Saturday, November 12, 2016

Impeachment For Our Daughters Sake

I have not posted to my blog for many years. It is not that I have not had something to say but, that I have simply been complacent. With this last election, that is all changing and I once again take up my "pen" to reflect on what is happening and about to happen in our great country.

To say that the election of Donald Trump was a shock to me is an understatement of exponential magnitude. Let me explain this by way of a short story.

When I was about 9 years old my father left our family. He did not look back and he did not, ever again, come forth with any assistance to our family. Of my two older brothers, the eldest joined the military and the next oldest was disabled and, on the advice of our family physician, was sent away to a "home". Yes, it was a time that was that barbaric. So the result of my father and two older brothers departure was that I and my mother, and my four younger sisters were alone. My mother found herself alone with five children and the nearly insurmountable task of providing food, clothing, and shelter for us all. What I think makes this a little more poignant, if not totally depressing, is that my father left while my mother was in the hospital delivering the youngest of my four sisters.

There are a few more details that, I believe, are important in order for one to fully understand the sheer desperation that my mother must have felt. This was all occurring at a time in the late 1950's that was before President Lyndon B. Johnson ushered in of the "Great Society" and the passage of legislation upholding civil rightspublic broadcastingMedicareMedicaid, aid to education, the arts, urban and rural development, public services, and his "War on Poverty". At that time there were simply no programs to help an abandoned woman in my mother's position to survive. When I think back on these times, from and adult perspective, I realize just how difficult women's lives were. If we believe that they are not receiving equal treatment today, during that time we must realize that they were little more than a servant class. This becomes quite evident when we look at the types of jobs that were available to women at this time. Not only did they not receive equal pay but the "good" jobs simply were not available to them for the simple fact that they were women.

So my mother started out with a job making just thirty-two cents an hour as a waitress and eventually working up to being a bartender. I must admit that it was thirty-two cents plus tips. Even today, at 67 years old, when I think back to those times my heart hurts. To compound this difficulty my mother had to work these difficult, menial jobs in the evenings from 4:00 pm to 12:00 pm because those were the hours that a waitress or bartender could make the most money and she needed every penny. That left me, a 9-year-old boy, home alone with four little sisters to watch and feed and bathe and put to bed.

I tell this story today because I think it is important to understand what life was like before the "Great Society" and all the programs that, had they existed, could have made my mother's life more bearable. Could have ensured that the food we had was a little more nutritious. Could have ensured we had a little more medical attention. Could have ensured that there would have been daycare for myself and my sisters. All of those things could have made us a little safer and healthier.

My mother was, and at 92 years old, still is my all-time hero. She worked her fingers to the bone to put food on our table, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads and I think she did a good job considering the almost insurmountable obstacles in her way. She lived with misogynists barring her way at every turn. She lived with men making unwanted advances and blocking her way up the promotional chain and denying the good jobs at every turn. But she persevered. She took care of her children and she taught me to respect every human being.

This experience had a profound effect on me. As I grew older and embarked on my career my life experiences left me with a certain perspective that helped me realize that women and minorities and the disabled and those who are a little different had it far, far more difficult navigating life and succeeding than a straight white male in our "American" society. It made me think more carefully and be more sensitive to their plight and it made me want to change myself and help change the dynamic in our society that causes us to be so blind to these things.

Now, in this post and at every other opportunity, I am asking that we all reflect on just what is happening in our country today. We, and by we I mean all Americans, through our actions and lack of actions, have elected a person to be the president of the United States who, by his own admissions, actions, and statements, is a misogynist and racist who has committed sexual assault. And we have also elected a congress whose stated intentions are to roll back or eliminate every program that has moved us toward correcting the injustices of the past and made it possible for those who are most in need to receive the help they need to get ahead and succeed in life. 

I, unequivocally reject Donald Trump's right to occupy the office of the president and I intend to exercise my constitutional right to not accept a person entering the office of the president of the United States who has admittedly committed sexual assault.  I believe that it is congresses responsibility to investigate the actions of the president-elect and move to impeach him if found guilty.

Those are the Sergeant Major's Thoughts on That.

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