Sunday, November 15, 2020

"Count yourself lucky if you live in exciting times"


  The Chinese have said, “that you should count yourself lucky if you live in exciting times.”  Hah! A lot they know.  2020 has been a year of incredible variation, a roller coaster of events political, medical astronomical and .... we ain't done yet!  Needless to say, when hundreds of thousands of Americans and people all over the world are struck down and some (way to many) die from viral infection, that it takes number one in the events of this year.  We have seen the Corona Virus (Covid-19) grow in this country from 19 in June to over 200 thousand in November. (54,805,521 cases in the world today.)   

 This is an election year, the normal, peaceful, exchange of ideas leading to the election and peaceful transition of leaders in a democratic republic, the United States of America.  What a joke!  The election of Donald Trump in 2016 was led begun by bullying and mean spirited attacks by Trump on his opponent, Hillary Clinton, on  national TV and in the digital and the Right Wing media. 

   What ensued was a series of over hundred national embarrassments, including having to pay his mistress (a porn star) compensation so that she would not testify against him in court.  He embarrassed the people of the U.S. with foreign confrontations and general incompetence, not seen in the White House in modern history.   The normal checks and balances directed in the Constitution disappeared in a flash.  

  The Executive Branch lead by Mr. Trump hired cronies and incompetents to lead cabinet and departments as long as they were loyal to the President.  The House and Senate were united as the Legislative branch of HIS government.  The Supreme Court was hanging on by a thread to maintain an impartial Judicial Branch.  It seemed as though we had gone from a democracy to an Oligarchy in the blink of an eye.  Lucky for us the House achieved  a Democratic majority in the mid-term elections.  Still the Senate dominated by a Republican Majority and a Speaker, Mitch McConnell, so enamored by Mr. Trump that no policy suggested by the Democrats, could clear the Senate and become law.  That included even laws that would provide health care for those in need during a worldwide pandemic.  

  Every time one of the President's appointees made a statement or appeared to disagree with him, he had him fired!  The President filled one after another National Judges with those that would bring his followers closer.  This group of national supporters numbered in the millions and threatened a civil ideological war.  Trump even suggested that the U.S. buy Greenland! (A surprise to the citizens and leaders of that country)  He called countries he disagreed with "shit holes" and even pushed the Prime Minister of Montenegro so that he could have a better spot for a photo shoot.  

   Then the bottom fell out!  The last warrior in the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died.  It seemed that the rights won by women, people of color and the Gay community would be erased in the next session of the court.  A Trump appointee was a true wing nut and it seemed all was lost.  

Sunday, July 19, 2020

His Life, How I see it

Yesterday my Dad would have been 120 years old!

     My dad was an immigrant from Spain. He and my uncle came to America in 1914 through Ellis Island and worked as laborers on Hwy 1 (the old Boston Post Road).  He settled in California and soon saw enough similarities with the climate of the Glendale foothills that he moved his family there.  
     To say that I have respect for him would be an understatement.  He was the kind of man who held the respect of other men and the envy of their wives.  He was a solid man, who gave his word and never failed to keep it.  He never made things difficult for me, his way was to let every bump in the road become a learning experience.  He was my safety net and my guide. 

     My birthday is exactly one week from his.  I will be, God willing, "four score" years!  At this point, I have lived 20 years longer than he did.  He did hard labor (I never did) and he was a smoker, (I never smoked).  He lived through a civil war in Spain but caught the Influenza, the so called "Spanish" flu although it originated on a military base in the USA.  He loved his family in Spain and visited them with his family.  It was not easy to afford but he took my mother and I to Spain for a summer.  He loved to grow things and was never happier than when he, with a cigarette hanging from his lips and his pats rolled up to his knees, was out in the mud tenting to his garden.  
     He represents many others who came to this country to start a new life.  He spoke a broken English but made sure that I learned an eloquent sort of English so that speech would never be the stumbling block to me as it had been to him.  He worked to earn his way, paid his taxes, eventually became an American citizen and for all, was a contributing member of the American society. He was all this in the midst of a society that demeaned his kind, tolerated him as an immigrant, and refused him an equal place in a country that he had happily helped to build.
     He was an example of a disappearing type of man.  Protective of his family, a stalwart of society, a "no nonsense" man with a great smile.  In short, a great dad.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Beware the Ides of March....2020

   OK, this is March 30, 2020 and the 15th day of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Yes that's right a world wide deadly virus that has us all huddled in fear.  A virus that originates in an animal (some say bats) and ingested by some people, (ugh) has been passed from person to person all over the world. 
   One of the effects of increased and some say improved transportation has allowed a bug to travel to every country in the world!  Overnight the people of the world have been quarantined or urged to maintain  "safe distancing" protocols in order to keep from being infected or from infecting others. There is no vaccine or magical cure that can stop it, hospitals fill up and there are not enough "ventilators" to ease the breathing of the sick.   Children are told to stay indoors, grandparents are isolated from their families.  The world looks like a scene out of a dystopian movie where all the streets are empty and all the shelves in the markets are bare.  People are so afraid that they hoard things like toilet paper and bottled water.  Hand sanitizers are a thing of the past and eggs are a premium.  The stock market didn't just drop, it disappeared.  In what seems like in just a moment, the world has been turned upside down.
    The issues of the day have all gone away!  There are no other issues on the nightly news, or the talk shows on TV.  All college and professional sports have been stopped, even the Olympics of this summer have optimistically been postponed until NEXT YEAR!   All talk of political elections, rival politics, and national conflicts have faded in the light of this greater threat. 
    What is clear is that when people have to stop driving, stop gathering together, stop going to work, and are forced to just turn off the industrial main switch, the world seems to get better!  The skies are clear, the air is clean, the freeways are empty!  There is less crime, world leaders are actually talking to one another in helpful ways, and the ozone layer is being repaired!  If ever there was a proof of Global Warming or that the Earth is actually a living thing and that we are killing it, it is now!  It is like God said "THAT'S ENOUGH!"  "WASH YOUR HANDS, GO TO YOUR ROOM AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE DONE!" 
    It all happened so fast that it seemed like a higher power just turned off the switch.  So here we are, clinging to any kind of communications device we can in order to maintain our humanity.  We will get past this as we have survived pandemics of the past.  Let's just hope that we can learn our lesson and emerge smarter and more appreciative than when we were SENT TO OUR ROOMS.