Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Miracle on 5th Avenue: A Holiday Fantasy

I've been listening to various supporters of Donald Trump, and especially several advisers to his transition team. The unifying theme of their comments is that he will change more or less on a cellular level by surrounding himself with intelligent, and experienced people who will guide him in decision making. The story I'm hearing is that the crazy ideas, the racism, bigotry, ill manners and general ignorance of government will all disappear as he changes into a man who, at 70, becomes a thoughtful individual who never acts rash or rude and follows the advice of those around him who understand the job he is about to undertaken. I'm an optimist at heart and am completely willing to believe this can happen. I also need to see results. A first major test of this holiday story line will be whether or not the President-Elect divests himself of all his business holdings, and of course not just the silly idea of turning them over to his children, but the entire family divesting themselves and everything placed in a blind trust by the time he takes office in two months. Anything short of that would create a mine field of conflicting interests and render him incapable of being President. I realize that placing such a large company with it's connections to foreign governments in a blind trust in two months time would be a huge undertaking, but if his supporters can believe that he will change into a completely different person in that amount of time, I'm sure we all could believe such a miracle would occur.

What I Know (post election reflection)

What I know: I am still the same person I was yesterday, the day before and tomorrow. I hold the same values that motivate and inspire me - simplicity, peace, integrity, equality, conservation of our natural world and community. Sometimes I see those values reflected in the leadership of our country and sometimes not. Sometimes my work is devoted more towards moving those ideals forward and sometimes the energy is directed more towards defending them. I am old enough to recall decades like the 1980s where my primary work was standing up for those principles against the prevailing political winds. I see a new storm blew in last night, I am pretty sure I know what my job will be. Time to get to work.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thank You Donald Trump

This political season has certainly been entertaining, although painful to watch and for that we can thank Donald Trump for his off-handed thoughtless comments tossed to the eager fans like cheap, sweatshop made t-shirts hurled by an outlandish mascot at a sporting event.  Come to think of it, Trump really is the outlandish mascot of the current GOP, all we need is a little dance on the dugout roof or push-ups after a touchdown and the image would be complete.
As bizarre and ridiculous as his whole campaign has been to this point, the moment that prompted the "Thank You" on my part was his comments on abortion this week where he said a woman should be punished for having an abortion assuming it was illegal as he proposes to make the practice.  Of course all hell broke loose on all side of the abortion debate but strangely enough his comment is perfectly logical and we owe him a debt of gratitude for pointing out the obvious.  If abortion was illegal then it follows that there must be a penalty.  There have been several studies done of the so-called "Pro-Life" movement and just about every case people who are pushing to make abortion illegal have no idea what to do in terms of punishment - fines? prison?  Forget for the moment that there's no real evidence that making abortion illegal will prevent it from ever happening, just consider the rather strange position of someone trying to make a currently legal practice into a crime but having no idea what the punishment for that crime might be.  In most cases people haven't even thought about the fact that crimes and punishment go hand in hand.
The Pro-Life movement, when they have accepted that there would be some punishment for an abortion, have presented the idea that only a doctor would be held responsible and punished.  After all, women can't make decisions about their own lives can they?  Next thing you know they'll want to own property and have jobs outside the house.  As Trump quickly backtracked from his statements he settled on that absurd line of reasoning for a moment before moving on to "I was misquoted, taken out of context".  Which, of course, when it was a direct answer to a direct question, but anything's possible this year, right?
Of course the Pro-Life position of punishing a doctor only is demeaning to women but it also fails miserably when considered within the current judicial system of this country.  If we assume that a women who makes the decision to have an abortion is not guilty of anything but the doctor performing the procedure is, then we'd certainly have to release every prisoner who was convicted of drug possession charges.  After all, they just used the drugs, the only person who could be sent to jail would be the seller of the illegal drugs.
Unfortunately the loudest voices of the Pro-Life movement are the least well informed and ironically the most harmful to what they claim to be their own mission.  Fighting to close Planned Parenthood clinics in the name of being Pro-Life is akin to destroying fire hydrants in an attempt the protect neighborhoods from fires.  Thank you Donald Trump for helping bring the absurdity of this position to light.  While I'm sure there wasn't a lot of thought put into the statement, it may have a positive effect after all.