Thursday, September 4, 2008

How Sweet It Is

How sweet it is. The Dems are off with the sterling – no, golden – candidates, and one can only wish the best for them, and for the future of our country. Our badly diminished country. How we need the capable, vibrant, intelligent team of Barack Obama and Joe Biden!

But my mood is dampened now that the house-collecting Republican candidate – who may yet acquire another one on Pennsylvania Avenue – has selected his running mate. Should harm befall John McCain – considering his age and medical history – who do we have waiting in the wings? Waiting to take over the governance of our country, and assume the role of leader of the free world? Our troubled world?

The evangelicals are giddy with joy. They have their hockey Mommy, whose favorite dish is moose, and who has an impressive political background of less than two years as the governor of the pivotal state of Alaska. The faithful must truly believe the V.P. on their ticket is equipped to look into anyone’s eyes, and see her or his immortal soul.

If this were a novel, no one could believe it. If non-fiction, plenty of footnotes would be required to establish credibility. But it’s all too true, and this is why everyone – every woman and man – with a functioning brain, and a desire to see America break away from the lies of the past eight years, has to get to the polls on November 4.

Vote as though your life depends on it, because it well may.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Transforming Our Republic into a Theocracy

As I type this, it is late in the afternoon of August 16, a few hours before yet another political milestone. Barack Obama and John McCain (also known as the forgetful one) will be debating at a famous mega-church, where they will woo the faithful. And as I wait to switch on the tube in order to allow my blood pressure to reach impressive heights, I am confronted by a vision. One I choose to call secular.

I see, in my despair, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings – the latter now a Caucasian, the better to match her heavenly white robe – cavorting with a bevy of angels. And Tommy – in midst-cavort – is taking time out to wonder what in the earthly world has happened to the separation of church and state.

Has it fallen prey to political pandering? Why are these United States united in mandating statements from candidates for the presidency to declare their allegiance and reliance on faith? Not just reliance and allegiance, but how faith has informed them in the past; continues to inspire them in the present; and will keep them from any tragic errors in judgment in the uncertain future?

My support for, and admiration of, Barack Obama is without boundaries, and I am sure he attends church for deeply-held reasons, many having to do with his two young daughters who he wants to have a grounding in Christianity. I cannot speak for McCain; yea, verily, the man has difficulty even speaking for himself. But to, yes, mandate that candidates must assure voters to vote for them because of their religious beliefs would seem to run counter to a freedom not only of religion, but from religion. Indeed, to the aforesaid separation of worship and politics.

It is almost 8 p.m., and I must indulge in masochism by watching grown men competing for prospective voters’ votes by seeing who can proclaim his faith the loudest. I hope to derive some small comfort by imaging Mr. Jefferson wondering – shaking his head – over this transformation of our Republic into a theocracy.


Monday, July 28, 2008


It’s summertime, and the livin’ ain’t easy for too many of us. With Barack Obama off, showing the world what a U.S. president could and should be, my urge to vent has become too strong to resist. Some thoughts have reached the festering point in my cortex, and require airing.

Let me start out with Olympian madness: the best boom to the pharmaceutical industry and rampant, insistent nationalism. I cannot stand the Olympics, and although I live in Virginia – where to precede anything objectionable with a “Bless her/his/their heart/hearts” is an all-purpose form of redemption – I do not bless anything about this regularly scheduled orgy of nationalistic chest-beating.

Which reminds me of a recent statement made by our current semi-literate president. While opining on the wonders of the event, his trip to China for said event, he confided his pride in “ath-a-letes.” It would appear that no one in his star-studded administration slipped him the news that the word is a two-syllable one, not three.

Something else that has been troubling me are the constant echoes of something H. L. Mencken said. This master of satire mused that “No one should underestimate the ignorance of the average American.” (Please give me a little slack; I may be paraphrasing…).

I firmly believe that guilt is the most useless of emotions, and therefore, feel none at all when I state that I will never, ever again buy or read The New Yorker magazine. A publication I long admired. Yes, I know the cover – the despicable cover – of the Obamas has been defended on the basis of “satire,” but as one who has long labored in the fields of same, heaping her sentences with this spicy, savory condiment, there is nothing but ugliness in a cover depicting a presidential nominee’s family as terrorists. The cover confirms every psychotic suspicion of those individuals and organizations who worship at the shrine of right-wing family. Who sponsor, put forth and support organizations with “Family” in their names, and who revel in the depiction The New Yorker presented of the Obamas.

Whew! Hey, I feel better, and welcome comments, opposing and concurring views. As a forever Luddite, my view of this means of communication is not to air one’s personal ego, but to inspire a forum-like environment, where give and take reign.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Now that Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate for president, the Republicans’ crusade to smear him is in full gear. Rumors – hearty rumors – are going around like a virulent virus that he is, in truth and in fact, not a Christian, but – ooh! – a Muslim. And that he may well be in sympathy with our enemies – the very ones given life via the Bush administration’s criminal behavior.

And what about Michelle? A successful attorney and advocate, like her husband, for the poor and disenfranchised? A loving wife and mother? A bright, beautiful woman, whose husband admires and loves her, and whose daughters are so lucky to have her as an example? Oh no, according to the opposing party; Michelle is not a real, true, proud American. Not like, say, John McCain, who is – again in truth and in fact – prone to changing positions on rock-bound issues and principles as quickly as global warming is melting ice caps.

Be frightened; be very frightened. The next four months have the capacity to distort and defame the very essence of an outstanding candidate for the highest office in our country. Barack Obama is not only inspirational and intelligent – capable of forming a complete sentence that resonates with meaning and veracity – he is eminently qualified to carry out his mission of leading a badly-damaged country back to its rightful place in the world.

Be frightened, yes, but be aware and vigilant. Lies flow so easily from the lips of those who led the way to the continuing tragedy of Iraq, and now seem determined to do an encore in Iran.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Poor Will Always Be With Us

I’ve been reading the responses to my blog – one set up for me by a fine friend who does not condemn me for my incurable Ludditism – and have discovered that I am, due to my fervor over the election, turning into a tiresome, one-note woman. Disconcerting, when I’ve always regarded myself as a player of many diverse tunes.

So I’d like to tackle the steep contrast between the sudden focus on obesity and the virtual lack of attention given to the growing number of people who are hungry. Hunger in America? Sure, as those with a knowledge of the Bible will tell anyone: the poor will always be with us. But out and out hungry? Food pantries running dry? Kids going to bed with rumblings in their empty tummies?

About the latter: No, not the sound of, say, jazz musicians tuning up before a gig, or brooks gurgling away in pristine surroundings. I am talking about the sound of stomachs yearning not only to be free, but for food. The kind of condition which makes learning difficult, and can lead to present and future manifestations of severe malnutrition.

Will someone out there, in the great, and to me unknown land of cyberspace, tell me what in the hell is going on? In our national game of dialing for dollars, must the wheel stop at weapons of exterminating life rather than allowing it to grow? And thrive? Soldiering-to-death vs. feeding-kids-to-adulthood? Bullet-scarred bellies vs. full ones?

Add this to our crumbling infrastructure, a health system that is a mockery, and gas prices whose only bright spot may well be a reduction in suicides in closed garages, and can you understand why I find it somewhat difficult to encourage someone to stop and smell the roses? Or sniff at the scented brush to be found on a certain spread of ranch out in Texas?


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Beyond the Pale

One would think that, long ago, Hillary’s statements would have passed the “beyond the pale” test. No so. This time she has chosen to raise the specter of assassination into her frantic quest for the White House.

That this country is not free of the scourge of racism is as self-evident as the indisputable fact that Hillary is in this race not for the good of the Democratic Party, but for her own enormous ego and greed for power and prestige. For her to have raised the issue of Bobby Kennedy’s death in June – a crucial month to the avaricious seeker of the nomination – is so close to insensitivity and inhumanity as to be frightening. Particularly since the time frame was so striking: the devastating news of Edward Kennedy’s prognosis.

I have gone from – yes, simply – deploring Hillary to active apprehension. What will she be capable of doing next? And next? We have a candidate, Barack Obama, who is not perfect; no one is. But the promise of the man, his intellect and good heart – these are worthy of optimism. And fervent support.

Re: comments, which are always welcome. Either pro or con. In the “pro” corner, I am so grateful to Larjmarj who seems to be so much on my wavelength. Luddite that I am, and fear I evermore shall be, it is impossible for me to communicate with you as much as I would like. But I do thank you.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lost Cause

The phrase “lost cause” carries with it more than a whiff of something noble. Or not. When I think of how often our Civil War is associated with those two words, my gorge rises. This particular “cause” had to do with slavery.

But that’s past history; the future of our country is being tainted by the inability of Hillary Clinton to accept the hard fact that her “entitlement” to White House occupancy is a lost cause. This inability – prompted by a combination of massive ego and a near-pathological denial of reality – is putting the outcome of this crucial election in jeopardy.

Barack Obama has proven himself – via popular votes, as well as his very being – worthy of occupying the Oval Office next January. That he will defeat the fumbling, dangerous John McCain, so inextricably linked with the Bush administration, is palpable.

But there’s the seemingly immovable barrier – this Clintonian tendency to distort truth, mangle facts and figures and exhibit a callous disregard of the havoc her behavior is causing the Democratic Party.

It is both infuriating and heartbreaking, and as of this writing, I’m not sure just which emotion is paramount within me as I type these words.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Squandering Our Capital

We are told it is unwise to spend all our capital. To hang onto at least some of it, particularly in these perilous times.

Capital. Reputation. Respect. Good Will. All these, and more, are being squandered by Bill and Hillary Clinton in the shameful campaign they are waging against a man who is no match for their mendacity.

Racism, sexism, lies, slander, insinuations with no basis in fact; the list is endless. I cannot vote for the confused warrior John McCain, but if the Clintons persist – through their tricks – to wrest the presidency away from Barack Obama, I will be hard put to vote for a woman who shows unmistakable evidence of being a compulsive liar. Whose lust for this office is frightening.

Agree? Disagree? Tell me…

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Red Shoes

In the late ‘40s, a movie called “The Red Shoes” – which has since become a classic – detailed the way in which said shoes developed a life of their own, causing the death of the beautiful ballerina who could not arrest their movements. It is a complex film; an exploration of obsessive devotion to one’s art.

The Pope’s predilection for wearing red shoes brought the movie to mind, and his comments at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. evoked the obsessive compulsion of the Pontiff to turn the Catholic Church’s shame into a lecture on the evils of secularism.

We all know why the head of the Church avoided Boston during his trip: scene of the most horrific sexual abuse by members of his flock on the youth of the city’s parishes. In his papal way, the Pope managed to tie such abuse – and countless others – to the general lowering of values caused by “the subtle influence of secularism.” As a proud non-believer, this seems to stretch the truth into the arena of – horrors! – mortal sin. One warranting confession and absolution for even the Pope.

I admit to stretching, too. To the confluence of Hillary – and we all know she is a bastion of truth and integrity – pointing manicured fingers at every sentence coming out of the mouth of her splendid opponent for the presidency, Barack Obama. Attempting to divert attention from one’s own malfeasance in office to the supposed defects in another, is an approach favored by those who tout sanctity in both the religious and political arenas.

To quote Obama, “for shame” on both their houses – the Pope’s and Hillary’s.

Comments? Rebuttals? All are welcome…

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


As a ridiculously devout abstainer of all things technological – someone who has a symbiotic relationship with my beloved IBM Selectric II typewriter – I am so grateful to friends who make joining the current century possible for me. This blog is turning out to be a joy: getting political and personal feelings and thoughts out of my head – heretofore only available by way of newspaper/magazine print – and out on the space highway.

Barack Obama. Not since I gave my allegiance to Bobby Kennedy have I felt so inspired and hopeful for true, meaningful, purposeful change. Yes, that word has been short-changed and even demeaned by people like McCain and Hillary; however, this man, this incredible man with his incredible heritage, makes the daily indignities of life bearable.

Those who bring him down; those determined to blame him for his pastor’s words; those who continue to support the chameleon-like Hillary, in spite of her racist rhetoric, bewilder me. A determination to feel “entitled” to be president, no matter the destruction of the party she represents, bewilders me.

I remember, during Bobby’s tragically brief campaign, people reaching out to him. To touch him. To make contact with him, no matter how brief the connection. And I see it now with Obama – the urge to make contact, even momentarily, with a person of exquisite verbal magic. But his words aren’t superficial, nor said for effect; they have deep roots in his very being. In his heart and superb cortex.

Hope. I still have hope that this country will realize the potential of Barack Obama, and for his capacity to create enlightment and reconciliation. For restoring our country’s reputation and regard in this troubled world of ours.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Once upon a time, songs and poems asked questions, both poignant and whimsical. A poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning both asked and answered a forthright one: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Hell, even Freud mused – with a bewildered lilt to his musing: “What do women want?”

Which led me to remembering a vintage song – “Isn’t it Romantic?” A love song; a melodious love song. Now, the word “romantic” has taken on a brand new hue – a new place in our lexicon – for our president has used it in connection with our invasion and occupation of Iraq. George W. Bush recently opined, as only he can, that war is romantic. That our brave young men and women are engaged in a romantic endeavor, and that he, yes he, envies them.

We have become accustomed to listening to the rantings of a man to whom English is a third language, but this time it takes the – if not the cake – the vacant doughnut hole. Soldiers in a deliberately chosen war, who are dying for no reason, are taking part in a romantic adventure? Seeing residents of a sovereign country slaughtered, and its infrastructure destroyed is romantic? Having our VA hospitals overflowing with the mentally and physically damaged is romantic? Death is romantic?

If we elect John McCain, this romanticism will continue. If we elect Hillary Clinton, whose salivating obsession to return to the White House is paramount, we may well be succumbing to a different kind of nostalgic romanticism. Barack Obama has no notions about combining romance with death, devastation and destruction. His is the kind of reasoned, compassionate intellect which forbids confusing romance with providing excuses for ending life.

This is written not only more in sorrow than anger, but in a full court despair. Yet, with hope still lingering in the corners of my outraged heart and head.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Slice of Liberal Tongue on Wry

Once again, we will have the political groundhog—crawling out of his hole every four years—exercising his ego via declaring for the presidency. Yes, for the third time, Ralph Nader—a veritable nadir of decency—is bent on playing his favorite role: that of self-serving spoiler.

Barack Obama is more than a candidate; his campaign has become a movement, inspiring heretofore unlikely voters to participate in an election of extreme importance. For seven years, we have been held virtual hostage to an administration which bows to no constraints. George W. Bush, and his frightening cohorts, have led us into a war of their choosing, which has been transformed into an occupation.

In the process, not only have we sacrificed the lives of our own young men and women, but have succeeded in destroying a sovereign nation, along with thousands of its people.

This is the human cost; the economic one is almost too vast to comprehend. Those who come after us will pay the price for this wanton spending on death, when our own country – and its residents – continue to face a crumbling infrastructure, to say nothing of dual losses of jobs and homes.

But there is more: our standing in the community of nations has sunk to an ominous low. We are, sadly but justifiably, regarded as bullies by those who regard for what America has stood for was once a matter of pride and respect.

This is the time – when hopes are high that the Democratic Party will prevail in November – that Nader once again pursues his hopeless dream of accomplishing the impossible. All he will achieve is to help John McCain continue the administration we are now being victimized by.

For shame, Ralph Nader. And for shame anyone who would waste a ballot on a man who licks his lips at once more delivering a body blow in his hopeless quest. One that he knows is without hope.

This is a new Blog – one reflecting the feelings and opinions of a writer; a woman of “a certain age” who is passionate about the prospect of change. The kind of change and, yes, progressive hope, embodied in and by Barack Obama.

Comments are welcome – are, indeed, solicited. May we continue a mutually rewarding conversation on issues and concerns that resonate with anyone reading this debut piece.--Barbara Rich