Friday, January 20, 2017

Obama Made Us Proud

Thanks to my journalist-in-residence for passing along this compilation of praise for the Obama presidency.

Los Angeles Times: The 44th president was a conscientious and intelligent leader who espoused humane values, inspired millions of Americans and successfully fulfilled some of his most significant promises.

San Francisco Chronicle: This was a presidency that made America proud. That it accomplished only a modest fraction of its aspirations is not a sign of failure, but a reflection of its audacious ambition and a measure of the power of the checks and balances in our system when an opposition party controls one, if not two, of the other branches of government.

by Phil Hands, Wisconsin State Journal

The San Jose Mercury News: We'll grasp the "audacity of hope" that the best of the Obama legacy will endure – and that Donald Trump and the Republican leadership, having won control of the presidency and the Congress, will learn grace in victory. Maybe find their way to that high road. It's not a bad place.

Miami Herald: Obama has done far better than his critics will ever admit, and we as a nation are all the better for it. Thank you, Mr. President. But let us not forget that his very presence in the Oval Office has left this country heartbreakingly divided, a part of his legacy that's not of his making.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: When confronted with big problems, Obama attempted big solutions. He lived out the ideal set by poet Robert Browning, that "a man's reach should exceed his grasp." This was a president who reached high, and Americans can ask no more of their leaders than that.

Obama calls for mutual respect

I thought the Bible would burst into flames when dt laid his hand on it for the inauguration.

It didn't.  

In Jesus' parable of the sower, the slaves want to go and pull the weeds sowed by an enemy, but the master says no: 

"Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, 'Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'" (Matthew 13:30)

God tolerates the weeds, and so must we for four years or perhaps less.

In his farewell speech to his staff, President Obama said that we must "listen to each other and argue with each other and treat each other with respect."

He modeled this tolerance perfectly during the transition of power from November 9 through January 20.

The United States of America are showing the world what democracy looks like.  We are handing our government over to a pack of fools, racists, and misogynists because they were chosen by a minority of voters but a majority of the Electoral College.  (It's going to be a while before I can treat dt and his cabinet with respect.) 

We are following the rules, not arming ourselves with AK-47s to overthrow the government.

dt did not speak about the need for mutual respect in his inauguration speech.  

He had the temerity to quote Psalm 133:1 "How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!"  --New Revised Standard Version.  He changed "kindred" to "God's people."  Wonder what he means by that.  Are "God's people" Americans, all peoples of the earth, Judeo-Christians, or just Christians?  Are LGBTQA folk God's people?  Are Hillary supporters God's people?  If so, we didn't hear about that in his speech.

Were evangelicals thrilled that he quoted the Bible?  Is that enough for them: a call for unity without any conciliatory words to the supporters of President Obama, who graciously handed over the power to him? His speech called out to his supporters only. 

He called for unity without apologizing to Hillary Rodham Clinton or to all women for calling her "such a nasty woman."  During his campaign he never chided his followers for saying "Hillary is a cunt." 

Has he ever actually read the psalms?  Whose idea was it to read this psalm?

The reading for today in my Al-Anon book, Courage to Change, says, "I have an obligation to extend to others the same respect and courtesy that keep me feeling safe, free from labels, and free to be myself."

Barack Obama understands this and lives up to it, but dt enjoys insulting and labeling others.  At least there were no insults in this speech, other than the insult of omission.

Another book of daily readings, Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie, advises for today "cleaning the slate of the past and entering this [new year] free of resentments."

Yeah, right.  That will be a tough one for me.

Here's his speech with a line-by-line fact check by NPR reporters and editors:

"Not a Period but a Comma"

It's raining hard in southern California, all day.  Very unusual but perfect for my mood. Overcast and rainy also in Washington, D.C.

In tears I watched Barack Obama board the helicopter to leave the White House.

Now again in tears watching him and Michelle Obama board the jet at Joint Base Andrews to fly to Palm Springs.  We welcome you both.  California loves you.

It's such a tremendous loss.   It's like a death though gracias a dios he was never assassinated during the past eight years.

His speech before leaving to those who worked with him in the White House was so moving.

"My abiding faith in the American people" was his theme.

You worked "to change the country from the bottom up.  All of you came together... and you decided to believe.  You went into communities and met people who didn't look like you, talk like you, yet once you started talking to each other you found community.

Throughout it was infused with a sense of hope.  It was not blind optimism.  It wasn't naivete.  It wasn't willful ignorance to all the challenges we faced.  It was hope in the face of difficulty, of uncertainty.  You proved the power of hope.

Michelle and I have been your front men and women.  We have been the face, the voice, but this has never been about us.  It has always been about you: all the amazing things that have happened... our amazing military....

The military is a group of committed patriots willing to sacrifice everything on our behalf.  Democracy is not the buildings.  It's not the monuments.  It's you being willing to work, to listen to each other and argue with each other and treat each other with respect.

This is not a period.  This is a comma in the continuing story of building America."

He listed improving schools, care of veterans, making the planet safe, making sure "that hard-working people have a chance to climb the ladder of opportunity."

"You have done the hard work, most of it without fanfare or thanks.

I can't wait to see what you will do next.

Yes, we did.  Yes, we can.  God bless America."

Trapped Tombstones Bleed

Thanks to John for forwarding this tweet from @PostGraphics at the Washington Post to me.

Nothing more need be said about the tone and theme of this inaugural speech.  

Several commentators, including Pulitzer-Prize winning conservative George Will, have called it the worst inaugural address in history.

Sandy Banks on Trump

"Trump's campaign normalized belligerent intolerance," writes Sandy Banks, former columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

"Obama's presidency normalized inclusiveness."

But "Now our wise and thoughtful commender in chief is handing the country over to a thin-skinned, mean-spirited egomaniac who thinks that lobbing insults is a form of governance," she continues.

Thank you, Sandy, for this excellent op-ed piece in today's LA Times titled "Hope exits, hate enters."

She notices that "millions of others, including me" have been told that "we are the problem, that if America could just keep out, send back, lock up or ignore enough of us problems, the country would be great again."

Yet "Now Obama's opponents are asking that we show our patriotism by supporting Trump's efforts."

Our challenge, as she sees it:

"...we have to acknowledge the haters in our midst--and dilute the newfound confidence they feel."

And we need "to focus on the values that have actually made America great, like courage and compassion."

She is hopeful that this nation's young people have had their wake-up call and will work for fairness and diversity.

Millions of them have indeed awakened, will march tomorrow, and will work toward making this presidency an anomalous event leading to a better future.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

616 Women's Marches on Jan 21

616 planned sister marches - courtesy of Google Earth

As of today 616 women's marches are planned nationally and world-wide to defend women, minorities, health care, the environment, etc. from the dt presidency.  Some 1,364,000 "sister marchers" are expected as well as hundreds of thousands in D.C.

Impressive passion and organizing!  

But I'm still feeling tension and sadness as the inauguration of a racist, misogynist, and mentally unbalanced man approaches tomorrow.

It feels like impending doom though President Obama told us in his last press conference, "At my core I think we're going to be okay."

Good to know there will be anti-Trump protests on Friday as there have been all week.  Also good to know that 1 in 4 California representatives to the House will boycott the inauguration.

My daughter Marie is flying from Oakland to Washington, D.C., to march on Saturday in opposition to this man, along with her friends and two cousins who live and work there.

Even in rural Cortez, Colorado, there will be a march.  My mother's cousin Morrison Brown lives there.  He was so happy to hear that Marie is flying to D.C. to protest the impending presidency.

"Tell Marie that I've never met her, but I want to give her a hug," he said.  His wife Karla Brown will be marching in Cortez.

I will join the demonstration in downtown Los Angeles, as will a number of friends and my daughter Ellen with her friends. 70,000 are expected, and speakers will include Jane Fonda. 

We cannot let this inauguration pass by without widespread protest of this dangerous and illegitimate presidency.

We cannot be like the people of Germany who watched a fascist and racist militarist rise to power without massive protest.

Meet at Pershing Square at 9 am, hear speakers, and march to City Hall.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Letters to Obama

What a moving collection of letters archived over the last 8 years by the White House mailroom staff!

Read and enjoy this summary in the New York Times:

Some of the letters are from a parent who has lost a child to gun violence.

Other are from people fearing they will lose their health care insurance under dt.

“My wife is undocumented, I have three children, I’ve never been so scared in my life.”
“I’m disabled, I have seizures, will I still have health care.”
“Is he going to void my marriage? Am I going to still be with the person I love?”

The staff of the mail room has access to counseling because of the serious content of so many letters.

They answer letters but also give ten letters per day to President Obama, who personally answers some of them.

Thank you to my friend Sharon for this link.😊