage would be moot.

I choose to focus my outrage  on the threat to our nation posed by the actions of this administration. Until those issues are properly resolved we can have no significant impact on events in States we do not live in.

My outrage lies in the fact that I am seeing and hearing many of the same actions and statements now that I witnessed during the Nixon years.

  • Protect the Office of the President
  • Weaponizing the Justice Department
  • Defaming the Justice Department
  • Undermining the FBI
  • Abusing the IRS
  • Condemning the Press
  • Placing Party above Country
  • Influencing witnesses
  • Preventing access to documents
  • Impeding a Congressional Investigation

I have been against impeachment, the protest and division would be disruptive, if not destructive. This President won the election, the vote was certified and he has taken the Oath of Office. I do not question that he is the duly elected leader of our country.

However, we must ask ourselves, is the protest that would surround impeachment warranted? Do we deserve to know the truth? If there is any question of a President’s conduct should it be resolved before allowing further actions by his/her administration? If you believe that this President has conducted himself properly, ethically, and legally, why do you support his actions that deny Congress the ability to prove it? If the Mueller report exonerates him, why are you against an open review?

I am anti-Trump. I do not like his policies, but I have been against the policies of other Presidents from both parties. I did not support Hillary. I am anti-Trump not just because of what he does, but because of how he does it. He is not what I want my President to be.

I can wait until the election of 2020 to remove him from office. But, I can not sit quietly. My outrage will be focused on his conduct. My outrage will be focused on the policies I disagree with. My outrage will be expressed to my Senators. I do not have a representative in Congress, I live in NC-9. My outrage is focused on the special election in my district to be sure that the party that cheated does not win the seat.

All politics is local. Speak out to your leaders, speak out to your representatives. If you support this adimistration, then support them honestly.

I admit, I can not understand those of you who support his conduct, but I accept your right to that opinion. I ask only that you defend it with facts and not derisive attacks against those of us on the other side.

  • Are you comfortable that he has handled his businesses ethically
  • Are you comfortable that he has handled his businesses legally
  • You seem to claim that this man is God-like. How do you justify that?
  • You suggest his economy is great. How do you defend the debt? How do you defend the tarriffs? How do you defend the policies that benefit the minority and punish the majority?
  • You support his demonization of the current group of immigrants fleeing hardship and persecution. Why?
  • If America is “full”, will you stop having babies?

I am an American, I am a Patriot, I am a member of the LOYAL pposition.

Questions remain and they deserve…we deserve, answers.

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