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Over the summer of 2010 I began to ask myself, "what do you do if two of our Rights, as citizens of these United States, are diametrically opposed?" I came to the only viable conclusion: you compromise. Our great Nation works when there is compromise.

Right now most of you will agree with me that our political system is broken. What we currently have is: the politics of destruction; special interest groups who have the power and money to dictate policy; politicians who must spend their time raising money for the next election instead of doing the People's business; and, there are those who are so concerned about getting re-elected they cede their responsibilities to the citizenry to those groups making the loudest noises and the greatest threats.

The attacks that we were inundated with during the this election cycle belittled the democratic process. Shame on everyone involved. And, shame on the political obstructionists who are more interested in gaining and maintaining power than doing the people’s business. During these very difficult times all of us should be supporting our President. The challenge for all of us is, how do we improve upon this imperfect union that we call the United States of America? One thing I know for is not by dividing us.

I can remember when I was sixteen years old there was a day when my father called out to me, "Jackie, come quickly. You have to hear this. It's Winston Churchill. Come listen." I raced to the radio and for the first time heard a recording of Churchill's speech to a Nation standing alone against the greatest evil the world has ever known: "...we shall defend our island no matter what the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; and we shall not surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until in God's good time, the New World, with all it's power and might, steps forth to the rescue and liberation of The Old."

That day my hero was born. Where are our heroes today? jkt

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Defining Moments

I think we all have defining moments in our lives that send us traveling along a different path. As I have grown older, I have become more circumspect and lately I find myself doing a lot of thinking about the life I have lived.

You'll often hear me talk about my sixteenth year and other defining moments from my past.  First, that was the year my hero was born, the year when I first heard the words of Winston Churchill. That speech that day not only inspired me, but was the beginning of my life-long passion for the written and spoken word.

Many years later, after the Oklahoma bombing, I wrote:

"When I was sixteen, I read a book about the uprising of Polish Jews who were being systematically slaughtered by the Nazis during World War II. When I had finished the book, I remember saying to myself, "No one told me." Among my parents, teachers - all of the adults I relied upon for information - no one told me of the near extinction of an entire race. From that day forward, my life was changed, for at 16, I learned of the evil inherent in man.

I have since become a student of that war. It was of global proportions and what I believe to have been the ultimate battle on earth between good and evil. Never before or since in the history of man were so many people prepared to step forward in our darkest hour to drive the devil back into the burning pit whence he came.

We won the war, but the battles against evil rage on. One need look no farther than to these United States, which are threatened from within. Look to Oklahoma City and weep for our nation. To those people who accuse our government officials of being jackbooted Nazis, I say, "you don't know what you are talking about." Adolf Hitler and his followers were nothing but a bunch of thugs who had the capability to arm themselves and then proceeded to terrorize a nation into submission. Hitler gained power by sowing the seed of fear, promoting intolerance and making false promises. He spewed forth his hatred to cast its pall over an entire continent.

I see no difference between Hitler and these fanatic groups that have sprung up around the country. They're armed and dangerous. They cloak themselves in secrecy and rant and rave about their constitutional rights, while plotting the overthrow of our elected government.

Let us remember how precious are the freedoms that we enjoy."

Boy, how things have changed. After the election cycle that we have just endured and with the rise of the demagogue, Donald Trump, we all must remain vigilant.

The Great Recession

I predicted the financial collapse long before it happened. All of the indicators were there: deregulation of the banks, leading to mergers that created financial monsters "too big to allow to fail". Did we learn nothing from the Great Depression and the Recession of 1980?; The Federal Reserve manipulating interest rates to give a false sense of security, while abetting mindless spending; our elected officials raiding the Treasury, while all the while cutting taxes; people paying a million dollars for tract houses in California; Government borrowing from foreign countries to pay for two wars, instead of raising taxes as we had in the past; a Vice President scornfully saying deficits don't matter.

For What We Have Been Given

Several years ago, I watched on the news the crazed shoppers in the stores on Thanksgiving Day. It just goes to show how fractured the American family has become. Millions of people have so little connection to each other, they have nothing better to do than go shopping on a day meant for the gathering of friends and family to give thanks for all that we have been given. And, it is just another reminder of the greed of Corporate America, that they would force their workers away from their families on Thanksgiving Day. We have fallen hook, line and sinker for the advertisements and the propaganda that bombards us, ad nauseum, offering snake-oil elixirs that fuel our insatiable craving to buy their products. The attachment to materialistic values and possessions has been embraced by too many in our country. It puts our wants and needs above all else. Here we are faced with cuts to food stamps; the drive is on to cut welfare and medicaid benefits; in fact, all the social safety nets we have in place to protect the weakest among us are at risk, so that we can go shopping and buy more and more stuff. To top it off, we force the lowest-paid and most vulnerable workers to leave their families on Thanksgiving Day to satisfy our insatiable need to go shopping.

Into the Belly of the Beast

I was on City Council when a man shot and killed his wife and children just six blocks from my home. I reached out to some of the organizations that are aiding women who are abused. I attended a 3-day conference on family violence. There were experts there from all over the country discussing the causes, effect and solutions to violence against women. On the last day, some of us were bused to an intake facility where victims are taken. I saw the room where the women are given a physical exam and photos are taken of their bruised and broken bodies. Security is tight, because abusers often return until they have their kill. They are like rabid dogs. I left there and returned home, sickened by what I had been exposed to. I had taken a journey into the belly of the Beast and had come out the other side more determined than ever to advocate for the helpless and the abused. And, do not exclude certain women because of borders. There are no borders when it comes to violence against women. One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Access to firearms increases the risk of intimate partner homicide more than five times more than in instances where there are no weapons. In addition, abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners.