hope and grit…

I’ve been very fortunate to serve as a guest columnist to a local, community newspaper from time to time. It’s allowed me to share my opinions on issues near and dear, here at home and abroad. The following was my latest submission for consideration by the editor.

HOPE and GRIT

Regardless of which side we were on during the presidential election, we all have Hope in common. Clinton’s campaign hoped love would trump hate; and Trump supporters are hoping the president-elect returns them to a time when America was great for them.

It’s more difficult for some than others to get past the divisiveness of the campaign, but do so we must for the good of the country. How best to do that is the question. Perhaps it would help if we began by focusing upon what remains familiar for all of us.

Transitioning from one presidency to the next is done peacefully, assuring that we can go on about our business the day after election. Freedom of speech is still protected by the Constitution. Individually and collectively, we can continue to voice our differing opinions. Regardless of our politics, we all believe in the sanctity of life. War abroad and at home is never a given. Above all, we continue to hold strong to our abiding belief in an America where dreams can still come true for all those who come after.

Personally, in our own lives, we can look to what remains familiar and comforting…our loved ones and our communities.

During the holidays we focus attention upon the happiness of others, whether they are from within our tight-knit circle of family and friends or strangers in need of our help. Our hearts and minds are opened to putting their needs before our own. We are all part of a unified spirit of goodness as we rush around like Santa’s elves.

In doing for others, however, we often overlook our own spiritual and physical well-being. The holidays always compound our oversight, and for some folks this season is especially exasperating because they remain traumatized by the recent election. In speaking with a couple of mental health professionals last week, it may be that those still reeling in the aftermath of the political upheaval are suffering signs of PTSD. War, real or imagined, can have the same effect upon a person’s psyche. Moving beyond a traumatic event takes effort, sometimes superhuman effort. “Grit” was a word referenced in my discussion with one of the experts.

In her book, “Grit” The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth signals grit as the ingredient necessary in a person’s character which drives him or her to succeed. Duckworth determined it as the single, common denominator as to why individuals succeeded whether she encountered them as a math teacher or psychologist. In fact, she credits grit, not talent, as the reason she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “genius grant.”

I like to think of Americans as having grit. In our struggles to persevere as a democratic people in the face of national and global adversity, we have survived and will continue to do so no matter what.

Armed with hope and grit, we remain “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

…wishing you and yours…a holiday season filled with peace and joy.

………hugmamma.1127

 

a workhorse…

…that’s my personal description of Hillary Clinton. And now that her final attempt to help fellow citizens realize the American dream for themselves has been thwarted, she has earned a much-deserved rest from a self-imposed life of public service.

As with other Independents who took their time in casting their vote for president, I was skeptical about Hillary Clinton. Media spin had much to do with my indecision. However, Bernie Sanders said it best when he exclaimed that he was fed up with her damn emails. So was I.

I accepted Hillary Clinton’s apology for using a private email server, especially when FBI Director Comey found her innocent of breaking any laws. The fact that Republicans would not let go of the issue drove me further away from their candidate, towards the Democratic candidate.

The Republican Party will never curry my favor if they continue to wallow in conspiracy theories. It’s as though they prefer to practice voodoo politics instead of politics based upon facts. I have always been a “Doubting Thomas,” he who needed to put his finger in the crucified Christ in order to believe that He, in fact, was the risen Christ.

Granted, the Clintons are not saints. They have committed their fair share of trespasses. Time and again, however, they have been tried by their peers and found not guilty of breaking any laws.

The difference, for me, between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is that the foundation of her entire life has been…to serve others. His has been in service…for himself.

On stage at the Democratic National Convention, many testified to Hillary’s having personally touched their lives with her compassion and help. The handicapped young man whose cause Hillary had taken on when he was but a child. The 911 rescuers whose health issues Hillary had taken on by requesting, and obtaining, $20 billion from President George W. Bush. And yet Trump ignorantly proclaimed she had done nothing in her decades long career as a public servant. I don’t remember any individual coming forward at the Republican National Convention to proclaim how Trump had done something specific to improve his or her life. In fact, numerous voices have echoed the same sentiment about him….that they have been stiffed by Trump, or taken advantage of because of his wealth and power.

My religion, Catholicism, and my culture, Asian, has ingrained in me the need to be humble. It is therefore natural that I cannot stomach bragging in others, or in myself. Just as Donald Trump thrives on his own braggadocio, Hillary Clinton prefers to let others take the spotlight. He loves to talk endlessly about his supposed accomplishments; while she chomps at the bit to get on with the business at hand. He’s a talker; she’s a doer.

I’ve always preferred doers to talkers. Of course if someone can be both, like President Obama, so much the better. Given the choice we had in this election, I voted for the doer.

What many may not know is that Hillary Clinton would have preferred remaining in her elected position as the New York State senator. President Obama refused to take “no” for an answer when she declined his request to be his Secretary of State three times. Instead she wanted to continue in her crusade to help Americans here at home. It’s almost certain that she thought she would be able to take up our cause once she’d served her President abroad. However as we have just witnessed, she was unable to fulfill a lifelong dream…to use the power of the highest office in the land to bring justice to all who had yet to share in the America she envisioned.

As for the millions Hillary Clinton received for speeches she made on Wall Street, my feeling is that everyone is entitled to earn their living to the best of their ability. It is common knowledge that public servants make nowhere near what their corporate counterparts make. Case in point…the most powerful leader in the free world earns $400,000. CEO’s earn millions, sometimes billions, in wages and bonuses. If they’re fair to their employees and aren’t guilty of cheating taxpayers, who can fault them for their earnings.

And as for emails detailing behind-the-scene conversations, I don’t think anyone is innocent of saying one thing and doing another. I would like to be a fly on the wall in Trump Tower. All of us are guilty of telling lies, the small kind, not the outright, big ones like those thrown around by Trump during his campaign. Fact-checkers couldn’t keep up with his outrageous lies.

Hillary Clinton was faulted for her part in her husband’s mea culpa passes. Like others who have “walked in her shoes,” wives do not easily throw off loved ones like yesterday’s fashions. Our commitment to them is based upon a spiritual connection that isn’t easily severed by the physical disconnect. Will men, and some women, ever “get” that about us? Hillary chose to move to Arkansas at her future husband’s invitation, rather than remain in Washington where she had a promising career. In spite of their marital ups and downs, they’ve remained together for 30+ years. May they enjoy many more.

After all is said and done, I’m glad Hillary Clinton is no longer taking the brunt of media and Republican savagery. They can now take each other on in mortal combat, and continue…

…the feeding frenzy.

………hugmamma.

 

 

…like a needle…

It seems as though we have a need to go looking for that proverbial “needle in the haystack.” Or perhaps we have this organic desire to thread a needle through that smallest of holes. The recent election attests to our heightened fixation on doing just that.

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton showed us exactly who they are. Many,  Republicans and Democrats alike, preferred to pursue a scavenger hunt mindset in search of the “real truth.” The media, with CNN at the forefront, happily led the charge.

At some point in the year-long campaign leading up to November 8th, I decided to read several books about the candidates. Rather than be spoon-fed constantly regurgitated “pablum” by the media, I wanted to learn the facts for myself in order to make up my own mind about both Trump and Clinton.

I’m no more of an expert on either person than the media or the political parties to which they belong. Neither am I judging others on their decision-making process; I’m merely offering my views on the matter.

Trump himself has shown us that he embodies the dual personalities of Jekyll and Hyde. The construction of Trump Tower is a sad example of Hyde overtaking Jekyll.

“Instead of hiring an experienced demolition contractor, Trump chose Kaszycki & Sons Contractors, a window washing business owned by a Polish émigré. Upward of two hundred men began demolishing the building in midwinter 1980. The men worked without hard hats. They lacked facemasks, even though asbestos–known to cause incurable cancers–swirled all around them. They didn’t have goggles to protect their eyes from the bits of concrete and steel that sometimes flew through the air like bullets. The men didn’t have power tools either; they brought down the twelve-story building with sledgehammers.

Trump kept an eye on the project, not just when visiting the site (where photographs show him smiling under a hard hat), but from an office he rented directly across Fifth Avenue, which offered him an unobstructed view.

The demolition workers were not American citizens, but ‘had recently arrived from Poland,’ a federal court later determined. The court also found that ‘they were undocumented and worked ‘off the books.’ No payroll records were kept, no Social Security or other taxes were withheld and they were not paid in accordance with wage laws. They were told they would be paid $4.00 or in some cases $5.00 an hour for working 12 hour shifts seven days a week. In fact, they were paid irregularly and incompletely.’

Many members of the demolition crew, which became known as the Polish Brigade, lived at the work site, sleeping through the bitter cold on bare concrete floors. The crew numbered about thirty or forty in the daytime, but swelled to as many as two hundred at night, when few people would be around the tony business district to observe the demolition work.

Fed up that their paychecks kept bouncing, some of the workers corralled Thomas Macari, Trump’s personal representative. They showed him to the edge of one of the higher floors and asked if he would like them to hang him over the side. The workers, likely hungry, demanded their pay. Otherwise, no work.

When Macari told his boss what had happened, Trump placed a panicked telephone call to Daniel Sullivan–a labor fixer, FBI informant, suspect in the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, and Trump’s personal negotiator for the Grand Hyatt contract with the hotel workers’ union.

‘Donald told me he was having some difficulties,’ Sullivan later testified, ‘ and he admitted to me that–seeking my advice–he had some illegal Polish employees on the job. I reacted by saying to Donald that ‘I think you are nuts.’ I told him to fire them promptly if he had any brains.’

As Sullivan later told me, along with reporter Wayne Barrett and others, hiring Polish workers who were in the country illegally and then having them work without standard safety equipment was not just foolish, it was reckless. For all his dealings with Trump, Sullivan was repeatedly astonished by the businessman’s lack of prudence. He said that whenever Trump saw an opportunity to collect more money or to cut his costs by not paying people what they had earned, he did. ‘Common sense just never took hold’ when Trump had money on his mind, Sullivan told me several times.

To Sullivan, only greed and an utter lack of regard for human life could allow Trump to let the Polish Brigade work without hard hats or the facemasks they needed to keep asbestos from entering their lungs. ‘Men were stripping electric wires with their bare hands,’ Sullivan later testified.

There is no record of any federal, state, or city safety inspector filing a report during the demolition. In a 1990 Trenton restaurant interview, I asked Sullivan how a project of this size could have been erected in the heart of Manhattan without attracting government job safety inspectors. Sullivan just looked at me. When I widened my eyes to make clear that I wanted an explicit answer, he said, ‘You know why.’ When I persisted, anticipating that Sullivan might specify bribes to inspectors, he said that unions and concrete suppliers were not the only areas where Trump’s lawyer, Roy Cohn, had influence.

Shortly after Trump called Sullivan, a new demolition crew arrived on the site. They were officially members of Housewreckers Local 95, but there were only fifteen or so unionists among them. Normally, employing non-union workers (in this case, Kaszycki & Sons) at a union work site would prompt an immediate shutdown. But, as federal court documents would later show, the Housewreckers Union was firmly under the control of the mobsters whose consigliere was Roy Cohn. Trump’s mentor and lawyer. So the union went along with a scheme to employ non-union workers, cheat them out of their pay, and shortchange the union health and pension funds.

Several simple but clever techniques in filling out records ensured that the union received no written notice of the non-union workers. Not incidentally, those workers were nonetheless required to pay union initiation fees and had union dues deducted from their meager pay, even though (as a federal judge later concluded) they were never actually in the union. Macari, Trump’s overseer, testified that he reviewed and approved these documents before paying Kaszycki.

Six Polish workers went to a lawyer named John Szabo for help getting paid. In early April, Macari saw to it that the window washing company Trump hired for the demolition job gave the six men a total of almost $5,000 in back pay. More workers then sought out Szabo. By July, as summer temperatures soared, the unpaid wages came to almost $104,000, even though the rate of pay was under five dollars an hour with no overtime, despite a grueling eighty-four-hour workweek of heavy manual labor.

One day, to keep the workers swinging their sledgehammers, Macari showed up with a wad of cash. Instead of paying the men directly, court papers show, Macari gave the money to the foreman. Anyone who wanted their money had to kick back fifty bucks to the foreman, testimony showed. After that, Macari testified later, he handed cash directly to the Polish Brigade members at least twice.

After the building was taken down, a dissident member of the Housewreckers Union, Harry Diduck, took the brave step of suing the corrupt union. Trump, and an arm of Metropolitan Life Insurance (Trump’s financial partner in Trump Tower) for the wages and benefits the Polish Brigade members should have received. Trump insisted he owed nothing and filed motion after motion that delayed the proceedings, which his lawyers characterized as baseless and unfair.

When the trial finally made it to federal court, Trump testified that he had no knowledge that any workers were underpaid, or that the Polish workers lacked hard hats and other safety equipment. Judge Stewart, in a lengthy opinion found that Trump’s testimony lacked credibility. The judge said it would have been easy to identify the Polish workers–they were the only ones on the demolition site without hard hats.

Judge Stewart ruled that Trump had engaged in a conspiracy to cheat the workers of their pay. At the heart of this conspiracy was Trump’s violation of his duty of loyalty–also known as fiduciary duty–to the workers and to the union. This ‘breach involved fraud and the Trump defendants knowingly participated in this breach,’ Judge Stewart held.

The judge awarded damages of $325,000 plus interest. Trump, who has consistently maintained he acted lawfully, appealed. He later settled. The agreement was sealed, so the amount Trump paid remains unknown. Diduck’s dedication to his fellow workers showed amazing persistence–the sealed settlement took effect more than eighteen years after the demolition began.”

The Making of Donald Trump by David Cay Johnston, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

…the real trump.

………hugmamma.Image result for images of trump as jekyll and hyde

gone…

…but not forgotten.

Trump is the president-elect, selected by Americans who felt disenfranchised from the mainstream populace. They have a right to glory in their achievement; let’s hope their trust is not misplaced.

For those of us who took Trump at his word, the ugly vitriol he bandied about to win at all costs, four years may not be enough to forget. Forgiving may not come easily either.

Why this man felt he had to trample all over the good name of millions of others, including Hillary Clinton and President Obama’s, in order to promote the TRUMP brand is a mystery. Obviously, we will never know. After all, he refuses to reveal the most basic of all presidential precedents…his tax forms.

I am glad millennials are protesting Trump’s victory. He must be held to a very high standard now that he has achieved what no right-thinking American thought was possible, including many of his supporters who agreed that he did not have the right temperament for the job. This generation of Americans must fight for their liberties, just as past generations have had to do. Only then will they realize the urgent need to safeguard what heretofore they might have taken for granted. They could not appreciate what might have been handed to them on a “silver platter.”

Trump is now facing his own “American Spring.” Just as Arab youth rallied to throw off the suppression of decades of dictatorships, the millennials in our country, and their elders, will have to fight to ensure that our democracy is upheld.

So much of Trump’s background remains outside of the general populace’s purview. Most don’t care to know what he brings to the presidency except for what he promised to bring them in the way of economic relief. Hopefully, the tradeoff will have been worth it to them…and to the nation as a whole.

I too wish Trump well as he tries to govern the nation. Although I will never like the man. He has shown himself to be a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One cannot exist without the other. A 70-year-old man is unlikely to change the essence of who he is.

It’s been said that Trump is a man who craves approval. Few among us have been able to escape that very human of traits. It might even be seen as a flaw. We will have to see how Trump manages his need for approval. It is a double-edged sword. It can work for us, or against us. It will depend upon whose approval our president-elect requires, ours or that of special interests…like the NRA or Russia.

The millennials have taken up the role as protectors of our democracy and our constitutional rights as Americans. More power to them!

Republicans own the Federal government now. Let’s see how they get on with the business of fulfilling Trump’s promises to working class-whites. He may need the help of Democrats who are more inclined to help the downtrodden. It’ll be interesting.

I do hope, however, that the Democrats pursue Trump’s private life as it affects the office of the presidency…his personal lawsuits…his foreign business connections…his connections to the mafia, and felons accused of drug-trafficking…his proven personal use of charitable donations.  Republicans have spent millions of taxpayer dollars pursuing the Clintons for decades. Trump is not exempt from the same treatment.

Liking is as important as loving. Barack Hossein Obama is someone I both loved and liked as a human being and a president. His successor will never have my devotion as a woman, a wife, a mother, a human being, an American.

Trump is totally alien to who I am as a person of morals and compassion. Nonetheless…

…I wish him well.

………hugmamma.

 

dorian gray…

Whatever the outcome of the election, whoever becomes our next president, Donald Trump is…lost.

Trump is like Dorian Gray, the man whose portrait is transfigured over the course of his life…from that of an ordinary man to that of a hideous monster. How appropriate it would be to view The Portrait of Dorian Gray, a horror film sure to tickle our Halloween fancy, if it weren’t for the scary fact that we have seen it unfold before our very eyes over the last year of the presidential campaign.

Like Dorian, Trump views his likeness as projected back to him…by himself. He needs no other confirmation of his greatness. The fact that others believe in him only fuels his grandiose self adulation.

We all tell “little, white lies.” I don’t know if it’s possible for any man, woman or child, to go a day in his or her life  without ever having said at least one untruth. I’m sure even the religious will tell a lie if it were to further a greater good…like saving someone else’s life. At the same time I’m just as certain there has never been another American, at least in my lifetime, who has lied with such vigor and constancy as Trump.

Trump is a pathological liar.

We all have prejudices, born of our circumstances…ethnicity and culture, spiritual beliefs, gender, education, jobs, social standing. Until now, we have all strived to keep our individual wants and needs in check. America, and the world at large, belongs to all fortunate enough to have been born. If anyone thinks differently…look around. Savor the beauty of autumn’s changing colors; ponder the undeniable affection a loved one has for you. Don’t take these for granted. They could be lost in the blind fervor Trump supporters have for a self-serving autocrat.

Trump is narcissistically selfish.

Women continue to struggle for respect…in our private and public lives. Physical and verbal abuse continues to plague us…in the home and in the workplace. I’m not sure it can ever be balanced out given our physical differences and the fact that men have long governed every aspect of our lives since the beginning of time. Perhaps if the roles had been reversed as in the time of the ancient Amazon women who ruled their people. Trump is disrespecting of women; even as he promotes them in his empire. He uses them to amass his wealth; while he uses their bodies to satisfy his sexual appetite.

Trump is a misogynist and a sexual predator.

Manipulative people assert themselves upon others. Perhaps we all do this from time to time…with our spouses, our children, other family members, friends and acquaintances. Whether we do it knowingly or unknowingly, it happens to the best of us. Taking it to a whole other level, however, Trump has shown himself to be a master manipulator. Not only is it obvious with those who have abandoned their morals to his presidential coronation, but it is also apparent in those gathered in a tight circle around him, his family. His children and his wife serve as his mouthpieces. Makes sense…they are Trump’s legacy and the benefactors of his wealth.

Trump hustles everyone with abandon.

Education, whether formal or informal, fosters the growth of civilization. Mankind pulls itself ahead of the other species with whom we inhabit the earth by our intelligence. Were we to abandon our thirst for knowledge, we would find ourselves back with our ancestors, the cavemen. Trump has shown by his ignorance of the facts, that he prefers syphoning information off of the Internet, in particular, Twitter and Brietbart. In so doing the Republican presidential candidate is allowing the more learned among his staff, such as Harvard-educated Steve Bannon, to drive Trump’s conversation. It’s not a stretch to imagine that he could easily succumb to the wiles of Vladimir Putin, former KGB operative steeped in the ways of undercover intelligence.

Trump is intellectually lazy.

Living in his ivory Trump Tower, The Donald is isolated from reality. Reality TV will always be his domain. As depicted on The Apprentice, Trump thrives on judging others. Lo and behold those who attempt to judge Trump, however. They run the risk of inciting his ire. At the second presidential debate he promised to appoint a special prosecutor to see that his arch enemy, Hillary Clinton, is brought to justice.

Trump justice.

Mingling only with the rich and famous, Trump cannot organically understand the plight of the lower classes. He only knows them as the doers in his empire. Folks who serve his needs and those of the wealthy classes with whom he prefers to associate. While he professes to empathize with the plight of Blacks and Hispanics, he can only spew stereotypical anecdotes about their lives. All of them bad… including those which condemn these groups for criminal activity. For someone totally alienated from lower class, nonwhites on a daily basis, it’s easy to revert to what’s familiar, what’s natural.

Trump is an ignorant racist.

Indulging his own desires at the expense of all else, has altered Trump’s humanity beyond all recognition.

…trump is dorian gray.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

on the edge…

Getting older has its pitfalls; some being more evident than others. I don’t think we notice them in ourselves until we see them reflected in others. With his erratic behavior growing ever more so each day, Donald Trump should be a warning to those of us on the brink of going there ourselves.

If we disconnect with the changing world around us and become more and more insulated inside our own “bubbles,” we run the risk of becoming like Trump. We begin to see the world as hostile; people unfamiliar to us as “the enemy.”

As he has demonstrated time and time again, Trump sees another conspiracy lurking just around the bend. Beginning with the “birther” movement for which he enthusiastically assumed the leadership role, he has progressed to his current vendetta against the media, global bankers, his sexual accusers and the Clintons  as being in cahoots to take him and the country down.

We all know folks like Trump. Folks in their 60’s, 70’s and older, who can’t see beyond yesterday when the world was familiar and they felt safe. Arguing for the past in bellicose tones empowers them, even as reality slips through their fingers.

Years ago while sitting at the table with good friends of ours, dining on a wonderful array of delicious, homemade, Italian dishes, I was keenly aware of the elderly dad sitting quietly unable to participate in the banter of lively conversation. Now and then someone would try to draw him in, with no success. That image remains  etched in my mind, and serves as a reminder against the debilitating effects of isolation in older age.

That’s how I see Donald Trump…a dynastic patriarch lost in a world of his own, unable to set aside his glorious past for a present in which he doesn’t figure as prominently. I’ve known men and women like Trump. Folks who continue to view themselves as THE authoritative voice on all things, unwilling to allow that others might know better. Many a time I’ve been on the other end of such dogmatic arguments.

I don’t want to be like Trump…seeing conspiracies where there are none. Getting older doesn’t mean we automatically slide into a world of paranoia. It happens when we allow negative thoughts to overwhelm our minds, wreaking havoc where there is none, and wallowing in our own isolation to the exclusion of all else.

A couple of nights ago, hubby and I enjoyed a date night. I was looking forward to seeing Adam Levine and Maroon Five perform ever since we received the tickets as a Christmas gift from our daughter. While I thoroughly enjoyed his music, I must admit to feeling older than I expected. As thousands stood for the duration, my arthritic back found comfort in remaining seated. And while everyone else sang along with Adam, I was at a total loss for the lyrics. I felt “left out.”

Early on, I asked a woman standing in front of us to please sit so we could see the performance. She eventually acquiesced, but at the end of the evening I realized rock concerts might no longer be for me. Rather than be a curmudgeon, I’d prefer to remember when nothing could keep me down; when I’d be up and moving before anyone else.

Letting go…happily and with dignity…is a nice feeling when getting older. Although I promised myself that if I could see Bruno Mars perform live, I vow to stand with the best of them…and learn all the words to his songs! My daughter promises to join me at a Mars concert, and I’ll bet one or two of my sisters-in-law would fly in from Hawaii to join us as well.

Being “young at heart” would serve us seniors well. Old age doesn’t have to deprive us of youthful ideas and feelings, or guarantee we’ll suffer the effects of dementia…or worse, Alzheimer’s. It’s never easy to teach an old dog new tricks, but it’s…

…not impossible.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

…the dilemma…

…is a moral one.

Absorbing the headlines and then digesting all the spinning by both media pundits and politicians is a full time job. What rises above the din, for me, is how conservatives are willing to sacrifice their principles in support of Trump and what he professes to uphold. Recently, a supporter of his said it best…Trump is voicing what many have been afraid to say publicly. That’s why the KKK supports him.

While Trump supporters, including Governor Christie, proclaim that their presidential candidate is not racist, he refuses to step away from making comments which indicate otherwise. Calling attention to the ethnicity of Judge Gonzalo Curiel and Senator Elizabeth Warren, and doubling down on it when interviewed or when rallying supporters speaks to Trump’s preoccupation with people’s backgrounds. It may not rise to the level of David Duke but race definitely matters to the Republicans’ presumptive nominee. He readily extracts it whenever he reaches into his ever-present bag of tricks to incite the crowds. While supporters defend him as not being racist, Trump uses the “race card” as readily as he accuses Hillary Clinton of using the “woman card.” The difference is Clinton embraces the accusation by exclaiming…”Deal me in!” Trump, on the other hand, whines that the media “misconstrues” his words.

Trump’s attitude toward women is a double-edged sword. He appreciates beautiful women to the point of surrounding himself with them. Melania, his wife, and Ivanka, his daughter, are prized trophies. Not only are they gorgeous, but they are smart. Trump prizes such women. As a smart businessman, however, he understands the value of smart women working in his organization, even if they lack physical beauty. What’s nauseating is Trump’s obvious patriarchal attitude toward women. Very telling is when he remarked that his mom was the ideal woman because she was completely devoted to his father. The implication being…his mom never questioned her husband’s actions.

“The Art of the Deal” is Trump’s modus operandi in all areas of his life. It’s not likely to be any different were he elected president. Knowing that he acts and reacts “on the fly,” means Trump’s operating principles flex accordingly. It may be that in his heart, Trump is not the persona he puts out for public consumption. At least that’s what he claims. The problem is we, the people, have to take him at his word. Attempting to do just that is difficult, when Trump’s words keep changing according to the landscape in which he finds himself on any given day.

Trump reliant solely upon Trump is another scary prospect. It reeks of authoritarianism. According to Donald Trump…he will return America to greatness….he will build a wall between Mexico and the U.S…he will bring jobs back…he will force companies to fall in line with his demands. As though monuments to honor a great man, Trump may be fashioning himself after North Korea’s Kim Jong-un or Russia’s Putin…strong men using strong-arm tactics.

I’m an Independent who usually votes Democratic. I don’t usually align with Republican principles. In the current presidential election it’s obvious that those principles are founded upon shaky ground. For the highest political prize, the presidency, even Paul Ryan whom I considered highly principled is willing to “hold his nose” and vote for stinking Donald Trump. On the other hand, I applaud the Bushes, Mitt Romney and George Kasich, among others, who will NOT compromise their moral compasses for the sake of a political party.

To stand with a man who publicly recognizes the KKK, known racists, is to deny all that America has strived to achieve since our forefathers fought to win their independence from England’s tyrannical rule.

Actions do speak louder than words. In Trump’s case, he is both telling us AND showing us his true colors. And in my judgment, they are not truly RED, WHITE, and BLUE. They are only…

…a facsimile thereof.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

 

…our own “arab spring”

Americans shook their heads as Egypt experienced the turmoil and upheaval of the “Arab Spring.” Many looked askance at a country whose citizens would become embroiled in such a messy civil war. This is the 21st century, after all.

Having settled our differences over a century ago, Americans tend to separate themselves from the fight for democracy happening elsewhere in the world. Been there; done that. Or so we like to think. Truth is nothing was permanently resolved. Just as the movement to free slaves went underground before and during The Civil War, so too have white supremacists been biding their time ever since, awaiting a leader who would one day champion their cause.

Just as Trump hijacked the Republican Party to invoke the cause of angry, white men, Bernie Sanders has done the same with the Democratic Party. A self-professed Liberal, Sanders is also on the war path for angry, white men. Both he and Trump welcome the support of any and all, but make no mistake their target group are white men who have been disenfranchised…losing their jobs and their standing in the community to others. Trump and Sanders hold themselves forth as white men who can return the middle and lower classes to the status quo. They ignore the changing times and the changing face of the world in which we live.

Trump and Sanders have more in common than not. Electing either for president is choosing to return America to the same old, same old…a patriarchal America in which white men provide for us…according to their whim.

The assault on Hillary Clinton is rooted in the fear that someone other than a white man might do as good a job, or better. America is poised to find out. The biggest risk facing our country is not going for the “same old, same old.” The biggest risk is throwing aside the shackles that have bound Madame Liberty to 100+ years of welcoming all who seek freedom and comfort to our shores. It’s time we let her do the job from…

…the oval office…

…hillary for president.

………hugmamma.(photo…haveyoupackedthecamera.com)

 

…gives me the creeps.

Trump is showing himself to be…the bogeyman. And in the process, he’s scaring the heck out of me. Could anyone be scarier? Maybe Hitler in his rise to power.

During my annual eye checkup with our ophthalmologist today, he reassured me that there was no way Trump would be elected president. He cited as proof the fact that 83% of Hispanic women and 91% of African American women are against Trump. As comforting as that may sound, he has until November to wear voters down.

Americans are driven by advertising. Most don’t research the pros and cons behind their purchases. TV ads that keep making the pitch to buy their products usually hit their mark. We are bombarded every day by subliminal messages to buy this or that. And we succumb, time and again. Even against our better judgment in some cases.

If voters hear Trump sound bytes over and over and over again, they might eventually be sucked into believing he’s speaking the truth. In fact, he is a grand manipulator of the truth. It’s what he calls…”the art of the deal.”

Young and old alike smoke, do drugs, drink to excess, and eat junk food. So why wouldn’t they vote for Trump? He’s bad for America, but he tells it like it is. That’s a “high” for a lot of people. They enjoy getting high on Trump’s belly-aching. There’s never been anything like it, so it must be good…at least until after the high wears off. And believe me, it’ll wear off pretty fast if he’s elected.

The really scary part is Trump didn’t expect to win. His was suppose to be a message campaign. The same can be said for his democratic counterpart, Bernie Sanders. Now that Trump is at the top of the Republican heap, he doesn’t know how to lead except to continue denigrating all his would-be detractors, including Speaker-of-the-House Paul Ryan.

Trump’s only asset is making deals. So until he sits at the president’s desk in the Oval Office, Trump will only know how to mouth off from the bully pulpit. Don’t look for substantive policies on how he’d fight Isis, or reduce the deficit, or send millions of immigrants back home to Mexico. Trump hasn’t figured that all out yet. He’s having too much fun scaring the bejesus out of everyone…his supporters, his forsworn enemies at home and abroad, parents and their children, women who aren’t candidates for Miss Universe or who serve as media mouthpieces for him, people of color and non-Christians.

We may watch in disbelief as Kim Jong il, North Korea’s leader, dallies the threat of nuclear warfare in front of the world, but we may be facing our own despot in Donald Trump.

…be careful what you ask for.

………hugmamma.


talk about old…

…and I know old.

Returning to Cold War rhetoric is like dragging the tyrannosaurus rex out of mothballs. Isn’t it preferable to leave dinosaurs where they belong…in the Smithsonian?

Arianna Huffington recently explained that Donald Trump is sleep deprived. He admitted as much himself, claiming to get by on just 3 hours sleep a night. Obviously he’s not well read on the consequences of long term sleep deprivation. Among them fatal diseases like heart attack, cancer, even Alzheimer’s. At 70, it’s worrisome that a President Trump would have his finger on the nuclear button. He could blast us all to smithereens in the midst of his own personal crisis.

Putting all of one’s faith and hope into a man who lives in the past, wanting to return America to an “us vs. them” mentality is akin to wearing a blindfold for the next 4 years. The world will move forward in spite of us. The U.S. will be the “it” in a global game of “Blind Man’s Bluff,” stumbling around unable to discern what it is the other players are doing.

For better or worse, the world is on a path forward. There’s no hitting the “reset” button and doing a makeover. America can remain an important player, having significant influence every step of the way. Or America can play Trump’s game and cry “wolf” every time he stubs his toe.

Bernie Sanders is 74, an old man with big dreams. I worry he won’t be around to see them all come true. Who will carry his torch? His loving, loyal wife? Good for them. Maybe not so good for America.

Passing the torch is an Olympian fete. It’s a team effort. It’s essential we have a captain who can lead the way, outlining a path toward greatness. It’s also essential to have someone who has “walked the walk” and not just “talked the talk.”

Yes, like everyone else I’m awed by charisma. However if my life depended upon it, I’d want someone who’s not afraid to show us that she’s also an intellectual geek to captain my team.

Slow and steady won the race for the turtle. And that’s who I’m rooting for in the presidential elections…

…mama turtle, herself!

………hugmamma.

setting the bar…

Since President Obama took office it was evident that Right Wing extremists were never going to accept him. First, he was black; second, he had a Muslim name. The third strike was when he refused to bend to their will and give in to the “good ole’ boys,” white way of doing things. In Donald Trump, they’re back in their comfort zone. The man’s white. He’s got a normal, Christian name, and he’s golden with the “good ole’ boys.”

Obama has had an uphill climb from beginning to end. Nothing good that he has tried to effect lasts longer than a few days in the media spotlight, and even less in the public’s memory. The President saved us from an economic recession that could have backed us into another Great Depression, or worse. He enacted health insurance for millions unable to afford it. Under his orders, Osama bin Laden was killed. Gays and Lesbians were elevated to respectability under Obama’s administration. And not least of all, black families in the example of the First Family received a tremendous boost in the eyes of the nation and the world. A lasting impression, unlike the TV version embodied in the Huxtables which is unraveling with the diminishing reputation of Bill Cosby. While the President has not been able to overwhelm the NRA’s stronghold on Congress, he has taken what steps he could to stop certain guns from getting into the wrong hands.

Where most presidents occupying the White House are scrutinized from time to time, President Obama has had to endure the overbearing presence of a magnifying glass the likes of the Hubbell Space Telescope. He can’t take a step without Right Wing extremists already criticizing him for mis-stepping. In their eyes, Obama was always going to fail.

Like other presidents before him, Abraham Lincoln included, President Obama was not going to be all things to all people. With Right Wing extremists, he was never, ever going to make the grade. Ever. The fact that he won a second term is a credit to the man, and to all right-thinking people in America. The fact that he has continued to do what good he can to improve the lives of his countrymen is a testament to his moral compass and personal strength. He has not been deterred or derailed by any blockade, real or imagined, created by extremists. Like the birther movement, which continues to have a life of its own…its tentacles reaching out in search of prey.

If Right Wing extremists get their way, Trump will foul mouth his way through the hallowed halls of our forefathers. I for one will miss the dignity and class with which President Obama has conducted himself. In trying times, and there have been many, he has not publicly lashed out with verbal abuse. He may not have had the gift for negotiating the deal, but he did the best he could while remaining true to himself. Trump, by comparison, intentionally demeans any and all who stand in his path, remaining true to his essence…a bully without regrets.

When he leaves office, I will breathe a sign of relief…for the man who has had to endure so much, personally. And I will be happy for the life the First Family can finally enjoy…

…far, far away…from the maddening crowds.

………hugmamma.Image result for First family images

(photo…cnn.com)

 

aren’t the stakes…too high???

The thought that Democrats are voting for Trump so that he’ll get elected, only to be trounced by Hillary Clinton in the general election is as foolhardy, I think, as gambling on…roosters…or pit bulls….or leaping frogs. I know my analogy may raise a few eyebrows and incur a few chuckles, but that’s how disbelieving I am that folks would gamble on something as important as voting for the most powerful leader in the world. Taking the most precious privilege we have as American citizens and tossing it up in the air to have it fall where it may…is as ludicrous to me as purposefully voting for Trump. Makes me wonder if these supposed, well-meaning Democrats are merely attempting to camouflage their desire to actually have the candidate win.

Democrats for Trump.

Sounds like an oxymoron. It’s been done before, but this time, with this candidate, I just can’t swallow the idea.

I guess it just raises the bar, yet again, for female candidate Clinton to have to roll up her sleeves and prepare for the mother-of-all slug fests with the king of mud slinging. How low will he go? That’ll be the million dollar question, or should I say Trump’s $10 billion dollar question. The man has no manners, no filter, no morals. Although he makes up for it with the biggest ego ever to go viral.

Hopefully, if the presidential match does come down to the…lady and the beast…Americans will be listening for the message and not let the messenger get carried away posting his own selfies to instagram and twitter.

This is not a reality TV show. Too many lives are at stake to gamble on who’ll win and who’ll place. Trump doesn’t play to place. He’s going to call in all his favors to make sure he carries the Oval Office. His ego is on the line.

Going forward, we all have to live with the FrankenTrump created by the Republicans…establishment and fanatics alike. What we don’t need is…

…the monster calling all the shots!

………hugmamma.

zealots in congress…

Zealot…”a person who has very strong feelings about something (such as religion or politics) and who wants other people to have those feelings…”

That’s what Webster’s dictionary defines as those who are running away with the Republican Party…and trying to do the same with our government.

Our government. Not their government. Not the president’s government. 

A coming together of contrasting ideologies for the good of all…not for the good of a handful.

Where I might have entertained the idea of a Republican president, Boehner’s resignation as Speaker of the House cemented my vote for a Democratic president. Second in line for the presidency, Boehner, the most powerful Republican according to the constitution…if he has no faith in the Republicans…why should I?

By his action, Boehner voted against his own party. I cast my vote with him…

…i’m sure i’m not alone.