Category Archives: Politics

Guest Post: Sanity

Every day, we arise to news of calamity, death, anger, and threats. Every day is an unending torrent of bad news. How do you stay sane in such an environment? It isn’t easy, but I’d like to offer some ideas.

First, be thankful. For all the tragedy and outrage surrounding us, pay attention to the good stuff. While the Federal Government gets into a pissing war with a U.S. territory and threatens to abandon it, Google and Tesla are finding innovative ways to at least somewhat help out the human condition with solar power units and balloon based cellular relay points. Speaking of that, while we read of the repeal of vast numbers of environmental regulations and accords, solar and wind are now cheaper than coal, almost cheaper than gas, and within the next decade, market dynamics will give us a clean energy economy world wide. New innovations in science are making the world healthier, and we have discoveries every day which move us forward. There are a lot of people out there who don’t live for the almighty dollar as their god, and actually do care about others, this planet, all its species, and improving the world. There are still voices in the wilderness calling us to do right, be kind, and work hard for change.

Second, be grounded. It’s easy to get caught up in the maelstrom of a nation gone mad, where checks and balances break down. It is an emotional, guttural response to see people hurting, and know that while we have the capacity to prevent it, nothing gets done (or even worse, something gets done to make it worse). It’s also easy to feel outnumbered and powerless, and the toll of this stress is affecting everyone. I encourage you to remember and study history. We have been through worse as a country, and each time, we did eventually forge a new path forward. Change happens. You cannot re-bottle a Genie. When the tide of public opinion led to general consensus that LGBTQ people had full rights, it happened over a period of fifteen years, not in one night. That consensus remains. The insane voices on the right may be screeching about religious freedom, but even with a stacked court, the people will not accept a change back to “Make America Gay-hating Again”. As I said, study and know your history; it will show the road we’ve travelled and give you hints at the future.

Third, be statistical. When you feel like evil outnumbers good, and there is no hope, consider this: we have 200 million registered voters in our nation, but only 128 million voted, meaning the real winner on 2016 was apathy, the vast silent center, with 71 million missing votes. These are people who are “not into politics”, or think “it won’t make a difference” or say “I’m too busy”. I would suggest the awful debacle we’ve seen since January may awake some portion of these voters, to the chagrin of Republicans (high voter turnouts always lean center or left). From what I’ve seen, approval ratings for this administration are somewhere around 30 percent now. However, there is a difference between being a person who feels culturally compelled to support their political “faith”, and those who will actually go to the mat for a candidate. I do not know how gerrymandering, voter suppression by the Federal commission, or external influences will change the 2018 vote, but I can reasonably predict that 2018 will have more of the vast silent middle in the polling booths, and a downtrodden Trump base.

Finally, be hopeful. This is the hardest one. Not one of us is guaranteed to be here in 20 minutes, 20 days, or 20 years. That’s not, however, what it’s about. It’s about what you do during that time. You can be hopeful. You can state your case, stick to your morals, and take the hard road to bringing something good into the world. You can dream, and picture a better world, then work to make it happen. You don’t have to change the whole world; you can focus on one thing, take it as your mantra, and stay the course. It won’t be easy, evil will fight you every step of the way, but you won’t be alone. Others are on the same course, maybe not for the same reason, but these people will be part of your community, a community of good. From community springs hope, and that hope, along with our Constitution, will lead us to good again one fine day.

This post was brought to you courtesy of Hubs in case you were all wondering. And I fully concur with his points.

A few good white men

Lately, I’m sickened by the sight of angry, white, American men. I think it’s bullshit that they have all the power in this country, which has given them a podium to whine and bitch from about their supposed lot in life.

Here’s a visual, if I haven’t been descriptive enough for you:

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My optimistic nature, however, is getting the better of me. Fact is, there’s plenty of good white American men out there. Men who are respectable and respectful. Men who have goodness in their hearts. Men who do not hesitate to speak truth to power in their own special ways. So let’s hear it for a few of these dudes.

Al Franken

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So Al and I go way back. To 2010, specifically. Hubs and I attended an event with another couple in support of a new candidate for U.S. House of Representatives in Winona, Mn. We lived in Wisconsin at the time, but as admirers of Al’s work in congress not to mention SNL, we were there to see him, not the candidate, Tim Walz. So after Al gave a short speech and the four of us had wandered into the reception hall, I got a chance to meet Al in person. We had just read his book “Lies and the Lying Liars that Tell Them”,  which we got him to sign later that evening.  I was making a bee line for the cookie tray because free cookies, duh, when I realized I was face to face with Al. I couldn’t not say anything. But I couldn’t think of anything actually intelligent to say. So I stuck my hand out and said “Hi Al” with a stupid grin on my face. Then I proceeded to tell him I lived in Wisconsin so I wouldn’t be voting in Minnesota. But I added that I did indeed hail from Minnesota. I’m sure he was super impressed. Hubs and I have been listening to his latest audio book “Giant of the Senate”. Best quote so far in this book (we are on Chapter 3) : “Just because you are right doesn’t mean you have the right to be a jerk”.

Anyway, I remain a fan of Al’s to this day. I sincerely hope he stays in politics. We need more guys like him there.

Weird Al Yankovic

He’s the guy that made being weird cool, don’t you think? And he does a great job of satirizing American politics. Political satire is an important tool  coping mechanism these days, dontcha think?

Al Gore

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My favorite champion of the environment. Instead of enjoying a quiet retirement after leaving his job as VP in the White House, he chose to take up the most important cause of all: educating the public about climate change: what it means and how we can fix it.

Here’s to three great Al’s, courtesy of one of my very favorite Paul’s:

 

 

4 Points from a discontented Polly

I have so much to say. About so many things. Things that are important to me as a woman. Things that are important to me as an American. Things that are important to me as a thinking, feeling, hopeful, yet still discontented human on planet Earth.

My discontentment stems from a multitude of bad news. From our so called President, who according to me anyway,  only truly cares about the almighty dollar, to biblical level weather disasters like we are currently seeing the catastrophic, human effects of, to the news of people dying at far too young ages from cancer, as my Aunt Connie (the personification of the term social butterfly), who we lost this week at the age of 64.

I believe very strongly at this moment in time it behooves me, as it should behoove us all, to get real about what changes are needed to begin the uphill climb to a better reality for all of humankind.

It’s time for Polly to climb up on her soapbox. 

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Here I go!

Here are a few things that I believe in my heart and mind need to happen to give every one of us a brighter and healthier future:

We need to push for positive political change. Most importantly, I believe we need to change the electoral college system. We need our government to better represent all Americans.  And we need to greatly improve our voting system so it’s easier to vote and harder for our system to be attacked by foreign entities. And we need to do all we can to increase the number of Americans that vote. Maybe that’s through employers allowing people time off to get to the ballot boxes. Or increasing the numbers of locations where people can vote. But certainly it will involve having multitudes of volunteers in every state getting people registered to vote. I’m down for that, how about you?

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Climate change-it’s real. The vast majority of scientists are in agreement with this.  We have the responsibility for our children’s and grandchildren’s futures to address it head on, by investing in alternative energies,  such as solar and wind power. Coal is not the way to go. It’s the past, not the future. It seems to me that our government and private companies ought to be putting their heads together and collaborating on a plan to train workers in the field of alternative energies. To me, it’s a no-brainer.

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It simultaneously breaks my heart and angers me every time I hear a story of someone who has gone bankrupt because of medical bills. This simply should not be happening. Not in America, or any other country for that matter. “Go fund me pages” should not be the answer when someone has the misfortune of becoming sick. I for one am more than happy to pay higher taxes if it means cancer patients and their families, for example, can focus their energies, mentally and physically, on treatment instead of having to worry about losing their life savings and/or their homes. Along with my endorsement of “health care for all” (a single payer system), which seems to work pretty darn well in other countries, I think more of our tax revenue should be spent on medical research to actually cure diseases like Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s (just to name a few). If America’s great scientific minds can figure out how to send a man to the moon, cure polio, and build artificial hearts, there is no reason to believe we can’t also find cures for devastatingly debilitating and deadly diseases such as these. I believe if the proper amount of funding was available for medical research, we could eradicate them all.

I firmly believe that more federal funding needs to be allocated for mental health services. There’s just been so much trauma inflicted on so many people due to war, natural disasters, violence due to terrorism and hate/ignorance in my lifetime. I think we as a country have dropped the ball on this. I can’t imagine there hasn’t been a huge increase in cases of PTSD, drug/alcohol addiction, anxiety and depression in the past several years due to all the social and political turmoil in our world, not to mention our engagement in wars that seem to have no end in sight. There’s a shortage of mental health professionals and that needs to end. Not only that, but the costs of mental health treatment I believe keep it out of reach for many. We need to have an abundance of trained, compassionate, professional mental health practitioners ready to meet this challenge. Perhaps the government and private entities can work together to create incentives for folks to pursue careers in the field of mental health? That would certainly be a good start in my opinion.

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There are certainly many more issues I believe we as Americans need to pay attention to and push our government officials to comprehend and find money to compassionately address. I could go on for days.

 

 

 

Blessings for Bobby

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I would like to present to you the reasons for good lord that we as Americans need to offer blessings for Bobby Mueller.

I do realize his name is Robert. However, I recently saw Tim Weiner (pronounced “whiner” not “wheener” like this dude below) on Rachel Maddow’s show refer to Mr. Mueller as Bobby, so I’m going with that. It seems more relatable to me to refer to this potential American hero using this likeable nickname.

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Mr. Weiner is a former New York Times reporter, author, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. I think it’s fair to go with the assumption he knows Bobby on a personal level.

I write this post as a relatively well informed (politically) American, whose faith, often informed by my chosen religious denomination of the United Church of Christ, can’t help itself from co-mingling with my politics. Yes, my faith and my politics are colliding.

Not like the way a baseball bat collides with that dumb pinata from your kids birthday party that simply will not break open and supply you with all the sugar needed to line the pockets of your neighborhood dentist for eons. More like this:

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I am not telling you to pray to God. Or Yahweh, El, Allah, Dude, or any of the other monikers your religion dictates they be called.  But if any of those are your jam, by all means go for it.

I am by no means even directing you to pray. I believe atheists are good people too.

I am encouraging you to send this man positive energy, as you personally see fit. It might be in the form of meditating on a positive message for him along Boulder Creek on a cloudless August morn. It might be in the form of baking cookies that you deliver to him in person (I am going to be in D.C. soon). It might be making a giant, lit up, lawn sign that says “Find the Truth Bobby”. Whatever floats your boat.

My point is, this man needs all the good juju we can collectively send his way.

Fact is, he’s got a long, hard road ahead of him in his search for the truth. And regardless of where your political alliances reside, all of us as Americans will benefit from the full truth being brought to life.

So here’s my go at a prayer for Bobby:

Dear Infinite Spirit,

Are you there,  Creator? It’s me, Real Rhonda. No, this is not going to be me lamenting about my impending menopause.  As you are aware, I am fully ensconced in AARP land here in Colorado with my Hubs. And I believe in you.

As you undoubtedly are aware, the United States is in turmoil. The man narcissistic bully con-man serving as POTUS has turned everything upside down. He has recklessly pitted Americans against each other with his non-inclusive rhetoric and agenda. He appears hell-bent on taking this great country of ours down in flames. Most importantly, it appears he, along with his cadre of reprehensibles, have not only worked in cahoots with the Russian government to obtain the power they now enjoy, they are also likely benefitting financially from their evil endeavors.

Bobby Mueller needs your guidance, your strength, and your grace.

Please provide him these tools so that America can survive this assault on our democracy and begin to thrive again.

Please be present for him as he hires staff to help him with this investigation.

Please be present for him as he prepares the questions to be asked of those he subpoenas.

Please provide him with the physical, mental, and spiritual energy he will need for however long it takes for him to find the whole truth and present it to the American people.

Please provide him with the fortitude to successfully prosecute all of the individuals who are found to have broken the law.

Please, God, bless America.

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Can I get an amen?

Political Ponderings

I have, much to my dismay, become a political news junkie. Gone are the days when I gorged myself on televised eye candy like The Voice and Dancing with the Stars. This is largely thanks to the man in the White House and the slithering cadre of reprehensible characters in his administration. So for a change of pace today, I’m going to share some random thoughts, questions, and opinions I have regarding the political shit show on our nightly television screens here in 2017 America.

  1. Poor Sean Spicer. I know, crazy statement right? But hear me out: what must it be like to be him right now? He most certainly has the Worst. Boss. Ever. He has to interact with this horrible excuse of a human being on a daily basis. In person. And he has a woman (Melissa McCarthy, who to me is pure comic genius playing Spicey) mimicking him on national t.v. weekly. It would suck to be him right now, am I right?
  2. The first thought that came into my head prior to Trump’s decision to approve the  military strike in Syria following the chemical weapon attack which took multiple lives, was “why don’t we send humanitarian aid instead”? I think that is likely what Obama would have done. And I would hope any president would have done in the same circumstances.
  3. Why on earth didn’t Trump focus on gaining support for an infrastructure bill instead of putting all that focus on repealing (and kinda sorta trying a little to replace) the ACA? I realize the obvious answer to this question is two fold: He is a complete moron and clearly not a politician.
  4. Speaking of Trump not being a politician, I am of the opinion that the word “politician” has a bad rap. I think if we actually had a politician (of course, not just any old politician) in the White House, things would be better. A politician would most surely have the smarts to actually put folks in high positions that have at least some measure of political experience and knowledge. They wouldn’t hire the likes of Betsy DeVos to be the head of Education or  Steve Bannon as White House Chief Strategist. And don’t even get me started on Kellyanne Conway. She is so totally full of shit and needs to go back to her bar stool and finish her Moscow Mule.
  5. The next few months are going to be rough. No sugar coating it. There is a history of revolutionary type shit hitting the fan during the dog days of summer. Check Wikipedia on this, trust me. The American people are pissed, and rightly so. Our health care, economic statuses, air and water quality, rights to fair representation, and so on are all being threatened because of who is in charge at the White House. All the tensions are going to bubble to the surface as the temperatures rise. Seems like a perfect storm to me.
  6. The “super heroes” of this time in history from my perspective are the following (in no particular order): political satirists (think SNL, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Seth Meyers), journalists (truth tellers like Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow), politicians (brave ones like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Chuck Schumer), and courageous, normal, everyday Americans who are speaking truth to power by posting videos from interactions with their district’s representatives and senators at town hall meetings and sharing their personal stories of the negative impacts the decisions of this cold hearted, incompetent administration has on their lives and futures. I also believe the FBI as well as the ACLU have the ability to use their super powers to meticulously investigate what is really going on behind the scenes at the White House, from the Trump/Russia fiasco to Trump’s financial entanglements that may have and/or could compromise his ability to make fair decisions for the American people.

Okay, so Polly got political today. And she has no regrets.