Thursday, November 10, 2016

My challenge to everyone

The election is over and about half the voters are happy with the outcome and about half are not.  In reality, that is to be expected.  This is, however, something of a historic election.  For the first time, as far as I know, the United States has elected a president with no previous political or military experience.  This leads to a great deal of uncertainty.  We really have no way of knowing what to expect.  Some people are excited about the idea of change and shaking up Washington.  Others are fearful of what someone with no experience will do in a position often touted as "the leader of the free world."

So here is my challenge to everyone - the Trump supporters and the ones who oppose Trump - take a moment to think about what you expect to happen as a result of this election.

To the Trump supporter - During his campaign, Donald Trump used the slogan "Make America Great Again."  Take a few minutes to think about what that means to you, in measurable terms.  Will that mean a lower unemployment rate than what it is today?  Will it mean you personally have a high income than you have now?  Great is generic term, so what does it mean to you?  Think about it, and WRITE IT DOWN.  When it is time for the midterm elections in 2018, look back at your list and see if Trump and the Republican Congress have accomplished what you thought they would do.  There should be very little to stand in their way.  See if the policies they enact produce the result you were expecting.  If they do not, HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE!

Now, to the ones who opposed Trump in this election - What do you fear about a Trump presidency and Republican controlled Congress?  Do you fear higher unemployment rates?  Do you fear losing your own job (as one of my friends has apparently already been let go due to his employer's economic fears)?  Do you fear another economic recession (or worse)?  Do you fear WWIII?  Think about it and WRITE IT DOWN.  Two years from now, look back at your list and see if any of your fears have come true.  Remember, many who voted against Obama had many of the same fears and they did not come true.  In the midterm elections, vote according to what has actually happened.

Do I think a Trump presidency and Republican controlled congress is a good thing?  No, I don't.  I do fear another recession like we had under President G.W. Bush.  I think that Republican policies have negative effects on the economy and especially on the poorer segments of the population.  Those are my fears.  However, the political rhetoric in this country has become so driven by fear mongering that a realistic discussion of issues and potential outcomes has become almost impossible.  My friend who just lost his job did so because of his employer's fear, not because of anything that Trump himself or the Republicans have actually done. 

Many of my family members voted for Trump out of fear of what Hillary Clinton might do, when they were things that were not even a part of her plan or platform.  The lies that the candidates and media tell, and the fear that they intentionally evoke, verge on being criminal in my opinion.  People have a right to their own opinions, but they don't have a right to their own version of "the facts."  The truth should always be to told, even when it is unpopular or difficult to tell.  But outright lies should be stopped.  And lies masquerading as opinions shouldn't be given a free pass no matter which side is telling them.

Now let's all take a deep breathe, don't over-react, and see what happens.  Keep calm and carry on.

Election 2016

On Monday and Tuesday, I was seeing posts about how it is almost over. Today I am seeing posts about how the election is over, and people are glad that it is over and don't want to think about the election anymore. On the one hand, that is great - no more political commercials is always a good thing in my book. However, unlike the World Series, when it is over, it isn't really over. When the Cubs won the World Series, Cubs fans got bragging rights for a year and Indians fans had to go home an lick their wounds, but the members of the Cubs baseball team didn't win control over baseball for the next year. When an election is over, the real work has just begun. 

Too often, politics is treated like sports. We have chosen our teams and too often root for them blindly. Without even realizing what we are voting for or the true consequences of our decision, we make decisions that will hurt not just others, but ourselves, in the long run.

A lot of bad decisions were made in this election cycle on both sides of the aisle. The whole country is going to have to live with the consequences for at least two years, until the midterm elections. So don't stop paying attention. This was not game 7 of the World Series. This was game 115 of a series with no set end point. We have elected America's 115th Congress. In two year we will elect the 116th, and the game goes on. But remember, it is not just a game. It has real consequences for America and the whole World. Pay attention to how your decisions affect you, your friends, neighbors, the rest of the country, and the rest of the world.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

2015 Book List

Here are the books that I read in 2015.

Sleight of Paw - Sofie Kelly
Copycat Killing - Sofie Kelly
Cat Trick - Sofie Kelly
Final Catcall - Sofie Kelly
A Midwinter's Tail - Sofie Kelly
The Whole Cat and Caboodle - Sofie Ryan (aka Sofie Kelly)
The Turn of the Screw - Henry James
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
Buy a Whisker - Sofie Ryan
The Silent Girl - Tess Gerritsen
Emma - Jane Austen
Changing Places - David Lodge
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick
Villette - Charlotte Bronte

Only 16 books in 2015, which is a bit disappointing, especially when one considers that I didn't teach at all this year.  I was doing really well early in the year, but my reading dropped off considerably as the year progressed.  Partially the Austen and Bronte novels slowed me down a bit, but I also had some issues deciding what to read at time.  I'm just not 100% sure what I'm looking for in a book anymore.  I really enjoyed Jane Eyre, but then I found Villette a bit disappointing in the end.  I guess maybe that is why Jane Eyre gets more attention.  Somehow I missed reading the Magical Cat Mystery that came out in the fall of 2015.  I have a copy now and intend to read it soon.  I also have copies of the Kathy Reichs and Richard Castle novels that were published in 2015, but didn't get around to them in 2015 either.  The David Lodge novel is also the first in a series.  I have copies of the other two, but haven't read them yet either.  Oh well, maybe they will all be on my 2016 list.