Archive for November, 2006

Thanksgiving, 2006

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

I have a very lot to be thankful for. But this Thanksgiving Day, I am most thankful for the ordinary. My sister, Mary, poetically summed this up the other day:

there is no blessing that I seek
no question i would ask,
i am grateful for the gift
of an ordinary life.

I cannot add a thing to that sentiment. Mary is sure the poet and the writer in the family.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the ordinary in my life, but the people in it are anything but ordinary: family, friends, coworkers–all wonderful and influential in my life. And there are things: work, home, food, gardening, pets, shopping…. so many more…. ordinary to many, but again, special to me.

I am thankful this Thanksgiving, very Thankful. Especially for the ordinary….

My Personal Dichotomy — a source of angst?

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

I wonder: am I a Polish American, or an American Polack? It seems a fair question. My grandfather and all my great grandparents came to the United States from Poland (or whatever had been Poland at one time, when they came over). What were they? Resoundingly, they were Polish. No doubt. Not even the hint of a doubt. They spoke Polish. They followed Polish traditions. They were religious as Poles are. The associated with other Poles, even when in this country.

What, them, am I? Well, I guess I am an American first. After all, that’s why the left family, friends, home, and their own culture, to come to America to give their children and their descendants a chance at a new life, a life in America, a life of freedom and opportunity, a new life, one unlike the lives they must have known.

Yet, when they came, though they adopted their new country by learning English, by becoming citizens, and by voting and having a say in things, they did not forget the “old ways.” They were proud of who they were and where they came from. And so am I. I can’t explain it, but I feel quite a connection. I am an American, but I am also a Pole, even though I’ve never set foot on Polish ground. I honor my background and the traditions of my ancestors, every day. I am proud of them, of what they accomplished, and of the opportunities they gave me. I have not forgotten. But even more so, I cannot forget. I can’t forget, just can’t.  And, in it all, I feel so fortunate, so connected to them, so lucky.

I am a Polish-American, and damned proud of it!

Fresh Air

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

I can almost smell the fresh air today. I am talking, of course, about politics and the elections. Though in some cases I do not agree with the results, the people have spoken and overall, I think (or at least hope) that we’re in for a fresh start. There are several reasons to believe this will happen:

  • Don Rumsfeld resigned yesterday. I can’t fault him for the job he did. He was tough and unyielding. Yet, when things were not going quite right in Iraq, he “stayed the course” even when it wasn’t working. It is time for a breath of fresh air, a new look at the problems in Iraq. Rumsfeld had to go so that someone else could take a fresh look and get a fresh start on the Iraq problem.
  • Both houses of Congress are now controlled by the Democrats. After 12 years of Republican rule, it was time for a change. Though the Republicans are supposedly for smaller government and less taxes, overall, the reverse has been true of their tenure in control of Congress. Government has doubled in size and our tax burden is much larger than it was 12 years ago. I don’t have much faith in the Democrats to shrink government or lower taxes, but they can’t do much worse than the Republicans did.
  • In Florida, we have a new governor. Charlie Crist will be our next governor. He promises control of taxes and spending. I think he will be a fine successor to Jeb Bush, who did a very good job. And, in Florida, we don’t need you stinkin’ FEMA to manage our hurricane crises–we are prepared, thanks in large part to Jeb’s plolicies.

I could go on, but in the end, I am hopeful that we’ll see a breath of fresh air in the country. There were some downers in the elections, both locally and at the state level: a number of states passes a “marriage ammendment,” designed to keep gay people from enjoying the benefits that striaght people have. Thankfully, Arizona did not follow suit. Seminole county turned down a chance to increase taxes slightly but use the money for land preservation and recreation areas. Bummer.
But, overall, we have a fresh breeze blowing in the country at the moment. Of course, with this opportunity comes great responsibility for the Democrats. They still have to work with the other party. The religious right–unfortunately–still has too much influence. But overall, we can work together for the common good. Let’s see what happens. The Democrats have two years to make a difference. I hope they hit the ground running….

Vote, Dammit!

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

Today is election day. It’s a shame when you think of how many people will not vote. I can’t understand it. Since I turned 18 many (many, many) years ago, I have not missed a single election. I always vote. How can I complain if I don’t do anything to make a difference?  People who do not vote have no right to complain about politics. In a sense, then abdicate their responsibility, opinion, and influence to me and all the other voters, as our votes then count for more.  So, if you don’t want me in control, you better vote.

I am somewhat cynical by nature, though I’ve heard it said that “the power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don’t have it.”  Now, if that’s not a cynical statement, I don’t know what is. But I do believe that no matter who wins today, nothing great will happen. Politics is a series of gentle changes and “nudges” of our direction–where we are going as a society. No political party has the ability to suddenly make big changes, but the little changes they can effect can and will have consequences far down the road.

So, if you care about the future, get out there and vote today. Your lone, solitary vote can and will make a difference. Send a message to all your politicians, local, state, and national: You care. You are interested. You can make a difference. Then, hold their feet to the fire and extract from them actions on their promises. You can do it. You can make a difference. Vote!

Shame on you, John Kerry

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

A few days ago, current Senator (and the 2004 Democrat candidate for president) John Kerry said, “you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

And immediate firestorm of criticism erupted. Kerry, speaking in public, refused to apologize. Spinsters eventually said he was trying to make a joke about president Bush. But, if you read his words, he didn’t. Still he publicly refused to apologize for this insult to the troops.

Finally, almost two days later, with his tail between his legs, he posted an apology on his web site, a half-hearted apologetic for what he called a failed joke. If it had truly been such a failed joke, why didn’t he apologize immediately? I’ll tell you why, because he’s a liar and a coward, and arrogant son of a bitch!

You know, I am not a huge fan of the job that Bush has done. His “stay the course” gets to be old. But, when I think that John Kerry could have been president with a few hundreds of thousands of more votes, I am so glad that Bush won. The thought of that man, John Kerry, being the president gives me the chills. He is dishonest and disingenuous. With him as our president, we’d have been mired in confusion and retreat, and a lot less safe than we are today.

What are the people of Massachusetts thinking, to have two such senators as Kennedy and Kerry? Surely they must all have their heads up their asses!

But, back to Kerry. What a loser. He’s a disgrace, and his comments only serve to show the low regard in which he hold those who fight the front of protecting our freedom and our country.

Their is a silver lining, however. He can forget about any future chance of running again for president. And we can count our blessings, every day, when we wake up an know that he is not the president of the United States. God Bless America. John Kerry, shame on you!