“You’ll know it when you see it,” was obscenity defined.
If you have to ask the lawyers then integrity’s declined.
Unequal almost everything shows justice isn’t blind.
Clearly there’s some clarity distinctly undefined.
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Vote your Values
Today is Election Day in the United States. Please vote.
I also think about welcoming the stranger, the migrant, and the children. Which candidate will create conditions at home and abroad where all feel welcome and safe? No one wants to be forced to leave home, but sometimes it is necessary for reasons of health and safety. Who will be welcoming while helping to create a world where migrating is a choice, not a matter of life or death?
I think about education. When quality education is available for all, possibilities emerge, futures are possible. Education never stops; we never stop learning. Which candidate will create conditions so that life-long learners have the opportunity to think critically? I want people to think deeply and from various perspectives. I want people to see the world in shades of grey while avoiding dualistic thinking. We weave the tapestry of the world with many colored threads. That beauty is diminished with either/or thinking.I think about the future. When we care for the world, the air, the water, we will preserve the world for future generations. No one wants to breathe dirty air nor drink contaminated water. Which candidate will promote healthy development so that the future is better for all? We know that some resources are non renewable. How are we preparing now for a future without those resources? Which candidates will help us create a better world for the future?
The world I long for, I try to help create everyday, sometimes with more success than others. In addition to the above, I think about rights and responsibilities, the dignity of work, health care, peace, and solidarity with the most vulnerable. My vote can help create that world. I will do my part.
Please do your part and vote your values, hopefully for an inclusive world built on solidarity, love, and hope for all.
It’s election day in Peru!
This congressional election was called when the current president, Martin Vizcarra, used his constitutional authority to close congress after the congress took actions that allowed the president to close the congress. It’s rather complicated, and someone else can explain it better than I. Vizcarra became president when PPK was forced to resign.
The importance for me, personally, is that it is my first time voting in Peru. Now that I am a Peruvian citizen, it is my obligation to vote; I have to vote or pay a fine.
When you vote in Peru, you vote for a party. There are 21 political parties on the ballot today. After you choose the party, you can, if you want, choose two candidates by number. What you cannot do is choose candidates from different parties. Using the electronic voting machine, it is impossible to choose candidates from different parties. (I used an electronic machine at my polling place.) Using a paper ballot, choosing two parties makes your vote null.
We should know by tomorrow some of the results.
By the way, alcohol cannot be sold from 8:00 AM on Saturday until 8:00 AM on Monday during weekend elections, which are always held on a Sunday.
The Road We Walk
When I wake up in the morning, sometimes I think, “Today will be the day!”
Today will be the day when the president of the United States says, “See how easy it was? See how easy it was to take a nation and lead its citizens down a path of fear and scapegoating? To prey on your insecurities? See how easy it was to take a nation, desperate for a hero in the age of Marvel Comics movies, and get you to follow me, look up to me, be afraid of me? Did you see how I quickly made our friends into enemies and our enemies into friends? Now do you understand how other countries allow despots to rise to and stay in power?
“Vilifying the other is easy. I showed you that, and you need reflect on your response. Now for the hard part- loving our neighbor. Now that I’ve got your attention, let us work together to find common sense solutions that will bring us together. Let us remember the values that make us who we are. Let us remember our common humanity, knowing that by working together, with and through our differences, we can find common ground for the common good. That is what my leadership is all about. Life is not a zero-sum game where there are only winners and losers. Life is about becoming, becoming better tomorrow than we were yesterday, seeing the other as ourselves, and walking together.
“I invite you to walk with me down this bumpy road. We make this road by walking, just as we create the world every day by what we say, what we do, and how we treat each other. The power is in our hands to become, to grow together, to share our common humanity.”
Unfortunately, today is not that day. Maybe tomorrow.
The dreadful evening news is filled with ills
Her gleaming eyes of planes that never land
The talking heads fill space ‘tween selling pills
And finish with cute puppies in the sand
Analysis is often hard to find
The whys and wherefores hidden in a cloud
But Sunday’s sales will mollify the mind
The deals! They’ll make a killing, feeling proud
Though sometimes there’s a tone that resonates
I take a breath and turn attentive ears
A problem I can tackle for me waits
Solutions not in months but many years
One more starfish thrown into the sea
The journey matters both for them and me
Beside the freeway bus stop
the boys play soccer
with a piece of trash
(today it’s a tossed-aside
one liter water bottle).
The bigger one kicks off his
shoes, towards his mother
who is selling fruit to the commuters,
because the sneakers’ sole
to the hole-y canvas upper
making it hard to beat his brother
at trash soccer.
“Put on your shoes,” sighs mom
as she takes a few cents for a
watermelon slice, all the time knowing
with purses, backpacks and briefcases
(and slices of fruit),
climb the stairs of the pedestrian bridge
that spans the freeway.
Which side will they come down on?
A few days ago I was asked why I am worried about a Trump presidency. The asker was not an ardent supporter of Mr. Trump but believed that Mr. Trump was a better choice than Clinton. I am not an ardent Clinton supporter but believe that she would have been a better choice than Mr. Trump.
When I think of the United States, the country where I was born and raised, I think of possibilities. I believe that it is possible for people of different racial/ ethnic backgrounds, different religions (or no religion), differences of many kinds to come together for the good of the whole. I believe that it is possible to rise above tribalism to create something better than any of us could create alone, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I believe that the United States of America is possible- that all are created equal.
When I hear Mr. Trump make racist comments I worry about his presidency. I worry that people who are already on the fringes of society will be further marginalized. There are many ways to be in this world. We can celebrate those ways, accept those ways, without saying “my way or the highway.” Someone’s difference is not a threat to me (although violence is a threat that needs to end) if I am secure in my identity. Maybe Trump’s comments were made in order to get elected; if so, those who support him because of those comments worry me. Do they seek to limit the identity of the United States to those who are like them? Do they seek to rid the country of difference?
When I hear Mr. Trump make sexist comments I worry about his presidency. Anyone who knows a woman worries (or should be worried) about this type of violence. Denigrating anyone is offensive. Would I want someone saying such things about my mother? My wife? My daughter? Would I want my son or my students at school to learn this behavior? If not, then it is not OK for Mr. Trump to say those things. Maybe Trump’s more recent comments were made in order to get elected; if so, I worry about those who support him because of those comments. Referring to people as objects is dehumanizing. If we are all created equal then let us raise one another up instead of pushing some down.
When I hear Mr. Trump speak against immigration I worry about his presidency. Friends of mine have been told that, “Trump will kick you out, send you back.” These friends are U.S. citizens. Students have been cornered by groups of other students who shouted, “Build the wall, build the wall.” The adopted daughter of a friend of mine asked her mom if Trump was really going to send her back to her birth country, a place she has not been since she was a few months old. Maybe Trump’s anti-immigration comments were made in order to get elected. Right now they are having an immediate effect on the lives of people who do not look white. I worry about the people who supported Trump because of these comments. This country is a country of immigrants (some of whom who added terrible violence to the lives of many of the original inhabitants of this land). My ancestors came from Ireland. The whole southwest used to be Mexico until the border crossed the people and included them in the United States after the war. To suggest that the United States is a white nation is to ignore history. We can welcome the stranger.
I believe in the possibility of the United States where we define ourselves as all of us. I believe in the freedoms, rights and responsibilities that belong to everyone in the United States. I believe in the gray areas, the messy areas, where life is not a dualistic either/ or, open/ shut, us/them. Together we can navigate the muddy waters of gray, together. Let us, then, rise above, come together to continue creating a welcoming, bountiful community where all are welcome and all is possible. Let this be a place where violence and discrimination are shunned in favor cooperation and courageous conversations.
For now, I will wait and see. I will never completely write off anyone. Because you asked, though, those are some of the reasons that I am worried about a Trump presidency.
P.S. A self-described single issue voter asked me about abortion and how I could support someone who is pro-abortion. To begin with, I do not know anyone who is pro-abortion (in the sense that a person believes everyone should go out and get one in the way someone might be pro-chocolate- I am pro-chocolate). I do know that in countries where abortions are/ were illegal they still happen in very dangerous conditions making a bad situation even worse. I also know that the number of abortions has been dropping since the early 1990’s and is down to numbers not seen since the early 1970’s. Perhaps we can continue to improve education and situations so the number of abortions continues to drop.