Double rainbow 🌈 🌈 !!!

There is something special about the double rainbow! The full blown, in your face, double rainbow is to me a colossal sign!

The rainbow in biblical terms is the bridge between heaven and earth, so the double rainbow means…well we’re in double trouble down here!!!

As a person who not only believes in signs, but ardently looks for and is in tune to them, a person who literally will hit the brakes when the sun is shining through a perfect curtain of soft rain, craning her neck, saying: “where is it??? I know there’s a rainbow here somewhere!!!” And I’m always right.

Well here it is…and make no mistake my friends…this is a sign that hope…is still on the horizon.

Double rainbow video by Katherine Slovak

God bless! America.

Today in America…

Is there hope for a better year?

It’s a new year and where are we America? I desperately want to think positively of 2022. I wanted to think positively of 2021…but that didn’t really work out now did it?

Being Irish (mostly), some Scottish, some German and who knows what else, I believe in luck. Furthermore, I believe that you can change your luck and that begins with positive thoughts and positive acts.

So here goes…Happy Birthday 2022! I’m counting on you! We all are!

Happy Birthday 2022!!!

I have to say while remaining hopeful that we’ve had a rocky start to this brand spanking new year.

1) Insane Gas Prices: why did we close the pipeline and give up energy independence again??? Anyone???

Gas prices in America Suck!

Remember: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” -Ronald Reagan.

Well, how about: “Mr. Biden! Open that damn pipeline!!!” -Me

2) Rising Food Prices and Empty Shelves: is it all “supply chain” – which is what exactly? Is this just a misnomer? Are people hoarding again? Are we being duped? I would like to know what’s really going on, wouldn’t you?

Gee maybe devaluing our own currency and printing money is a bad market strategy after all.

I’ve heard our nations leadership blame the empty supermarket shelves on everyone from the farmers to the truckers to the supermarkets.

I don’t know about you but I don’t know anyone who works harder than farmers. I know that I’m not getting up at 5am to milk the cows or tend the herd and I’m certainly not blaming the guys and gals who do.

The truckers? My uncle drove a semi…that’s no easy life! It’s long days and nights away from home, with extreme traffic, stress, and all while remaining alert! I can do about 4 hours in a car before I go completely bats! My vision of hell is that they give me this job to do for all eternity.

What about the supermarkets that remained open all throughout the height of the Covid epidemic? After a brief stint working in a supermarket, I can tell you these folks work their butts off. While working this job I didn’t have to worry about tracking my steps because I logged over 15,000 daily!

Are we seriously blaming them for empty shelves? The next time you go to the market, please say thank you to the employees who work there busting hump and dodging customers to keep the food on the shelves, while earning low wages and logging terrible hours.

As for management, running a supermarket and trying to make a profit is a nightmare. They’re dealing with government regulations, FDA, employment issues, perishable goods, and now “supply chain” issues.

The Bread Section of Target in Reston, VA 1-10-22
If we run out of bread, there’s alway cake!

3) COVID – OMG!!! Why are we still dealing with this!!! We have the vaccines which we were promised would be our saving grace. Yet somehow none of what we were told ever added up right.

The medicine aisle in Target yesterday Reston, VA

Pretty much everyone I know including myself was sick for Christmas. There was lots of Covid under the Christmas tree and especially for fully vaccinated folks. What gives??? Does anyone else feel like we’ve been sold a bunch of baloney at a filet mignon price???

4) Rising Crime and Changing Public Support for Police Officers. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/10/26/growing-share-of-americans-say-they-want-more-spending-on-police-in-their-area/%3Famp%3D1

5) The Border: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-restart-trump-era-border-program-forcing-asylum-seekers-wait-mexico-2021-12-02/

6) Afghanistan- Lest We Forget! https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/01/13/afghanistan-taliban-takeover-worsens-rights-crisis

7) School Closures: what did our youth learn in 2021? How many suffered and continue to suffer from issues with mental health? I was very proud of the parents here in Loudoun County for their resolute efforts to get our children back into the classrooms and to raise serious concerns about the current curriculum. As parents we have to fight for our children, because no one else will.

Hope, where art thou?

My hope is that 2022 will be the year of the independent American, the free thinker, the doer, and the questioning American. That it will be the year of taking a stand, righting wrongs, and banding together. Division has gotten us nowhere. Hiding in our homes has rendered us fearful and lost. We can’t afford another year of cowering and doubting ourselves America. Our children are watching. And the world is watching.

Glimmer of Hope!

In 2022 we need a spark to ignite and rejuvenate American ingenuity, strength, unity, pride, creativity, honor, hard work, spirituality, and patriotism.

July 4th 2021

Let’s go…America and 2022! I believe in you!

American Flag

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” – Ronald Reagan

Armageddon? If you fear this is the end of days, use your GIFTS and PRAY!

We were promised unity and transparency. We may be united on one thing; it’s crystal clear that something is tragically amiss. Do you feel it? A murky despair hangs like a toxic fog over our country.

I hear people ask, “What can we do?”

It’s not a shrug your shoulders, we give up, what can we do? My gut says Americans want to do something, to be proactive, do something to stop the madness, because there is nothing worse than feeling helpless.

We are far from helpless and there are many things we can do.

I have long believed that each and every one of us is given a gift at birth, a gift from God. You may be one of the lucky ones who have more than one. The onus is on us to figure out what our talents are and how to use them for the betterment of mankind. Likely, these proficiencies are skills at which each one of us naturally excels. Sure, we may study or work to improve our ability, but to some extent we have always simply had a knack for something like singing, painting, writing, fundraising, teaching, or any ability that makes us unique. It takes some people a lifetime to figure this out. Here’s a hint: ask yourself, what’s the one thing that when you’re not doing it, you’re completely miserable? What is something positive that you are compelled to do?

For me that compulsion is writing. In my youth, and before blogging, self-publishing, and social media, I filled notebooks with words, poems, stories, and incomplete novels. Then, in my twenties and thirties, I filed away the notebooks, in favor of my laptop, often writing stories that I never even shared.

When I started this blog a few years ago, it didn’t really have a focus at first, probably because I didn’t have a focus. Over time, I discovered I liked to write about wine, politics, writing, art and nature. But of all of these, people most like to read my posts about wine and writing.

Then, in I wandered away from the blog and discovered Twitter. A few years ago, I thought Twitter was amazing! I could post a photo of the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC and people in Japan could see and like it. I found other writers. I found people passionate about politics. I stopped really writing and started tweeting instead. I thought I was connecting with the world, how exciting!

In 2016 I wanted to do something for my preferred candidate in the Presidential election. I had used Twitter advertising to promote my book, so I ran a pro-voting twitter campaign using my own tweets. There was nothing nefarious in any of the tweets, snarky yes and attempts to be witty, maybe. The campaign was wildly successful in likes, retweets, and follows. Twitter blocked some of tweets and put them under review. I inquired and received some vague answer.

Not long after the campaign, Twitter deleted all of my advertising analytics, even for the ads I had run for my book. They sent me a letter stating that I had Russian followers. So what? I have followers all over the world, I thought, and a Russian sounding surname. I inquired about the missing ad data. After all, I had paid for those ads; surely what they were doing was illegal. The representative said the ad data only stays up for a limited period of time. I said, “That’s funny because I was always able to go back and review ads from previous years before”. Something didn’t feel right. I didn’t quit Twitter at that time, but I stopped tweeting. That love affair was over.

Just before the 2020 Presidential Election, I started Tweeting again, my political outlet. At one point last fall I had tweeted something about the election and someone tweeted back something nasty. Before I knew it, I was in a tweet battle with a total stranger. It went on for hours. Then, she started tweeting scripture at me. I tweeted scripture back. It went on. Finally, I was just exhausted and I wrote, “Agree to disagree. We both read the same book.” And it stopped. I think at that moment we both realized how foolish we were, and that in a sense, we were both actually on the same side.

I didn’t like who I had become on Twitter, so I closed my account. Prior to this, I had quit Facebook for the same reason and had not missed it at all. Some friends and family members were angry that I had left Facebook, but I was more at peace. It had lost all meaning to me. After my mother passed, I started a family group chat, and a year later we are still using it to share family related events and news. My circle has gotten smaller, but it is more meaningful. I kept this blog because for me it is where it all began and the place where I felt I had made the most genuine connections. I still want to connect with the world, only on my terms.

I think it’s OK to lose your way as long as you can come to your senses and still find your way back.

Lately, I have felt a strong sense that we are all being called, compelled to action if you will, to use our gifts for the sake of and for the good of our fellow man, right now.

As a result of my “tweet battle”, I don’t believe we are all divided. I deduce there is a purposeful wedge being driven between us and that all too often we seek salvation in human form, when the great unifier is faith in a higher purpose, and in a higher power.

As a nation, and as a world, we have spent the last year fighting against an invisible enemy, a virus. We are all exhausted, our souls are depleted and they need to be replenished.

We have been told, “Don’t wear a mask! You must wear a mask! Wear two masks!” And we have been muzzled.

We have lost loved ones; we have watched our children struggle and fail at home school and fight to participate in their chosen sports. Suicide, poverty, drug addiction, and alcoholism are on the rise.

We have been told that we can’t see our friends, our family members, our co-workers, and we can’t worship together.

Right now, tens of thousands of migrants are flooding our southern border illegally aided by human traffickers. We know very little about these migrants, except that they desperately want to flee their own countries and for that we can’t blame them, but at the same time we are ill-equipped to help them, especially now. In addition, they may be COVID super spreaders, and are being allowed to disband across our country. How does this fit with every restriction we have faced over the course of the last year? Why are our leaders allowing this to happen? Is it for votes? Is it to keep spreading the COVID virus and to keep us under control longer?

Our leaders are patting themselves on the back for the new $1.9 Trillion dollar COVID-19 relief package they just unveiled. Did they bother to ask themselves the one question that every one of us asks before buying something as simple as a kitchen appliance? “Can we afford this right now?” You should read what’s in this bill. This article offers a good explanation, and you can decide for yourself: https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-reliefbill2021-covid19-idUSL1N2LA2NF

Maybe a simpler and less expensive solution to our current angst would be for our leaders to close the border, to dispense the vaccines, to allow our small businesses to open and therefore have a fighting chance of survival, and to send our kids back to school. We are America. Most of us don’t really want a handout and $1,400 might pay the mortgage for a month and then what? What I hear people saying is: “we want to be able to earn an honest living and we want our country back”.

Like many of you, I have spent a fair bit of time ruminating over recent political events. For a few months, I chose to disconnect, to not engage, to not write about it, to close down my social media accounts, to not react, and to just take some time to think and to question.

I saw events with my own eyes that made me question the election outcome. Tens of thousands of people supported one candidate, and only a handful supported the other, but the other guy won? Balderdash! Isn’t that a great word?

I questioned why the Supreme Court dismissed court cases challenging the election results and refused to even consider looking into the possibility of voter fraud. Plus, there was the double insult of potential voting impropriety on the 100 year anniversary of women’s suffrage. What a slap in the face. Shouldn’t voting integrity be of supreme importance to the highest court? Will our vote ever count again? Did it ever count? Don’t we deserve to know?

When one party seeks power at any cost and as a result the other party is made to feel completely powerless, something is terribly wrong.

Make no mistake, a battle is raging.

So you ask again, “what can we do? How can we take back our power?”

We can use our gifts and no joke, we can pray.

A few years ago, while I was researching my novel and certain that I was experiencing a spiritual crisis, I went to speak with a priest. After a long discussion, he told me the best thing that I could do about my predicament was pray.

At the time, I recall I laughed a little. Was it nerves or embarrassment maybe.

He said, “That’s Satan, he’ll always try to stop you from praying.”

“Just pray, that’s it?” I said, “It sounds too simple”.

“There is nothing more powerful, “he said, “than prayer.”

Of course he was right. I didn’t really get it at the time.

I’ve never thought of myself so much as religious, but I’m definitely spiritual. Religious to me was always about being devout, never missing mass, and being able to quote scripture without looking it up. But I’m glad that I took some time this year to reflect and to pray. I’m thankful that I did not give in to negativity and derision and that I did not write out of anger. Loving your enemies takes courage. I’m still working on this. https://www.biblehub.com/matthew/5-44.htm

Like Janice Morrison, the character in my book, I consider myself a Catholic in progress. Janice is far from a saint. She curses like a sailor and sins like the rest of us. She’s in the midst of a battle, good versus evil, both figuratively and literally.

Through prayer, we are allowed to share our burdens. Afterward, I feel physically and spiritually lighter.

So now I pray for the Supreme Court to find courage. I fear that some heinous force holds their tongues, and prevents them from doing their jobs, especially Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Barrett. It could be simply my own fears. But if there is something holding them back, I pray that it will be revealed and that any known threat be vanquished.

I pray for the unborn and for those suffering from religious persecution around the world. https://www.persecution.org/2021/03/05/new-report-highlights-severe-lack-religious-freedom-china/

I pray for the members of the press to open their eyes, their ears, their hearts, and their minds and to tell the truth, not their version or their superior’s version of the truth, and for selective censorship to be cancelled.

I pray for Joe Biden and his family, that he is not afflicted with dementia. Over the past five years, I lived the horror of this disease. My mother lost her struggle with this disease last year just as our nation succumbed to this pandemic. I’m all too familiar with the vacant stares, the lost words, and the stolen memories. I witnessed it in her and in the other residents of her nursing care facility. Dementia is a nightmare from which one can never wake.

I pray that the members of the current administration running the country behind the scenes have the best interest of our great nation and its security at heart and that those in power truly grasp the weight of this heavy burden.

I pray for America to be free again someday soon, for the National Guard in DC to go home to their families, and for faith to be restored in our Nations Capitol. I believe our government does not need protection from its own citizens, but rather from thoughts and ideas that become policies and laws to the detriment of our United States.

I pray that the mighty Constitution of the United States of America can withstand the vicious assault on its Amendments, especially the First, the Second, the Fourteenth, the Nineteenth, and the Twenty-Sixth. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Constitution-of-the-United-States-of-America/Amendments-to-the-U-S-Constitution

Above all, I pray for our children and for the future we will leave to them, with fear, fealty, and faith. I am thankful to still feel compelled to write. With this outlet, and with these prayers, comes some levity.

Pray I’m brave enough to press publish.

Leave the Kids Alone!

Has the paparazzi gone too far?  Well of course, they have, but isn’t that their job?

I am not sure if you have seen the recent coverage of celebrities in California trying to get stricter laws passed to keep paparazzi from photographing their children.  Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner testified in front of the Assembly Judiciary Committee in California: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/nightline-fix-abc-news/jennifer-garner-halle-berry-emotional-testimony-paparazzi-stalking-144106078.html

The bill includes fines, jail time and civil suits for paparazzi.  Here is the thing, does this fall under free speech for photographers who are just doing their job and pose a violation to the 1st Amendment?

On the other hand, does stalking and waiting outside private homes of celebrities constitute an invasion of privacy?  Alternatively, once you become a public figure who depends on paparazzi to keep your face, or your brand public do you give up your right to privacy?  For what is normally a symbiotic relationship, in this case becomes a moral dilemma.

http://www.ehow.com/info_8208885_symbiotic-between-animals-marine-biome.html

As a mother, I am sympathetic to the celebrity plight.  Protection of the children should come above all else.  I love the movies as much as the next woman does and do not begrudge film stars their status.  However, they are willing to sacrifice something that I would never give up, privacy.  You will not see pictures of my children in the public domain if I can help it.

As writers, we have an advantage here, for the most part no one really cares what we look like and most of the time no one even remembers our names.  Try asking a friend the name of the author who wrote the last book he/she just read.  Most likely, they will remember the title of the book or novel but not who wrote it unless that person is among the one percent of famous named writers.  This is why we work so hard to come up with cute, pithy and catchy titles.

Furthermore, as a writer, I have to protect and defend the first amendment!

So what can celebrities do?  Can they blame the paparazzi for doing their job?  Should the paparazzi develop a moral compass that guides them to leave the kids alone?  Not likely, they are well paid for the pictures they take.  Besides, they surely have children of their own for whom they need to provide.

Here is what it comes down to:  you and I all have the power to impact this issue if we so choose.  All of us have stood at the supermarket checkout stands and picked up or purchased the ‘rag mags’ or some more ‘reputable’ publication with these sorts of photos on the cover.  As consumers, we can remove the demand for pictures of celebrity children by not purchasing the magazines and media that exploit minors and print these photographs, because it really is a moral issue.  The magazines will come up with something else to photograph that will sell just as many copies.  What would you do if they were your children?  Think about it.

So, You Want to be the Next President

How the DEMS are better at playing politics than the GOP

The 2016 Presidential election has already begun, if you haven’t noticed. Cover-ups are at all time high and backbiting and infighting has already started, which makes me think, Republicans in particular, have not learned anything new since the last election.

For Republican supporters, the reason it’s difficult to back a candidate is that the candidates do not support or back their own party or have a true agenda. They are too busy fighting within the party to put forth a solid candidate. Take the most recent bickering between New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. I am a fan of both men, but it irks me to see this childish behavior and to know what Republicans stand to lose again.

The DEMS seem to get this and work very well at publically hugging their enemies and making nice when they begin to lose support over their bad behavior. They are not afraid to run for office ‘post scandal’, such as, Anthony Weiner’s New York Mayoral campaign. They get that if you are the number two choice of supporters there’s always a new prestigious post within the administration and a promise of future support should America decide she loves you again later. They get that the one who gives the speeches is less important than who runs things from behind the scenes. They stick together.

DEMS stay true to their agenda: get the vote, no matter the cost. They are always thinking about the best political move in any given circumstance. For example, take the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, where four Americans were killed. Aid requested of the State Department far in advance due to ongoing threats was denied. Of course, threats do not always lead to action and finger-pointing does not bring back those lost. Of course, you can’t blame everything that goes wrong within an organization on the person in charge since there are so many other layers in between, right? The State Department managed to duck and cover any responsibility thanks to party and media support.

It was true brilliance how well the DEMS sidestepped any responsibility, by labeling any unpleasantness that crops up as a ‘phony scandal’. How odd then that just last week, in response to terror threats, the State Department closed 18 US Embassies, all over the world. Maybe there was something to learn then. I wonder if the families of the Benghazi victims will ever learn what really happened especially since survivors have signed non-disclosure agreements.

The question I would ask a potential candidate on either side is, if a person is immoral or fails at leadership in a lower office, how can we expect them to be competent in a higher office and particularly as President of the United States?

As for Republican candidates going the way of the RHINO, shame on you!  Just switch sides already.  Why does this continue to happen? Because they are afraid to take a stand and believe they can get away with straddling the fence. Well they can’t, because eventually, that’s going to hurt. The party lines have a clear division; voters get it, so why don’t the candidates?

For true Republicans, it is not a matter of making nice with Democratic supporters in hopes they will switch sides, because DEMS have their agenda and it is not anything like the GOP one. Whether or not you agree with it, you have to respect that they stick to it.

My theory on Independents is they know which way they lean and just do not want to go public about it; I’m sure you will correct me if I am wrong.

Republican supporters have lost faith in ever finding a true leader again and have chosen not to vote out of sheer exasperation. Why else would the Tea Party and the Libertarian Parties be gaining support? In addition, why would the IRS be trying to silence those organizations? Fear. Because among these might emerge a true candidate for the new Republican party, which is really the same party but led by someone who is not afraid. Right now, DEMS are not worried, because they know they can rely on positive media coverage, the apathy of the average voter and for Republications to destroy their own chances.

What do true Republican supporters want? I am willing to take a stab at what a good candidate might look like:
• One who works at keeping government spending down and lowers our debt to China
• One who fights for American jobs instead of just talking about doing it
• One who respects the Constitution and does not treat it like an outdated document
• One who has some idea of how to run the military and preferably someone who has served
• One who understands we have borders for a reason and if people want to become American citizens they are welcome, provided they do so legitimately, don’t break the law, PAY TAXES and get a photo id to vote
• One who loves America and does not want to turn it into a European nation; no offense to Europe, which is a lovely place to visit, but if we still wanted to be British, we never would have left to begin our own country, which once upon a time was a success

Yes, the right to life is a major issue and you have to pick a side and be true to it. This always becomes the DEM go to as a way of pulling support, yet 73-76% of Americans consider themselves Christians, so how does the GOP lose on this issue every time?

Healthcare No Care! Oh, and by the way, is there anyone who believes the new Healthcare law will be a success? It sounds like it needs an overhaul before we all become the administration’s healthcare guinea pigs. Why all the secrecy? Why all the tweaks and special addendums? Why should we continue to pay and pay for bad legislation? How about getting it right first? If the plan is so great, why do members of Congress get a free pass and get to pay the rate of the uninsured when they make much more than the average American?

Does anyone else feel like the one of plebs outside the walled city, begging for scraps?

The Tower of London

Sadly, the days are gone when there was a candidate Americans could really believe in. We might settle for one who at least stuck by what they claim to stand for. However, because of the current state of politics, that person must be a millionaire many times over or have a platform with which to garner support. This is true for both parties, even though the DEMS somehow get away with pretending they care about the ‘common man’, none of them have ever been common or have any idea what we go through trying to keep our families fed.

www.eileenslovak.com
http://www.eileenslovak.com

So, what will it be America? I have noticed President Obama has changed his favorite speech mentor from President Lincoln to FDR. It is interesting to note that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was fond of social programs and was the only President who held office for three consecutive terms…very interesting in fact. Of course, the 22nd Amendment prevents this from occurring again, as long as it remains intact. Anyway, I am sure the number two choice will get a nice cabinet post.

Break’s Over; Let’s Get Back To Work, America!

Can good old-fashioned hard work, adapting to the changing marketplace and holding Government accountable for how they spend our taxes, save America?

Is anyone buying the Government is going to create jobs story, waiting around for that to happen?  Because here is some home truth about semantics:  the Government does not create jobs.

The US Government is this country’s largest employer and according to:  www.census.gov, in 2011, employed 16.4 million full time employees.  Yes, we pay people to collect this data, so someone should read it.  There is wasteful spending, which our elected officials will hopefully find and cut, over for the next several months, in order to develop a budget plan.

What Government can do for the private sector job market, that’s Joe’s Hardware store or Nancy’s Restaurant or Lou’s Construction company, you get the picture, is decrease tax rates and change regulations to encourage employers of companies and businesses owners to hire more people and in turn, positively affect the jobless rate and stop companies from sending our jobs overseas.

Here’s another interesting statistic, about three quarters of businesses have no employees, they are simply self-employed.  Stats about business from the US Census Bureau

Feel free to e-mail your favorite Senator or Congressperson to ask what they plan to do about the unemployment rate, which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov, is still 7.9% and translates to 12.3 million unemployed:  Press Release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Meanwhile, I don’t know about you, but I get impatient waiting for someone else to fix things.  I believe Americans want to work right now.  So, how can we fix the problem for ourselves?

I’ve been job searching for several months, but despite having a college degree and ten plus years of business experience, I took a part time job in retail for pathetic pay.  Why?  Because it makes me feel better to be part of the solution, not part the problem, because a paycheck validates worth.  Because giving up is not the American way.

Retailers, who make the bulk of their revenue during the months of November and December, are hiring.  Many people take these positions as second jobs.  Some are working two part time jobs, because for employers, the benefit of part time is not paying benefits, which means they can hire more people.  Still, the hope for employees is that hard work will lead to full-time status or a better job somewhere else.

For example:  last night after work, while buying groceries, I was talking to grocery store employee, W, who has the biggest smile I have ever seen while working two jobs, seven days a week.  W’s wife, is getting her nursing degree and they have two children.  This is how it’s done in tough times, America!  As bad as things are, this is still the land of opportunity.

Aside from retailers, here’s what else I found in Maryland, many employers, some nationwide, are hiring Salespeople, Engineers, Teachers, service people, drivers and healthcare workers.  For unskilled labor, there are several jobs in the service industry.  Healthcare and hospitals are hiring at various levels, even at the non-degree level.   Restaurants are hiring skilled and unskilled labor.

If you have some talent with computers like surfing the internet, companies are hiring people to manage and maintain websites and blogs.  Finding a job might require re-training, adapting, learning some new skills.  It might require working a lesser job to figure out a way to pay for re-training.  This is nothing new.  Our Grandparents did it; our parents did it; we can do it.

Also hiring, the US Government and Government contracting companies, until budget cuts begin.  Proposed cuts, slated to come from primarily from defense, include cutting retirement and medical benefits for Veterans, you know, the people who risked their lives fighting wars, protecting us from harm and keeping America safe from terrorism, which exists regardless of what you call it, semantics again, like the attack on our American Consulate in Benghazi.  If you disagree with defense cuts, feel free to e-mail your favorite Senator or Congressperson to suggest they cut something else.

Then, what do I know, I write for free.  But, at least I’m paying taxes.

Can Republicans and Democrats be friends?

The philosophical differences between Democrats and Republicans

I was talking to one of my very best friends today, KC, whom I have known all of my life, who knows me better than my relatives do.  Sisters by choice, we can talk about anything, even politics and she suggested I write about this:  can Republicans and Democrats be friends?

I would say a resounding yes, with one exception, those on the extreme left and the extreme right who might somehow find a middle ground, but only with a gap the size of the Grand Canyon.

Of course, this is just my opinion.

I am not overly fond of labels, like Democrat and Republican, liberal, racist or Neo-Nazi.  However, we do like to label one another.  It seems our minds want to organize people into simple labeled boxes like tax receipts, but does anyone really fit neatly into one of those boxes or are the boxes bulging at the seams?  When we slap a quick label on someone do we hurt the person we are labeling or ourselves, for the missed opportunity brought on by judgment?

A few years ago, I gave up being judgmental.  It started as an exercise but turned into a lifestyle change.    I suddenly realized what judgment does to the judge.  It causes one to miss the hidden beauty in humanity, to believe the lie of the masks we all parade, to give credence to rumor and speculation and to forget our mission here on earth, which is to leave this world a better place than it was when we entered it.

So, can Democrats and Republicans be friends?  Bill O’Reilly asked this question on his program.  Stop right there, if you think Bill O’Reilly is a right-wing guy, then you obviously have not watched his program.  Watch first, then judge if you want.

I give Bill credit for attempting to cross the journalistic aisle and appear on programs such as The View, The David Letterman Show and to spar with John Stewart.  This gives me hope for American broadcast journalism, there might be a middle ground, eventually.

Watch o’Reilly on Letterman

I like to think of myself as an independent.  I even like the word; it has so many beautiful connotations.  I have in the past, voted for both Republicans and Democrats, making my decision based on the issues at hand, although on the books, in the box, I am ‘labeled’ a Republican.  Currently, that platform is the most appealing to me.

Oh, and yes I do have friends who are both Democrats and Republicans.  So why is it taboo to talk about politics?  What’s the big deal?  I’ve had friends become enraged over political comments made in jest, whose political viewpoints were so fragile, so easily offended, that they were unable to allow casual comments to pass.  If they were true friends we got past it, if not, we didn’t.  So if you’re squeamish, maybe avoid the topic with acquaintances, but not with good friends.

My friend KC admits to being a Democrat.  She is a single mother, who lost her husband to cancer, very suddenly, at the age of thirty-four.  Not long after that, during the foreclosure crisis, she and her daughter lost their home.   A few years later, after rebuilding their lives, a house fire took everything they owned, clothing, photographs, mementos, but thankfully, no one was hurt.

KC is a college graduate actively seeking employment but says, for her daughter, she is willing to wait tables or clean houses, whatever it takes.  “At least,” she says, “I can be home when my daughter gets home from school.”  She cannot afford daycare.  She cannot afford healthcare, but she says, “I’m lucky.  I went through a horrible time, but I have my health, I have my daughter and I’ve learned to appreciate what really matters in life.”

Forget the labels; they only lead to divisive thinking.  Fighting among ourselves will never make our country stronger.  There is one label we can all wear proudly and that is American.

Voting Rights

Suffrage March 1913

Distracted by the coverage of the upcoming Presidential election, I cannot write about anything else.  It is unfathomable to me that there are people who are either apathetic or uninformed when it comes to politics.

Maybe my fixation is a result of living in close proximity to where all the action happens, near our Nations Capitol.   Every time I enter the city, I feel a swell of American pride, awe and patriotism.  Ironically, the population in this area is somewhat sheltered from the problems of the rest of the Country.  The struggle is not as magnified here, where house prices and employment levels remain high.

I was not engaged at one time and am unsure of when I changed my mind and decided to start paying attention.  I remember feeling about politics the way I felt about golf.  How boring!  Then I started to play golf, not so much by choice but to participate in client tournaments and began to understand the fascination of wanting to get that little ball into that little hole in fewer strokes than the other guy or gal.  My competitive nature took over.

By that same token, there is nothing boring about politics.  If that is what you think, you are merely uninformed.  If that is what you think, you have not been watching the debates. 

Could politics be an interest that develops with age?

Now, being at an age and in an income bracket where so many decisions made by politicians, directly affect me, have I simply just woken up?

Is it because I have Veterans in my family?

Perhaps it is due, in part, to my friends and family members in the military or due to my personal experience of military life.

Maybe, my interest magnified after living in Europe and witnessing their economic and Healthcare issues.

Or, simply put, maybe I feel I am caught in the middle, as a member of the middle class, the knot in the tug of war between the political parties and a member of the gender they are currently squabbling over?

The only problem with this theory is that “we the people” are all affected by the decisions politicians make, whether they tell us what they are doing with our money or not, whether we realize what is happening in the world and how our country is tied to it or not, whether we are aware or not.

As an informed voter, I seek information via multiple television news sources, newspapers, magazines, the radio, the internet and in discussions with others.  It is not hard.  I absorb information while exercising, cooking, checking e-mail and driving, all with minimal effort.  I do not take much stock in celebrity endorsements.  Why trust a professional actor to be truthful?  Rather, I make my own decisions based on my values.  I have the advantage of knowing what those beliefs are and where the candidates stand on issues that are important to me.  Finally, I abhor desperate attempts by the candidates to smear one another or to placate me.

I may be a candidate’s worst nightmare.

For women in America, voting rights began in 1920, less than 100 years ago.  Respecting this right means that I know how fortunate I am to be an American woman.  Respecting this, means that I take my rights seriously.  Whichever candidate for whom you cast your vote, please, respect the right enough to make an informed decision.