October 28, 2008

One Long Week

Maybe it's me...
but I think it's going to be a very long week.

Okay, so technically it can not be a long week. A week is, as it will always be, seven days. It just seems like the wait until next Tuesday is going to feel a lot longer. I feel a Steve Martin line coming on, but I will restrain myself.

I have been on hiatus for a bit. Anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a sports fan. Well anyone except my daughter who seems to be convinced I only watch for my husband's sake. But the truth is I love hockey and football - I enjoy the wait for Martin Brodeur to write his name on a record no one else might ever touch. I yell a little each week when the Eagles don't play as well as I think they can.

But, ah, then there is baseball. I have been a lifelong, die-hard fan of the Phillies since Mike Schmidt's rookie year. Of all sport and all sports teams - this is my passion. I will tell you that it caused me true pain to turn off the playoff games in favor of the presidential debates - but hey - we gotta keep our priorities, right? Well, that team of teams, my own Philadelphia Phillies, have made the last week both exciting and long for me. The wait until tomorrow night when we will, hopefully, resume play of the World Series, also seems horribly long. As any long-time Fightin' Phils fan will tell you, it ain't over till the fat lady sings - and we've heard that bitch sing for the other side too many times. We don't count the chicken before it's hatched but we're sitting on the golden egg. Maybe there's some lucky number magic in the '80, '08 thing - but I am still praying that God is a Phillies fan.

Tomorrow, my eyes and my heart will be completely focused on the World Series. That being said, I am taking tonight - a rain out - as a moment to return to my public venting and therapy session.

Much of this week will be filled with lies and nonsense. There will be more political ads on your television screen than you think you can bear. There will be more endorsements, some well put and some sounding as phony as those who will grant them. We've endured two years of pounding, brutal campaigning. Maybe it's me, but it seems like the campaigns get longer each time there is a presidential election. Perhaps the new president will start his re-election campaign in February and we can just start thinking of campaign ads as the new daily norm, a bit like your coffee, just a little more bitter.

This week we've heard more allegations on the conduct of Sarah Palin, a $150,000 budget for clothing loudest among them. I must admit I ask myself how in hell do you spend $20,000 on makeup? How do you charge your state $17,000 to live in your own house? If you're such a maverick, try Mayor Bloomberg's line of thought - by law alone does he accept a $1 salary. He turned the rest back to the city because, hey, he didn't need the money. Can anyone explain to hard working people who believed in McCain enough to donate their money to his campaign how that money could have been used to make Sarah Palin and her family look pretty? That kind of thinking doesn't fly very well in a time when most people can't afford a gallon of milk. It's the same bullshit that got us where we are right now.

I find it amusing that she can sum up the gumption to call for Alaska Senator Ted Stevens to resign. Amidst her own allegations or misuse of her office, misuse of campaign funds and state monies it seems like a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Palin of course took no questions, but made another sentence-less statement:

“The verdict shines a light on the corrupting influence of the big oil service company up there in Alaska that was allowed to control too much of our state. And that control was part of the culture of corruption that I was elected to fight, and that fight must always move forward regardless of party affiliation or seniority or even past service.

“As Governor of the State of Alaska, I will carefully now monitor the situation and I’ll take any appropriate action as needed. In the meantime, I ask the people of Alaska to join me in respecting the workings of our judicial system and I’m confident that Senator Stevens from this point on will do the right thing for the people of Alaska.”

Obviously, McCain and Palin are looking for a way to put the spotlight of bad behavior anywhere but on themselves.

Yep, it's going to be a long week - and as hard as it will be to filter the truth out of the muck, we will have to stay strong. Something tells me that the lies will be easier to spot, but the truth is worth searching for every time.

There is one moment in time I do expect to enjoy this week (besides a pennant - I hope and pray) and that is tomorrow night on The Daily Show. Barack Obama is the guest and I know Jon Stewart will make it interesting. Yea, I know Obama is going after the youth vote. That goes without saying - but the fact is he doesn't really have to try hard. Recent polls show him far ahead of McCain in that category. What also goes without saying is that we shouldn't be surprised. The kids are a little more open-minded and what we do now is their burden to bear.

They want change and they are willing to fight for it. The youth in our country is expected to turn out in record numbers. Recently, I heard a great news report on ABC 6 out of Philadelphia stating that a group of students at Penn State had started a movement on campus. They gave up their voter registration in their home states and registered to vote in Pennsylvania. They are urging others to do the same - the idea being that there vote just might mean a lot more in a state (or Commonwealth, as the fact may be) that McCain hopes to upset in. Rest assured that what they are doing is perfectly legal - and absolutely ingenious.

What will remain on my mind over the next seven days is the right to vote, why we vote and - most importantly - why we choose who we vote for. I've spoken in previous writings about this subject. I fear that close-minded and fear-filled people will choose a man based on his skin color rather than his ability to lead and his character. We are in desperate need of change, but the fact is that changes scares the hell out of people.

This morning it was reported that there was a murder plot to kill Barack Obama. The suspects were apprehended and the plan was thwarted - but it still made me both angry and sad. It is not any great love for their country that caused these young men to make such plans. The fact that they would add innocent children to their killing goal lies way to their ideology. Hate alone drove their thinking. Nothing is certain about next Tuesday, hate and fear still drive too many thoughts in too many minds.

I listened to Tim Robbins on Real Time with Bill Maher this week reminding us all that this is not "in the bag". Your vote really counts this time. Robbins also spoke of suspicions that there are those will attempt to sabotage voters and polling places and asked for diligence from right-thinking people not to stand by and say nothing. Good advice.

There is a lot at stake for all of us. I have no plan to tell anyone who they should vote for. I share my opinion, but the right to vote and the privacy of that vote is something I believe in with my whole heart. All I ask is that you think it through. Choose wisely, and please, choose for the right reasons. And remember the favor I have asked you before - vote or shut up.

October 11, 2008

Wanted: Idealist Patriot Seeks Leader

Maybe it's me, but...
I feel pretty certain that being an idealist and a patriot is still a good thing.

Patriot: –noun

a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.

a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, esp. of individual rights...
Idealist: –noun

a person who cherishes or pursues high or noble principles, purposes, goals, etc.
a person who represents things as they might or should be rather than as they are.

Sounds good to me.

I feel a true obligation, if not an outright need, to put my hand over my heart when I hear the national anthem. Cut me open, I bleed red, white, and blue. And, perhaps it's my upbringing as the daughter of a U.S. Army Sergeant, but I get pissed at ball games when men don't remove their hats when that anthem is played - or when people are too busy talking to even pay attention. Maybe it's me, but shouldn't we still - by example - teach our kids to have pride in and respect for the country they live in - even in it's beautiful imperfect state? I am a liberal but I also believe in love it or leave it. Maybe I just interpret that a bit differently than the old south definition. To me, it means, work for it (aka vote), respect it, treat it with some dignity or move on.

I believe that it is my civic duty to vote. I am pretty sure that it is still my duty to serve my country as a civilian, and I still feel that it should be seen as an honor. And in that spirit, I absolutely believe that is mine - and everyone else's - duty to pay their fair share of taxes. Too many people seem to feel that they have a right to take the milk and honey without paying for it. Too many seem to follow the "me first" line.

Being a patriot and a citizen also means that I have a right to protest what's not right about my country and it's government. I have, thank goodness, the right to elect officials whose ideals and policies I feel are right and fire those who do my country disservice. It's power and privilege - and it's called a vote.

Being an idealist means that I believe we should always work to better who we are as a people and a nation. We should recognize what's broken and work together to fix it. We should practice fairness in all things. We should practice human decency and acceptance of one another instead of just tolerance. We should learn from our mistakes.

I am proud that every one of us has the right to speak our minds, but I am fed up with politicians who use their soapbox in all the wrong ways. And I am also frustrated by journalists who don't practice the most basic of ethics of journalism. A good journalist does not present bias as fact.

Journalists should:
— Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
— Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
— Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.
— Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.

I hear (mostly from the conservative right) nothing but fear mongering and hate. I don't feel that Mr. McCain has, in straight talk, told me anything solid about what he plans to do to lead our country out of the darkness the present administration has cultivated. Someone in the White Hose switched off all the lights, and I don't think Mr. McCain knows where the switch is. What's worse is that I am fairly certain Ms. Palin does not know what a switch is.

After watching Real Time with Bill Maher this week whose guests included Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal, I have come to a new realization regarding the Republican conservative right. Is it me or do they all react as if someone told them a joke when they are handed facts that refute their often ridiculous claims? Aren't these "folks" - most of which have been afforded the best of education at our finest schools - capable of the intelligence an open mind affords? Seems that, as a general rule, they are so busy assuring themselves that they are right - they can't see the forest for the trees.

I got the sense that Moore took a clue in manners from McCain. As we all have heard, McCain displayed the ignorance that is rudeness, referring to Barack Obama as "that one". During the show, each time Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) attempted to speak, Moore rudely interrupted. At one point Moore accused Ms. Waters of having accepted campaign monies from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, then refused to give her the opportunity to answer those accusations. I would point Mr. Moore to a readily available website. He may be unaware that journalists have a specific code of ethics.
see: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

I felt it ironic and interesting that when Bill Maher asked Mr. Moore to explain to the audience what ACORN is, and what the acronym stands for, Moore looked to Ms. Waters to answer the question - at which point Ms. Waters told Moore if he didn't know what it was he probably shouldn't be talking about it. Bravo Ms. Waters. And, of course, that begs the question - why doesn't a Wall Street Journal writer know what ACORN is?

I don't think I am alone in my worry about that the state of the nation or my humble place in it. I think that I am among millions who are hurting and who are desperate for a leader who can provide not only ideas, but ideals - and real solutions for most of us. I don't think that the other 99 percent of us feel that only the top 1% should find relief in a leader.

Wanted: Idealist Patriot Seeks Leader
Mr. Obama, you're hired.

October 10, 2008

Maybe It's Me?: What's Up With Fox News?


What's Up With Fox News?

Maybe it's me, but...

I had the television on tonight and heard Fox News teasing a "developing story" regarding Sarah Palin. So, despite knowing better, I left the channel unchanged.

And the developing story? Well, they report that Sarah Palin is under investigation for her ethics in firing the states top law enforcement officer, Walt Mongean.

Ahh... has the Fox News team been out of the country over the last several weeks? Could be me but I am fairly sure I have heard about this before. I think, yes, maybe - it was covered by every major news market as early as September 2?

You know what I thought was actually "breaking news"? The Record yesterday reported that the GOP declared Palin "innocent" ahead of the Alaska ethics report. Hmmm...

Matt Apuzzo of the Associated Press writes:
see: http://www.northjersey.com/news/nationalpolitics/30733479.html

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Trying to head off a potentially embarrassing state ethics report on GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, campaign officials released their own report Thursday that clears her of any wrongdoing.

Sen. John McCain's running mate is the subject of a legislative investigation into whether she abused her power as governor by firing her public safety commissioner. The commissioner, Walter Monegan, says he was fired in July for resisting pressure from Palin's husband, Todd Palin, and top aides to fire state trooper Mike Wooten, Palin's former brother-in-law.

Lawmakers are expected to release their own findings today. Campaign officials have yet to see that report — the result of an investigation that began before she was tapped as McCain's running mate — but said the investigation has falsely portrayed a legitimate policy dispute between a governor and her commissioner as something inappropriate.

"The following document will prove Walt Monegan's dismissal was a result of his insubordination and budgetary clashes with Governor Palin and her administration," campaign officials wrote. "Trooper Wooten is a separate issue."

Monegan said Thursday that he doesn't know what to expect from the legislative panel's own report.

"I just hope that the truth is figured out," Monegan told The Associated Press on Thursday. "That the governor did want me to fire him, and I chose to not."

Palin's critics say that shows she used her office to settle family affairs.

"When you're the governor, you leave your household hat at home and you become governor," said state Senate President Lyda Green, a Republican who has frequently clashed with Palin.

The campaign's report blames a former campaign opponent, Andrew Halcro, who has a blog, of conspiring with Wooten to pin Monegan's dismissal on the family's dispute with Wooten. Three days after Monegan was fired, they say, Wooten told his ex-wife, Palin's sister: "You guys are going down. Get ready for the show."

Two days after that confrontation, they say, Halcro and Wooten met at a hotel bar in Anchorage for more than three hours — and that evening, Halcro posted the first accusations on his blog that Monegan had been fired because of a Palin family vendetta against Wooten.

Did the McCain machine have or use any solid evidence in creating this report of innocence? Or, more likely, are they just making it up as they go along?

I think to myself, with a chuckle, perhaps they should have properly vetted Sarah Palin -- or at least-- shouldn't they have gotten to know the women? It's been reported that McCain will occasionally rush headlong into something and "deal with the consequences later". Well, that's a comfort. Considering the blunder of his choice in a VP running mate, just exactly what might he "rush into" as president? Leaving us to deal with the consequences.

Where does the GOP get off releasing a report that Palin is innocent before the official report is released from Alaska?

To quote a pretty smart guy I know very well... "Isn't that sort of like Nixon pardoning himself?"


There is a great deal more to life than politics, and occasionally, I will want to talk about other topics.

Tonight, more so than usual, I am thinking about my children. I am thinking about my relationship with each of my children. They are, in many ways, very much alike but they are also unique in just as many. So too is my relationship with them. That being said, I’d like to share a few thoughts on parenthood.

I do not believe that we appreciate our parents fully until we become parents ourselves. We don’t understand their worries, their struggles on our behalf. We don’t understand the fierce depth of their love. We are certain that they don’t understand us at all. Then comes the moment that they hold their child in their arms for the first time. And for the first time, they feel that unbelievable rush of overwhelming love that no one can explain truly - even after they have been there. And they begin to get it.

On being a mother, I have all too often felt the need to apologize to my Mom and Dad (and did) for all the sleepless nights I surely must have caused them. Because I finally got it. Being a parent is the dirtiest job in the world. No job will cause you more pain or more stress – and no job will give you as much joy. Our children are our legacy and our greatest reward.

I think I became a better daughter as a mother. I learned to truly look at my parents, to see them as people first. Before my Dad became my Dad, he was just a guy. He was someone’s son and someone’s husband and an American soldier. He was young and he was not perfect (even if he was pretty awesome). I had to figure out the obvious – when my parents became my parents they did not suddenly become perfect. They did not suddenly know all that there was to know about life, and certainly not all that they needed to know to be parents. It gave me more than just a better understanding, it gave me a better kind of love for them. I learned to love who they were apart from their children.

Now, my children are adults and one of them is also now a parent. My hope is that they know, or will know, that before I was their Mom – I was just a girl. Literally. I was very young when I became a mother. And God only knows I surely knew nothing about being perfect beyond knowing I never could be.

I think the hospital staff forgot to give me the handbook when I brought them home. I learned along the way (just like every parent does) and I know for sure that I made mistakes. My only regret is that some of my mistakes came back to hurt them (and me). Though I look at them now and I feel it’s safe to say I did a pretty good job. They are wonderful, smart, talented, and passionate young people. They have good lives and good friends. Each in their way, they have done and will do good things with their lives. I take great pride in their accomplishments and abilities and look forward to what’s to come for them. Because I know my work here is never really done.

My life will always be, to some degree, defined by simply being their mother though I lead a life outside of theirs, and I don’t live vicariously through them. I have watched them exceed my own dreams and I am pretty sure that they are (at least a little) smarter than me. It makes me smile to know they would agree, but it also helps me sleep at night. Isn’t that what every parents wants: better for their children than the life that they led?

I hope that, now that they are fully grown, they come to me more as a person – apart from being their mother. And I hope that they like that person they see. Away from them, I have a career and a very good life as wife to a wonderful man. I am a daughter to my Mom and Dad, and sister to five brothers and a sister, I am a friend to others – and now a grandmother to a beautiful little boy. And I hope that they know, I’m still not perfect. I am going to make mistakes. And like them, I hope that I keep learning from the mistakes. That I keep striving to always be a better person first, which will always make me a better mother.

I hope that we will see each for who we are as people and accept each other for all our weaknesses as well as our strengths.

I hope that they know that the only thing I can claim as perfect is my love for them, unconditional love beyond words I might find to put down on paper. My Mom and Dad taught me that - and their love for me is perfect too.

October 9, 2008

Straight Talk

Maybe it's me, but...
Isn’t it time for a little “straight talk” about Sarah Palin?

I find it disturbing that John McCain chose her as a running mate having met her only once, and it would appear that she was not vetted for this nation’s second highest job.

In light of the material stated below, I find it terrifying to think that Sarah Palin may hold any elected office – let alone a position that could put her in direct sight of the presidency. Read on, then tell me, can you put any faith in this person?

When you are aware of the fact that McCain had met Sarah Palin only once prior to selecting her as a running mate, is there any way that you can deny why she was chosen? Sarah Palin was selected for one reason only -she is a reasonably presentable woman who might pull the Hilary Clinton voters. It’s a transparent effort on behalf of a very typical – and very dangerous - politician.

As reported by Mark Murray on August 29, 2008 on the MSNBC website.
See: http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/08/29/1307122.aspx

The tick-tock from McCain communications director Jill Hazelbaker:
"John McCain first met Governor Sarah Palin at the National Governors Association meeting in Washington in February of 2008 and came away extraordinarily impressed. John McCain followed her career and admired her tenacity and her many accomplishments."

And among her accomplishments?

Abusing her office to avenge her sister –
“In naming her as his vice presidential running mate Friday, Sen. John McCain hailed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as “someone who has fought against corruption.” But Palin is under two ethics investigations springing from accusations that she abused her office to pursue a personal grudge.”

The investigations are reviewing the same accusation: that she dismissed the state’s top law enforcement official (Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan ) because of his refusal to fire a state trooper in a dispute that predated her election in 2006.

Monegan told NBC affiliate KTUU of Anchorage that he thought it was likely that he had been dismissed because he resisted pressure from Palin’s staff and husband to fire the trooper, who was involved in a bitter custody battle with the governor’s sister after their divorce in 2005.

Redecorating her office with public money –
(See: http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_10506822?source=rss)
“... she broke the law by spending $55,000 of road maintenance funds, without the {city} council's permission.

"When I braced her about that, her response, and I will never forget it, is 'I'm the mayor and I can do anything I want until the courts say I can't,'" he (Nick Charney} recalls.

Political debts;
Carney watched as Palin fired many of the long-serving city employees, including the librarian, police chief and museum manager. She hired the former lawyer for the Alaska Republican Party to be the new city attorney. He said she was simply repaying political debts.

"Always, her first question is: 'How is this decision going to affect me and my administration. It was never, 'Is this the best thing for the city of Wasilla?'" said Carney.

The McCain campaign defends Palin's tenure as mayor and boasted of her accomplishments.

Religious beliefs and banning books?
see: http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1837918,00.html
Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.

Couric v. Palin: Huh?
See: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/24/eveningnews/main4476173.shtml
Couric asked about the $700 billion government bailout of bad debt - and whether she supports it.

Palin: I'm all about the position that America is in and that we have to look at a $700 billion bailout. And as Sen. McCain has said unless this nearly trillion dollar bailout is what it may end up to be, unless there are amendments in Paulson's proposal, really I don't believe that Americans are going to support this and we will not support this. The interesting thing in the last couple of days that I have seen is that Americans are waiting to see what John McCain will do on this proposal. They're not waiting to see what Barack Obama is going to do. Is he going to do this and see what way the political wind's blowing? They're waiting to see if John McCain will be able to see these amendments implemented in Paulson's proposal.

Couric: I'm just going to ask you one more time - not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.

Does this woman know how to put together a sentence?
These are the days when I wish for a candidate that reminds me of Jed Bartlett, or Andrew Sheppard – and I see that promise in Barack Obama. Simple decency... integrity... honesty... honor... these are the most important qualities in any man, but I will demand them from my president.

“Being President of this country is entirely about character”
- Andrew Sheppard (The American President, 1995)

“America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free".”
- Andrew Sheppard (The American President, 1995)

"With the clothes on their backs they came through a storm, and those that didn't die want a better life. And they want it here. Talk about impressive. My point is this: Break's over."
-Josiah Barlett, The West Wing

As for Sarah Palin... my general feeling is this:
"Could I have a couple of aspirin, or a weapon of some kind to kill people with?"
-Josiah Barlett, The West Wing

October 8, 2008

Enough of That One

Maybe it's me, but...

I have already heard and read enough reports of McCain referring to Barack Obama as "that one". I found it disrespectful too. I also thought it was a foolish error on McCain's part (so thanks, John - you only help my cause). But, come on, what did you expect?

Weren't there more important things said on both sides last night? No matter who you are or what your affiliation may be, you had to have learned something about the candidates last night. What some of their plans are, what their general demeanor and attitudes might be?

There were things said last night that left me far more disturbed than "that one". Truths were twisted, outright lies re-told. To tell you the truth, the word I found most disturbing was "maybe" - and perhaps it disturbed me more coupled with the smile and the wink.

Maybe is a word we've heard a lot in the last eight years. Come to think of it, often with a smile and a wink. And, could someone please refresh my memory - isn't that supposed to be the "straight talk express"? Sounds like more of the same old, same old. I think we know where that has gotten us.

I am wondering tonight what is humorous, or even entertaining, to John McCain about Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. What's so funny about Osama bin Laden?

I also find myself wondering why McCain would attack Barack Obama for wanting to talk - to use peace-keeping methods first - when it comes to Iran. Or why he would attack Obama for stating - in straight talk - that of course he would go after bin Laden - if Pakistan is unable or unwilling. Why attack a man who states that healthcare is a right? If that is what Barack Obama believes, isn't it straight talk to say it? Don't most Americans feel that decent, affordable healthcare that doesn't benefit only big insurance companies is our right?

Don't you have to question why John McCain would put a spending freeze on everything - except Defense and Veteran's services? Now, don't get me wrong here - I love my country and while I have never supported the illegal offenses taken in Iraq - I absolutely support the armed services. My father is one of those veteran's, retired and on a pension. He served my country for 30+ years and I am very proud of him. It's safe to say I whole-heartedly support veteran's rights. But, tonight, I am wondering about everything and everyone else not cared for in John McCain's spending freeze.

A friend says he thought McCain came off as "smarmy", and I agree. I found his constant use of the words "my friends" to be condescending. I once again felt that a slick politician spoke to me believing he is far smarter than me, and little old citizen me could not possibly understand the intricacies of domestic or foreign policy, let alone economics.

All in all, I don't know if I can say there is a winner. What is the ruler we measure the win with? But I left it feeling that Barack Obama attacked only when necessary. I felt that Mr. Obama attempted to use his time for us to get to know him. Perhaps what I took most from the entire thing is this - he remained steady in his answers, his demeanor was one of dignity. I felt that Barack made sense, even when he did not have a choice but to attack. Not only did he maintain his self-respect, but he was never disrespectful of his opponent, of the moderator or of the process.

Today, from the Obama camp - there is only one thing I can say I find a little bothersome. I don't want to hear about the Keating 5 - it's ancient history. Just as a radical neighbor of Barack Obama is also ancient history. I hope that the Obama campaign folks lay off that. I don't honestly see how it helps us.

And just one last thing... if you live in Chicago, aren't you even just a little bit insulted that if John McCain needed guidance, he certainly would never ask a Chicago politician?

October 7, 2008

My Friends

Maybe it's me, but...

Dear John McCain,

I am not your friend.

I'd prefer to be introduced before becoming "friends".

I count among my friends people who, first and foremost, actually know me. Those people I call "friend" are people that I can truly trust. People who understand me, people I understand - people I can relate to. People I can have faith in. I am careful about choosing friends. While I am always open to meeting people and getting to know them, I don't throw the word "friend" around lightly. In my 45 years of being alive, I've come to believe most people feel the same.

I think friends can come to mean as much as, if not more so, than family. We choose our friends, family is a gift we can not exchange.

Love among friends is rare and should be treasured.

I don't choose to be friends only with those who share my views. As I have said in a previous writing - I love an open exchange of ideas. Those I call friend come from every walk of life, every possible description, and from all political standpoints. That's a conscious decision, because I happen to think if we were all the same life would be pretty boring.

I do, however, think it's important that we have some things in common. What I know I have in common with each and every one of my friends is respect for each other and absolute trust in each other. That's something my father taught me - and he served our country all of his life too.

Based solely on that, I could never choose you for a friend Mr. McCain. Please address me by my name.

p.s. - I expected that you would waste much of my time tonight with negative rhetoric as opposed to actually answering questions posed by my fellow citizens. Thanks for not disappointing me.

An Attack of Desperation

Maybe its me, but...

I am fed up with negative political campaign ads. What purpose does this serve? Does John McCain believe he will, somewhow, look better - smarter - by running down Barack Obama?

Seems to me, as it always has, this behavior is right out of the school yard. It's childish and I could be wrong but I think that most intelligent American adults would agree. Do political campaigners feel that we, as a people, are so foolish as to choose our candidate based on something that one man might have done or said years ago, or a slight affiliation to someone who did? I am horrified to think any adult with a brain would be caught up in that nonsense.

We are about to enter the home stretch of this campaign. It's safe to say that if the McCain-Palin machine has its way, it's going to get pretty ugly from here until election day. See Adam Nagourney's piece in the NY Times today, Campaigns Shift to Attack Mode on Eve of Debate.

To quote the piece: "Mr. McCain made clear on Monday that he wanted to make the final month of the race a referendum on Mr. Obama’s character, background and leadership — a polite way of saying he intends to attack him on all fronts and create or reinforce doubts about him among as many voters as possible. And Mr. Obama’s campaign signaled that it would respond in kind, setting up an end game dominated by an invocation of events and characters from the lives of both candidates."

According to that article Barack Obama is leaving it to his surrogates to mount a counter attack, at least so far and on the Keating 5. I hope (and believe) he feels as many of us do - he just doesn't see the purpose. His values and ideals allow him to understand that in attacking the opponent you do little to gain our respect. I applaude his decision to maintain his morals.

For the sake of everyone's sanity, let's just Sarah Palin out of it. If John McCain were smart, he would ask Tina Fey to step in on her behalf whenever she is required to speak. At least we could make sense out of what Ms. Fey was saying.

To illustrate, here's another quote from the NY Times: "Ms. Palin has several times cited a New York Times article published Saturday in raising Mr. Obama’s association with Mr. Ayers, but she has sidestepped its conclusion that the two men did not appear to be close and that Mr. Obama had never expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers."

And Ms. Palin is also quoted in this piece as stating that Barack Obama is "not one of us". I hope she is referring to the Republican Party. Because if she isn't than the statement is pretty offensive. Let me see... he is an American, he is a Christian... a father, a husband... a citizen. How is he not like me? Oh.. now I get it, maybe she was talking to women? Ah, that doesn't work either, does it. Barack Obama has great respect for women and their rights. Hmm... what could she have meant?

Stop wasting my time, will ya?

Focus on what matters... tell me how you plan on pulling my country and its people out of the mess W. and his buddies have put us in.

Talk to me about serious issues. Talk to me about how we can pull up and out of a financial crisis that threatens every man, woman and child in this country. Talk to me about what plan you will support to free America from foreign energy dependence. And on that note, do us all a favor and have a little conversation with T. Boone Pickens. Talk to me about a health care system that makes sense. Talk to me about solutions. Because, let's face it, we've got some serious problems.

Barack Obama believes that this kind of tactic is simply McCain's way of not addressing us about the real issues we face. I agree, it's a shell game. Hey, look over here... never mind the man behind the curtain. It's a desperate attack by a team who is falling behind. They'd like to prey on the (and let's face the unfortunate fact, they exist) weaker, closed-minded, fear-filled and prejudice. They will work hard to get those "folks" out to vote. Come on "east coast" - let's make sure that once and for all we put an end to kind of thinking that got us where we are now.

Make time for the debate tonight - and hope that Mr. McCain doesn't waste too much of your time.

October 6, 2008

Casting Your Vote - Part Two

Do us all a favor - vote or shut up.

I really need to add that thought. I love my country but I don't think it is perfect. I don't mind listening to your viewpoints - I love an open exchange of ideas. I do, however, have a real problem listening to people complain about everything that is wrong with America when they don't exercise their privilege to vote.

There were some pretty forward thinking, amazing men who founded this nation. They felt it was urgent to provide all citizens with a voice. They made that right a part of everything they built this country on. Most of their ideas for what a country should be have held true for over two hundred years. How lucky are we?

How many of those early citizens fought and died to give you that right? How many struggled, fought, were beaten publicly for those rights in the 1960s?

How can you just stand there and not respect those men and women who fought - not just for themselves but for all of us? Where is your respect?

Never before has it been so important, so critical to remind us that this is not merely a privilege - it's a duty.

Register. Vote. Or do me a favor, shut up.

Casting Your Vote

Maybe it's me, but....

What are you thinking when you decide how to cast your vote?

No election in US history has ever been more important. Our country has never known the damage that has been heaped upon it these last eight years. All around us good people are lifting their voices as never before trying to make us aware that change has never been more needed.

It's 2008 and still we fight the wrong fight. Offer me, if you can, one viable reason to withhold your vote from a man because of the color of his skin? If you make that statement, are you're also committing to voting for McCain simply because he is white? Never mind that the McCain administration would be a mere continuation of the one we suffer now.

Give me one good reason that I should vote for a VP candidate simply because she has female organs. I find it disgusting that women will cast a vote for Sarah Palin only because she's a white woman. It's not personal, believe me. I am simply aware that this woman is way over her head. She lacks the intelligence as well as the desire to effectively serve in this time of crisis. She was chosen by design - and too many women are buying the b.s. This may be a fine woman, but she can not speak to us intelligently about any issue that someone who will help to lead this country should certainly be able to address. For heaven's sake, this woman is being hidden from the news media so that we will not see her lack of knowledge. Can't you see you are being duped?

And as a mother, it drives me crazy that no one has asked her 17-year-old daughter if getting married and becoming a mother at 17 is really the choice she wants to make.

And just one more thing... why aren't we insulted at the continual reference to "those east coast politicians"? Isn't the bulk of our population in the east?

Barack Obama has risen above normal politics and can lead this country back to where we need to be. Remember when you could afford to buy a gallon of milk or a gallon of gas? Remember when you or your neighbor was not making a horrible choice to either eat or pay their mortgage? We've been driven into the ground and we must fight back - without prejudice and without fear.

I really want to know how anyone can look us in the eye (even if its through a television screen) and tell us that the war in Iraq is a "success" and that we "must win" there. What are we winning? Is the death of thousands of American young people, not to mention thousands of Iraqi's the ruler by which they measure success? I assure you that the McCain, Palin ticket will not only continue a baseless, useless war but will add more fuel to fire in other parts of the world.

There was a time that nations around the world held respect for the United States. Now, we are the laughing stock of the free world.

Maybe we've just been dumbed-down by too much "reality" tv.

Barack Obama is the candidate I have waited for all of my voting adult life. Finally, a man with principle enough to recognize that his time in addressing us is better spent informing us of his policy, his ideas and beliefs then to use it to beat down the "other guy". He's received criticism for not attacking his opponent enough. I applaude him. It's high time someone with some dignity and self-respect ran for president. He could have taken the easy road to the white house and chose Hilary Clinton as a running mate. He didn't. He was intelligent enough to recognize that he should choose with his mind and not with poll results.

I, for one, am willing to give him fair credit that he did not choose Joe Biden as a Vice President candidate to slight Hilary Clinton for being a woman, and heaven forbid, a white woman at that. I think Barack Obama chose Joe Biden for his record and his ideals (which I happen to believe in).

Why does it matter what color Barack Obama is or that he has a "muslim sounding" name? Aren't you sick of being beat into poverty? Doesn't the bail out of the current administration, with its ridiculous provisions, make you want to scream? Yea, we had to bail out the big boys. And your great-great grandchildren will still be paying back that debt middle class America.

Choose for your own sake, for the sake of our country and our people. Not the wealthy upper class - who will be the only citizens that might benefit from a McCain-Palin administration. Choose for middle America and those known as the lower class who so desperately need change. Choose without prejudice. Choose the best person for the job and take back our country. Vote for Obama.

Abstinence Only?

Maybe it's me, but...

Why aren't "conservatives" able to admit when they are wrong? The truth is just in front of their faces, yet they hold fast to ideas that don't hold up.

It was recently reported that teen pregnancy rates have risen to levels higher than they have ever been in US History. So is it possible that the "abstinence only" program doesn't work?

Let's be clear, when teen pregnancy rates rise, so does the number of abortions. Isn't that what pro-life conservatives are trying to prevent? I hate to state the obvious here, but when the obvious is standing in front of you and you refuse to acknowledge it, maybe it needs to be stated.

The conservative right wants to outlaw abortion, but they also want to remove all other options as well. No sex education, no easy access to birth control. So where does that leave our young people? Unaware, uneducated and probably pregnant without any viable option.

If you are adult reading this, or more to the point, an honest-with-yourself adult reading this, you know that "abstinence only" has never worked.

During the Clinton administration my teenagers had sex education classes in school. This did not mean that their high school taught them to have sex. It meant that they were taught about safe sex, and the consequences that arise from unprotected sex. Some of which can be deadly. They were able to go health class and talk to advisor, and they were able to get condoms for free. I supported this effort in their school - but more importantly, we made certain that open discussion took place at home. We put our comfort or embarrassment aside in favor of what was far more important - our children's lives.

I can not claim to be purely pro-choice. For me, as a woman, abortion is a choice I could not make. But like anything else, I don't think it's for me to decide what is just and right for anyone else but me. I have and will continue to vote for law-makers who believe in the right to choose, and not just about abortion but for all rights. Since when does one make the choice for all?

As a result of our attitude both of our children, one daughter and one son, were well above the national average when they had their first sexual experience. They learned where they should learn - at home and at school. They did not learn from other kids. There was no great mystery for them regarding sex. They have extremely healthy attitudes about sex. And for the record, neither of them have turned into promiscuous adults. They both applaude our decision to be straight-forward with them and our desire to encourage other parents to do the same.

I can't say that some of those discussions were easy. Sometimes I felt myself squirming but knew I had to be honest. It was important to use my own mistakes as a learning example. As a parent, we always want to protect our children. That has nothing to do with what side of the table we are on politically. It's parenthood and we need to teach our kids - life turns on dime.

Abortion is a church issue, not a presidential or judicial issue. And nothing could be more personal.

Shouldn't it be about protecting our children? How do we protect them? Educate them. Who better to open a free dialog with them if not us, their parents?

It's high time that conservatives recognize that two plus two still equals four.