Friday, August 31, 2012

Feeling Better or Worse?

Am I better off than I was 4 years ago? The Republican nominee for President wants to know.

Let's see. In 2008 the financial sector was teetering on the brink, threatening a world credit collapse. In August '08 the Dow was tanking from a low of 11,543.55 to another low of 7,773.71 October 19 (and still had lower to go). Detroit was heading towards bankruptcy (which Mitt Romney said should be allowed to happen). Two wars were running us deeper into debt, and Osama bin Laden was still alive. The economy was hemorraghing jobs, and I personally owned 2 houses in a market that had not begun to turn around. Health care coverage was a matter of luck. Equal pay for women was not the law. So yes, I am better off living in a stable economy, with jobs being added and housing beginning to come back. (I did manage to sell the former home.) As for the wars, it's much easier to start wars--yes, plural--than to get out of them. It's not pretty, but the U.S. has left Iraq and is leaving Afghanistan. As a citizen, both public and private, I feel better off since 2008. 

But: what about the last TWO years?  In January 2010, the conservative Supreme Court justices by a 5-4 margin overturned years of electoral fairness laws and thereby unleashed Citizens United, allowing unlimited spending by political interest groups. Awash in cash, Tea Party Republicans sent representatives to Congress that November with one priority: obstruct the President. 

The most memorable example: Tea Party Republicans blocked the U.S. being able to pay its bills. Even Speaker of the House John Boehner was caught off-guard. As a result, the U.S. credit rating got downgraded. And now, Republicans blame the President! What chutzpah.*

Readers are well aware of the past two years of conservative attacks on women's rights, gay rights, voters' rights, on Medicare for the future old, of the proposed Medicaid cuts to be funded by more tax cuts for billionaires.

The question should be: will you be better off 4 years from NOW if you continue these alarming trends of 2010?

*(You know the definition of chutzpah: the man who murdered his parents and then pled for mercy in court because he was an orphan.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Work of Love

Two granddaughters came for a week, a visit, they flew down in an airplane, and we showed them a good time, didn't we?

They attended a Neil Simon play, a college information tour. Their aunt and uncle and cousins took them to museums and out to dinner. They invited us to the Davidson Lake Campus for a cookout.

In between, we watched two seasons worth of "Downton Abbey" and squealed in dramatic sections. Sometimes M would pause the program and spring up in front of the TV to recap the excitement thus far.

Other TV was "Ancient Aliens," which I explained was not Christianity at all! I also showed them home movies of themselves as babies, then toddlers, then little girls, playing at our house, going in the pool with their Boppa, and having a chat with their mom.

One night R showed us a movie called "Joyful Noise," and we sniffled and cheered. So much love filled the room with the girls and their uncle Nick and me.  Then last night I served a homemade lemon pie--that my Nick teased me for being so proud of--and we played charades with the other uncle and the aunt and the cousins from across the street.

They were playing charades on the last episode of "Downton Abbey" too, as we screamed at the ending!

This was after I took them back to the soda shop and then shopping for school clothes. These grandparent doings are sacramental, outward and visible signs of the inward grace. All this is the work of family, of weaving the strands of security and setting the trellis for them to grow. Block that metaphor, I'm tired after a week of hard work. 

This a.m. I made the white knuckle drive to the airport ,and we drove around the parking area bickering until we found a spot. It turned out R was right about where we should have gone, so we sang the "You're Right" song to her!

As I said good-bye to them at security, I cried some.  I watched them go through the line, take off their shoes, put up their arms in front of the scanner, and then move off toward their gate, not looking back. Sweet wonderful girls, growing up so beautifully.

Then I came home and had 8-year-old L come over, bringing leftover homemade pizza. We feasted on that and fruit salad while watching "Godzilla" for the half-dozenth time.

I'll keep it up as long as I'm able to do it.