Life under Trump

I have been a casual observer of the American Politic. Brought up on the prairies of North Dakota and Montana, I love open spaces and open minds. I could not imagine in my wildest terrors the current American climate of tribal warfare. Words and epithets instead of bombs and rockets (so far, that is) are the weapons of destruction. I grew up in the glorious 50’s – which never seemed so wonderful at the time. Girls were relegated to Home Ec and literature, boys played rough and tumble while we waved pom-poms and screamed for the Home Team.

Simple times, at least for a white family in the northern plains. Indians were relegated to the Res outside of town, no people of color in my schools (I attended 15 different schools before 7th grade) and plenty of ruler thwacking to control any unruly behavior in the class room. I was always the new kid in class, so my main role was as of observer. We were gypsies, never belonging, never really trusted. So I studied hard to find approval from my teachers and parents. My peers were not interested in some skinny red-head who did her homework. Meanwhile, history grabbed me and would not let me go. I read voraciously, escaping into exploring with Lewis and Clark, examining the split nation of the Civil War era, struggling to find out why women had to fight so hard for the vote. This last one convinced me that not voting was a crime.

I also spent time with Orwell and his bleak world. 1984 really scared me or, scarred me, not sure which is more the appropriate description, when I first read it in 1960. I huddled in my room with that book, struck dumb by the double-speak and invasiveness of the State. I also read Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here. I was sure that it really could not happen here, that Mr Lewis had an over active imagination. The book was clearly taking it too far: we are Americans and would never treat our neighbors like that.

I was an early supporter of John Kennedy, mostly because I was young and so was he relative to the other candidates. I did not like Mr Nixon much – and I do wish I was basing my preferences on something other than looks. But I am afraid, I was a teen of my times: looks were paramount. Mr Nixon had a five o’clock shadow and unruly eyebrows. In other words, he was not a very nice guy. Besides he was a Republican, people who did not seem to care about us, the beleaguered blue collars of America. My parents had liked Ike, but were not Republicans but because he was fair-minded and a war hero. But they did not vote, so it did not matter much what they said or felt. So, it was my mission to be our family’s standard bearer for patriotism and political “savvy.” I did my bit as a high school student for Kennedy: volunteered at the local precincts to stuff envelopes, organize election materials for those who were out in the trenches, campaigning for our candidate. It was fun, made me feel part of something larger than myself. And, then we won. I was on the winning team for the first time in my life. The world seemed to welcome me.

But that was then, a life time ago. Jack was murdered. Martin Luther King Jr was murdered. Bobby was murdered. Vietnam raged in never-ending slaughter of Americans and Vietnamese. The consequences of that war robbed an entire generation of its innocence. But then, that is what war does.

I moved on with my life. I had children, moved to California, divorced, worked at all manner of menial jobs, went back to school to become the first of my family to obtain a Bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude. I started my own company. Re-married and began the process of blending a new family. It all seemed to work. It was also a good life, filled with hope and energy and love. And, I voted. Local, State and National elections were all important to me. I also did some electioneering for the Obama Administration.

But I should have done more. I really should have. Because now we live a life under Trump. And, I cannot stress the “under” enough. We are not in this together, Trump and me. He does not represent anything I believe in: diversity, helping those in need, strengthening education, providing healthcare for all, standing side by side to fight the tyranny of terror by being unafraid of the “Other”. He has spread divisiveness, encouraged violence on the on minorities, disabled and immigrants and generally been a huge embarrassment to us all with his tweets and bombast. What drives a man who is President of the United States of America to feel he needs to brag, and brag endlessly about how great he is? Yet, I have folks who up until recently, I thought had good judgement and hearts, who actually whole-heartedly voted for him. I tried so very hard to understand where they were coming from: they were not poor, they were not uneducated and they were not evil. And, yet, they wanted DJT to disrupt the government, reset it. Much like rebooting their computers: wake up to a fresh start, all the corrupted RAM zapped and the preferences reset to some cleaner, shinier time.

That does not seem to what we are experiencing at all. And, those self-same Trump voters are now concerned that we are on the brink of something dangerous at the worst and mind-numbing at the least. Congress is a do-nothing black hole. The SCOTUS is not going to save us either. Many states are working furiously to suppress the vote, so 2018 may not save us either. I began a scrap book of sorts using Google Keep as a repository of all things Trump. My first note was a copy and paste from comments I made on the White House website where we were supposed to select the Accomplishments of the Trump Administration that we liked the most. In that list, I could find nothing that I agreed with, NOTHING. So, here care my comments I posted instead:

Accepting each and every person as a full fledged human deserving of respect and kindness. I feel that the most important goal of any presidency is to do nothing in haste, but with careful deliberation, examining all the facts and weighing the consequences of all our actions and words. Our people deserve affordable health care free from fear of losing help because of partisan bickering. In fact, Medicare for All is the best option if you really care about ALL American lives.

Also, I think telling the truth about where jobs have gone due to technology and modernization is more important than promising coal miners that you will bring their jobs back. Rolling back regulations that protect our air and water are definitely not good for our children and future. I am a business owner for over 25 years. Regulations have never affected our bottom line: but the 2008 mortgage debacle certainly did. Dodd-Frank is trying to make sure that does not happen again. And, one of your goals is to undo that. Shame on you! We need to focus on creating new jobs, but not by damaging the environment. And, providing for those people who will not ever be employable because they do not have the skills or education to function in a modern society. Education focused on solid sciences, retraining where we can and taking care of those who cannot learn new skills for whatever reasons. I am shocked at your so-called priorities and fear for the future of our Great Nation. Your lists spell DOOM, not MAGA!

And, things have only gone down hill from there. I am 72 years old now. I am truly wondering if I will survive this Administration. I worry for my grandchildren, especially my very young granddaughters of 9 and 11. What kind of world have I bequeathed to them? Hopefully not something akin to Gilead from Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale.  Like I said, I did not do enough when I had influence. Or thought I had influence.

Please forgive.

State of the Union

At long last a Health Care Reform bill has been signed by the President. It is far weaker than I had hoped, but it is on the right path. It was a big relief after all the fear-mongering and hate talk across the Nation for many many months.

However, the spiteful rhetoric continues. Almost unabated, in fact. I am still struggling to understand how so much fear can be generated by trying to secure the common good for all Americans. As our Constitution preamble states we should provide for a: more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

I am positive our deist founding fathers would never intend for us to step over the dying bodies of our neighbors who cannot obtain health insurance on our way to the grocery store. They believed in conserving our planet, caring for the less fortunate and holding our freedoms dear, to the point of sacrificing our lives for the right. They were never spiteful and fearful in the face of change.

No where in our founding documents or in the twenty-seven amendments will you find any hint of “All for me and you get your own!” mentality. As a nation we have tried to “form a more perfect union” which implies a work in progress, not a static un-changing state that cares not for the tired, hungry and homeless. America’s core values are much ballyhooed these days. If we are such a great and powerful nation, someone needs to explain how the core values of hatefulness and selfishness have taken over the American heart.

Preachers teach that Christianity will bring you wealth on This Earth, that Christians are blessed above all others. Perhaps this where we have gone wrong: twisting Christ’s teachings on the Mount from the “meek shall inherit the earth” to “take all you want. God has chosen you to reap all the riches and let everyone else fend for themselves.”

Yikes.

At least that is the rhetoric I hear across the land. When sitting with a perfectly normal looking couple the other day, I was astonished to hear incredibly hateful invectives fired at anyone who dares to help families care for their children with “handouts” from the government. Everything that I believe in is anathema to them. As I watched the woman expound on dismantling the Social Security system because they should not have to pay a tax for something she didn’t want and only stupid lazy people would need, I actually gasped at the look on her face: sheer hatred. She was irate, full of righteous indignation. Amazing! I must confess I was struck dumb in the full force and fury of her ire. I realized I could not communicate with her or her husband. We do not share the same language!

A sorry state of affairs.

Message to My President

Ok, Mr President, you are beginning to freak me out! Why, oh why, the soft response to Joe Wilson’s calling you a liar? And, what on earth is happening when a liar calling someone a liar gets the non-lying person to change their perfectly sane and legal stance on an issue, i.e., immigration and health care.

Besides which, what will medical providers do when an injured child shows up on their doorsteps requiring immediate medical attention or death? Ask for his documentation? Or attend to the injuries?

In my world, they had better attend to the injuries and worry about documents later. As, I believe, this is the actual law of the land! I cannot understand why you bend to these insane people! This is not the person I elected who promised me there would be Change I could believe in. Do you know where that person went?

——
Sent to Obama on 09/12/09 at 7:46AM via White House Contact Page

Tightening the Belt

Here I sit, Sunday morning, enjoying the view from my kitchen table…

wpid-morningview-2009-08-9-09-16.jpg

And, I do mean ENJOYING. I would have to be an ingrate to not appreciate such a view.

But underneath all this comfort, all this security and warmth, there is an unease. This feeling is deep in the dark, lurking, smirking at me. Why am I being haunted? Is it the fact that I am looking at working until I am 70 instead of retiring at 66 as I had planned? Is it because my children are all struggling to keep financially afloat in perilous economic times? Is it because I see so much hatred expressed everyday in every way in the press, on website comment sections especially? I look at the coverage regarding health care reform and see the people most frightened by any change are people of my own age or more. They are scared of some bogey man coming in the night to euthanize them. I, on the other hand, am afraid of the people who are telling these lies and crippling any small chance we have of reform. I am afraid of the corporate oligarchs who are pulling the strings and making us all dance in varying degrees of frenzied craziness.

The fledgling bills in Congress are amorphous entities, not yet fully realized. And, if the lobbyists have their way, they will be aborted and thrown out before any chance of change is hinted at. All of the fear, all of the hatred, all of the ugly cries of fascism, hitler-comparisons, the strident screeching is designed to kill any attempt to change the health care industry in America. And, by the way, if it kills the ability of the Black President to govern, well, that would be an added benefit. (Despite the fact that contrary to his campaign promises, he appears to be as much in the pocket of the oligarchs as his predecessors.)

In the waning years of my life, all that I have worked for, all that I have dreamed would be my “golden years”, is turning out to be for naught. It is as if the bottom will open up and swallow all that I love and care about. We have had to cut back our salaries to keep from laying off staffers we need to have to provide service to our customers and stay in business. I have had to forego any thoughts of vacation or rest until we are out of the red. And lest, you think that is not so bad – it has been almost five years since my husband and I allowed ourselves any vacation time at all! According to economic prognosticators, the current estimates for recovery is 2013! (If we are lucky!)

So, what else can I do, but enjoy my own backyard. Try to focus on keeping my own small business afloat. Take a minute here or there to reflect on how fortunate our lives continue to be: our house is paid for, we have enough put by to maintain a loss position without closing the company for at least another year, our health is above average for our age group, we are on loving terms with our children, they are all healthy, we are not broke, and we do find lots to laugh about.

So, long story short: many many many people have a truly tough time in this world. We are NOT among them! And, for that I am exceedingly grateful.

Now, if I could only get rid of these recurring nightmares about China foreclosing on America!

Civil Discourse

I am trying to get my arms around this concept:

  • Health care costs are skyrocketing – our own company’s monthly premiums have increased 50% since 2005!
  • Millions of families are unable to afford any health insurance at all.
  • A former employee of ours who worked with us to support her way through nurses training, was given a $75,000 signing bonus when she was hired by Kaiser-Permanente! She is a capable and caring person, but was this a fair amount to pay for a “greenhorn” nurse? Now Kaiser is laying off thousands of support staff. How will that affect the quality of health care provided?
  • Nobel prize winning economists are predicting that premiums for companies will continue to escalate over the next decade to the point of being 50% of the employee’s income!
  • Americans with individual coverage (not through their employers) are being deprived of coverage when they fall ill or the insurance company executives refuse to change their rescission policies as demonstrated during the Congressional hearings. Those same executives receive millions annually in bonuses based on denial of coverage!
  • Meanwhile, Republican and conservative legislators act as if this is okay. They do not feel citizens are entitled to any guarantee of health care, or worse, feel that all Americans already enjoy health care by simply going to the emergency room when they need care! (The most expensive venue for providing medical treatment.) But what about preventive health care, the kind of care that saves lives AND money? They do not have access to that level of care, as they do not have insurance and cannot pay for physical exams and expensive diagnostic procedures. Even with my own health insurance, a colonoscopy costs me more than $700 co-pay! (We won’t go into the resultant punctured colon and emergency bowel resection required to clean up the mess.)
  • Town Hall meetings convened to discuss the health care issues are being disrupted and cancelled because some not-so-grassroots organizations do not want this problem to be talked about. In effect, they are attempting to shut down democracy.
  • And, the only thing the right is offering is something called “co-ops” instead of the public option. For more interesting information on the history of co-op health care, look here: The Blue Cross Story . Nothing new under the sun… Sounds like a bad idea to me.
  • Euthanasia, denial of health care, death camps even! These are the scary things being promulgated by the Fox media noise, astroturf organizers and health care providers’ PR firms. This last group all the while touting their willingness to reform their systems without government oversight and promises to the Administration they will work to bring down costs – no need for reform!

I tell you it is enough to make one’s head spin right off and spiral far off into the Andromeda galaxy! It is going to be a very long, hot August, you betcha.

So, then, conservative friends, where is a plan we can all live with? I have heard nothing from the Right, from Republicans, from Conservatives that resembles an answer to the question of how do we fix our health care crisis. Other than the aforementioned co-op plan. Does this mean, health care in America isn’t broken and does not need to be fixed?

You Betcha! (my goodness, that phrase is useful)

Up Side Down In Side Out?

Well now, isn’t this just the perfect pickle? Ms Taitz has magically been presented with a Kenyan birth certificate for our President. The certificate is stamped as being certified by the Republic of Kenya on February 17, 1964. However, the fact stands that the Republic of Kenya did not exist until December 12, 1964. Hmmmm. Discrepancy, anyone?

To what lengths will these people traverse? Of course, the source of this document cannot be revealed due to threats against the source’s life.

Kenya has never tried to scam anyone in America with documents purporting to be verifiable and legal. And, Hawaii’s state government is well-known for falsifying birth documents.

Is this an inverse reality show?

Sunday Morning

Quiet. Sunny. And, fresh coffee.

No newspaper this morning.

Don’t really miss it anyway as most news comes to me via the Net these days. I would seriously consider dropping the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle altogether except that the Husband enjoys reading the Sporting Green. (We stopped getting the daily issues years ago when the suburban delivery failed to arrive before we had to leave for our commute.)

It is not that we no longer support news organizations and expect to get our information for “free.” We both have paid subscriptions to the WSJ. I also pay for digital subscriptions to The Nation and Salon.com. I have at least 40 sources of free news in my bookmarks that I peruse every morning over coffee. Everything from Google to Politico to AlterNet as well as many professional blogs. I think I am more informed than ever. When I see an article that brings up something I am not familiar with, I can do a quick “background check” to get up to speed. Sometimes it can feel like almost too much information. But I would not go back to the “old” way willingly.

Most television news is unwatchable and inaccurate IMO. The days of watching Walter Cronkite and knowing you were informed are long gone. And, now with his death, there is no one living who will tell it like it is on that particular medium. Which is why I head over to the nearest browser to read people like Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan and sites like Media Matters and FactCheck.org for clarification of the headlines and the secrets behind them.

Yes, there are days I cannot bear to see one more headline regarding the darling Ms Sarah. There does seem to be this tendency to excess on the Web, no excuses there. Still it is difficult seeing the newspaper and television news sources ever being more than they have become: mouthpieces for corporate America. (Or is that Corporate america?)