Thursday, July 28, 2016

Madam President? The Good News and the Bad News

Tonight at the Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton will take the stage to accept her party’s nomination as their candidate for President of the United States. All around the country, women young and old will cheer—or at least smile—to know that a chick is finally busting into a previously male-dominated arena and kicking some serious ass. Yay. Good on you, Mrs. Clinton, Madam-President-to-be. Personally, I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter, and I voted for him (yes, even as an avowed feminist, I picked the man over the woman) in the California primary, but I’m still happy that a woman has made this advancement on the part of all women who feel they should be able to attain the same goals as do men in this country. By the way, this does not make us special or progressive as a nation. Around the globe currently there are twenty-two women serving as leaders of their countries, most of them elected (a couple of them appointed). Yep, as sophisticated as we believe we are, we are still kind of backwards in some social settings. (Huh. That reminds me of someone else who is running for President.)

So that’s all good news. Yay us! Yay women! Yay USA! I’m a proud patriot, so any time we get something right, I am figuratively yet fervently waving my flag.

But know what puts the damper on my enthusiasm for all this history-in-the-making with Hillary? It’s the fact that she’s about to be attacked and vilified for months. And that won’t stop once she’s in office. I don’t mean the same type of political attacks and posturing that occurs in all election cycles. I mean the ugly, name calling, hate and fear mongering crap that started with the election of The First Black President of the United States. When Barack Obama announced his intention to run for President, I was over-the-moon happy. I had wished it for him four years prior when he gave his amazing address to the Democratic Convention of 2004. But now that he has served two terms, I regret wishing it for him. I think, having been subjected to the absolute worst manifestations of our country’s ugliness, he must be emerging from the office a changed man. I know I would be. If he’s not, he’s a better person than I am, by far. It wasn’t just the constant reminders from Republicans that they absolutely hated him and would never let him come near accomplishing all that he wanted to do (although he did get quite a bit done in spite of them), there were also the constant horrible racist postings about him on social media, to say nothing of the death threats.

Hillary will face this. Just as there were those who believed no Black man should ever be President, there are those who believe no woman should ever be in a position of power and authority. So, just as Barack Obama was throughout his time in office, Hillary Clinton will be threatened and targeted and criticized and maligned. But damn, the lady has some huge… well, she has courage and fortitude. So yay her! And really, all things considered, yay us again! For as much hate and ugliness as we’ve seen in the past few months, there has been a lot of love. And as Hillary Clinton supporters have demonstrated, love trumps hate.  

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Glimpse of the Future

On several early mornings now, while driving Thomas at a snail’s pace up to the bike trail for our long morning walk, I have passed a very old man walking along the sidewalk on 7th Street. In his gnarled left hand, he holds the leash of a medium-sized dog, perhaps a terrier and cattle dog mix. The fingers of his right hand curl around the handle of a doll stroller, and he pushes it before them as he and the dog walk ever so slowly down the street.

Though I’ve seen them several times now, I haven’t been able to determine what’s in the doll stroller, but it looks like a small cooler, the type one would use to carry a bottle of water and perhaps a sandwich. Or possibly, if one had a worrisome wife or husband at home, extra medication… and contact information. I can only conjecture.

The dog is not an old dog. It is not stiff or plodding in its gait. It’s blocky, cattle dog head is held high, pointy ears straight up at attention. Its eyes are bright and clear as it surveys the landscape around them. One would think that such a dog would long to trot forward, sniff the grass, examine the shrubs along their route, and pee copiously. This dog does not. It matches its pace to the slow, methodical pace of the very old man as it marches majestically beside him.

My friends and I (those of us who love our dogs as if they are our children) wonder, “How will I walk my dogs when I am very old?” Let’s remember the doll stroller, shall we? If nothing else, it will offer something solid to lean on as we make our way down the road.