Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Important Political Action

I've become a political junkie! 
     Image result for political junkie image 

I kept my phone busy this morning, calling both of our California senators: Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, requesting that they oppose the nominations of Andrew Puzder for Labor Secretary, Tom Price for Secretary of Health & Human Services, Betsy De Vos for Secretary of Education, and Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. I also phoned Representative Juan Vargas of our Congressional District 51. Like so many, I've signed online petitions, and realize that they are important. But, I believe the somewhat more personal touch of a phone call lets our Senators and Representatives know who we are and where we stand on important issues we face. Right now there are so many issues at stake and so many adverse actions that Republican politicians and President he-who-shall-not-be named are taking that make our constant contacts extremely important and necessary.

This quote by Theodore Roosevelt is as apt today as it was in 1918:

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
― Theodore Roosevelt
The Kansas City Star, 18 May 1918

Monday, January 23, 2017

What a Difference a Year Makes (Political)

As much as I try, I can't remember a lot of what happened in 2016, other than politics. So, guess I'd better just get all that out of the way in order to write my thoughts about it all. NOTE: for my own reasons, I refuse to mention the name of the new President as, just like John Lewis, I consider him an illegitimate president. There.

I supported Bernie Sanders all the way as I considered him to be the best hope for the country. And still do. Unfortunately, I had to cast my vote for Hillary Clinton since, unlike Canada, for one, we can really only choose between two political parties. I've always been a Democrat, so there you have it. I would have liked her to win the race, if only to see our first woman President. But, for a number of reasons, some of them quite illegal or unfair, that didn't happen. As much as so many people and organizations tried to void the election, the orange one was inaugurated several days ago.

Ever since the election in November, I've gone through a long period of depression, disbelief, and fear for the coming four years. As a lifelong feminist and progressive, I've worked hard for women's and LGBTQ issues for almost 50 of my 70 years. I loved seeing much of that work pay off, from the legalization of abortion rights to same-sex marriage. It has been quite a wonderful period to experience passage of the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination Act, the Equal Opportunity Act, as well as many others. I've seen Medicare come into being and now appreciate receiving it after going for too many years with no health insurance. I appreciate the passage of ACA (Obamacare) that provides health insurance for so many. I've experienced the first black President in the country and appreciated all that he has accomplished. Sure, he wasn't perfect. But he worked for the people of the country and considered their needs.

And now there's today. For me, as well as so many others, this is truly a frightening time. In my humble opinion, the new "president" has no right to that title. I won't go into what a terrible person he is as I'm sure everyone is aware of that. Needless to say, the turnout of millions of people at the Women's Marches around the country and world the day after the inauguration shows that I am not alone in my beliefs and fears. Standing and walking among approximately 40,000 women, men, and children in the San Diego march provided some hope, as long as we can keep the momentum going. It was amazing and heartening to see so many people marching, even in places as remote as Antarctica.

So many people have now joined Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and many other organizations that actually help people rather than ignore their needs. So many white people are now questioning their own bias against black people and attempting to understand and correct those beliefs. I hope this pushback against he-who-will-not-be-named will continue.

But, it's a frightening time, especially to be a woman, or someone of another color, or a Muslim, or an Hispanic, or a welfare and/or food stamp recipient, or someone who is unemployed or underemployed. It is a frightening time to be gay or LGBTQ. It is a frightening time to be in poor health, or elderly, or disabled in some way. It is a frightening time to be anti-war. It is a frightening time to be poor.

But, as difficult as the coming four years promises to be, I see hope...on one condition. We need to be there for each other. We need love to banish all the hate that promises to come. We need to talk with each other, to forgive each other for all the things we've done or said. We need to stand with each other, help each other, appreciate our differences, come together, become truly amazing people. As many of us as possible need to become politically active and keep our elected leaders informed of our wishes and needs for the country. We cannot just stand by and accept whatever crap is pushed upon us. No. It can no longer be that way.

We must keep marching together for as long as we can.

What a Difference Almost a Year Makes! (Wedding)

My last post was in March last year! How time flies when you're having fun...uh, will rephrase that in a bit. Actually, some of the year was amazing!

For one thing, our son, John David Smith married Rachel Price in a beautiful ceremony in Portland, Oregon on May 21. He asked if I would like to "give him away." Fantastic!! What a wonderful, thoughtful request. Even though he had been quite young at the time, he also remembered the former consulting minister of our UU church in Roseburg quite a few years ago, Rev. Alex Holt, and asked if he would perform the ceremony. So, of course I definitely hit the road in my small RV/home, not towing the pickup this time because I had a seasonal job awaiting in South Dakota afterwards. More on that later.

It was a beautiful trip from the deserts of Southern California up I-5 through the craziness of the Los Angeles freeway, taking a short detour to Yuba City to visit a high school friend, John McConnell and his wife Barbara. Then on to the GREEN!!! of Oregon with an overnight stop in Roseburg to see another good friend, Pat Zemlin and finally meet her son, Rick Zemlin. I had been away entirely too long, and the trip reinforced my desire to move back there, hopefully soon. More on that later as well.

Finally, there I was at a campground near Portland, enjoying all the beauty of the area and looking forward to the wedding dinner and ceremony. And I wasn't disappointed. I met Rachel's parents and two brothers who flew from Houston, Texas, as well as many of John and Rachel's friends. One of the best things was being able to see my daughters: Kathy White and her husband Jeff, and Colleen Van Pelt and her husband Dan, after too many years. John's dad (and my ex), John D. Smith, and his wife Pam were also there, and I loved talking to them as well. And I also got to see my ex-husband's sister, another Pam, after a long time.

Rachel loves unicorns and purple, and her gorgeous dress showed that love to perfection. With her red hair the effect was stunning. Then there were her shoes: purple high tops with unicorns! John and his men wore quite formal attire with polished black shoes, vests, etc. Rachel's two women all wore high tops with their beautiful dresses. No one can ever accuse these wonderful young people of being boring! Or uncomfortable. 

The catered reception was delicious, as was the dancing and conversations with so many people.  The typical Oregon weather provided lots of wet stuff, but everyone stayed dry and cozy inside.

I hated to leave, but was already thinking about ways to return soon. So, meet the newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. John Smith.