Sunday, November 13, 2016

My November Blessing

There is something about November that takes me back to childhood.  To the gray skies as I walked to school with a cold wind and raindrops falling sideways, getting under my umbrella.  I think of it feeling gray outside and a bit lonely, and that the bright yellow lights of my classroom seemed welcoming and cozy as I hurried past the crossing guard.

We'd hang our slickers in our pine cubbies and warm our hands over the furnace vent and try to dry off with the rough brown paper towels.  We'd go to our desks and get out our pencils and our already grubby erasers and get ready for reading group (I was in the cardinals). 

The world was a big gray comforter surrounding my school, my teacher knew everything there was to know about everything, I was with  friends. Who knew what exciting thing might happen today in music class?  And it would feel like all was right with the world. 

I'd be wearing my tights and my wool plaid skirt and my cotton button up top, and I'd be reading a story about a little Sioux Indian girl (we didn't call them native Americans yet) and I'd just be frustrated as heck that that word was pronounced 'sue'.  It made no sense!

I'd  smell paste, taste our mid-morning milk break from the waxy cartons (so fancy, my family only got milk in old glass bottles), see the faded construction paper scraps, and  happily listen to my teacher talk about cumulus clouds.  When I walked home at lunch-time my mother was sure to have Campbell's chicken noodle soup with grilled cheese and if I was really lucky, hot cocoa as it finally felt wintry enough outside to make some. 

By about 2:30 I'd had enough, and watched the clock-hands refuse to move just like every other kid, for that last 60 minutes of each day.  As I stomped through every puddle on the way home, the sky would seem brighter, and the rain had stopped, but it still felt later than it should feel.  I'd be anxious to get home, not stopping to look for frogs in the creek or any of the other distractions I might find in August or April.

In November, it was important to get home, turn on the tv, and start laughing at Gilligan.  Smell supper cooking (probably pork chops and applesauce), try to avoid any kind of chores, and when Sherry came to the door to ask me to come out to play, I might say 'Not today.'  November made me want to stay inside, and stay close to my humans.

Today as I drive home on a gorgeous sunlit day, with the November sunshine shedding light in a particularly warming way, highlighting every last leaf, it made me appreciate every single leaf still hanging onto those tree branches.  It made me want to pray for each individual leaf.  Yet it made me homesick for those second-grade Novembers.    And it reminds me that each month, even blustery November has its blessings. My November blessing is remembering.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Its not about P O L I T I C S

Politics -- when there are two candidates, you really, really want yours to win, but they don't.  Or they do. Politics is when in 1980, 1984, and in about half the elections since where  'my' candidate lost, I was disappointed.  I was a bit incredulous that the 'other guy' could win.  That is politics.  Politics is kind of like sports but with a lot more to lose and gain than pride.  I felt bad for a while and I probably stewed in the 'loss' but I moved on.

The 2016 election and how disillusioned I feel has nothing to do with politics.  Nothing.

Sure I wanted Hilary to win, and wanted my daughters to see the first woman president.  I was disappointed she lost. That is politics.  And I know there were lots of valid arguments against voting for Hilary.  Valid political arguments. Politics.

Sure I wanted Bernie to win the primary and ANYONE but Donald to win the Republican primary.  Still politics.  Still you can tell me 'Sour grapes, move on.'  I did.

The reason I am heartbroken has nothing to do with Trump now being my president either.  I mean yes, he ran on a Hitler-esque platform and hates women, anyone who isn't white, immigrants besides his wife, makes fun of people with disabilities and our servicemen.  But I believe that any president has limited power and most of his crazy, evil plans will not come to fruition.  I'm sure some of them will, but that is still politics.  That is like all the people who have protested that everyone having health insurance is not good or American.  I think it is a great thing, others don't.  We disagree.  We DO move on.  Still politics. And if the health insurance gets replaced with Trump's carefully designed plan documented currently as  "Something Terrific," ?  Politics.  I will get over it. I will move on.

Building a wall?  Isn't former president Reagan still revered for tearing down a wall?    I guess no one can get to our country without walking or driving?  This was an idea he came up with that is offensive to many but to me just dumb.  Dumb does not equal wrong. I've dealt with plenty of dumb in the past and 'gotten over it'.  Politics

Not Christian enough/at all?  Politics.  My Christian friends may disagree, but the fact he doesn't regularly seek God's will, calls the sacrament of communion having 'his little often as possible' is his idea of 'religion' means he unfortunately isn't a a Jesus freak like myself.  Still I would prefer not to, but can and would vote for a president who is not what I call a Christian.  That is politics. That is separation of church and state. Freedom.

And speaking of our new president, no one needs to tell me to treat him with the same respect and dignity that everyone provided to President Barack Obama the last eight years.  I know how to be a good American. (I do hope Presidents are required to read the Constitution)

I will even give you that in listing pros and cons of Donald Trump, there were some pros.  I love the idea of a good shake-up.  I love the idea of challenging the system.  I have no problems with his relationship-building with Russia.  That is politics.

What is not politics?  That people I  know, am friends with, respect, care about, family, co-workers would endorse and vote for such a prejudiced intolerant woman-hating anti-American anti-Veteran disability-bashing bully of a human.  He did all these things.  He said all these things.  No blame of the 'media' can account for the words that poured out of his mouth. Over and over again. Not one mistake.  Not one 'mispoke'.  Like Niagra falls, the values of a person who appears to respect no one but himself, poured out of him.

When he was asked if he had anyone die in the line of service, he said "I think I've made a lot of sacrifices.  I work very, very hard."  at that moment I was confident no reasonable person would vote for him, even if they were dying for a big upset. Big upset=interesting idea.  President who compares running a business to losing his own son, one who died for his country=wrong.

The man insulted our POWs. Wrong. 

The whole hidden recording where he said a bunch of sexist things about grabbing and forcing and pushing, and then women came forward to testify.  I can say 'not surprising'. I'm sure he said something similar thousands of times (unrecorded) and this would indicate this is not a priority for those who voted/endorsed his views.  If you want a president that thinks women are objects to be used you must not have a daughter.  You must not respect the opinions of all of our living former presidents, Republican and Democrat,  who at that moment withdrew all support for this human. Because it is wrong.
A man who doesn't pay his taxes used to be a criminal.  Now he is 'smart'.  What pays for all of our servicemen overseas, our military, our roads, our parks, our veterans and our retired citizens?  Taxes.  He doesn't care about any of those things enough to give one penny towards them?  Wrong. Perhaps for you or me,  cunning.  For the President of the United States of America, it is wrong. 

Let's all stop paying taxes and be like our new president.
Let's all build walls around our towns to keep out anyone who doesn't look or speak exactly like WE do.
Let's cheer for the predators of our daughters--who needs jails? That would require someone to pay taxes.
Let's denigrate the sacrifices of our troops, our fallen heroes, our POW's and veterans. We don't need a defense against enemies.

That is who you voted for.  That is who you voted for.

That is what the people I thought I knew voted for.    There is no other way I can look at it.  This is not about politics to me.  This is right and wrong.  A vote for Trump was a vote for bigotry, hate, division and anti-Americanism. It is not politics.  My father raised me to the tune of two main themes: Integrity and Initiative.  Mr. Trump may have initiative but he is sadly lacking in integrity.

Please stop telling me to get over it.  Move on.   This is not the Cubs losing the world series. It feels like a death.  It feels like the devil winning.

And though I will eventually get over it.  I'll remember the times my people were kind or helpful or loving.  I'll pray for the ability to overlook and forgive their endorsement of wrong that it now feels like they also embody having voted for this candidate.  And eventually I will.

I fully realize I'm being judgmental myself.  I'm judging that wrong is wrong.  And if anything I said in here offended you, I apologize.  It is not my intent to tear-down but to express my own current very strongly-rooted feelings.    I'm working on it. I'm praying about it.  And until I write about something, I can't move on.

And I'm praying we never go this low again and have this kind of election again.  Please Lord, let this be a wake up call and not the 'new normal'. And I pray for strength for all to put aside their differences and work together.  What else can you pray for?