Lost on the Low Road

Throughout my early years, into my twenties and thirties, I was a conservative Republican. This was mostly due to the fact that my parents and grandparents were conservatives. In my late 30’s I started searching my soul, and found that I actually had many liberal traits and beliefs. I began leaning left, so that by the time Obama ran for his first term, I decided to support him.

Family members thought Obama was inexperienced, and somewhat full of himself. We had many conversations, my family and I, throughout Obama’s presidency. Sometimes I agreed with my family members’ points, but most times I didn’t.

What I respect about my family is that they still respected the fact that Obama was our president. As much as they complained to me about some of their biggest issues against him, they also begrudgingly agreed with me on some of my points for him.

While I happily supported Obama’s presidency and voted for his second term, most of my family supported their GOP senators and reps, and voted Romney in 2012. My family also voted midterms in an effort to gain House and Senate seats. Me, on the other hand…I sat the midterms out. Smug as a bug in a rug.

My family never protested when Obama won two elections, and they gracefully acknowledged his presidency, all the while never caring for him. They never spoke ill of him in my presence, but kept the discussions to policy and issues. When they felt he did something well, they said so. We kept our conversations civil even when they felt he did something wrong.

I dreaded holiday gatherings for nothing.

In his second term, I defended Obama as much as I could, but now and then I’d find myself agreeing with my family more and more, due to the lack of a solid argument.

Several things that occurred during Obama’s second term turned me off. But rather than fall back on my conservative leanings, I found myself agreeing with the populist movements that were cropping up, like Occupy Wall Street.

By the time 2016 came along, I was ready to go with Bernie Sanders. I donated to his campaign, I supported him very vocally, and looked forward to the day when he and Trump would go to the debates. I felt their shared populist message would make things very interesting. I rather hoped that democratic socialism might catch on, once voters realized that Trump and Sanders were actually saying some of the same things, only from different “sides” of the political spectrum.

But then Clinton won the Democratic nomination and, for reasons I won’t go into here (as, anyone who knows me knows how much I dislike the Clintons), I decided to look into the remaining alternatives. I did not care for Stein, nor Johnson.

I ended up voting for Trump, needless to say.

So did my immediate family. So did almost my entire county. So did almost my entire country.

Like most of the world, I went into election night thinking Clinton would win. I can tell you the exact moment I knew Trump had pulled off a miracle, and it was long before PA votes were tallied.  But, that’s another blog post.

I have not regretted my decision to vote for Trump once.

What I regret is that I’ve lost so many friends.

Granted, I had already lost a huge number of left-leaning friends over the primaries, where I backed Sanders and they backed Clinton. But to lose even more friendships over Trump’s win, I just didn’t expect that.

Color me racist, xenophobic, backwards…or just blind.

I never expected the violent protests, the boycotting of Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, the vitriol, the nonsensical hatred and fear. The obstructionism in congress is hard enough to take without seeing the entire left wing turn so awkwardly left so quickly that even Berkley went berserk.

Streep. Super Bowl ads. SNL. CNN. Washington Post and the New York Times. Not everyone agrees with you folks, outside of LA and New York City.

What about the rest of us? “Within the 50 states, of which you lost 30, there are 3,113 counties — 2,626 that went Republican and 487 that were won by [Clinton].”*

I never expected the Democratic party to become the “Party of No.” Liberals always say they want to put people first. But all I see is them putting party – and careers – first. Take this piece in New York Times.

“All of that’s true. But none of it gets at larger challenges that were much less frequently mentioned, if at all: the necessity of grooming and rallying behind candidates who can forge an emotional connection with voters and are in sync with the moment; the imperative of studying the map, identifying every Senate and House seat that could possibly swing to Democrats in 2018 and playing a ruthlessly pragmatic game of chess; the articulation of a down-to-earth, visceral message that resonates with as many voters as possible. “I’m with her” didn’t cut it.

Another of the D.N.C. candidates, Raymond Buckley, the chairman of the Democratic Party in New Hampshire, acknowledged to me, “Sometimes we try to impress ourselves too much by talking about issues that are overly complex when the populace really wants you to boil it down to a much more simplistic message.””

The simplistic message was already given to America: “Make America Great Again.”

Instead of trying to see where they went wrong, Democrats are more concerned with their message and how to make it appeal to the entire country. Even while trying to appeal to the entire country, they worry about having to dumb down their message (as if they are the party of Smart?). And then while trying to appeal to the entire country, they encourage protests and obstruction.

Sorry, but Democrats are now the party of NO.

NO from the party that claims to want to save everything…the planet, the bees, the polar bears, the refugees, the poor, the hungry.

NO from the party that tells the rest of America that America is backwards, in condescending tones.

NO from the party that claims to be open-minded and more enlightened.

What happened to the ‘high road?’

What happened to common decency and respect?

If the strategy of the Democrats is to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and win again, the high road will be hard for them to find if they keep losing themselves in obstructionism, anger and vitriol.

They’ve already lost the rest of America. I don’t think they can afford to lose much more.

Note:  In the New York Times article I reference here, I found these comments that really spoke to me. I quoted from one of them above.  These particular ones, below…I hope Democrats will read them…with their open, enlightened minds…:

Aaron

Democrats are pretty much finished. The Republicans have been cleaning up on local elections the last five years and have a huge bench to pull from for state and national seats. Democrats have been debating the wording for gender neutral farm to table menus in soup kitchens. They have pulled so far left the party centrists have become outcasts and marginalized. Boutique social issues are the flavor of the day and one either agrees or runs the risk of being called a racist, xenophobe, homophobe or anti-semite. All the poetry slams and drum circles in the world can’t help them now. Good Riddance to a failed party- they flew too close to the sun and got burned.

BoJonJovi

Let’s don’t lose sight of the fact, democrats ran a candidate that was under an FBI investigation. In a word, duh.
I really do not know what the democrats stand for. Let’s not forget the majority of America is rural. What do democrats have to offer rural Kansas, Montana, Wyoming, the eastern plains and western slope of Colorado? The democrats seem a little mushy on the things they supposedly stand for.
How about,
Free education for life. technology changes quickly. Education is just as important to an 18-year-old as a 50-year-old displaced worker.
When the ACA became law, democrats distanced themselves from Obama and the ACA. Now we see that it is pretty popular.
Democrats rarely talk about the debt. It is important.
Clinton tanked Glass-Steagall and brought us NAFTA. Education and retraining were promised and never delivered.
Regarding health care, why is there no transparency in pricing? It seems the democrats have sold out to healthcare campaign contributions as there is little meaningful reform.
Supporting illegal immigration is kind of a non-starter. It might feel good for politicians but not so good for a blue collar worker that realizes his wages are stagnant or his job is gone because of cheap labor.
I think of myself as a social liberal and fiscal conservative. Democrats would be wise to adopt that posture and really work for blue collar workers in rural Kansas and taxi drivers in New York City.

Michael S

There is a fundamental disconnect between the urban elites who now form the bulk of the Democratic Party and the working people who used to form the base of the Democratic Party. Until those elites get off their Trump hysteria, recognize what their party has become as the party of the Clintons and understand how Hillary created a Trump win there is no hope for their party unless Trump stumbles badly and loses the support of his base.

This is Cancer

It took a good man.  A big, strong, solid, vibrant, loving man.

It took him, and knocked the wind out of his sails.  Drained his big, strong, solid, vibrant, loving body and weakened it, day by slow, excruciating day.

Took his pride.  Took his feelings.  Took his hopes and wishes away, and left him hollow.

With skeletal eyes, it made him gaze at me.  Causing constant pain, it led him to hold my hand and say nothing.

A beautiful man was taken out.

A man that was loved and was loving.

Pancreatic cancer grows, like a silence.

A death sentence that makes no sense.

A sentence that took away a whole book of a life.

This is cancer.

Mexican Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef

½ cup chopped onion

2 cans (8 oz.) tomato sauce

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (8.75 oz.) corn, undrained

1 can (4.5 oz.) chopped green chiles, undrained

6 flour tortillas (8 inch)

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (or Mexican blend)

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp minced garlic

½ tsp Oregano

½ tsp crushed red pepper*

*optional

  1. Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet over medium heat and then drain.
  2. Add tomato sauce, beans, corn, and green chiles. Mix well.
  3. Stir in all the spices except the red pepper, and bring to a boil.
  4. Lower the heat and let simmer about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the red pepper (optional).
  6. Preheat oven to 350.
  7. Spray a lasagna pan (11x9x2) with non-stick cooking spray.
  8. Spread a small amount of the meat mixture on bottom of pan, just enough to cover.
  9. Top with three tortillas, overlapping them as needed.
  10. Spread half of the remaining beef mixture over the tortillas, then cover with half of the cheese.
  11. Top with three remaining tortillas, overlapping as needed.
  12. Spread the last half of the beef mixture on top, then cover with the remainder of the cheese.
  13. Bake for 15 minutes.
  14. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Note: It’s important to drain the black beans but NOT drain the corn and chiles. The extra liquid from the corn and chiles will be absorbed by the tortillas during baking, leaving them soft like lasagna noodles. This is a quick, cheap and easy meal that is astonishingly delicious, if you love hot and spicy Mexican food like I do. If hot and spicy scares you, don’t use the crushed red pepper at all, and go light on the chili powder.

It’s MY Vote

I am going to speak openly, although I shouldn’t.

I’d like to think that my political beliefs won’t outweigh the work I do on the job, so Board members, please – don’t let me go just for a vote!

I’d like to think that my political beliefs won’t cost me friendships, but I’ve already had to unfriend, and have been unfriended by, many people who I thought were friends.

I’ve been told I’m naive. I guess I am.

But I know what I believe. And I know what I have to say.

What I have to say is this:

I went from being a conservative Republican to being a bleeding-heart liberal. My heart still bleeds, but not for the Clintons.

In this year, I cannot and will not vote Democrat.

I have witnessed the Clintons disrespect the White House, between Bill getting blow jobs in the Oval Office to the two of them renting out the Lincoln bedroom and stealing china and artwork and furniture when they left Office in disgrace.

Do these things not matter to anyone but me?

To see Hillary carpetbag her way into New York as a senator, when she had no ties to my home state whatsoever…and then hurt Obama’s chances to become President only because she felt more entitled. Does no one remember how she and Bill mischaracterized him? Does no one care?

When she became Secretary of State, I felt that finally the Clintons would be happy with their lot in life. Hillary seemed to be doing a good job. They were obviously making money.

But…Syria? Regime changes? No fly zones? Benghazi? And now we know she kept every email on a private server, using a private email address, and the lines between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department have been blurred to such a degree that the FBI has had to investigate only to find the Department of Justice is blocking their way.

Why would anyone want someone with this much Nixonian baggage as our president? Why?

Aren’t we supposed to be better than this? Didn’t we learn anything from our past mistakes??

Bernie Sanders stood up for the average American but was shot down politically by the Clinton machine through Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna Brazile and the entire media establishment.

Now Bernie is stumping for Hillary and I have no desire to listen to him anymore.

I would vote for Stein but I’m in a swing state.

I’m actually voting for Trump, just to keep Hillary Clinton out of office.

I never thought I’d see the day that I would vote for what I see as the lesser of two evils. I had always wanted to believe in my candidate of choice.

Don’t bother arguing with me, because my mind is made up. It’s my mind, not yours.

And it’s MY vote, not yours.

You vote whichever way you want. But don’t tell me what you have to say about my vote.

It’s my vote.

Waiting for the Dead to Talk

Everybody’s telling me to wait for signs from Rob.

“He’s there, he’s guiding you, his spirit is watching over you, he’ll give you a sign…”

One friend, only a week or two after Rob passed, told me that he hugged her.  I wanted to ask her why he would hug her first, and not me, but I didn’t have the nerve.

I shared with friends that a hummingbird came and hovered over Rob’s red impatiens last month.  Someone told me it was Rob himself, coming to visit me and cheer me.  I said, “Rob was not a hummingbird.  He was a hawk, or an eagle.  He was not a hummingbird.”

I talk to Rob all the time, but I get no answers.  I don’t even get the sense that he’s there listening.

Someone told me to pay more attention to my dreams, that perhaps Rob can only visit me in dreams.

Thursday night I had the most vivid dream ever, but in my dream I was sitting on a couch with Hillary Clinton and asking her why she feels entitled to the White House.  I made the mistake of calling her “Mrs. Clinton” and she made very clear to me that I should address her as “Madame Secretary” before telling me that it’s not for me to second guess her motives nor deny her her place in herstory.

Rob was nowhere in sight, in this dream, nor has he been anywhere but in photographs, lately.

 

 

Harry Houdini wanted desperately to reach out to his mother’s departed spirit.  So much so that he apparently visited each and every so called medium in an effort to have his mother visit earth after she passed.  Harry ended up exposing each and every so called medium as a fraud.

I’ve come to the conclusion that once a person is dead, they are really and truly dead.

Perhaps that’s the way they want it.

Perhaps it’s what we should let them have.

Pure quiet, and peace.

Cancer Like a Silence

On May 17, Rob called me at work and said, “I’m at the hospital.  I checked myself into the ER this morning because I was doubled over in pain.  They did an MRI and they told me I have a mass on my pancreas, and more spots on my liver, but they’re sending me home.”

I left work and met him at his cabin.  He was waiting for me on the front porch.  I sat down with him, and his first words to me were, “I don’t want to die.”

By the first week of June, I was spending every night with him.  He wasn’t able to sleep due to hours-long bouts of hiccups, and he was afraid he’d stop breathing in the middle of the night.  My cats were home alone in my house, so I’d leave work every night and go home to feed them dinner and check their water bowl and litter box, then race over to Rob’s to spend the night.

I tried to make him fattening dinners…a lot of pasta, quiche, vegetables, soup, breads.  Most nights he’d take a few bites and then ask for an Ensure.  Other nights, he’d eat almost half the plate but then vomit it up before asking for Ensure.

He went from 179 lbs to 130 in two months.  He stopped showering because he couldn’t stand seeing his body anymore.  His skin was jaundiced, his muscles were gone, and he looked like a victim from Auschwitz.

I held him anyway.  I stroked his back, his shoulders, his arms, his legs.  I tried to find the old Rob in the new Rob.  I took him on long drives in the car on my days off, just to get him off the couch and out into the air.  Give him scenery, a change of pace.  He’d put on his sunglasses and lean the passenger-side seat back and look out the window and wave to people.  He’d squeeze my hand and say, “Thank you.”

He died at 57 because he was afraid to see the doctor each year.  He thought he was healthy as a horse and had no need for annual checkups.  When the pain started in his midsection last year, he thought perhaps it was an ulcer but he feared all the tests he’d have to go through.  So he kept putting off a physical.

That week in May, after he went to the ER, he handed me seven pages of blood test results.  I found the flagged items and googled ALT, ALP, AST, and started sobbing.  It was already too late.

But the oncologist told us that he’d get stronger after a few doses of chemo…the gastroenterologists told us they could help unblock the blockage…the surgeon told us that the port-a-cath would make Rob’s life easier…his primary care physician told us that his meds could help the pain…

Rob is gone but the bills keep coming to his mailbox, all of them from the oncologist, the gastroenterologists, the surgeon and the primary care physician.  They all knew he was dying…now they want to collect, the bastards.

Cancer is silent until it grows.