Who the hell does know what happened?

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“Children, if you are tired, keep going; if you are hungry, keep going; if you want to taste freedom, keep going.”  Harriet Tubman

Hillary Rodham Clinton uses this quote for the frontispiece of her book, What Happened. The words express the spirit of a woman who overcame unnumbered obstacles in her fight to free slaves. Her name became synonymous with the Underground Railroad.

Hillary declares that spirit is what kept her going, not only in the campaign, but in the painful days following the election. It is also what she wants us to know and to heed from her incredible career.

If you were not one of the 65,853,516 (48.18%) who voted for Hilary, you will probably not even consider reading this book. That’s OK. Your trolls will give you all the false information you need. But if you are one of us, her words cannot but lift you up.

The first chapter depicts her first days and weeks following November 8, 2016. She speaks from the heart. She says some days started out OK with a few rays of hope. Other days all she could think to do was scream into her pillow. Did any of us not experience those feelings too?

The book is not all about mistakes in the campaign. It is what she experienced and it is not all gruelling. Her toddler granddaughter always recognized the H with the arrow and said “Grandma”. She also describes the many wonderful people she met along the way.

Her story is blunt about our pervasive sexism and misogyny. “If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.” She has no good words for Trump who is a terrible President. She also calls out the media which insisted on relentlessly reporting about her emails while giving Trump full coverage for his hate and disrespect for just about everybody.

There is deep grief among us that she is not our President. We know, of course, that wallowing in those despairing moments will only destroy us. So we let go of what might have been. We join the Resistance.

 

Could you be Native American?

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It will come as no surprise to you, I hope, that Indian blood laws were created by European Americans to assert power over the indigenous peoples. Wikipedia, citing an academic researcher, says “…(T)he first such law was passed in 1705 in the Colony of Virginia, to define Native Americans and to restrict the civil rights of people who were half or more Native American….”

Known as “blood quantum”, it determined the percentage of your Native American ancestry. If one of your parents was Indian, you would be 1/2.  If not, then, maybe one of your grandparents? 1/4. Only one great grandparent would mean you were 1/8.

The smallest number that might ever “qualify” is 1/16. I don’t even know who my great, great grandparents were. Do you?

It is a false criterion. There are 562 federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States. Each of them has its own method of determining membership. Sadly, it often only becomes an issue when casinos are built and federal grants are made. It is more of a joy when it is to celebrate heritage.

The first “white” settlers, or more accurately “invaders” came with the idea that everyone except them was inferior. But that was in the time of Plymouth Rock and Pocahontas not now, right?  The neo-nazi, KKK, alt-right hateful people are pitching the same belief.

The color of our skin is what it is. But make no mistake, White Supremacy can not be allowed to exist in our midst. Maybe it can’t be erased. It is a persistent, toxic weed. But let’s keep at its extermination, no matter what the President says.

Fake News

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Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.   -1st Amendment-Constitution of the United States America 1789

“…The “pharma bro” Shkreli within a two-day period this week offered $5,000 bounties for people who plucked some of Hillary Clinton’s hair from her head and gave it to him,…”   -Dan Mangan CNBC

So this guy was arrested by the Secret Service and put back in jail (He was out on bond). I guess he didn’t consider there are limits to the freedom of speech and press. On the other hand, why would he when fake news is everywhere and you find millions of trolls who post worse than that?

We are overwhelmed these days by inaccurate media. Newspapers and television lead the way in distorted reporting.  Take a look at this pre-election graphic from verrit:HRC vs T in media

And this only the “old fashioned” media. The Internet is worse. There is fake news all over the Web. Difficult to trust a site. Some become reputable. Slate and HuffPost are a couple. Others so biased that hardly anyone in there right mind would believe them. Breitbart News, for example.

Ahmed Baba, Co-Founder & COO/Editor-in-Chief — @RanttNews, describes the distorted reporting in “The Blind Hatred of Hillary Clinton”.  He points out that Hillary “has won the “Most Admired Woman” Gallup poll for the last 15 years straight, adding up to a total of 21 times.” And yet she is portrayed as a pariah and even her own party worries about her coming to their state on  her book tour.

I could go and on but I am sure you get my point. Find the most accurate and truthful reporting. Read it and ignore all other junk out there. If you can.

 

 

Giant of the Senate

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My daughter, Matrika, always gives me wonderful birthday gifts. In 2010, she surprised me with tickets to see the Minnesota Twins in their new Target Field.  There was my first iPod, inscribed “Happy 70th Birthday, Dad”. My North Face winter jacket saves me every time I am dumb enough to venture out in a Minnesota winter. I could go on and on but won’t. You get the idea

True to form, this year she sent me AL FRANKEN GIANT of the SENATE. I haven’t finished it yet, but probably will today.

With chapters such as “The Year of the Bean Feeds” and “The DeHumorizer™” the book is very easy to read. I found out many things about our State and Al’s real concern for its people. He even danced with Ojibway at a Red Lake pow wow.

I think I will make a rare printout of this photo Matrika took of us in 2007 at the Minnesota State Fair to tape inside the cover of my new book. I treasure this picture. I am very proud of this Minnesotan.

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Franken was (is) a great comedian. He was a founder of Saturday Night Live. He and his partner, Tom Davis, whom he met in high school at Blake, became a hit team around the country. He has written some very funny books, too.  I found myself laughing out loud reading this one

I don’t mean to brag–wait, I do–we have two of Congress’ best Senators. Amy Klobuchar , our Senior Senator, must have jumped for joy when Al joined her in the Senate.

Read this book. You can get it on your Kindle. Go to the library. Remember hardcovers? Unless you are a talk radio listener, you will love it! I promise.

What did you get me?

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Pumpkin Spice

 Need2Know announces that Krispy Kreme is selling Pumpkin Spice Original Glazed Doughnuts for one day only: TODAY.

How could that be? It is my birthday and I have campaigned against the onslaught of Pumpkin Everything, Everywhere since it all started.

Good thing (sorta) that I am not on a professional baseball team. I would open my locker today and pumpkin stuff would fall out.

Then my funny(!) spouse just passed by my desk and said “Pumpkin Spice? Yummy”. Which goes to show you that I am working on a losing cause.

Besides that, I don’t actually hate pumpkin but want it to see it only as jack-o-lanterns or in a pie. Not constantly assaulting my senses everywhere!

OK. Just how silly is such a thing? I don’t really care about pumpkin promotions. Certainly not as much as I abhor the cruelty and stupidity of this President. Or as much as I am often disgusted with white privilege. Or can’t stand misogyny in all its ignorant forms.

So, today, for my birthday, I have a wish: that the shops would be featuring not pumpkin but instead, Blue State blue donuts decorated with little donkeys and the words “Madame President.”

I will die? Wait, what?

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Do you remember the first time you realized that you would die? It happened to me when I was in my 20’s. Why? I don’t know but it caused such a rush of adrenaline that I spent the next few minutes in panic mode.

Facing this ultimate, unchangeable fact is an emotional and spiritual challenge to say the least. For most of us, we experience it differently at various times in our life.

I haven’t had that overwhelming shock now for as long as I can remember. I have however been shaken by the death of others. The feelings that come then are as close to death for me as I can imagine.

In the winter of 2004-05, my very close friend, Dudley Weider, died suddenly while out cross country skiing. For weeks and weeks, I couldn’t seem to get away from pain of loss and the fact of my own mortality.

I was glad that I worked in a huge research and teaching medical complex because it enabled me to quickly and smoothly get an appointment with a counselor. I sat down with this insightful psychiatrist and told her I was afraid to die. And she asked “What specifically are you afraid of?”

I am not sure why it took what it took but it was such a relief to answer that I really wasn’t afraid of death itself but I hated the thought of how that would affect those I love most dearly.

A dreamless sleep without awareness is not so daunting for me now. The agony for my spouse and children, however, is the thing I would so like to avoid. That of course is just as impossible as living forever.

What can one do? One simple thing is talk to them, hoping they understand. I think of Ira Byock’s book, Four Things That Matter Most.  “Please forgive me,” “I forgive you,” “Thank you,” and “I love you” which carry great power to heal and to mend relationships. They can also help one feel some resolution at the end of days when said to those closest to you.

From there, I guess we are on our own, in most ways but not right now. So, maybe the best bet is to stop thinking about it for now.

How pervasive was White Supremacy?

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Yesterday when I researched my father’s work with the International Association of Machinists, I found a couple of troubling facts. I feel proud of his work as a union employee but it should come as no surprise that the IAM was a severely flawed organization.

First of all, the “IAM is regarded as one of the most corrupted unions in the country!” This bold declaration comes from IAM Exposed which is loaded with documented facts. Remember Jimmy Hoffa? That was Teamsters but it should give us a clue. After all, as Lord Acton once said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

My Dad died all too early at 56 years old in 1968. So, I guess today’s bloated and dishonest IAM leadership does not directly apply. But, undoubtedly it was part of his experience. Maybe that is why he got out when did. Two steps ahead of the FEDS? May be.

The second and much more troubling discovery was the White Only stance of the IAM.  Once again, I should not be surprised. I lived in Jacksonville, Florida and experienced plain, old racism and bigotry on a daily basis. Read this from the history of the IAM in Wikipedia:

“In 1892, IAM signed a contract with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, establishing the first organized shop at a railroad in the United States. Because IAM had a color bar, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) did not accept IAM right away.After IAM finally did join the AFL, AFL President Samuel Gompers urged IAM to drop its whites-only rule. But IAM maintained racial segregation, arguing that it needed to retain southern members. IAM chief Talbot’s wanted the union to be “a fraternity of white men born in the United States who possessed good moral character.”

It wasn’t until my father had moved out of the IAM that in 1948 it finally opened itself to all regardless of color. I suspect it was a bit like major league sports. Workers of  color were needed in the unions just like Jackie Robinson was great baseball player.

One big reminder: We are not just talking the 1940’s and 50’s. Those days just continued the heritage of the European occupation of North America and the new settlers securing African slaves to work for them. Though White Supremacy pervaded my father’s life and times it was certainly not new and was still completely acceptable to those around us.

But worst of all: White Supremacy lives on in our days. Heaven only knows, if the our federal government promotes it, then how can anyone deny it is still present.

As for me, I continue to listen and try to understand. One the other hand, my two sisters sadly continue to think just like the white population of Dad’s days. What about you and yours?

 

 

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