Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Our Broken Electoral Process

I don't watch the news anymore.  For starters, it really infuriates me that journalism is no longer unbiased.  That's probably the main reason.  It's not only biased but not even honest.  

Between the dismal world economy and the horrendous leadership of our country; the blatant hostility between every different type of social, economic, religious or ethnic group that can get in front of a camera why would anyone want to see the news?

Then of course there's the election circus.  It's the worst of all reality television.  While most want to blame the reality showman himself, Trump; the sad truth is that he isn't the worst behaved in the program.   He actually get's the game and is playing those who don't quite understand how to play it well.  He makes subtle, somewhat leading remarks and allows the "real housewives" of the group to do all the reacting and scene making for him.  I'm not defending him; I'm just saying he's better at it than a lot of them and he often makes them look worse than he does.  He drops a hint and they make the scene.   

However, this weeks' ridiculousness he wasn't even a party to.  Cruz' foot in the dung move; announcing to the Twitterverse that Carson was quitting the race and his followers would be wasting their votes so they should vote for him.  This prompted a just, but explosive reaction by Carson, calling Cruz out on his unethical behavior.  Cruz shrugs it off with a half-hearted apology.  Carson is playing "Dirty Deeds" as his new campaign music.  Cruz, the self-boasting, religious good guy is claiming victory that he obtained how??   Through a blatantly, dishonest, unethical move breaking about 3 commandments in the process.  In any other circumstance he would have been disqualified for such actions.  But not running for the most important office in the country.  Nice job.  

Yet we wonder why other countries in the world despise us?  We give them trash television as an example of American life and then demonstrate no better in our politics. 

Let's look further into our electoral process.  There are more registered Independents than either Republicans or Democrats in the country.  However, ONLY Republicans or Democrats are allowed to vote in the primaries to chose the candidates for election, a Republican or a Democrat.  Independents are excluded from voting in primaries. Does this seem right?

Then, our election is ultimately decided by electoral college, not the general election results.  The electoral college again will be decided by the Republican or Democratic basis; not the majority of Independent citizens voting individually in this election.  

The system is broken.  It no longer represents the public.  The Republican and Democratic party systems do not accurately represent our country and the electoral college system does not work.  The parties are entities that serve itself and disregard the people.  It has been proven in the past several election that results have been skewed and inaccurate.  

The system needs to be thrown out as it is and we need to resort to a popular vote in both primaries and general elections.  Every single citizen's vote needs to be counted and the actual totals be tallied.  No more flipping coins for incomplete results.  (As in the how the Iowa Democratic caucus was ultimately decided for six regions this week.)  No more back room deals for swaying electoral college swaying.  

We need a system with something like thumbprint only identification, individual ONE vote per U. S. citizen; TOTAL results.  Everyone counts, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Scooby Gang, whatever.  

And people that pull underhanded crappy stunts against fellow candidates, or treason against our country, or payoffs, or any other unethical campaign or other practices are disqualified!  

If you'd kick them out of the student council, you kick them out of the Presidential run.

   

 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Holidays Fly By

The holidays are approaching again.  The time for family.  The time for giving.  The time for reflection.  The end of a year.  A new year begins.  

If you are religious; of course depending on what religious; there are numerous celebrations.  If you are Christian, its celebrating the birth of Jesus.  I won't pretend to know all the other religious celebrations off the top of my head.

Of course when I was a kid Christmas was mostly about what I was going to get.  I went to Catholic school, so there was a lot of activity at church as well.  The church was always done up so beautifully with the Nativity scene and Christmas decorations.  Usually there were Christmas pageants and the choir to sing at midnight mass.

As a parent I got excited about spending Christmas Eve wrapping all the kids' presents after they went to bed until nearly dawn and watch them open them Christmas morning.  Seeing them be excited about getting most of what they wanted on their list.  Watching them perform in Christmas shows, etc.  

Now its mostly about the rare opportunity for the kids to all get together.  It's the one time of year they work at all getting off from work to be together.  They have a great time together and the laughter is pretty constant.  I love this time with all of them together.  Now that there is a grand-baby we all dote on her and spoil her as much as we can.  This is what Christmas is all about now.  Watching her open gifts is the fun stuff now.  Especially this year when she is old enough to be more cognizant of what they are.

I cherish these rare times they all get together.  I imagine there may come a time where they are unable to all make Christmas so I am very thankful for the ones we still have while we can.  Life goes by so fast.  It doesn't seem so long ago my kids were just little ones on the floor opening their presents like the grandbaby.  

 

    

     



 

   

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Losing Children

Three years ago I took my daughter on a school Scuba Diving trip.  She and her dive partner had a great time.  They were the last ones back in the boat when the group realized two of the teenagers were missing.

The Dive Masters went back into the water and the search lasted two and a half agonizing hours.  I was waiting at the dock for them to return.  We finally knew two boys were missing after they were about two hours late returning.  The Dive Master from the chartered boat finally found their bodies at the bottom of the ocean. The coast guard acquired them after they were brought up to the kids' boat.  It had a huge impact on everyone involved; as well as the family, friends, and neighbors of our rather small city.  The boys were football players at the city’s only high school.  My own daughters knew these boys since second grade.  In a small town all the kids know each other whether they are close friends or not, they know who each other is.  There wasn’t anyone in the city that was unaware of the accident and upset by it.  Many people from other cities and states also were shaken.  It even made the news across the country and we got phone calls from relatives in other states from Hawaii, Florida and Massachusetts.
 
It is so hard to know how to console children suffering from losing their friends.   It was a terrible tragedy and accident.  These things happen.  Teenagers tend to feel invincible and it is a startling experience for them to realize they are not. However, the kids organized several memorial events and for the first time the school administration was very supportive of them.  The kids did very well consoling each other and finding their own way to get closure. 

Days after this accident one of my son’s friends died in a car accident.  The third one he had lost that year.  How do you explain to kids the justification for children dying when you can’t conceive a logical explanation yourself?
 
I can not even count the number of friends my children have lost over the years.  There have been so many.  My oldest son lost his kindergarten best friend to cancer when they were in first grade.  Such a young child who suffered and died from cancer.  There is no logical explanation or way to really justify the death of a child.  While I know people resign to “God’s Will” it is still difficult to figure out why God would will such a thing.  

I suppose it isn’t our place to challenge God’s Will; but we are a rational, scientific society that has trouble accepting anything without explanations.  We can’t get closure until we have determined some sort of rationalization for it.  When there is none people speculate and try to develop their own.

In the midst of this terrifying tragedy I realized I am very fortunate.  My brother just had died that January and he is the first out of nine of us siblings to die, and he was 51.  All of us have made it to adulthood and had the chance to live before we left this world.  We have around 20 children between us all and all have been healthy and we haven’t lost any yet.  There are even fourth generation children that so far all have been healthy as well.  We are a very large family that has been very fortunate to have had little loss so far.  The youngest death I know of was at the age of forty, when my aunt died in an automobile accident.  Even all of the parents are still alive in their seventies. 
 
When I see so many children dying and my kids suffering their losses I give thanks.  Sure that sounds strange, but I have to give thanks that I have not been on the other side of the tragedies, the parents of the lost children.  My heart breaks for them and I mourn the loss of them.  It breaks my heart.  At the same time I am grateful I am not experiencing the loss of my own child.

The investigation of the accident never determined a clear understanding of what really happened to the boys.  "Diver error" was the conclusion.  No equipment failure, no foul play, no clear explanation what their error was.  Somehow both boys made a fatal mistake that cost them both their lives.

Our children are our angels.  I can't ever help but think that the children that are taken so soon in life are angels sent to us for some sort of lessons.  Their loss seems to make people reflect and sometimes motivates them to make a positive change in their own lives.  Keeping them in our hearts reminds us to cherish what we have and take stock of what is important. 

Both my daughters are much safer divers because of this tragedy.  The one that was there that day has gone on to get two more diving certifications including CPR and rescue diving.  Hopefully she will never have to use it.  However, it makes me, as mom; much more comfortable that she has the extra training for her own diving.  Since she is studying marine biology she will be diving a lot.  

It still seems like its an unjust way to teach us lessons or give us a wake up call.  I guess that's what it takes; but it is surely brutal. 

 

  

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wine and Chocolate

What in the world do I mean by Wine and Chocolate? Well, have you ever tried the two together? They are actually very good together. 

 I prefer a very dry red wine like Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon. I do not care for Merlot which seems to be the house wine of choice for so many bars these days. It isn't the taste as much as for whatever reason it gives me an instant headache. 

I do not indulge in the two together very often; especially wine.  Chocolate is a staple, a life source, an almost daily necessity.  However, health issues and daily medications prevent me from indulging in wine very often.  But they each are some of my favorite things to indulge in. So it is the rare special treat for me. 

Wine is soothing and warm, takes the crazy out of the day. Chocolate is sweet and smooth and puts some happy into your mood.