Monday, August 14, 2017

The Rally In The Valley With The Clue That Is True

Kander and Ebb - CABERET

The sun on the meadow is summery warm

The stag in the forest runs free

But gathered together to greet the storm 
Tomorrow belongs to me

The branch on the linden is leafy and green
The Rhine gives its gold to the sea
But somewhere a glory awaits unseen
Tomorrow belongs to me

Samuel Corum/Getty Images
The babe in his cradle is closing his eyes
The blossom embraces the bee
But soon says the whisper, arise, arise
Tomorrow belongs to me
Tomorrow belongs to me

Now Fatherland, Fatherland, show us the sign
Your children have waited to see
The morning will come 
When the world is mine

Tomorrow belongs...
Tomorrow belongs...

Tomorrow belongs to me

Not sure? Watch the whole thing:

After this past weekend, I cannot get this song out of my head. It's replaying like a theme song from a monster movie. Oh, the lyrics sound harmless, innocent enough, but so did the language of burgeoning Nazi Germany. Yes, this is from a musical written well after the war. Still, it captures the essence of the beginning. 

Here's a series worth reading, from the Museum of Family History
[Copied, quirks and all, from the website]

From Ilse Gerngrofs of Leipzig, Germany
A series of letters written in
June and December 1933, July 1934 and May1936
to Bessie Faine, Stratford, New Zealand.
From a letter dated Leipzig, Dau 28 Dazamber 33:
Now I will answer you last questions. You want to hear of the political events in Germany. 
Adolf Hitler is the Chancellor of the Reich and the leader of National-Socialism. He has been nominated to the place of Chancellor by Reichsprasident v. Hindenburg … He is supported by the confidence and love of the whole German people. He never abused his power to persecute communists, democrats or Jews. I think, finally the other countries will understand it and will not publish such lies as: The Jews are crucified in Germany …. And those who have gone abroad and say they must fly, if they wouldn't be killed in Germany; those are, as our Chancellor said, thieves and ?trundlers, who knew that they did better to fly away before justice reached them. 
We have not very much Jews in Germany, only 2%. But they ruled over all. They had the banks, they were judges, they owned and did the theatres, the newspapers, no important place in Germany, where you didn't find Jews. Dear Bessie, if you understand, what a great difference is between German and a Jew, you can understand too, that we could not bear this Jews-regime any longer. The average Jew is in his feelings and in his estimation of everything a contrast to the average German. And a mixing of Jew and German is very dangerous therefore, because the children of them are heirs of both the qualities.
No Jew is hindered to remain in Germany, to have his business etc. here; but Jews are drawn back to the part in every position; which corresponds to their number in population. I think, that is a sound defence of a people against " Ubenfreunding", that's: been overflowed by a foreign people and drawn back from places where no foreigners settle. ... not in the meaning of persecution. It's only a spiritual defence, which has visible consequences, of course. [Some numbers: in Berlin in a hospital there were 60% [procent] Jewish medicins, in Berlin there were 75 or 80% Jewish solicitors, 40% of all Berlin medicines were Jews, but only 9.3% of all German inhabitants are Jews! ] You see that's no proportion. 
I really liked how Ilse signed her last letter, the one dated May 5th, 1936:
With best wishes and a friendly Heil Hitler, I am yours Ilse.
The really funny part? Ilse did not know her "Dear Bessie" was a Jew. 

Okay, not that funny.

The all-inclusive hate fest, Unite the Right,  that was held in Charlottesville left no one out. Blacks, immigrants, members of the LGBT community, Muslims, and Jews were all called out by the protesters...and I supposed it's twisted badge-of-honor that Jews took center stage on the posters. Armed with tiki-torches poles, posters, and weapons, these marchers made sure everyone who wasn't their kinda white was in their crosshairs. Oddly, the Daily Stormer, in their list of what not to bring to Charlottesville, included guns, knives, and anything else that could be considered a weapon. (The link to The Daily Stormer's article, Charlottesville: Why You Must Attend and What to Bring and Not to Bring, has been taken down...but not before I read it this morning.) That notice had little impact with the marchers.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

You see, there were militias marching in Charlottesville. Not the National Guard or a state militia, but private armies, armed to the teeth with automatic weaponry. These guys are marching down the middle of the street and all I can think of is that it only takes one nervous guy discharging a weapon in the crowd.......

But instead of a weapon, a guy drove his car into a crowd in a crosswalk. 

The overall impact of Charlottesville has yet to be calculated. There were rallies held all over this country on Sunday to protest the events in Charlottesville. People gathered, not knowing quite what to do other than to stand shoulder-to-shoulder as a sign We, the People are stronger than hate.

I was at the rally in Apple Valley. There was a decent number gathered to light candles and talk about what happened and how we alter the trajectory. It was not a political event, but a few politicians were in attendance. Not, of course, our invisible Congressclown Jason Lewis who routinely hides from his constituents, but no one was talking politics. We were talking about fears and the new reality. Since the inhabitor of the Oval Putting Green could not be bothered to name the organizers of the event in his "condemnation" of their action, the overall sense was that We, the People, do so in his absence. His own party's condemnation of his condemnation was welcomed by all Americans as recognition that something major had happened and this president had, by his silence, been complicit in this approval, not disapproval of action at Charlottesville.

Some pundit said the great orange troll's refusal to call out the Alt.Right specifically was a dog whistle to those people that this is really okay. David Duke, that man-about-Klan, was real specific about White House. Before the UNITE THE RIGHT event, Duke stated,

This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back, we're going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump, and that's what we believed in, that's why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he's going to take our country back and that's what we gotta do,"
After the lukewarm condemnation of "all sides" by the guy on the green, Duke tweeted,
 Make no mistake about Duke's message. However in or out of favor he is with Alt.Right,  the former head of the KKK makes very clear the expectations of that cadre. 

If you're still sitting around thinking this won't go anywhere and nothing will happen, fine. But that's what Germans did in 1932. 1933. 1934. Until it was too late.

Not everyone agrees with that particular position. 
At the Rally in the Valley with the clue that is true.  (photo - the WP)

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
You are not powerless if you are not silent. 
If not now, when?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Life As I Knew It

Thirty-six years-and-one-night ago, I was at my desk at the theater where I was the artistic director, signing off on contracts for the coming season. We had just had the annual meeting, and I had spent a good part of the day and night running around like a headless chicken. There were no desktop computers to speak of in those days. I operated with an electric typewriter and a Xerox machine; I had a secretary whom I shared with other department heads, and she did remarkable things like take dictation, type stuff up, and keep me on track when stuff was due. Having worked as my dad's fill-in secretary for several summers, I appreciated what she did and marveled at how she did it. 

Back to almost midnight.

I was tired and cranky and wanted to go home. I looked at the stack of contracts and knew they would be there in the morning when I came back for the staff meeting/port mortem at 9:30. I did the one thing I swore I would never do: I left a messy desk. 

An hour later, I was tiptoeing into our flat...but that was pointless; Ziggy was up reading. We talked, I shucked my smelly clothes in favor of a clean, giant t-shirt and went to wash up. At the very moment I strolled casually into the bathroom, my life changed forever and ever and ever.

My water broke.
Tough day at Brit Milah

Within hours, someone handed me the break-dancing baby we'd been calling Fred for those past 9 months. We immediately changed his name to Moshe Lev for my grandfather and Ziggy's grandfather. Life as we knew it had ended. 

Fast forward thirty-six years. 

I'm not going to talk about all the things I learned from being a mother. That's prosaic and, quite frankly, boring. Instead, let's talk about the world then and the world now.

In 1981, Ronald Reagan was president. The Iran hostage crisis was still going on. Reagan was not representative of the things we believed in, but he was president and he seemed to surround himself with competent advisors. Or not. We sorta stood by and watched with amazement as people bought into voodoo economics. My dad loved Ronny Raygun, but even he couldn't quite grasp how Reaganomics could possibly work. 

It didn't. 

On the face of it, things looked pretty good.  But underneath was a vastly different story. The national debt went from  $997 billion to $2.85 trillion, turning the US from the largest creditor nation into the largest debtor nation. The federal deficit went from 3.8% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in fiscal year 1982 to a peak of 5.9% of GDP in 1983. It would eventually fall, but it would not truly come down until Bush 41 took office. Federal spending was 21.6% of the GDP up from 20.3% while income tax revenue fell from 9.1% GDP in 1981 to 7.5% GDP in 1984. In other words, the numbers show us why the national debt ballooned. 
Job growth by U.S. President, measured as cumulative percentage change from 
month after inauguration to end of term. (chart by Farcaster)

Clinton did a better job with the economy, and then we got to watch Bush 43 bungle the economy into a huge hole. In the graph, you can see job growth by president. Clearly, some did better than others. This is not a surprise, this is not an indictment, this is math. Okay?

Now that I've set that up I want to talk about what we thought when the Senior Son was born. We thought the economy would ebb and flow. We thought that with Ziggy's work in super-computing, he would always have job security. We believed that we would do better than our parents, and we would give our kid a good foundation for being a responsible and ethical adult. 

As life goes by, so do governments. We began to see a shift toward untenable semantics under Clinton. This was a new kind of prevarication, a lie that wasn't quite a lie but really was a a blow-job the same as having sex? I'm not answering that question, but the peccadilloes of powerful men were suddenly front page news. Used to be people had affairs and it rarely made it into the news. Case in point, randy Franklin Roosevelt. Seems he had a chain of them. JFK? I'm not sure I even want to know. And here's the thing....I don't care. What I did care about was that it became a distraction and a ruse. It diverted attention from the business of government. It became personal. And it was mean. 

Personal and mean. That was a warning shot we all missed. From the moment they started running after Princess Diana, the cult of the paparazzi was taking control of the media. We stopped seeing news and started seeing personal crap that wasn't any of our business unless it was screwing up the government. Monica Lewinsky was not trying to run the government from under Bill's desk. Did anyone really give a damn if Hillary didn't bake cookies? Politics would be changed forever by the shrinking news cycle. The more connected we became, the higher the demand for instant, prurient gratification. 

By the time we lived through Bush 43, we were wondering what was happening to this country. Ziggy and I began to think about where we wanted to end up and would the kids want to come along. They were close to being adults; they would make decisions on their own. Still....Ziggy saw the beginning of the assault on the Constitution taking root under this barrage of questionable information, and worried about being the only one who saw it. He was not. He was very much alive for Barack Obama's first campaign, and he got to see this degradation in action. We were both disgusted by what we saw coming from the right wing. Hatred of the other filled the airwaves. Here we had the chance to have an educated, erudite guy lead our country after your basic confederacy of dunces, and instead of being relieved, we were terrified. The anti-Muslim rhetoric, the neo-racisim, the garbage out of the mouths of Bachmann and Palin even after the election was over. The attacks were just plain racist. There was no other way to describe it. The birth business was demoralizing; and it was evil. Somehow, we managed to elect President Obama, and for a moment we hoped the hate would stop.

Then Ziggy was dying and I stopped caring. 

For 8 years I watched our country devolve from a place that welcomed the tired, the poor, those yearning to breathe free to something closed-off and closed-minded. 

Then the electioneering for 2016 started. Instead of civil discourse about policy domestic and international trade, we were treated to name calling, tales of pussy-grabbing, smoke and mirrors on emails and tax returns, and lie after lie about stupid things like crowd size. Really? 

Sometimes, I try to imagine what Ziggy would say about this past election and the toddler-in-chief. Instead of a ticket to Tel-Aviv, I would be pricing tickets to New Zealand while he'd be checking on who he was going to work for once we got there. 

And I think about the newly-married Senior Son, the Junior son and his family, and I wonder: what world are we handing to Little Miss and any other grandkiddies that happen along? The world we once believed to be full of hope and promise seems to be folding in on itself. Will the air be breathable and the water potable? Will we have been tossed out because we are not Christian? I listen to the rhetoric and I cannot help but wonder.

Please to be understanding I'm not talking about Democrats and Republicans. I am talking about We, the People and our national character. What does it say about us when even one of us tosses a bomb through a window of a building where people are praying and the White House remains silent? What message are we sending the world when our president gloats to the Wall Street Journal in an interview how the national leader of they Boy Scouts called to tell him his was the greatest speech he ever heard:
TRUMP: ... from the time I walked out on the stage — because I know. And by the way, I’d be the first to admit mixed. I’m a guy that will tell you mixed. There was no mix there. That was a standing ovation from the time I walked out to the time I left, and for five minutes after I had already gone. There was no mix.

WSJ: Yeah, there was a lot of supporters in the arena.

TRUMP: And I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful. So there was — there was no mix. 
Only there was no call. In fact, there was an apology from the Boy Scouts' chief executive, Mike Surbaugh, for the political rhetoric injected into the Jamboree. You can read it FROM THE CHIEF: OUR PERSPECTIVE ON THE PRESIDENTIAL VISIT.

That happens to speak directly to my concerns. What are we telling our kids? To earn lots of money and do stuff on a yacht that is unsuitable conversation for Boy Scouts? Or are we telling them close the doors, lower the shades, and hide the welcome mats because a boogeyman is out there? 

That's not what I want to tell my grown-up kids.

I want to tell my boys...and their wives....and Little Miss....that character counts. That We, the People have a national character that sure ain't perfect, but it wasn't supposed to breed hatred. We are supposed to grow and move forward on those things. We're supposed to understand We, the People, were strangers in this land and we treated it horribly. We are supposed to have learned from that. We are supposed to welcome those tired and poor yearning to breathe free because that's who we once were. At the same time, we have to respect and make amends to the peoples whose lands we took and whose lives we destroyed with slavery and racial hatred. It's all hard work but it can and must be done. 

Yes, we have made progress, but we are in danger of undoing it all. Preaching hatred of the other from the halls of our government destroys who we strive to be. If we lose that theoretical foundation of who we are, what are we?  If we don't stand up for ethics now, how do we explain NOT standing up to the next generation? Will we be doing the German National Apology dance because we allowed another Holocaust to happen?

What world are we leaving our kids, our grandkids, our great-grandkids?

If you don't have an answer, you need to find one in your head and in your heart. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Hillel says: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? 
But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?" 
                                                Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14

Monday, July 31, 2017

Fast, Faster, Fasting With a Side of Razzle-Dazzle

7 years ago tonight....on the Jewish calendar, I wrote the first episode of The WP Speaks. Right now, right at this moment, when the sun it just setting and people are gathering to usher in the most solemn and sad day, I am not there. I am facing west, can just about see the shul from my study window, but I am not going over. I will read Eicha, the Book of Lamentations by myself tonight, but I will hear it tomorrow morning at minyan because I do still go. If my presence helps to ensure someone else will be able to say kaddish, blah, blah doesn't matter. I do it as much for me because that little, daily island of time helps to center me and frame my day. 

None of it does squat to relieve my concerns regarding Jerusalem, and, by extension, Israel. I am more conflicted than ever, and I see no easy path to resolve my own conflict, let alone the one raging there. So I will go to Israel in the fall. I did the tourist thing a long time ago; this time, I'm going to do the hanging out thing. I'll be visiting a dear friend and her family, drinking a lot of coffee, and, G-d willing, walking on a beach. The whole point is to just be there. To breathe the air, smell the sea, savor some halvah. Oh. And eat falafel. 

Just so you all know...Midweek, I had a meeting with Angie Craig, the recipient of that open letter from two weeks ago. It was a blunt and productive meeting. And I would like to see her in Congress. Now, We, the People of MN2, need to work on getting her to Washington. 

Right now, however, the news of the day is sucking the air outta my lungs. Between the Scout Jamboree and Reince Priebus getting canned, I was having trouble not throwing up in my mouth. But then, Mooch comes along and suddenly we're in a whole new alternative universe. Then Mooch's wife leaves him and gives birth to his son....and then Mooch is canned by the new Chief of Staff, General Kelly.

Now, I understand we're supposed to think the installation of a growed-up in the White House is supposed to be calming. Sorta, kinda...mebbe not at all. In more than one location, the number of generals now in place in the White House is troubling. More than one non-conspiracy theorist has pointed out this is how coups are arranged. And then there's that blip about some right wing political action group trying to set forth a constitutional amendment that would give governors/state legislatures the right to appoint senators, in place of electing them. Really. 

And now, General Kelly kicks Mooch's butt right back into the swamp from whence he came. 

And if you believe this is your run o'the mill tohu v'vohu chaos, guess again. This couldn't be better choreographed if it had been done on Broadway...and golly gee! It already was! Dare I post this yet again? Absolutely! It's life imitating art!

Nothing beats Charles Durning doin' the Sidestep. Frickin' brilliant.

But that's what happened. While Mooch was blowing his own whatever, we were diverted momentarily from the real show....and it went on without much fanfare. Thank G-d for the Brits. They didn't fall for it. Nope. They caught it and got the word out while We, the People were acting like headless chickens. 

Bill Browder, a well-wired financier, was testifying before the Judiciary Committee about
Bill Browder in Moscow
the Foreign Agents Registration Act enforcement; in other wordshow Russian operatives actually work. This is his area of expertise. If you have not yet read his remarks, The Atlantic has published them in full. It is long, difficult to read, but crucial if you want to understand why the White House is doing everything possible to stop this investigation. Once you understand, at least a little bit, about the milieu in which these guys are moving, you will develop a deeper appreciation of the difficulty the various committees are facing. What they don't need is a little Sidestep from the White House. And neither do We, the People.

Do I think there is a coup in the offing? Well, it's like this: maybe.

This is not scientific; this is purely subjective but it comes from a whole lotta training as a director, so hear me out.

Waiting for Godot
at theMark Taper Forum.
Photo by Craig Schwartz.
There is a great deal of stagecraft in politics. Since Nixon debated Kennedy on TV, we are a visual nation. We vote no according to what we hear or know, we vote according to what we see. Perception is EVERYTHING. And it's not just the people, it's the setting.

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, my professor, a guy named Wesley Balk, drilled it into my head that less is more. The less complicated something is, the more riveting. If you want an audience to concentrate on what's happened on the stage ONLY, the best set you can have is nothing with a single light on a pole and maybe a chair or two. The eyes of the audience will never wander, never leave whatever is happening under that single light. But if you want to fool your audience, give 'em the ol' razzle-dazzle, and they'll never catch on. 

And the production crew at the White House is using this to the max. 

While the toddler-in-chief doing the shitter-twitter thing, no one is paying attention to what's going on outside the bathroom. It's much easier to pay attention to the crazies than it is to watch a chess match. And that is exactly what this is.

Through the use of misdirection and misinformation, no one was paying much attention to the maneuvering of the chess pieces around the board. There's a method to the madness, although I'm not convinced we all know what it is. Putting amateurs into place, then firing them one by one, only to replace them with people with evermore bizarre credentials is not chaos; this is well thought and purposefully executed. I am convinced Scaramucci knew he was only temporary and would be, in effect, some kind of sacrifice. He runs on stage, bloviates all over the place, then disappears....but while he's on stage, no one notices the stage hands moving props and set pieces in and out. Moving General Kelly to Chief-of-Staff was not arbitrary nor sudden; it was well planned just as the timing of the tweet of the announcement regarding transgender status in the military was a not a whim at all, but intentionally done with General Mattis was on vacation. 

Moscow throwing out half of the US diplomatic corp is a show. This is orchestrated between oh, Bannon, maybe, and his counterpart at the Kremlin. This is designed to make it look like Putin is displeased. Bull-oney. Stagecraft.

North Korea's expedited testing of new ICBMs, however,  is literally a warning shot. This is where the real danger lies. However, if they launch one and it hits ...oh, Chicago... well, there's your excuse for a hot war. How convenient that is!

The changes are not magic. They are calculated and designed to move their end game forward. There are lots of ifs in the strategy, but every one of them is a well calculated risk with redundancy. I believe that the primary end goal is to call a Constitutional Convention to replace what we have now. I believe there will be an attempt made to end the system of checks and balances. I believe there is a two-pronged attack being formed, the first inside the executive wing, the second in the Justice Department and Supreme Court. 

Right now, there is so much happening on the stage it's impossible to sort it, much less separate the parts. But we must do exactly that. 

If you are unwilling to allow a coup d'etat to be attempted, now is the time to begin watching who does what to whom. Get them all center stage. Light the single light. Keep 'em all where you can see 'em

Knowledge is light...and light is the enemy of this White House. Keep those lights turned toward Washington. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
August 1st is the day of Tisha B'Av.
Fast, don't fast. Think about how you want the world to be...
and how you're going to make it happen. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Blood Everywhere

Two tragedies, a few days apart, with very different levels of outrage and very different reactions happened last week. One happened here in the US, the other in the Middle East.

A woman who had called the police to report what sounded like a rape was shot by a police officer.

A family sitting around a dinner table was attacked by a knife wielding terrorist who killed three in the dining room while a woman shielded her young children in another room and was overlooked. 

There was outrage and anger on two continents for Justine Damond, a woman in her pajamas trying to do her civic duty. There was little outrage on two continents for this family who had gathered to celebrate the birth of a grandchild.

Is Justin Damond's death any less tragic because she is white? Does being Israeli Jews diminish in any way the horror of the attack on them? 

From the UK Daily Mail

There was a rather harsh discussion about a story in the UK Guardianshared on Facebook, about how Ms Damond saved some stranded ducklings. Photojournalist Angela Jimenez happened to live at the site of the rescue and caught it on camera. But it wasn't until after Ms. Damond was killed that Jimenez realized that Damond was the "duck lady." 

Yet, one commenter saw fit to write: 
Person 1: Philandos death was more tragic. but the media and the dominant society demonized him.
this article is BS.

Person 2: I read many articles that did not demonize him. And I don't know if it is fair for us to say one person's death was more tragic than another's.

Person 1: i dont think its fair for the media and people like you who want to justify this nonsense article.
police brutality has been happing to POC for far too long and now a bunch of white people care cause its a white woman wgo [sic] saved ducks.... WTF.
Ima [sic] done here.
One line really smacked me right across the face: 
Philandos death was more tragic.   
How can one unnecessary death at the hands of police be more tragic than other? 

The Salomon's kitchen (photo credit: IDF)
On the other side of the world, the Salomon family and their friends were celebrating the birth of a new grandson when there was a knock at the door. They opened the door to welcome the newcomer, but instead of a guest, Omar al-Abed, a 19 year old from a neighboring village, came in slashing. Before he was done, Yosef Salomon was dead, his son Elad and daughter Chaya were dead, his wife, Tovah, was gravely injured. Elad's wife was able to get the children into a back bedroom and call the police. 

Where is the outrage? Hamas called him a hero. UN Secretary General António Guterres issues a statement condemning the terrorist attacks, but no one seems to pick it up. 
The Secretary-General strongly condemns this evening’s stabbing attack by a Palestinian perpetrator, which resulted in the death of three members of an Israeli family in the Halamish settlement in the occupied West Bank. 
He conveys his condolences to the bereaved and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.
The Secretary-General again calls on all to refrain from any actions or words that could further escalate an already volatile situation.
Same guy, regarding the violence in Jerusalem, was on every front page:
The Secretary-General deeply deplores the death of three Palestinians in clashes today with the Israeli security forces and calls for these incidents to be fully investigated. His thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.
The Secretary-General is concerned by the unfolding violence in the Old City of Jerusalem. He urges Israeli and Palestinian leaders to refrain from actions that could further escalate the situation and calls on all political, religious and community leaders to help reduce tension.
The Secretary-General reiterates that the sanctity of religious sites should be respected as places for reflection, not violence.
Is "victim" the right word here? If you are part of clashes instigated against the police, are you a victim? Or, are you collateral damage? And why would you be protesting metal detectors? Wouldn't you welcome a safety measure to protect you from crazy people? I don't know. Muslim holy sites all over the world have metal detectors at the entrances. I would think if you're not bringing contraband up the road, you wouldn't care if there were metal detectors. On the other hand...

That said, if, after publishing a hate manifesto on Facebook, a knife wielding maniac climbed over the back fence in London or Paris or Chicago and murdered three members of a family, there would be non-stop coverage. If a terrorist was throwing rocks at the British Police or the Gendarmes of Paris, swift police action would be praised.  Where is the outrage for the civilians gathered at the Kotel plaza or the Salomon family?

Life is not fair, and news is not exactly an exercise in equitable reporting. 

Color does matter. Ethnicity does matter. Religion does matter. We may not want to admit it or believe it or accept it as reality, but it does matter. We see that again and again.

We cannot divorce Philando Castile from his role as beloved caregiver and provider for children. That's who he was and how he will be forever remembered no matter what eyewitless news wants to say about him. Justine Damond may be remember by her friends for saving the ducklings, but the rest of the world will remember her as the woman in pajamas who was shot by a cop while doing her civic duty. The Salomon family, however, will sink into relative obscurity because a terrorist attack on an Israeli family is not readily recognized as an act of terror. It's just more dead Jews. 

We cannot pretend we don't see color/ethnicity/religion in our daily dealings. We do and we make judgments accordingly. We are prejudiced by our own life experience. We view life and events through whatever prism we were handed early in our childhood. Going from one extreme to another is not helpful. This is not some sort of Muppet newsflash, folks, it's reality.

In the end, we choose our battles. Same here. 

If you are outraged at the behavior of our police, color be damned; get out there and get your voice heard. 

If you are outraged by the world's silence on terror against Jews, act like a Jew. Raise your kids as Jews. Stand up and be counted as a Jew. Live your life as a Jew. Don't back down, don't hide, and don't be silent. Not here. Not in Israel. 

If you breathe, you get to have an opinion. Exercise your rights as a human. Don't settle for being a silent accessory after the fact. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Silence is not golden.
Silence breeds contempt.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Dear Angie: An Open Letter To A Congressional Candidate for MN-2

Dear Angie Craig, 

Angie Craig
I cannot say I was surprised to hear you will take another run at MN-2's congressional seat. In a perfect world, you would be an ideal candidate: you're sharp, erudite, and, dare I say it? funny. You've been a corporate executive, a leader in your field, and active in social justice. These are the attributes we want in the person who represents us in Washington. But this is not a perfect world.

In the letter you sent, you wrote the following:

As Democrats, we must understand better why we have lost these past elections. As I talk with voters, already it has become clearer that we must talk more about how we are going to bring back jobs to the United States and create economic opportunity for more hard-working Americans. We have to be clearer about how we will fix healthcare and acknowledge the problems with out of control costs for many families. I grew up without healthcare. There is no one who knows better if you can’t afford insurance, healthcare doesn’t exist.
If this is how you are planning to run, then we will have 2 more years of that buffoon, Jason Lewis. Your statement is a recipe for defeat. Let me explain why.

You lost by a narrow margin because you could not convince enough moderate Republican voters that you were the better choice. Not DFL'ers....but IR voters. This seat was a bronze statue to John Kline's butt. You did nothing to reach out to the fence-sitting voters that would bring them over to the side that would actually address their looming problems. Instead, the DFL ran you like you were the Anti-Republican and that was a total turn-off to those on-the-fence voters. 

If you are serious about winning the election, you need to form a non-partisan cadre to create non-political town-hall meetings to talk to the voters before you go on a listening tour. They need to talk about the different approaches to health care explaining BOTH the good and the bad on each side...and you know each side has both. To talk about the commercialization of the National Park System and how it impacts their lands. To talk about the EPA, FDA, and associated departments all of which have direct impacts on agriculture. Say what can work, and say what is less likely to work. Again, stress being fair, not black-or-white, liberal-or-conservative, right-or wrong. This is not a lecture; you need to learn as much from those voters as much as they need to learn what is at stake. Educate...don't indoctrinate....voters. 

And then, come into the room already knowing what they want.

You know exactly what I mean. The truth will set us all free.

The DFL has a golden opportunity to get real information out to the voters explaining what will happen next. Don't squander it with partisan poison.

Be fact based. No hyperbole. No dirt slinging, casting aspersions, denigrating, or anything that even hints of dirty tricks. Speakers can compare and contrast; present differences without politicizing. Tell the truth. I know that's a new concept for some. 

Questions must be answered in a blunt factual manner. Even if two people show up and get their questions answered, that's a victory because they will tell their families, "Hey, I went to this town meeting and this is what I found out." 

Whatever it takes to get the information out the door and into the houses.

Then you can go campaign all over the district to talk about differences in practical, fact-based terms. That's when you tell 'em what you think.
If you go after those IR people sitting on the fence in a way that does not mock, threaten, or otherwise belittle their political leanings, you will win. This is a Republican district and has been for many years, but the voters are not stupid. You need to change the mind of one voter at a time. Sling one single piece of mud, and it's over. 

Basics, Angie, the basics. Go back to the basic, bottom-line, unexciting truth. Don't whip 'em into a frenzy...that's transitory and useless. Educate the rural voters on stuff that impacts them directly: water, land, productivity, and food chain. 

Go back and rethink that web page; it's everything your potential new base will find condescending and a turn off. The cartoons/icons on the crowdpac issues page are insulting to the very people you need. 

You already have the Democratic votes in this district; it's time to go after the Republicans in a way that comforts and assures them their voices and concerns are not simply being heard, but they are being acted upon on their behalf. 

I really want you to win, Angie. Truly, I do.  But you have to want to win the minds...and hearts....of those Republican voters who are beginning to understand what Jason Lewis means to the health and well-being of the district. 

Run, Angie, run....but run with truth and honor. We, the People of MN-2 really need that right now.

Thanks for listening,
The WP

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
If your House of Representatives seat needs changing,
focus on the moderate Republicans. 
Give them an honest chance to not be embarrassed.