Toasting My Son and His Bride

17 03 2017

Some thoughts on this coming weekend – celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day and the wedding of my son…

As the Father of the Groom, I am obviously excited to be part of this wonderful celebration. But I have stayed in the background through most of this process. There have been reception decisions, food tastings, dress fittings, showers, etc. I have endeavored NOT to be Father of the Groom-ZILLA! And I think I’ve succeeded.

This weekend is for Anya and John. Tomorrow is their day, and I will be smiling from ear to ear the entire time… reveling in the many beautiful moments. But as I have explained to Anya and John – well, mostly Anya – the rehearsal dinner was my night.

It’s not their night, it’s mine. So I told everyone last night to fasten their seat belts… I had some shit to say!

Some of my thoughts…

The Groomsmen – Only one thing to say about this group… there has never been a more unsavory collection of characters roaming this earth.

Over the past ten years or so, I have seen and heard some crazy stuff coming from my basement… and I know these guys have been responsible. Myself, my wife and Colin will be sad when Johnny is no longer in our home. But some people will be very happy… the guys who pick up our recycling every week! There will be a substantial weight drop in beer bottles alone.

These are all good men and great friends to my son, and I am very thankful for that. I am sure they clean up nice and will be resplendent on Saturday, as they support their friend on his special day.

But no one will be looking at you guys much. Not at all, really…

The Bridesmaids – The eyes of the wedding attendees will all be looking left at the most beautiful bridesmaids ever assembled. A wedding is a special day, full of so much fun for the bride and her bridesmaids – hair, make-up, maybe a little champagne. It will be an awesome day.

And Anya chose all of these women because “she can’t say ‘I do’ without you”.

And from what I’ve heard about bridesmaid duties, they all have a very important job on Saturday: holding Anya’s dress up when she has to pee. Is that true? I think I read that in a magazine or something…

I am grateful for all they have done for Anya, and for their presence and support for the both the bride and groom.

New Family – Last night, I officially welcomed the Cervinos into my family.

Colin, John and I have been lucky to have one wonderful woman in our life, now we have five more! So to Candy, Martina, Candace and Aleena, welcome! Anya too, of course. But I will talk about her later.

We are looking forward to many good times and traditions in the coming years.

Mother And Son – One of the best moments in a person’s life is the realization that their parents are proud of them. To this day, when something positive happens in my life, I think about calling my Mom and Dad

My Mother was very proud when I chose Robin to marry me. Or really, when she finally broke down and agreed. Some say I tricked her, but that’s a story for another day.

Johnny’s Mother is very proud of his choice as well.

All About Anya – In December of 2007, my son went on a high school retreat weekend called Kairos.
The weekend ended with a closing ceremony in the school chapel with the parents sitting in the back. I remember very vividly, sitting there thinking, “Who’s the little redhead sitting with my son? Never saw her hanging around before…”

That was our first glimpse of Anya and the beginning of a journey that shifts into high gear tomorrow.

In the scheme of things, Anya was just a kid when we saw her that night. And we have watched her grow to be an exceptional, young woman. She is beautiful, smart and funny, and has always been very respectful to our family. Now I’m wondering how John landed her… did you use the same trick I did to get your Mom?

Over the years I’ve learned a few things about Anya. For example: don’t say “God Bless You” until at least the third sneeze. And some people don’t know this, but she starts to make her bed before she gets out of it. That’s talent!

Anya is the perfect match for Johnny, and I know she will continue to support and challenge him. They are a good team. A great team. Johnny, like his Dad, has made a fine choice.

As a Father of two boys, I’ve been asked how I feel about having a girl in the family. Anya officially becomes my daughter tomorrow, but I’ve considered her just that for many years. And I love her as my own.

My Son – He’s my offspring, my namesake, and one of the heirs to my throne and vast fortune.

He wishes…

I’m not going to waste words describing John. Everyone knows him… how can you not? He’s one of the biggest personalities in any room he enters. WHERE DOES HE GET THAT?

That’s exactly what I meant when I said that Anya will continue to challenge Johnny.

“John, settle down.” “John, keep quiet.” “John, shut the F%&# up!” Lots of luck to Anya!

And as I am thinking about my son and his future, I think about my past. If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that your priorities, views, and beliefs change over time. Mine certainly have… from the time I was getting married at 27 years old to now – when I’m 57 years old getting ready for my son’s wedding. Colin and John are my inspiration. They have both been my barometer in this ever changing world. For that and many other things, I am forever indebted.

Back to the Kairos weekend where John and Anya met… we were asked to write a brief letter describing John for that weekend, and this is what I wrote.

It is a bit unfair.  Ask me to write something about my son, and then be brief?  I could fill many pages listing the positive qualities you possess.

I admire so many things about you.  The most important thing is that you are good person.  You care about your family, even when you fight with your brother and give your Mom and me a hard time.  You are a “fierce friend”.  You very loyal and honest, most of the time.  You are respectful, about as frequently as I can expect from a 17 year old.  You are artistic and talented, and sometimes inspired.  And I am convinced that you are so smart, and haven’t come close to realizing your potential. 

But you will never, ever beat me in Jeopardy!

I do a lot of preaching to you.  I know that you sometimes think I am a pain.  You hear these words from me a lot – choices, focus, commitment, priorities, maturity, etc.  I may be a pain, but I am really just a father who wants his son’s life to be better than his.  I don’t want you to make the mistakes that I have made.  Part of my job is setting the bar high, and then helping you reach up.

I remember when you were born.  I was standing outside the nursery with Uncle Mark looking at you, wondering and worrying what kind of Dad I was going to be.  Seventeen years later, I still don’t know that answer.  I only know that Mom and I do the best we can.  When you leave our home, I hope you are prepared to meet the challenges of life.  We will be there for help and advice, if you want it.

You are great.

Love you pal, Dad

PS… What are we?

When Johnny was a little boy, I would ask that “PS” question every day. His response has always been, “Best friends in the great whole wide world.”

Right back atcha, buddy. For the rest of our lives.

The Beautiful Game – One of the things John and I have together is soccer. In fact, he is responsible for my love of the game because he played as a kid and I was his coach. We are Philadelphia Union supporters, we are Sons of Ben. He also supports Arsenal, but I can always look back at this photo on the right for hope.

But this weekend, despite a full slate of Premier League matches, we are all supporting one team… Anya and Johnny!!

Some Irish and a Toast – Today is Saint Patrick’s Day, and I would be remiss if I didn’t honor my heritage. It is not a coincidence that Anya and Johnny picked this weekend for their wedding.

May the lilt of Irish laughter lighten every load.
May the mist of Irish magic shorten every road.
And may all your friends remember all the favors you are owed!

Everyone celebrating this weekend will be joining in many toasts. Last night, mine was simple:

To friends old and new, to family old and new, to love… and best wishes to the bride and groom.

To Anya and John! Slainte!





B-Musings – Get Up, Stand Up Edition

12 01 2017

“B-Musings”… sharing random blurbiage and ping-pong balls rattling around my dome.  

The Purge – Every year, I make a conscious effort to trim down my Facebook Friends List. Not to be mean-spirited or anything like that… it just a process of cleaning up my timeline. It’s kind of a “new year” thang.

unfriendI tend to “friend” people haphazardly. If you reach out to me, and we have a few friends in common, I’ll usually make the connection. I’m always eager to expand my network. But once a year – usually in January – I trim down the list.

If I haven’t had any meaningful dialogue with someone in the past year, he/she gets whacked. That is my only requirement, except for people in my list who have passed on. If you die, we are friends forever. Weird, I know…

But this year I was forced to add some new criteria, mostly because of the heightened political atmosphere. Tough decisions were made, deleting some long time connections.‪ But at the end of the day, social media is supposed to be fun. Right?

So if we are no longer connected, some of the reasons are below:

  • Our morality differed… for example, I don’t make jokes about gun violence.
  • You bullied my other friends.
  • You repeatedly shared fake news or websites to further some agenda (whether I agree with that agenda or not).
  • You were a dick.

Doesn’t seem like much, but it added up to 159 people. Sorry… do better. Be nicer. Don’t be a dick.

Social media was invented to be fun. (Well… Facebook was actually invented so Zuckerberg could get laid. But that’s fun, right?)

We may not always see eye-to-eye, and if we disagree I always appreciate a good, respectful argument. So, I’m glad we are still friends… for now!

Feral MerylMy mail carrier is terrific. She is consistently on time, and knocks the door when delivering a package. She is always smiling and happy. But while she is very good at her job, her political views are not important to me.

nixonelvisI’m not a fan of celebrity. I respect and appreciate the talents of actors, musicians or sports figures, and anyone who excels in their chosen fields. Are you an expert on politics because you’ve won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy or a Super Bowl? Um… no. I don’t tune in to a movie or sporting event to hear the news or political opinions. I’m escaping from that stuff.

Sports figures, especially coaches, hate when they are questioned about tactics or strategy. The general public knows nothing about the intricacies of their sport. So why should we care about your political views, Charles Barkley?

Meryl Streep is the best actress in history. Challenge that statement, I dare ya. So when she took the stage this week to accept a lifetime achievement award, I expected her usual funny and humble acceptance. And when she launched into her political speech I started to cringe.

Don’t get me wrong… I agree with every syllable of her speech. It was delivered beautifully, and it clearly resonated with the audience in the theater and around the world. Of course it did… she is the best actress on the planet reading from a very professionally written script. But I turned the TV on that night for entertainment, not a political speech.

I love you, Meryl. I agree with your statement. You deserve every acting award in the world, and I will continue to watch your movies. Now sit down and shut the fuck up.

You too, Scott Baio and Ted Nugent! (Trying to be fair…)

An Appreciation – I wrote these words last April: “At the end of the day, I want my President to represent our country positively and professionally, and be committed to keeping my family safe.”

fullsizerender-19For the past eight years, I’ve had that with Barack Obama.

I didn’t always agree with his policies. In fact, I sometimes disagreed strongly. But that is to be expected with the complexity of issues faced by a President.

But in January of 2009, he entered the office with so much raw energy, optimism and hope. He still has all of that, and a few more gray hairs. We pretty much knew he was a good man, and he proved it to us. Every day, he worked tirelessly for his country while facing unprecedented opposition and unfathomable hatred.

And for every minute of those eight years, President Obama and his family have represented our country with dignity and grace. History will determine if he was a good President – I think it will show him to be a great one.

Like many people, I’m scared for my country. But I won’t dwell on that.

Today, I’ll just thank the President of the United States for a job well done.

As with anything I write, I welcome your comments and spirited, respectful debate. 





I Used To Be Amused, Now I’m Just Disgusted

12 12 2016

campaign-finance-reform-corrupts-banner

“But if you don’t want your tax dollars to help the poor, then stop saying you want a country based on Christian values. Because you don’t.” ~ Comedian John Fugelsang

A short post today, because this feeble-minded writer needs some help. I’m hoping someone out there on the World Wide Webs can explain this.

I’ve been doing some quick research into presidential campaign spending. I’m not a numbers guy, so don’t look here for exhaustive data and structure.

According to information culled from sources like the Federal Election Commission and Bloomberg.com, the Trump and Clinton campaigns combined raised a total of $1.84 billion to support their candidates run for President.

Currently – after expenses – they have about $39 million left. So I have to ask some questions:

campaign

Click To Enlarge

Why are both campaigns still actively seeking donations? (The photos on the right are screen shots from the home page of each candidate’s campaign website.)

And…

Why would anyone contribute?

And…

Do these numbers make anyone want to vomit? I do.

I have no answers, just questions. Sorry…

I’m not singling out specific people, parties or organizations. And I thought of expanding this post to a full diatribe about wasteful spending – inauguration parties, televangelists private jets and mansions, tax exemptions for corporations and churches, etc. But I exist in the blog world, without space for information probably the size a bible. Ironically…

For today, I’ll keep it simple and ask no more questions. There is way to much blame to go around for allowing this ridiculous balance of wants versus needs, and or greed versus good.

We can’t drain the swamp and risk flooding the rest of the country.





Supporting President Trump

14 11 2016

“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans.” ~ President-Elect Donald Trump, November 9, 2016

I will start by stating something that I feel very strongly about… Donald J. Trump is the President-Elect of the United States of America. And I respect that.

Anyone close to me – or anyone who has read my blog posts – surely knows how difficult it was for me to type that last sentence. Truthfully, it was equally difficult not to place quotation marks around the word United.

trumpwh03Many years ago I was sitting in pizza place with some friends, in a loud conversation ripping into then-President Ronald Reagan. A man sitting next to us interjected, “Gentlemen, I understand your points about these issues. You have every right to disagree, but do it respectfully. I’m a former Marine, and I will always respect my Commander-In-Chief. I will always respect the office of the President of the United States.”

One of the things that has bothered me in the past eight years has been the complete lack of respect for that office. Many of the attacks on Barack Obama were vicious, degrading, and had nothing to do with policies or issues. And some were offered by former and current members of the armed forces, which certainly struck a chord with me because of the previous story. I railed publicly against this behavior, and it would be hypocritical of me to behave in the same manner. So I will not. The name of our country describes our states – random sections of land – being “united”. But our people should be united, so I hope our new President does what is needed to make that happen. I want that more than anything, so I will give him that clean slate going forward.

That said… a couple of things I must note.

I’ve recovered from the disappointment of this election… mostly! I take some solace that I wasn’t the only one surprised… people more qualified than I are in complete shock. And that is a huge group!

I didn’t sleep much on election night. I was in Boston for a marketing conference, so I channeled some disappointment and a decent amount of anger into more positive efforts. On Wednesday night I was walking to my hotel after dinner, when I turned the corner and saw hundreds of people on the street. They were dispersing after a peaceful protest on Boston Commons. I immediately felt better that I wasn’t alone in my disappointment, but I felt discouraged later when I saw on the news that protesters in other cities were not so peaceful.

Protesting is fine, and I respect that. I don’t respect the violence that happened and those people need to be dealt with under the law. And I find it humorous that so many Trump supporters have spoken out against the protesters, as I’m sure some of them would have been on the streets if their candidate had won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College. But everything will calm down soon… if this election has taught us anything, the American people have a short attention span.

hoperopeI accused Donald Trump of a few not-so-great things in this election, and I still disagree with most of his positions. He successfully targeted a portion of the electorate that had lost faith in their government, and I certainly respect that. But his campaign and presentation over the past fifteen months revealed dark things about some of our people, and beliefs that I thought were less prevalent or refused to acknowledge. There is a small, but significant population of our country – some in public, some hiding – that embrace hate. It fuels and guides them. And I’m sad to say that some are people I know.

Their decision processes were very simple: Vote against the candidate who supports the LGBTQ community. Vote against the party that has the nerve to give us a President who isn’t white, and doesn’t have a Christian sounding name. And vote against the female candidate because of that one adjective, nothing else.

Donald Trump spoke to them and they stirred. Hillary Clinton called them a name, and it galvanized them. And it cost her the election.

Sure, there are many ways to analyze why this election was won or lost… many other things possibly determined the outcome. But ignoring this aspect is unforgivable, because the “positive” results have already emboldened these hateful people and groups. Discouraging their racism and bigotry should be our new President’s highest priority.

And while we are at it, let’s get rid of the two party system… and call out the media for their bias, ratings-based reporting… and stop the viciousness and hatred on social media… and severely limit the disgusting amount of money spent on electing a President! (Calm down, John… you are writing a blog post, not a novel.)

sealOver the past year I have spoken out against Donald Trump for his erratic behavior and divisive words. I do hope that I was as wrong about him as I was wrong about the election. I joked last week that I personally don’t have to worry too much. I’m solid middle class, and my wife works in healthcare so our insurance is not bad. I’m white, and though I am not religious I was raised in a Christian family. I also joked that President-elect Trump seems to be already softening his stance on some of the hot button issues, so maybe I should have voted for him!

Those jokes will only be funny if Donald Trump keeps our country, and my family, safe. I hope he disavows his most disgusting rhetoric, surrounds himself with good people, and works for solutions.

I will respect, as always, the office of President of the United States. But I will be watching President Donald Trump’s every move, and if necessary I will fight the fight.





Ten Fingerprints On My Imagination

31 10 2016
elvisme

EC, and some bald guy…

I’m always eager to offer opinions on my likes or dislikes in any conversation about music. If you are familiar with me at all, you know that I willing and ready to offer opinions on everything!

My range of musical preferences is wide. I’m a rock guy, especially the 80’s… but I like a lot of different genres from classical to some jazz to oldies to… whatever! But I do draw the line at country music… ugh.

But if asked about my favorite artist, the sun rises and sets on Elvis Costello.

I first heard his music in 1979 when my friend’s sister played the “This Year’s Model” cassette in her car, and I’ve been hooked ever since. No artist speaks to me with a clearer voice. I’ve purchased every record, and have searched and downloaded dozens of rare and live performances over the years. I have seen him live about thirty times, and met him in person at a book signing last year. THAT was a great night…

I love his music and songs, but not every one of them. I don’t think it possible to like everything someone produces over such a long career. I always say that while Elvis has taken his fans on a very varied musical journey for close to forty years, he’s really not concerned much whether we are enjoying the ride. But without exception, every record has some gem that keeps me coming back.

nashville

October 17, 2016 – Nashville

Elvis has been on my mind more than usual. I was on a business trip to Nashville recently, and was surprised to find out he was playing at the Ryman Auditorium that very night. All other planned activities ceased, and I was witness to a fabulous night of music. Completely unexpected, completely enjoyable.

Inspired by that night – and just for fun – I thought I would list my Top Ten Elvis Costello songs. I’ve attempted a similar list on this blog, so I will state the same caveat: The criteria is completely subjective. This is MY list. I’d love to hear your comments, and I hope you like my choices. If you don’t, go make your own… So there!

A quick message to fellow EC fanatics… I’m sure you will have additions and subtractions, and hopefully an appreciation of the difficulty producing a top ten list from the roughly one thousand songs that I have on my iPod.

My Top Ten Elvis Costello Songs (So Far):

10. Mystery Dance from My Aim Is True – I’ve attended several shows where this was the opening song. It starts with drums in concert, and guitar on the record. Would any other artist write and perform a song about sexual inexperience with such raw, frenetic energy

9. She from Notting Hill Soundtrack – Yeah, it not written by Elvis so quit yer bitchin’! Costello sometimes tries to round out his sharp edges by slowing things down and speaking with a softer tone. He doesn’t succeed very often, but he does with this beautiful love song. Strong lyrics that he makes his own, sung with so much heart.

8. Man Out Of Time from Imperial Bedroom – I remember Rolling Stone called this record a “masterpiece”. And at that point of his career it was exactly that, but just a small peek into how he would expand his musical reach. This is the best song of the fantastic bunch.

7. Shot With His Own Gun from Trust – In 1980 I traveled to Toronto for the New Wave Festival “Heatwave”. After a long day of great music, I got my first ever live glimpse of Elvis Costello and the Attractions. I’ll never forget the lone spot on Steve Nieve, then the second light on Elvis, and his announcement “Good evening, we are the Clash.” (who had cancelled the week before). After that, the opening bars of this song… I was hooked.

heatwave

6. Deep Dark Truthful Mirror from Spike – This song is when I figured out that Elvis Costello was more than a singer-songwriter… he was a poet. “One day you’re going to have to face a deep dark truthful mirror. And it’s going to tell you things that I still love you too much to say.” I’m not sure how I missed it for so long… I think the awareness may have coincided with maturity. But that realization of caused me to go back and rediscover so much of the lyrical magic of his catalog.

5. Brilliant Mistake from King Of America – It could be argued that this record was Elvis’ second masterpiece… a great of example of his eagerness to change, to try new things with new musicians. This song always reminded me of his road traveled, and all of us. Beautiful music, heartfelt singing, and pure poetry.

4. Big Tears from This Year’s Model (Bonus), Taking Liberties – I loved this song immediately. The production and mix was so clean, separating the drums and guitar. I loved it even more when I heard that Mick Jones from the Clash played lead guitar. I would have loved to have heard those conversations…

3. I Stand Accused from Get Happy!!Get Happy!! was Elvis’ fourth album in his first three years and contained twenty high energy pop classics… TWENTY!! This became my favorite Costello record, and that ranking still remains. The story goes that the recording sessions were madcap, alcohol-fueled affairs, and this song clearly captures that raw energy and unabashed fun.

2. How To Be Dumb from Mighty Like A Rose – Supposedly this song is Costello’s final response to the very unflattering book written by Attraction’s bass player Bruce Thomas. Have you ever walked away from an argument thinking you could have done better.. should have accused him of “masquerading as a pale powdered genius”! Elvis was early typecast as the angry, young man… to me, this was only the only song where he deserved that description. Is there such a thing as hateful genius?

1. Peace, Love and Understanding (What’s So Funny’Bout) from Armed Forces – So many reasons why this epic song lands at the top of my list. Yes, it’s a cover of a brilliant lyric by Nick Lowe, but Elvis Costello and the Attractions made it their own and set the stage for their tenure as one of the best touring band in the business. The song is a timeless message of optimism that still works today. The casual fan knows that Elvis closes almost every show with this gem, and I’m sure he wants to leave us with that optimism.

PLU is not just my favorite Elvis Costello song, but my favorite song by any artist. I play it a couple of times a week, especially when I need a little pick-me-up. At a show I raise my arms and jump out of my seat when the opening notes begin, and I dance, sing and pump my fists. Then, toward the end, I get sad because I know it’s the last song of the night. And I’ve shed a tear or two, for the realization that I don’t know when I will get to experience an Elvis show again.

I had the same feeling recently in Nashville, but as always that optimism returned quickly. I hope to spend another night with the King very soon.

>> Check out another one of my Top Ten Lists 





Because Of Him, I’m With Her

22 10 2016

“What I’m saying is I’ll tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, okay?” ~ Donald Trump’s response to a question at the third Presidential debate about accepting the election results.

Yep… that one put me over the edge.

Donald Trump believes that the only way he will be defeated in this election is that it will be rigged by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Add that idiocy to hundreds of his other idiocies, and I can only have one response:

Because of him, I’m with her.

Anyone who speaks with me, reads my blog posts, or follows me on social media knows how I feel about the 2016 Presidential election. My decision about who I was NOT going to vote for had been made over a year ago.

donald-trumpI first came out against Donald Trump’s candidacy in a November 2015 blog post – Trump America.  In that post I touched on a few key issues – his lack of discernible platform, his racism, his misogyny. You know… the hits! I also compared his early campaign to the rise of the Nazi Party in 1930’s. I’m somewhat proud of that post, because that association has been repeated by many others over the campaign.

Trump has spent the last eleven months proving I was correct. But I’m no soothsayer. No one could have predicted how low Trump would go… that pit seems to be bottomless.

By April of this year, I was absolutely done. So I wrote another anti-Trump post – Never Trump – My Reasons – outlining specifically why his mere presence in American politics is an embarrassment for our country. At the time I was speaking out to encourage my fellow Pennsylvanians, but my long goal was to deny him the Republican nomination. So it has been a severe blow to my ego that we are still having this conversation!

You can look at my detailed thoughts in the blog posts, but I summarized it all in these two paragraphs from the April post:

At the end of the day, I want my President to represent our country positively and professionally, and be committed to keeping my family safe. That is why a President Trump scares me to death. That is why I insist, “Never Trump.”

He may be rich, successful and a fantastic real estate entrepreneur, but Donald Trump is not qualified to be President of the United States. His attitudes and core beliefs will consistently make enemies around the world, and the indifference or loss of our allies. His hatred and policies will bring war to our country, and to our shores. And they will be fought by our children and grandchildren.

So because of him, I’m with her.

hillary_i_guess_bumper_sticker_10_pkBut its not as simple as that, is it? Yes, Hillary Clinton was going to get my vote on November 8th because I couldn’t invite even the slimmest chance of a Trump victory.

But I made a commitment not to support a candidate until after the debates were over. I wanted the process to run its course, but mostly I wanted to understand the issues to make an informed decision.

I defy anyone to find an example of a candidate who has been more investigated, scrutinized and vetted than Hillary Clinton. Has she made some questionable decisions in over thirty years of public life? Yes, we all have… including every politician who speaks out against her. Have those decisions endangered the safety of Americans? Despite what Trump and the Republicans say about Benghazi and classified emails… No.

The Republicans continue to accuse Clinton, but after multiple investigations and congressional hearings costing millions of taxpayer dollars – no charges have been brought. Clearly there is a conspiracy to protect the Democratic candidate!

redblueBut Trump and the rest of the GOP state that they want to uphold and defend the constitution. Ted Cruz ran his campaign “rising up to reclaim our country, to defend liberty and to restore the Constitution.” All Republicans (and Democrats, honestly) had nothing but praise for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, considered a constitutional scholar of unrivaled skill. And although it is not written specifically in our Constitution, our justice system is built around the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”. Unless you are Hillary Clinton.

I don’t agree with every Clinton position. But if you are thoughtful and really look into the specifics, no candidate is backed on all issues. I do agree with Hillary Clinton on the things that are important to me: climate change, gun control, human rights and gender equality, the economy, and finding peaceful foreign policy solutions.

I also concur with President Obama’s statement that “there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.” That is true, and not just in comparison to the Republican nominee.

So for these reasons, I’m with her.

I was a Republican for the last twenty-five years. As I grew older I became more concerned with the world around me, and a lot of the credit for that vision goes to my children. At the same time I became less conservative and, honestly, less religious. My switch to the Democratic Party coincided with Trump’s candidacy, but it had been in the works for several years. No politician or party has all the answers, and the whole system is becoming more ridiculous every day. So my decision process follows the path I’d like to set… paths that lead to solutions of peace, love and understanding.

Republicans cannot, or refuse to see that direction.

Trump and a lot of his followers are kings of the smear tactic. Their message is forged with lies told to garner support for their agenda. Now the rest of the party is jumping ship, but to me that is far too late. If a rube like myself saw his true lunacy, why didn’t the rest of you?

So my plan leading up to Election Day? I’m going to print out a copy of the ballot for my district, then circle all of the candidates who at any point supported Donald Trump. They will not get my vote. Even if you have recently jumped off the Donald ship, any past support of him goes straight to your character. Your opponent may or may not get my vote, but you never will.

blogger-image-1243186073Eight years ago, I voted for Barack Obama and then watched the election returns in awe. Apparently, I hadn’t given my country enough credit… I didn’t think I would see a person of color elected President. First thing in the morning on November 8th of this year, I will vote. Then I leave for a business trip to Boston. Later that night I will probably be at the hotel bar avidly watching election returns, proudly toasting the people of our country smashing another glass ceiling.

America is already great, and Hillary Clinton is getting my vote. I’m with her.





Pants On Fire

17 08 2016

When you’re a liar, a person of low moral fortitude, really any explanation you need to be true can be true. Especially if you’re smart enough. You can figure out a way to justify anything.” ~ Samuel Witwer

Former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani spouted this doozie yesterday at a Trump rally in Youngstown, OH… “Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States. They all started when Clinton and Obama got into office.”

Wow… wait a minute… damn. But no one paused, and the crowd went wild.

So I said to myself, “Self… this MUST be sarcasm, because he seems to forget the main event that gives people a reason to know his name.”

This blog post began as an attack on the GOP, highlighting another stunning example of the ineptitude of Donald Trump and his team. My question was going to be, “Has Donald Trump’s propensities to lie and pander to his audience become an airborne virus, affecting the entire team?”

But as my ideas started to coalesce, I began thinking about the larger issue – everyone’s propensity to lie, and accept the lies presented to us. I’ve touch upon this in a previous post, but I’ll try to expand here.

When I was a young man, one of the worst things you could call a person was a LIAR. It was an insult that cut directly to the core, and usually ended up with someone receiving a punch or two. Over the years it became less derisive, bandied about with equivalent terms like “cheater” or “bull shitter”.

You’re a liar. Uttered so matter-of-fact… with so little emotion.

One of the frequent statements I hear and see on social media is, “All of the politicians lie.” This is definitely true. The existence of websites like FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.com support that argument, or why would we need them?

liar-liar-pants-on-fire-your-pants-are-actually-on-fire-400x303It became bothersome to me in the primaries, when both Republican and Democratic candidates were wielding the word like a sword. But when the accusation was offered, no proof was required. That’s a lie. All of these wannabe leaders have embraced this willingness for lying by degrees – fibbing, or trying to be honest, or their brilliance of using the lie to make a point. Okay, he’s not the “founder” of ISIS, but you know what I’m saying… wink-wink…”

Seriously?

The statement by Giuliani is just a microcosm of American politics. The Republican side will say that this is a just a sound bite, part of a larger speech where he talked numerous times about 9/11. Or maybe it is a mistake… an error in the math. I’m predicting numerous excuses, and attacks on the media for highlighting this blunder and not focusing on the real problems in the United States.

I’m guilty of this as well. As an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, I have frequently referred to his PolitiFact Scorecard, that currently has a range of 4% “Truth” to 19% “Pants On Fire” (there are four more levels in between, which is hilarious). I’ve touted Hillary Clinton’s scores in comparison (22%, 2% respectively). They are better… but why should any of us settle for anything less than 100% truth? I know some of the subjects are complex, but anything they say is really just true or false, right?

Nope. Clearly, I’m wrong. And it’s not because candidate statements require room for latitude. It’s because we allow it as an electorate. We demand the truth, but along party lines. Red demands the truth from Blue, and vice versa.

In a perfect world, it’s either a lie or it’s the truth. Why do we accept this huge middle ground, instead of giving it a huge middle finger? What if we demanded the truth from both sides, would we get it?

And what if we demanded it from each other? Now I’m wondering about John Langan’s PolitiFact Scorecard…

Damn… That’s too many questions. I’ll shut up now.