in vogue again…

So…if children see Trump bullying his way into the presidency, then why bother listening to adults moralize against bullying? Bullying gets the job done. Trump is proof-positive, and thousands of voters are rooting the bully on to a knock-out victory over any and all contenders.

So…if we see an uptick in bullying…on the playground…and on the internet…adults who voted Trump president have only themselves to thank. They have upended recent efforts to halt suicides by victims who were no match for the bullies.

So…if the would-be president is a bully, why shouldn’t children aspire to be like Trump…a bully? There’s no arguing the point, unless voters want to argue that the end justifies the means.

So…if the end justifies the means…what’s wrong with bullying…if it gets a kid what he wants in the end? It’s getting Trump what he wants. Remember, he swears he could shoot someone and his voters would still support him.

So…if mentally ill kids feel victimized by bullies and decide to retaliate by taking their  frustrations out in mass shootings, then we’ll be right where we are today. No better, but headed for a lot worse, that’s for sure.

So…for adults supporting Trump for president, it would follow that they approve of his bullying tactics. And because they do, it stands to reason that these same adults could not hold it against children who bully. Unless, of course, these Trump supporters are proposing that children “do as they say and not as they do.” That old double standard…that’s as old as bullying.

Sadly…

…some things never change.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

 

let’s give ’em…

…something to talk about.

That’s been the media’s mantra throughout the presidential campaign.

True, it’s what they’re about no matter the topic. Ratings drive the media. Whatever sells…is news.  And Trump’s been selling. Big time! So he’s always the headlines. The rest of the candidates have been orbiting around his sun, as far as the media is concerned.

So why would the media kill the “goose that lays the golden egg?” If Trump is elected president, the media is as much to thank as his herd of loyal followers.

Listening to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews…normally on the Democratic sideline…one gets the feeling that even he is rooting for Trump. Matthews likes that Trump is “having fun” during the presidential campaign. Great fun. At whose expense? Certainly not Matthews, nor the media at large. They’ll all be rolling in dough when the media ratings soar with Trump in the White House. There’ll be no lack of headline-grabbing news every time Trump bullies up to the podium.

Trump has matched wits with the media, ensnaring them into his web of open deception. Willing victims, the media have afforded Trump free publicity, even aiding and abetting in his lampooning the other candidates. The voting population-at-large would not be as tuned into Trump’s shenanigans if it weren’t for 24/7 coverage of his antics by CNN and the other major networks. They’re making a good living off of Trump and in return, he is reaping the massive exposure and raking in the votes.

So Trump wins!

…God forbid!

………hugmamma.

(photo…cnn.com)

what the people want…

It’s true. Americans thus far have decided they want a bully in the White House. They’re tired of being Mr. Nice Guy to the world. Instead, they’d like a Putin…or worse, a Bashar al-Assad. I exaggerate, but Americans should be careful what they ask for. They’re rolling the dice with Trump, banking on his word to make America great again. What those voters don’t know…and don’t want to know, it seems…is how Trump is going to do what he says he’s going to do. They don’t want to know that he’s going to, in his words ” punch that guy in the face” and ‘ ” You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.” ‘ Essentially, Trump’s devoted fans want something akin to the Mafioso in control of their lives.

These days I no longer turn on the news to hear updates on the presidential race. The news is too depressing. Reality TV is now real life played out on the national stage. Viewers of the Kardashians and the various and sundry Housewives shows much prefer trash talk and pushing the boundaries, rather than upholding moral standards of any kind. Just as Trump ruled the airwaves as King of Reality TV, he is now on his way to becoming King of America. And make no mistake…that is the title he seeks. He will not be the leader of a democracy. He will rule as an autocrat.

Trump says he doesn’t want to reveal his plans to the rest of the world, that’s why he drones on without saying anything substantive. Who is he fooling? Only fools, that’s who. The man has no clue how he’ll get Congress to bend to his will. I’d like to see him take on Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House. Is Trump going to punch Ryan in the face if he dare protest?

I’m certain Trump’s fans will want to see him punch Putin in the face, but that won’t happen. The Soviet leader will have no qualms about putting loudmouth Trump right where he belongs…in the little boy’s sandbox with the rest of the wannabe bullies of the world. Why? Because Putin would take Russia to the brink of war to show his muscle. Trump won’t have that kind of backing from a democratic country where Americans are always second-guessing themselves. Should we? Shouldn’t we? What’s in it for us? Me. Me. Me.

It’s my fervent prayer that the 65% of Americans of whom Senator Rubio has spoken as being dead-set-against Trump will pull this country back from the brink. Americans are proven risk-takers. They love gambling, especially when the winnings are in the billion-dollar range. Just as with the recent power ball jackpot, Trump’s followers are hoping to win big with the billionaire businessman. What they don’t realize is that he’s no dummy…he’s in it to win it…for himself.

Trump is about Trump, first and foremost. Whatever wheeling and dealing he does will benefit his coffers above all else. After all, those voting for him aren’t blinking an eye at any of his shenanigans so far. Why would they do any differently after their man is president? Like the man said on January 24 of this year “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Voters have given Trump carte blanche…a complete pass…to do whatever he pleases, whenever he pleases, however he pleases.

I for one think the man is a pig. And the only pig whose stuffed likeness I’d put in the White House is Miss Piggy. Although I’d be up for stuffing Trump and exhibiting him as a trophy over some fireplace mantle in some lodge in Alaska…alongside his surrogate, Sarah Palin.

…can you tell?…

…i’m p/o’d.

………hugmamma.

(photo…businessinsider.com)

 

 

undecided?…or…independent?

Politics are personal.

Barack Obama in Des Moines, Iowa

Barack Obama in Des Moines, Iowa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Most of us don’t like revealing our voting choices. We like to keep them…close to our vest.

So it was a nice change to read the following by an Iowan, who claims to be an Independent voter.

I know about Independents…I’m one myself. I voted for George W. Bush the second time around.

What I hadn’t a clue about…were Iowans. Now I know them…a little better. And I like what I’m hearing.

On the college campus where I write and teach in Iowa, the trees are aflame with red and yellow leaves and the students — more than 90 percent of them if 2008 numbers hold strong — are ready to vote for Barack Obama. With early voting, many students cast their ballots before they headed home for fall break, to far-flung states where their votes may not matter quite as much.

Still, at least according to the media’s incessant reporting, a large segment of Iowa voters are still independent and undecided. And they’re getting a lot of attention. I’m a registered independent, and I’ve spent my whole life in the Midwest — MichiganWisconsin and now Iowa — so I’ve gotten a lot of calls from pollsters over the years. And every time they ask me whom I plan to vote for in November, I always tell them I’m undecided.

It’s always a lie.

I always know whom I’m going to vote for months before the election, though I’ve cast votes for at least three different parties over the years. For many Midwesterners, saying I’m undecided is akin to saying it’s none of your darn business. In Iowa, it’s often hard to predict how people will vote, largely because it’s a fairly private place (there’s plenty of elbow room) and it’s an awfully polite place, too. We try to get along despite our differences. Bumper stickers and yard signs go away swiftly once an election is over.

Defying Convention

While I can sort of guess whom most of my students will vote for based on their T-shirts and the Howard Zinn books sticking out of their backpacks, I’m less certain about the political leanings of my fellow bowlers on Wednesday nights or my fellow worshippers on Sunday mornings. Last week, at the same stoplight, I saw a Romney sticker on a Prius and an Obamasticker on a massive Dodge pickup. Iowa defies convention. Still, I believe these mythical swing voters will once again go for Barack Obama in 2012. Here’s why:

— We don’t like to change horses in midstream. Here in the Midwest, if we hire someone to do a job, we try to stay out of the way and let him or her finish it. It’s stoicism common among the farmers and laborers of the region. Good work takes time. You can’t solve a problem overnight. You plug away a little every day.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, a Democratic presi...

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, a Democratic presidential candidate, strolls the Iowa State fairgrounds Aug. 16 in Des Moines. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is, I think, a big reason George W. Bush won Ohio in 2004 and why Wisconsin GovernorScott Walker staved off a recall attempt earlier this year. It’s simply a matter of respect. Iowans remember, acutely, the economic collapse of 2008 and understand a community doesn’t recover from disaster overnight. Federal assistance and federal subsidies have helped Iowa recover from many unforeseen disasters in the past; while we don’t trust the government to do everything, we understand that effective federal programs, such as Obama’s economic stimulus, student-loan and health-care plans, can steadily help a nation work toward recovery. If we see some progress, we are patient people.

— Iowa’s a “live and let live” kind of place. I recently learned that a well-educated gay man from the East Coast, now living in rural Iowa, whom I met at a cocktail party, is probably voting for Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, an insurance company employee I met at church, a married father of three who dresses in khakis and polos, turns out to be one of the fiercest liberals I’ve ever met. I know a small-business owner who is still undecided, but he’s wavering between Obama and theGreen Party. A former student of mine in Ames, an Iraq war veteran, will probably vote for Obama, but may very well go for the libertarian Gary Johnson or write in Ron Paul.

Few Converts

He doesn’t trust Romney on foreign policy or civil liberties. Simply put, for those coveted independent voters, Romney-Ryan’s hard turn to the right on social and military issues is disconcerting. Most Iowans don’t like to put their noses in other people’s business, whether it’s a neighboring home or a distant nation. Divisive social issues and jingoistic nationalism, which Republicans are pushing hard in Midwestern swing states, may mobilize the party’s base but they do little to create converts to conservatism.

— Wall Street is very far away from Iowa. In the Midwest, we don’t trust fancy. And while those on the far right have long tried to paint Obama as the elitist in this race, in Iowa, Romney is going to have a hard time hiding the silver spoon that’s been in his mouth since birth.

It’s not that Iowans resent wealth; it’s more that they resent the kind of wealth that Romney has accrued in his life, most of it “unearned” income — wealth that seems to grow through the manipulated magic of Wall Street rather than the pluck and perseverance we prefer. Wall Street’s recklessness in the past decade has had a profoundly destructive effect on Main Street and the fields that surround it. It’s hard for Iowans to forget that Romney made his money in a system that exploited, in multiple ways, the modest resources of the average American family.

In Iowa, we tend to follow our strong opinions with a polite disclaimer: Well, I may be wrong, you know. And I may. Yet one thing is certain. No matter which way Iowa goes this year, it won’t be long before the pollsters come back to us, looking toward the 2016 caucuses, asking us whom we will support the next time the presidency is at stake. And we’ll get everybody excited, by letting out a low whistle, shaking our heads and muttering, “Well, gee, I don’t know yet. I’m undecided.”

Have a nice day.

English: U.S. Sen. Barack Obama campaigns in O...

English: U.S. Sen. Barack Obama campaigns in Onawa, Iowa on March 31, 2007. Onawa Public Library. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

(Dean Bakopoulos teaches at Grinnell College. His most recent novel is “My American Unhappiness,” now out in paperback. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this article: Dean Bakopoulos at bakopoul@grinnell.edu.

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Katy Roberts at kroberts29@bloomberg.net.

beware of “mama grizzlies”

Regular visitors to my blog are well aware of my fear of bears, especially the ones roaming around my community looking for food. Fortunately these are black bears foraging for berries and garbage scraps, not people. I’m told, thankfully, that grizzlies don’t inhabit our area. I hope this behavior is not altered by future environmental changes, or I might have to move back to Hawaii, where bears are behind bars, in zoos. So why on earth would I be drawn to a “mama grizzly,” unless I was a baby grizzly hungry to be fed? 

Where I might have found Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell “curiosities,” now my gut instinct is to slowly back away from them, eyes lowered so as not to encourage their wrath. According to Lisa Miller in her recent Newsweek article “Hear Them Growl,” “A mama grizzly is a conservative woman with ‘common sense,’ as Sarah Palin puts it, someone who ‘rises up’ to protect her children when she sees them endangered by bad policies in Washington. She is fearless, and that, in combination with her femaleness, makes her scary–a new kind of political predator. She will take on any foe and, the implication is, rip him or her to shreds.” On her Facebook page, Palin asserts ‘Mama bears not only (forage) for themselves to prepare for winter, they (work) twice as hard to slay salmon for their cubs, too.’

There’s a pervading sense of “me-ism” in grass-roots politics, Palin’s brand of governing, best expressed by Nevada’s Senate candidate, Sharron Angle in June’s National Review, ‘ Don’t get between me and my cubs, or you’ve got trouble.’ On its face, the sentiment is commendable, but it seems to reflect a deeper philosophy that there is nothing Angle won’t do to preserve her family unit. The implication is that all American mothers should feel likewise. My concern is for those mothers who are “broken” financially, emotionally, physically, mentally, like my mom was. Who helps these mothers? Who helps them help their families?

It would be nice if every community had an orphanage run by Maryknoll nuns, making donations of used clothing and a surplus of powdered eggs and milk, to single mothers raising their families. My impoverished mom was fortunate to have these “angels” hovering around, helping her care for her 9 children. But these days the Catholic Church has its hands full, defending itself against allegations of pedophilia among its rank and file. And for the most part, nuns are now figments of our imagination, ghosts from a bygone era. Charitable organizations, as a whole, are finding it difficult to remain afloat during the currently depressed economy. So where do those existing on the fringes of society go to survive? 

With few exceptions, the grizzlies have been disinterested in the issues and policies that their political opponents say are good for children–despite new numbers from the census showing that rising numbers of America’s children are poor. Most of these candidates have vowed to fight to repeal President Obama’s health-care plan, for instance, and Bachmann (Minnesota’s congressional incumbent) and Haley (South Carolina’s gubernatorial candidate) have taken  special aim at CHIP, a federal program aimed at helping low-income kids get health insurance. In 2001, as a member of Nevada’s state Assembly, Angle voted no on a domestic-violence bill that would recognize restraining orders issued in other states. In 2007 Haley, a state representative, voted against a measure that would have created a kindergarten program for at-risk kids. As governor of Alaska in 2008, Palin slashed funding for Covenant House that included resources for teenage mothers. In 2009 Bachmann voted no on a bill that would give federal employees four weeks of paid parental leave.

Palin, Haley, Bachmann, Angle, and O’Donnell all declined to comment for this story. (Most grizzly candidates regard the mainstream press as the enemy.)

I agree with Angle’s friend and head of the Washoe County, Nevada GOP, Heidi Smith in that ” ‘When people don’t have jobs, they don’t have food, …There’s a loss of self-respect if you can’t provide for your family … ‘ But I’m not as comfortable with her statement that ‘The less amount of government interfering with family life, the more families can prosper,’…” Nor do I agree with Haley’s friend and president of the South Carolina Policy Council, Ashley Landess, who concurs with Smith and adds ” ‘Children are the most stable and most protected when their parents are able to provide for them,’ …” What happens to those of us, born and bred in this country, who don’t have parents to provide for us? Or whose parents can’t provide for us? Are we exported to some third world country to blend in with “our own kind,” vanishing from the collective American psyche forever?

If the grizzlies are united by an anti-establishment fury rooted in maternal concern, then it’s fair to ask what their records show they’ve done for kids. Not just their own kids–but for America’s kids, and their families as well. Even some Republicans wonder whether all the fearsome roars are merely election-year antics with little substance. ‘ ‘Mama grizzlies’ has a  catch to it, and you save your cubs–but what they’re lacking is solutions,’ says former Republican congresswoman Connie Morella. ‘They want to take their country back. Back to where?’

As the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.” I used to say mothers should rule the world. I guess I was looking in the mirror at the time, imagining women who share my perceptions of life and humanitarian attitude. But even more, I assumed they’d “bring more to the table,” like broader life experiences, higher education or greater aptitude for knowledge, more management skills, greater business acumen. Perhaps I was envisioning someone like Michelle Obama.

Gut instinct and common sense resolutions work in managing my household. But there are so many more layers to governing masses of people. So I’m not in alignment with whom Palin “…was soon anointing mama grizzlies… When she endorsed Arkansas congressional candidate Cecile Bledsoe on Facebook, Palin explicitly referred to her as part of a growing list of “commonsense conservative ‘mama grizzlies.’ ” I’m for environmental responsibility, but I have no clue how to proceed, no matter how much gut instinct and common sense I might muster up. So if experts advocate conserving energy, I will do my best to follow their advice. In some corner of my brain, I understand the need for “living within one’s means.” But in our household my husband balances the checkbook and pays the bills. I’ve learned that I have a low threshold for anxiety, and have difficulty wrapping my brain around mathematical calculations. Why then would I want to relinquish the government purse strings to women who are unable to manage their own home finances?

Haley, who has two children…is just the sort of pro-business, low-tax, limited-government conservative Palin loves. Her platform is focused mostly on economic issues: creating jobs and unleashing entrepreneurial energy by slashing taxes. She holds herself out as a paragon of fiscal responsibility (never mind that she and her husband have failed to pay their taxes on time in each of the past five years).

O’Donnell, too, preaches fiscal responsibility on behalf of children, but hers is a tougher case to make. According to the Wilmington, Dela., News Journal, O’Donnell defaulted on her student loans, as well as on her mortgage. Aside from running quixotic campaigns for the U.S. Senate, O’Donnell hasn’t had a real job since 2004. Meanwhile, the nonpartisan watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed complaints with the Delaware U.S. attorney and the Federal Election Commission, alleging that O’Donnell embezzled $20,000 in campaign funds ‘to cover her personal expenses’ and committed tax evasion by not claiming those funds as income. ‘If what you’re doing is sending someone to Washington to cut the deficit, why on earth send someone who can’t manage her own finances?’ says the former Republican governor of New Jersey Christine Todd Whitman. ‘How does that give the voters a level of confidence?

O’Donnell’s response ‘I think the fact that I have struggled financially is what makes me so sympathetic.’ reminds me of Depression-Era’s John Dillinger.

John Dillinger has gone down in history as a pseudo ‘Robin Hood’ character, a gangster with charm and style who was more idolised by the public than reviled. His life has been recounted in many movies, particularly the film-noir gangster films of the 40’s. In a case of life imitating art-imitating life, Dillinger, who is said to have modeled himself on Hollywood stars like Errol Flynn – for instance leaping over counters- was himself a character whose eventful life influenced the pictures, especially as the archetypal good-guy hood.

But the truth about Dillinger is more prosaic; that he was simply criminally intent on making as much money illegally rather than having been pre-occupied with Joe Public during the Depression years. Gunned down by the FBI while leaving a Biograph cinema, even his death has helped fuel a mythology about this good-looking, charismatic crook, who is as famous for his love life as he is for the banks he fleeced.

 I have difficulty acquiescing with other stances taken by these “mama grizzlies.” With regards to abortion, “Angle’s views are harsh: when asked by a radio interviewer in June what she’d tell a young girl who’d been raped by her father, Angle responded, ‘Two wrongs don’t make a right,’ and that the girl should turn ‘a lemon situation into lemonade.’ ” Sounds like some nonsense a Stepford Wife would utter in her fairy tale world. Tom Pritchard, president of the Minnesota Family Council has said of Bachmann, ” ‘Michele’s view is that parents are the ultimate educators and should call the shots,’ …” Meanwhile she “has voted against funding early childhood education, student-retention measures, and school modernization.” And as a state legislator, Angle “fought the conventional wisdom that kids have different learning styles. She introduced two bills that mandated the teaching of phonics, saying, ‘We need to return to the basics of education.’ According to fellow legislators, Angle refused to meet with the teachers’ union or lobbyists while she pushed the bills.” In 2005 O’Donnell complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and sued her employer, a conservative think tank, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute for $7 million alleging gender discrimination. “Yet in 1998 she appeared on cable television defending the Southern Baptist Convention’s new language commanding that wives ‘graciously submit’ to their husbands, and she has been an outspoken opponent of women in the military. Her erratic stances and statements have caused even party stalwart Karl Rove to call her ‘nutty.’

Themselves mothers, it’s understandable that these “mama grizzlies” would support positions beneficial to their households. “Angle pushed a Nevada judge to expand definitions of homeschooling to accommodate other moms like her, who sent their children to small, family run religious schools.” And Palin “a mom who sent (or sends) four kids to public schools…refused to advocate for school vouchers in Alaska and supports infusions of public money into the education system.”

‘Our schools have to be really ramped up in terms of the funding they are deserving,’ she said during the 2008 vice presidential debate. ‘Teachers need to be paid more…We have got to increase standards.’ While governor, Palin repeatedly increased education spending, and shortly before leaving office last year proposed a plan to ‘forward-fund all our school districts with more than a billion dollars.’ The only place where Palin veered to the right was in the teaching of creationism. ‘I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class,’ she said in 2008.

But while I don’t fault them for following their maternal instincts, I’d rather not sublimate mine so that theirs might become the “law of the land.” I’m not certain they’d be impartial arbitrators in determining whose maternal instincts would be most advantageous for all, under their governance. Newsweek’s writer says it best

Fundamentally, the mama-grizzly phenomenon is not really a movement or even a political term that represents a fully coherent set of ideas. It’s mostly a marketing tool, meant to draw attention to Americans’ broad dissatisfaction with the way things are. Fair enough. Many people are dissatisfied, and they want to vent and they want to change Washington. But in the wild, real mama grizzlies are known to be aggressive, irrational, and mean. The issues facing the country are complex, and bears are not.

walk backwards and avoid eye contact.. . hugmamma.