Turning the page on partisanship

This morning my newspaper printed a slight variation of the following letter I sent in. I thought I would include the entire letter, which is still brief. They eliminated references to my political standing and to the first press conference.

As an Independent and former Republican voter, I welcome the return to more normal governance where truth is not a victim and there is an active attempt toward unity. Yesterday’s press conference by Jen Psaki was refreshingly civil, welcoming and truthful.

I encourage Senators and Congresspersons to work together to get things done. Executive orders are not laws, so we need bipartisan action. For those calling for more partisanship and spouting untruths, that needs to stop.

Biden won because he committed to govern all Americans and try to unite us. He cannot do it alone. We must do our part. Absent that and we will continue to self-inflict mortal wounds on our country.

Please feel free to modify and use to suit.

This is a big effing deal

The swearing in of Joe Biden as the 46th president is a huge deal. We can return to more normalcy in governance as he tries to unite us. But, let me set that aside and say the inauguration of Kamala Harris as vice-president is a big effing deal.

Seeing a woman sworn in as vice president is a long time over due for a country that touts democracy. Other democracies have preceded us with a woman being president, prime minister or chancellor. Angela Merkel, Jacinda Arden, Indira Ghandi, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May all come to mind.

Harris is not just breaking the ceiling as a woman, which is a big effing deal by itself. She is the first African-American, the first Asian-American, and part of the first multiracial couple and family to occupy the home of the vice-president. She is uniquely American, as representative of our melting pot as one can get.

But, as a man, let me attempt to address this walk-in-the-shoes moment and what it means. My wife wore pearl earrings to honor Harris’ alma mater as she watched. And, she was crying after Harris was sworn in. A man does not realize how a woman feels to be treated in an overbearing way. Or, to be condescended to. Or to be belittled. Or, to be sexually harassed or even assaulted.

Sheryl Sandberg wrote the excellent book “Lean in,” which tells women to lean into opportunity or push back. It was and is a great title in that men are very skilled at leaning in. There is a line, I think from this book, that says a man with lesser skill sets will often feel more qualified for a job than a woman with more skill sets.

Then, we must layer into Harris’ make-up the fact she is a multiracial woman of color. In an interview on CBS Sunday Morning, she noted she has been told “no” at every step of the ladder. Then, she smiled and said “I eat ‘no’ for breakfast.” That embodies Sandberg’s theme. Just think of all of the young women and young women of color she will influence going forward. Be a leader, be a scientist, be an engineer, be a doctor….don’t accept no as a reason you cannot.

This is a big effing deal. I wish her, Joe Biden and their families and staffs the greatest of success. We need them to succeed in uniting us.

We need a Joe Friday presidency – just the facts

Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, along with a ceiling shattering vice-president, Kamala Harris. The first subject will be a breath of fresh air, while we should celebrate Harris’ elevation to her role as a woman who is multiracial, part African-American and part Indian-American.

On CBS Sunday Morning, long time conservative pundit and speech writer, Michael Gerson, noted the Biden presidency will be a return to normal governance with a heavy focus on standard communications of “just the facts.” This reminded me of another Joe, a role on the 1960s police show “Dragnet,” with Jack Webb starring as Detective Joe Friday.

The most consistent line uttered by the deadpan Friday to witnesses when they offered conjecture is “just the facts” usually followed by the appropriate “ma’am” or “sir.” It became so routine, the comedian Johnny Carson had fun with Webb in a take-off skit on his “Tonight” show’ well before Saturday Night Live started.

As the outgoing president rides off into the sunset with his well-packed saddle bag of routine untruthfulness, we are in desperate need of a boringly truthful president. This Joe needs to tediously follow the detective Joe with a consistent and daily stream of “just the facts.”

I am reading the excellent book by historian Jon Meacham called “Soul of America.” In it, he noted that Dwight Eisenhower was worried about being on TV too much as president. He thought Americans would grow fatigued with seeing him so often. He knew real leadership was working together with disparate interests and groups for a common cause and felt going on TV made it more about him. And, Ike knew a lot about leadership as Allied Commander over Europe in WWII.

Contrast that to the outgoing president who cannot stand NOT being the center of attention. Seemingly every issue is made about him, even things that we do not need a president to opine on. We are exhausted by this person and need a break. An old colleague had a line that comes to mind, “when you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember as much.” If the outgoing president did more of that, we would not need to hear from him so much.

I am hoping we can return to a more normal modus operandi where we need not hear from the president every day. People may disagree with his policies, but this Joe is a decent person. But, one thing is for certain, if the 46th president is talking, we will stand a far better chance of hearing the truth than from the 45th one. Just the facts, Joe.

When is Dandy Don going to sing his song?

When Monday Night Football began airing in the 1970s, one of the broadcasters was a colorful former quarterback named Don Meredith. Near the end of the game, when the outcome was no longer in doubt, “Dandy Don,” as he was called, would sing an old country song.

“Turn out the lights, the party’s over. They say all good things must end. Turn out the lights, the party’s over. I am so glad we a parted as friends.”

The latest Harvard CAPS-Harris survey finds that nearly two out of three voters believe the election was fair and that Biden won. Fifty-eight percent of all voters said it’s time for Trump to concede. The result would be higher, but the outgoing president’s hold over his party is still strong and two-thirds of Republicans believe Trump won. That truly is mind-boggling.

Yet, Michigan was certified for Joe Biden/ Kamala Harris yesterday and Pennsylvania is certifying county by county as we speak, in spite of the outgoing president’s gamesmanship. And, more importantly, the GSA claimed Biden/ Harris as the winner and is moving forward with the transition.

While the outgoing president relented to the GSA decision after getting pressure from the business community and Republican Senators, he still did not concede. Will those two-thirds of Republicans ever come around or are they destined to continue to believe the orchestrated fraud claims, in spite of two dozen lost court cases (vs only one small victory) and Republican election officials pushing back saying there was no wide-spread fraud?

Maybe some will, begrudgingly, but others will carry this torch and be consistently reminded by the untruthful and corrupt bent former president over the next four years. That is the sad situation for out country caused by Trump and abetted by his sycophants too scared to call the vindictive outgoing president on the carpet for his unproven claims.

So, Mr. Trump, Dandy Don is starting to sing. “Turn out the lights, the party’s over…”

Two great speeches – words of unity, healing and working together

Whether Americans voted for the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ticket this week, the two speeches given by Biden and Harris were powerful and unifying. Words of unity, healing and working together were emphasized. Seeing an African-American, immigrant woman in the Vice-President role offers hope to young girls of all colors. By itself, that is a big deal.

I was planning to write more on the topic, but my friend Jill wrote an excellent piece called “Hope, Unity and Patience.” I encourage you to read it with the link below. The only words I will leave you with is our nation must heal and must work together. The song lyric “united we stand, divided we fall,” has pertinent meaning.

Two weeks later – the debate disaster still impacting Trump

I did not need a presidential debate to understand the nature of the beast who is the US president. His corrupt, deceitful, bullying and childish behavior over years has show us who he is. Yet, sometimes, there needs to be a clear reminder. The presidential debate a few weeks ago may have served that role.

In an article called “Trump hasn’t recovered from tailspin set off by raucous debate performance, poll shows” by David Lauer of The LA TImes, the following paragraphs frame this story. The entire article can be linked to below.

“With three weeks left until election day, President Trump has not recovered from the self-inflicted wounds of his first debate with Joe Biden and, instead, has sunk farther behind his challenger, a new USC Dornsife poll shows.

The encounter in Cleveland, dominated by Trump’s repeated interruptions and his cryptic statement that seemingly welcomed a right-wing extremist group, appears to be the exception to the usual rule that the impact of debates fades quickly.

The damage the debate did to Trump’s standing has persisted through his bout with COVID-19, leaving him with a deep deficit and little time to recover. (Trump’s refusal to participate in an Oct. 15 virtual debate led to its cancellation; the final debate is set for Oct. 22.)”

Last Saturday, I watched a replay of “Real Time with Bill Maher” from the night before. The guests made two interesting observations about Trump’s debate disaster. For all of those viewers who were are troubled by Trump and his behavior, they were fully reminded of who Donald Trump is with his rude and overbearing behavior as he repeatedly interrupted both Joe Biden and the moderator, Chris Wallace.

That would have been enough, but for a US president to swing and whiff at an easy lob by not condemning a white supremacist group, was mind-boggling. Then, to give tongue-in-cheek support to a white supremacist groups was beyond the pale. I am not surprised the racist president feels this way, but I am surprised he said what he did. It was truly an unforced error, but an actual window into his nature.

On this same Bill Maher show, a female guest added something interesting about the Vice Presidential debate. She noted that even though Mike Pence is not as rude as Trump, he still talked over Kamala Harris and the moderator, Susan Page. The guest noted many women have used (or thought of using) the line Harris said, “It is my turn to talk.”

Being overbearing is not restricted to men. But, when men are overbearing, people think less of it. When a women is overbearing, they are labeled with harsher words. The exception is when a man is over-the-top overbearing. The president does not study facts or history, so his way of arguing is to name-call and raise his voice. As my grandmother said, those who name-call and shout usually have a poor argument.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-hasn-t-recovered-from-tailspin-set-off-by-raucous-debate-performance-poll-shows/ar-BB1a0Qcy?ocid=msedgdhp

A few wanderings on this Wednesday

My mind is wandering this morning searching for a topic that I can write more than a few words. I feel I have written too much about “he who shall not be named,” but when you live in a largely ungoverned country, it does cause consternations. So, in no particular order, here are a few thoughts:

– I am pleased with Joe Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris as a running mate. She is experienced, credentialed, and brings a lot to the ticket. One can tell that “he who shall not be named” is scared, because the name calling has already started. As for those who feel she is not the perfect choice, there is no such thing.

– I had a call from a staff member of my GOP Congressman. He said he was sharing my letter I posted with the Congressman. We had a good call, but it told me the staff screens all emails, so the elected official only sees a few. The email is summarized in the link to an earlier post. I encourage you to speak to or email Senators and your Congressperson to get them to act on a COVID-19 deal, which is the right way to govern.

– On the subject of not governing, the incumbent Senator running for reelection in NC is bragging in a commercial on what he has proposed, not done. The Senate has not done a whole lot in his tenure and it appears to have punted their negotiations on a COVID-19 relief bill to the White House, which is not supposed to be how it works.

– When any legislative body does not follow its own processes, take it to the bank, it is political. The processes are there to add rigor and regimen and give citizens comfort. The process for a bill is usually one chamber passes a version, the other chamber passes a version, then they reconcile the differences. Now, people are scared of taking votes that may mean a few of one party joins more of the other party to get legislation. That is not governance – that is retreat.

As I type this, I hear yet another commercial downstairs from said Senator using the word “leadership.” Right now, there is not much leadership going on or governance. We have people in positions of leadership, but using the word “leader” is a bridge too far. That especially applies to “he who shall not be named.” Where is Harry Potter when you need him?

https://musingsofanoldfart.wordpress.com/2020/08/09/brief-letter-to-senators-and-congress-people-sent-saturday-morning/