Politics has always been a polarizing subject. But there is way to come together, if we are willing to listen to the other side.
Meet The Press (1947-Present) is the longest running show on television. Currently hosted by Chuck Todd, Meet The Press airs every Sunday morning on NBC. The purpose of the program to discuss politics and current events while allowing politicians and commentators on both sides of the political aisle to voice their opinion about the news of the day.
If you’re a political and news junkie like I am, Meet The Press is your ideal program. It takes all of the news from the past week and shrinks it down into a format that is digestible. It allows different political views to be heard and discussed in a mature and calm manner, which does not happen very often these days.
I recommend it.
We are officially into the second month of the longest government shutdown in American history. The stalemate on both sides of the aisle remains as the approval rating for you know who continues to drop.
The financial reality in this country is that many workers, in spite of having jobs that come with a steady paycheck, are within one or two missing paychecks of financial disaster. If the government does not open by Friday and the Federal workers who have been furloughed or working without pay do not receive their paychecks, it could create a financial ripple that affects every American household.
The irony about this shutdown is that it comes down to a disagreement about how to keep the country safe. The people whose job it is to keep us safe cannot do their jobs because they lack financial support to complete their jobs. FBI agents are complaining that they are unable to do their jobs without a paycheck or funding. 10% of TSA agents are calling out sick. They are the front lines of national security at our airports. How are they supposed to do their jobs if they cannot afford to come to work? A number of TSA agents have resigned or considered resigning out of sheer desperation.
Mitch McConnell could have ended the shutdown already. But he refuses to, blocking four bills that would have re-opened the government and supply badly needed paychecks to government employees. He is already laying the groundwork for a 2020 re-election campaign. If I lived in Kentucky, I would be thinking long and hard if he deserved my vote.
On top of this shutdown, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of barring Transgender men and women from serving in the military. Upholding this ban is akin watching a magician doing street magic using playing cards. The audience is directed to look at their left hand while their right hand holds the card that will “magically” appear from thin air. We are in the middle of a national crisis, those in power should be working together to re-open the government. They should be not banning Americans who are willingly going into the military, knowing full well that they may have to sacrifice their lives to protect this country. President “bone spurs” is one to talk about who should and who should not be in the military.
I feel like the country at this moment is at a fork in the road. We can either go one way and move towards the ideals created by our Founding Fathers. Or, we can go another way and remain a divided country where identity politics and labels rule over us. I just hope (hope being the important word in this sentence), that we, as a nation make the right decision.
Today is the 46th anniversary of Roe V. Wade.
It should be a day of celebration. Instead, we are reminded that a woman’s right to control her own body and her own life is a concept that is not exactly universally understood.
While some states (including my home state of New York), have legally affirmed that women are perfectly capable of making decision in regards to their health and their future, other lawmakers in other states believe that they, not the female citizens of their state, have the right to control a woman’s health and future.
The way I see it, it comes down to the fact that for most of human history, women have been seen as less than men. They had no control over the bodies, the health or their lives. This idea that a woman is perfectly able to decide if and/or when to have a child, to take control of her own destiny is an idea that is relatively new to human beings. When an idea is new, it is often considered to be radical, dangerous or just plain weird.
The good thing is that times are changing. Slowly but surely, women and men are waking up. A woman’s right to choose is essential for her future and no lawmaker, male or female, has the right to take that away from her.
Among the 1.5 million children that were killed in the Holocaust, Anne Frank is one of the most famous. Her diary, published after the war has been read by millions of readers over the years. But what if Anne survived?
This is the premise of the new book, Annelies: A Novel, by David R. Gillham. The book starts off just after the end of the war. Anne has survived and made her way back to her father, Otto Frank. Out of the eight people who hid for two years in the annex, they are the only survivors. Though she looks like the same Anne, the horrors she experienced have profoundly affected her psyche and outlook on the world. This creates conflict with her father, who is doing everything he can to return to normal life.
Will Anne be able to find the emotional freedom and security that she once took for granted and more importantly, will her relationship with her father heal?
The reviews on goodreads are mixed. As someone who is familiar with the diary and the person that Anne Frank was, I had to remind myself that this is a work of fiction. This not a non-fiction book. It’s essentially a what-if narrative, using what is known about Anne and those around her to tell a new story. In my opinion, Mr. Gillham should be given some slack and be allowed to use creative license while drawing on documented facts about his subject.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
This morning, another name was added to the list of nominees for the 2020 Presidential election: Kamala Harris.
Senator Harris (D-California), from my perspective, is the ideal candidate to go up against you know who. She represents everything that this country stands for and what is represents. She is the daughter of two immigrants, a woman of color, a litigator whose career has been focused on fighting for injustice and fighting for the underdog.
Looking back, I can see why Hillary Clinton alienated certain voters during the 2016 Presidential election. There is nothing worse than an unlikable woman, especially in the arena of politics. It taints the idea that a woman can succeed in the political arena. Senator Harris is professional, intelligent, well spoken, but also warm and easy to talk to. She understands the struggles of the average American.
It makes sense that Senator Harris would make her announcement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. While only time will tell who goes up against you know who next fall, I hope that come 2020, I will be able to refer to Senator Harris as Madam President.
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. If he was alive today, he would have been 90 years old.
There are two ways to deal with injustice in the world. One way is to sit back, throw your hands in the air and do nothing because you feel powerless. The other way is to be bold enough, in spite of the fear and trepidation, to stand up for what is right and for those who are unable to fight for themselves.
In his time, he lived in a divided America. In our time, we still live in a divided America. There is still a notion in this country (and the world by extension) that one’s skin color, family background or sexuality is a defining factor how we judge another person instead of judging someone as an individual. It’s 2019, it’s time that saw each other as individuals instead of judging them by labels that are beyond our control.
Dr. King was a speaker like no other. Over fifty years after his death, his words continue to inspire us. In facing the demons of hate, he stated the following:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
It takes more time, emotion and energy to hate than to love. It’s 2019, it’s time to hold out our hands with love to our neighbors. I can’t think of a better way to honor Dr. King’s memory.
I don’t know about kids these days, but when I was young, I was taught to respect my elders. Even if I disagreed with them, I still showed them respect.
Nathan Phillips is a Vietnam veteran, a Native American activist and an elder of the Omaha people. On Friday, Mr. Phillips was taunted by a group of young men from Covington Catholic High School as they chanted traditional songs at an event. Wearing MAGA hats, one of the boys involved is seen standing inches from Mr. Phillips with an arrogant smirk on his face. Other boys were chanting “build the wall”.
This is the consequence of having you know who in power. These young men did not get the idea to taunt Mr. Phillips and others like him from thin air. He is enabling these young men to believe that because they are Caucasian and male, they have the right to treat Mr. Phillips as they did. Shame on them, shame on their parents and shame on their school for allowing these young men to believe that such treatment is acceptable.
In 2019, we think that we have moved on from the prejudice and hate of the past. We think that we treat each other as human beings, regardless of labels or identity. But the sad reality is that prejudice and hate are still part of our culture. Until we face both head on, they will remain as a stain on our collective humanity.
To be an American these days is not easy. Our country and our culture are backed by the idea that all citizens, regardless of identity or labels are equal. But the reality is that inequality based on identity has existed since the early days of the Republic. That does not mean, however, that we can live up to the ideals the built our country.
Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) is one of the most prominent Democrats in the Senate. She recently published a book entitled The Truths We Hold: An American Journey. Senator Harris’s politics and view of the world were formed at an early age. She was born in 1964 to immigrant parents. Her father is originally from Jamaica and her mother is from India. After her parents divorced, she and her younger sister spent most of their time with their mother, who worked as a scientist. As a young girl of color in the 1960’s and 1970’s, she grew up in a country where what it meant to be a person of color was changing. As an adult, she pursued a career in law before getting into politics. Her cumulative experience, both personal and professional, allows her to be both personal in her politics and bold enough to move this country into a better direction than we are now.
I really enjoyed this book. Part autobiography and part political manifesto, I believe that every American who truly believes in the ideals of country should read this book. Senator Harris is exactly what we need in this country right now and represents everything that the American dream stands for.
I recommend it.
Earlier this week, I wrote a blog post about why I was questioning whether I would be attending the woman’s march today. I could not support a movement and a leadership that when asked about antisemitism, could not state clearly that they condemn discrimination against those of the Jewish faith.
I felt uneasy just staying home and doing nothing. Stating that I am feminist while not doing something today to support my brothers and sisters in arms felt like a betrayal of everything that I believe and stand for.
Yesterday, I found out that Rise and Resist, was holding a rally at Grand Central Station this afternoon. The rally, entitled “Non-March For Disabled Women” was to support marginalized women whose voices are usually not heard.
Feminism, like all movements, is not perfect. The movement has its issues, especially when it comes to whose voices are heard and whose are ignored. I left the rally knowing that I did my part. It was also nice to be inside, given that NYC is currently experiencing a severe cold snap.
I’m glad I did my part today. I maybe one person, but sometimes it only takes one person to change the world for the better.