Government History Politics Women

Margaret Chase Smith: Saving the Republic from the Senate Floor

Margaret Chase Smith. You might never have heard her name, but it’s certainly not because she doesn’t deserve to have you do so. She was the first woman voted in as a senator who wasn’t an appointment or a widow filling her husband’s seat. But it’s not that for which we should resurrect her now. It’s because she was a Republican from Maine. Republicans from Maine are known to be individualistic in their approach to all things — or, at least, they were until Susan Collins began to furrow her brow with concern and then do exactly as she is told by Trump and his enablers.
It was June 1, 1950, and Margaret was a freshman senator. She kept waiting for those who were more senior than she to stand up to Senator McCarthy, and when they didn’t, she decided she needed to do so herself. She titled her speech “Declaration of Conscience.” She presented it on the Senate floor, and it was signed by six other Republican senators.

Following is the Senate website’s description of what happened:

Four months earlier, McCarthy had rocketed to national attention. In a well-publicized speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, he claimed to possess the names of 205 card-carrying communists in the State Department. Smith, like many of her colleagues, shared McCarthy’s concerns about communist subversion, but she grew skeptical when he repeatedly ignored her requests for evidence to back-up his accusations. “It was then,” she recalled, “that I began to wonder about the validity… and fairness of Joseph McCarthy’s charges.”

At first, Smith hesitated to speak. “I was a freshman Senator,” she explained, “and in those days, freshman Senators were to be seen and not heard.” She hoped a senior member would take the lead. “This great psychological fear…spread to the Senate,” she noted, “where a considerable amount of mental paralysis and muteness set in for fear of offending McCarthy.” As the weeks passed, Smith grew increasingly angry with McCarthy’s attacks and his defamation of individuals she considered above suspicion. Bowing to Senate rules on comity, Smith chose not to attack McCarthy, but to denounce the tactics that were becoming known as “McCarthyism.”

“Mr. President,” she began, “I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition…. The United States Senate has long enjoyed worldwide respect as the greatest deliberative body…. But recently that deliberative character has…been debased to…a forum of hate and character assassination.” In her 15-minute address, delivered as McCarthy looked on, Smith endorsed every American’s right to criticize, to protest, and to hold unpopular beliefs. “Freedom of speech is not what it used to be in America,” she complained. “It has been so abused by some that it is not exercised by others.” She asked her fellow Republicans not to ride to political victory on the “Four Horsemen of Calumny–Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.” As she concluded, Smith introduced a statement signed by herself and six other Republican senators–her “Declaration of Conscience.”

I am so proud to be a woman these days. So proud. And, I ask now, what woman Republican will present her own declaration of conscience in the coming days? Which of you will set aside your personal job security to do the right thing? Will it be you, Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee? You, Susan Collins from Maine? You, Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia? Joni Ernst from Iowa, how about you? Deb Fischer from my alma mater, Nebraska? Cindy Hyde-Smith from Mississippi? Martha McSally from Arizona (unlikely)? Or Lisa Murkowski (I’m betting on you, girlfriend)? Who among you will join Margaret Chase Smith — who helped save the republic from sure ruin 70 years ago — as a woman for the ages? It’s a generation later, and it’s on you.

Here is a video of a young lady presenting Margaret’s speech. Take the two minutes to watch it. It will ring so very true for this moment in time.

Business Financial Government Politics

White Men Over 50: Not So Much

trumpdonald_bill_signing_021417gettyI jokingly tell my friends that I am not a fan of white men over the age of 50. When I say this to a white man over 50, I sometimes add the caveat, “except for you, of course.” But that’s sometimes, not always. I hate this new piece of me that is filled with rage when I observe a sea of white men over the age of 50 standing behind Donald Trump’s desk while he signs something or other that will take away my personal rights or speed up the already-out-of-control issues around global warming, or as he just sits there holding up his megalomaniacal large, scary signature on a document that 9 out of 10 times is in the interest of no one other than his rich, white, male friends over the age of 50.

But it’s not just him.

There’s Mitch McConnell. There’s Lindsey Graham. There’s the huge number of white, male, age 50-plus GOP lawmakers in Washington. What do the women in your life say when you come home at night? I wonder as I watch them make statements they know are lies and vote in the interest of one man who never has our country’s best interest at heart. I wonder what I would say if one of them was my brother, husband, or father. I write letters to them in my head at night, at 2 in the morning, when I’m terrified and hoping that this is all a nightmare from which I will awaken next November.

Let’s look at others outside of government, but interestingly enough, in business — as in the business of billionaires. Dennis Muilenburg was just fired from Boeing after a career of thirty years building an airplane he knew was unsafe and which killed hundreds of humans. He created a toxic culture for the safety of millions of fliers, and that’s to say nothing of the culture of deceit, distain for others, and lies for which he’s also responsible. This man will walk away with $62 million … but “none of his salary or bonus for the last year.” You can’t make this up. The man belongs in jail, as did Roger Ailes, who also walked away with tens of millions of dollars, while some of the women who came forward were fired and haven’t worked since.

Look, I’m not saying my gender is flawless — not by any means. I think Sheryl Sandberg is close to belonging in jail and certainly responsible for the attacks on George Soros and others who threatened the undeserved sanctity of Facebook. I take it back; she definitely belongs in jail. But by sheer numbers, there is an inordinate number of white men over the age of 50 who are ruining so much more than our planet. They are ruining the soul of our country. So while I will try my hardest not to toss them all into one group, and instead, look at them individually … in the dead of night, at 2 in the morning, 99% of them will continue to appear white, male, and over 50.

Government Politics

No Cause for Celebration: Nixon & Trump

166995-ajhbascasdI went to dinner tonight with some politically like-minded friends who have bemoaned the state of the union with me these past few years as we have watched our country’s divide grow larger than the Rio Grande and some of our family, friends, and neighbors become strangers to us.

One woman told me at dinner that she wept this morning when she saw the news. It wasn’t because she was happy about what might be the turning point in what kind of person America is willing to accept as our leader and commander in chief, but because this is an extremely dark moment in history, and there is no celebration for her in any of it.

I should mention that she is a generation younger than me; I am sixty-six, and she just turned fifty.

I have been thinking a lot lately about August 8, 1974, when Richard Nixon stood before the nation and with shame and awkward prose, resigned in disgrace. I have been contemplating it a lot. I was a sophomore at the University of Nebraska, and I had worked the summer before on the Nixon campaign. I celebrated his win and the first vote I’d ever cast in a presidential election.

That summer of 1974, I was working at a resort in the Catskills called Crystal Lake Lodge. Think “Dirty Dancing,” and you will be there. There was even a dance competition each week, and another server and I did the Lindy as people cheered. These people were liberal Jews from New York City, who had held rallies at Crystal Lake Lodge for the Rosenbergs twenty years earlier in the very hall where the television was set up for us all to watch Nixon walk away from office with his tail between his legs.

The entire group of hotel patrons, owners, and restaurant servers cheered after every sentence while I sobbed quietly in the back. I viewed my country with reverence, with such respect and awe that it was inconceivable to me that this moment had come — that a president of the United States would resign or go to jail. I was devastated. I remember that night like it was yesterday. I still mourn the loss of my glorious red, white, and blue bubble within which I’d happily lived out all my days leading up to that one: The joy I’d felt of driving around town with three girlfriends in my Cougar XR7 with the top down when the United States landed on the moon, feeling like there were no boundaries our great nation couldn’t break. The elation I’d felt that I was alive to see Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tell all that he had been to the mountaintop and that he could see our future. The satisfaction I’d felt that fellow students rode buses and got beaten up because white is not always right. God, I was proud until that moment. The way I felt before August 8, 1974, was never the same after that day.

Tonight I joined my amazingly brilliant and astute friends in recognizing that nothing that happens over the coming months — even if we get what we want, and this mockery of a president resigns — is cause for celebration. We have lost so much:

  • Lifelong servants to government have been abused or sold their souls after decades of perfect attendance in doing what is right for the good of our country.
  • Hatred between friends has grown. I have lost a number of friends, none of whom I feel I ever knew — some because of the almighty dollar and some because they don’t really believe that all men are created equal. I hadn’t seen that those were their beliefs … or I hadn’t wanted to see it.
  • My government and my fellow Americans have treated families as poorly as slaves were treated hundreds of years ago.
  • Catastrophic climate damage has gone unchecked because my fellow Americans care more about their money than their grandchildren’s future.

So even if this is the tipping point when 45% of my fellow citizens decide they have had enough, and the numbers finally change, we have not gained anything. We have lost so much that will possibly never be recovered.

That said, I hope that tonight our president will sleep as poorly as I have for the last three years, and that he’ll do so again every night until he is finally out of office. God bless America.

Government Politics

In Defense of Biden

CVK4Y4FUBYI6TD3MPAUONDFRL4I must start with full disclosure. Biden is not my first choice for the Democratic candidate for the presidency. I can’t really say why, actually. If I think about it without any personal prejudice, he might just be what our country needs. He is liked by many on both sides of the aisle. No one has a visceral negative response to him, unlike people have for many other candidates. So, when I think about it, he probably has the power to heal our divided nation.

But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about what happened last night.

What took place last night on the debate floor is that all those ridiculous candidates sold their ethics and their party down the river because the pundits said that is what they needed to do in order to to stand out. Pundits drive all behavior now, and they spent much of yesterday laying the groundwork for what they wanted: TV soundbites of everyone attacking Biden. Most candidates took the bait and made that their mission. They betrayed themselves and their party — and our country. Instead of coming across as candidates I want to lead our nation, they acted like praying mantises. After praying mantises mate, the woman bites off the head of her partner, killing him instantly. Biden has been good to everyone on that stage. He has supported them all along.

Since Biden did not return the “favor” last night, he’s now being called lackluster. I’ll take being called “lackluster” over selling out my party and trading in my soul for a soundbite on CNN that will be forgotten when the news cycle ends. Last night, those candidates who went after him were like the GOP going after good people just to get Trump’s approval, or I should say, to stay out of Trump’s destruction-driven Twitter feed.

Discourse like this is beneath us all. Last night’s debate was a disaster for those running, for the party, and for the country.

Joe Biden is a good guy — in many ways, a great guy — and he will always be uncomfortable in aggressively attacking people with whom he sits on the same side of the fence. At one point last night, he turned to someone who was angrily addressing him, and said, “Good to know, because you and I speak all the time.” What he was saying, in my opinion, was, “This is not how you and I speak; I’m saddened that you think it will help you and that you are willing to check our relationship at the door.” He also said, “That is malarkey!” Malarkey?! I’m surprised Google didn’t report that as a top keyword search last night. The younger generations haven’t heard that word before; even I haven’t heard it since my dad passed away a few years ago.

When his wife and small daughter were killed in a car accident years ago and his two small sons were in the hospital, Joe Biden resigned his newly gained senatorial seat. He explained that he had to give his sons all of his attention. The senators on both sides of the aisle replied that they would cover for him, but that he wasn’t going anywhere and that he should come back when he could. Joe Biden values family and work. He hails from a labor union home, where his dad taught him about country and loyalty. He is the best of Americans. Yes, Biden does invade people’s personal space; I have felt it. BUT, he does so in the way an overexcited puppy does, not in a sexually predatorial way; at least, that is my opinion. He means no harm, and intention does matter.

Whoever stands up and starts talking about the difference between his/her ideas and those of the others, stressing that we all want the same thing: “a great America for all who call her home,” and does so with a cool, kind, compelling, “I would like to date that person” presence will seize the day, in my opinion.

Here are some soundbites that would have brought them all to higher ground:

“I simply will not put down the other candidates here. I will tell you, as I tell them across the table when we are together, why I like my idea better. So, let me tell you my plan for health care.”

“I will not speak about Donald Trump. If I am chosen to go up against him next fall, I can promise you, I have much I would like to say to him. But right now, it’s about showing you who I am and what I stand for, and how I can serve you. He is not worth my time right now.”

“Donald Trump? Seriously? I believe the American people have seen through him; they don’t need me to tell them why. They need me to show them who I am and what I will do and how I will represent them. That’s what I’m here to do tonight.”

“I watch ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ and the phrase ‘under his eye’ haunts me. Under the eye of those in power now, we are putting people in cages. People are dying because they can’t pay for health care. People are not reaping the benefits of what we keep being told is the best economy in the history of the universe. ‘Under his eye’ has new meaning in today’s world. Enough said.”

“Gun control is not what it’s about. It’s about not needing to have an instrument that shoots off more than 50 bullets a second. It’s about degree. It’s always about degree, and there is always a middle ground that is palatable to all. I do not believe that anyone who supports the NRA likes the headlines in today’s shooting-every-single-day world.”

It’s not about attacking Biden. It’s not about attacking Trump. And that strategy, in my opinion, will not beat Trump. Besides, it’s beneath all of you. Stop it.

Government Politics

There are No Tanks in American Parades Mr. President

Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 8.21.24 PM

Mr. President. Just as there is no crying in baseball, there are no tanks in American parades.

For the last twelve years, I’ve blogged about the Fourth of July and our celebration of our rich American history (although I do recognize it’s richer for some more than others, especially lately), and I have done so with pride and excitement. Last year, I reminisced about 1976 and my weekend celebration with the great love of my life as we watched the tall ships travel up the Hudson River, enjoyed fifteen minutes of fabulous fireworks to “Stars and Stripes Forever” by the United States Navy Band, celebrated with all the foods from our diverse culture, and gazed up at the majestic Statue of Liberty, whose message of taking in the tired and poor has always made me so damn proud I could burst. We Americans love parades. The New York City Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is the largest parade in the world, and has taken place every single year since 1792—and, get this: It doesn’t have one car, or truck, or … wait for it … TANK.

There are no tanks, Mr. President, in American parades. Nope, not a one. Not now, not ever, and the fact that you are creating a dictator-type spectacle with your family in tow on the day I try so very hard to remember what my country stands for has broken my heart into a million pieces.

Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 8.17.35 PMThere were tanks in Tiananmen Square. Remember that? Four massive tanks and one lone man who stood in front of the tank, stopping it from moving. Who will stand in front of your tanks, Mr. President, on Constitution Avenue? I pray someone will.

There were tanks in Patton’s army that sped through ice and snow to fight a tyrant who has been compared to you more than once. And, even at the end of World War II, we didn’t have tanks traveling down 5th Avenue, celebrating our win. That’s not what we do. Our military might has never been displayed, never celebrated, because we are not a country that shows off our strength—or, at least, we weren’t until now. We are a giving country that welcomes those without the resources we have and celebrates the plethora of countries that have made our citizens a melting pot of great humans.

Remember when President George W. Bush landed the fighter plane on the deck of an aircraft carrier to celebrate his “mission accomplished”? I think we can all agree that was something we could have done without. The image festered for years. We do not show off our military might. Ever.

We all know you can’t help yourself, but please do not do this. Your fragile, swollen ego wants to feel bigger than your actions can allow it to be.

But we do not have to participate. We do not have to watch it on TV. Instead, we can take to Twitter and Facebook, and email all the networks, asking that they not televise the footage. We can watch Wimbledon, or the Boston Pops and their fifteen-minute fireworks show. You know, a full half hour of fireworks diminishes the intended effect of those fireworks. Sometimes, Mr. President, more is just more—not better. This is one of those times.

 Please do not give this horrendous spectacle a moment of your time. I certainly won’t.


Government Politics

Watergate & Mueller Report is Not the Same

Screen Shot 2019-05-05 at 5.58.11 PMI have a really smart person in my life to whom I speak daily about everything, including a lot of politics. He’s a Pollyanna in pants. I keep jumping up and down and screaming into the bushes that the republic is falling and isn’t it awful, and he keeps telling me to wait it out. He says that just like with Watergate, the exposure of each layer of yet another felony will whittle away at the road we are on, and Trump will go down the way Nixon did.

He’s smart, Mr. Pollyanna in Pants. He does his homework. He had me reading about Magruder’s testimony about the “slippage” of his moral fiber, and that of those around him, when Nixon was Trump-like in his demand for actions that were this side of the prison door shutting behind him. (Remember, Magruder did time.) With each “slip,” he went deeper into the hole of darkness that surrounds one when leaving behind everything he or she used to stand for in order to stand next to a crazy man. I am sure Comey read it before he penned his fabulous editorial about how this came to be.

Then this week, a new CNN poll came out that says that Trump has a 41% approval rating, higher than Obama at this time in his presidency.

So here is where I am: I am not now, nor have I ever been worried in a long-term sense about D.T. He will expire, one way or another, like the cans on my shelves. I am worried that the difference between Watergate and now is that with every Watergate discovery, the members of the public all came from the same sense of right and wrong, and that is why Nixon fell. This is not that. More and more Americans have found themselves in slippage mode, giving up what they would have said was their moral fiber to join the practice of ignoring what is inevitably right and wrong, and feeding the anger inside about that which will serve them better. 41% of the country’s citizens hold the values (or should I say, lack of values) that Trump spews like vitriolic acid.

The country rose up during Watergate — against it. The country now is doing the opposite; they are joining together in support of the president.

I have someone who is sort of related whom I don’t know that well. She is a Christian, or, at least, presents herself that way. She has a baby girl and a toddler. They go to church. She sells Tupperware. Her father is here from Romania. (I’m not sure about his visa, but it would be interesting to see how she would respond if Trump decided the people from Easter Europe shouldn’t get a free ride here either.) She loves her roots and shares them as part of who she is. She is anti-abortion (which I understand totally; it’s in line with her presentation of herself). She posts around these issues and about her fabulous family. She never posts about the immigrants that have been abused by our country or the outrageous anti-Christian actions that our country is committing over and over again. I know she will teach her children not to lie, but she never calls out the lies that permeate the actions of our government. We had one political discussion and she said she had read the book about Hillary Clinton (which is filled with factual inaccuracies). I told her it wasn’t factual and asked her if she would like me to send her some information that would better inform her. She replied, “No.” And it was a firm no. So, this woman who is raising her family with honorable ‘Christian’ values is a Trump supporter — which is against those values. She is the one I’m worried about. Does she ever look in the mirror and call herself out on her inconsistency?

Did 41% of Americans support Nixon after Watergate was exposed? No way. The entire House and Senate turned on him. Ours have not.

So, my fear is not about who is in power. My fear is about who my neighbor is.

Fashion Government History Politics Women

Women In Congress Wearing White to SOTUS

Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 2.59.27 PMWe sell visually in today’s world. How one presents a product or service is all about how another (your potential client) feels when looking at it. I’m a strategist and like to always consider the view from the other side of the railroad tracks when putting together an image or a video or any message. It’s why I was disappointed in the women of Congress, who all showed up in their white suits and jackets to signify the unity of women by wearing the uniform the suffragettes wore when marching to secure the vote. Yes, I am aware it’s the 100th anniversary. I think it is a mistake to present themselves as a “united front of women” in a chamber that is supposed to represent all Americans. I think it divides, rather than unites. I think it misses the point and diverts from the conversation, which is and should always be, “What does our country need to serve the American people?”

Leave gender at home, ladies. It has no place in the chamber. And, yes, I know that we have never had real representation in government, and that we clearly made progress in this last election. You want to continue to make progress? Then stand together as Americans in politics. Ask people to vote for the right person, and when those people are elected to government, let them show up in the chamber wearing appropriate attire that makes what they wear the adjective, not the noun.

In speaking with a friend this morning, who pointed out that the congresswomen were simply acknowledging the 100-year anniversary of women’s right to vote, my answer is, “Celebrate it by working your asses off to stop gerrymandering and attacks by those who would prefer that people of color and the economically disadvantaged not vote. Fix that, and then wear a solid color to the chambers celebrating that. We are taking steps backward in people having the access and ability to vote. The women’s right to vote is so yesterday.”

How would I feel if I were a man who voted for those women? Would I feel they were a reflection of me and a window into that which I aspire to be? Giving the president a standing ovation when he mentioned them sitting there in a sea of white was demeaning to themselves. They are people elected to congress, not women elected to congress.

I know. I feel the onslaught coming. We have waited so long. Of course our female gender will enter into our decision-making. And so will our religious beliefs, the economic circumstances in which we grew up, and our college experience. That doesn’t mean we wear our cross front and center, or the McDonald’s uniform that we wore working our way through college, or our university-logo sweatshirt. We show up in chambers ready to do the work of the people. Ready to listen carefully to the president’s words and mark them in our memory to ensure we can follow up when he doesn’t.

If we—as women, as people, as Americans, as humans—want to succeed in bringing the country together to build great tomorrows, then leave things like wearing matching white outfits to other people.

Government Politics

The 2018 Election & Change to the House of Representatives

images“The Dems take the House! The Dems took the House!” said all the pundits last night around 10 p.m. Then the speculation began about the plans for what they would do with the House now that they have it.

“Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker again.”

“We’ve been told that the first thing they will do is subpoena Trump’s tax returns!”

“They can now spend time fighting Trump; that’s their priority!”

Then I started to think about the exit polls and what the voters said they cared about. Here is what they said in no particular order: They care about health care. They care about immigration. They care about jobs and the economy. Nowhere did any of them say they cared about Trump’s tax returns.

I beg you, newly elected people, to change the trajectory of our nation and our politics.

When the GOP took the House during Obama’s first midterm, did they say that the first thing they were going to do was to request an inquiry about Obama’s birth certificate? Nope, they didn’t say or do that. They attacked health care.

How can it already be a certainty that Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker when the new members of Congress haven’t yet said their thank-yous for being elected?

Look, if you want to reelect Trump in 2020, then go ahead, my newly elected Congress, and spend all your time trying to make him look like the crook that he is. The majority of the voters don’t care about this. They KNOW he cheats on his tax returns and is indebted to foreign countries for funding his ridiculous investments. They KNOW he treats women like shit. They KNOW he lies every time he opens his mouth. They don’t care. They care about themselves.

I am a marketing strategist by trade. I tell my clients all the time that no one cares about them; people care about themselves and what you or your product can do for them. The voters have spoken. They do not care about the injustices of Trump’s moralless compass. They care about health care and immigration and jobs. They told you that. They say it loud and clear every time we ask and every time they vote.

So, for the next two years, spend your time, new Congress, on doing the citizens’ business, making their lives better. Spending time making Trump’s life worse is not your job. That said, you can counter things he might do that sacrifice what we stand for as a nation. He can no longer get rid of Mueller, for example.

But it’s time to ignore him as a person, and get to work for me, the people. Spend your time building things for us in the areas in which we have needs. Then, and only then, can you stop this ridiculous downslide of all we hold dear. That goes for the media as well. Ignore him. Write about what is being done, and hold our newly elected officials accountable for all that they promised to do. Talk about the laws that are enacted. Talk about government, not the yellow head who has no right to hold center stage this long.

Then we will have a chance in 2020.

Government Politics Women

Reason Speaks Softly But Screams to be Heard – Kavanaugh VS Ford

kavanaugh_ford_1538077234646_6129688_ver1.0_640_360A friend asked about my perspective on yesterday’s hearings from a “female” point of view.

The contrast between Dr. Ford’s “I’m so sorry; I don’t remember” and her efforts to make the people questioning her “like” her was magnified 100 percent by Kavanaugh’s belligerent, arrogant, disrespectful behavior. Every male pundit who praised the way she presented herself showed he had no understanding of what it takes to win in this environment. She was believable because she made you like her. She was believable because she apologized. She was believable because she was overcautious in everything she said. Most important, she was believable because she was not threatening in any way.

He was not believable. And it didn’t matter. With his bullying and by instilling a fear of reprisal, he silenced those who would’ve stood up for her. It’s easy to lull a group into silence that way. You can hide in plain sight in silence when there are others doing the same thing. And no one was afraid of her reprisal if he or she didn’t come forward to support her.

Many of my friends contacted me during the testimony to say they were weeping — and in some cases, they said they didn’t even know why. A few said they were crying because they felt so badly for her. Empathy is a great thing — and she certainly won the empathy contest — but unfortunately, that wasn’t what yesterday was about. For those of us who weren’t quite sure why we became so emotional, perhaps it’s because the disease to please appeared alive and well in Ford. And the attack, attack, attack to win exhibited by the candidate for the highest court in the land still stands in our society as a methodology that can’t be countered with any semblance of decency. Our desire to please and to compromise, to bring consensus to any major decision will always be my preferred methodology. But when going up against a GOP type of fighter, it’s like going into a Wimbledon finals match with a badminton racket. And what makes it all worse is that I’m not willing to do what it would take to fight their way.

So the hope that things have changed since Anita Hill testified 27 years ago were dashed yesterday. I believe Kavanaugh will be confirmed. I believe his wife will lose any sense of self-respect she might have had. I believe that most of the men in that room have zero respect for women. I believe we don’t know how to demand or earn that respect. I believe the gender differences are greater today than they were 30 years ago. I believe that we have to take it to the polls. We will never win in a fight like the one we saw yesterday. We will only win when more decent people are in office.

This same friend often tells me that ‘reason speaks softly but screams to be heard.’ Yesterday, Dr. Ford spoke softly, filled with reasoned certainty. Sometimes it’s hard for reason to be heard over the bullying raised voices of men like Kavanaugh and Graham. We’ll see.

Government Relationships

July 4th, 1976

imagesI had a great love in my life. I was in my early twenties and had just arrived in New York City from the cornfields of the University of Nebraska. He was ten years older than me, on his way to success, and further along in the “being a grown-up” arena. He was handsome, smart, funny and incredibly energetic — the kind of energetic that took others along for the ride. During one of the first marathons in New York City, he had his two kids and me out on the streets of First Avenue handing out water to the runners and cheering them on for hours … like four hours. We were more tired than the runners, but his joy in their success and spurring them on was something to behold, and we joined it. In the end, he dumped me (rightfully so — it wasn’t our time), but I never forgot the best weekend I’ve ever had in New York, a weekend that he brought to me.

It was the 200-year celebration of our country, July 4, 1976. Seems like yesterday to me, and in this time of turmoil and strife among all our countrymen and -women, I find myself reliving it a bit this year. I find myself yearning for it. Civil unrest in the South, Watergate, and Vietnam were all behind us. Ford was our leader and I now appreciate steady and boring in a new way. We were still reeling but the future looked mighty bright. And, that weekend …

The tall ships came through the New York Harbor, and we were there watching them in awe. Everyone was together though they didn’t know one another, and as the ships majestically sailed up the Hudson (or was it down the Hudson), we all knew what a journey we had as a country to get to this moment. There were festivities in the streets. There was food from all the other countrys’ patchwork fabrics that make up this country: Italian, French, English — and even hot dogs (oh yeah, baby). There was a searing fireworks display with a live version of “Stars and Stripes” that set the bar so high for love of country during fifteen minutes of explosive glitter that I have never ever come close to that feeling in other celebrations. It was three days of running all over the city via the subway to make sure we didn’t miss a moment. There were private moments too that bonded the entire weekend together, and it felt as if we were among citizens who all had the same love of country and yet, at the same time, it was just the two of us experiencing it together. To this day, it remains a weekend in my top ten of all my time.

You see, another great love of mine is my country. I am devastated by the division of our people — myself included. I am ashamed that I haven’t more empathy for those that see things so very differently from myself. I don’t think about Trump much, unlike others from my neck of the woods. He is one person who is filled with something I don’t wish to be around. I think about the millions of people who like his point of view, and that they are Americans too. That’s who I think about, and I realize that on that weekend forty-two years ago, there must have been many of those people there hugging us in the streets standing as one.

And, so I realize that something happened in those forty-two years that sent us to different corners of America. What was it? And, where was I living that I didn’t see this coming?

I will ponder it all tomorrow, but for today I’m going to remember that weekend in 1976 and how utterly perfect it was, and that we all asked God to bless the same America.