Goodbye, Oh-Twelve

2013-01-01T15:03:57-08:00Categories: politics|Tags: , , , , |

What if our New Year’s Resolutions looked like this? One: Be kind to yourself. Two: Be kind to others. The end. That’s it. Saved again, by the Golden Rule! You could add a little fine print. For example, re being kind to yourself: you could vow to truly ban all trash talk, especially the real F-words: fat and failure. Re being kind to others, that tends to be a whole lot easier once you’re being kind to yourself. Although I have often found this to work the other way round: doing something kind for someone else can be the quickest way to distract yourself from self-trashing. Once you’ve enacted your Golden Rule two-resolution package, you’ll have so much more time to reflect on the ways in which 2013 is going to be way, way better than 2012. Not that Oh-Twelve didn’t have its high points. Election night, anyone? But with apologies to Republicans—especially those who might be feeling that their party has been hijacked by a loud and deluded minority—the biggest way in which 2013 is going to be dramatically different from 2012 is that there will be no election night hanging over our heads for ten out of the twelve months. I know, the Republican primaries had a certain amount of entertainment value, as did Clint Eastwood and the chair, but WOW: however you may have voted, aren’t you glad it’s all over? I am. Especially after traveling to France and Finland last spring, a trip that was one of the highlights of my year. [...]

Ambivalent Politics: Guest Post

2012-11-06T08:30:50-08:00Categories: politics|Tags: , , |

Readers: I am honored to share with you this Election Week guest post by novelist, book critic and wise friend Isla McKetta: Why I’m Afraid to Talk Politics in a Free Society Election season 2012 is nearly over. Do you have any Facebook friends left? Regardless of where you live, I’ll bet there is a contentious race that is causing heated debate and if you haven’t unfriended someone for their beliefs (or been unfriended for yours), you know someone who has. Suddenly I’m afraid to share my political beliefs with my friends. Is this what democracy looks like? We hold these truths to be self-evident “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” As a child in the US, I learned these words from The Declaration of Independence and to be proud of the men who stood up against tyranny to endow our nation with the freedoms of a democratic government. Hearing those words recited by teachers and parents, my young ears thought the world was a wonderful and free place. And then I moved to Chile. I was seven and Pinochet was in power. I learned that people can be rounded up and killed for their beliefs. As Americans, my family and I were safe during the year we lived there, but every American history lesson thereafter reminded me how privileged I was. I believe all men (and women) are created equal. Our two-party system [...]

Noise Equals Hope

2012-10-10T09:01:41-07:00Categories: midlife, politics|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Recently, a bulldozer showed up outside our house at seven a.m. and began backing up onto the vacant lot next door. I was trying to read. The noise was hard to tune out, especially when the bulldozer got to work and the whole house started to shake. I looked outside. Clouds of dust were rolling through the neighborhood. When one of the construction guys knocked on the door and asked if he could borrow our hose to keep the dust down until the water truck arrived, I was only too happy to say yes. And, believe it or not, I am thrilled this is all happening. This next-door project was one of those recession-reminder blank spots, another project that ground to a halt and left a gaping, weedy wound on our block; an everyday reminder that the economy remained in critical condition. The owners—who also built our townhome, right before they temporarily ran out of cash—finally sold the lot to another builder with a great reputation, and she (yes, she!) is breaking ground. Four more homes in south Seattle are on their way. And now the September job numbers are in: 114 thousand new jobs last month, the 24th consecutive month we added to, rather than subtracted from, the total number of people working. The unemployment rate is now below eight percent for the first time since President Obama was elected. Noise next door equals jobs equals hope. I know there are going to be times when the hammering gets maddening. But I’m going to try [...]

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