passion…

One of my sister-in-laws recently told me that she reads my blog, except for the political posts. I chuckled, and changed the subject.

I understand that politics turns most folks off. Sad, but true. Washington’s current chokehold doesn’t help. Who among us wants to watch our supposed-representatives in a war of words, while…mass shootings continue…terrorist threats continue…narcotics continue to flow across our borders…millions of immigrants await their fate…and on and on.

Everyday politics fails to grab my attention, unless there’s some big brouhaha in Washington. When Barack Obama hit the national scene in 2008, that all changed. Like the rest of America, I was glued to my TV. Since then the presidential election has become a staple. My passion for it might wane, however, if it ever becomes humdrum. Obama’s presidency has never been that and the current campaign is anything but ho-hum.

If there’s any wisdom I can pass along to younger folk…anyone under 66…it’s to find something about which you’re passionate. Something that gets your brain buzzing long before you open your eyes in the morning, nags at you throughout the day, and keeps you up at night. This is life…not passing you by. This is being relevant…no matter your senior citizen status.

Passion takes many forms.

After my daughter’s birth I was an exercise fiend determined to rid my belly of excess fat. When I got hooked on antiques, I was forever on the hunt for that next best deal. The day I saw a ballerina blossoming before my very eyes, I was on a mission to help make my daughter’s dream of a career come true. Decorating and/or remodeling each of the places we have called home, 9 in all, over four-and-a-half decades, has kept me happily occupied. And the collection of pets that have shared our lives…one guinea pig, 2 dogs and 10 cats…have required lots of passion to keep them thriving. Gardening is a passion rooted in childhood, inherited from my mom. Later in life, books and writing absorbed my waking hours…minutes here and there really…whatever could be spared from more pressing business.

And from now until the election in November, my passion is the presidential campaign. My decision continued to evolve as I listened to what the candidates and pundits had to say. I didn’t wake up one morning deciding to vote for Hillary Clinton. She has earned my vote, just as others have not. Aside from the obvious reason of electing the next president of the United States, the stunning revelation that millions of Americans are right-wing extremists is a sobering fact.

Today’s endorsement of Trump by David Duke, spokesman for the Klu Klux Klan, is proof. Trump’s popularity is riding the waves upon which the KKK is founded. That Trump hems and haws about distancing himself from the Klan is because he wants them on his side. Trump is adept at sidestepping principles when the prize is great. And he desires nothing more than to be the most powerful man in the world.

Another endorsement today by Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, was wholeheartedly welcomed by Trump. According to an online article…

…a black former assistant U.S. Attorney in Alabama named Thomas Figures–testified that, during a 1981 murder investigation involving the Ku Klux Klan, Sessions was heard by several colleagues commenting that he “used to think they [the Klan] were OK” until he found out some of them were “pot smokers.” Sessions claimed the comment was clearly said in jest. Figures didn’t see it that way. Sessions, he said, had called him “boy” and, after overhearing him chastise a secretary, warned him to “be careful what you say to white folks.” … he too had heard Sessions call various civil rights organizations, including the National Council of Churches and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, “un-American.” Sessions denied the accusations but again admitted to frequently joking in an off-color sort of way.

There’s passion and then there’s…

…trump’s brand of passion.

………hugmamma.

(photo…breitbart.com)

from where i stand…

Every 4 years I’m a media pundit, right alongside CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper. While I’m not glued to the TV, I’m always within earshot of it. For those of you who just recently tuned in to hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul I’m referring to the U.S. presidential campaign.

I never mean to get so wrapped up in politics, it’s just that every nerve in my body cries out for relief from the insanity that’s reported nonstop. This time the man in the middle of the hurricane is Donald Trump. Eight years ago it was his female counterpart, Sarah Palin.

Buddying up with Russia’s Putin, Trump gives us an insight into his would-be presidency. If Trump likes somebody, he’ll do business with him or her; if he doesn’t, he won’t. Good place for billions of Americans to be…behind Trump’s eight ball. Something to think about.

As ridiculous as a president Trump would be, having Ted Cruz in the White House would be downright scary. He would take his Tea Party fight from the Legislature to the Oval Office. A stalwart champion of right-wing extremists, Cruz is a major player in Congress’s perpetual inability to act.

While Marco Rubio seems the lesser of two evils, what he and Cruz have in common is their strong Cuban pride. While Obama kept his promise to be president of all Americans, I have to wonder if Rubio and Cruz would be able to keep that same promise should the interests of their Cuban constituents ever conflict with those of our country. That’s a question only time could answer.

Ben Carson‘s tendency to speak his mind, while at times commendable, often reveals his naivete about politics and the world in which we live. It’s also difficult to imagine his soft-spoken demeanor in mortal combat with Putin, Isis, or even House Speaker, Paul Ryan. God Himself would have to fight those battles for Carson.

Jeb Bush is just not presidential material. He seems nice enough, in fact I’d probably like him better than his brother George W. Despite that I’m just not a fan of the Bush dynasty. I’m with Barbara, enough is enough. Let somebody else have a turn.

Carly Fiorina exudes potential presidential material, however her stiffness is somewhat off-putting. She reminds me of Dorothy’s Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz…in need of a heart.

During the Republican presidential debates, I’ve liked some of what I’ve heard from Lindsay Graham, Rand Paul, John Kasich and former NY Governor George Pataki. While I would never vote for Graham or Paul, I might consider Kasich or Pataki if the Democratic choice were as incorrigible as Republican Trump.

After watching last night’s debate among the Democratic presidential hopefuls, I’ll most likely cast my vote for Hilary Clinton. Unlike Fiorina, Clinton’s image has undergone enough of a transformation so that her softer side is glimpsed. Thankfully, she can still call up her muscular side as needed. After all, politics…as well as the rest of the world…still belongs to white men. It’s for sure however that Clinton would continue chipping away at the crack in the glass ceiling already begun by Obama.

As blustery as Trump is, Bernie Sanders is the Republican candidate’s match. Although everything Sanders says is substantive and rings true. The problem is he leans too far left to be viable for all Americans, namely the Tea Partiers. And while I may not agree with their politics, they deserve fair representation. My hope is that Sanders continues to fight the good fight for the poor and the middle class, unlike Trump who will continue to line the pockets of the wealthy. Something his followers overlook as they clutch desperately to a false god.

While Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley is a good option for president, he lacks the strong presence of Clinton and Sanders. It’s possible O’Malley could grow into the job, but in the current global turmoil we need someone who can “hit the ground running.” And for me the person most qualified is…

…madame secretary…clinton.

………hugmamma.

(Photo credit…Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

 

from #2…to #1

One thing that comes to mind when I see Hilary Clinton, aside from all the obvious political ones, is how she remained married to her husband, Bill Clinton, after the Monica Lewinsky fiasco.

I’m pretty sure most of us, women and men alike, would’ve dumped the jerk. Obviously Hilary knew the man she had married…his ability to be a great President, as well as his tendency towards personal self-destruction. As it turned out, she was right. Bill Clinton has become an American statesman on the world stage. And the more I see and hear him speak, I agree that he does have a lot of good to contribute at a time when our country is in such a state of flux.

After I get past that flash from the past, I’m amazed at Hilary Clinton’s fearlessness in holding her own against the preponderance of white men in politics. She does not allow them to define her as a person, let alone a politician. I’m in awe of the confidence she displays time and again, despite the barrage of negative attacks heaped upon her. The fact that she’s eager to play with the big boys as President is nothing short of phenomenal.

How many women are up to the job? Maybe one. Carly Fiorina. Maybe. Or Senator Elizabeth Warren, whom I’d support should she think about it in the future.

Just as Barrack Obama was singularly up to the challenge as the first black, American president, so too is Hilary Clinton ready to shoulder the mantle as the first woman President of the United States.

I am more than ready to give Hilary that opportunity. Heck. She can’t do any worse than some of our former presidents…George W. Bush among them. If we wind up with troops on the ground in the Middle East, it won’t be a move she initiated without help from her predecessors. Like Obama before her, she has to continue fighting the battle Bush started when he took out Sadam Hossein. The balance of power has been on the slide ever since his removal. The U.S. got involved where it probably shouldn’t have, unless we were prepared to remove all the dictators in the area, including Syria’s Bashar al-Asad.

Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor is a prime example of an extremely proficient leader. According to Forbes…

German Chancellor Angela Merkel continues her reign as the most powerful woman on the planet for 10 years running. Why? She clinched a third four-year term of Europe’s most vibrant economy in December 2014, making her the longest-serving elected EU head of state. She fought off a national recession during the global economic crisis with stimulus packages and government subsidies for companies that cut hours for workers, and she is in the thick of trying to help Greece revive its economy. She has used her power against ISIS, breaking the post-Nazi-era taboo of direct involvement in military actions by sending arms to Kurdish fighters. In the Russia-Ukraine crisis, she has been engaging in shuttle diplomacy trying to broker a peace deal with Vladimir Putin. There’s only one woman who has a chance of endangering her tenure as No. 1 in 2016 — the world’s No. 2 most powerful woman.

And who is that you ask? 

Hillary Clinton has appeared on this FORBES ranking every year since it launched in 2004 as, in order, a senator, secretary of state and influential personality. In 2015 Clinton is No. 2, just a breath and a ballot away from the Most Powerful Woman crown.

I for one…plan to see that Clinton moves Merkel…

…to the #2 spot.

………hugmamma.

a role model?…more than

Most of you know of my dear friend Sylvia. From time to time she visits me on the internet, sharing some juicy tidbit sent by her UK network of friends and family. I first wrote of her in my post, “role models, aging gracefully,” dated 8-24-10.

My friend who’s 70ish is admirable not only because she’s such a fashion-plate, which she is, but also because she is laden with health issues that would bring a younger, stronger woman, like me, to my knees. I’m a wuss by comparison. Like an older sister, sometimes a mom, my girlfriend was a smoker for many years, but was finally able to kick the habit. Whether as a result of smoking or having had it beforehand, she continues to suffer with emphysema which is compounded by asthma. Weighing under 100 pounds she’s a lightweight, but she can be as “tough as nails” when debating her opinion. I’ve never tested her, and am not about to try. I’d rather have her in my corner. When a coughing fit overtakes her, she can easily bruise some ribs. As a last resort her doctor prescribes prednisone which eliminates the cough, but leaves my friend with side effects that linger. She has bouts of diverticulitis which has her curled up in great pain. Throughout our 13 years of friendship, she’s been poked, probed, xrayed, cat-scanned, MRI’d more than anyonelse I know. With the help of a physician who’s cared for her, REALLY CARED, my amazing friend always seems “as fit as a fiddle.” I forget her medical history until another episode occurs, and it always does.

I think I dress rather smartly, but when I’m out with my friend and her husband I know she’s outdone me. Not that I mind, for I am simply in awe of  her sense of style, wearing skirts and dresses that I never would, simply because they wouldn’t look as well on me. They’re not my “cup of tea,” but they suit my girlfriend to a tee. And the jewelry, she can wear several gold bangles, rings on several fingers, including on her toes, and of course, earrings. Stunning is the only word to describe her. Whether she’s lounging at home or stepping out, in my estimation, she’s always “dressed to the nines.”

You can continue to read more wonderful things about Sylvia, for there’s definitely more good things to be said about her, by going to the original post mentioned above. I just wanted to give you an inkling of who she is, before you read further. And you’ll want to read further, I guarantee you. Enjoy this little “gem” from Sylvia…

NO CHEATING!!!

I was really surprised to find out who my role was.

DON’T scroll down until you do the SIMPLE math below. It’s crazy how accurate this is!

NO PEEKING!

1) Pick your favorite number between 1-9
2) Multiply by 3, then
3) Add 3
4) Then again multiply by 3 (Go get the calculator…). You’ll get a 2 or 3 digit number
5) Add the digits together

Now scroll down…

With the last number, see who YOUR ROLE MODEL is from the following list:

According to Keirsey, Oprah Winfrey may be a T...

Image via Wikipedia

1)  Bill Clinton
2)  Oprah Winfrey
3)  Jessica Simpson
4)  Sarah Palin
5)  Laura Bush
6)  Hilary Clinton
7)  Ronald Reagan
8)  Ron De Roma
9)  my friend Sylvia
10) Barbara Walters

 

I know. I know. I just have that effect on people. One day, you too can be like me.

P.S. Stop picking different numbers! I AM YOUR ROLE MODEL! Deal with it!!!

now she’s your role model too…gotta love sylvia…i do…hugmamma.

o’donnell, Palin harbinger?

Christine O’Donnell, the Tea Party’s latest winning candidate for political office is touted as a Sarah Palin look-a-like. Though the resemblance is not exact, it’s pretty close, brunette, attractive, broad smile, friendly demeanor, seemingly approachable, self-described reps for soccer moms around the country. I’m not a teetotaler or a Republican, I usually vote Democrat. But being a woman, I am intrigued by this latest brand of female politician. What member of our gender wouldn’t be. After all, Palin and O’Donnell claim to represent us ordinary people. While my inclination is more toward women like Hilary Clinton and Michelle Obama because of their experiences and views, sitting down to coffee with these two wouldn’t feel natural or comfortable, but neither would I feel comfortable sipping tea with O’Donnell or Palin. 

What I find interesting about the recent turn of political events is how it might affect Palin’s decision to run for president. At coffee one day some time ago, one of the ladies from exercise class pooh-poohed the idea that Palin would ever be considered a serious candidate. I wasn’t so sure; I’m still not. While she may not answer questions in the manner to which we are accustomed, she connects with ordinary people who probably can’t offer glib answers either. I know. I may have a gift for writing, but I can get tongue-tied when speaking, especially when defending an opinion.

My thoughts are that Palin may be using these next couple of years to build a grass-roots political base, from which she’ll launch her candidacy. The Tea Party may be at the forefront of this reality. Obama’s election was probably the catalyst for this seismic political shift to the other extreme. Just as a black, Democratic president captured the imagination of millions, appealing to the emotions of many who cast votes in his favor; Palin is finding fans among those disenchanted with Obama’s perceived expansion of big government. Conservatives underestimated the possibility of a black president; opponents may be too quick in dismissing Palin as a serious contender.

The recent Vanity Fair issue chronicles a behind-the-scenes look, “Sarah Palin, Smears, Lies, and Big Speaking Fees: Inside Sarah Palin, Inc.” by Michael Joseph Gross. In a 40 minute speech in Independence, Missouri, Palin’s unfettered language connected with the audience. “They talk down to us. Especially here in the heartland. Oh, man. They think that, if we were just smart enough, we’d be able to understand their policies. And I so want to tell ’em, and I do tell ’em, Oh, we’re plenty smart, oh yeah–we know what’s goin’ on. And we don’t like what’s goin’ on. And we’re not gonna let them tell us to sit down and shut up.”  Voicing her views as though speaking for them, her listeners “believe she is just like them, and this conviction seems to satisfy their curiosity about the objective facts of her life.” Among others interviewed by journalist Gross was Colleen Cottle, “matriarch of one of Wasilla’s oldest families, and who served on the city council when Palin was mayor. She says she and her husband, Rodney, will pay a price for speaking candidly about Palin. Their son is one of Todd Palin’s best friends. ‘But it is time for people to start telling the truth,’ Colleen says. She describes the frustrations of trying to do city business with a mayor who had no attention span–with Sarah it was always ‘What’s the flavor of the day?’; who was unable to take part meaningfully in conversations about budgets because she ‘does not understand math or accounting–she only knows buzzwords, like ‘balanced budget’; and who clocked out after four hours on most days, delegating her duties to an aide–‘but he’ll never talk to you, because he has a state job and doesn’t want to lose it.’ This type of conversation is repeated so often that Wasilla starts to feel like something from The Twilight Zone or a Shirley Jackson short story–a place populated entirely by abuse survivors.” 

In years past when I was frustrated with how men governed, I’d share my feeling that moms should be in charge. For centuries we have been the primary caretakers, instilling our children with values. But they are not only future citizens, they are literally of our flesh, making their lives more cherished than our own. I surmised that mothers would wield power in the best interests of families, where I felt men reveled in having  power, period. Palin may have altered my thinking.

“Why are you pretending to be something you’re not? That is the question so many Alaskans have asked this year as they’ve watched Sarah Palin travel the nation. According to almost everyone who has ever known her, including those who have seen the darkest of her dark side, Sarah Palin has a great gift for making people feel good about themselves. Her knack for remembering names and faces and the details of her interactions with people–and for seeming to be present to the person in front of her–constitute an extraordinary power of engagement. Now she is using that power in a fundamentally different way. In part she is using it in the service of her own ambitions. …Those who once felt close to Palin have followed her public transformation with a confused range of emotions. The common denominator is sadness. ‘People who loved Sarah Palin are disappointed,’ said one woman in Wasilla, ‘because they found out that Sarah Palin loves Sarah Palin most of all.’ ”

I’ve decided that the best candidate is not determined by gender, but by what I feel he or she can do to improve the plight of our country. I’m sure everyone feels the same way, and so we’ll all vote according to our individual consciences, which is as it should be. But I still wonder what Palin will do in 2012, and if she’ll be a force with which to be reckoned.

tea party wins, foretelling the future?…hugmamma.