Baby Boomer, Politics, Uncategorized

Fragile Democracy

I am a baby boomer, born shortly after WWII.  Throughout my childhood I heard the stories soldiers told in their living rooms, stories about riding on ships, their wounding, the friends they held while dying, the skeletons (as one man said, “…flesh hanging on bones”) walking away from the newly freed concentration camps.

History and civics were taught with vigor in those days because we knew the price and fragility of democracy.  Hitler was voted into office, so we had a duty to study the candidates and make good choices.

I watch the impeachment of Donald Trump and think back to Richard Nixon’s impeachment.  I was in my twenties and making calls for the local Republican Party.  I knew Richard Nixon was innocent.  I watched the trial day after day, as obsessive as I am today about justice.  When I realized he had committed the crimes, I was devastated.  I felt a personal sense of betrayal, not because I was a Republican, but because I was an American.

I wondered in 1974, as I do today, how anyone can take an office as powerful as the Presidency and not feel humility.  It is like holding a sparrow with a broken wing in one hand and a nuclear bomb in the other.

Democracy is a fragile balancing act.  Only a fool sitting in the Oval Office or in a congressional seat would place personal gain above freedom.

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Politics

Jack-In-The-Box Logic

Over sixty years ago on my sixth birthday, I had a private room in a small, Kansas hospital.  Ladies in crisp uniforms and nursing caps served ice cream to soothe my sore, tonsillectomy throat.

I received one new toy for my special day—a Jack-In-The-Box!  I turned the handle on the metal, brightly painted box repeatedly, hour after hour after hour.  Although my throat was too sore to warble with the plunking melody, I joyously sang along in my head…All Around The Mulberry Bush… 

I was impatient as I waited for the pop of the lid.  At last, the final phrase began to play, Pop Goes The Weasel.  I caught my breath every single time.  Magic!  The clown was released by the latch and bounced on its spring to my delight.

This political season has reminded me of my brief hospital stay—the time before I looked beyond the repetition of familiar patterns, before I knew to live fuller than what could be programmed into music boxes and clowns, before I learned the demands of the heart trump the expectations of others, before I recognized the world did not revolve around selfish, immature me.

Should We Be Six Forever?

Some of my fellow citizens employ reality TV show mentality.  Bullying, boorish behavior, extreme views, and selfish outcomes create drama in the political arena.  Citizenry who engage only with politicians who repeatedly bounce like clowns on springs shouting hate and bigotry are denying themselves and democracy the opportunity to mature.

Compromise, compassion, equality, educational opportunities, laws to protect innocent children in schools, environmental threats, and justice are ideas swelling from humanity.  These values are not “cranked out” of a political box.  Inclusion and positive reforms reflect character and intellect.  No one person or party can achieve this greatness for our world, our country, alone.

Because there were people in the hospital who were actually ill, a nurse took my Jack-In-The-Box to the nurse’s station for a couple hours so other patients could rest.  A six-year-old could not dictate the common sense health requirements of others.  A grown-up found compromise and negotiated what was best for everyone, even for obsessive, little me who needed a nap.

I wish I could be the nurse in a sick field of candidates.  I want to take the repeated messages playing in their heads, the messages poisoning our environment, and still the day.  Now is the time for grown-ups to deliberate and heal a nation.

All Around the Mulberry Bush….

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