Monday, October 1, 2012

What my 4 year old thinks of Mitt Romney and flying...

I spent a good chunk of my weekend cleaning out my children's play room.  Three piles - one for donation, one for  trash, and one for recycling.  I do this on a pretty regular basis - I am a bit OCD about keeping that room organized. It is amazing how many match box cars, coloring books, and lenticular puzzles these two little boys have.  And crayons.  Oh the crayons. 

At some point along the way we acquired a pretty cool replica of Air Force One.  It's about eight inches long and pretty heavy.  This clearly went into the "keep pile."  What was placed in the trash pile was a small plastic plane with no doors or windows and a broken propeller.  "This is Brock Omama's plane," Julian said as he flew the Air Force One through the air.  "And this," he said as he held up the Wright Brothers' reject ,"is Mitt Romney's plane."

True story.

Friday, September 21, 2012

President Jimmy Carter

I have always had a soft spot for the peanut farmer from Georgia.  I find his gentle southern drawl soothing and his steady way reassuring.  I also associate him with one of my earliest, most vivid memories.

I was sitting in art class with my friend Lisa.  We were both born in January so we would have been 7 in the fall of 1979.  Lisa asked, "Who do you want to be President? Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan."  Before I had a chance to answer (typical Republican) she blurted, "I think Ronald Reagan should be President - he's rich and he's from Hollywood so he knows a lot of famous people."  Even at seven this seemed odd to me.  "Well," I said - almost afraid to disagree with my friend - after all it could very well have been my first experience with having a real opinion, "I think Jimmy Carter should be our President.  He has a little girl so I know he would never want to start a war."

And there you have it. The reason, if I am going to be honest, that I perhaps still vote for anyone.  Not that they never would - but that, at their core, they do not desire conflict.

Much like President Clinton, President Carter has had an exemplary post-White House life.  He and Rosalyn have been involved with Habitat for Humanity since 1984.  The Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Work Project is one of the most high profile aspects of the organization - its focal point is an annual build blitz - one week of this blitz frequently results in the completion over 100 homes - from the Gulf Coast to the Mekong to West Philadelphia.

Many years ago, the Work Project brought President Carter to a home on Stiles Street where my mother grew up.  My mother's cousin stood with President Carter in the basement of her childhood home and told him stories of how my Great-Grandfather used the basement for wine making.

I have always hated the way people have spoken about President Carter.  You can say what you will about the Carter Administration, the Carter years.  They were what they were and, no, perhaps they were not very good.  But when the criticisms of the administration turn to insults and treat Jimmy Carter like a punch line that's when I get my back up.  At the most basic level - the difference between Jimmy Carter's helicopter crash and Barack Obama's Black Hawk crash?  Seal Team Six had a back up helicopter.

Romney has practically made disrespecting a living President a hobby.  Maybe not anymore.  Not only is revenge a dish best served cold but it is also best served by your grandson.  Just ask James Carter IV. People are praising him - but he simply did what any of us would have done to protect our loved ones from bullies.  Regardless, we should thank him - I thank him, and his grandfather.

Hey Mitt, like the best spokesman for truth and peace warned, Instant Karma's gonna get you.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Betty White's Rebuttal

In the wake of what may go down in history as the most ridiculous display of histrionics ever on a convention stage, there was an almost immediate call for a DNC rebuttal from the incomparable Betty White.  Funny?  For sure. Over the top? Potentially.  But not if it's done right.  (Read: Not if the DNC does it my way.)

I am not interested in answering the RNC as much as I am in sprinting right past them.  So picture this. The place - Charlotte, NC (hopefully without the Greek columns.) The time - the slot immediately before President Obama takes the stage.  Yes.  Immediately before.

She should walk on the stage  (crowd goes wild, laughter, etc since all have been a-buzz about the possibility of her appearance.)  Then a few moments later, while she is still soaking in all the adoration, someone brings out a chair.  She looks at it  (more uproarious laughter.)  Then she sits in it and says "Well, what else was I supposed to do with it?  I turned 90 this year.  I need to sit."

Then she should talk about those 90 years - as an American, and as a woman. What has changed, what has gotten better.  And yes, what has not gotten better.  She should talk about what a twenty year old Betty would have thought about walking on the moon, the right to choose, smart phones, gay rights, equal pay and yes, an American President with a name like Barack Hussein Obama.  Did she ever think she would "live to see the day" to see any of this?

Think about what Betty White has seen in her lifetime.  If this were my full time job I would come up with an incredible list of some of the less-obvious things that have happened in and to America in the past 90 years.

Actually maybe we can all come up with a list and you can write one (or several) in the comments.

What her talk should leaving us feeling is equal parts of pride and anger - pride in what we have all built and anger over the things that are still unfinished, always neglected.

It would be a slam dunk and hell, I'd pay to see it.  Obama would have his work cut out for him following Betty White.

Photo By : Pete Souza, White House photographer

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Side of Bigotry with your Outrage?

So I have been thinking a lot about this ICK Fil A thing.  I call them that because it is garbage food that no one should be eating anyway.  I saw a piece on them a while ago and was shocked at how long it took the GOP to embrace them.  Here is my stance and you better sit down.

Let them do what they want.  The most powerful tool we have against bigotry, hate and, yes, stupidity is our almighty dollar.  If you do not agree with their politics do not give them your money.  I think we would be shocked at what business owners support what causes. I do not like what Walmart stands for so I do not go there.  But I do go to other big box retailers that have changed the landscape of our retail environment - no more mom and pop stores, the loss of the American Main Street.  Does it make me a hypocrite?  I suppose, but I cannot fear being called a hypocrite so much that I do not act in the small ways I can.  No act of boycott any of us ever engage in will ever be perfect but we have to do what we can to exercise the expressions of Free Speech that are available to us.  And remember, according to our Supreme Court money is speech. So spend your dollars wisely.

I am reminded of the quote that I have always loved - I believe it has been credited to Thomas Jefferson.  "I do not agree with  a word you say, but I will die fighting for your right to say it."  I did not look up the actual quote - I just went from memory since it is perhaps more important how it lives in my heart than how accurate it is.  I do not want any bigotry to exist in our society.  But I do not think that the way to eradicate bigotry is to in turn be a bigot.  My Twitter profile says that I am trying not to be a bigot for The Left - some days I am better at that than others.  The quote is from Annie Hall and you can see the clip here.

The implication in that scene is that Woody Allen's character is a bigot , but for the left, so it's OK  (clearly the point was that it's not OK.)

The Left will win this battle for equality but if we are not careful we will trip over ourselves on the way the promised land.  I say we we welcome everyone.  Keep them close - they might learn something - who knows maybe we will too.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

If I were stuck in an elevator with Paul Ryan....

The difference between you and me, Representative Ryan?  Choices.

You choose division over unity.
I choose to work for what is best for the country.
You choose stalemate over progress, filibuster over consensus.
I choose to vote for the best solution regardless from which side of the aisle it originated.
You choose the rich over the poor, the comfort of the few over the safety of the many.
 I choose to remember that it must always about the least among us.
You choose big business over education.
I choose to understand that without outstanding education for all American enterprise will disappear.
You choose profits over the environment.
I choose to understand that no amount of money will ever reverse the damage we are causing.
You have chosen to be bigoted.
I choose equality.

You have chosen to be heartless.
I choose to always care about my fellow earthlings - American or not.
You have chosen to turn a deaf ear.
I choose to always listen to all sides.
You have chosen to reject the teachings of your own religion.
I choose no religion other than that which teaches me to look out for those that cannot look out for themselves.

No one chooses to be poor.
No one chooses to be sick.
No one chooses to be chronically unemployed.
No one chooses to be homeless.
No one chooses public assistance over self reliance.
No one chooses a free lunch program over feeding their children.
No one chooses their sexuality.
No one chooses where they are born.

But we can choose to vote all of you out. And we will.

I hope those nuns choose to kick your ass.

Can some one get me out of here?  PLEASE????

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Father-Daughter Dance

I am an only child - yes I am Jim and Anna's only kid.  More importantly perhaps I am my father's only daughter.  My wedding was a mini royal wedding to be quite honest.  My parents eloped so my grandfather never had the chance to walk my mother down the aisle.  All my life I knew that was never going to happen to me - it was not an option.  I would have a wedding and it would be beautiful - the wedding my parents never had.  And, yes, dad would walk me down the aisle.

On more than one occasion my mother commented that she was completely opposed to the idea of a weepy bride walking down the aisle.  "No one wants to see a blubbering bride."  So I guess I have always known that the pressure was on to hold it together - which frankly is not one of my strengths.  My guess is Mom gave Dad a really harsh talking to about what he was allowed to and not allowed to say to me prior to our long journey down that narrow space.  As we were waiting for our cue we talked about the weather. Yes the weather. It was raining, pouring actually - it had not rained in months.  My wedding was knick-named the drought -buster wedding.  Luckily I suppose, since it did give us a topic distract us and keep the emotions at bay.  It worked - we both held it together.

My guess is my mother did not have a similar rule in place for the Father-Daughter dance though.  Clearly all bets were off and I have the blubbering dancing bride pictures to prove it.  I never told anyone what he said to me until now.

"For the rest of your life, no matter where you go or what you do you need to always remember you are loved.  Your mother and I will always love you.  You are our life.  Alway remember where you came from.  Always be true to who you are and never ever forget how much we love you."

We danced to an old Helen Reddy song "You and Me Against the World."  Jim and Anna only had one child.  They should have had more.  Such a shame that only one person calls them Mom and Dad.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

For My Boys.....

On the radio last night I heard part of President Obama's Father's Day message.  I was pleasantly surprised (OK absolutely thrilled) that much of what he said reminded me of what I wrote for my sons' blessing ceremonies.  Instead of a traditional "Christening" ceremony we had a non-demoninational blessing ceremony.  When the boys are older, and if they choose, they can make their own decisions about faith and religion.  Regardless of what they choose I hope these words always guide them.

For Nathan...

Being your mother is the most important thing I will ever do.  A wise woman once said that being a mother means that for the rest of your life your heart will live outside of your own body.  I didn't really know what that meant until you were born.  Now I realize how incredibly beautiful and fragile everything is.  I never knew my house had so many sharp edges and I never knew how slippery a baby can be when you lift him out of the bath tub!

My dreams for you are very simple.  I have no expectations of where you will live, who you will choose to spend your life with, or how you will make your living.  My only wish is that you become the kind of person who walks through his life with an open mind and an open heart.  Be the one with whom anyone can find solace.  Be the one to bring laughter where there is sadness, hope where there is fear and perspective when life seems overwhelming.  May you be proud to look back on your life.

I do want you to be an excellent student of history, especially your own.  You are the grand sum of the love, hard work and sacrifice of many generations from many different parts of this world.  Your ancestors crossed oceans, including your grandfather, with very little and built wonderful lives. Now you are standing on their shoulders.  I will do everything I can to make sure you are looking out toward a very happy and fulfilling life.

For Julian...

We have all learned from our Super Heroes: "To whom much is given, much will be expected."  Julian, much will be expected of you.

We expect you to always be kind. Always be generous with what you have - no matter how little.  Alway be willing to share your treasure, your time and your talent.  We expect you to be brave - never be afraid to be the lone voice that speaks up for what is right and what is fair.  Always be one of the good guys.

You have been born into an extraordinary place during an extraordinary time and we hope you don't settle for being a passenger on this journey.  The world needs all the help it can be ready.  Remember, anyone can do well but too few manage to also do some good along the way.

Today is your blessing but we are the ones that are blessed.  Thank you for being our son.

I always new President Obama and I were on the same page.