Tuesday, August 18, 2020

15 Questions to Help You Decide Pros and Cons


I just watched the first of four nights broadcast (CNN) of the Democratic National Convention (virtual).  Perhaps some of you did as well. Most of the speakers were well scripted and presented the liberal position adequately. Each has a specific role to play and sound bites to deliver. I especially liked Michelle Obama, who is a really good orator and comes across as genuine and believable.  Don’t know if I can listen to three more nights of this, but will certainly tune in for Kamala Harris's and Joe Biden’s speeches.  Then it will be off to the RNC version of pandemic political punditry. 

It has occurred to me that if you sort through all the political horse-pucky, there is still just one thing you have to decide for yourself.  That is, who are you going to vote for?  I have come up with a list of 15 Questions to ask yourself that might (or should) help in that decision.  First, about them about Donald Trump:

1.)  Do you consider him a “man of faith”? (believes in a higher power and trusts that power to guide his decision-making)

2.  2.)   Do you think he is an intelligent man? (110 IQ or higher – I know this is subjective but use vocabulary, speaking ability, decision-making as guides)

3.  3.) Do you think he is mentally stable? (no signs of dementia, Alzheimer’s, mental deficiency or memory loss which could prove detrimental to the US)

4.  4.) Do you think he is in relatively good health? (likely to be able to serve four years as President of the United States)

5.  5.)  Do you think he is a man of sound principles? (not a racist, misogynist, pedophile, bigot, or prone to marital infidelity)

6.  6.)  Do you think he is a man of sound judgment? (makes decisions which benefit the people of the United States)

7.  7.)  Do you think he is appropriately empathetic?

8.  8.) Do you approve of everything he has done in his political career?

9.  9.) Do you think he has accomplished everything he promised to do during his political career?

10  10.)  Do you think he has accomplished everything he has attempted to do while in office?

11  11.) Do you think he is leading the country in the right direction?

12  12.)   Do you think he has never broken the law? (just not been caught or convicted doesn't count)

13  13.)   Do you think he makes decisions without regard to how they affect him, his financial status or his political future and only benefits the American people?

14  14.)    Do you think he speaks the truth?  Always?  Sometimes?  Never?

15  15.)    Do you think he is adept at handling crises?

Now, ask those same 15 Questions about Joe Biden.

How did that come out for you?  It doesn’t matter if Trump tweets instead of sleeps.  It doesn’t matter if Biden got his son a cushy job from some dealings with the Ukrainians or not. Notice there were no questions relating to fact-checking. What matters is the more “Yes” answers for each of these candidates, the better, and it might lead you down the right path at the voting booth (or mail-in ballot box). 

Both sides claim that this election is the most critical in modern times and will determine the future of our nation for decades to come.  The fact is every party has said that in every election for as long as I can remember, using words like “critical”, “pivotal”, “life changing” and predicting "the end of our democracy/society/the republic/capitalism" as we know it or just plain “doom” should their candidate not win. More political horse-pucky. One thing is true, the future of our nation hangs in the balance, but that is always the case; always has been, always will be, whether you are talking about tomorrow or eight years from now.

Number of “Yes” answers versus the number of “No” answers. To be or not to be, that is the question.  Whither tis nobler in the minds of me to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune….wait, where have I heard that before?

A final question:  Are these two men the brightest and best our nation has to offer for the most important political position we have?  If your answer is "No", don't you think we need more help than either of them can provide?  I do.


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Pancakes Were My Favorite

When I was five years old, my mom had to check into a hospital for nearly a month of treatment.  My sister, who was six at the time, and I couldn't stay home alone so my father hired a woman to come take care of us while he was at work.  Her name was Olney and she came at six o'clock each morning during the week and didn't leave until my father came home at around seven at night.  

Olney was a wonderful person.  She was probably in her late forties or mid-fifties, but when you are five, accurately assessing old people's age is problematic, so I am not sure.  She was energetic, caring, loving and funny.  Her laugh was infectious. She made us laugh with her jokes and silly phrases. Sis and I loved teasing her until she chased us around the house with a broom, finally collapsing in a heap on the floor with sis and I all over her, laughing until our sides hurt.  She made us hearty breakfasts, tasty lunches and sumptuous dinners.  Dad and I particularly loved her southern fried chicken and cooked carrots.  But my favorite was breakfast because Olney made the thickest, fluffiest pancakes I had ever tasted, with thick real maple syrup and ground pork sausages.

Olney loved us.  She would hug us when she came in every morning and when she left every night.  This was not so easy for me, not only because I was small but because Olney was a huge woman, wider than she was tall.  During the day she would read to us, play games with us, go for walks around the neighborhood with us and, every once in a while, say, "Come here and give me some sugar."  By that she meant she wanted us to give her a kiss on the cheek and a big hug, which we gladly did.

One day I asked her why she looked like the woman on the box of pancake mix, as if I thought they might be related.  "Oh, that's Aunt Jemina".  She told us she was just a spokesperson for the pancake mix and didn't really exist.  She was wrong, of course.  A woman named Nancy Green was the early face of Aunt Jemima for the pancake mix company, Davis Milling Company from St. Joseph, Missouri.  Ms. Green was born into an enslaved existence in 1834 but was later, in her late teens or early twenties granted her freedom.  It was her pancake recipe that Davis Milling used to formulate their ready-mix. She was a symbol of quality and goodness that lasted for 130 years. 

Ms. Green was what they referred to at the time as a "mammy".  She was a women who took care of a white family's children and even grandchildren. She was kind of a combination teacher, nurse, caregiver, playmate, disciplinarian and personal attendant, like our dear Olney.  My dad called Olney our "nanny", not mammy.  Since my mom's name was Anne, I always thought that "nanny" was kind of a substitute name for my mom.  My dad always treated Olney with the utmost respect and expected sis and I to do the same. We wouldn't have dared to do otherwise and didn't want to.

I was happy my mom was coming home, but I cried when dad told us it was going to be Olney's last day.  Olney hugged me to her bosom and told me she loved me.  I told her I loved her too and would miss her pancakes.

For the rest of my life I thought of this loving black woman as a shining beacon of everything that was good about a caregiver and a friend.  I judged all future "babysitters" we had by Olney.  Few, if any, measured up.  So, as I grew up, every time I made pancakes or saw a box of Aunt Jemima mix on the grocery shelf, it brought back fond memories of the wonderful, loving woman of my youth.

So, I have to say, that I am saddened and a bit angry that so many people, well intentioned as they may think they are, calling for the image of Aunt Jemima to be stricken from pancake boxes and our memories.  Olney was not a slave, she was not an indentured servant, and neither was Nancy Green for most of her life. I will never forget the most amazing black woman who loved me as I loved her. I will never forget Olney.....my personal Aunt Jemima.