It really is up to each one of us. We get the government we help put into office.
If we sit back and just armchair quarterback and never take action, we then get the government others helped put into office.
Simple as that.
So, it is hard emotionally to ask people to think, especially now when so much is hitting us that is uncomfortable. How many people are medicating more now than ever before to try to dull down the input? Unfortunately, it also dulls your thinking process and may make you sluggish. Apathy has long been with us but ennui has now raised its head as well.
Our McMinnville city and Yamhill county races are nonpartisan which means it really does not matter what party affiliation a candidate has. They are SUPPOSED TO represent all of us. Decisions are supposed to be what is good for the area, for the region, nor for one set of constituents.
In order to maintain that attitude, we need people to stand up and participate.
And that means more than voting, although when our system is so easy, it is hard to understand why our voting is often lower than expected. Apathy again.
But true participation needs a bit more of your energy. Sign petitions to help candidates enter the races. If you are tired of seeing old white men, realize that others are trying to join in and participate…help them by signing petition so our elections are meaningful by supporting that all people can be candidates.
Seven years ago, about a year before we planned to move from West Virginia to Oregon, I got deeply involved in helping establish The Wild Ramp, an indoor year-round local food market. Among other things, I visited the farms and other food producers basically to get their stories to tell consumers, but also to verify that they were raising or producing the yummies they brought to sell at the store.
For a person who grew up in the paved part of the Garden State and one who earned a degree in urban planning, finding myself knee deep in mud was one of my earliest experiences and I immediately bought muck boots for later farm visits. I am a quick learner…at least in some issues.
I believe the first farmer’s patience with me and my questions helped establish my process: I spent an hour asking questions sitting usually at the kitchen table, and only then did we walk the farm and I got to see and take photos.
Because I knew next to NOTHING about farming (other than going with my grandpa into his chicken coop when I was 3-years-old was a terrifying experience which he sure could have made easier!) I asked tons of questions. I may not know a lot but I am curious.
“What’s the issue about corn fed versus grass fed” was a question. “What kind of cows are these?” was another. (The answer to that was also enlightening: “Well, ” the farmer slowly answered, “they’re black. Angus are black, so I guess we can say they are Angus.” And my response: “So ARE they Angus, or are you riding a marketing message?” was answered with a smile.
So I learned something there and I later learned that perhaps it is not always just the breed but also the diet that helps make some meat tastier than others.
The point is, I was not afraid to appear that I did not “KNOW”. In other words, it was okay for them to figure I was ignorant and it was their job to teach me. And almost all of the 70 farmers and food producers I visited were happy to give me the two precious hours of their work day. The later sales jump after the blog was written and read by the consumers was worth the work interruption.
So last night I again watched the debates. And I will watch the 2nd debate with the rest of the Democratic candidates tonight. WHY?
Because I am not going to rely on what news organizations chose to tell me. I am not going to read my Facebook friends’ comments as a basis for my own decision-making. I do find comments by people I know and even people I have no idea what their background basis is for their comment. This is our reality: people have various levels of evaluation tools and their decision making may or may not be similar to mine.
When I read restaurant reviews when I am searching for a place to eat in a location I have not fully explored, I have no idea if those reviewers’ taste buds are similar to mine. I have no idea if they value food without additives, as I do. Same kind of issue when I hear how people love or pan a movie. How can I know if any person making a comment is aligned with my values on what entertains me?
Even more important is the much more rigorous and important evaluation for the next President of the United States. A crummy meal or movie may, at worse, provide a wasted couple of hours or a tummy ache, but typically not more than that. Playing passive on the evaluation of candidates can provide for poor leadership that will affect me…and you…and the world.
So, it’s all theater. I made a comment on Facebook as the debate started that the narrator sounded like he was introducing a sport event. But this is NOT the time we chose one winner and all the rest are losers.
Source: Apple Podcasts
Each person standing on that podium last night had something that was important to be heard. Each one. How would you know if you don’t put your own mind to work?
Do I think they are all equivalently experienced for the job of President. Hell no! But they have their viewpoint and it may overlap someone else’s, including your own.
Let’s be careful not to throw support to one candidate so early that we don’t listen. Let’s be careful to listen and evaluate how we feel about the various solutions to issues posed.
And let’s remember that the way the government is working now will not change much without some huge changes that are, unfortunately, needed to be made by the people who currently would not want them changed. For example, we have clearly seen the damage to the election process that the Supreme Court decision about Citizens United caused. By permitting money to be equivalent to free speech, and corporations defined as “people”, we have seen that our government is now being controlled by megawealthy corporations and people. Very few people. And the rest of us, working (or not) to make the changes have a tough uphill battle. How can that be changed to give the governing of this nation back to the people? Listen to how the candidates suggest changes and see if they align with you.
Source: UMass Dartmouth
Above all, quit sitting back and only using your voice to armchair quarterback. Get out there. Locally, you can have some huge influence in the way your city or county runs. On the national level, if you like a candidate, get involved. Give an hour a week…..that certainly is not too much of a drain when you think of what gets decided that will affect you.
When I was growing up my Dad would often drive into town and pick up the Sunday New York Times. As I got older I enjoyed reading not only the magazine but I started perusing the classified, looking for my “someday” job and apartment. Oh, the dreams I had of what could be……and then life took another pathway.
I’ve had a checkered past. I earned a degree in geography and urban planning, but my first job out of college was for the Tennessee Supreme Court in the court administrator’s office. They were starting a judicial PLANNING division and so, since I had a degree in urban PLANNING, I was hired. It was fun but as I realized I was getting further from my education, I looked for and moved to the planning job. For three and a half years I actually worked for a planning and engineering company and really enjoyed it. But again……life took another pathway.
There was a death in my husband’s family. His mother asked us to move to Connecticut to take care of the estate issues. We lived in the house rent free and would until it was sold. One of my tasks was to determine the market value of the property and in doing so, we listed it for sale and boom! we needed to move within a couple of months. I was looking for work as a planner but we were in the middle of a recession then and jobs were scarce. So… life took another pathway.
I started working as an real estate agent for the broker who had listed the house. While I did well, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. Showing houses was a challenge because I did not know the area well and there were no apps with a talking GPS (hey, no cell phones at all) in those days so I had to rely on paper maps, all the time portraying an image of competence to the buyers. That was stressful enough but the part that made me more uncomfortable was listening to a homeowner extol the cost of the renovations he had made when it looked like a piece of incompetent amateur construction. And then Baby #1 was born and I no longer wanted to put in the long hours needed in that kind of sales position. Once again…. life took another pathway.
When I told the broker I was going to let my sales license go he persuaded me to start an appraisal division of his company. I built the reputation and business started coming in nicely and then I needed to hire some staff. The broker told me he was moving to California and was selling the real estate business, including the appraisal division. I said no way, it may be your name but it was my blood, sweat and tears. He very much understood and so, I soon owned it. I got a partner who had the bookkeeping kind of background and so we went on, growing during the 1980s real estate boom to 12 employees. (Although I planned longer, I only was able to take off one week when Baby #2 was born.) And then there was another blip in the financial market and property values started to decline. Where there is no room for a second mortgage or a current home value did not support getting the mortgage refinanced, there are no appraisals. We closed the business and…… life took another pathway.
By this time I had had baby #3 and no income. My husband got laid off. We ended up moving from Connecticut to Tennessee where I stayed home with the baby. Then my husband was diagnosed with brain cancer and after surgery, radiation and chemo I got a job at Vanderbilt Medical Center, working for one of my husband’s eye doctors. I had looked for a managerial position at Vanderbilt and when HR asked me what salary I wanted I thought about what I had made in the good years in Connecticut and then made a “cost of living” adjustment and said $30,000. They laughed…too high apparently. Anything lower would not help the family so I changed my resume to administration instead and ended up taking that first position as an AA for $18,000. I figured if I was not going to earn enough money I might as well not be in charge of anything. And so….. life took another pathway.
After five years of learning eye health jargon, things changed when the doctor in charge left. My position was eliminated but I was not, so HR moved me to another place in the hospital. The boss was, to put it nicely, a challenged individual. I left and move over to the university side of Vanderbilt to the Department of French & Italian. More new things to learn and master. And then my husband died and there I was a widow with a young child. Graham entered my life and I sure made him work to woo both of us. And there I was again….my life took another pathway.
My kiddo and I joined Graham when he went on sabbatical to Colorado for six months. I thought a start together in a neutral location would be good. We made friends and when it looked like he might be offered a job there I started looking for work. I had a sweet sweet double interview with the statewide blood bank and they offered me a position for a beautiful salary. I came home from that interview to be told we were moving back to West Virginia. Ha ha…guess what….. my life took another pathway.
Looking for work in the Rust Belt was a challenge. I finally was hired as a practice manager for a financial adviser. Since it was a start-up I accepted a lower than desired salary with the promise of bonuses that would boost it to the sky (dream on, eh?). That never happened. After three years of building that business into something sustainable, I asked for a $10,000 raise and he basically countered with 50 cents an hour. I resigned. This time, definitely my choice…..my life took another pathway.
I started to build up my book selling business that I had been running on a small scale for about 12 years to provide additional income. I was able to match that prior salary for the next two years while having the time to also get involved in the farm-to-table movement and helping build The Wild Ramp. All the time, we were planning for my husband to retire when my kiddo left for college and so……my life took another pathway.
We moved to Oregon just about four years ago. I applied to about 50 jobs, making sure each cover letter and each resume was custom tailored to each specific job. I never heard from 46 place, but had four interviews. One had the grace to tell me I was overqualified and they were sure I would be bored and quit. I countered with an comment (I had nothing to lose) that at this age I would love a job I could do with one hand behind my back. But no job was offered. (Ageism is one more hurdle to getting a job that needs to be fixed. Date of birth information can no longer be asked, but they can and do asked for education information, including year of graduation. I think you agree, most of us complete high school at age 18, so extrapolation is easy.) So feeling ready to do anything….. life took another pathway.
I took a summer job as a farm hand. Yes, me. I never ate so much ibuprofen in my life but I did it and learned a lot more. In all my effort with The Wild Ramp I had probably visited 100 farms and had heard their stories. Now I got to get a (very small) taste of the life farmers live. And the experience confirmed something I already suspected: I am not a farmer. But I need my farmers (we all do) and respect them highly. And so, taking a plunge……my life took another pathway.
I started up the commercial food processing business, Can-Do Real Food, to support local farmers by preserving their surplus produce by canning and dehydrating. (This gives the farmer another income, provides consumers a way to have a taste of the local summer harvest any time during the year, and reduces food waste.) When we moved to Oregon I learned to can, so I had one year of canning at home. Other people have forgotten more than I have learned but it has been a pretty amazing experience. You can read more about it at the Can-Do Real Food blog.
In the past year I had been dealing with a knee that has been injured but there is nothing surgical that can be done to fix it. It forces me to walk a bit wonky which has now affected my hip joint on the other side. I am in a new world of hurt and so…..I suspect my life is about to take another pathway again.
Through all these years (63 and counting) I have received continual education. The first part is one we all are fed K through 12. The next was the narrowing down of a field of study (college). And since then, through work and seminars and conferences and self teaching, the learning has continued and increased. I urge everyone I love to never stop exploring, never be afraid of change.
I know jargon related to the legal profession, the medical profession, the academic profession, and now food processing (and government regulation thereof). I wonder what’s next! Whatever it is, I strongly doubt I will ever live in New York City!
Yesterday I realized that I have not written anything on this blog for about a month. Just now “what” to write hit me, thanks to a conversation on Facebook. No, for a change, this will NOT be about politics.
It is about my new life as a pothead. Well, actually not quite a pothead. One of my Oregon friends thinks I may be the only cannabis user in Oregon who is not driving under the influence. This may (does) have its pleasurable effects, but this is not a recreational activity for me.
I was a senior in high school when someone close to me (who will remain nameless and blameless) introduced me to weed. That definitely was recreational.
In college the drug of choice was booze and that was illegal enough thank you. But I was an RA and would knock on the doors of the rooms where smoking was obviously happening and instruct them on how to use a wet towel. That was definitely pro-user activity.
In the late 1970s I lived in a city in the South and a friend invited me to his family’s home to watch Superman when it was first shown in HBO. He lit up a joint and offered it to me. I enjoyed the show and I don’t remember if I was uncomfortable driving home after, but since there is no memory about it, it must have been fine.
In the mid 1980s a friend and I went on a weekend getaway to her family’s vacation home in New England without any husbands or kids. Another friend handed me a small gift, as it was my birthday and told me to open it when we got to our destination. Inside a Sucrets lozenge box, several joints. It was a chocolate weekend.
That is not all, but the jist of my prior life with pot. Not regular at all. Never enjoyed when responsible sobriety was needed. Definitely recreational.
Since then I heard sometimes that people with cancer smoked marijuana and it helped. It helped with nausea was one thing and when we were dealing with nausea from chemo issues in the 1990s, the meds the doctor gave took care of it, so no need to search out the underground market…probably available next door, right?
And then we moved to Oregon and they already had medicinal cannabis. The dispensaries were established and things were regulated. The referendum for recreational use passed with 56% of the votes. I suspect there were as many “yes” votes among the Baby Boomers as there were in the Millenials.
The legal requirements for legal grow operations, laboratories for testing, kitchens for preparing edibles, and shops for selling had to be worked out, so it took over a year after the law was passed before the recreational shops were open.
Today, some shops sell only recreational pot. Some sell only to people who have medical cannabis cards. Some sell both rec and medical. The medical side has different recordkeeping to meet the legal requirements of that early law. I prefer to go to a dispensary that sells both as I am, at this point in my life, using the cannabis to help a medical condition.
I have not asked my doctor for a medical card. It is at least a 3-step process including an appointment with another doctor and can cost $800 altogether for people like me (not a veteran, on disability and elderly-I’m too young. LOL). The benefit: no sales tax. In Oregon we do not have a sales tax……except on recreational marijuana. (It probably was THIS benefit to the state financial coffers that convinced the “weed is evil” side to vote yes. After all, they can enjoy thinking the stoners are paying for their sin.) Since I do not use a lot of pot over the year a card would be valid, I did not think the little bit of additional in tax would offset the fees.
So when I realized the last bit of cannabutter was used up, it was time to go purchase something. Asking three different friends which dispensary they preferred gave me three places to check out. (There are about 8 within 10 miles, but only 1 state-run liquor store. The dispensaries were not really busy while that liquor store is always crowded.)
Anyone my age who purchased weed in the 70s and early 80s purchased a sandwich bag (ounce) for $10. The pot in late 1970 was $40 for the baggie and was a strain known as Acapulco Gold. The baggies had leaf, stems, some seeds generally.
Now you can buy seeds, you can buy bud, sometimes you can buy leaf (shake), you can buy pre-rolls. You can buy extract, you can buy creams and salves. You can buy candy. You can buy infused products like tea or oil. The bud is the most popular. The strains sell for about $200-400 an ounce (that sandwich baggie) so most people buy a few grams, sort of like heading to the store for a 6-pack.
Me, I bought half an ounce. I prepared the canna butter yesterday and the gingered pear bars are out of the oven now, aroma wafting through the house.
Why do I turn to cannabis? Two reasons.
Simply, I am in pain almost all the time now. My stupid ski accident at age 19 was exacerbated by the bacterial meningitis I worked through about 15 years ago. The pain in the knee started the next year and the doctor assured me it was “only” arthritis. For years advil was my help. Then I switched to glucosamine in all its combinations. When we moved here almost 4 years ago, I started getting acupuncture and that helped me be pain-free for 10 days. But last June I twisted my knee and have minor meniscus and ACL involvement. Two docs say it is “only” arthritis. But a year later, I am not back to where I was before the knee twist and now having sympathetic pain on my other leg because of my screwed up gait. Again, if you are about my age, you may be feeling some joints now too. I hope not.
Second, my asthma. I have been concerned with the Congressional shenanigans. I promised it will NOT be a political rant, but I feel I’ve been on the “am I going to die because I can’t afford medical insurance” roller coaster. My two medications that help me breathe cost $1000 a month out of pocket. Simply can’t do that. Can’t afford it. And THEN I started hearing how inhaling pot helps asthma. That’s insane! People with lung disease like asthma can not smoke!! That’s why I make edibles! Smoke pot to help me breathe? Yes, it dilates the bronchi; in fact I read a medical research extract dumbed down for non-medical readers that said it was the THC specifically that helps the deeper sections of lung also dilate.
Being Oregon, I got into a short discussion about pot at the UFO Festival in May. The guy handed me a joint telling me it will help. (Yes, I love Oregon) Over 3 days I tested the concept and yes, within a short time I could draw a deep breath without any “pulling” tightness. The next morning, still good.
Then my friends stepped in with their recommendations. One vapes. One gave me a bong. Decision made.
So, why did I write this? Because medical marijuana is available in 29 states, while recreational pot can be (or will be able to be once they get it set up) in 8 states. And, of course, your neighbor still buys his from his coworker’s cousin, just like he always has. In other words, marijuana is around you.
And yes, there are people smoking to get high or stoned. Just like there are people getting drunk or pissed on booze. And just as others seek their escape in street drugs.
But there are more people of all ages using the beneficial aspects of cannabis for a medical reason.
I start my mornings, when I have time, with a cup of coffee and the Internet. First, emails. Then, Facebook. I’m sitting here today in embroidered blue jeans and my tie dyed tee with fringes on its sleeves….about as “hippie” as my attire can get, I guess. I select something from Pandora and find my attention caught by this music. It got me thinking.
Thinking about the way our nation, our communities were in the late 1960s and early 1970s. We were as split and splintered as perhaps no other time since the Civil War. It was a time, like now, when a person’s political stance fractured families and friendships. Even in myself, understanding the sense of patriotic pride that pushed some guys I knew to enlist and go off to what was most assuredly a blood bath, I had trouble balancing that sense of pride with the horror of what the war was doing to the people in VietNam and more importantly, the people who came back damaged by their experience. We were cruel to our veterans who returned and many remain burnt out to this day. Others were proud of their service and resumed life. Still others were angry at the anger and so the split continued.
There has always been a crowd chanting
and others proclaiming
We talked about a generation gap but no one really worked on healing the other divide. And so we who were teenagers when college students who were peacefully protesting were murdered have now become senior citizens. And the divide seems to be greater than ever.
When I heard the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song Ohio playing on Pandora it made me pause and I then had a very disturbing thought…and that is why I turned here to try to find a pathway through it.
Today, if we had a similar shooting by a government ordered militia of four kids on a college campus who were peacefully demonstrating would it stop the atrocity that they were protesting?
And I don’t think the answer would be yes today. Not any longer.
When a man gets dragged out of his reserved and purchased airline seat and people start posting things that are not perfect about his life as a way to discredit HIM, someone has lost their values.
When grieving parents of a fallen soldier offer the Presidential candidate a copy of the Constitution and then they are attacked for not being perfect, someone has lost their values.
When Congressional Representatives refuse to meet with their Constituents during a recess when time to schedule town halls is normal, someone has lost their values.
When there is growing evidence that our President is focused on personal gain and benefits for his peers in the uber wealthy, and his supporters criticize the messengers, someone has lost their values.
When friends stop talking to long term friends because there are differences of opinion, someone has lost their values.
My mom called the Baby Boomers the “me” generation. From her view she saw a lot of young people who wanted to break with conventional behavior and do “their own thing.” She felt this kind of individualism would move us into a broken community and while there are many benefits for people pursuing their pathway even when unconventional, there is a truism that if the focus is ONLY on the individual, the community loses.
As I drove south last week to go to the Shakespeare Festival held in Ashland, Oregon, I passed through the beautiful green fields of the Willamette Valley. One town, Junction City is a conservative stronghold in this very mixed region. At the southern edge of town in front of a tire dealership, the owner often posts political statements. This one caught my eye and I laughed. “Snowflakes ahead” referring to the city of Eugene, a very strong liberal community.
Being called a snowflake is a trendy insult used by conservatives generally against anyone who thinks individuals have rights. They say we are responding this way because our feelings are hurt and so they belittle us. They don’t understand that it is not our own personal feelings that are hurt but an empathetic response for members in our community who have been hurt. To me it implies short-term issues and perhaps a lack of intelligence. I tend to feel irritated when someone refers to me as a snowflake because I have been this way for …hmmmmm at least 5 decades that I can claim to my own thinking and reasoning.
The problem, though, is not what my cohort is called, but the fact that people prefer to demean and detract instead of trying to understand.
It gets down to core values.
If you feel people who suggest you read something and think about it makes you feel dumb, you have a self esteem problem.
If you feel people who expect women/Blacks/Latinos/LGBTQ/handicapped to have equal access and equal opportunity are causing you pain, you have a vision problem.
If you feel that there is only one way that is right, you have a navigator problem.
If you feel that people who are not wealthy are better than everyone else who then is worthless and there for you to use, you have a humanity problem.
If you feel that the homeless have done something bad and deserve their hard times, you have a cardiac illness.
As a society, as a community, we are sick and most of all, it is our heart that needs to repair.
Can we do it?
All I know is that if something horrendous like Kent State happens today, I wonder if will we react as a unified community, realizing we ALL must move off our spots to work together?
The short answer is….no. We did not act unified about Standing Rock. We did not act unified about Flint. We did not act unified about how Congress is dismantling laws that hold corporations responsible to make sure the water they spill into and the air they emit into stay clean. We have not acted unified about the idea that our government has been influenced by anther country over an election (as we have influenced countless other countries’ elections). We did band together pretty well a few weeks ago about health insurance but the power mongers are still wanting more more more and this fight is not over yet. We have not acted united about how this President ignores rules and conventions of his office.
The longer answer is……perhaps we can. If we don’t lose our way even more first.
What do you think? Your comments show you are thinking…a very good sign.
Back in the late 1960s my father’s sister developed breast cancer. If you are old enough, you probably remember that cancer was so horrific with few cures in those days that most people never said the word. It was the Big C. If it was uttered, it was in a whisper. Watching her decline, I assumed I would get breast cancer.
My mom and all her side of the family died from issues related to heart disease. No doubt in my mind that I have a genetic disposition for that.
I am not a morbid person. This is not anything that fills my waking hours with dread. I am not afraid of dying; I just have a lot of living yet to do, so I don’t want to go before my time. But recently, very recently, I have been staring at a new death option. And it makes me angry.
With the threats/promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Republicans in our lives have also threatened and promised to kill 20 to 30 million people in this nation. We, the ones with the death sentences, are your neighbors and your family members.
Why will we die? In my case, I will suffocate. I have chronic asthma. It is well maintained with two medicines that currently cost me $100 a month. Their out of pocket cost, without insurance, is close to $1000 a month. Guess what? I can’t afford that.
So, very simply, if Congress in their infinite wisdom think it is more important to destroy the law because it was implemented by Obama, instead of fixing it (good luck with that if you want to keep the insurance companies in charge, but that’s another story and blog) I will die.
So now the question is, will you also die? Will people you know, people you love, also be murdered by Republicans?
That sounds harsh, but think about it. There are two components in the ACA that help people. First, the insurance premium (set by the insurance companies, not the ACA) is reduced based on income. This is part of the benefit that will be removed. The premium I need to pay is $535 a month. Before the reduction, which is based on my income, my premium would be $875 a month.
Secondly, the ACA eliminated discrimination insurance companies had based on pre-existing conditions. I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 5 years old. This is a pre-existing condition that before changes in the law meant I had to wait 12-18 months when changing medical insurance companies (because of a change in jobs) to be covered. I was fortunate that my breathing issues were pretty minor until I moved to West Virginia in 2007. The Ohio River Valley is one of the areas in this country with a high cluster of breathing problems. After decades of heavy industrial air pollution and the way the air currents flow, the environment caused a major decline in my ability to breathe. My health issues were covered at the time because of a change in the law back in the 1990s: employer offered health insurance would not have the pre-existing restriction if the employer had more than 100 employees. My husband worked at one of the state universities, so we had a state employee health plan. So, I was able to be treated for the asthma while we were living there.
But in anticipation of my husband’s retirement, the question of my healthcare once again raised its head. His retirement package included an extension of my health insurance coverage but that would run out before I would become eligible for Medicare. I anticipated a major gap of coverage and was very pleased when the Supreme Court ruled the ACA could be implemented. And so, I have been able to continue to have insurance. I have written about my lifelong experience with my health insurance coverage in January. I did that not to elicit sympathy but to share what I believe is common situation. Many of us have known people who have had someone with a major illness and our American healthcare insurance coverage has always been a factor in the rising number of bankruptcies in this country.
When we talk about “millions of people will die” if the Affordable Care Act is repealed the number is hard to understand it. Recently, a health-care analyst broke the statistics down to Congressional districts. In other words, if Congress decides to erase our health care, they will lose this many people (voters) in their own districts. I now know I am one of almost 80,000 that will be affected in my Congressional District. The difference between me and you? I know my Congresswoman, Suzanne Bonamici is one that is working to keep the program. What about YOUR representative?
And you know what? There is a huge group of people in this country who love their health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act but despise Obamacare. Their lack of comprehension is a sign that we have a major problem with people who no longer know how to think. But that’s another blog……
Back in the late 90s I worked as an administrative assistant in the Vanderbilt Hospital office that maintained the electronic machines that go beep, among other things. One of the technicians had the opportunity to go to a training seminar out of state and was excited about that until he realized he would have to rent a car to get from the airport to the training site. (No uber or lyft in those days.) He asked if I could arrange to get the department credit card for that expense. I presented his request to the supervisor who had an interesting reaction.
He not only immediately said no, as he was wont to do anytime anyone asked anything “nice” of him, but he then went on a demeaning rant about how anyone could be so inept with their own personal finances that they could not float a $500 expense that might take a month to get reimbursed. He not only had no understanding that not everyone he knew was as financially solvent as he was, but he had no empathetic ability to recognize times may be hard for others and what small thing could he do to help.
As I was myself in severe financial straits at the time dealing with a serious long term illness in the family, I could immediate understand the technician’s situation, and so, went to bat. We got the department credit card, the technician went on his training trip, and all worked out. But the message hit home. Some people are so narrow in their view of the world that they have NO ability to recognize anyone may be different. And when that different worldview is thrust upon them, they refuse to learn about it, and so more easily want to brush it under the table. Make it disappear.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people like that supervisor. Many are in positions of authority as he was, and so exert control with little signs of benevolence. Instead, they are judgmental and their aim to make people causing them problems disappear may not be hidden well.
Years before, sometime in the 1970s I read a book which stayed with me. Triage by Leonard C. Lewin, published in 1973, was not a best seller and is not a spellbinding page turner but it is a view of a dystopian society where the government and individual corporations make decisions that can and will cause death of “stupid” people, “old” people, “sick” people, “worthless” people.
The one story I remembered from reading 40+ years ago was about how car manufacturers had come up with a motor that had NO unhealthy emissions and so would eliminate pollution. Sounded great as they they made their presentation to what is clearly recognizable as the EPA until someone finally asked a question they were hoping would go unasked. Simply, the revolutionary motor needed to be started with a proscribed sequence and if not done correctly would blow up. The manufacturers had rejected installing a switch in the car to inhibit imperfect start-up because then they would be accepting responsibility if it failed. The best thing they could offer is that it would only kill the driver who would be showing his lack of intelligence by not following instructions. Passengers would only be injured. The roads would then, they argued, have one less unsafe driver and so driving accident rates could be expected to decrease.
When I went to purchase the book recently to refresh my aging memory the reviews talked about how this is a libertarian viewpoint. Each person is responsible and no paternal oversight should be expected. I don’t know about that but I do know there is something very much missing in the actions described in the book.
Today we are about three weeks into the new President’s administration and the view from here is one where decisions are being made without much thought about consequences. It seems like backs are being scratched and the promise to clean up the government by “draining the swamp” is resulting in an exchange of self-interested people with long term experience for people who have paid for their new position and have considerably less experience and a demonstrated predominant display of self interest.
I am not inclined to buy into conspiracy theories but it is getting clear even to a Pollyanna like me that something stinks. We The People are not relevant to the people in power. We WILL be killed off by restricting health insurance, astronomically raising the price of life saving medicine for increased profits, eliminating environmental protections for water and air, allowing food to have increasing levels of potential carcinogens. Discussions about a new educational policy has not included improving work and life skills nor cognitive reasoning skills. We have been promised that rules restricting businesses will be reduced, thereby helping small business people, but the candidate to run the Labor Department has a long history showing he cares little about wages and work benefits. I fully expect more, not less regulations affecting my own business.
In addition, we are seeing the formation of a shadow administration. We have a President who has already demonstrated he is unwilling to be informed to make decisions and thereby relying on his advisers for their input. In Steven Bannon we have a person who has a history of showing a very narrow definition of who is acceptable. His advice to the president will ONLY be in their own best interest and those of their cohort.
The rest of us are expendable. Get ready to play. You’re in the game whether you want to be or not.
Like many others I was hoping, but not expecting, the Electoral College to act in an unprecedented but authorized way to negate the Trump presidency. Had that happened, however, it would have opened other doors of unknown outcome, so maybe this is the best way.
This way, we can hold the incoming President to his Constitutional duties and responsibilities. We do have guidelines for that and will know when he inappropriately strays. I expect he will stray, as his prior comments indicate he is not clear on much of what is ahead of him.
Meanwhile, enough angst. Each of us either feels distress now or will soon. Each one of us. The efforts of a Republican Congress backed up by this President will mean we have big changes ahead. It is the anticipation of some of those changes that have people already upset. However, the rest will join the fray when program cuts begin to affect them. When campaign promises go by the wayside. When life does not get better for the many many people who expect the Federal government to fix things for them.
I have said often on my Facebook feed that I will stay vigilant and be as active as I can to help retain the rights won by all of us to give equal access and protection of the law to all our citizens. I will stay vigilant and be as active as I can to make sure the least of us continue to be helped regardless of any political stance. I will stay vigilant and be as active as I can to make a positive difference.
Back in 1970 when Earth Day was initiated I heard a slogan that resonated. “Think globally but act locally.” We know the earth has overwhelming issues, not only environmental but in every aspect of life.
We have a choice, each one of us.
We can ignore and carry on, dong what we do that may help or hinder any situation, self-centered and choosing to stay apart from the community of the world.
We can get stirred by all the need in the world and affected so deeply we can’t deal with it, so we freeze, stuck in despair.
We can opt to get involved in one or two issues that deeply resonate. We may send money or sign petitions or write letters or emails or even show up at our state capitol to join a protest.
We can chose to get active in our own communities, making our voice and action count where it will show a difference.
I’ve done each of these. Earlier in my life I was focused on my own young adulthood and all that involved including building a career and raising a family. I had a nodding relationship with a few issues but not much money and not much time, so not much involvement.
I’ve been on listservs that overwhelm me with need. It seems that I receive more than 20 a day with hands outstretched asking for $1, $5, $25 or more. It was with extreme pleasure that I unsubscribed from almost all recently.
I sign petitions and sometimes post them on Facebook urging others to take the minute to add their support. It seems to be the LEAST anyone can do.
Mostly, I am active here in my town. I have chosen three main areas and participate as much as I can. I do what I can, offer my skills to forward the mission of the group. I self impose a limit on what I feel I can do and ask for the group to respect that. (If the group doesn’t, as some have in the past, I moved my energy elsewhere.)
I hope by this example you can see how you might work through the coming years when so many of us feel what we have known about the United States of America will be changing. I plan to keep on keeping on. Joining with other like minded people empowers all of us.
I grew up and voted for the first time in New Jersey. My parents had taken me into the voting booth with them every year while I was young. It was the kind with a curtain. You would move the handle, the curtain would close (did anyone else besides me think of the Wizard of Oz?) and the levers would be there for the pushing. It was possible to push down a party lever and all the votes would be moved, but my parents said it was important to always check out each candidate, no matter the party, and vote for the best person to represent you. They voted line by line. All levers moved, the handle would be moved back and the votes counted as the curtain opened.
I moved to Tennessee and then on to Connecticut and then back to Tennessee and then to West Virginia before moving to Oregon. I voted on similar machines and then, as computerization was implemented, a variety of electronic machines. When we moved to Oregon we didn’t have enough friends to explain the fine points of the vote by mail system. We ended up not getting our ballots mailed on time. Since then I try to help newbies.
The vote by mail system is really very easy for people to use. There is no issue about taking time off from work or waiting on lines at the polls. We get our ballots about 3 weeks before election day and can mail them in up to 5 days before. At any time during those 3 weeks, we can drop the ballot into a ballot box, similar to a mail box but painted white and sporting a lot of signs that say BALLOTS ONLY!!!! At least one ballor box is located in each town and many more in cities. (Here in McMinnville we have three. ) The box is open until 8pm on election day when a team (at least one each from the major parties-volunteers needed) pick up all deposited ballots and lock the box slots.
The ballots are taken to the County Clerk’s office. Still sealed, they are set facing the same way and then a team of people scans each exterior envelope’s bar code. Yes, the envelope has a bar code, right near the signature line, that identifies the voter. The scan enters the name into the database for the next step, verification of the signature. A photo of the signature at time of registration is on screen and the worker verifies the signature on the envelope with the signature at registration. If the signature matches, the data base is updated with the information that that person has voted. Any envelope that has no signature (a requirement) or a signature that is different from the original are put aside for further work.
(The people whose signatures were missing or that didn’t match receive a letter asking them to come into their county clerk’s office for further verification. Sometimes the person is elderly or ill and the signature is a bit spidery or illegible in comparison to the original. Typically, people respond and go verify if the election is close or they want to make sure their vote, if different than the election results, is counted.)
Once an envelope is confirmed to be from a legitimate voter it moves to a different work station where all envelopes are opened but contents are kept intact. The next station is where contents and envelope are separated. The contents are still folded and most often in the privacy slip provided. This station works as a team, 100 ballots at a time. One worker is a registered Democrat, the other a Republican. A lot of repetitive work…envelope to one side, folded ballot to the other. Then a count is made to confirm they have the 100 they started with, and then move to another work station.
This station is where the ballots are unfolded and visually scanned by another Republican-Democratic team to verify any write-ins or markings that cover any area of the ballot. Again a count is made to confirm, 100 in to that station, 100 out to the next.
Folded once more, the ballots are sorted by precinct….that number is printed on the ballot that was originally mailed to the voter. The precinct information is obtained to provide basic voter turnout data.
From there, boxes of 100 ballots are then sent to the next area where the next check is to see if there is only one selection marked for each race. If a ballot marks two candidates in the same race that required selection of one, the ballot is set aside for voter confirmation.
Only then, at the next step, are the actual votes tabulated.
There is no way to match any given ballot at the last step to any specific voter. Privacy is ensured.
This vote-by-mail system is, as you read, pretty labor intensive. A computerized machine can give results almost instantaneously. So yes, it takes longer. So there has to be a benefit, right?
Actually several, but there are two main ones:
With the system in place in Oregon, there is no concern for manipulation of computerized hardware or software. With most areas having pairs of workers, each with a different party affiliation, with all the counting before and after to verify no ballot was moved away, there is a security in knowing how you vote is how it is counted.
The largest benefit is voter participation. Election after election Oregon has one of the highest voting percentages in the nation. This time, it was interesting to note that we had a higher turnout than ever. Last year we the people approved a referendum to start motor-voter. That means that for any DMV transaction the person will be registered if not already on the rolls. (Lots of verification for citizenship and other aspects that restrict voting done before a new person is considered legal to vote.) So Oregon’s turnout for this election was 2 million voters.
But the percentage of participating voters was down a bit. It was 78.9 %. However, nationally it was 56.9%, significantly lower.
Why do people chose not to exercise their right to vote? They could be unable to actually get to the pools, either because of transportation issues or a work schedule that won’t permit it. They could be sick, unable to go to the polls. All these people forgot they could vote with an absentee ballot. Others, could think it is not important. They could believe that their one individual vote won’t make a difference. They could be so disgusted at the whole thing..the selection process…the advertising…..the rudeness….that they just step back. And more.
At least here in Oregon it is easier for us people. And the protections leave me confident that the results are an accurate portrayal of each participants vote.
Information is from experience. Not only am I a voter but I am also a volunteer. For the past three elections, Graham and I have been ballot box closets. This past Tuesday we also observed the process for a couple of hours. Anyone can sign up to do that.
Trump has a really well put together video out for his last ad spot. One part patriotic, flags waving, smiling faces one and all. Part hateful and bigoted.
No getting around that.
At this point we have 2 days until the polls close. I suppose no one’s mind is going to be changed. That’s not even the point of this effort.
If you know me, if you have read my blogs for a while, you know I have spoken often about the way I think Trump’s hateful speech to people about others different from them has encouraged a lot of emoted passionate hatred. Not quiet and contained by social mores; the disdain for being politically correct was never appreciated or desired. The crudeness gutter talk is entertainment…and titillating. How fun to be naughty…and then if everyone is naughty, is it normal?
NO. Not in any sense of the word. Psychologically. Politically. Culturally. Socially. Religiously.
Except for bigots. Extreme right wing skin heads, Aryan nation, KKK types. It’s their normal.
The rest of the people who seem to be enamored with Trump are, probably, okay people. I know some and love some. But I sure am confused.
Okay, you don’t like Mexicans. You believe they have stolen good American jobs. Here in Oregon many are professionals: lawyers, doctors, accountants, heads of companies. Others are in commerce with stores and restaurants. Others are in service industries, like landscaping, hairdressing, house cleaning. And the others….legal and illegal, they work in the fields, in the kitchens, on construction sites. If you feel one has a job that you want, please be realistic about your own experience and expertise. Don’t generalize about a group without facts that are verified or your own experience.
Okay, you don’t like Muslims. You believe they are all radical terrorists. You have been lead to believe they are perhaps sleeper agents. Do you personally know any, I mean work with and interact with daily in a responsible work environment or have invited one to your home for a meal? Does the concept of the white supremacist groups concern you? It should. There is more risk of a terrorist event in the USA by a homegrown group of white people than anyone from the Middle East or Pakistan.
Okay, you’re uncomfortable around handicapped people who are not young and cute. Even if they work and contribute to society. You can’t help it, their physical or mental situation irritates you? Sounds like time to find out why? Why irritation instead of a sense of compassion or even, more self-centered, a sense of appreciation for your own health?
Okay, you think women really should not be working in jobs like men. Even if a woman, you might not like carrying the kind of responsibility some of our sisters have gladly grown into and others have been forced to assume. Are we going to encourage a society that sounds totalitarian to me…one where someone’s future job is determined by their birth-the location of their birth, the income status of the family of birth, the visible genitalia at birth. When you restrict the learning capabilities of girls, when you limit the income earnings of women, you are as culpable as the most narrow minded third World male elder making a child marry a man two or three decades older.
Okay, you think newspaper reporters are crooked and the news is twisted. But you believe what you read in headlines and don’t bother to read the article. You don’t search the web for articles about the same subject from across the spectrum to pull out the truth. Yes, we are fed what “they” want us to know. But because of social media with an open internet, we have access to much more. If you agree the journalists need to be constrained, please realize that this Internet permitting you to read this is also protected by the First Amendment. All your arguments about “slippery slope” apply equality to all parts of the Constitution.
Finally, the Jews. You really don’t like them and you have good reason. They are all rich. Not. They are all smart. Not. They all are…what? You have read this because you like my writing and either enjoy it and agree or at times are aggravated because I bring up topics that nag at you. Like me or hate me but if you say it is because I am Jewish, you are a bigot.
Trump has appealed to the baseness in that he has called to the bottom and they have responded. And then, some of you generally above that have responded too. You’re not in good company, but you are known by your associates.
A warning to you. You’re next on the list.
And despite the fact that no one will come to take your guns (another way you have been played), your arsenal will not keep them out when they want in.
So much better for us to nip this in the bud, recognize we have healing to do, and start talking to each other.
One way people who consider themselves a friend of mine is to explain how you can join in the Antisemitism. I am taking that one personally.
And if you do happened to have any Latino, handicapped, female, LGBTQ or Jewish friends, they also are wondering how you REALLY feel.