Category Archives: politics

Not Too Soon

Besieged by grief after the devastating and terrifying carnage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the children-students have become the adults in the conversation. They say it isn’t too soon to talk about gun control. They say they are tired of inaction on the part of politicians and the government. They say children should not be afraid to go to school. They say it’s time to do something to prevent school shootings.

And perhaps those who have a responsibility to take action are listening. Perhaps the very poised, articulate, and rightfully angry students of Douglas High have themselves taken the first step to fix the problem.

The truth is the “problem” experienced in Parkland, Sandy Hook, Columbine and other schools is complicated. Everyone has an opinion—too many guns, too easy to get an assault rifle, too many troubled teens or adults, and on and on. Consequently, there is no simple “fix.”

But the students who raised their voices and gained the attention of the nation—maybe the world—have expressed the right idea. Now is the time to begin the conversations, to take the steps, to do whatever is necessary to prevent this type of tragedy—whether in a school or in a concert hall—from happening ever again.

As I listened to the students, teachers, and parents speaking to the President in the White House recently, I was extremely proud of this next generation. In the midst of much of turmoil and division in the world, they represent hope for the future. I was also impressed with other grassroots programs which sprung from the tragedies of Columbine and Sandy Hook and now bolster the movement roused by the most recent school massacre.

The powerful crusade energized by the Parkland students is less than two weeks old. Hopefully, this daunting campaign will strengthen and endure. There’s a lot of work to do, but the first giant step has been taken by some very brave teenagers.


News-Junkie Blues

Yes, I will admit I’m a news junkie – local, state, and national. I’ve always watched the evening news and read the daily newspaper. Before I retired, I often recorded morning news programs and special news events to watch after work. You might say I’m interested in what’s happening in my community and in my country, or you might say I have a problem. Either way, I’m probably not going to change.

Why am I sharing this character trait? The truth is the news I’m watching these days can be a real downer. There are people murdering strangers. There are revelations about people I have admired and respected doing really inappropriate things to other people. There are wars in several areas of the world in which our country participates one way or another. There is dysfunction and chaos in Washington, D.C., the heart of our democracy. The list goes on.

Should I give up watching all those reports? That’s not a realistic solution.

Sometimes I miss the “good old days” until I realize that’s not when we live. We live now. There’s no way to return to a better time (at least not yet). And the reality is—the past was not better it was simply different.

I can hear you say, “Please don’t tell me ‘life is what you make it.’” Sorry, but life is exactly that. Our experiences—disappointments and successes, challenges and pleasures—are flavored by our choices, our decisions, and—more importantly—our reactions to whatever comes our way.

All of what happens in our world affects us and much of what happens cannot be changed or fixed by us, but we can control how we respond to what happens, regardless of one’s situation or station in life.

I try to lean to the positive side, not right or left. I even share a big grin with that jerk who just cut in front of me in traffic. A couple days ago I actually helped a lady deal with her debit card in the grocery line (another story). Basically, I think about the other guy’s point-of-view or situation before reacting.

Do I always agree with the other person? Of course not. But if I try to understand his position, I might find a way to lend a helping hand or have a constructive conversation.

If neither is feasible, I just walk away or turn off the television before I add to the problem or allow myself to become upset.

Does this policy always work? Well, “always” is a stretch, but more often than not I feel better.

If I could just learn to live without the evening news.

Donald Trump, what’s up?

I must say over the years (1988 thru 2012) when The Donald expressed his intent or desire to run for president of the US, I was skeptical. Generally, by the time I gave his running any thought, he had exited the race for whatever reason.

His initial announcement in 2015 did not seem to be any different and when he made the derogatory comments regarding illegal immigrants (you know the ones I mean), I assumed his days on the campaign trail would be numbered. Alas, I was wrong, but in good company.

Like most citizens of the world, I’ve been aware of Donald J. Trump for many decades. We are both baby boomers, but I’m not sure we have the same value systems or political opinions. I was aware of his exploits into business and entertainment and considered him a brash but savvy entrepreneur.

In the early days of his 2016 campaign, I thought his intent was to grab some attention, possibly shake up the GOP, and maybe even help Hillary Clinton in the process. As the months and primaries and rallies rolled by and the insults and bullying continued to roll out of his mouth, I became more perplexed.

Why anyone would want to run for, let alone be, president of the US, is beyond my ability to fathom. Let’s say my speculation runs toward the negative. But most of the individuals who try for the nomination have some idea what it means to be POTUS along with some relevant experience. This is not a suit that fits Donald Trump. And he is rather dang proud of that fact.

So what’s up? Is this New York billionaire serious? Does he think he has a clue about running the greatest country on earth? Do his supporters believe he would do a good job? Will he be the GOP candidate? Could he become president?

My mind reels.

Here’s my current take on this event. Trump entered the race to see what would happen.  He accidentally insulted lots of people, but nobody seemed to mind.  In fact, he became more and more popular. This made him very happy and fed his ego. Then he started doing well in the primaries and caucuses. It helped that his competition—all 16—was less than stellar. Slowly but surely, each of the other GOP candidates dropped by the wayside. By now he is totally engulfed by the power he holds and can’t wait to increase its reach.

But he’s in for a real shock. No matter what happens he’s a loser. If he wins in November, he’ll be president, but no one will care. The GOP Congress (assuming they hold both houses) will go into its standard “him against us” mode. Our allies will ignore or rebuff him.  It will not go well, he will be unhappy, and he will make more and more people pay for that unhappiness.

If he doesn’t win the election, he’ll have to rein in his ego. He won’t be able to get his job back on the Apprentice—that’s taken. An equally sad outcome for him and, thus, for others.

One thing for sure my Trump-pondering days are over. The only thing left to wonder about is how he’d be as our president. For me that is too terrifying to contemplate.