28 November 2016

10 Things - 28 Nov. 2016

In this "10 Things I'm Grateful For" post, I'm prepping for tomorrow's "Giving Tuesday." Here are my top 10 charities to which I have donated or will donate money this year:

1. Save the Kea
2. Girl Up
3. Planned Parenthood
4. The Nature Conservancy
5. The Sierra Club
6. World Wildlife Fund
7. Wounded Warrior Project
8. Canine Companions for Independence
9. Tru Community Care/Boulder County Hospice
10. Water.org

How about you?

16 November 2016

10 Things - 16 Nov. 2016

I'm grateful for ... 

1. Happy dogs
2. Aleo
3. Having a job with good benefits
4. Working out
5. Music to workout by
6. Freedom to drive my own car
7. The use of the word "neurotypical" in "The Accountant" movie
8. The tapestry backpack I bought in Eureka, California, in the 90s
9. The freedom to blog and publish
10. The BBC One show "Call the Midwife"

14 November 2016

Why She Voted for Trump

I voted for Hillary Clinton for president this year, and almost everyone I know did as well. In fact, where I live, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who voted for Trump, or at least who would admit to it (read: very liberal town).

I have met a couple of people who did vote for Trump, and one of them (someone I care about) was kind enough to answer, quite thoroughly and intelligently, a set of interview questions I provided.

Her reflections are transcribed below:

Q: Can you give me a brief summary of your education and background? 
A:  I am a 77-year-old ordinary person of Scots-Irish heritage. I grew up in a small Western town, and my childhood was happy and busy. I was a girl scout, took piano lessons, and any other lessons that I could locate in that small town. I rode bicycle and roller-skated all over town, and I went to the movies every time the picture changed. We were an upper middle class family. I graduated high school with an A average, was a National Merit Scholar and the Outstanding Senior English student. I have an Associate's Degree with a 4.0 GPA which I received when I was sixty-seven years old. In between, I worked and raised my children. I began working when I was 28 as a part-time bank teller. I worked very hard, long hours and finished up as a bank Vice President by the time I was 50. I always felt that I could do anything I wanted to do and was a "pull myself up by my bootstraps" sort of person.

Q: Have you been a Republican all your life?
A: I remember sitting up listening closely to the radio to hear the speeches and the action at the Republican Convention in 1952. There were seven names in consideration, and Dwight Eisenhower won the nomination on the third ballot. I was very happy. I was twelve. Before that I don't know what I was.

Q: How have you seen the party change over time, or has it?
A: Of course, the party has changed, just as the Democrat Party has changed. Republicans have moved to the right and Democrats to the left. This is not Eisenhower's GOP and it's not John Kennedy's Democrat Party. But the important things for the Republicans have not changed ... the belief that Federal government should be as small as possible and should stay out of the things that should be decided at the state level (like education, abortion, etc.) and the faith in the Constitution as written by very wise men about 240 years ago; and in the Bill of Rights which was written as it is to ensure that government could not enslave the people (as the monarchs had done in Europe). We are a party that believes that all people are born free and should remain free to be and do whatever they are ABLE to do and that the government should not interfere in that freedom.

Q: Did you vote for Trump?
A: Yes, I voted for Trump, and I want to tell you why. Many people don't know how much this country has been hurting for all the years under Mr. Obama's administration. You will notice if you look at the map that most of the Democrat votes came from the urban areas and that the rural areas are almost completely Republican. People in the cities are out of touch with the country. (They call it fly-over country.) That's why the election result was such a shock to so many of you, and exactly why we have an Electoral College – so that New York, Chicago, and L.A. cannot control the entire county. You may hear that things are great … that unemployment is down … that the country is strong. Meanwhile, the timber industry is shut down, the steel industry is shut down, the mining industry is nearly shut down. If you make an honest count and include the people who have given up, unemployment in many areas is close to 20%. People are pouring in over our borders. How many of can we afford to feed, clothe, and house? Do you know where most of the drug problem is originating from? Is it at all possible that some of these people might be from Syria? Might be ISIS? Can we afford to take that chance? People are frightened and want a President who means something when he says he is drawing a "line in the sand." The national debt is close to $20Trillion. This is a debt we can never pay! Do you know what $20Trillion looks like? ($20,000,000,000,000.00) Can any of us afford our portion of that debt? Can we in good conscience continue to let it grow? Trump cannot pay the national debt and cannot fix everything that has gone wrong in the years that the debt doubled, but he will make a start. He will bring back industry. He will bring back jobs – honest jobs that people are proud to do and that pay enough to live on. People were very angry. They didn’t want a continuation of Obama’s policies … period.

Q: What did you know about Trump before he entered the race?
A: I knew he was rich. I knew he had funny hair. I thought he was just a celebrity. I did not want him to run. But the more I saw of him and the more I heard, the more I thought he might just be the fighter we need to clean out the deadwood in the bureaucracies in Washington, stop the over-regulation of every little thing, and work with the Congress to pass laws instead of making "executive orders," many of which are against the law.

Q: If Trump had not run, whom would you have voted for in the primary?
A: John Kasich. I have admired him since he was a congressman and managed to balance the budget.

Q: Who else would you have chosen?
A: I’m not sure who I would have chosen. As I said, I liked John Kasich a lot. I didn't like Jeb Bush. It's time for the Bush family and the Clinton family to fade into history. Years ago I sort of wanted Elizabeth Dole to run, but she's too old now. I guess Ted Cruz would have been my next choice, but I'm happy with Trump.

Q: Do you think some people see Trump as a father figure?
A: No, I think they see him as a fighter and a leader … someone who will actually get something done.

Q: Lots of women voted for Trump even in light of what some people call misogyny. Why do you think that is?
A: The women I know voted for Trump for the same reason as the men did. It had nothing to do with gender. When will some of you young women come to see that women and men are just different … not meant to be equal in every way? Trust me, you have it so good. Hang on. A woman will be President someday soon … just not a woman like Hillary Clinton. Please look closely at her (and at her husband). Don’t be fooled.

Q: What do you think about Trump's choice of VP?
A: I think Pence is a great choice for VP. He is very smart and capable. He is good balance for Trump's over-enthusiasm and will have good rapport with Congress. (Trump knows how to hire really good people.)

Q: Are there any things Trump has said that you disagree with?
A: Yes, sure, there are things he has said that I didn't like: Calling out the judge in the U of Trump case for being a "Mexican." Saying that the people coming across the border are largely rapists and murderers. Telling people to "go f*** themselves." Too much hyperbole. He's not a politician. He's not always PC.

Q: How did your husband's political views affect your vote?
A: My husband is very vocal about his political thoughts, but I don't let them influence me. I have a mind of my own.

Q: Name 5 things you'd like to see Trump get done.
A: Just five? Well, he will do more than this, but he will start with: 1. Close the borders; 2. Repeal and replace Obamacare with something people can really afford; 3. Lower corporate taxes and make it profitable for companies to bring their operations back from overseas into the U.S. (My Ford was built in Mexico. It should have been built in Michigan!); 4. Appoint constitution-lovers to the Supreme Court so that it interprets the law instead of trying to make law; and 5. Beef up the military so that we can beat the crap out of ISIS.

Q: Name the top three leaders, alive or dead, that you admire.
A: Three only? Well, here's four: Golda Meir, Ronald Regan, Winston Churchill, and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Q: Do you feel like liberal Democrats and/or liberals would tear you down if they knew your views? Do you feel safe talking about it?
A: Some liberal people are tearing me down. Some people don't want to know my opinion. Some people think that all Republicans are evil – homophobes, bigots, racists – or just plain Christian fanatics. But I'm just an American. I know I have faults, but I do not hate or discriminate. I have worked and lived with gay persons and black persons and even bigoted persons. As Ben Carson said, "We all bleed red blood." And I think a great many of my fellow Trump voters are the same. And I would like to add that Trump was elected mostly because of Hillary. She was a bad candidate. She took the ordinary folks for granted and assumed that she would be elected just because of who she is. She never stated a real reason to vote for her. And she carries a great deal of baggage.

Dear Readers: It's important to look at this issue from all sides, all facets, so that we can understand how to navigate the road ahead. I ask for thoughtful, considerate, and constructive comments only.

12 November 2016

More Volunteer Opportunities - Stand Our Ground and Help Those Around

See yesterday's post "Volunteer and Stand Our Ground" for the first 20 vol-opps I have listed.

21. Deliver "Meals on Wheels."
22. Go shopping for an elderly or disabled person.
23. Start a reading circle focusing on books and magazines that empower women; for example, Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg; Pivot by Adam Markel; The Complete Poetry of Maya Angelou; the Harvard Business Review, esp. the compilation issue, "How to Work with Toxic Colleagues"; and Ms. Magazine.
24. Volunteer at Head Start.
25. Make friendship pins and pass them along.
26. Teach someone to read. Your local library probably has a program. In Boulder it's called "Literacy Volunteer."
27. Get involved in an oral history project. The most famous one is NPR's "Story Corps." There's even an app for that.
28. Buy stuff via Amazon Smiles and see part of your purchase price go to the charity of your choice.
29. Go shopping in your own closet and donate what you never wear.
30. Volunteer at a thrift story (or a, what I call, charity shop [Miranda Hart fans will get that]).
31. Take calls at a national, local, or veteran's suicide prevention crisis line office.
32. Make and send cheerful greeting cards to hospitalized kids or to folks in nursing homes.

Now I really am depending on you, my dear readers, to comment with more ideas and/or to let me know if you have taken up any of the 32 I've listed

11 November 2016

Volunteer and Stand Our Ground

Yesterday evening (10 Nov.) Senator Elizabeth Warren was interviewed by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. Among other things that struck a chord with me is a call to action: We can all volunteer — find something that matters to us and stand in and stand our ground.

Following on that, I tweeted last night my own call to action: What will you do? Let's list it out. Me: Hospital pet therapy work. Help heal the sick and sick at heart.

Here are some other ideas (and please add your comments or "tweet me back" at @Colo_kea):
  1. Teach English to immigrants or citizens for whom English is not their first language.
  2. Volunteer for Night Ride or whatever safety program you have on your campus that offers women and vulnerable people rides home at night.
  3. Knit caps for babies and quilts for hospice patients.
  4. Does your church have a "Deacon's Closet"? Those are great places to interact with the homeless and the poor and provide nicer clothes and hygiene assistance.
  5. Find out if the adolescent "attention home" in your area needs a cook, even for just one meal a week.
  6. If you are an adult with Asperger's, find a teen with Asperger's to mentor.
  7. Speak up, even if you have to do it anonymously, if you have an illness that carries a stigma, such as bipolar disorder. Others need to hear your voice.
  8. Write about and share your experiences with prejudice, racism, gender-ism, and misogyny, even if you have to do it anonymously.
  9. Use the "Charity Miles" phone app to track your miles and donate to the charity of your choice at the same time.
  10. Check in with your neighbors, especially the elderly or those with children, to see how they are doing and if you can help them out.
  11. Provide young women with birth control counseling.
  12. Volunteer for the recreation program at your local senior center or nursing home.
  13. If you live in the city, see if you can help your corner store bring in fresh fruits and vegetables.
  14. "Pay it Forward."
  15. Write letters to your representatives expressing your concerns and support. Start here.
  16. Join up with Habitat for Humanity.
  17. Volunteer to teach journalism at your community center and maybe start a local newspaper or blog, using teens and the elderly as correspondents.
  18. Donate magazines to local "people's clinics," nursing homes, community centers, and your public library.
  19. Beautify your street (flowers, paint, etc.) and help keep it clean.
  20. Be alert to your surroundings and look out for each other.