Our Kids are Tuned In

Since we just finished our big presidential primary here in South Carolina, and today is Super Tuesday, I thought I would provide some updates regarding the state of the presidential race from the point of view  of our underage family voters. The conversation began at the polls with Mommy on Saturday.

When asked who he preferred, 7-year-old Bryce announced that he was behind Tom Steyer. His four-year-old sister disagreed with his choice, stating that she was an Elizabeth Warren fan. “A girl has never been president. Why wouldn’t you want a girl?” (Wise child!)

On Saturday night, Bryce wandered downstairs from his bedroom to be told that Joe Biden had won South Carolina and that Tom Steyer had dropped out of the race. That was enough for him to pivot to Joe Biden, but not Lily, who would not budge in her support of Senator Warren.

Bryce told her that choosing Elizabeth Warren was a bad choice because “she is not in a good place.”  According to him, he heard that from “breaking news.” (Boy, these kids sure are tuned in!)

We discussed this during our Monday afternoon playdate. We showed both of them our pictures from Saturday night, when we attended the Biden South Carolina Primary celebration. While they were both impressed with out Biden sign and photos  of the bus, Lily was unwavering.

       

“Did Elizabeth Warren drop out?” (Keep in mind that this child is FOUR YEARS OLD!!)  When I told her that she has not, then she told me that she still likes Elizabeth Warren.

She is a loyal trooper!

Our Children will be Calling Bullshit

I am glad I am not raising a child these days, because with Donald Trump as president, it would be difficult for me to explain to my little ones why it is wrong to say or do what our commander in chief routinely does.

Growing up, there was not a lot of swearing or derogatory discussions in our house, and as I pointed out the other day, most conversations said around the children are heard. (Our Children are Listening…“Who is Adam Schiff, Grandma?”)

After the president’s latest post-impeachment rant, when he called the Russia investigation “bullshit” to a roomful of his supporters in the East Room of the White House shortly after noon, Daddy, Kelly, and I had a conversation about his little tirade.

Dad recalled listening to President Kennedy’s moonshot speech when he was not yet nine, and then being inspired to work in a technical field. Back in our day, can you believe that parents could permit their children to watch the president speak anytime without fear that his behavior would be repeated and then emulated by America’s kids? Kelly then recalled innocently sitting in front of the television while the presidents spoke, and it was not until Clinton’s impeachment that I had to monitor what was being discussed on the news.

Now our children’s vocabularies are “enhanced” with bullshit, discussions of shithole countries, goddam this, what the hell that, and of course, the lovely non-G-rated Access Hollywood tape discussion which made it to the news when he famously said he could “grab them by the pussy.”

Dad wondered, and I direct the answer to the teacher in our family for the answer, what would happen if one of your students yelled “bullshit,” or worse, in the school cafeteria? Would the behavior go unpunished if the child said they learned it from the president?

I guess I could give him a pass if he wasn’t locking children in cages, loosening environmental regulations which helped clean our air and water (Oh, but that’s good for business!) , mocking a sixteen-year-old climate activist, a Gold Star family or a disabled reporter. I could look the other way when he refuses to apologize for anything if only he would take care of Puerto Rico, did not make fun of women who were sexually assaulted, protected us from gun violence, or stopped going after the Biden family when his own children are openly making a fortune from their Daddy’s presidency.

But people are making money in the stock market, so we look the other way because honesty, integrity, and empathy are less important. His party does not have a single alternative candidate it seems.

Maybe our children will say “bullshit.”

King Day at the Dome

January 2020 has been unusually balmy, with temperatures hovering close to 80° during the first week, so I decided that this was the year I would participate in Martin Luther King Day at the South Carolina State Capital. Naturally, I awoke the morning of January 20 to a temperature reading below freezing. But I decided I was tough, so I bundled up, grabbed my hat and gloves and headed downtown.

The kickoff event was a service at Zion Baptist Church and was attended by eight of the presidential hopefuls.

Not knowing I could have gone inside, I waited outside in the cold as a helicopter hovered overhead, and watched the crowd grow while police officers and bomb-sniffing dogs lingered nearby. There was a plethora of Sanders, Biden, Buttigieg, Warren, Sanders, and Steyer signs from people who had already decided who they were planning to vote for on the February 29th primary. A speaker was set up so we could hear the service, but the crowd was busily chatting away.

Around 10:00, the doors opened and the church emptied out. We were able to catch a brief look at the candidates as they headed up the street so they could lead the march to the State House. During that day, they played nice with each other and walked arm in arm.

I was near the back of the group with my Moms Demand Action group.

When we arrived at the State House, we were greeted by a crowd of thousands. There were plenty of speeches and musical interludes, and it was then that I learned that Tom Steyer was quite a dancer.

I am lucky to be now living in an early primary state, which gives me the opportunity to meet and listen to the presidential candidates. That is an opportunity which I did not have when I lived in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina or Georgia.

             

                     

It was a grand day.

 

 

 

Does This Make Sense?

Did you ever notice that the pills you take may differ in size, shape, and color depending on whether they are a name brand or a generic pill? Look at the Advil or Motrin in your medicine cabinet and compare it with the generic ibuprophen. I never paid attention until Dad pointed out the differences in the pills he takes whenever his pharmacy changes the manufacturer. Take a look:

  • Row 1 is a single baby aspirin
  • Row 2 is the generic versions of his blood pressure medicine. Despite the fact that the four pills vary in shape, the formula for each is the same.
  • Row 3 are two generic versions of the allergy medication, Singulair
  • Row 4 is a thyroid supplement.

This can have dangerous consequences because it is clear that a change from a square yellow allergy medicine to a round yellow allergy pill could be confused with a similar-looking round yellow thyroid supplement, particularly when the person taking those pills is an elderly person living alone who may have beginning dementia issues. In addition, there are reports of people refusing to take the different appearing drug because of fear and distrust that the variation in shape or color is no longer the same pill.

Why does this happen, one may wonder? Apparently, patent laws do not permit generic drug manufacturers to produce drugs identical to the brand-name counterpart.

In my unprofessional opinion, this is a dumb law, and I think that while our presidential candidates are discussing plans to reduce drug prices, they may want to at least consider eliminating the patent law prohibiting generic drugs from copying the appearance of the brand-name drug. There is probably a good reason for such a law, but the confusion that this likely causes could have life-threatening consequences.

What are your thoughts?

 

 

It’s Nearly Too Late

When I was young, our house backed up to my mother’s uncle house, whose yard was filled with apple, pear, and cherry trees (not to mention his grape vines). My first house as an adult backed up to a buffer of woods between our property and the homes behind ours.

The house we purchased in New Jersey again backed up to woods, so there was always plenty of wildlife to eat my tulips and woods to play in, which also added a bit of serenity to the view out of the back window.

Our home in Chapel Hill sat on a piece of property half the size of the other two, but the previous owner had built that very serene Japanese garden in the backyard, which always sounded like a gentle rainfall and was quite soothing from my perch in our screened porch. When we rented the house in Atlanta, not only did we have trees again, but also a nice little stream in the back yard to look down upon from our deck.

As I write to you today, I am enjoying my view from the screened porch of house #6, realizing that the time to do this is numbered as the days grow shorter and the temperatures are beginning to drop. I listen to the birds call out to one another, watch the butterflies chase each other on the lantana, peer across the pond at the pine trees along the banks of the water, and look for my friends, Ozzie and Harriet, those two very beautiful white herons which I recently mistook for drones. (I don’t know why but they did!)

This is my favorite view, and as I drive around my town and watch as thousands of beautiful pine trees are decimated to make room for one housing development after another, I realize that views such as mine are disappearing forever.

Bryce told his mom that if he were to run for president, his platform would be to make it illegal to cut down trees. While he is only six and does not realize that a blanket law like that could not be made, he told me that he learned while listening to a podcast that “pretty soon we won’t have good air to breathe.”

So today I went to the library and found two books on global warming for him to read, because although it is happening in my lifetime, my children and grandchildren will be impacted by its effects much more dramatically than me. And Bryce was correct about the loss of good air. One of the books I borrowed for him was written by a scientist, who teamed up with the Smithsonian Institute to write the book. The author mentioned that trees and other green plants covert carbon dioxide into oxygen, but those trees and forests are being cut down in such huge number that there is no longer enough plant life to absorb the carbon dioxide on the planet.

We are in deep trouble, my friends, and while we have so very many problems to repair in this country, in my opinion, if this is not at the top of the list, the other problems will disappear along with the life on this planet. Anyone who chooses to deny this science is ignorant and selfish.

 

 

Just Another Presidential Oops

When I noticed the “Esperanto” trending on Twitter recently, I was brought back to my school days when I had done a report on this subject. Don’t worry if this is unfamiliar to you. I thought it was a dead issue long ago.

For those of you not in the know, I will give you a brief lesson. Esperanto is a language which was developed during the late 19th century with the intent that it would become an international language. Although it did not take off, it is still spoken today by anywhere from 200,000 to 2 million individuals worldwide. Clearly there is not accurate data on the language.

If you want to learn Esperanto, I would suggest you go to Hungary, where it is taught in some universities, or use good old Google to find the Esperanto-USA group. It really exists but I am not interested in doing your research.

But getting back to why it was trending on Twitter. It turns out that our president, who has an annoying habit of not proofreading his Tweets because he is perfect and does not make mistakes, he erroneously referred to the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, as Mark Esperanto. I guess it’s like when Grandpa called Doogie Howser Hogie Dowser.

I Don’t Get It

I once wrote that my hope for my children was that in the end, they have “a good life with plenty of laughs and good memories.” I will add that I don’t care if they live in a small home or a huge mansion, if they have fancy cars or a single second-hand automobile, and I don’t care if they wear designer clothes or outfits from Target. All that matters is that I have raised happy, independent children, each with a strong sense of right and wrong.

I taught them to be truthful and kind to others, so it was difficult to watch when their friends were unkind or made disparaging comments on the playground. I am hearing about this happening already in preschool and it breaks my heart.

Cursing was not spoken at home, and when one of them hurt the feelings of another, they were taught to write a note of apology. So it has been with a heavy heart that I have watched our country being led by a man who clearly was not raised with any of those values—where money was worshipped over integrity, and people still believe in him.

As I watch our country’s reputation erode throughout the world, our clean air and water get dirtier, and our climate continuing to warm unchecked, I know that the experiment to elect an outsider has failed miserably. And I truly don’t understand why everyone in this country does not see this.

Elijah Cummings said two important things:

  • “I’m hoping that all of us can get back to this democracy that we want, and that we should be passing on our children so they can do better than what we did.”
  • “When we’re dancing with the angels, the question will be asked, in 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact? Did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing?”

I will fight.