Monday, November 12, 2018

Of The People, By The People, For The People

Well, by now, everyone knows the outcome. Angie Craig is our new representative in Congress. Jason Lewis blamed John McCain for the significant losses handed to the GOP...on Veterans' Day, no less. Don't get me started. 

And now, as of a few minutes ago, it looks like Krysten Sinema is the new senator from Arizona. There are still serious counting events taking place in Georgia and Florida. What most people manage to forget is that the tally on election night is only a projection; actual counting takes several days, even more if there are lots of absentee/mail-type ballots to be counted. I don't think any elections are certified on Election Day or the morning after. Hell, Al Franken's election wasn't certified until June 30th, 2009.
I can't die yet. Al hasn't been certified. I'm gonna hang on 'til then. I can't die not knowing."                                            Ziggy, June 1, 2009 (he didn't make it)


I was at Angie's gathering on Tuesday night after the polls closed. We were hoping for a victory party, but there were no guarantees. There were moments when Lewis was ahead, albeit never by very much. At the end, Angie won by a statistically significant margin. Not an overwhelming mandate, but enough to solidly trounce the Invisible Congressclown. I was relieved more than anything else. 

The one thing Angie and her campaign did that was significant to me was that they kept it simple and kept it clean. The negative ads you saw about her opponent were not coming from Angie's team....and I don't want to talk about those. I want to talk just a little about why I think Angie won. It was because she was present. The focus of this campaign, at least from my perspective, was outreach to the district. After 2 years of not one public town hall meeting, Angie and her team were in every city, every town, every village LISTENING to the constituency. In a time of tariffs and turmoil, she and her team weren't talking; they were listening. And people responded to that. BIG TIME. Over and over that night, as I talked to people from all over CD2, I heard the same thing: 
She was in our face asking us to talk. No one ever did that before.
I did not realize until days later what I had actually heard. I don't know how I missed it or how anyone else was missing it until I started to think about this week's blog and what I really wanted to write about. I was thinking about how we can take our democracy back. How we can bring to fruition the understanding that our Constitution is in jeopardy. How can we go back to being We, The People instead of this fractured, fractious mob scene calling for blood. Someone said it, I was sure, much better than I ever could. And he did. At Gettysburg:
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.                                                                                  Abraham Lincoln ~ November 19, 1863
That was not quite 155 years ago. Right now, we don't have just war dead, we have children dead, civilian dead, police dead, minority dead, immigrant dead...but they are just as dead as the Civil War dead. Nothing is going to  bring them back.

Just like nothing is going to change...at least for the foreseeable future...what is coming out of the White House. We can continue to give it column inches and let the current administration yank our chains and sow seeds of division, derision, and discontent, or we can refuse to give them the platform they desperately want. If our newly elected House of Representatives would turn inward into the chamber, toward the tasks at hand that require a unified, united front; then perhaps we have a chance of staving off a complete fall off the world stage. 

Maybe the Democrats have given the sane Republicans a golden opportunity to salvage themselves. They can concentrate on having a joint congress instead of a divided one. Use the new Democratic majority to gently move back to the center where the rhetoric is not so irate. Figure out what everyone can agree on, and learn from the shift that took place on Election Day. Let the change of House colors foster a new sense of cooperation.

End of kumbaya moment. 

And now, back to our regularly scheduled real life. 

  1. Israel and Gaza are at it again. Casualties on both sides.
  2. Forests and towns are burning in California. 
  3. Migrant children are still warehoused in "facilities."
  4. The president is calling on the state of Florida to stop counting the votes and ignore incoming military/absentee overseas ballots. 

Which one of above constitutes a Constitutional crisis?

If we really want to see change, we need to let our newly elected/re-elected congressclowns know we weren't kidding in the last go 'round. It cannot be business as usual. 


The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Remember, kiddies, the 2020 election begins now.


Monday, November 5, 2018

There Are Plenty of Words

Photo courtesy of
Sally Lorberbaum
First it was "thoughts and prayers." Now, it's "there are no words....."  

Actually, there are lots of words to describe what happened in Pittsburgh last Shabbat. So many words, that surely a million miles of shelf space is occupied with all those words. Some are ancient, some medieval, some modern, But there are a gazllions words wasted on explaining Pittsurgh and similar events when a single word works quite well: antisemitism. That's the only word you need for this heinous act. When someone shouts "All Jews must die!" while shooting up a sanctuary during Shabbat service, antisemitism is the only world that fits. And the act the word denotes has been around a long, long time. 

May 17, 1934 ~ New York City
Madison Square Garden
from the Bettman Archive
The Amalekites practiced it in the desert. The Babylonians practiced it. The Romans practiced it. The British, the Spanish, the French, the Italians, and the Germans all practiced it. And the Americans have practiced it for years in this republic. Don't think for a New York moment that it was not practiced here. Antisemites and the New Germany true believers rallied at Madison Square Garden. And they even rose for the Nazi salute in little North Bellmore, New York, where our synagogue was built over the site of a tavern that hid in its basement a treasure trove of Nazi regalia. 

Antisemitism ain't new. The difference right now is that there is a documented upsurge in the number of antisemitic  acts over the course of the last six months. And lots of words are being written about that. And now our countrymen are rising to the silent call to take up arms once more.

Did you know private militias are heading to the Mexican border to "help" the troops sent by Feckless Leader? What surprises you more....that there are private militias in this country, or that they are on their way to the border?

Our very own Feckless Leader, so well known for his masterful way with words, used these in Montana over the weekend: 
                     Barbed wire used properly can be a beautiful sight.

Like this?
Child survivors of Auschwitz in 1945 

Or this?
Otero County Prison in Chaparral, New Mexico,where immigrant 
mothers have been detained by the United States government.
Photograph by Philip Montgomery for The New Yorker


So when you go to the polls tomorrow, 
  • vote as if it's your child or your spouse behind those wires
  • vote as if you are a new immigrant
  • vote as if you are from Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh
  • vote as if you are gay
  • vote as if you are trangender
  • vote as if you are Black
  • vote as if you are Latino
  • vote as if you are a member of the free press
  • vote as if you are not afraid of huddled masses yearning to breathe free
Most importantly, vote as if the heart and the very soul of this nation depends on your vote.

BECAUSE IT DOES. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Hang it. It's almost over.