Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another Senseless Attack

Every time there is a terrorist attack somewhere in the world, the rest of the world holds its breath. These are senseless acts committed by people who represent evil in its worst form. There is no compassion and no rationalizing with them as their one goal is to cause terror and destruction.

After September 11, 2001, Americans understand what it is like to have this happen on our soil. And just as other countries prayed and watched as we suffered, we pray and watch as others suffer. There are always the positive stories...the people who make it out, the miracles, the hope that follows. But we do not forget the tragic stories, the senseless deaths, and the pain.

My heart goes out to the people in India. May you know that others are thinking of you, praying for you, and applauding your determination and strength. Terrorist acts may cause unexpected pain, but they will never kill our spirits. This is not a trait reserved for just one country, or one city. This is a human trait. With all the bombs, fire, and destruction, this spirit will never be extinguished - and we will never give into the fear. Try as they might, the terrorists will never win.

People light candles in Bhopal, India, to pay tribute to
the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks. (AP Photo)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Count Goes On

As most of the counts in the election have been long done, the one here in Minnesota between Al Franken and Norm Coleman continues. First Coleman was way ahead. Now he is only a bit ahead. I have a feeling - and hope - that Franken will come out as the victor.

I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Franken a year or so ago at a book signing. He was down to earth, personable, and very friendly. Even more importantly, he had good values and was extremely intelligent. Many forget that the once player on Saturday Night Live was also one of the main writers, has written several books, and went to Harvard.

After all the ridiculous things that happened in the election process - like people not knowing to fill in the circles and checking or putting dots in instead - the recount continues.

When I came across the article in the Twin Cities Daily Liberal about The Chateau, a high rise building near the University of Minnesota, it really made me think. The 290 residents of this
building did not get to vote - and I too wondered if Franken might have - just possibly - already been ahead if they could have. What started as Coleman being several hundred ahead has dwindled down to a couple hundred. I hope it continues to dwindle down and Franken becomes the victor.

I don't really care what kind of denial Coleman states in the allegations against him. I don't really care about the hateful, dishonest ads he produced. I live in Minnesota and have seen first hand how he has handled many situations. No one has to convince me of anything.

Out to dinner a couple of weeks ago at a popular spot in Uptown, the waitress pointed out that Franken was sitting by the window having dinner. She stated he was a regular and a nice guy. As I looked over, he graciously stood up for a photograph with a well-wisher and then sat down and had a quiet dinner with his wife. There was no pretense, no hoopla. What I saw - and remembered - remains to be true. He is a good guy who wants to work as a senator for the people and make some positive changes. I thought how Coleman probably wouldn't be seen in such a "regular" place - or if he did, it would most likely be a much more expensive restaurant on someone else's dime.

My vote is for Al, and I hope despite all the junk going on with this recount, that he comes out on top. It has been too long since Minnesota has had a politician we can be proud of.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sarah's Big Turkey

As almost everyone has seen the video at this point, I'll pass on showing it yet again. But, for Sarah Palin to hold an interview in front of turkeys having their necks broken...does this woman have an ounce of class? She seems oblivious to what is going on behind her - or does she simply just not care?

As a vegetarian, I really don't care to see animals slaughtered. On the other hand, I respect that people like what they like and should eat what they want to eat. However, holding an interview in front of turkeys being killed while you have just pardoned one doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

My question is: Are there any animals that this woman respects or likes? She clearly doesn't care about endangered species (such as polar bears) and seems to have no qualms on shooting and hunting other animals just for sport. There is clearly no love lost, and I really feel sorry for any domesticated pet who might find its way to her doorstep.

Geez, lady. Get a grip, would you? After your seven "exclusive" interviews, this one really tops it all off. Like the racist rednecks in the south who continue to fly the confederate flag- get a clue: "You Lost!" And please, move on. There are much more important things going on in the world. And the last thing any of us needs to see is a bumper sticker with your name on it for 2012. This makes me want to lose my lunch more than the whole turkey incident.

Maybe you should go back to school, learn to read some books (especially before you write that is a whole other blog!), and take some etiquette classes. Designer suits and spike heels do not make someone classy, and librarian glasses do not make someone smart. And as far as the whole redneck thing, I'm not really sure how you unlearn that one. But, really, in this video on turkeys - the only real turkey is the one conducting the interview.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Elation is Still in the Air

A mere two weeks after an historical election, people are still elated. In my lifetime I have never seen people who are so happy and full of hope. The message sent to the world is phenomenal, the message to our own country too long coming. There was one report of a college student who said "The smart guy won!" There were others who yelled and cheered, jumped up and down, and cried (I was one of them).

He won't be a perfect president, because he is a human being. He will make mistakes. He will irritate us at times, I'm sure. And we know he is walking into a huge mess that will take a great deal of time to work through. But he is a smart, educated guy that not only brings his intelligence, but is slowly building a strong, diverse team - including some strong, intelligent women. He brings bright ideas to the highest office in the United States and a hope this country has not had in a long time.

I will never forget the nervous excitement. I have never felt so proud of my fellow Americans for not only getting out there and having their voices heard, but for having the courage to elect someone who isn't the same old white guy with the same stale plans. And, finally, someone who isn't just looking out for the wealthy population.

There were many images from around the world when he won. Many tears, many yells of joy. But, this picture is my favorite. It shows the genuine joy that the moment brought. One few of us will ever forget:
Students at Howard University celebrate on hearing that
President-elect Barack Obama won the presidential election,
in Washington November 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Monday, November 10, 2008

All in the Name of Religion

Wars are started and maintained in the name of religion. Judgments run out of control, and compassion seems to be severely lacking. The latest is Proposition 8 passed in California. Isn't what is really being fought for just plain and simple love? Isn't this all about letting people live their lives?

I am a heterosexual woman. I have also been married and it didn't work out. Over half of the marriages in the United States end in divorce. Needless to say, heterosexual couples certainly don't have the institution of marriage all figured out. I was actually told by a fellow Christian once that, because I am divorced, I will always be committing adultery no matter if I marry again or not - so I may as well just live with a man since I am sinning either way. What? My fiance is a different color than I am - just a few years ago WE couldn't be together either. And the Mormons fighting against Proposition 8 - aren't you the folks who believed in multiple wives years ago? Is that Biblical too?

God makes us all a certain way and he is gracious and forgiving to all of us. As a heterosexual, I certainly don't have all the answers and I don't understand what all the fuss is about. I know many straight people and I know many gay people. I know gay couples who have stronger relationships than many of my straight friends. Why can't people show all people love and compassion - and not vote against something that doesn't affect them in the least?

One of messages in the Bible is that we are not to judge and we should treat others the way we want to be treated. It is a cruel, lonely world - if you are fortunate enough to find someone to love we should celebrate it, not condemn it. Isn't it time we stopped condemning peope in the name of religion? It isn't about religion or government - it is about people following their hearts. Do people really think they are so superior that they have all the answers? I mean, really, none of us will know what the real deal is until the day we meet our maker.

God gave us the Bible to learn from and understand history. He did not give it to us to use as a weapon. Proposition 8, once again, shows fear of the unknown and how people think they have to crusade against something that has absolutely nothing to do with them. It is time we appreciated people for their differences - whether it is their lifestyle, their religion, or anything else they do that doesn't hurt anyone else. It is time people opened their minds and let in a little light. There is so much pain in this life and clearly not enough love. Why would we want to strip anyone of the chance to enjoy a loving relationship just because we don't live our lives exactly the same way?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Same Place, New Eyes

It is always interesting when friends or family visit from a different area of the country. From day to day, you do the same routine, drive by the same places, and pass the same landmarks. But, when company comes into town, you suddenly discover things you didn't pay attention to in your own backyard. You are told of the beauty of the lakes near you, the wonder of the waterfalls, the parks and gardens, and the two very different cities right next to each other. Things you take for granted that are mere steps from your home.

It is like traveling to a new place while you are still at home. The pictures taken have a new freshness to them, the sparkle off the lake water seems to glisten more than normal, and the people seem friendlier than you ever imagined (...well, except for the drivers).

It reminds me of when I came back to Minneapolis from the east coast. I had so longed for the mountains and the ocean outside of Boston - and was not disappointed. But I ended up coming back to the Midwest. I retrieved my belongings from the storage locker, and found a new apartment - once again by the city lakes. (I often say if I can't be by the ocean, at least I can be by water.) I came back with a whole new appreciation for everything in the Twin Cities.

People visiting often apologize after you drive them around and show them the sites, as if it is an inconvenience. I always have the same attitude: It is fun, interesting, and helps you to see things in a new light. It truly gives you a new perspective for what has been right in front of you all along.

I am all for travel and have lived in many cities and traveled to many places, and plan to do much more. But often times there are things in front of you that only people from out of town can really show you. You drive right past it not seeing the true beauty or the humor - they help you to see it through their eyes and it is new to you all over again. It is like being a tourist in your own city.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Please Say It's Goodbye, Sarah!

After Obama's win last night, I have to say that McCain made a very gracious speech after his loss. It seemed like the old McCain, not the sold-out one. I noticed that Sarah Palin stood idly by, very quiet, just waving her pageant hand at the end of the speech. I'm sure she wanted to talk - there must have been one last negative word to spew - but her eyes looked rather teary, if not a bit surprised. I think this disillusioned woman really thought she was a shoe-in. As far as I'm concerned, she got way too close.

So Sarah, please go back to Alaska. And take the "First Dude" and your brood of children with you. And please give up these 2012 aspirations, as I suspect you won't be any more qualified in 2012 as you are now. Your Barbie doll look with tight skirts and spike heels, little knowledge, and arrogance like none I've seen before have sickened many women. You truly did take us back 100 years and any educated, intelligent woman just plain didn't like it or appreciate it.

We wish you well - but go back to your mooseburgers, or perhaps the allure of a television talk show, but leave the politics to women who stand for women's issues, support other women, and have an intellectual curiosity when they don't have all the answers. Your lack of these things have insulted us all. Leaving with your very low approval rating, the only thing you ever really appealed to was the men staring at your legs. This is all fine and good - and quite human - but not to run our country.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obama Wins!

I am choked up, thrilled, and excited...for the hope, for the message this sends to the world, and for a new beginning. Beyond that, I only have one word, "Yea!!"

Monday, November 3, 2008

One More Day...

There is only one more day until we can all cast our vote. The lines are long, the anxiety is high, and the debates continue between Democrats and Republicans. One has to wonder if anyone will sleep tomorrow night at all...

It is my hope that we will indeed have hope and a new president who will make some positive changes. It is my hope that things will start to change, start to mend, and start to grow. That the economy will improve, that people's lives will improve, and that the country will become one United States again.

I know I will be up very early tomorrow to stand in line. I also know there will be little sleep, if any at all, tomorrow night. We all need to cast our vote. We all need to have hope. And we all need to recapture our dreams. We have a strong leader in Barack Obama and it is my hope that his intelligence, drive, and outstanding qualities will win out.

In Memorium: Madelyn Dunham

Just one day before the election, Madelyn Dunham, Barack Obama's grandmother, died after an arduous fight with cancer. I thought of her sacrifices and support of her grandson - how she made his life stable and helped him to blossom. Most importantly, how she always believed in him. To quote author George Eliot: "What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?"

My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

This photo shows Obama in 1979 during his high school graduation in Hawaii with his grandmother Madelyn Lee Payne Dunham.

Obama and his grandmother in 1979 (Photo: AP Photo/Obama Presidential Camp)