Then and Now

 

The kids came Saturday for another Thanksgiving dinner.  After dinner,  from a top shelf in my temporary bedroom (over a year now), I got two hand crafted Native American drums, sometimes called tom-toms.  One was, I  think, the first non book gift I bought for Eli. “He was too young for it, grandfather.”  Jenny said the other one was hers from childhood.  Eli has recently started drum lessons, so within minutes he and Viv were pounding out  a steady rhythm.

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That night I settled in to finish watching “Cheyenne Autumn,” a 1964 John Ford epic.  It was the last western directed by Ford; starred Richard Widmark, James Stewart, Carroll Baker, Edwin G. Robinson and others.  The story line is simple, based on a real event.  Although factual it’s told in a typical  “Hollywood style.”

In 1878, Chiefs Little Wolf and Dull Knife led over 300 starving Cheyenne from their reservation in Oklahoma territory to their traditional home in Wyoming.

The Northern  Cheyenne had been forced onto the desolate OK reservation from their historic homeland on the Yellowstone.  By 1878, sick and starving, tired of the white man’s broken promises, they began a 1,500 mile journey home.  They were pursued by the United States Calvary led by an almost sympathetic, Captain Thomas Archer (Widmark).  Bosley Crother, N Y Times critic wrote,  “It is an eye opening  symbolization of a shameful tendency that has prevailed in our national life — the tendency to be heartless to weaker peoples who get in the way of manifest destiny.

There  are many familiar images, curving lines of the refugees as they move through the western landscape — plains, mountains, Monument Valley; stoic, determined chiefs draped in government blankets; ever alert warriors, arms crossed with rifle;  resolute strong women.  And then the cavalry in dark blue (its black and white movie but) uniforms, precision, prancing horses, ready to charge the fleeing natives at the sound of a bugle.

There are various subplots, a romance between a Quaker school teacher and the Calvary captain.  A Congressional delegation that never shows up and Cavalry down time at a fort. In a strange sequence, Dodge City characters,  leave the saloon and gambling tables to check out the Cheyenne, only to retreat back to town when they discover them.  There are skirmishes  between the Cheyenne and soldiers; capture, followed by the killing of  warriors, women and children.  Finally escape for a few and an eventually an 1883 Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana.

As I tried to go to sleep,  a dreamy film loopes over and over.  The Cheyenne stood up to a government that didn’t recognize their rights and humanity. It was over 100 years ago.   The Cheyenne stood up and reclaimed their homeland.  It is still happening today.

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I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, N.D.  I’ve actually been more aware of anti-pipeline signs around Stockton and Frenchtown, N.J.  According NPR, however,  the protest at Standing Rock “exceeds just about every protest in Native American history.  But that history itself, of indigenous people fighting to protect not just “their” land, but “the” land, is centuries old.”

“There are no rights being violated here that haven’t been violated before.” said Kim Tallbear, a professor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, who for years worked on tribal issues as an environmental planner for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. Those violations, she said, have taken two forms: long-term disregard for indigenous land rights and a “bureaucratic disregard for consultation with indigenous people.”

When she sees images of police using pepper spray and water cannons or security guards unleashing dogs on Standing Rock protesters, Tallbear said, she isn’t shocked. “I’m, like, oh yeah, they did that in the 19th century, they did that in the 16th century,” she said. “This is not new. … The contemporary tactics used against indigenous people might look a little bit more complex or savvy, but to me, I can read it all as part of a longstanding colonial project.”

“Maybe for non-Natives who thought that the West was won, and the Indian Wars were over, and Native people were mostly dead and gone and isn’t that too bad – now, they’re like, ‘Oh wait a minute, they’re still there? And they’re still fighting the same things they were 150 years ago?’

“Yeah, we are.” I need to follow this story.  This historic protest.

As I try to go to sleep, the film loopes over and over. The Cheyenne stood up to a government that didn’t recognize their rights and humanity. It was over 100 years ago.  The Cheyenne stood up and reclaimed their homeland. It is still happening today.

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Thanksgiving

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I began to reflect last night on why I was thankful:

I am thankful for my parents (gone now), even when we disagreed, they were supportative and willing to sacrifice to help me achieve.  They modeled and taught me values which I try to use to guide my life.

I am thankful for family, particularly Diane who has spent a disrupted year, caring for me with my medical issues.  It has effected every aspect of our lives.  Then there are my four sisters, Cissy, Vicky, Marylee and Liz, who are always helpful and fun to be with.  Jenny, Rob, Eli and Viv have a special place in my life.  They are the future.  I am so thankful what they bring to all the lives they touch. From Rob’s music, Jenny’s compassion, Eli’s wry grin and the twinkle in Viv’s eyes.  A special thanks for Eli’s recovery from neuroblastoma. Viv and Eli  are great kids and that’s not just grandfather pride.

I am thankful for the extended family, friends and colleagues who have listened to or been with me, particularly this past year.  Some have helped with household projects That I couldn’t do; I’ve visited others; weekly telephone calls with some; maybe just  social media contact, including many former staff and alumni from Holy Ghost Prep.  I am conflicted about mentioning names because I know I will miss some. But Ellen Mignoni, Philomena Profy, David and Judy Sears, Jerry and Susan Taylor, neighbors Mike, Kurt and Chrissy, Kathy Walsh, Tony Figliola, John DiGiesi, Matt Jordan, Tom Eckerle, Trish O’Conner, Mike Honan, Jerry Alonzo, John Amsterdam, Peter Cassidy, Tony Chapman, Mike Ditchkofsky, Barbara Cavanaugh, Barbara Dye, Jim McCullough, Jerry and Donna Kwait, Joey Lentz, Sue Micklewright, Dan Ryan, Edna Ramirez, and Robert Vierlinck.  Thanks.

I am thankful for those in Yardley who contribute to the small town atmosphere and community spirit.   From Canal O’Ween, Harvest Day, Saturday Farmer’s Market, those that serve on Council and so many other community groups, FODC, Community Center, Historical Association, Friends of Lake Alton.  And thanks to those  I meet ocassionally or regularly on morning Canal walks.

I am thankful for those political leaders and lawyers and judges who contribute to the American spirit of equality, freedom and justice for all, and celebration of American diversity who work to pass and enforce rules, laws, and regulations consistent with America Democracy.

I am thankful for our public and private school teachers who dedicate their lives to our children instilling values of tolerance, fairness, critical, open thinking, and a desire for constant growth and learning.

I am thankful for our university, teaching and research academics who expand our knowledge.  And the inventors and entrepreneurs who contribute to a healthier, sustainable, peaceful world.

I am thankful for those farmers, particularly small family operations, that contribute healthy, organic, sustainable, local when possible food for our tables.  And I can’t forget the chefs and members of the food industry who take the values of farm to table into restaurants and food markets.

I am thankful to the doctors, nurses, social workers, and all the members of the health and social welfare industries who attempt to provide the best preventive care, medical intervention and social services from birth to grave while respecting the patient as an individual with unique concerns and a special life.

I am thankful to members of the media, publishers  editors, writers, cartoonists and photographers, who attempt to provide factual, truthful news, the good and the bad.  Whose editorial coverage is thoughtful, admitting their personal point of view and bias which is impossible to avoid.

I am thankful for the middle and working class workers who make the world go round.    From trash collectors, construction workers, waitresses, sales clerks and all the others who work honestly and productively but also stand up for their and their fellow workers rights to a fair, liveable  salary and benefits, health care, family leave, retirement within the possibility of the richest country in the world.

I am thankful for those corporate executives who run companies with environmental and social standards that protect the planet, country, general citizens and workers.

I am thankful for those in the financial industry, bankers, stock brokers, financial planners who that treat consumers with fairness and respect accepting only salary, benefits and profits that recognize those values.

I am thankful for government employees at all levels that ensure that government, ‘s rules, regulations, values expenditures, and justice system are for the people, all the people, all the time.

I am thankful for those activists, social, environmental, international who serve as a conscious and motivator when we fail to respect the rights of everyone, in the United States and abroad.

I am thankful for those who join and support non profit groups whose mission may be civil rights, the environment, the arts, poverty, or social and health issues. Given  our current climate, I mention the Southern Poverty Law Center. In honor of Eli, I mention Alex’s Lemonade.

I am thankful for all those that enrich my life, writers, musicians, dancers, actors and actresses, artists of all stripes and mediums.

I am thankful for those designers, mechanics, crafts people, potters, woodworkers, basket makers, glass blowers, metal workers, and others that create interesting and functional objects of beauty and utility.

I am thankful for the vererans who serve(d) in the  military, based on conscience, a sense of what is right and duty to the people of the United States.

I am thankful for people who are different from me.  Racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, gender and political diversity is what makes life so exciting.

I thankful for religious leaders who respect all types of  spirituality and promote social justice for all.

I am thankful for those volunteers, young and old who donate their talents and time to worthwhile causes.

I am thankful for drivers who don’t think they own the road, walkers who look at and say hello to those they pass, store clerks who want to help, and all those people that are just friendly.

I apologize to anyone I missed.  Try to catch you next year.

Happy Thanksgiving           Vince

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The Greatest Generation

 

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“The Greatest Generation” was a tribute to the generation was born in the depression and came of age during World War II.  It was written by Tom Brokaw and published in 2001. Earlier this week I began to read “The Greatest Generation Speaks: letters and reflections.”   In it Brokaw shares responses and letters from veterans and their families to his best selling   book.

I chose it from the short pile of books I’m ready to read or re-read.  I chose it to escape the feeling of miasma I have following the recent election. Weeks before the election I wrote a blog, “Trump:  I’m Tired.” And I’ve written about the seesaw feeling of wanting to never hear Trump’s name again and recognizing that in just a week he’s making appointments that could drastically, dangerously change the United States. I cannot close my eyes.

The Greatest Generation is my parents Generation.  Their story is probably pretty typical.  This Veteran’s Day I re-posted an article about my father who served in the Navy during WWII.  Yesterday in the mail, I received several documents about his service from the Department of Veterans Affairs and a notice that have forwarded my request to another agency, National Personnel Records.   The papers, “Notice to Separation from U.S. Naval Service” confirmed his service at Newport and the Great Lakes, on the U.S.S. Nelson and the U.S.S. Rapidan.  Enjoyed reading that he listed watch making as his preference for training and job.

These small windows into Fathers life are so important now.  He is gone and the record of his service is incomplete.  It’s only recently I realized how little he said about his years in the military.  That was not unusual among servicemen.  Most, like Vincent Profy, were humble, quiet about their sacrifice and courage.  Maybe they repeated a few favorite stories but not too much.  Brokaw’s book actually awakened memories for many.  How different today when we “shout out” our accomplishments or concerns on Facebook and Twitter.

Another lesson we can learn from the Greatest Generation is unity.  After Pearl Harbor, most Americans were united in a determination to defeat Nazi Germany.  There was a draft but thousands enlisted to protect American values — acceptance, freedom, democratic rule.  You can add to the list.  The unity extended to the men in the foxhole,  cramped in a submarine or flying over enemy territory. At home, young girls and recently married helped keep the home fires burning.  Sounds corny, but it’s true.  They worked in factories, raised kids,   established canteens for those in uniform.  They were brothers and sisters for the duration.  In contrast, our rhetoric today about coming together sounds hallow.

Maybe this was when “America was Great.” I’ve been searching for that period — turn of the nineteenth century, 1840s Oregon Trail, see previous blogs.    But there were some cracks in the WWII years.   African Americans faced discrimination in the military as well as at home.  Women were sometimes viewed as just”pin ups.”  Japanese Americans were herded into concentration camps at the same time second generation  Italian immigrants invaded the homeland.  Gays were in the closet and couldn’t openly serve in the military.  When it’s said “Make America Great Again.”  Is this what is meant?

I totally enjoyed escaping into the world of “The Greatest Generation Speaks.”  Like religion, it was a haven, security, warm, cozy, things were simpler then.  But it’s history; we can’t go back.  Can we learn something.

I totally respect and appreciate the humility, hard work ethic, loyalty, patriotism, and family values that characterized the greatest generation, including my Father and Mother.  I accept that their attitudes toward diversity and openness were sometimes less than they instilled in me.  Father had Black friends but held subtle racial stereotypes.  I fondly remember a day in center city Philadelphia when he realized we were part of  a gay parade, he literally turned and ran away.  Interesting, Mother despite or because of her devout Catholicism was a more open.

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Reading, hearing, thinking about the stories of my parent’s generation,  friends and neighbors, is both inspiring and questioning.  Sixty million people were killed in WW II.  Four hundred thousand were Americans.  Why?  Easy answer.  Hitler.   A leader who divided people and scapegoated —  the Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and . . .  . are responsible for your troubles.  A nationalist who proclaimed you are superior to others.  A demagogue  who institutionalize bigotry and racism.

If you are a 60s liberal like me and want to understand the Greatest Generation better, read ” Duty: a father, his son, and the man who won the war.”  Bob Greene never fully understood his father.  After his death he met Paul Tibbits, the pilot of the Enola Gay, who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.  How could his father admire Tibbits who killed some many people with such a horrible weapon.  Greene meets and talks with Tibbits many times and slowly comes to understand his father, Tibbits and the Greatest Generation.  It’s quite a story, I remember after reading it, immediately passed it on the my father.  Maybe no gereration holds the keys to the kingdom.

I don’t think we are Nazi Germany.  At the same time I can’t smile and promote “return to normal.”  The Greatest Generation, my parents,  raised me to think, proudly,  for myself.  Whether they intended to or not, they taught me to defend American values, including diversity, immigration, religious freedom (all religions), women’s rights — we are brothers and sisters united.  Black and white, male and female, Muslim, Jewish and Christian, gay and straight.

I honestly believe in the end, my parents, the Greatest Generation,  would have supported that unity.  It’s what they taught me.

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The Oregon Trail

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My reading seems exceedingly slow but sometimes good things are worth waiting for.  I recently finished, “The Oregon Trail: a new American journey,” by Rinker Buck.  A great read on several levels.  The basic story, two brothers embark on a covered wagon trip from Missouri, following the Oregon Trail to West.  Journeys are one of my favorite themes;  especially journeys that recreate or follow incidents or chapters in American history.  The possibilities are endless.  Sail in the wake of Columbus to the New World, walk the Applachian Trail from Maine to Georgia, drive Route 1 to Key West, follow a slave escape from The Carolinas to Philadelphia.

Rinker’s  style, telling his personal story,  is totally engaging.  His father, in the late 1950s, decided to take the family on a summer vacation from their home in NJ.  The trip was “a combined camping  and coaching expedition, with stops along the way at historic sites like Valley Forge and Gettysburg that my  father wanted his children to see.”  Decades later, Rinker, discovers  the Oregon Trail and decides to follow emigrants on the the 2,000 mile trail in an wagon.  His brother, Rick, a good mechanic and mule team driver signs on.  Despite differences, the brothers argue, bond, work together, and complete what might sound like an impossible dream.

On the trip, Rink reflects on his life, particularly his relationship with his father.  His writing style is exciting, fluid, easy going.  What I call “a good read.”  He meshes his personal experience with the experience of the pioneers from the 1830s on.  Weather, trail conditions, steep inclines, broken wheels — all conspire to end the trip.  But Rinker and Nick spring back.  Almost always, ranchers, farmers, regular people support their trip.  America at its greatest.

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Their wagon, based on the classic Peter Schuyler model of the prairie schooner used by my most pioneers, was built  by Pennsylvania Amish.  The Amish also built the “Trail Pup” designed by Rink to carry supplies and would be pulled behind the main wagon.  The mule team — Beck, Jake, and Bute — are major characters in the story, including their individualism. personality, cooperation, and rebellion. For them alone, read the book.

As well as an engaging personal journey, “The Oregon Trail” is a great lesson in American history.  Frederick Jackson Turner, in his Frontier Thesis (1893), described the settlement of the west as a “safety valve” taking pressure off the east coast and it’s cities, as immigrants flood into the country.  The Oregon Trail from Missouri to Oregon, opened up the land of Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase.  The land Louis and Clark explored in 1804.

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It is not an easy trip.  Just over 2,000 miles, established by fur trappers in the 1830s, beginning in Missouri, maybe Independence or Saint Louis, through Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho into Oregon.  The trail wasn’t a paved road, and could stretch to a mile or more wide, as thousands of wagons spread out across the prairie.  At some point there were forks for alternate routes.  It’s estimated that 200,000 emigrants used the trail west; maybe 20,ooo died in the attempt.   In addition to accidents, drownings, and run away wagons, there was disease —  typhoid, mountain fever and cholera to name a few.

Independence was the most common jump off point, where the emigrants stocked the wagon, pulled together into wagon trains, lead by a scout.  Shopping for wagon and supplies they had to navigate huckster salesmen and con artists.  It may cost $1,00o an emigrant. Some lost their shirts.

Group travel provided the man (and women) power to help each other in an emergency.  Only fools (like the Buck brothers) would attempt the trip alone.  The trail passed through  varied American landscape, rivers, open prairie, desert, and mountains.  Each presented challenges.  For the most part Native Americans were friendly, a few hundred were killed on either side in confrontations.  Clean, sufficient water was a major issue.  The trip usually took five or more months.

Today the route is marked in many places by deep ruts made by wagon wheels,               (amazing  they are still visible).  There were some mandatory stops at scenic or dangerous points or at forts.  At some of these,  entrepreneurs offered  goods for sale.  Frequently,  it was supplies dumped by emigrants to lighter the load.  The trail was/is littered with the debris, including broken wagons and the skeletons of mules and oxen.

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Rink and Rick Buck endure many of the hardships encountered by the nineteenth century emigrants.  Cold, hunger, run away mules, broken axels and wheels, steep rocky inclines and deep rivers.  They persisted as did so many before them.  And like the emigrants they spent a lot of time walking.  This wasn’t a wagon ride.

This is an exciting period in American history.  The myth of rugged American individualism emerged at this time but we also have the image of the wagon train circling together for mutual support and survival.  Complimentary?  Contradictory?  The Trail is part of the romance of the west, recorded in so many novels, movies and television shows.  Who remembers Ward Bond and the “Wagon Train” series from the 1950s?

 

Following the Oregon Trail and other historic journeys fire  my imagination. Why didn’t I think of this ?  Could I do it?  I also enjoy new perspectives on American history.  There is so much detail we don’t get in our survey courses.

After the 2016 Presidential election, I think we are at another turning point in our national history.  Can we learn lessons from the emigrants that followed the Oregon Trail?  One reviewer wrote, “The experience on The Oregon Trail stands squarely opposite much of what is modern — it’s slow travel with poor communications, it places struggle before comfort, and it represents a connection with history rather than a search for the newest of the new.”

For me “The Oregon Trail” was an escape into another world.  Something I need.  But I can’t help asking, “Is this when America was Great.

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Change at the turn of the century

“This Was America” by Martin Sandler. One of the many books of historic photographs that I’ve enjoyed. This is turn-of-the century, nineteenth to twentieth America. Americans are leaving  farms for cities. Agriculture is replacing manufacturing. Inventions are transforming daily life — telephone, bicycle, automobile, electricity. The western frontier is settled. Immigrants flood into the country, women don’t have the right to vote, Jim Crow rules the South and lynchings are a time for postcards and picnics, there are no child labor laws. Kids slave in factory and mine. Urban slums are notorious. The wealth differential between rich and poor dramatically increases. The wealthy enjoy Palm Springs and Newport, sailing, sports hunting and fishing, golf, and horse racing.  Restaurants, theatre, luxury and  servants — the good life. America is a world power; some would label it imperialistic.

No question that this was an exciting time in America history. Much of who we are today began or began to change then. Read history.  It’s important to know how we got where we are.

Take a look at the photographs (a new documentary invention back then). Was this when America was great?   If not when?

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It’s a small country after all

img_2116Last night I described in a blog how I was on a seesaw (see Seasaw).  This morning the unthinkable happened, I turned to my right and on the seesaw next to me was President-elect, Donald Trump.  Up and down he went, at times he seemed to balance right in the middle.  I couldn,t tell if he was happy.

Down he went, appointing RNC chair, Reince Priebus as his Chief of Staff.  This guy has strong establishment credentials.  What will supporters think.  Wasn’t the election anout”draining the swamp.”  They need to understand, we may need to pull bodies out of the swamp and put them in the administration if we want to get anything  done.

The seasaw swings up, appointing Steve Brannon, Breitbart News executive, who worked so hard on the campaign,  as policy advisor.   Won’t this please supporters (some anyway), Bannon and Breitbart are known as the voice of the alt-right, advocates of white supremacy. I mean the KKK enforced me and are mounting a big recruiting drive.

Then there is Paul Ryan, House leadership, wasn’t he deep in the swamp.  Trump tries a balancing act — hovering between up and down.  Do we pull him out of the swamp and give him a voice in the administration, it’s a tough call. Maybe we get in the swamp.   Ryan is talking about cuts to social security and Medicare.  He has firmly supported the appeal of Obamacare.  What do my supporters want?  What do I want?  What’s best for me in other words.

The seesaw swings down.  After talking to President Obama Trump realizes that there are provisions of the law that should not be repealed.  Maybe instead of repeal, it should be amended.  We should keep the clause that pre-existing conditions cannot disqualify and another that allows young adults to stay on their parent’s policy.  Will insurance companies pay for these provisions?  If not how do we pay for them?

Trump swings up but again tries to hover in the middle.  A lot was said about immigration in the campaign.  Supporters really expect results.  But deporting 11 million, that’s a tall order, maybe we can deport just the criminals, should be 2 or 3 million (the real number doesn’t matter as much as we say deport, deport the alien, Mexican rapists and drug dealers, Muslin terrorists, deport).  And we got to keep them out.  A wall is really expensive and would it work, Mexico certainly won’t pay for it.  Maybe Congress will approve a fence, in a few places anyway.  And what do we do with all those Muslims — those here, those who want to come here.  Can we deport them if they are a threat; can we ban them from entering the country.  Somehow we’d need to finesse the Constitution.

The seasaw swings up. Trump gets to appoint at least one Supreme Court justice.  Any liberal interpretation will disappear.  The Constitution is conservative and only political conservatives know what it means.  Only they understand the founding fathers (even though they were eighteenth century elitist).  The new Supreme Court will repeal Roe v. Wade.  That should make the troops happy.  What if over 65% of women support abortion, they still voted for me when the liberal press tried to paint me out as a sex deviant, grabbing, you know,  assulting — 42 % still voted for me. And what really counts 52% of white women voted for me.  But this does get complicated.

Down we go. Trump claims that gay marriage is the bag.  The Supreme Court has spoken.  But what to do about Mike Pence.  The administration needs him.  He might play a big role in policy.  But we don’t need headlines like the Huffington Post’s  recent “The Mike Pence (Donald Trump) Assult on LGBTQ Equality is Already Underway.”  I said, The Supreme Court has spoken, tough if it was a liberal court.  We can’t just change everything, can we.

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The seasaw swings back to the middle.  Thousands are protesting the great Trump victory.  So what if a majority didn’t elect me.  Trump won; the electoral college has (hopefully will) spoken.  The young Clinton (and probably Sanders) sore losers are taking to the streets.  They call it free speech; I call it anarchy.  We need to support strong police departments.  We need law and order.  Some of my critics say there is an increase of hate crimes, particularly in colleges, high schools and elementary schools.  It’s reported usually by the liberal press and organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that students have painted  swastika’s on bathroom walls, told classmates they should be deported, told Muslim women to remove their hijabs, reminded African-Americans about lunching that happened historically if Niggers didn’t keep there place.  They try to say I’m responsible.  I say, “Now this is free speech.”  I’m not condoning violence or destruction of property, to that, I say, “Stop it.”  You remember when Nancy Reagan said, “Just say no”  and ended drug addiction.  Trump people aren’t haters; they love America and want to make it great again.

Trump remains swaying, balancing in the middle.  What does the new administration do about Education (Doctor Ben will know), Free Trade and NATO (I bet Mike Pence can figure that out, with a little help from his friends).  Climate change (we need a Secretary of the Interior who supports both burning coal and digging for more oil).  Burn, baby, burn, maybe Sarah has some ideas.  And jobs, how do I create jobs.  The Congress probably won’t fund a massive public works project. Maybe Christi can help, I read something about his involvement with bridges.  Experience can help if your not as smart as me.

Trump continues to balance.  Can I force people to buy American made goods even if they cost twice as much. But that’s no good,  the Trump brand of clothes isn’t made in the US.  And did you hear Macy’s refuses to sell the Presidents brand of clothing.  Could that be considered treason?   But wait, I wander, must stay focused.  Jobs, jobs, jobs, no regulations, no regulations, no regulations, lock her up, lock her up.  I need to get people chanting again, that will make America great.  And I’ll call Giuliani about the lock her up thing.

After about an hour of going up and down, balancing in the middle, Trump turns to me.  “You know, Profy, (yes, I know who you are), this isn’t easy.  Do my supporters think I can just deliver on those campaign promises.  Don’t they know politics in America is compromise.  At least it was until recent Republican practice.  Do they want me it ignore the majority of eligible voters who didn’t support me.  Is about 35% of eligible voters really a strong mandate.  Now that I’m elected I’ve got to think what’s best for me.  To paraphrase someone, “What’s good for Trump is good for the country.”  But I’m not selfish, I don’t need a tax break since I never pay federal taxes, but some of my friends might like a break.    “Maybe  this isn’t so hard, Profy, all I need to do is help the 1% that control this country.”  My supporters will follow like sheep.  Or will they?  Stay tuned.

 

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Seesaw

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Since Tuesday I’ve been  on a seesaw.  A pendulum swinging back and forth.  I am down and don’t want the hear or read another thing about Donald Trump. I don’t care why he was elected.   I don’t care who he will appoint to the cabinet.  I don’t care if he doesn’t like eating in tents or living in the White House.  I want him to become “the name that cannot be said.”

But then I swing up.  I have a responsibility to try to understand why so many Americans are angry and feel left out.  I must support organizations that resist the dismantling of decades of social progress — if it happens.  I must fight the hatred that’s bubbling up in schools and on the street.  Elementary kids gloating over a classmate who will be sent back to Mexico.  Attacks on African American and Muslin women. Trump protesters who are destroying property.  I cannot close my eyes.

I swing down again.  What can I believe?  The mainstream media has been indicted.  Facebook and the Internet are filled with totally biased unreliable trash.  Grab a social media microphone and tell the world.  Truth doesn’t matter.  Should I resign from the Internet and FB, turn off the nightly news and ignore the morning paper?

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I swing upward.  I can’t drop out.  Trump could be a serious threat to much of what I believe.  Environmental regulations,  civil rights, educational policy, social safety nets.  I need to contribute, to join, to help organize, to resist.

Then maybe Trump 3 will emerge. Trump 1:  Clinton supporters, the mainstream media, his own rhetoric created a monster — all the negatives apply.   Trump 2: His supporters created the savior of the average American.  Trump 3 may be the deal making pragmatist.  Shouldn’t really repeal Obamacare, there are good provisions we need to save.  A wall between the US and Mexico, well maybe we need some additional border patrols and fencing.  Can’t deport all of those illegals, just some.  Will he tone down, make friends, and survive?  I doubt it based on past performance.  But what do I know.

The seesaw gets faster and faster as each day passes.  Maybe I’ll fall off, hit my head, and sleep for four years.  I bet I have a copy of Rip VanWinkle to read tonight.

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