Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thank Goodness

Thank goodness the third presidential debate is over.

Thank goodness there are only 19 days left before election day.

Thank goodness Hillary Rodham Clinton has a strong lead in the polls.

Goodness is an issue in this campaign.

dt talked about "her very sleazy campaign."  Excuse me?  He brought unprecedented sleaze into it.

Hillary stood there in white, answering a question, as dt muttered "such a nasty woman."

"The operative word there is woman," Lawrence O'Donnell noted during post-debate commentary.

Gender is an issue in this campaign, one dt uses constantly.

The whole thing is unbearable, except that it's a thriller.

"It's like a train wreck--you can't not watch it," said Bob Goldman in my writing class on Wednesday afternoon.

dt claimed "She shouldn't be allowed to run."

To everyone but him, this was a reminder that 100 years ago she wouldn't have been allowed to run.  Women weren't even allowed to vote--but now a woman is ahead of him in the race for the presidency.

She's running and he's falling behind, so he wishes she were not "allowed" to run.  Put her in jail, in the kitchen, in the bedroom, but get her out of this marathon to become president of the US.

Speaking to Chris Wallace, the polite and courageous moderator of the debate, dt said, "The media is so dishonest and so corrupt...."  He didn't add "except you" or anything--he just blasted the poison in the moderator's face.

Hillary defended women's rights, gay rights, Roe v. Wade, immigration reform, background checks on people buying guns.  He criticized her "30 years" of being a politician.

"I'm happy to compare my 30 years of experience with his," she answered, cataloging her achievements and the trifling activities he was involved in simultaneously at each point: discriminating in real estate, borrowing $14 million from his dad, starring in a tv show.

Question 5 from Chris Wallace was about the nine women who have confirmed the groping and assault dt boasted of.

"I didn't know any of these women," the candidate claimed, yet he made business contracts with Jill Harth and her husband.  Natasha Stoynoff interviewed him for People magazine.

He claimed that HRC's campaign "got them to step forward" or that they did it for fame--unaware that women have been trying to avoid this kind of infamy for centuries.  

The audience at the University of Nevada laughed when he once again claimed, "No one respects women more than I do."

Thank goodness--thank God--the national ordeal is almost over.

I'm not one who believes God governs the outcome of elections, but I do believe with James Russell Lowell that God stands "behind the dim unknown":

"within the shadow, keeping watch over H[er] own."

May She protect Hillary Rodham Clinton and not allow her to be shot by some maniac.

May election day proceed without violence.

May we get through the next four years without violence and without the sleaze and gender bashing of this election.

Patriotism vs. US Bashing

Even though my Halloween decorations are up, I want to hang out my flag.

I feel so bad for my country after listening to dt's slurs against the United States of America and our electoral process in the debate last night.

I don't usually wave the flag and feel patriotic, but I must stand up for what's right with the US.

True, we've made many mistakes over the past 240 years, but we've done some things well.

We've had a peaceful transition of power after each election, for example.

Now dt threatens that outcome after the upcoming vote.  He refused to answer yes to Chris Wallace's question, "Will you absolutely accept the result of this election?"

His words empower the crazies to harass the new president and perhaps even use violence.

No nation lasts forever, but I'm sad to see the USA face opposition from within--in fact from the Republican nominee for president.

Do the patriotic thing and vote.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Once to Every Woman and Nation...

Once to every woman and nation,
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, some great decision,
Offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever,
’Twixt that darkness and that light.
Then to side with truth is noble,
When we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit,
And ’tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave one chooses
While the coward stands aside,
Till the multitude make virtue
Of the faith they had denied.
By the light of burning martyrs,
Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track,
Toiling up new Calv’ries ever
With the cross that turns not back;
New occasions teach new duties,
Time makes ancient good uncouth,
They must upward still and onward,
Who would keep abreast of truth.
Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet the truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong;
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow,
Keeping watch above Her own.

Monday, October 17, 2016

"Remember the little people"

Sunset in Bakersfield CA

Of course the 50-year reunion of East High's Class of '66 had to come in the last few weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign.

What a challenge: to gather from all parts of California and the nation but not talk about politics, a week after the Republican Party had spun into disarray over the Access Hollywood video and audio tape.

Someone had posted as a goal on Facebook, "Remembering not to say everything that pops into my head," and I clicked like on the next suggestion about avoiding politics this weekend.

We did a good job, but in the last five minutes of three days one of us felt compelled to speak.

"Remember the little people," one of my closest friends from my high school years said to me privately.

"Okay, I will," I said, puzzled.  Medically challenged really short people?  Pets?  We hadn't been in touch for maybe twenty years.

"Tell your husband too because the media are ignoring us," she continued.

"Who are the little people?" I asked then.  

"The people who support Trump.  They call us names but we're serious,  The media spreads lies about him and us, but we're still going to vote for him.  I don't care about what happened eleven years ago."

"Yes," I said, switching into careful listening-not-speaking mode. "You care about the future of the country."

She continued, explaining that government regulations and paperwork are hard on small business owners like her and her husband, and Hillary would raise taxes on them. 

"Yes, my brother had his own business, and he was angry about the hoops he had to jump through," I said.  "He's going to write in someone from South Carolina."

She continued: immigration, Benghazi, Hillary's close ties to Wall Street....  My friend will be working in Arizona to get out the vote for Trump.

Suddenly we were called to pose in a photo, and the conversation ended.

What a hard time for the nation: when friends, family members, church members disagree on a viciously contested presidential race.

I respect my friend and her husband, their hard work in the business they've built up, and their political choices.

May this time of contention pass quickly... may the democratic process win.

After all, our nation was founded as both a republic and a democracy.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Power vs. The Press

Power of the press vs. billionaire power: Donald Trump

When dt's lawyer threatened to sue the New York Times for libel because of today's article "Two Women Say Donald Trump Touched Them Inappropriately," the Times sent him this response:

letter david

Six Women: He Assaulted Me

NY Times today with story of Jill Harth and her photo

To his credit, dt knew the right answer when Anderson Cooper asked him, "Have you ever done those things?"

"No, I have not," was the only proper answer a candidate for the presidency could give.

He gave that answer, wishing it were true, but it was not.

Women had been coming forward with evidence of his sexual assaults before he even spoke those words, and they continue today.

Jill Harth -- Her story was featured in Nicholas Kristoff's column "Donald Trump, Groper in Chief" on Sunday morning before the second debate.

Jessica Leeds -- She was a stranger traveling on a plane over 30 years ago when he "grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt."

Rachel Crooks -- She was in an elevator introducing herself to him in 2005 when he began kissing her, just as he described in the Access Hollywood tape.  "I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that," she said.  

Both Rachel Crooks and Jessica Leeds tell their stories in the same article in today's New York Times.

Temple Taggart -- She was accosted with unwanted kissing as a young beauty pageant contestant in 1997.

Natasha Stoynoff -- She was reporting for People Magazine when he began "pushing his tongue down her throat."

Mindy McGillivray --  She was assisting with a photo shoot when he grabbed her by the ass in 2003.

More women are coming forward, but the pattern is undeniable, especially when coupled with his own admission on the Access Hollywood tape.

NBC news this morning mentioned the repudiation of dt by Andy Crouch, editor of Christianity Today, on Monday.  

Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, continues to stand by dt and allowed him to speak at a student convocation this week, but a student group has now come out against dt and Ben Howe of the blog RedState put up a post entitled, "Jerry Falwell Jr. Is a Disgrace to Liberty University and Should Resign."

It's sad that all other news has been eclipsed by these continuing sexual revelations, but at least some men around the world are getting the message: it's not okay.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Continuing Scars of Torture

Thank you to Matt Apuzzo, Sheri Fink, and James Risen of the New York Times for traveling around the world to interview former CIA prisoners at secret locations and prisoners of the US base in Guantanamo Bay, many of them now released without charges after years of torture.

Their series of articles, titled Lasting Scars, examines the American legacy of brutal interrogations in secret CIA prisons and at Guantanamo.

Today's article reveals the continuing impact on an innocent bystander, Suleiman Abdullah Salim, of imprisonment and torture by the US.  It's heart-breaking.

Part 1 came out Sunday, titled "U.S. Torture Leaves a Legacy of Detainees with Damaged Minds."

The Senate Torture Report approved in 2012 was the starting point for much of the research and interviewing by these reporters.

"The 6,000-page report details actions by CIA officials and findings of the study of the Detention and Interrogation Program. On December 9, 2014—eight months after voting to release parts of the report—the SSCI released a 525-page portion that consisted of key findings and an executive summary of the full report. It took five years and $40 million to compile the report.[4] The rest of it remains classified.[5][6][7]"  -- from the Wikipedia summary

You and I aren't likely ever to read this report, but we at least we need to know what it covers:
"the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)'s Detention and Interrogation Program and its use of various forms of torture ("enhanced interrogation techniques") in U.S. government communiqu├ęs) on detainees between 2001 and 2006 during the 'War on Terror.'" 

I read and think, "Why wasn't I out there demonstrating in front of the White House against the use of torture?"

If we do not speak out, we share in the blame for our government's actions, as Gloria Killian explained to me ten years ago.  

She had been falsely imprisoned for a murder she knew nothing about; she only knew one of the defendants, who found a way to avoid imprisonment by getting a plea bargain for falsely accusing Gloria.  She was sentenced to 32 years.  

When I heard Gloria's story after her release, I murmured something supportive to her, but she would have none of it.  "My case was Gloria Killian vs. the People of California, and you are one of those people.  You are responsible for what your government does."

Listen to Sheri Fink's interview with Khkaled al-Sharif, former prisoner: