Category Archives: United States

Just Saying

I’m a head case, always have been and unless I get dementia, always will be. My mind is continuously busy with thoughts and questions so it’s not unusual for me to walk into a room and not know why I’ve come there. People say that’s a sign of senility but I’ve been doing that since I was ten. I didn’t realize until this morning that my mind is also crowded with adages, song lyrics and literary allusions.

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As I did the breakfast dishes, I was thinking about George Washington. He cut down the cherry tree but he would not tell a lie. That story from first grade has had a lasting effect on me. I rarely tell even a white lie—I’d never lie about something big. And my word is my bond.

Thoughts about George led to a flood of others. Growing up, my brother, sister and I were taught to never judge anyone until we’d walked in his or her shoes. We drank in the concepts of compassion and respect for others with our Gerber formula. We knew that there but for the grace of God, we’d have gone into the ovens of Auschwitz.

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Taught to be responsible for each other and be grateful for what we had, we knew we needed to share our bounty. I took this to heart and have literally given people the shirt off my back.

My brother gave away the money for his birthday party to help a family in need.

My brother gave away the money for his birthday party to help a family in need.

The work ethic and saving for a rainy day were strong themes in my childhood. Our parents were children of immigrants fleeing religious persecution.

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They married during the Depression and had no money. But when the going got tough, the tough got going. They worked like dogs to become successful and to make sure we all went to college.

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We were admonished that the early bird gets the worm and that practice makes perfect.

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“Waste not, want not,” they said if we left the lights on. If we didn’t finish our vegetables, we were reminded about the starving children in China. Along with this, we were taught that a penny saved was a penny earned, but also that all that glitters is not gold. There was also a sneaky suspicion that money was the root of all evil.

My parents weren’t the speak when spoken to kind. We were encouraged to have our own opinions as long as we honored our mother and father, and thought before we spoke. However, we were cautioned about opening a Pandora’s box and that it’s better to be safe rather than sorry.

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Since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I taught these same values to my own children.

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They have taught them to theirs. Which makes me proud as punch, even though I know that pride goes before a fall. We all believe immigrants like our families have made this country strong.

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I think who we are is a combination of our nature and how we’ve been nurtured. I’ve been told many times not to be so nice because nice guys finish last, but it’s just the way I’m wired. Besides, I’m the tortoise to many others’ hare. Slow and steady wins my race.

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Which reminds me, I think there’s a place for everything and everything has a place. That’s why I go crazy when I need my scissors and they aren’t where I put them. The Borrowers have moved them.

Even though I’m an old dog, I’m trying to learn new tricks. An inveterate multi-tasker, I can rush around like a chicken with my head cut off, but I’m getting better. I don’t rob Peter so much to pay Paul. I’m more into the moment, into the Now. I’ve always been slow to anger, and believed you can catch more flies with honey rather than vinegar. I have a long fuse but when lit, watch out. Then I’d be happy to cut off my nose to spite my face. I’m willing to share all this because I’m an open book. The truth is, you can’t tell a book by its cover.

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Besides all these sayings, song lyrics play in my head. They come up from my subconscious, unbidden. Last fall while my husband was going through Proton radiation, the constant theme song playing was, “Put on a Happy Face.”

Lately, it’s “Wake Me Up When It’s All Over,” because I’m as frightened as a rabbit about the present political climate, as well as just climate in general. Hope springs eternal so I’m hoping the Emperor has someone around who tells him he has no clothes on. I’m hoping they don’t throw the baby out with the bath water when reforming affordable health care.

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I’ve given up watching television. I’m sick of the pundits earning fame and fortune while crying, “The sky is falling.” And I can’t handle the bloggers, who obviously never went to Journalism School where we learned to be clear, concise and accurate.

Right now the lyric in my head is Bob Marley’s, “every little thing’s gonna be all right.” I know there’s no fool like an old fool, but I still believe good triumphs over evil. I’m still looking for the silver lining.

 

 

 

We Are The World

This was my kind of protest march. No violence. No shouting of epithets. No hatred. Families and friends walked along the street, some holding signs, some holding hands, some pushing strollers and other pushing wheelchairs.

 

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img_0573Grandmas and grandpas, moms and dads, moms and moms, and dads and dads, toddlers and babies all strolled in the same direction, in no hurry to run another over or get in someone’s way. Friends greeted friends, said, “How do you?” Strangers met over a common cause and exchanged phone numbers.

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Actually, rather than protest, it was more a solidarity march for pro-thinkers. It wasn’t really political. Yes, women’s rights were the focus that brought us all out. But it was more than that. Groups of strangers united on the streets of our country to proclaim democracy and equality as the corner posts of our ideology. As the president said in his inaugural address: “It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.”

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Walking with friends, new and old, I felt empowered and healed. People of good will surrounded me. People who want to help the common cause. People who want to do something for the greater good. And I knew this was happening from the north to the south, the east to the west.

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I’d thought I’d lost my sense of who Americans are. But, united with folks from the far corners of the states, I found my kinspeople again.

 

 

 

 

Inauguration Day Realites, Please

 

Please don’t tell me I shouldn’t be dressed in black because I’m in mourning on this 20th day of January 2017.

Please don’t read this if it will disturb your Trump sensibilities.

Please don’t tell me that I’m un-American if I don’t consider this man my President.

Please don’t tell me to rejoice in the peaceful transfer of power. Sorry, the transfer of power was powered by Russian hacks and unscrupulous people who created lies to denigrate Hillary Clinton. Fake news became a new industry fueled by the Internet. Outright lies were made up and spread around, bringing an income to these lowlifes. Peaceful transfer of power means nothing when it is tainted.

Please don’t tell me Kellyanne Conway should be admired. She is a model for a propaganda robot, effective but not admirable. She can be programmed to spin anything.

Please don’t tell me Trump was America’s choice. Almost 66 million people voted for Clinton compared to 63 million for him.

Please don’t tell me my dream of a united America working together is just that, a pipe dream. I don’t believe you.

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Please don’t tell me Trump has the good of the country at heart.

Please don’t tell me Trump’s rhetoric didn’t unleash bigots to perpetrate acts of hate.

Please don’t tell me not to worry.

Please don’t tell me that gun rights are more important than lives.

Please don’t tell me I shouldn’t be suspicious when I can’t get on the Internet. I’m sure there is tracking of dissidents, which now has a broader definition. I’m sure my Google history can be traced.

Please don’t tell me I shouldn’t have lain awake half the night until I took a tranquilizer so I could get some sleep.

Please don’t tell me I’m stupid that I cried when I woke up here at 7:15 and knew that in Washington, D.C., Trump had been sworn in.

Please don’t tell me to put a smile on my face.

Please don’t tell me I shouldn’t feel as if I’m seeing the beginning of train wreck and that I’m powerless to do anything but watch.

Please don’t tell me that women in the land of the free shouldn’t have dominion over their own bodies.

Please don’t tell me that I shouldn’t be disturbed that the Republicans blocked Obama’s Supreme Court nomination.

Please don’t tell me the country hasn’t be hijacked by the conservative Republicans who believe they should be able to tell private citizens what they are allowed to do. States’ rights? B.S. And if you’re old? Forget it. Before the election, you were respected. Now, you’re on the way to being disenfranchised.

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Please don’t tell me I should be feeling proud of America today. Sixty-three million voted for a man who felt it was okay to grab a woman’s genitals. They voted for a man who discarded beautiful wife, number one, for beautiful younger wife, number two, etc.

Please don’t try to make me drink the Cool Aid. I’m not swallowing the lies and mistruths no matter what. Business is booming and unemployment is down.

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Please don’t re-write history and tell me things that are not true. I remember when George W Bush left office. America was teetering on the edge of disaster. Unemployment was so high. Banks closed their doors. The auto industry was in the pits. Friends lost their entire life savings at a time they thought they’d retire. Others went out of business or lost their homes. We took money out the bank and hid it under the mattress. Some people survived, others’ didn’t. Fact: Obama leaves a booming economy and low unemployment behind.

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Please don’t tell me the majority of Americans voted for a man who’s proven he doesn’t keep his word. He’s a man who believes the world can be flimflammed as he’s done time and again in his business practices. But he lost by 3 million votes.

Please don’t laugh in my face and call me a stupid liberal who doesn’t get it. I am one of the 65, 844, 954 who voted for Hillary.

Please don’t tell me the group Black Lives Matter is misguided. They, I should say we, as I am a member, were just ahead of the curve. Black lives don’t matter and neither do Jewish, Muslim, Latino, LGBT or any life that doesn’t fit the narrow picture outlined by Richard Spencer, the alt right leader and his friends, the Tea Partiers. Oh, there I go being silly again. Unborn lives of any hue do matter to them. But let them got born—forget about it!

Please don’t tell me I’m ridiculous to want all Americans to have health care and a full belly.

Please don’t tell me not to worry about my grandchildren. If the hyperbole leads to war, two of them are at an age where they could be drafted. Also, all my grandchildren go to Public Schools and are receiving excellent educations. It looks like this could be in the past as one of the basics of American life is being threatened.

Please don’t tell me Trump wants to be a President for all Americans. Just his Cabinet picks point to the opposite.

Please don’t tell me that everything is going to be all right. I want to believe it, but I need some proof.

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Please don’t tell me to give him a chance. I’ve been doing that. I haven’t seen him reach out to the four corners of America. I haven’t seen him surround himself with statesmen who are skilled in working with the system. His advisors are liars and bigots and ill prepared for the crucial work ahead.

Please don’t tell me to get a life and move on.

Please don’t tell me my nightmares are ridiculous.

And please, don’t mess with me today. For your own sake.

 

 

United We Stand

I volunteered again this weekend. It’s what I can do. I can’t watch the talking heads anymore. I think it’s these hired guns who are dividing us. Who are they? They’re just giving us their opinions–I rather listen to yours. These people are paid to cause controversy so the networks’ ratings go up. A lot of what they say is drivel. A lot of what they say is completely on party lines and they don’t deviate. Most of it is negative. Some journalists don’t hesitate to promote their own career along with their political agenda. Why is there so little talk of policy and plans for the future? Why is there no discussion of what America stands for?

I rather spend my time with people who want to work together to create solutions.

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I volunteered again this weekend so I could be with people who care about the country. They care enough that they’re giving up their time to talk to strangers about the election. That’s no easy task. I listened in sometimes and I was struck by the sincerity I heard. It was Americans reaching out to other Americans. Don’t tell me people don’t care.

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People came early to work on more than one shift. That morning by 11:00, thirty people came to the door to volunteer. As the day went on, the numbers kept increasing. The ages ranged from 16 to 90.

“I wish I could vote,” the sixteen-year-old said. “But at least I can make calls.”

Harold, the ninety-year-old was one of the walk-ins.

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“I’ve got to do my part,” he said. And he got right to work.

The mood was somber. We felt the weight of our responsibility. We believe in our candidate. We feel Hillary Clinton will make an excellent President. We’re concerned that Donald Trump is not prepared.

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“I had to come,” one man said. “There are so many lies out there, I’ve got to do something or I’d feel guilty.”2016-11-05-10-19-21

 

I happened to be in a Democratic group but I bet there was a Republican group with the same kind of people. People of good will. People who care about our country and are willing to work for the common good. We’re not flashy nor dramatic. You don’t see us because we aren’t the kind to create headlines. We’re just ordinary normal Americans.

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Volunteering

It’s Saturday morning. I have had a full week, being the support person for my husband who is going through Proton radiation at Loma Linda. That’s another story, which I’m about ready to share. I could have stayed in bed this morning, getting some rest. I don’t sleep well in Loma Linda and it’s a blessing to be in my own bed.

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But I’m at a phone bank for Hillary Clinton. For me, this election is that important.The phone bank isn’t anything like I pictured. It’s not official looking in any way. We’re all volunteers.

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We’re at someone’s house a couple of miles away from where I live. Women and men, young and old, every color and ethnic group, we’ve brought our charged cell phone or laptop. Some people work through their laptops. Others of us spread out and begin to call. I hear one man speaking in Spanish.

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Today some people are calling Ohio, reminding people to vote, talking about Clinton’s policies. I’m helping to check people in, and also with the calling in our area, asking for volunteers for the coming week. We don’t know each other. What we have in common is a love for our country and a belief that Hillary is the person running for President who is qualified to lead us. It’s truly grassroots.

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I talk to an 86-year-old woman who is upset about the FBI Director’s statement. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” she says. “Now we’re not focusing on the issues anymore.”

It’s not a large group yet as its early. Six people walk in, asking to volunteer. Later in the day, more volunteers are signed up and will call. By the end of the week and Election Day, the house will be packed.

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There’s nothing phony here, no political axes being ground. But it’s all very organized and there’s attention to detail. I think that’s the kind of government we would have under Hillary. She’s willing to work hard and she’s willing to learn. She’s surrounded by people who work to solve the problems we’re facing. 2016-10-29-10-23-51

Fer Klempt, For Good

There are sometimes my heart is so full that I get choked with emotion. Last Friday we walked to Mercerdale Park on Mercer Island, a suburb of Seattle, to watch the high school homecoming parade. Really we went to watch the high school band. Really we went to watch our grandson play the trumpet in the band.

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A combination of things came together to overfill my heart. First and foremost was seeing our grandson, 16, standing amongst his band mates. I felt so much love and pride mixed with awe that the baby I’d held (not so long ago, was it?) was now this accomplished young man. I was completely fer klempt.

The sound of the band and the nip in the air stirred something in me too. I had a subliminal instant flashback to the days of Garfield High and the UDub—going to the games with my friends and with my dad. In this troubled world, it was comforting to see untainted exuberance. There was a small town innocence without the feeling of xenophobia that we’ve been witnessing on the news. And I didn’t think too hard about injustice and prejudice for a moment. I just enjoyed.

The next day, the breaking news on television was the rally and  march in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a peaceful protest against police shooting black men like Keith Scott and Terence Crutcher. Hundreds of Charlotte residents turned out—blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics, gay, straight and in between. Parents pushed their kids in strollers, teenage kids with drums beat out a cadence—much like what had happened the afternoon before on Mercer Island.

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It was the white people wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts that got me fer klempt the second time in two days. They get it, I thought as I choked back tears. They understand where the focus has to be—not right now on all lives mattering, but on the lives that haven’t been mattering.

America is a complex country with systemic problems. It’s no fairy tale and a lot of times there are no happy endings. It’s better to acknowledge that, instead of covering it up. Otherwise, we’re just ostriches and the status quo will rule. Call me sentimental, but I’d like to see Americans working together with mutual respect to solve our problems. In this country, we have the potential to do just that. I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

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Facing Terrorism

When I opened my computer today I saw the following headline:

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-10-36-33-am“Oh, boy,” I said aloud. “The Muslim community must be going crazy.”

I hadn’t read the article yet. Didn’t know that Ahmad Khan Rahami had been radicalized. Didn’t know he was 28 and that his family lived in New Jersey. I just saw the name and guessed he was Muslim.

It reminded me of when I first read about Madoff. “That’s not a Jewish name, is it?” I asked my husband.

I was hoping that uber-scoundrel was not Jewish—not of my tribe. I knew that if one of us does something wrong, the rest of us gets painted by the same guilty brush. Even if we are completely innocent.

I was afraid of a backlash and that was before the recent resurgence of anti Semitism that is plaguing our country and our world.

I can only imagine what the law abiding Muslims across America are thinking right now. Gone was their hope that their names wouldn’t be linked with the identity of this terrorist. But the truth is that Ahmad Khan Rahami did this. Not a whole group.

When I opened the article I learned that Ahmad Khan Rahami shot the first officer who approached him in the stomach. He injured another. His intent was to injure and kill as many innocent citizens of New Jersey and New York as he could. He was going after civilians enjoying the last days of summer, just as all of us are in our own hometowns. The bombs were loaded to inflict huge damage to flesh and bone. No wonder he is called a terrorist. His actions are terrifying.

So what do we do? What is our course of action? Do we stay indoors and hide? Do we say that all Muslims are terrifying? Do we give into the terrorists’ acts?
I say no. Let’s stay on a steady course. Let’s not be afraid to live our lives. Let’s not forget the acts of bravery by the police and fire departments. Let’s use reason and rational judgment before we act. Let’s be intelligent about how we analyze what has happened and how we should react. Let’s be guided by wisdom and actual facts.

 

America, the Beautiful

America, the beautiful. Or is it America, the beautiful? I think it’s probably both. Certainly this country is not perfect. Certainly, I would live no where else. And I’m eternally grateful to my grandparents who had the courage to flee Russia and Lithuania. As they sailed into New York harbor, they felt the protecting shelter of the Statue of Liberty and the benediction of Emma Lazarus’ words: “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.

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Their way was not easy when they hit these shores. Instead of the streets of gold they’d heard about, they found only poverty, hardship and prejudice. But they weren’t afraid they’d be killed outright as they had in Europe. With hard work and perseverance, they could build a successful life. And they did.

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Fast forward a hundred years and their granddaughter has been lucky enough to go to Washington D.C. three times in the last ten months. Who’d ah thought? I’ve toured the Capitol Building twice and the White House once. I’ve toured the monuments all three times. I’m now a junkie!

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The city is built on a grand scale that we don’t see much of in our united states. Statues and magnificent buildings are interspersed with green parkways. It’s beautiful, truly.

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This last trip I was at an ADL convention. The Anti-Defamation League was originally founded in 1915 to protect Jewish people from Antisemitism. It has grown and broadened its goal to protect all human and civil rights. I feel safer at night to know the ADL exists. I was impressed by the dedication of the young people attending, and inspired to action, myself.

Our hotel was only a ten minute stroll from the White House and I walked to it a couple of times. Tourists from around the world flock there. It’s impressive both because of its architecture and its significance.  My four-year-old granddaughter walked there with her babysitter. My daughter and grandson walked there to see it at night.

We were home only two days when I heard about the shooting at a White House check point. It sent shivers down my spine. What if one of my family had been there then?

 

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“Did you hear about the shooting at the White House?” I said as I walked into the dentist’s office.

“I hope they shot Obama,” a pleasant looking woman said.

I was taken aback. “Too unkind,” I said. “He’s our President.” Where’s the respect? I thought. There should be some respect for our President, if nothing else. Just plain old human decency.

The woman gave me a dirty look and turned her back on me. I sat down across the waiting room, not looking at her either.

Where has all the civility gone? I wondered. Long time passing.

Will it take another 911 to get out the “United We Stand” posters, and to bring back the realization that we’re all Americans, all part of the same family? Disagree, fine. Disparage, okay. But to wish someone’s injury or death? That’s too ugly of an American for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Anxiety!

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT TAKE THE FOLLOWING SERIOUSLY. IT’S MEANT TO BE HUMOROUS EVEN WHILE POINTING OUT MY MENTAL DEFECIENCIES.

Just when you think it’s safe to go in the water, life throws you a curveball. (I love mixing my metaphors, BTW.) At the beginning of November, I was congratulating myself on a year of accomplishment (my entire check list was clear—I’d finally gone to the Getty, even gotten the colonoscopy and the closets cleaned out) when the mail came.

I wasn’t alarmed when I saw the DMV letter. I knew my license was expiring and since I’d moved, I figured this was a form explaining how to change the address. WRONG! The letter stated I had to appear at the DMV to have my picture taken, update my information, give a thumb print, pass the eye test and. …TAKE THE WRITTEN EXAM.

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I swear to you that in the silence of my house, I cried out in anguish, “Why me?” Looking back, I realize I was quite tired and in overwhelm before I opened the letter, which could excuse my pitiful over-reaction. At least, I’d like to think that.

“I have to take the DMV WRITTEN EXAM,” I told my husband.

“Somebody’s got to do it,” he said, barely looking up from his book.

“I have to take the DMV WRITTEN EXAM,” I told my daughter.

“Oh no,” she said. “You have the same tone of voice you had when you were prepping for your colonoscopy. I don’t know if I have the energy to keep you propped up again.”

“I have to take the DMV WRITTEN EXAM,” I told my daughter-in-law.

“Don’t worry about it. You’ve been driving for years—you know everything. Besides, you can miss six questions,” she said.

Yeah. It’s easy and you can go online to take sample tests,” my sixteen-year-old grandson added.

“But I never know which way my wheels should turn if I’m parking uphill,” I wailed.

“Up, up and away,” my eighteen-year-old grandson put in.

With all this encouragement, I felt calmer and made an appointment to take the test. But when I went on-line to take a sample test, things went south. I took the first test and missed four out of the eighteen questions. How should I know that you must park seven and a half feet from a railroad crossing? Or that the lines on a one-way street are solid white? Or that BAC stands for Blood Alcohol Concentration and it’s not safe to drive with even a 0.01 level? Who cares if a sign is regulatory or warning?

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“YOU FAILED!!!!!” flashed on the screen in gigantic neon letters (or so it seemed). It turns out if you are taking a renewal test you can only miss three questions. When you think about it, most people taking a renewal are probably inching towards the 70-year-old mark. Is there ageism being subtly practiced here?

I immediately went into Catastrophe Mode. I drove to the DMV to pick up a booklet (and also to find out where it was) and began to study like I did when I was in college. I got out a yellow marker and underlined the whole book. I wrote out flash cards. I became addicted to the online tests, unable to stop myself taking them from early morning to late at night. (None of this part is an exaggeration, BTW.) I studied even at a doctor’s appointment.

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Some time during this siege, I decided I wanted my hair to look really good for the photo so I began experimenting with different styles. I also went to the eye doctor who said I needed glasses, which got me worrying if I’d pass the eye test. Because I was studying so much, I didn’t have time for much of anything else. I didn’t realize that my whole family was avoiding me—none of them could handle my angst they told me later.

One day, my husband and I drove to Santa Barbara to visit friends. Actually my husband drove, which gave me the opportunity to study “driving rules” in real time. Not only did I get to see the road signs and solid white lines on the road, but every time my husband did something wrong, it cemented what you’re supposed to do more firmly in my mind.

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“What’s your biggest fear?” my neighbor asked me the day before the test.

“That I’ll fail,” I replied with no hesitation.

“But why would you fail? You’ve studied so much.”
“But, sometimes they phrase the questions in a tricky way,” I said. “Or they ask the question in a way that you don’t understand. Or they ask you how many yards you can drive in a left turn lane.”

“That’s true,” she said, which didn’t alleviate any of my anxiety.

Speaking of anxiety, the only good thing about being so anxious about the test was that I forgot all my other worries for awhile. Even my back straightened out!

The day of the test finally arrived. I washed my hair early and chose my outfit carefully. I played an anxiety reduction audio, which helped me to relax. I got dressed and put on jewelry. I decided to go early—I could be nervous there instead of nervous at home.

When I arrived and took my seat, I looked around. Seventy-five per cent of the people there looked to be 16. The rest of us looked to be 65ish or older. Definitely, ageism, I thought.

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Within fifteen minutes, my number was called. The man behind the desk seemed kindly enough. “Let’s start with the eye test,” he said. He gestured to the tiny chart in the low light behind him.

Somehow I read enough F’s and P’s to pass, and I moved across the room to the guy who takes the pictures. He was sweet, offering me a chance to see if I liked the shot or not. He then directed me to a group of booths behind us. “Use your bar code to sign in,” he directed.

“Okay,” I said like I knew what he was talking about.

I went to a booth and found a large monitor with a prompt “start here” on the touch screen.

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“First, scan your code,” flashed on the screen. That took a couple of minutes to figure out but I was finally in. By the time the actual question hit the screen, I was exhausted. But I persevered, reading each question carefully to make sure I understood it. Even then, I did miss one. But long story short: I passed!!!

When I was finished, I had one more line to stand in. The two women in front of me were my age—one passed and one didn’t. We started chatting until the woman behind the desk called out, “NO TALKING IN LINE!”

When it was my turn, I handed her my information.

“You passed,” she said, seeming disappointed.

I smiled at her, a wide and happy smile. “Yes I did!”

In the parking lot, I did a little victory dance by my car. On the way home, I looked out at the iridescent autumn leaves instead of the lines in the road. I was free at last!

It’s been ten days and I just received my new license in the mail. I think my hair looks pretty good.

 

Black Lives Need to Matter

 

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So many White people are upset with the Black Lives Matter movement. “All lives matter,” a friend said to me the other day at coffee. “Why are those people so divisive?”

At yoga, the instructor asked, “Why did they interrupt Bernie Sanders and Jeb Bush? It’s so rude.”

It was hard to quiet my mind after her question. During the class, my brain worked over time figuring out what was happening and where I stood. I must admit I’m a Rodney King kind of person–my knee jerk question is always “Why can’t we all just get along?” And I was raised to always be polite, always.

But there comes a time when you don’t have the leisure for good manners. The leaders of the Black Lives Matter Movement feel that is now. They don’t want another Sandra Bland to die because of police brutality. Or a Michael Brown or Freddie Gray.

Yes, all lives matter, but historically in America, Black lives haven’t. Black Lives Matter is a movement that wants to shake up the status quo NOW so more Blacks don’t die. It’s specific because it needs to be.

The grass roots movement was co-founded by three black activists: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi after the July 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. After the 2014 deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum. In both cases, grand juries didn’t indict the officer and no charges were brought. The conclusion to not only the Black community: Black lives don’t seem to matter and the justice system is skewed. Two tools, which are making this obvious to everyone, are cell phone videos and social media. You can’t argue with what has been recorded and social media is spreading the word.

peaceful march.

peaceful march.

Black Lives Matter seems to be focused right now on getting Presidential candidates to develop policies that will ensure racial justice. An excellent goal, but are they going about it the right way?

In August, in my hometown of Seattle, Bernie Sanders’ speech was disrupted by a group who walked onstage, grabbed the microphone from him and shouted at the audience that they were racists and White Supremacists. Sanders looked bewildered, but the next day issued a racial justice policy.

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Hillary Clinton’s bodyguards weren’t having it, but she did meet privately with the leaders of the Black Lives Matter protest. She told Julius Jones, a Black Lives Matter activist, “I don’t believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate.”

Clinton defines the practical, but I believe changing hearts should not be overlooked. Shouting, “All whites are racist!” may feel good in the moment. Disrupting political meetings may make demonstrators feel powerful when they’ve only felt powerless before—but is this how to create lasting change? It’s got shock value, but is it detrimental to the end goal of not only saving black lives, but making black lives worth living? Or does it allow Fox News to target it as a Murder Movement, suggesting it promotes cop killings?

Three Black Lives Matter leaders

Three Black Lives Matter leaders

 

In a television interview I watched, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi discuss their goals. Articulate and well spoken, I was convinced by their arguments. I now wear a pin that shows I support the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

This is more of what we need. Don’t make me defensive by calling me a white supremacist—I am not a George Lincoln Rockwell. It’s the events that have knocked off my rose colored glasses, not the violent protests. Now continue to show me, educate me, open my eyes. Then use me and my resources, white though they may be, to help bring about necessary change.