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PROPHET OR MYSTIC? EITHER WAY: VOTE

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It’s a fine line many of us walk these days. I’m a big believer in not “normalizing” the man-child’s behavior; nor should we ignore it, though that is one strategy a parent might employ with a child throwing tantrums and spewing lies and invectives. We may occasionally laugh at his outlandish hubris or his ignorance about our system of government. But we must not fall into the habit of seeing him as a joke, as the Germans did with Hitler. This is dangerous and we should call it dangerous, even if friends tell us we need to lighten up or “let it go.” Let decency go? Let values go? Let justice go? Let our planet go? No.

So there’s that.

At the same time, how can I be a “light in the world,” as Jesus said? How can I “sow joy where there is sadness” and “hope where there is despair,” as Saint Francis prayed? How can I deepen the roots of my faith and truly believe, as mystic Dame Julian of Norwich believed, that “All shall be well and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well?”

Then there’s Philippians 4:18: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

So there’s all that.

But what about the prophets of old who called out depravity and violence in their political and religious leaders when they saw it? Not that I fancy myself a prophet, but it doesn’t take a prophet to see how depraved the man-child is. Yesterday, he complained that his political momentum was slowed down by a massacre of Jewish people and some assassination attempts. In case you missed it: “Now, we did have two maniacs stop a momentum that was incredible. Because for seven days, nobody talked about the elections. It stopped a tremendous momentum.”

It also stopped eleven beating hearts and threatened dozens of others, but who’s counting?

Also yesterday, at a press conference designed to terrorize his voters about an “invasion” of brown-skinned people — “a lot of young men, strong men” — trump declared that he had told the military they should view any potential throwing of rocks as an attack by rifles. “Consider it a rifle, I told them.” Which means, of course, shoot the brown-skinned people.

Fortunately, there is a high likelihood he’s lying and did not actually order our soldiers to shoot desperate families seeking asylum. He’s just trying to make this sound like a crisis so his 32% will vote and he can justify using the military in a political stunt, right? Right? Because our military wouldn’t do that, right? Right?

Much as I’d like to write a funny post about the challenge of closing up my New Hampshire house for the winter, or an inspirational post about the scents and scenes of autumn, or a despairing post about the mess that is my memoir, I can’t do that today.

Today my prophet needs to speak out, and she’s yelling from the rooftops: If you don’t vote Democratic this week, a lot more people are going to die, whether by assault weapons, loss of healthcare, white supremacist murders, racist police or soldiers egged on by their Commander in Chief, or the storms, floods, and fires brought by climate change.

Think that sounds like an over-reaction? Think I should “let it go?” If you are a trump fan, no doubt you think I’m fear-mongering. Know what? I don’t care. This is no joke.

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Women on Fire

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I could spend the day watching the last flickers of decency and integrity vanish from the Congress, but I choose not to. I spent enough time doing that last week.

Now the GOP has decided their best strategy for stacking the Supreme Court with extremists is to mock victims of attempted rape and other sexual abuse and to rally their voting base by stoking more fear and anger: “Your son’s lives will be ruined by fiery feminists making up sexual abuse charges!! No male is safe!!”

I need to step away from the screen.

Instead of watching my country circling the drain, I will do the laundry, wash the dishes, and clean the bathtub. I’ll do what I can to clear away the dirt from my immediate surroundings because at this particular moment, I can do nothing about the filth that floods the Capitol and the White House.

I say “at this particular moment” because November 6th is coming. If you, like me, have been overwhelmed this week by friend’s stories of sexual attacks, or if you, like me, are a survivor yourself, the thought of election day is never far from your mind. Whether or not you generally pray, you are praying now. Praying that somehow the “angels of our better nature” can pull America out of this spiral. November 6th will tell.

Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl wrote, “What is to give light must endure burning.”

Well, ladies, we are on fire.

I pray that the intense pain, anger, and grief burning in the hearts of so many American women will not be extinguished by despair, but instead will burst into flames of tireless community activism and political engagement at every level. 

The radical misogyny of the GOP couldn’t be any more clear, beginning with the admitted sexual predator in the White House. The politicians need to hear us loud and clear. Regardless of your party affiliation, it’s time to call your nearest Democratic headquarters. Ask how you can help. Don’t sit this one out. 

Photo Credit: APA/Getty Image, circa 1920

Election Day — Please VOTE!

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I want to post today, just because we’ve been on such a long journey together this election year. I feel I should say something profound or moving or vote-changing.

You’ve heard me rant and despair and rage and think things through and then rant and despair and rage all over again. You’ve heard a bit of my political history, too much about Orange Man, and not enough about Bernie Sanders (the one with integrity). You’ve witnessed my reluctant evolution towards Hillary Clinton, my second thoughts, and my eventual tears at the voting booth last week: A woman! I voted for a woman president!!

But I got nothin’. No profundities, no pearls of wisdom, no final thoughts. I am still in a state of shock that my country is so close to electing a dangerous, impulsive, mentally unbalanced megalomaniac to oversee our nuclear weapons, not to mention the rest of the country. I suppose I’ll be musing about that for quite a time.

I hope to be celebrating tonight. I can’t entertain any other thought. I have no fear left to offer Donald Trump. I have to breathe again.

And so today I’m cleaning my house. I might listen to NPR a little later to hear some exit polls and punditry. Otherwise, I look forward to roaming from watch party to watch party tonight as the map turns blue. God willing.

Here’s my profound message for this Election Day, 2016:

PLEASE GO VOTE, NOW!

Here is a link to find your polling place

You can also find important down-ballot races and ballot initiatives in your locality here.

God bless the United States of America.

Once the flag made me proud. Later, it made me mad. Now it makes me sad.

Bernie is Still Speaking Truth: Please Listen

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I don’t generally like to get in “other people’s business,” and I don’t like other people in mine. But boundaries aren’t always clear.

The “facts” on which we base our beliefs and opinions these days can get pretty murky, what with all the “fake news,” conspiracy theories, and inexplicable disdain for experts and scientists on the part of half of America’s population. Two people look at the same issue and see not just different solutions, but different realities. And people can get mad when someone interferes with their reality.

So when are the stakes high enough for me to risk overstepping my bounds?

Now.

I’ve decided that for the next few days, I’m not going to worry about boundaries. This election is everyone’s business. Donald Trump’s poison is, unfortunately, everyone’s business. And most of all, climate change is everyone’s business.

With that said, I invite you to watch this short clip of Bernie Sanders explaining why we simply can’t sit out this election and why we should vote for Hillary Clinton. So actually, it’s Bernie getting in your business, not me. But I agree with him 100%, as usual.

I dedicate this blog to my Bernie-friends, especially those who intend to vote third party, write in, or sit out this election. Please don’t. The planet depends on you. Hillary needs to win the popular vote as well as the electoral college. Both are at risk on Tuesday. Your vote really, really counts. Bernie says.

 

On Voting

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I have always loved voting. I get all mushy and patriotic about it, and I even enjoy waiting in long lines with my neighbors. (Granted, I know I’m among friends here in this very blue county where I’d probably be considered a moderate, were there a ranking.)

So I was a little disappointed when I got to the early voting location yesterday and found no lines whatsoever. The parking lot was jammed, but there were so many volunteers helping out that we moved along as easily as lies spilling from Donald Trump’s lips.

Vote early if you can! Let's get this baby done.

Vote early if you can! Let’s get this baby done.

I paused to extend good wishes to the husband of a judicial candidate and then stopped to argue with another man who was loudly supporting a ballot initiative I oppose. And then before I knew it, I was signed in and walking with ballot in hand towards one of several dozen voting booths.

Has this been a long journey, or what? I am so glad that the end is in sight. One week from today.

I’ve invested too much emotion into this election for far too long, and it’s been almost exclusively negative emotion. Fear, anger, disgust, righteous indignation, even shock. When I’ve thought about the way history will record this election, I feel embarrassed and mortified. Approximately forty percent of Americans are set to vote for . . . well, you know what they’re voting for. I can’t bear to talk about it anymore. It’s venomous at best.

And so as I walked towards the voting booth, it caught me by complete surprise when my throat suddenly closed up and my vision was blurred by tears of joy and pride.

Oh. My. God. I am about to vote for a woman for President of the United States and she might very well win. Oh. My. God.

History in the making!

History in the making!

Please vote, friends. Do not sit this one out.

Hey! You Guys with the Microphones — Fire!

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President Obama and Mitt Romney continue to fiddle while Rome – and the rest of the planet – burns. I worked in politics long enough to understand: we mustn’t upset THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. But seriously, I think the people know.

As usual, there’s a gap between what the politicians are talking about and what the people are talking about.

Most everyone I know is talking about the weather, and not in vague some-weather-we’re-having terms. “This is the weirdest weather…this is getting spooky…what is UP with no winter?” and so on. Granted, many of my friends are environmentally inclined, but I’m not talking about them.

I’m talking about regular old neighbors in Maryland. I’m talking about my conservative friends in New Hampshire, whose roads just washed out (again), and who first can’t hay because of rain, and later lose their crops to drought. They had only one real snow last year.

I’m talking about people whose nearby forests have either been devastated by wildfires or devoured by pests that did not exist there a few decades ago.

http://blog.aarp.org/2012/08/21/the-trees-are-screaming-why-arent-we/

I’m talking about my friends who farm having to change their planting and harvest seasons.

http://thelettuceedge.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/weather-drama/

It’s happening folks, and we all know it.

A new Pew Research poll finds that 67 percent of Americans believe there’s solid evidence the Earth’s average temperature has been getting warmer over the past few decades, up 4% since last year and 10% in the past three years. Another poll by Yale and George Mason University shows that 84 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of independents and 52 percent of Republicans think global warming should be a priority.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/09/17/168510/as-climate-change-crisis-looms.html

Leadership Vacuum

So why aren’t the political candidates talking about this?

I think it’s the job of our nation’s leaders to connect the dots for the public. Hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, severe storms & power outages, spreading insect-borne exotic diseases: all exactly what the scientists predicted.

After one debate, Esquire’s political blogger noted, “…we have not had one extended conversation about the most pressing environmental catastrophe since the meteor wiped out the dinosaurs. On Tuesday night, we had two guys arguing about who’s a bigger friend to coal, about who will allow the most oil drilling on federal land, and about who will best extract the most carbon-based fuels out from under the country over the next four years.” Climate Change in 2012 Election – 2012’s Incredible Disappearing Issue: Climate Change – Esquire.

Romney thinks that turning it into a joke will play to his base. Obama, at least, managed to respond at the Democratic convention that “Climate change is not a hoax.” This remark brought the crowd to its feet.

Let’s Admit it and Move On

I suppose part of the problem is the American psyche. As a nation, we don’t like to admit to imperfection. “Oops” is not in our vocabulary.

See more thoughts on this:https://melanielynngriffin.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/what-color-is-shame/

A recent New York Times analysis concludes that it’s impossible for candidates, or presidents, to tell the truth because, “Americans demand constant reassurance that their country, their achievements and their values are extraordinary.” According to presidential historian Robert Dallek, “People in this country want the president to be a cheerleader, an optimist, the herald of better times ahead. It’s almost built into our DNA.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/21/sunday-review/candidates-and-the-truth-about-america.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Given this genetic predisposition towards exceptionalism, I doubt America will ever express official regret over our overwhelming contribution to greenhouse gases. For a long while, we didn’t know. It would be OK, if we just said “oops,” changed our behavior, and stepped into global leadership with our dignity restored.

In this regard, Obama deserves huge credit for finally, finally, raising the miles-per-gallon standards for automobiles and for investing in renewable energy technologies. Perhaps too little and too late, but it’s something.  He had to use executive authority, of course, because God forbid the Congress should act.

Why isn’t Obama on his soapbox talking about this?

It’s Called Denial. Let’s Get Over It.

Please, please, you people with the microphones — mind the gap. We know our streets are flooded; we know people in Texas are dying from West Nile; we know we have tornadoes where they’ve never been before. We see the Katrinas and the tsunamis.

Talk to us, for God’s sake!

Why didn’t the debate moderators at least ask the candidates why they’re not talking about it?

Part of leadership is talking about hard truths. Bombs and terrorists, yes, those are terrible threats. Outside threats. This is an inside job.

It’s called denial. Let’s get over it.

President Obama, maybe you don’t want to talk about this during the election because some voters, duped by corporate ad campaigns and extremist anti-science campaigns, think there’s no such thing. I get that.

Newsflash: They aren’t going to vote for you anyway.

Mr. President, I urge you, I beg you: if you win on November sixth, start talking about climate change again on November seventh. It’s your job to mind the gap.

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