Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Myth: "Nobody Likes a Bully"

Tuesday is a big day in Presidential politics and a big day in Georgia.  I don’t think there will be many surprises.  After all, the best woman will win!  If she doesn’t, wake me when it’s over!  And that’s about all I have to say about that “elephant in the room” at this time.

All my life I have heard the saying, “Nobody likes a bully!”  Evidenced by the popularity of Donald Trump, that saying has been proven a false belief.  Trump is the King of Bullying.  Trump’s arrival on the scene made the former Bully King, Chris Christie, look like a piker and knocked him off his throne.  Since life experience taught us that there could only be one King Bully at a time, Chris Christie joined forces with his former rival, Trump, and endorsed him.  That’s not surprising because bullies always have a sidekick and an entourage for backup. 

At the New Hampshire Republican debate, Christy devastated Marco Rubio.  Rubio’s handlers told him to stay on message, no matter what the question.  After repeating the same answer twenty times, Christy called Rubio out and he turned ghostly white.  Whatever Trump said Rubio did in his pants probably happened.  To Rubio’s credit, he didn’t take his marbles and go home.  He had a makeover!  He went from the Boy in the Bubble to  “BULLY THE KID!” And he seems so much happier and less tense since coming out of the closet.    If Rubio keeps the heat on Trump much longer, that last sentence may take on an all-new meaning for you. 

I thought the NRA had gone as far as the American people would let them go…until now.  This past week, the House Legislature in Iowa approved a measure to allow children of all ages to handle a handgun under adult supervision.  Handguns!  I know the proponents of this measure feel parents should not be told what their children can and cannot do.  I don’t know about you, but I know lots of parents that I don’t trust to make that judgment call.  Remember when the strongest admonition we heard was, “Don’t play with that BB gun, you’ll put someone’s eye out?” Now people will tell their children, “Don’t play with that 9mm, you’ll blow somebody’s brains out!”  “Johnny, put that Uzi down and come here so I can change your diaper!”  Seriously?  And we let these people of Iowa play a major role in selecting whom we elect President?

Lucky for us, Monday was deadline for legislation to crossover from one chamber to another in the Georgia Legislature.  Hopefully our legislators didn’t hear of this foolish gun Bill in Iowa in time to introduce during this year’s session.  There’s always next year. 

The fate of the infamous Religious Liberty Bill is questionable now due to the coalition of over 400 Georgia companies vocal in opposition, the hue and cry from voters, and even some ministers and members of faith-based organizations.  Hopefully, rational minds will prevail…or Nah!

There’s no way of knowing what will happen to the Medical Marijuana legislation this session but the language to allow cultivation in Georgia was cut from the bill.  That kind of makes it hard to get the “medicine.”  It seems like much to do about only a little.  But the good news is, the State of Colorado has a great increase in tourism. 

Two measures seeking approval of gambling casinos in Georgia should crossover on Monday also.  If you intend to vote for Donald Trump, it stands to reason you will vote to legalize gambling.  Right?

I’d like to remind all the many Democrats in Monroe County that will be challenging the Republicans in the Fall, the earliest day to qualify as a candidate for the General Primary Election is Monday, March 7th.  If you need additional information, please contact your local Democratic Party and then please let me know who that is.  I joke, but it would behoove Democrats to be represented on the ballot in all races.  That way, when the Republican Party blows up as predicted, it will be a cakewalk to victory for Democrats. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Should Ted Cruz Challenge Donald Trump to a Duel?

This weekend, I was expecting a little more clarity on the possible outcome of our upcoming presidential election.  Not yet.  In fact, my consternation has been renewed.  When I heard Donald Trump was winning the votes of the Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, the only thing that could have surprised me more was if Donald Trump was winning the votes of Mexican Americans.  

Last week, even the Pope called out Donald Trump for his unchristian-like messaging.  No backlash!  Who could have predicted that?

With every primary vote and every poll, I become more and more confused.  If you say you understand what is happening to the electorate in this country, the Republican front runners have made it okay for me to call you a “liar.”  It all started with South Carolina’s Republican Representative Joe Wilson shouting “You lie!” to President Obama at the State of the Union Address in 2009 and there was no backlash!   Calling someone a “liar” used to be grounds for a duel.  (It still is for Zell Miller.) The bar keeps being lowered for civility in public discourse.  Previously in a debate, you may have heard, “The Gentleman from Texas is mistaken in his belief.”  Today we hear, “Ted Cruz is a liar!”  I’m not here to argue that Ted Cruz is not a liar.  I’m here to argue that both ways of expressing that is correct, but we have been taught the word “liar” is inappropriate to say in a public setting. 

And “liar” is the nicest thing that Donald Trump has called Ted Cruz.  The projected nominee of the Republican Party to lead the free world called Cruz something too nasty to print here, but it’s a vulgar term for a female’s private part.  No backlash!  I recall, not that long ago in the 80’s, my son shouted that word at his friend as he exited a school bus.  In comparison, my husband and I received the death penalty because my son was banned from the school bus for two weeks.  Sorry.  Not a good comparison.  Trump never rode in a school bus…only limos.

Giant Personalized Valentine's Day Plush Teddy BearIn election politics, it’s getting to the “fish or cut bait” phase.  After Jeb Bush finished fourth in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, he decided to put his family, himself, and us out of misery.   I’m gonna miss JEB!  He reminded me of one of those giant teddy bears advertised on Valentine’s Day… cute and cuddly but nobody really wants one.

As further proof Dr. Ben Carson is asleep, he announced to his supporters after his last-place finish in the South Carolina primary, “This is the beginning.”  Of course it is, Dr. Carson.  Only you can decide when to end your book tour that is thinly disguised as a presidential campaign.  But what do I know?  Maybe his strategy will work.  Just take up space and wait for everyone else to implode and win by being the last man standing.  Nothing surprises me any more.

I wrote a lot last year about the anti-LBGT legislation, The Religious Freedom Bill, that was pending in the Georgia Legislature.  At the end of last year’s session, the Governor got cold feet due to the opposition from the business community and the Bill was held over.  This year, despite an estimate that passage of this discriminatory bill could cost Georgia more than a billion dollars a year in economic losses due to boycotting by businesses, organizations, and conventions, it was passed in the House.  It then moved to the Senate.

The Georgia Senate passed the Bill on Friday after much “jiggery pokery,” a word I learned from the late Justice Antonin Scalia.  The Senate took the House Bill, and combined other discriminatory bills. One such bill was called the “Pastor’s Protection Act” that makes it illegal for a pastor to be forced to perform a gay marriage.  For some reason, that conjures up a crazy image in my mind.  A pastor is standing before a bride and bride and a Sheriff (not our Sheriff) has a gun to the Pastor’s head and says, “Marry them!”  Now we don’t have to worry about that happening.

Barring a miracle, Governor Deal could sign this discriminatory legislation into law as early as this week. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Progress and Chewing Gum


The thought of writing about politics this week makes me feel ill.  Therefore, I’m giving all of us a break. 

I’ve always been a big proponent of progress but with progress comes change.  Some change is good, some not so good.  I guess it comes with age, but more and more I find myself longing for the “good ole days.”  
The other day, someone offered me a piece of Juicy Fruit gum.  It had been years since I had I chewed that brand and I was amazed at how good it was.  As I savored that wonderful sweet taste, memories came flooding back from my childhood.  I realized that chewing gum used to play a major role in my life.  A single piece of gum would make me happy for an entire day, and into the next day if I took care of it. 

When Milton, our neighbor, would come to visit, he always had gum in his pocket.   I would endure hugging his neck just to get a piece of gum.  The highlight of my day was running to meet Lloyd, the mailman.  He always gave me a piece of Dentyne gum, which wasn’t my favorite because it was so little and lost its flavor much quicker than others.  My greatest day would be when Fat Mama and Charlie came to visit.  Fat Mama always gave me a bag of penny candy with Bazooka bubble gum.  A single piece of bubble gum would give me at least two days of enjoyment.  I never tired of practicing blowing bubbles.

Life was simpler then.  There were only four major brands; Juicy Fruit, Dentyne, Spearmint, and Double-Mint. Nowadays, the various flavors and brands of gum take up two shelves at a convenience store.  Choosing a pack of gum nowadays is a major decision.  I become over-whelmed with choices. Do you play it safe by selecting the sugar-free, or live dangerously and choose one with calories galore?  I much preferred the days when I didn’t have to think about gum putting fat on my hips or decaying my teeth.  I could just enjoy and savor that wonderful sweet flavor without feeling guilt.  I think the turning point in the gum world was the introduction of Beechnut Stripes. I recall everyone rushing to try the new flavor and it was a big event.  Since, the market has been flooded with various flavors.  The day I saw watermelon flavor was the day I shook my head and said, “What’s this world coming to?” 

We are very wasteful today with gum and tend to chunk it after a few minutes of chewing, as soon as it starts to lose its flavor.  A child today would not have a clue what the song “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It’s Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight” means.  But on the other hand, if I had walked into my child’s room and found gum stuck to the bedpost, I would have ranted about ruining furniture or lectured about unsanitary conditions.  Of course, we had metal bedposts that were perfect receptacles for gum.   It would be waiting there for you the next morning like a faithful friend.  If you preferred, you could retrieve it a few days later. Also, you would never get rid of your gum just because you had to eat.  The underside of your dinner plate became a safe haven for it.....most of the time.

Daddy worked late one night and Mama fried some oysters for him when he got home.  As I stood by him, nibbling from his plate, I placed my gum securely under his plate, or so I thought.  He got a funny look on his face and said, “These oysters don’t taste right.”  After a little more chewing, he said, “These oysters taste like mint.”  During this time, I kept picking up his plate, looking for my gum.  He finally took out his false teeth and gum was stuck all over them.  “How in the hell did I get gum on my teeth?”  As he scraped the melted gum from his teeth, I was very upset.  What a waste of a good piece of gum; it had lots of life left in it!


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Don't Get "Berned!"

Not even Stephen Speilberg could write the screenplay for this 2016 presidential election. Nobody has the imagination to predict this wild ride to the finish.  The players are mostly stars with some unknown actors looking for a breakout, career- making appearance.  Some die along the way and others live to play in a sequel.  The plot has more twists and turns than a roller coaster.  It’s a real-life season of Survivor and moves much faster. 

The casting for this election is a director’s dream.  It has the billionaire so rich he brags about being able to get by with murder and not lose a vote.  It has the grumpy old grandfather.  There’s the woman people love to love, and some love to hate.  There’s the foreign-born villain.  There’s the Cruella Deville character.  It has a token minority that defies any semblance to a similar situated person we have known.  There’s the wannabe rich, little boy with a Rolex watch.  It has a loud-talking, smart Alec from New Jersey.  And then there’s Jeb.  Please clap.  Oh!  And a character so normal, he’s almost forgettable, except he makes the most sense of the Republican candidates. 

This yet to be completed script has a good mix of drama, comedy, dirty tricks, religion, trash talk, bromance, and lots of dancing (around the issues).  The entire season promises to be a cliffhanger and I only hope it doesn’t end up with an “R” rating!

There’s a reason Iowa and New Hampshire are the first states to give their review of the candidates.  Unpredictability.  It keeps people tuned in and interested.  By the time States more representative of America get to vote, their vote still makes a difference. At least I hope that’s what happens this year.

It wasn’t long ago when no one foresaw a battle royal between a socialist and a woman for the Democratic nomination.  As Bernie Sanders rises in the polls, I become more and more incredulous.  Until this election, Bernie identified himself as independent socialist.  Socialist!  He was elected in Vermont as an Independent.  In the Senate, he caucused with the Democrats, yet claimed he was an Independent.  He is taking advantage of the established apparatus of the Democratic Party by professing to be a socialist Democrat.  Will loyal Democrats feel like they have been BERNED?

I am perplexed as to why so many young people (“thumbsters”) are identifying themselves as socialists. They must think “socialist” means they are proficient with social media.  There’s too much at stake here to elect someone because you don’t know the definition of the word.  It’s easier to say you are a Socialist if Mama and Daddy have always paid everything and when it’s finally your turn, you ask your Uncle Sam to pay for everything.  Republicans will tell you that is liberalism.  No, that’s socialism.

Furthermore, as one who came of age in the nineteen-sixties and had a husband and two brothers in Vietnam at the same time, the term “pacifist” and “Conscientious Objector” were dirty words in my Daddy’s house.  Bernie Sanders was both those things.  Now he is asking us to make him our Commander-in-Chief.  We’ll see how veterans feel about that.

For those too young to remember, during the mandatory draft, a Conscientious Objector (CO) was a legal draft dodger.  If you were a college student, you could postpone your military service until you completed your education.  Sanders did that.  No problem.  But after completing college, Sanders filed papers stating he was opposed to serving in all wars based on his conscience.  His application was denied.  He appealed until he was too old to be drafted.  Democrats, if this is the first time you’ve heard this, trust me when I say, the Republicans know it and are praying Hillary Clinton does not win the Democratic nomination for President. 

The Monroe County Hospital Auxiliary is staffed by volunteers and depends on donations to provide supportive services to our local hospital and patients.  It is now more crucial than ever to support this important organization by attending their fundraisers or by writing a check.  If you missed their annual soup luncheon on Friday at First Baptist of Forsyth, you missed a culinary treat.  If only they could “can” it, Campbell’s would be in trouble!  Good job, ladies!