Category Archives: Election 2016

The Times They Are A-Changin. But What About Us?

changes-us-elections

As I drove to my kickboxing class yesterday, Bob Dylan’s iconic song, The Times They Are A-Changin came on the radio.

Dylan’s call for change, written in 1963, couldn’t have been more prophetic. Less than a month after Dylan recorded the song, President Kennedy was assassinated.

I remember the first time I heard his haunting song about change, which was released in 1964. It came at a troubling time in American history. It seemed like our entire country had gone haywire.

Kennedy was dead.

His alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was shot to death on national television.

Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique catapulted the feminist movement.

The U.S. Surgeon General concluded that cigarette smoking caused lung cancer.  

Union leader Jimmy Hoffa was convicted of jury tampering.

Black teenager James Powell was shot and killed by a white off-duty police officer in Harlem, NY, prompting 8,000 people to take the streets, smashing windows, setting fires, and looting local businesses.

President Johnson launched a full-scale war against North Vietnam without securing a formal declaration of war from Congress.

In a collective act of defiance against the war, students burned their Vietnam draft cards and declared, “We won’t go!”

The FBI finally found the bodies of the three missing Freedom Summer volunteers, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney, buried in a Mississippi earthen dam. Local officials refused to prosecute the case, causing federal investigators to step in.

The People’s Republic of China successfully tested a nuclear bomb, making it the fifth nation in the World with nuclear capabilities.

And Senator Barry Goldwater was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate, placing his conservative agenda in direct opposition to more moderate Republicans and declaring in his acceptance speech: “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

We will never know how different our country would be today had Goldwater won the election.

As I write this blog and look back on the events following the assassination of President Kennedy, I am reminded that time indeed marches on and maybe it even heals all wounds. I said maybe.

But, our country more than survived the tumultuous and turbulent 1964. What seemed like a doomsday year was just a tiny blip on the American screen. So I still have faith in America and my fellow Americans.

And yet here I was driving to a workout, 52 years later, with Dylan’s resonating words and gravelly voice covering me in a blanket of anxiety—and goose bumps.

Come gather around people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
And if your breath to you is worth saving
Then you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changing

Yes, indeed, times they are are a-changing. In ways that I both fear and welcome.

Let’s get to the bloody changes already. Because I am sick and tired of all the political ugliness.

And yes, in some ways I wish the media would change their monotonous tune. Because I’m sick and tired of all the spin spin spin for the sole purpose of ratings ratings ratings. And yet ratings aside, the media serves as an all-important watchdog. We all need to be vigilant in the coming days and months—including the press. Our lives and country depend on our vigilance.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon

For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no telling who that it’s naming

As I listened to Dylan’s soul searching song, it felt like he was singing about me. About 2016. About us.

And he had me captive audience in my ten-year-old car, asking myself a lot of things like:

Will Trump be receptive to moderating influences or will he merely listen to the last person he speaks to?

Will Trump do all the frightful things he said he would, to satisfy and appease his constituents, or will he reconsider his promises and do what is best for all Americans?

And Trump has on so many occasions bloviated, “We’re going to have so many victories, you will be bored of winning.”

Will we win? What if we don’t? And who is we? Am I part of the we party?

Will I be a bored loser or a bored winner?

For the loser now will be later to win
Cause the times they are a-changing

On the bright side, there’s always the 2020 election, which will start gearing up in early 2018.

Hell, for half the country it began on November 9.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so tired of it all. Maybe our elected officials are tired too.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s the battle outside raging
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changing

And what about us as friends, family, strangers? How about us as fellow Americans?

How will we treat those who we have hurt us and who we have disagreed with? Will we be receptive to change? How will we react to policies that may not be best for all Americans? And how long will all this changing take?

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
Cause the times they are a-changing

There is thankfully no deadline for mutual empathy, understanding, acceptance, or mending fences.

As I sadly hummed along with Dylan, all kinds of doom and gloom ran through my head. But then I thought back to 1964 and hummed it hopeful all the way to its end.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slowest now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fading
And the first one now will later be last
Cause the times they are a-changing

 

BINGO!!!!!

bingo

I fretfully fell asleep around 2 am yesterday morning, pretty much knowing Hillary Clinton had lost the presidential election, but praying for an electoral miracle.

I awoke at 3:30 am, and immediately morphed into a fretting-over-the-election-result-mode mess.

And to my chagrin and innermost fear—CNN confirmed the worst possible scenario: my girl Hillary was out.

Trump had obliterated my dream of witnessing the first woman president.

To be honest, I was devastated, paranoid, and unsettled. I sleepily turned to my rock solid husband and uneasily queried “Are we going to be okay?”

My husband, ever the pessimist answered, “We’re out of here already. It’s not our problem any longer. It’s for our kids and grandkids to worry about.”

His answer didn’t make me feel any less anxious, although it did allow me to fall back asleep.

Because my husband had so assuagingly, put it plain and straightforward.  We’re out of here already. It’s not our problem any longer.

To be clear, it takes a lot to rattle me. As far as I’m concerned, bad things happen to other people.

Simply stated, bad things don’t happen to my family, or me.

So why was I frantically asking my husband if “we” would be okay?

At 8:30 am, as I rolled out of bed, I painfully remembered the election loss, and cursed the day.

As I willed myself forward, I couldn’t help but obsess:

We’re doomed.  World War III is upon us. Trump is going to deport all of the Hispanics.  No one will have medical insurance.  Roe v. Wade is going to be eradicated.  My too-close-to-Jamaica-Bay house is going to float away.  The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School will never be vindicated.

I was in a funk. Yet I tried to put on a good face and make like I wasn’t crushed.

I listened to Hillary’s concession speech.

I cried.

I hung on every word as President Barack Obama congratulated President-elect Donald Trump, vowing to work with his team to ensure a peaceful transition of power.

I cried.

The only thing I had to look forward to was Bingo Night at 7 pm, organized by the New Horizon Counseling Center (NHCC), one of the largest non-profit providers of community-based mental health services in New York City, and extending their reach to residents of Nassau County.

Thank God for bingo.

As I attempted to shut out the noise of pundits, the media, the surrogates, I willed myself to think about Bingo Night and the incredible services that NHCC provides for mental health issues, developmental disabilities, alcoholism and substance abuse.

And since many of NHCC’s patients can’t afford treatment, I couldn’t help but stress over what would happen to NHCC when Trump is in charge. I quickly shoved that shuddering thought out of my Trump traumatized mind.

I was hell bent on enjoying a night of bingo.

Participate in a mindless game of chance, while imbibing in a glass or two of Chardonnay.

Chow down on some fund-raising food and hang out with a few friends.

No thoughts of glass ceilings, lost elections, Mexican walls, waterboarding, or locker room talk.

Plain old easy breezy bingo.

When I walked into the Lawrence Country Club, I spotted an old friend. We talked about the election, the disappointment, the fear, the unknown, the future.

And then we talked about her daughter.

She was hooked on opioids. She tried like hell to get help. But in the end, the addiction got the better of her. She died.

“I wish I could see her one more time,” she said to me through tears.“ She would have loved to be here and play bingo.”

No bingo or future for my friend’s daughter.

I grabbed her arm, and we walked to our table.

Bingo we would play.

Better than thinking about the rest…

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or Bust

donald-trump
Something YUUUGE happened to me this weekend. The harrowing and disturbing thought occurred to me that Donald Trump might actually end up in the White House.

I really thought that his over-the-top pontifications, offensive, misogynistic rants, narcissistic proclamations, beyond-belief exaggerations, self-adoration of all things Trump and lies heaped on top of more lies would be wearing thin with his supporters right about now.

Hugh Hewitt, a well-respected conservative radio talk show host, said it best: “Ignoring Trump’s flaws is like ignoring Stage IV cancer.”

But Trump supporters are all in. At all costs. A “shove it” to “the rest of us.” To hell with cancer.

According to the professional fact checkers, Trump is the most compulsive liar to seek high office.

The nonpartisan Politifact has rated only 2 percent of Trump’s assertions as 100% accurate. The Washington Post has rated 70% of Trump’s statements as lies. Instead of self-reflecting, and making some presidential tweaks (vs. non-presidential tweets), Trump barred the Washington Post reporters from campaign events.

I am so sick of the Trump show all the time. Every time he opens his mouth with another one of his Trumpisms I can’t help but respond under my breath.

But there is zero point in muttering to myself. So I have decided to mutter out loud to hopefully get some of my frustration out in this blog post.

Trump: “If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely, and I would love to do that.”
The Teri Tome: I would love for you to do that as well.

Trump: “I know more about ISIS than the generals.”
The Teri Tome: Yeah, okay.

Trump: “I never said Japan should have nukes.”
The Teri Tome: Uh, yes you did.

Trump: “There is no drought in California.”
The Teri Tome: Liar, Liar. Presidential wanna be pants on fire.

Trump: “The unemployment rate is 42 percent.”
The Teri Tome: Last I checked, the unemployment rate was just under 5%.

Trump: “Students who participated in Trump University were provided a substantive, valuable education.”
The Teri Tome: In the words of the late Will Rogers: “It ain’t what you know, it’s what you know that ain’t.”

Trump: “It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.”
The Teri Tome: Okay, I concede, this is probably true.

Trump: “Putin is a nicer person than I am.”
The Teri Tome: Okay, I concede, this is definitely true.

Trump: “Crime in the United States has gone through the roof.”
The Teri Tome: Violent crime has dropped by 50% since 1990.

Trump: “When the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry.”
The Teri Tome: Not if the rising seas swamp Turnberry first.

Trump: “I have a club in Palm Beach that is open to everybody.”
The Teri Tome: Trump’s club is open to everybody who pays $100,000 to cover the membership fee.

Trump: “I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”
The Teri Tome: Do you think I have the IQ of lint?

Trump: Trump Winery is the largest winery on the East Coast.”
The Teri Tome: Trump Winery isn’t even the largest winery in Virginia where it’s produced. I prob have more wine in my liquor cabinet.

Trump: “I have more employees than anybody in the state of New Jersey.”
The Teri Tome: P p p poker face, p p p poker face.

Trump: “Look at these hands. Are they small hands?”
The Teri Tome: Call me sight impaired, but they look smallish to me.

Trump: “I think Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself.”
The Teri Tome: Hmmmmm, I’m pretty sure Curiel is good.”

Trump: “Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, ok?”
The Teri Tome: Sounds like someone’s been living under a rock.

Trump: “I alone can fix it.”
The Teri Tome: You’re killing me here.

Trump: “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”
The Teri Tome: Whoever told you to be yourself gave you the worst advice ever created.

Trump: “I will build a great great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.”
The Teri Tome: I’ve never seen such a small mind inside such a big head.

Trump: I’m really rich, I’ll show you that in a second. And by the way, I’m not even saying that in a braggadocios.”
The Teri Tome: Show me the money already.

Trump: “I am a constitutionalist. I am going to abide by the Constitution whether it’s number 1, number 2, number 12, number 9.”
The Teri Tome: Sounds like a lot of number 2 to me.

Trump: “I will be so good at the military your head will spin.”
The Teri Tome: Now I get why some animals eat their own children.

Trump: “If I get the nomination, I’ll win the Latino vote”
The Teri Tome: NO WAY, JOSE.

Trump: “As usual, Hillary and the Dems are trying to rig the debates so two are up against major NFL games.”
The Teri Tome: The debates were scheduled back in September 2015 by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates.

Trump: “I got a letter from the NFL saying ‘this is ridiculous, why are the debates against’ — because the NFL doesn’t want to go against the debates because the debates are going to be pretty massive from what I understand.”
The Teri Tome: Joe Lockhart, an NFL spokesman, confirmed the NFL never sent a letter to Trump.

Trump: “I like three debates. I think that’s fine. I think it’s enough. If somebody said, “one debate,” I’d rather have three. I think they’ll be very interesting.”
The Teri Tome: Believe me, folks, the debates are going be interesting! And let me tell you, they’re going to be YUUUGE, okay? I am expecting tremendous things during those debates! Great stuff. The best ever. They are going to be unbelievable. Think big things. Great. Big. Things. Unreal. Big league. Many people are saying this. They’re going to be something never before seen in this country. Never ever seen. They are going to make your head spin. Ladies and gentlemen, we are talking yuuger than yuuuge.  

It’s sadly obvious that Trump’s supporters don’t care if he is a pathological liar and missing a few screws. But the rest of us should.

The G.O.P. Got Trumped

Trump
I was going to title this blog “Bush Got Trumped,” but let’s be real here, Jeb has pretty much become a bush-league player. Pun intended.

One measly ex-Governor? No—that’s not Trump’s style. In all his trumped up glory, the Donald has taken on the entire Republican Party.

Some say that Trump is running to ensure the presidential win for Hillary. He’s acting as her apprentice so to speak. The theory is it’s a win-win for Trump. He gets the Republican nomination and is a hero. Hillary becomes the first woman President of the United States and the Donald? Well, he’s a hero.

I don’t buy that theory. Because that’s not how Trump rolls. He actually believes he can win this “thing.”

Now, I don’t believe that Trump will become the 45th President of the United States. But I do believe that a Trump nomination could possibly undo many of the gains Republicans have made in the recent State and local elections. And then there goes the Republican majority in the Senate.

According to a Wikipedia page on the 1964 Congressional elections, Lyndon Johnson’s landslide victory over Barry Goldwater allowed his Democratic Party to gain a net of 36 seats from the Republican Party, giving them a two-thirds majority in the House. This was the largest House majority held by either party since 1936.

Many of the highest-ranking and wealthiest Republicans want Trump out. But who needs to publicly bicker and scrap with the insult-spewing Donald?

We all know that Trump loves to belittle and berate his critics 24/7. That’s been his game plan since day one, and it seems to be working well for him.

And let’s be honest, it doesn’t look like Trump is getting fired anytime soon.

I wasn’t a fan of Trump’s reality game show The Apprentice, but this is one reality show I’m not going to miss.

 

Baltimore Is Burning—Do You Really Not Know Why?

Many have said that Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland declared a state of emergency too late in the game.

Call me stupid, but it seems that the residents in West Baltimore have lived their whole lives in a state of emergency.

The life expectancy in West Baltimore is 69.7 years vs. the U.S. life expectancy of 79.8.

Baltimore’s infant mortality is on par with Moldova and Belize.

Here is what I have to say to all you presidential wannabes out there:

PART ONE:

Quit blathering about the budget deficit and the national debt, and let’s have a frank and meaningful discussion about the problems that are really plaguing our country, like:

Racial inequality

Educational inequity

Income inequality

The low minimum wage

Father-absent families

Subpar urban living conditions

Ineffective, under-resourced, and inferior schools in urban school districts

Racialized mass incarceration and the need for criminal justice reform

Racial profiling

Intense and disproportionate police scrutiny amongst ethnic and racial minority groups

The lack of community programs and recreational centers in minority neighborhoods

Body cameras for all police officers nationwide

PART TWO:

Stop pretending that the best way to reduce poverty is by lavishing tax breaks on millionaires and billionaires.

Lift the cap on payroll taxes so the rich pay the same share of their income as everyone else.

Stop defending capital gains loopholes, offshore accounts and all the other scams that rig the game for the wealthy.

Stop rejecting Medicaid, the literal lifeline for poor Americans who have no other health coverage.

Stop trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, whose actual repeal would cruelly end coverage for tens of millions of Americans.

Stop undermining Medicare and Social Security, the two most successful anti-poverty programs in our nation’s history.

Stop legislating cutbacks in Pell Grants, federal student loans and other assistance to young people from modest backgrounds.

The elephant in the room is NOT race relations.  The elephant in the room is excess inequality.