Friday, August 11, 2017

First Day at New School, Memoriam for Anna Adams, Benghazi, Anyone? What about Monica? Democrats—Get a Grip!

Already, my great-grandson De'Andre has started 4th grade in his new school in Florida, where he moved with his mother, granddaughter Natasha, in July. His teacher looks like a friendly lady.

Last time, I mentioned the death of my friend Anna Adams, just days before we were planning to celebrate her 80th birthday. She had a “green” burial without a funeral service. Here is something about her from my book Triumph & Hope: Golden Years with the Peace Corps in Honduras (pp189-190):

Another stateside visitor was Anna, whom I hadn’t seen since we were teenagers together in Colombia. After almost 50 years apart, we hardly recognized each other, but with our first embrace, it was like old times again. Valiant Anna, who still remembered Spanish, joined me on a medical brigade to La Ceiba, where a child’s father admired her beautiful blue eyes and begged her to marry him despite being already married, a rather minor detail.                  

On a side trip, Anna and I passed by some spikey pineapple fields en route to a mountaintop resort, Pico Bonito, where wild monkeys and toucans chattered overhead, then visited a GarĂ­funa fishing village called Sambo Creek, and ended up eating at a Ceiba watering hole called Expatriates’ Bar. Next day, at a butterfly farm set among fragrant-blossomed orange trees, a crested lizard darted across our path, black birds with yellow wings flitted up to high-hanging nests, and flocks of wild parakeets chirped noisily overhead. We sampled bitter cocoa fruit and seeds, scarcely resembling processed chocolate.  

Back in El Triunfo, Anna contributed $35 to outfit Marina’s maid Sarita with prescription eyeglasses. When Sarita first donned the glasses, she marveled at the crisp, tiny details of flowers and insects never seen before.

Trump’s incitements to violence against Muslims, his urging of police to “rough up” suspects, do have real world consequences, such as with the attack on mosque in suburban Minneapolis. His threats on health care and uncertainty about the future of the ACA have led to premium hikes and triggered the very problems he direly predicted. Meanwhile, out playing golf on his so-called “working vacation,” he should put his twitter phone away.

Pence is wise to totally distance himself from speculations about a 2020 presidential run of his own, since for him to arouse even the slighest breath of suspicion of disloyalty toward Trump would put him immediately on the blacklist. He is in a very delicate position.

Where have Jared and Ivanka been? They were thought to be a moderating force. It will be interesting to see what sort of reception daughter Tiffany gets from other students when she starts at Georgetown Law School next fall. Being a Trump offspring is definitely a two-edged sword.

Trump likes to pivot to Hillary Clinton’s e-mails whenever asked a hard question about his own policies; now, reportedly Kelleyanne Conway has pivoted way back to Benghazi. Next, it’s going to be Monica Lewinsky.

However, as some pundits have warned, a national emergency, like 9/11, which put unpopular GW Bush over the top for a second term, could rescue Trump from the doldrums and have the citizenry rallying around him. Trump is already bungling his way into inciting a possible conflict with Iran and/or North Korea, which not only would be catastrophic in itself, but like GW Bush’s incursion into Iraq, actually win him a legitimate second term. The North Korean leader’s wild nuclear threats should not be met with the same from our side. Two crazies facing off, each with nuclear weapons, that’s very scary. Hillary warned during the campaign about having someone as unpredictable and unstable as Trump with his finger in the nuclear trigger. The stock market reacted negatively. Will I actually live to see the end of the Trump administration, something which is sadly affecting my daily mood and well-being? And there are millions more in the same situation.

Democrats desperately need an understandable platform or message and a dark horse presidential candidate—not Hillary, not Biden, not Elizabeth Warren, I fear, perhaps too far left, but still very likeable and smart and a woman! We women got cheated last time. Maybe she could actually make it?

“A Better Deal” trotted out as the new Democratic Party slogan does not grab listeners the way “Make American Great Again” has done. Democrats need to do better than that. Someone from Maryland has put his hat into the 2020 presidential ring, but the fact that I cannot even remember his name shows how much steam his candidacy has gathered so far. Tim Kane, though he was not stellar in his one national pre-election debate, is certainly a possibility too. As for the message, it should include something about not falling into a dictatorship, which seems to be what Trump is aiming for by making anyone who opposes him into an enemy; trying to gain control of the media; promoting jobs, protections, and benefits for himself and his family; falsifying data; controlling the electoral process; and withholding government subsidies and authorizations from those he does not like.

Jesuits close to Pope Francis are concerned about right-wing Catholic supporters of Donald Trump, according to a recent interview on NPR. (Apparently Catholics voted for Hillary by a slim margin.)

Someone freezing their head at death in case it can be thawed out later and grafted onto another (someone else’s) body is a fanciful and silly idea. Let’s assume it would work (very doubtful, at least with today’s knowledge); while it might be quite interesting for them to emerge later into a world that’s moved on from when they first “died,” once again, they will face the prospect of death. As far as we know, nothing is forever except maybe space-time itself. Everything, ourselves included, has a beginning and an end, earth and all the planets, even the sun and the stars. It could be argued that already some people are living too long, losing mental and physical faculties, not doing anything useful or even interesting in life, in a word, becoming bored and boring and needing a lot of help from others just to survive every day. We are creating societies of more people who need care and who are not contributing. That doesn’t seem wise. I will say that even if I end being one of them—hope not. Once I’ve started a steep decline, I’d like to go quickly for the good of all concerned, including myself. (Ask me again when that actually happens.)

Now, on the 72nd anniversary of American atom bombs being dropped on Japanese cities, I recall that even as child, I never accepted that as a right and moral action, something that sullied Truman’s reputation for me for evermore.

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