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Monday, November 28, 2016

Like It or Lump It, the Bitter Pill

I have been wondering ever since I wrote it, why I chose the story of my last post. I am appalled by the election results, but not surprised -- exactly. I want to give the not quite the people's choice the chance to be not as bad as I think he will be. But it has  not been easy to reserve judgement. Especially with the choice of Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor. When I hear that instead of 12 million illegal immigrants there will only be deportations of three million, the grim history of the 1940's comes to mind.

So, why did I write my last post? It was an attempt to explain the phenomenon of Donald Trump. I have a vague recollection of when I first heard of him. He was at the time married to Ivana and they were both quite young and glamourous -- she was amusing. And of course everyone was fascinated by all the money they had. Gosh that was a very long time ago -- long before the sleaze and the divorces and the mysterious goings on with bankruptcies and money -- or lack of it! Most of all, we really didn't know anything about him. We were really only interested in the glamour and all that dosh.

What I find beyond difficult to understand, is how this urban New Yorker has been able to convince middle America that he has the answers to the country's problems and in particular their problems. There is a long road ahead and it looks woe be gone to me.

I am a life long Democrat from a family of life long Democrats. I am on the mailing lists of many Party organizations and try to keep abreast of what is happening in the ranks. For a long time now I have castigated the Republican Party for allowing itself to be taken over by right wing extremists and I have also been pretty unhappy with the tone of the recent election. But now I find that the tone of my own party is making me question its ways.

For example I have received emails asking me to support the impeachment of Donald Trump. Surely, this is not the time for that! Like it or not, approve of the man or not, he has been elected and must be given the opportunity to serve as President. In addition, it is utterly stupid and a waste of time and money, to expend energy on such an exercise which is bound to fail before a Congress the  majority of whom are Republicans.

Above all, I believe this is a time for extreme caution. Our President-elect is not happy about recounts in three states and is now making accusations that Mrs. Clinton won the popular vote because the election was rigged! So many reactions and counter-reactions do not bode well for the future well-being of the country and its citizens.

It is fortunate that the U.S. election is followed several weeks which provide time for reflection and meditation. No matter who wins, there must also be a loser and so people are both happy and miserable. For those of us who follow the traditions of the season of Advent, it helps to meditate on the Antiphons of the church, which begin

 O Wisdom, you came forth from the mouth of the Most High and, reaching from beginning to end, you ordered all things mightily and sweetly.  Come, and teach us the way of prudence.

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Modern Fairy Tale

Once upon a time quite a few years ago in the town of my parents, a prince was travelling through on his way home to his neighbouring kingdom. It was very beautiful in this New England realm and many aristocrats  and famous people had been known to travel the roads just for the scenery.

The prince drove a splendid and expensive sports car even though the day was very cold and the roads were icy and the landscape snowy from a recent storm. A few miles down the road he came to the crossroads where he would turn right to cross the old gray covered bridge across the beautiful and picturesque Housatonic River en route to the border of his realm.

The lure of a powerful sports car tempted him to go faster over the icy and snow-packed road than he should have gone and suddenly  his car was skidding and spinning and flew up over the bank of snow on the side of the road and into a very deep snow drift. As this was a long time ago and well before mobile phone signals might even exist -- if they even do to this very day! The prince was well and truly stuck. Of course, it was also true that the prince was not wearing appropriate footwear either and it was going to be dark soon.

The prince tended to be a very lucky man -- and luck turned out to be with him that day. Farmer Bradley was on his way back home after a day pulling felled trees from where they had fallen across the road during the snow storm.  He was on his tractor and his tractor had chains and sand and other useful and necessary equipment for winter country life. Seeing the princely predicament and being a neighbourly and helpful sort, even at the worst of times, Farmer Bradley set about freeing the car from the snowdrift in no time at all.

The prince was very grateful, as one might imagine. And he tried to give the farmer a generous sum of money for his gracious help. But the farmer would take none of it because he believed that if you can help someone, that's what you do and money shouldn't come into it. The prince was surprised and slightly disappointed that he could not reward the man for his kindness and generosity of spirit.

Not long after the events described, Farmer Bradley had to go to the bank to pay his mortgage. When he got there the Manager called him into his office to tell him that his mortgage had been paid in full by the prince.

The prince's name was Donald Trump!

A true story -- with embellishments!

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Delays and Mishaps Don't Prevent the Vote

Last week I despaired that I would not be able to vote in the upcoming Presidential election. I had sent my forms into the town clerk of the last town in the U.S. where I had lived about three weeks in before and had been waiting for an email in response.

The procedure for absentee voting is different for every state and in my home state of Connecticut it is more straightforward than many others. In order to ensure delivery of my application to the Town Clerk I had sent the mail requiring a signature. This also allowed me to track it -- and imagine my surprise when I discovered it had been sitting in the New York State postal service for a good 10 days! I surmise this was because I had paid extra money to have a signature!

I then spent several hours trying to discover how to submit a Federal ballot, which is used in emergency situations -- for example when a ballot does not show up. Finally I found the right link to click and sure enough I was able to download and print it and get it ready for mailing -- once again to the same peopled in Connecticut I had already applied to in the first place!

Then I read a little line in the instructions about how it would be a good idea to call the Town Clerk's office as any confusion might be cleared up quite quickly. And so I did. Well worth the trouble of that call! It also helped that I was dealing with small town America...

I had sent my application to the town of Canaan, Connecticut. But I had forgotten, that the town where I had only lived for a short time with my mother, was, in fact North Canaan. When I called Canaan, the town clerk remembered my application and informed me that it had been delivered to the town clerk in North Canaan and I should call her. Which I duly did.

Oh yes, she remembered me very well! After all they don't get many requests for absentee ballots in North Canaan. She informed me that she had sent me an email with all the necessary forms attached! But, I explained, I had not received an email. She replied that not only had she sent it to my main email address, but also to the alternative email address I had supplied...

When I asked her when she sent it she said the day she received the request or the day after.  She said she would resend. When I got off the phone, I trawled back through my emails. I hadn't deleted any for about three days. I don't know about all of you, but I get hundreds of emails -- many from political organizations, so I have to regularly dump them. I felt sure that if I had received an email from her it had probably been dumped. But trawl through what was there I did. And believe it or not the very last emails from three days previously were from the town clerk of North Canaan with all the necessary forms for me to vote in the 2016 Presidential Election.

It didn't help that the 'from' address was just the persons name, and not official looking. But it just goes to show how easy it is to overlook important emails. It makes me wonder how many I have missed over the years... But on the same day I found them, d I filled out the forms and sent in my ballot with my choices. What a relief!