Be an Active Senior!

unnamed-5.jpgI participated in the Women’s March that happened in my home town. It was a wonderful, loving, empowering day. It only happened a month ago, but it was a very long month. Since then, I have been much busier than I have been in  many years. I decided to form a small group of Trump “resisters” at the senior apartment complex where I live. I have been keeping in touch on line, holding meetings where I live, and attending meetings of community groups. I have more contact and connection with my neighbors than I ever had in the six years I have lived here. I have regained a sense of purpose. In short, Donald Trump has been good for me. If we are successful in our efforts to prevent our democracy and our planet from being destroyed, what is happening now may prove to be good for our country, as well. A devious effort to divide us may end up pulling us together.

Unlike some people, I don’t think we are out of danger yet. I think it is up to every one of us to do what we can to resist the arrogance of a man holding the office of president who believes he is beyond the rule of law and the irresponsibility of representatives who won’t stand up to him. Our constitutional rights and protection by the government are being undermined. The constitutional restraints on the presidency have been ignored. Those of us who love democracy have good reason to be alarmed. It is our right and our responsibility to do something about it. As retired people, we have a wonderful resource not available to those who are still working and raising families: Time.

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Another resource we have is experience. Hey, we’re the baby boomers! We were the ones who protested the Vietnam war. Many of us marched for civil rights and nuclear disarmament. We worked for women’s rights. We were the youth movement of the sixties and seventies, and many of us have been politically active right up to the present. I admit I am one who has not. I got involved in raising a child, going to graduate school, developing a career, caring for parents, and so on. There are a lot of people like me out there. Now is the time for us to get involved again, if only in our own self interest. We seniors rely on Social Security and Medicare. Many rely, as I do, on affordable senior housing. Programs like this may be and probably are at risk along with the Affordable Care Act. There are new young activists who bring their energy, intelligence, tech savvy, and sense of the future. Together we can do this!

Some time during the intervening years I found myself sitting in a hot tub in a small coastal town with a group of artists. I think it was the early 1990’s. Sounds like it, doesn’t it? We got to reminiscing about the ’60’s and ’70’s. I remember saying, “We think that the shift in consciousness at that time was about a youth culture, but that wasn’t it at all. It was planting the seeds for us to grow into wise elders for the coming hard times.” I didn’t actually know what I was talking about, but I clearly remember saying it. My own words stuck with me. I can tell you we are those – hopefully – wise elders. The time is now.

Manifesto

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MANIFESTO

I AM A CONSERVATIVE…I want to CONSERVE every gain that has been made in this country from the framing of a constitution that guarantees rights to all; through the right to vote, women’s rights, social security, and the right to clean air and water to the Right to Marry Act signed by President Obama.

I am a CENTRIST…I believe we should work together for our common good and mutual interests.

I am a LIBERAL…I believe in personal liberty, free thinking, generosity toward those in need, and tolerance and respect toward those who are different than I am.

I am a PROGRESSIVE…I want to move FORWARD, not backward, toward positive change, a more just society and a world that works for everybody.

I am NOT a RADICAL… I do NOT want so much change that we throw the baby – our democracy – out with the bathwater.

And most of all, I am NOT a REACTIONARY… I am NOT so afraid of the changes in the world, including globalization, immigration, the end of white hegemony and male domination, social change, the economic rise of third world nations, global warming and the pressing need to work together with other nations to stop it, the end of the need for fossil fuels and the resulting loss of profit for some, and other inevitable changes; that I want to take a GIANT step BACKWARDS to protect myself!

I have confidence in the future.

I am a PATRIOT!

I am a Democrat.

I am an American.

The Electoral College

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The founders of our country were concerned that democratic voting by the populace may not work because the “common man” would not be well enough informed to vote in his own best interest. Of course, the term “common man” is used advisedly. At the time, only men could vote. In fact, only white men could vote. The founders, who were all educated, privileged white men, were concerned that lower class, uneducated white men, especially those living in remote rural areas, would not understand the issues well enough to make an informed decision. Isn’t that interesting? The group that turned out in larger than expected numbers to elect Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton were young, lower class, uneducated white men, especially those living in remote rural areas.

The solution the founders came up with in order to solve this problem inherent in any democracy was the Electoral College. Actually, as far as I know, it never really worked. The idea was that we (not really we in those days) would elect people to represent us in selecting a president. Each state would have representation proportionate to the population of that state. These representatives had no obligation to vote for any particular person. They were supposed to be wise men who would make good decisions. Well, but is that really democracy? People began to be dissatisfied with this, so the practice came to be that the electoral college representatives would cast all of their state’s votes for the winner of the popular vote in that state. OK, so now we have another undemocratic situation, in which the winner of the popular vote can still lose the election.

It is my understanding that this hasn’t happened very often, but it has happened disastrously twice in my recent memory; in 2000, when Al Gore lost to George W. Bush, and this year, when Hillary lost to Donald Trump. If Gore had been elected, global warming may not have progressed at its present alarming rate. Now, we are faced with the uncertainty of an unstable personality in charge of a possible nuclear strike, potential upsets in any number of international relations, an accelerated destruction of the environment, the conditions for another economic depression, the loss of hard gained human rights, and maybe even a bloody, senseless, useless civil war.

Will the majority of the people who voted for Trump find that his presidency is in their best interest? No, of course not. One of the things they want is jobs. I actually think that Trump may be able to deliver on this to some extent. The problem is, the new jobs will be at minimum wage, and minimum wage may well be cut back to a lower level. Why? Trump wants to bring manufacturing back to this country. Corporations would not make the profits they now make, paying American wages. Wages would have to be rolled way back for corporations to move their plants back into the country. He says he’ll rebuild the infrastructure. I got pretty excited about that until I realized he’d accomplish that the same way, contracting the jobs out to corporations. They, Trump supporters, want to go back to a simpler time, the way it used to be. Before globalization. Deep down, they want to do something about their fear.

It seems to me that the more divided our nation becomes, the more often the popular vote and the electoral vote will differ. If the popular vote is very close, there is more chance the electoral vote will be something different. The whole populace used to shift back and forth in a healthy way between the more progressive and the more conservative political parties. Now, we seem to be stuck in our positions. People are mistrustful of their elected representatives and fearful of one another. This fear, of course, is being manipulated and we must not let our democracy be taken away from us! The Electoral College has been a topic on the internet quite a lot lately. There have been petitions circulated. I have signed them. It doesn’t guard us against stupidity, it only makes the campaigns more difficult and more of a crap shoot. I will say more about the Electoral College when I write about the constitution.