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Political Climate and Anxiety…

The Election of 2016 seems to have started years ago. Too many candidates (Republican) too much time before the actual election….
I have taught U.S. politics most of my life. I am really glad that I am retired now. Why? Because I would have to actually follow ALL THE CANDIDATES, and  watch the debates…oh the agony I would have had to endure!

What can we do to change this???? We could really think serous about passing a Constitutional amendment to the U.S. Constitution that gets rid of the Electoral College. WHY??? Because this is what closes out all Third parties. Remember it was Third parties that pushed successfully for a minimize wage, sick leave, shorter hours- too many things to name in one little blog.
But, with the Electoral College, we cannot even think of the possibility of a viable candidate that is not part of the two established parties. As a result, we find ourselves choosing the least bad of two evils for the President of the United States! How limiting for a “democracy”!
But, the possibilities are endless. We could elect a real person of the people…one who understands struggle, climate change, workers rights, problems of the elderly (those with few resources), the need for promoting early education for all children…there is not enough room for all the things that do not get explored.
We might even call the media to task for only covering the loudest one…

As I read in an editorial in the Hampshire Daily Gazette, an editorial by Rev. Andrea Ayvazian entitled ” We must be better than this”, I am so aware of how far we have come and how so much has stayed the same when it comes to race. If we could make  changes on how we perceive race  and politics, it would make all the difference.
I, too, have a dream that we ARE better than this….maybe

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Xenophobia!!!!

Xenophobia is an important word today..it means a fear of foreigners. Not a normal fear, an irrational  fear…
This country is made up of immigrants. When Europeans wanted to come here, there was some discrimination against certain Europeans. The English and French could come in large numbers..the Irish not so many. Many Eastern Europeans had to wait ( especially dispatched Jews). And let us not forget the rejection in 1939 Jew

s that we sent back…over half of them died in camps!
I know many realize if you are from Cuba, you got a pass into the United States (especially fairer skinned ones). But, if you are Haitian, just go back to Haiti…
How did we go from people coming for religious freedom to stopping ALL MUSLIMS???
This is a form of “xenophobia” that can only get worse with time.
Now, I realize that the population of the United States is not going to be majority white in the near future. It will be majority of those of the global majority ( basically people of color). This could be frightening but, not because of any terrorist threat. Since the majority of violence toward Americans in the U.S. is committed by white males. 9/11 was horrible. I am a New Yorker who lived  through 9/11. We are trying to forget that day…the rest of you want to remember it!
But, from Tim McVeigh  (Oklahom. bombing) to all the school shootings were perpetrated by white males (99% or so). So of who am I afraid?
“750,000 refugees have been resettled in the United States since 9/11. Not one has been arrested on domestic terrorism charges”.. The Economist.
Nothing, No one can make you completely safe. So, giving up freedoms and rights in the name of safety IS NOT THE ANSWER!
One man (white from England) had a shoe bomb on a plane that did not work. As a result, we all have to take off our shoes (until we are 75 years old!). Do we feel safer  because of that? I doubt it.
The sad part of my thoughts is that I do not think this will get better. I think people in this country will continue to disgrace our open arms for those seeking freedom and safety if they are Muslims and/ or people of color…
Because we as a country feel more comfortable with xenophobia than living up to our “values”….

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Social Media + or –?

I often ponder when I read tweets, are they so shallow because of the brevity one must use or are people really just shallow.
Many people my age ( I am collecting Social Security) think social media is limited, with no real information. Why don’t those young people watch the news. I have news for them. Young people never really watched the news;and, when they did, there was not a lot of  competition day and night. There was no cable and you would get the national anthem past a certain hour.
Also, our commentators had integrity. People like  Walter Cronkite, Huntley & Brinkley,  Edward R. Morrow, and so on.
True, stories were judged by middle class, middle aged white males.  But, even not having enough information on a particular group or ethnicity or gender,etc. they still felt they owed us as much truth and integrity as they could.
I don’t know of I would recommend the major  channels or Fox news as an actual information source for young people. But, they must have some background in order to think and/ or take a position. I use both and I still feel
lacking in information.
Most people yell about rights, but do not know the U.S.Constitution’s Bill of Rights at all.
We have adapted many things to fit a different world from 1789…But these were written to protect citizens FROM the government power. For example, in Kentucky, the first amendment promises citizens will be protected  from government intervention in religion. It did not say, if someone has a belief that does not work with the law, that official can use his/ her office to break it…
My point is in this information age, we the people are VERY MISINFORMED.
I sincerely hope this changes. Because many groups like Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, Women,Gay and Transgender people are not really protected well by the law..thus it gets even worse because people are only obligated to express themselves is so few words. Shakespeare said “brevity is the soul of wit”. Really???

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TEXAS

People kept asking me why are you going to Texas for vacation? I went with my BFFFF’S from college to Paradise Island in the Bahamas at the end of June. So, friends,etc wanted to know

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why?
The eldest in my family  ( who is like “my other mother”)is turning 94!!! And the youngest member of family is 18 months!
I will be in the Dallas area and then to San Antonio to see my Godson and more cousins!
I don’t know how the bulk of my family ended up living here…but, here they are.
This one of the fastest growing places- housing,  new schools, jobs…
I am looking forward to spending good time with family.
Yay, Texas….blog out!

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Proud Mother…

I know most who read my blog are aware that I am proud of my daughter. But, lately I want this pride in cyberspace forever.
The two of us lived through much- some great experiences and some not so great ones. Even when my daughter was not doing everything I thought she should ( and how many teenagers do?), I found her to be KIND. Kind to children younger; kind to those ostracized by others; just kind.
So, even in the more tense moments of our lives, her kindness showed up always.
Of course,  she went on to finish school ( got her PhD!), marry an incredible man and give me and three wonderful grandchildren!
She wrote a book. Black Feminist Archeaology, which I read from cover to cover! I found it interesting and understandable!
I read all her articles, go to see her speak whenever I can.  I do this because she is interesting and I genuinely enjoy her presentstions.
She is an incredible teacher. She cares about her students and pushes them to do all they are capable of doing.
I do not think I tell her enough how much pride I have in the woman, wife, mother, scholar, advocate she has become.
I had big dreams for her. She surpassed all my dreams and has gone beyond anything I could have imagined.
So, I am saying publicly and with much pride. I AM PROUD OF YOU… Whitney Battle-Baptiste!!!!
I cannot begin to imagine how much more she will accomplish. But, I know it will be amazing, important and awesome.
Your proud Mother…

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Good bye my right hip…

On February 10th I underwent surgery to remove my painful arthritic right hip and replace it. I was in the hospital for 3 days and in rehab for another 7….
Going home was scary because I live alone. But, I am not alone. A friend came from New York City to spend my first week with me. She cooked and helped me walk to another friend’s car to the doctor. The following week, another friend came from Long Island and spent my second week with me.
I had incredible Visiting Nurse Association Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapist, Home health worker to help me shower.  Wow, these people made me feel good and inspired every week. They said my house was safe for the walker. This helps one’s psychological health enormously.
Then came visitors…in the hospital, in the rehabilitation place….I had so many visitors they had to add chairs. Family, friends, my housekeeper ( who is also a friend ). More came to my home. They brought homemade soup, healthy snacks, delicious dishes, flowers, plants, cards and lots of LOVE & CARING!
When you must stay in and heal, you have a long time to think about life, friends, taxes, will I have a limp?, etc.
It is calming and warming. No, I did not get stir crazy…I was grateful..grateful that I have good health insurance, a home in which to  recuperate,people calling me from all over the United States to wish me well, a daughter and son-in-law who shop for me and get shower benches and put chairs together so I can sit comfortably and have company, grandchildren who come to hug me and a granddaughter who makes me a “healing butterfly” to put up.
I appreciate all the wealth of good people, family, friends who reached out with cards, calls, gifts and visits.
On top of it all…I now have a bionic right hip and cannot wait to dance to the drums again!

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Black Lives Matter…

The grand jury did not indict Wilson even for involuntary manslaighter… Really? ? We do not matter in this country. Marissa Alexander served time for protecting herself and her child… she shot into the ceiling… what is it going to take for our youth, our people, our race. .. to count in this country???
I cannot even type with one finger.
I am so sorry Michael Brown’s family and friends… I am so sorry youth that things have not changed in this country young people….

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Election of 2014

As I reflect on the past mid-term election, I try not to sigh too hard. The Republicans worked their show… they know that many people DO NOT VOTE… first, there is gerrymandering of area after 2010 census.  ( many people of color try not to respond to the census- thus keeping our numbers down ).
Next, they re-named the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” so they could take one of the most important pieces of legislation for all people and make many hate it. Worked on trying to repeal it.
Racism is so not over… look at how they treat him and his incredible wife… the office of the President of the United States of America (Leader of the Free World).
If you travel outside the U.S., you realize how much respect President Obama has in the world. Pres. G.W.Bush destroyed our credibilty. People in South America,  Europe, the Caribbean- even Canada think our current president is awesome.
I do not agree with everything the President does. But, we more jobs every month since his presidency; the stock market has come back; even real estate in coming back;many more people are insured and healthier; we are out of Afghanistan AND our gas prices are going down.
Just think if Congress had helped him what could have been????
I hope he stops deportation and works on immigration reform ( including the road to citizenship).
But, what makes people vote against their own self interest??  We have become so dependent on the media that we do not research anything ( although information is easily available
at the touch of one’s fingers). We believe everything they say on TV, radio,  social media. ..Are we going going toward “1984”?? Absolutely! When are we ever going to begin to think again…

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The 49th BFFFF’S Vacay!

I am preparing to land from my vacation with my college friends of 49 years. .. before we married or had children or blazed the many trails we blazed.
I really appreciate you Sandra (my cousin & college mate who after teaching English decided to become a lawyer! ), Marshan, the organized and adventurous one ( she had a 65 Mustang! Went off to teach in Wash, DC) Then worked in corporate America all over the world.And Ruthie ( who married the love of her life at 19. And they both blazed trails on Wall St & Education). And me. Educator who left to try the corporate life…and returned to education until retirement.
To know and love friends for 49 years ( my cousin all my life) is wonderful. We are there for each other in troubled times ( loss of a mate like Sandra and Ruth) or illness…
We have lived vivid and interesting lifetimes. We have laughed and cried together…and we still want to see each other at least twice a year!
Value the friendships you make in college and beyond, treasure those people who were  special to you and you might end up in different places (Texas, Massachusetts,  New York and Florida) anxious to find one place to come together and laugh and love each other! Thank you BFFFF’S for the first 49 years and more to come!

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Happy Mother’s Day

What a wonderful wish to all the mother’s -brand new and older- grandmothers, godmothers, aunts, close friends.
My mother died just before Mother’s Day 1999. But, there were so many Happy Mother’s Days.  My mother was my inspiration, my go to person when I had to check some move I was about to make; when I needed to vent; when I just needed love… I am grateful for the time we had and all the memories I will keep.
I am also elated when I watch my own daughter, Whitney, as an incredible mother. No matter how busy she is, she always stops and hugs or listens to each of her three children.
My family has a new Mom- Sable Weir ( my cousin, Sandra daughter). So glad Sandra is experiencing “grandmotherhood”. It is the best!
I am grateful that I still have other mothers.
Miss Kay, who always makes me happy. My Aunt Theda- is there for me with a smile or a tender word.
My godmother, Oseye, who gives me religious advice and is always a great sounding board.
My Ojo Bona Lorraine. You helped to fill a big void that Mama Wambui left ( she took a piece of my heart.) Thank you for being there for me.
I miss Mama Robinson, another Mom who transitioned. Who I really miss also.
Let us celebrate this day. Let us appreciate all the mothers that are here and those we still remember. What a great holiday! One celebrated all over the world… because all mothers are special. ..yay, moms!!!!

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