Category Archives: stand up for democracy

Somewhere in Ohio

It’s 12:30 in the morning and I am on a bus full of junior high kids speeding home through the night from our nation’s capital. Trying not to watch the driving too closely but feeling the bus rock from side to side constantly, making deals with God about getting us all home alive. Not sure if it’s because the driving is so bad or because I can’t sleep. Probably some of both.


Saw a lot over the past five days: the Liberty Bell, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and the NPR studios. Most of those were history-gasm moments for a junkie like me. But it hurt my heart to see the White House and Capitol Building because of what now resides and does business in those hallowed halls. It’s like they’ve been polluted by hate and need to be aired out.

Despite that, and despite all of 45’s antics and rants and “look-at-me” junior high style behaviors (hey, I call them like I see them), I did get a little choked up. I think of what it meant to stand in the room where the Declaration was read aloud for the first time to those daring men who would later sign it. To look upon the places where Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin once sat, and to walk where they once walked…. For me, there are no words but to say it was akin to a religious experience.

Seeing Washington with 50 junior high kids was also an interesting experience. Sure there were times they were a little rambunctious, but, overall, they were good kids. At the WWII Memorial there were some Honor Flight vets. The kids thanked them for their service and asked if they could take their pictures. I was so proud of those kids. I think many of them appreciated all they saw and learned on this trip. I know I enjoyed it more than I really thought I would, even Busch Gardens which really was a beautiful place.

About the only thing I wasn’t crazy about were the bus rides out and back, where on the way out I got about 1 1/2 hours of sleep. And, as we continue to sail westward through the night somewhere in the middle of Ohio, I suspect I will get about the same amount of sleep on the way home.

It’s now 1:30 and here I am, still not sleeping. Sigh.

I am the Mosquito!

Image result for cartoon mosquito

Buzzz! You know that annoying little mosquito I said I was gonna be a few posts back? Well, I’m still buzzing and circling. And, according to another friend who is more political than I am (I know, I know, hard to believe), apparently, some legislators are getting nervous. What do I say to that? Good! And, “Buzzzz!”

So, yesterday, I attended the latest Legislative Forum (my new name for it is the “House of Lies”). At this one, as at the last legislative event I attended (not a forum, per se, but a meeting with one legislator), one Republican did his darnedest to be patient with us and to explain how greedy we public employees are for wanting to get a one-to-two percent raise every year. How he talked with a waitress who said she wished she could get that kind of raise every year (at which point some beautiful loudmouth hollered out, “Raise minimum wage!” – that’s my kind of heckler). This same legislator also said a farmer constituent said his income was cut in half because of low commodity prices. Now, we don’t know how much Mr. Farmer was making in the first place. If cutting in half went from $150,000 to $75,000, I don’t feel too sorry for him. But, we weren’t told how much.

I get more than a little frustrated with patronizing, condescending Republicans (sorry, folks; I gotta call it as it happens; I am not inherently anti-Republican, honest; it’s just that’s who is doing the fibbing in this instance) who act like teachers and public employees who want to make a decent living are villains who are trying to drain the treasury. What about legislators who get their health insurance paid for for only working for four months of the year? What about the governor who gives multi-million dollar tax breaks to multi-billion dollar multi-national corporations and then tries to balance the budget on the backs of public employees and students?

Okay. I’d better hold up. My new therapist (love her!) and I have been discussing this whole deal of me getting a little too emotional over the political climate (our term is “emotionally reactive” – kind of like a nuke with feelings?). So, I am trying to channel Elizabeth Warren, who is so good and patient and gets the zingers in there when she needs to. So, I mostly kept my mouth shut. But I let my signs speak for me. What did they say?

Whenever the Republicans spoke, I stood up and turned my back and let them read my sign which read, “Turning my back on you like you turned your back on Iowa’s public employees.” The flip side, which was on a broom, by the way, read “Sweep out the State House.” In the other hand, I held the sign (with two sides – one for each face) that had “Retirement Party: November 6, 2018” and the names of the legislators. The flip side of that one said, “Remember: Don’t listen to your constituents. Hold the party line.”

Whenever one of them walked in, I’d make sure I stood with my back to them so they could get a nice chance to read my messages. Then, whenever they responded to a question, I’d stand up and do the same thing. Lots of people got to see my signs before it all started as I walked hither and yon to speak with folks I knew in the back or on the other side of the room (I was standing/sitting near the front). I got my picture taken a few times and lots of thumbs up from audience members. My signs appeared on the local news (not me, though, which is fine – it’s about the message, not me). But I did have the NS Press ask me a few questions. We’ll see. But as long as the pictures are in, that’s what matters.

The next legislative forum is March 11. I’m already working on some new signs. They’re gonna be doozies! Stay tuned.

Buzzz. Buzzz.