All posts by Teri

Blue Mind


Three unfortunate incidents forever changed my view of expansive bodies of water.

In 1959, my life jacket got caught on a rope dangling from a swim raft on a Caribou, Maine Lake.

Were it not for the actions of an observant young man watching from the shore; I might not be here to tell you this tale. I’ve spent a lifetime silently thanking him for saving me that day.

In 1967, while hanging out with friends on Nash’s Pond in Westport, Connecticut, we witnessed a ginormous snapping turtle crawling out of the water.

The combination of its scary, dinosaur-like appearance and aggressive behavior towards us resulted in its untimely death at the hands of the youngest guy in our group. I’ve also spent a lifetime horrified by the senseless murder of the upside-down turtle by impalement.

It was only yesterday that I read online that female snapping turtles travel on land to lay their eggs and are at their most aggressive. So in all probability, we tortured and killed a soon-to-be mommy.

In 1981 I was on a 27-foot sailboat that nearly capsized in a storm that came out of freaking nowhere.

So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I have water issues.

I never venture into any large body of water, and yet I have this weird obsession with it.

So much so that it’s on my bucket list to one day live on the water’s front.

But most definitely in a high rise.

I fear all vast bodies of water, and yet they calm me. The spilling, plunging, surging, and pounding of the waves as they crash onto the shore causes my heart to race, and not in a good way.

I can’t count the number of times I have covered my eyes while watching a rough and turbulent ocean in movies, including in the film Frozen, when Anna and Elsa’s parents perish in a stormy sea. Fast forward!

And yet the sheer beauty, power, and sound of water go a long way to healing my heart. My go-to Alexa request when I can’t sleep is the crashing of waves.

For me, spending time near water is as effective and way more immediate than any sedative. Even though it scares the bejesus out of me.

And nothing cures my writers’ block more than sitting at the water’s edge. Words, sentences, and entire paragraphs churn over and over in my head, mirroring the waves rolling and frothing close to me.

But not too close.

There is a theory called “blue mind,” which concludes that being near, in, on, or under the water can make us happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what we do.

I’ll agree that I feel a profound water-associated peace whenever I’m near an ocean, sea, river, or lake.

But to be clear, there is no way I would ever go in, on, or under any body of water.

Years ago, I self-diagnosed myself as having thalassophobia vs. aquaphobia because I’m not afraid of the water per se. It’s what’s lurking beneath its surface that freaks me out.

I’m obsessively drawn to the feel and sound of it. Just don’t put me in it.

The light reflecting off the water surface, the sound of the rising tide, and the spray of the sea on my face remind me that I’m in the right place.

I suppose it’s my brain on blue.

Oh, if it were only possible to stay in a Blue-Mind forever.

Yesterday while anxiously waiting in a parking lot for a special someone who was having craniofacial surgery, the song Blue World by The Moody Blues came on the radio.

It’s A Blue World
by The Moody Blues

Heart and soul took control
Took control of me
Paid my dues, spread the news
Hands across the sea

Put me down, turned me round
Turned me ’round to see
Marble halls, open doors
Someone found the key

And it’s only what you do
That keeps coming back on you
And it’s only what you say
That can give yourself away

Underground sight and sound
Human symphony
Heard the voice, had no choice
Needed to be free

Fly me high, touch the sky
Left the earth below
Heard the line, saw the sign
Knew which way to go

’cause it’s easier to try
Than to prove it can’t be done
And it’s easier to stay
Than to turn around and run

It’s a blue world
It takes somebody to help somebody
Oh, it’s a blue world
It’s a new world

Click here for the Youtube video >>

SSGT James Champion: You Are Not Forgotten

In 1968, when I was just fifteen years old, I can still recall with chills that at the end of the news every night, an unending list of names of those lost in Vietnam that day would silently scroll on the television screen.

The scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. It’s still seared in my memory.

On Veteran’s Day, November 11, 1970, a student group based in California called Voices in Vital America (VIVA) launched a POW/MIA bracelet campaign. The intention was to sell the bracelets and use the money to increase public awareness of the thousands of missing U.S. soldiers in Vietnam and never forget them.

Each bracelet was engraved with a soldier’s name and the date of his capture. Between 1970 and 1976, VIVA sold over five million bracelets.

Back in the early 1970s—at least in my circle of friends—we felt it was our civic duty to honor the missing by wearing their bracelets.

In 1971, a friend gave me a bracelet for Christmas in honor of U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant James A. Champion from Houston, Texas, who went missing on April 24, 1971. I vowed to wear my treasured bracelet until James or his remains came home.

According to reports, on April 23, 1971, Private First Class (PFC) James Albert Champion was a rifleman assigned to a six-man radio relay team on a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) inserted into the infamous A Shau Valley. After receiving intense enemy ground fire at their primary landing zone (LZ), the team was moved and inserted near the village of A Luoi.

The LZ was two miles northwest of a river and six miles away from the South Vietnamese/Lao border. This border road was no more than a path cut through the jungle-covered mountains and used by the Communists to transport troops, weapons, and supplies, from North Vietnam into South Vietnam. U.S. forces used all assets available to them to stop this flow of men and supplies from moving south into the war zone.

After disembarking from his helicopter at 1500 hours, Champion’s radio relay team leader was severely wounded by enemy fire. The alternate team leader took command of the patrol, but he was hit by enemy fire and killed. A helicopter trying to rescue the wounded and dead soldiers was shot down, and the 4-man aircrew found themselves on the ground with the LRRP team fighting for their lives. Shortly after that, a second helicopter attempted to rescue the embattled Americans but was also shot down by enemy ground fire.

On April 24, the Americans on the ground were still engaged in vicious combat with the North Vietnamese Army forces.

On April 25, at approximately 1500 hours, PFC Champion, armed with an M-16 rifle and in good shape, left the team’s defensive perimeter next to one of the downed helicopters to look for water, but the Ranger never returned.

One of the helicopter pilots reported he heard shots coming from the direction PFC Champion headed but could not provide any additional information about his fate. A helicopter successfully rescued the survivors and the dead later that day.

Ground and aerial searches were conducted for Champion from April 25 through April 30 without success. On April 30, the formal search was terminated, and James Champion was listed Missing in Action. After the incident, the Army promoted PFC Champion to the rank of Staff Sergeant.

On June 16, 1973, I went with some friends to Shea Stadium, where 152 released war prisoners were honored in a pre-game ceremony before the New York Mets played the San Diego Padres. Staff Sergeant James Champion was sadly not one of them.

I wept as the former POWs marched onto the field as the band played “This Land Is Your Land.” The over 25,000 fans gave them a standing ovation, their fists pumping in the air, roaring and screaming non-stop, “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.,” for well over five minutes.

Many of the fans, the POWs, the Mets, and the Padres were all crying.

In 1976, VIVA closed its doors because Americans wanted to forget about Vietnam.

But I will never forget our soldiers left behind, especially Sergeant James Albert Champion.

As of February 26, 2020, there are still 1,585 Americans missing and unaccounted for in Vietnam—many of them airmen.

Since the Vietnam War ended, our government has received over 21,000 reports about POW/MIA. There is mounting evidence that hundreds of soldiers may still be alive and captive, waiting for their country to save them.

James Champion may be one of them.

Happy Covid Valentine’s Day

It’s my first Valentine’s Day during a pandemic and 49 weeks since I’ve left my house.

My husband left an adorable card on my desk this morning. He’s an awful artist, but his depiction of us as two stick figures hanging out watching TV on our L-shaped couch was sweet. The front of the card said: HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY COVID 2021! Next to his stick-figure self, he wrote “Pete (happy).”

My first thought was: We’ve been stuck in this house 24/7 for 49 weeks, and Pete’s happy?

Which made me happy.

My second thought was: Damn, girl; it took you a long time to figure this love thing out.

The writings by Greek philosophers like Aristotle and Plato recognized the complicated manifestations that love presented. The word “Platonic,” for example, came from Plato’s belief that physical attraction was not a necessary component for love. The philosophy of love, expressed by some of the greatest Greek thinkers, has profoundly influenced how we love, and how relationships are defined.

I recently found one of my journals from 1975. On the inside front cover, I had written nine Greek words under the word “LOVE.”

I don’t remember writing the words, but I was impressed that at 22, I was interested in what the ancient Greeks thought about anything.

And they were numbered from 1-9, which I deduce was my way of ranking them based on their relationship to me or to my life at the time. But I can only surmise.

The words didn’t include definitions, so I looked them up today and tried to connect them to what might have been happening in my 1975 life.

1) Philia

Philia means affection that grows from friendship. Since I can’t get into the mindset of my then 22-year-old self, I’m assuming that because I listed Philia as number one, that maybe I was in love with a friend?

2) Eros

Eros needs no defining. The fact that it was number two on my list made me hopeful that whatever Philia I was feeling was way more than just friendly. Was that why I had placed it so high up on my list of love words?

3) Storge

The Greek definition of Storge is familial love, or the affection one has for a child, parent, or sibling. My life was complicated back then, but regardless of circumstances, my family was everything to me. It was a small nucleus, but the love I had for them was supersized. And yet, I have this hunch that Storge had nothing at all to do with my family.

4) Mania

Mania is defined as obsessive love.  I have no clue as to why this word was on my list. All I can hope is that whatever mania was going on, it was euphoric and not dysphoric. Or maybe I threw it in the mix as a reminder that love is not always healthy.

5) Ludus

Ludus has several meanings, like sport, training, and public games. But the definition that jumped out at me was “affection as a game, and nothing serious.” Perhaps this friend was nothing more than that. Was my friend playing games? Or maybe I was the game player.

6) Agape

Agape is unconditional, transcendent, selfless love, love through action, and the highest form of love. I think I know what I meant by this one, and it saddens me.

7) Pragma

Pragma is longstanding, enduring love. I don’t remember much from 46 years ago, but I can guarantee that back then, I did not yet know how to stand in love. So maybe I was confusing it with pragmatic, i.e., practical, sensible, realistic.

8) Xenia

This Greek word means hospitality or guest friendship between guest and host. It also relates to generosity, courtesy, and trust to those who are far from home. I was far from home, and there’s that friendship word again.

9) Philautia

The Greek philosophers divided “love of self” into positive and negative. Self-obsessed love vs. self-compassion.  Back then, I still hadn’t figured out that I would never truly be loved until I loved myself, so I’m not surprised this was at the bottom of the word pile.

Fast forward from 1975 to Covid 2021.

I’m old and in a pandemic, but I’m happy in love.

Can Trauma Alter DNA?

Before Covid-19 interrupted my life, I learned from a friend in my writing group that trauma could leave a chemical mark on a person’s genes and subsequently affect their offspring.

She further explained that trauma could be passed down to the next generation and possibly beyond, and change their DNA through what’s known as epigenetics.

When I l did my research, I was stunned to learn that genetic trauma can indeed affect and alter DNA—sort of like second-hand smoke.

The alteration or mark isn’t genetic; it’s epigenetic. Although, the mark doesn’t directly damage the gene, and there is no actual mutation.

Who knew DNA could be tweaked or that trauma was catchy?

The bad news is that, yes, trauma can be passed down to offspring due to epigenetic changes in DNA.

But the good news is that positive experiences can also alter those changes. So ever the optimist, I have hope.

Years of therapy taught me that trauma stays with us forever. It leaves an invisible wound that never fully heals.

My trauma caused me to make some God-awful life choices—for decades. But I worked a lifetime to undo and move past those mistakes, and I still struggle every day to push the traumatic memories away.

Trauma has taught me to accept the unhealable but never to forget. It has also served as a solemn reminder that while having family is precious, not all of them are safe to be around.

Studies have shown that childhood trauma increases the risk of drug and alcohol dependency, depression, and poor academic achievement.  Trauma can also cause the brain to get stuck in perpetual survival mode—a short circuit in the brain.

The all-powerful brain.

It can forever connect certain feelings, sights, sounds, smells, taste, and touch with past trauma. And at any time or place, whether happy or sad, every one of those seemingly innocuous sensations can trigger a memory or flashback of the traumatization.

If our experiences can reverberate to our children or our children’s children, the implications and consequences of the effects of trauma are maddingly profound.

In essence, an abuser can cause lifelong trauma not just to his or her target but to countless generations of their descendants.

QAnon vs. Hitler’s Brownshirts

The world has seen QAnon before. It was called Nazism.

For years, QAnon believers have assured each other that the Democratic cabal of pedophilic, satanic world leaders would be exposed and defeated by Donald Trump in a cataclysmic event called “The Storm.”

The Q cultists promise that when “The Storm” comes, the Democratic cabal will be rounded up and executed.

Last July, the Texas Republican party proudly touted their new slogan: “We Are the Storm.”

Many QAnon theories and violence chillingly mirror the Nazi propaganda and terrorizing activity.

The Brownshirts, the Nazi party military wing, aka Sturmabteilung, or SA, was cofounded on October 5, 1921, by Adolf Hitler and Ernst Rohm.

Sturmabteilung, translated means, Storm Detachment, and the military wing played a significant role in Hitler’s rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s.

The identification as a Brownshirt came from the color of their uniform shirts. According to the Nuremberg Military Tribunal, the SA was “a group composed in large part of ruffians and bullies.”

The Brownshirts provided the Nazi party protection at political rallies and assemblies and riotously disrupted opposing parties’ meetings.

They threatened and terrorized opposing party members and violently intimidated journalists who opposed Hitler, Romani, and trade unionists. The Brownshirts were particularly cruel to the Jews and rabidly carried out unbridled and unchecked street violence against them.

Many SA members believed that their mission was not only a patriotic duty but, more importantly, a struggle to take away power and cleanse Germany from the Communists and the Jews.

Heinrich Himmler’s SS originated as a branch of the SA but eventually superseded them.

The Night of the Long Knives was the purge of Nazi leaders by Hitler on June 30, 1934. Hitler feared that the SA had become too powerful. To consolidate his power, Hitler ordered his elite SS guards to murder the organization’s leaders, including Ernst Rohm and hundreds of other perceived opponents.

The SS overshadowed the Brownshirts from then on, but the SA remained intricately involved in all aspects of the Nazi agenda, including the Holocaust.

For hundreds of thousands of Germans, the SA was their first introduction to Nazism. Many SA supporters approved of the political violence and intimidation and saw their mission as a patriotic duty to save Germany.

Many SA supporters believed that a secret cabal was taking over the world and that they controlled high positions in government, banks, international finance, the news media, and the church. The SA and their supporters were convinced that the cabal wanted to disarm the police, promote homosexuality and pedophilia, and mongrelize the white race so that it would become the minority and forever lose its power.

Sound familiar?

The history of the SA, pro-Hitler, and SS mobs highlight the terrifying similarities between them and the political violence we all witnessed on January 6 by the MAGA, pro-Trump, and QAnon mob:

Intimidating, racist, violent citizens incited by their leader, swept up in the frenzy of a power-grabbing hate-filled political mission to capture and execute their political opponents in a stormy purge.

U.S. Senate Seats up for Reelection in 2022

There are a total of 535 Members of Congress. 100 serve in the U.S. Senate, and 435 serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Each state sends two Senators to represent their state in the U.S. Senate. In the Senate, the majority has the power to schedule when various bills come to the floor for voting, but a single Senator can slow legislation from coming to the floor for a vote.

Since debate in the Senate is not concluded until 60 Senators vote for a cloture motion to approve a bill for consideration, the majority must also coordinate with the minority party to set the rules for debate on legislation.

Under this system, legislation can be debated for one or two weeks on the Senate floor alone.

The United States Senate elections will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. Thirty-four of the 100 Senate seats are up for reelection.

The GOP will have to defend more Senate seats than Democrats. As of now, there will be 20 Republican Senate seats on the line, while Democrats will need to protect 14 seats.

The winners of those seats will serve a six-year term from January 3, 2023, until January 3, 2029.

Elections to the Senate are staggered over even years so that only about 1/3 of the Senate is up for reelection during any election.

To contact your Senator click here.

Below are the 34 Senate seats up for reelection in 2022 in alphabetical order by political party and state, as well as the listing of Senators up for reelection in 2024 and 2026.

Democrats up for reelection in 2022:

Arizona: Mark Kelly

California: Alex Padilla

Colorado: Michael Bennet

Connecticut: Richard Blumenthal

Georgia: Raphael Warnock

Hawaii: Brian Schatz

Illinois: Tammy Duckworth

Maryland: Chris Van Hollen

Nevada: Catherine Cortez Masto

New Hampshire: Maggie Hassan

New York: Chuck Schumer

Oregon: Ron Wyden

Vermont: Patrick Leahy

Washington: Patty Murray

Republicans up for reelection in 2022:

Alabama: Richard Shelby (Retiring)

Alaska: Lisa Murkowski

Arkansas: John Boozman

Florida: Marco Rubio

Idaho: Mike Crapo

Indiana: Todd Young

Iowa: Chuck Grassley

Kansas: Jerry Moran

Kentucky: Rand Paul

Louisiana: John N. Kennedy

Missouri: Roy Blunt (Retiring)

North Carolina: Richard Burr (Retiring)

North Dakota:  John Hoeven

Ohio: Rob Portman (Retiring)

Oklahoma: James Lankford

Pennsylvania: Pat Toomey (Retiring)

South Carolina: Tim Scott

South Dakota: John Thune

Utah: Mike Lee

Wisconsin: Ron Johnson (Retiring)

Democrats up for reelection in 2024:

Arizona: Kyrsten Sinema

California: Dianne Feinstein

Connecticut: Chris Murphy

Delaware: Tom Carper

Hawaii: Mazie Hirono

Maryland: Ben Cardin

Massachusetts: Elizabeth Warren

Michigan: Debbie Stabenow

Minnesota: Amy Klobuchar

Montana: Jon Tester

Nevada: Jacky Rosen

New Jersey: Bob Menendez

New Mexico: Martin Heinrich

New York: Kirsten Gillibrand

Ohio: Sherrod Brown

Pennsylvania: Bob Casey Jr.

Rhode Island: Sheldon Whitehouse

Virginia: Tim Kaine

Washington: Maria Cantwell

West Virginia: Joe Manchin

Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin

Independents up for reelection in 2024:

Maine: Angus King

Vermont: Bernie Sanders

Republicans up for reelection in 2024:

Florida: Rick Scott

Indiana: Mike Braun

Mississippi: Roger Wicker

Missouri: Josh Hawley

Nebraska: Deb Fischer

North Dakota: Kevin Cramer

Tennessee: Marsha Blackburn

Texas: Ted Cruz

Utah: Mitt Romney

Wyoming: John Barrasso

Democrats up for reelection in 2026:

Colorado: John Hickenlooper

Delaware: Chris Coons

Georgia: Jon Ossoff

Illinois: Dick Durbin

Massachusetts: Ed Markey

Michigan: Gary Peters

Minnesota: Tina Smith

New Hampshire: Jeanne Shaheen

New Jersey: Cory Booker

New Mexico: Ben Ray Lujan

Oregon: Jeff Merkley

Rhode Island: Jack Reed

Virginia: Mark Warner

Republicans up for reelection in 2026:

Alabama: Tommy Tuberville

Alaska: Dan Sullivan

Arkansas: Tom Cotton

Idaho: James Risch

Iowa: Joni Ernst

Kansas: Roger Marshall

Kentucky: Mitch McConnell

Louisiana: Bill Cassidy

Maine: Susan Collins

Mississippi: Cindy Hyde-Smith

Montana: Steve Daines

Nebraska: Ben Sasse

North Carolina: Thom Tillis

Oklahoma: Jim Inhofe

South Carolina: Lindsey Graham

South Dakota: Mike Rounds

Tennessee: Bill Hagerty

Texas: John Cornyn

West Virginia: Shelley Moore Capito

Wyoming: Cynthia Lummis

Current Members of the U.S. House of Representatives

The 435 U.S. House of Representatives, along with the 100 who serve in the Senate, composes the legislature of the United States.

Elections to the United States House of Representatives were held on November 3, 2020, and since they serve two-year terms, all 435 will be up for reelection in 2022.

A member of the House is referred to as a Representative, Congressman, or Congresswoman.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives each represent a portion of their state known as a Congressional District, which averages 700,000 people. Senators, however, represent the entire state.

Under Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution, in the House of Representatives, a state’s representation is based on its population as measured by the U.S. Census.

Each state, however, is entitled to at least one Representative. For example, smaller states like Vermont and Delaware have one representative, while larger states like California have 53 representatives.

The Constitution does not provide for the representation of the District of Columbia or the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Marina Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, although each is represented by one non-voting delegate. They have a voice on the floor but have no voting power.

The House is charged with the passage of federal legislation, otherwise known as bills, which, after concurrence by the Senate, are sent to the President for consideration.

The House also has the exclusive power to initiate bills for raising revenue, to impeach officials, and to choose the President in the event that a presidential candidate fails to get a majority of the Electoral College votes.

The House of Representatives is informally referred to as the “lower” house, while the Senate is referred to as the “upper” house.

The party with the majority of seats in the House is known as the majority party.

In the House of Representatives, the majority party holds significant power to draft chamber rules and schedule bills to reach the floor for debate and voting.

In most cases, House rules will limit debate so that important legislation can be passed during one legislative business day.

To run for House of Representatives, he or she must be at least 25 years of age, have been a citizen of the United States for at least 7 years, and at the time of the election be a resident of the state they represent.   Members are not required to live in the district they represent, but they traditionally do.

Of the current 435 members of the House, 221 are Democrats, 211 are Republicans, and there is are three vacancies (Florida District 20, Ohio District 11, and Ohio District 15).

To contact your Representative click here.

Below is the complete list of current members of the United States House of Representatives by political party and State:

DEMOCRATS

Alabama (District 7): Terri Sewell

Arizona (District 1): Tom O’Halleran

Arizona (District 2): Ann Kirkpatrick

Arizona (District 3): Raul Grijalva

Arizona (District 7): Ruben Gallego

Arizona (District 9): Greg Stanton

California (District 2): Jared Huffman

California (District 3): John Garamendi

California (District 5): Mike Thompson

California (District 6): Doris Matsui

California (District 7): Ami Bera

California (District 9): Jerry McNerney

California (District 10): Josh Harder

California (District 11): Mark DeSaulnier

California (District 12): Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House)

California (District 13): Barbara Lee

California (District 14): Jackie Speier

California (District 15): Eric Swalwell

California (District 16): Jim Costa

California (District 17): Ro Khanna

California (District 18): Anna Eshoo

California (District 19): Zoe Lofgren

California (District 20): Jimmy Panetta

California (District 24): Salud Carbajal

California (District 26): Julia Brownley

California (District 27): Judy Chu

California (District 28): Adam Schiff

California (District 29): Tony Cardenas

California (District 30): Brad Sherman

California (District 31): Pete Aguilar

California (District 32): Grace Napolitano

California (District 33): Ted Lieu

California (District 34):  Jimmy Gomez

California (District 35): Norma Torres

California (District 36): Raul Ruiz

California (District 37): Karen Bass

California (District 38): Linda Sanchez

California (District 40): Lucille Roybal-Allard

California (District 41): Mark Takano

California (District 43): Maxine Waters

California (District 44): Nanette Barragan

California (District 45): Katie Porter

California (District 46): Lou Correa

California (District 47): Alan Lowenthal

California (District 49): Mike Levin

California (District 51): Juan Vargas

California (District 52): Scott Peters

California (District 53): Sara Jacobs

Colorado (District 1): Diana DeGette

Colorado (District 2): Joe Neguse

Colorado (District 6): Jason Crow

Colorado (District 7): Ed Perlmutter

Connecticut (District 1): John B. Larson

Connecticut (District 2): Joe Courtney

Connecticut (District 3): Rosa DeLauro

Connecticut (District 4): Jim Hines

Connecticut (District 5): Jahana Hayes

Delaware (At Large): Lisa Blunt Rochester

Florida (District 5): Al Lawson

Florida (District 7): Stephanie Murphy

Florida (District 9): Darren Soto

Florida (District 10): Val Demings

Florida (District 13): Charlie Crist

Florida (District 14): Kathy Castor

Florida (District 21): Lois Frankel

Florida (District 22): Ted Deutch

Florida (District 23): Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Florida (District 24): Frederica Wilson

Georgia (District 2): Sanford Bishop

Georgia (District 4): Hank Johnson

Georgia (District 5): Nikema Williams

Georgia (District 6): Lucy McBath

Georgia (District 7): Carolyn Bourdeaux

Georgia (District 13): David Scott

Hawaii (District 1): Ed Case

Hawaii (District 2): Kai Kahele

Illinois (District 1): Bobby Rush

Illinois (District 2): Robin Kelly

Illinois (District 3): Marie Newman

Illinois (District 4): Jesus “Chuy” Garcia

Illinois (District 5): Mike Quigley

Illinois (District 6): Sean Casten

Illinois (District 7): Danny K. Davis

Illinois (District 8): Raja Krishnamoorthi

Illinois (District 9): Jan Schakowsky

Illinois (District 10): Brad Schneider

Illinois (District 11): Bill Foster

Illinois (District 14): Lauren Underwood

Illinois (District 17): Cheri Bustos

Indiana (District 1): Frank J. Mrvan

Indiana (District 7): Andre Carson

Iowa (District 3): Cindy Axne

Kansas (District 3): Sharice Davids

Kentucky (District 3): John Yarmuth

Louisiana (District 2): Troy Carter

Maine (District 1): Chellie Pingree

Maine (District 2): Jared Golden

Maryland (District 2): Dutch Ruppersberger

Maryland (District 3): John Sarbanes

Maryland (District 4): Anthony G. Brown

Maryland (District 5): Steny Hoyer

Maryland (District 6): David Trone

Maryland (District 7): Kweisi Mfume

Maryland (District 8): Jamie Raskin

Massachusetts (District 1): Richard Neal

Massachusetts (District 2): Jim McGovern

Massachusetts (District 3): Lori Trahan

Massachusetts (District 4): Jake Auchincloss

Massachusetts (District 5): Katherine Clark

Massachusetts (District 6): Seth Moulton

Massachusetts (District 7): Ayanna Pressley

Massachusetts (District 8): Stephen F. Lynch

Massachusetts (District 9): Bill Keating

Michigan (District 5): Dan Kildee

Michigan (District 8): Elissa Slotkin

Michigan (District 9): Andy Levin

Michigan (District 11): Haley Stevens

Michigan (District 12): Debbie Dingell

Michigan (District 13): Rashida Tlaib

Michigan (District 14): Brenda Lawrence

Minnesota (District 2): Angie Craig

Minnesota (District 3): Dean Phillips

Minnesota (District 4): Betty McCollum

Minnesota (District 5): Ilan Omar

Mississippi (District 2): Bennie Thompson

Missouri (District 1): Cori Bush

Missouri (District 5): Emanuel Cleaver

Nevada (District 1): Dina Titus

Nevada (District 3): Susie Lee

Nevada (District 4): Steven Horsford

New Hampshire (District 1): Chris Pappas

New Hampshire (District 2): Ann McLane Kuster

New Jersey (District 1): Donald Norcross

New Jersey (District 3): Andy Kim

New Jersey (District 5): Josh Gottheimer

New Jersey (District 6): Frank Pallone

New Jersey (District 7): Tom Malinowski

New Jersey (District 8): Albio Sires

New Jersey (District 9): Bill Pascrell

New Jersey (District 10): Donald Payne, Jr.

New Jersey (District 11): Mikie Sherill

New Jersey (District 12): Bonnie Watson Coleman

New Mexico (District 1): Melanie Stansbury

New Mexico (District 3): Teresa Leger Fernandez

New York (District 3): Thomas Suozzi

New York (District 4): Kathleen Rice

New York (District 5): Gregory Meeks

New York (District 6): Grace Meng

New York (District 7): Nydia Velazquez

New York (District 8): Hakeem Jeffries

New York (District 9): Yvette Clarke

New York (District 10): Jerry Nadler

New York (District 12): Carolyn Maloney

New York (District 13): Adriano Espaillat

New York (District 14): Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

New York (District 15): Ritchie Torres

New York (District 16): Jamaal Bowman

New York (District 17): Mondaire Jones

New York (District 18): Sean Patrick Maloney

New York (District 19): Antonio Delgado

New York (District 20): Paul Tonko

New York (District 25): Joseph Morelle

New York (District 26): Brian Higgins

North Carolina (District 1): G.K. Butterfield

North Carolina (District 2): Deborah K. Ross

North Carolina (District 4): David Price

North Carolina (District 6): Kathy Manning

North Carolina (District 12): Alma Adams

Ohio (District 3): Joyce Beatty

Ohio (District 9): Marcy Kaptur

Ohio (District 13): Tim Ryan

Oregon (District 1): Suzanne Bonamici

Oregon (District 3) Earl Blumenauer

Oregon (District 4): Peter DeFazio

Oregon (District 5): Kurt Schrader

Pennsylvania (District 2): Brendan Boyle

Pennsylvania (District 3): Dwight Evans

Pennsylvania (District 4): Madeleine Dean

Pennsylvania (District 5): Mary Gay Scanlon

Pennsylvania (District 6): Chrissy Houlahan

Pennsylvania (District 7): Susan Wild

Pennsylvania (District 8): Matt Cartwright

Pennsylvania (District 17): Connor Lamb

Pennsylvania (District 18): Mike Doyle

Rhode Island (District 1): David Cicilline

Rhode Island (District 2): Jim Langevin

South Carolina (District 6): Jim Clyburn

Tennessee (District 5): Jim Cooper

Tennessee (District 9): Steve Cohen

Texas (District 7): Lizzie Fletcher

Texas (District 9): Al Green

Texas (District 15): Vicente Gonzalez

Texas (District 16): Veronica Escobar

Texas (District 18): Sheila Jackson Lee

Texas (District 20): Joaquin Castro

Texas (District 28): Henry Cuellar

Texas (District 29): Sylvia Garcia

Texas (District 30): Eddie Johnson

Texas (District 32): Colin Allred

Texas (District 33): Marc Veasey

Texas (District 34): Filemon Vela, Jr.

Texas (District 35): Lloyd Doggett

Vermont (At Large): Peter Welch

Virginia (District 2): Elaine Luria

Virginia (District 3): Bobby Scott

Virginia (District 4): Donald McEachin

Virginia (District 7): Abigail Spanberger

Virginia (District 8): Don Beyer

Virginia (District 10): Jennifer Wexton

Virginia (District 11): Gerry Connolly

Washington (District 1): Suzan DelBene

Washington (District 2): Rick Larsen

Washington (District 6): Derek Kilmer

Washington (District 7): Pramila Jayapal

Washington (District 8): Kim Schrier

Washington (District 9): Adam Smith

Washington (District 10): Marilyn Strickland

Wisconsin (District 2): Mark Pocan

Wisconsin (District 3): Ron Kind

Wisconsin (District 4): Gwen Moore

REPUBLICANS

Alabama (District 1): Jerry Carl

Alabama (District 2): Barry Moore

Alabama (District 3): Mike Rogers

Alabama (District 4): Robert Aderholt

Alabama (District 5): Mo Brooks

Alabama (District 6): Gary Palmer

Alaska (At Large): Don Young

Arizona (District 4): Paul Gosar

Arizona (District 5) Andy Biggs

Arizona (District 6): David Schweikert

Arizona (District 8): Debbie Lesko

Arkansas (District 1): Rick Crawford

Arkansas (District 2): French Hill

Arkansas (District 3): Steve Womack

Arkansas (District 4): Bruce Westerman

California (District 1): Doug LaMalfa

California (District 4): Tom McClintock

California (District 8): Jay Obernolte

California (District 21): David Valadao

California (District 22): Devin Nunes

California (District 23): Kevin McCarthy

California (District 25): Mike Garcia

California (District 42): Ken Calvert

California (District 48): Michelle Steel

California (District 50):  Darrell Issa

Colorado (District 3): Lauren Boebert

Colorado (District 4): Ken Buck

Colorado (District 5): Doug Lamborn

Florida (District 1): Matt Gaetz

Florida (District 2): Neal Dunn

Florida (District 3): Kat Cammack

Florida (District 4): John Rutherford

Florida (District 6): Michael Waltz

Florida (District 8): Bill Posey

Florida (District 11): Daniel Webster

Florida (District 12): Gus Bilirakis

Florida (District 15): Scott Franklin

Florida (District 16): Vern Buchanan

Florida (District 17): Greg Steube

Florida (District 18): Brian Mast

Florida (District 19): Byron Donalds

Florida (District 25): Mario Diaz-Balart

Florida (District 26): Carlos Gimenez

Florida (District 27): Maria Elvira Salazar

Georgia (District 1): Buddy Carter

Georgia (District 3): Drew Ferguson

Georgia (District 8): Austin Scott

Georgia (District 9): Andrew Clyde

Georgia (District 10): Jody Hice

Georgia (District 11): Barry Loudermilk

Georgia (District 12): Rick W. Allen

Georgia (District 14): Marjorie Taylor Greene

Idaho (District 1): Russ Fulcher

Idaho (District 2): Mike Simpson

Illinois (District 12): Mike Bost

Illinois (District 13): Rodney Davis

Illinois (District 15): Mary Miller

Illinois (District 16): Adam Kinzinger

Illinois (District 18): Darin LaHood

Indiana (District 2): Jackie Walorski

Indiana (District 3): Jim Banks

Indiana (District 4): Jim Baird

Indiana (District 5): Victoria Spartz

Indiana (District 6): Greg Pence

Indiana (District 8): Larry Bucshon

Indiana (District 9): Trey Hollingsworth

Iowa (District 1): Ashley Hinson

Iowa (District 2): Mariannette Miller-Meeks

Iowa (District 4): Randy Feenstra

Kansas (District 1): Tracey Mann

Kansas: (District 2): Jake LaTurner

Kansas: (District 4): Ron Estes

Kentucky (District 1): James Comer

Kentucky (District 2): Brett Guthrie

Kentucky (District 4): Thomas Massie

Kentucky (District 5): Hal Rogers

Kentucky (District 6): Andy Barr

Louisiana (District 1): Steve Scalise

Louisiana (District 3): Clay Higgins

Louisiana (District 4): Mike Johnson

Louisiana (District 5): Julia Letlow

Louisiana (District 6): Garret Graves

Maryland (District 1): Andy Harris

Michigan (District 1): Jack Bergman

Michigan (District 2): Bill Huizenga

Michigan (District 3): Peter Meijer

Michigan (District 4): John Moolenaar

Michigan (District 6): Fred Upton

Michigan (District 7): Tim Walberg

Michigan (District 10): Lisa McClain

Minnesota (District 1): Jim Hagedorn

Minnesota (District 6): Tom Emmer

Minnesota (District 7): Michelle Fischbach

Minnesota (District 8): Pete Stauber

Mississippi (District 1): Trent Kelly

Mississippi (District 3): Michael Guest

Mississippi (District 4): Steven Palazzo

Missouri (District 2): Ann Wagner

Missouri (District 3): Blaine Luetkemeyer

Missouri (District 4): Vicky Hartzler

Missouri (District 6): Sam Graves

Missouri (District 7): Billy Long

Missouri (District 8): Jason Smith

Montana (At Large): Matt Rosendale

Nebraska (District 1): Jeff Fortenberry

Nebraska (District 2): Don Bacon

Nebraska (District 3): Adrian Smith

Nevada (District 2): Mark Amodei

New Jersey (District 2): Jeff Van Drew

New Jersey (District 4): Chris Smith

New Mexico (District 2): Yvette Herrell

New York (District 1): Lee Zeldin

New York (District 2): Andrew Garbarino

New York (District 11): Nicole Malliotakis

New York (District 21): Elise Stefanik

New York (District 22): Claudia Tenney

New York (District 23): Tom Reed

New York (District 24): John Katko

New York (District 27): Chris Jacobs

North Carolina (District 3): Greg Murphy

North Carolina (District 5): Virginia Foxx

North Carolina (District 7): David Rouzer

North Carolina (District 8): Richard Hudson

North Carolina (District 9): Dan Bishop

North Carolina (District 10): Patrick McHenry

North Carolina (District 11): Madison Cawthorn

North Carolina (District 13): Ted Budd

North Dakota (At Large): Kelly Armstrong

Ohio (District 1): Steve Chabot

Ohio (District 2): Brad Wenstrup

Ohio (District 4): Jim Jordan

Ohio (District 5): Bob Latta

Ohio (District 6): Bill Johnson

Ohio (District 7): Bob Gibbs

Ohio (District 8): Warren Davidson

Ohio (District 10): Mike Turner

Ohio (District 12): Troy Balderson

Ohio (District 14): David Joyce

Ohio (District 16): Anthony Gonzalez

Oklahoma (District 1): Kevin Hern

Oklahoma (District 2): Markwayne Mullin

Oklahoma (District 3): Frank Lucas

Oklahoma (District 4): Tom Cole

Oklahoma (District 5): Stephanie Bice

Oregon (District 2): Cliff Bentz

Pennsylvania (District 1): Brian Fitzpatrick

Pennsylvania (District 9): Dan Meuser

Pennsylvania (District 10): Scott Perry

Pennsylvania (District 11): Lloyd Smucker

Pennsylvania (District 12): Fred Keller

Pennsylvania (District 13): John Joyce

Pennsylvania (District 14): Guy Reschenthaler

Pennsylvania (District 15): Glenn Thompson

Pennsylvania (District 16): Mike Kelly

South Carolina (District 1): Nancy Mace

South Carolina (District 2): Joe Wilson

South Carolina (District 3): Jeff Duncan

South Carolina (District 4): William Timmons

South Carolina (District 5): Ralph Norman

South Carolina (District 7): Tom Rice

South Dakota (At Large): Dusty Johnson

Tennessee (District 1): Diana Harshbarger

Tennessee (District 2): Tim Burchett

Tennessee (District 3): Chuck Fleischmann

Tennessee (District 4): Scott DesJarlais

Tennessee (District 6): John Rose

Tennessee (District 7): Mark E. Green

Tennessee (District 8): David Kustoff

Texas (District 1): Louie Gohmert

Texas (District 2): Dan Crenshaw

Texas (District 3): Van Taylor

Texas (District 4): Pat Fallon

Texas (District 5): Lance Gooden

Texas (District 6): Susan Wright

Texas (District 8): Kevin Brady

Texas (District 10): Michael McCaul

Texas (District 11): August Pfluger

Texas (District 12): Kay Granger

Texas (District 13): Ronny Jackson

Texas (District 14): Randy Weber

Texas (District 17): Pete Sessions

Texas (District 19): Jodey Arrington

Texas (District 21): Chip Roy

Texas (District 22): Troy Nehls

Texas (District 23): Tony Gonzales

Texas (District 24): Beth Van Duyne

Texas (District 25): Roger Williams

Texas (District 26): Michael Burgess

Texas (District 27): Michael Cloud

Texas (District 31): John Carter

Texas (District 36): Brian Babin

Utah (District 1): Blake Moore

Utah (District 2): Chris Stewart

Utah (District 3): John Curtis

Utah (District 4): Burgess Owens

Virginia (District 1): Rob Wittman

Virginia (District 5): Bob Good

Virginia (District 6): Ben Cline

Virginia (District 9): Morgan Griffith

Washington (District 3): Jaime Herrera Beutler

Washington (District 4): Dan Newhouse

Washington (District 5): Cathy McMorris Rodgers

West Virginia (District 1): David McKinley

West Virginia (District 2): Alex Mooney

West Virginia (District 3): Carol Miller

Wisconsin (District 1): Bryan Steil

Wisconsin (District 5): Scott Fitzgerald

Wisconsin (District 6): Glenn Grothman

Wisconsin (District 7): Tom Tiffany

Wisconsin (District 8): Mike Gallagher

Wyoming (At Large): Liz Cheney

DELEGATES (They have a voice on the floor, but no voting power.)

American Samoa: (Republican) Aumua Amata Radewagen

District of Columbia: (Democrat) Eleanor Holmes Norton

Guam: (Democrat) Michael San Nicolas

Northern Mariana Islands: (Independent) Gregorio Sablan

Puerto Rico: (Republican) Jenniffer Gonzalez

U.S. Virgin Islands: (Democrat) Stacey Plaskett

The Teri Tome–My 2020 Hits and Misses

I can’t believe my blog, The Teri Tome, is five years old already. Wow, those years flew by way too fast.

Sitting here writing this blog post, I’m trying to remember back to 2015, and sadly, nothing earth-shattering is coming to mind.

Maybe it’s because my memory is shot, or maybe it’s because, in 2020, life interrupted my recollection of anything pre-covid.

And okay, maybe I sound like Trump when I say:

Covid, covid, covid. Covid, covid, covid.

Stick me in the arm with the vaccine already!

I’m sure you would all agree that 2020 was a lot to deal with. Okay, it was a dystopic sh**storm. And I’m happy to say buh-bye to all 366 days of it. (2020 was a leap year, remember?)

But, to be fair, it hasn’t been all bad. Forty-three long weeks in quarantine has taught me a lot about myself and my definition of essential.

In the early months of 2020, I considered it my lost year.

Until I realized that 2020 was the year I found myself. I’m a changed and hopefully better person than when I naively rang in 2020.

I’ve questioned the fundamentals of “normal,” and going back to my pre-covid life as my pre-covid self isn’t an option.

Just to be clear, I haven’t locked myself down for the past ten months because I’m afraid covid’s gonna get me.

My reason for living like a hermit all these months is simple. Without my family and close friends, I have no reason to venture out.

Let me break down my pre-covid routine for you:

My standing nail salon appointment: I’ve perfected my mani-pedi skills, and my nails have never been healthier.

My monthly haircut and color: I’ve become adept at trimming my hair, and I’m okay with going grey.

Grocery shopping: I always despised shopping for groceries, so having them delivered works for me.

Clothes and shoe shopping: 2020 was the year I wore schlumpf clothes 24/7. Schlumpf is a thing. Look it up in the Urban Dictionary.

Going out to restaurants: Sitting outside in the brutal heat or the freezing cold is not my idea of fine dining. If I can’t go to Peter Lugar’s in style, I’ll wait until I can.

The last time I filled my car with gas was early February 2020, and March 7 was the last time I left my house. (Except for my flu shot and three doctor visits.)

March quickly morphed into July, then September, followed by non-Thanksgiving, non-Chanukah, non-Christmas, and non-New Year’s Eve.

And please don’t judge me, but during my endless months in quarantine, I found solace in all things 1:12 scale. Okay, I’m more like obsessed.

There were too many 2020 days when I wanted to miniature myself small enough to move into my newly renovated dollhouse.

When my head wasn’t stuck in a dollhouse, I baked some killer bread, grew potted veggies and herbs on my patio, spic-and-spanned my house, socially distanced in my frosty garage, and created some awesomely impressive meals.

And my fingers to elbows have never been cleaner! I’ve been singing the ABCs and Happy Birthday in my inside voice at least fifty times per day.

In 2020 I binged on mindless reality shows I would never have otherwise wasted my time on. Awful shows like 90-Day Fiancé (so creepy) and Married at First Sight (so desperate).

2020 was also the year I could barely string together a sentence because I developed a severe case of writer’s block!

And whenever I wrote, it was forced and mostly dark, which is why I’m only going to bore you with my Top Five blog posts instead of my Top Ten.

And okay, I’ll throw in the worst blog post of 2020 as well as the best of all time (2015-2020).

I do owe you full disclosure: Of my 32 total posts in 2020, I wrote seven of them eons ago—pulled from a novel titled My Stolen Diaries that I’ve been writing since 1992.

And shocking to me was that when I calculated the traffic numbers for my 2020 Top Five blog posts, four of them were from that ancient rough draft novel.

It turned out my most popular blog posts were less of a post-mortem on what Teri was writing in 2020 and more about what Teri was writing in the 90s.

The Teri Tome generated over 300,000 page views in 2020, a whopping 47% increase from 2019, primarily due to my novelog My Stolen Diaries, so I’m pleased.

I’ll start with the worst blog post of 2020:

#1 WORST IN 2020 

I Tried to Save a Cat’s Life Yesterday: I was sorry to see that this blog post was a loser. I still haven’t gotten over that poor pregnant cat. And I’m not sure that anything can be done about it, but we have way too many feral cats in my North Woodmere, New York neighborhood.      

And now for my Top Five 2020 posts:

#1 HIT IN 2020

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter Two: To Know Yourself Is to Know Your Family : I was dumbfounded to see that a chapter from my rough draft novel was numero uno. It took me a while to figure out a format for excerpting from my decades-old unfinished book. When I finally settled on calling it a Novelog (novel-in-a-blog), I put up a Disclaimer and six chapters. I was reasonably sure they would all bomb. The thousands of hits that this 28-year-old Chapter Two garnered made my heart happy.

#2 HIT IN 2020

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter Four: The Yellow Kitchen Table: Wow, so this was also a thrill for me! Another chapter of my dusty old novel? To be honest,  I almost didn’t post this chapter for reasons I won’t disclose. But I have no regrets.

#3 HIT IN 2020

2020 Cedarhurst Sidewalk Sale: I Was Fired for Seeking the Truth: Getting fired from my job as Executive Director of the Cedarhurst Business Improvement District for refusing to put people’s lives at risk during a pandemic was devastating. But I’m glad my post reached thousands of visitors, and I hope it continues to attract tons of traffic. I miss my job, but I don’t miss the Village of Cedarhurst’s political posturing, the lies, the misinformation, or the bullying. And I’m still weighing whether or not to sue the Deputy Mayor of Cedarhurst for defamation.

#4 HIT IN 2020

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter Five: My First Diary: The first thing I thought when I added up the numbers and saw that the #4 spot was yet another chapter of my book—was that maybe, just maybe, my languishing novel has legs!

#5 HIT IN 2020

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter Six: Tit: Another chapter of my book! And BTW, Tit is the nickname for a bully character in my novel. And the thousands of people this chapter reached gave me new resolve to pull out that book and take a fresh look at it.

#1 HIT OF ALL TERI TOME TIME (2015-2020)

Bullies Are Cowards and Why I Refuse To Turn the Other Cheek: I have a lot to say about this one. Year after year, this post, written in 2015, continues to outperform all the others, and to date, has garnered almost 550,000 page views. And year after year, I’m thankful for the blog traffic, but the fact that “bullies” is my number one keyword says volumes about our world’s character. And as history has shown us, there are way too many psychopathic bullies out there. And from my personal experience, someone with a psychopathic personality disorder will almost always display some sort of mental illness and or narcissistic derangement. As far as I’m concerned, all three conditions are little more than a convenient label for crackpots and social deviants who over-estimate and exaggerate their abilities, status, intelligence, and looks.

In reviewing my 2020 hits and misses, as well as my top post of all Teri Tome time, I’m excited about highlighting more chapters of my novel on my blog.

And 2021 might even be the year I finish it!

I want to wish my loyal readers a Happy New Year. I hope that 2021 brings you wellness and equality, plus all the hopes and dreams you thought would happen in 2020.

And I can’t wait to see what 2021 holds for the new and improved Teri.

Stay tuned!

Hands


I could listen to Christmas music all year long. Listening to the music of the Christmas season takes me back to so many wonderful holiday memories.

Today I heard Jewel’s Christmas version of her song, Hands, and thought back to December 1998, when my ten-year-old daughter was going through some crazy stressful stuff.

Looking back on it, she was wise beyond her years and incredibly courageous.

That night she pulled me into her room to watch an MTV video, which she said reminded her of us.

I was assuming the video would be something light and cute, but so not so.

The video was of the Jewel song Hands. The words and images chillingly resonated for so many reasons: Darkness indeed fears the light, poverty stole any golden shoes I might have wanted to wear, and I may be damaged, but never broken.

But what did the song mean to her?

My daughter said that Hands reminded her of the no-win situation that she was smack in the middle of, with no easy way out. And that although she was young, she could still stand up for what was right and speak the truth, no matter what the consequences. She was adamant about the fact that she had a voice—her voice, and her hands were hers alone. As she spoke, her hands flailed about animatedly.

Her words were powerful, and I felt a profound sadness and overwhelming guilt.

I know she felt my pain because she immediately took those tiny hands and oh so gently embraced me.

My precious youngest child was way too young to be experiencing the disunity that engulfed her.

And every time I hear the song, or watch the video it reminds me of her moral strength and steadfast resilience.

Hands

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we’re all ok
And not to worry because worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I will not be made useless
I won’t be idled with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear

My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken

Poverty stole your golden shoes
But it didn’t steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn’t ever after

We will fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what’s right
Cause where there’s a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing

My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken

In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters

I will get down on my knees and I will pray
I will get down on my knees and I will pray
I will get down on my knees and I will pray

My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken

My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken

We are God’s eyes God’s hands God’s mind
We are God’s eyes God’s hands God’s heart
We are God’s eyes God’s hands God’s eyes God’s hands
We are God’s hands God’s hands We are God’s hands

Four Minutes, 154 Bullets

This past Sunday, the subject line of one particular email in my inbox jumped out at me:

4 minutes, 154 bullets

The email was from Nicole Hockley, the mother of Dylan, one of the Sandy Hook elementary school victims on that horrific December 14, 2012.  In Nicole’s email, she lovingly refers to Dylan as her beautiful butterfly.

The deranged shooter took ten 30-round gun magazines into Sandy Hook Elementary that day. It took him four minutes to shoot 154 bullets, killing 20 students and six educators.

In the email, Nicole says that more than a year ago, a bill was introduced in Congress to limit the size of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds—but lawmakers have refused to vote on it.

And then she heartbreakingly asks, what if?

What if those 30-round gun magazines had been limited to a fraction of the rounds? Would her beloved Dylan be alive today?

It was a painful email to read, and it reminded me of yet another example of the deep divisions separating our country. Every day I see more and more examples of how our nation is being torn apart.

And our differences are way more than gun control vs. gun rights.

President-elect Joe Biden has repeatedly stated: “I believe that Americans have more in common than what divides us.”

But I’m not sure I believe that.

Every single day, it seems there’s yet another something that divides us.

Left vs. right, mask vs. maskless, Democrats vs. Republicans, Trump vs. Biden, red vs. blue, white vs. black, college-educated vs. blue-collar, climate change activists vs. deniers, black lives matter vs. law and order, north vs. south, male vs. female, old vs. young, conservative vs. liberal, rich vs. poor, urban vs. rural, fake news vs. facts, heartland vs. Hollywood, pro-choice vs. anti-abortion, elite vs. deplorable, science vs. conspiracy theories, rigged vs. secure elections.

Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays.

Our differences are exhausting.

We are more than a divided America. We are fast becoming two Americas speeding toward a head-on collision.

The clash and crash of two very different Americas are devastating.

But nothing compared to facing 154 bullets in four minutes.
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