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Men Plan, God Laughs

Disclaimer:  I write this from the warmth and safety of my home office.  Next to me are a full water bottle, some healthy  delicious snacks, a stack of paid bills, and a cellular device so I can reach my loved ones.  In short, I realize that I am happily enveloped by First World comforts….and privilege.  I feel fortunate, or if you prefer, lucky.  While luck, fortune or fate played a role, I’m not willing say that our conditions are what they are primarily because of some unseen forces in the universe.

I’m a planner.  I get kidded about it, and that’s okay.  I used to kid people who washed their hands incessantly…I can imagine them picturing me in their minds and screaming “HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW?”  So, yeah, I plan.  I’ve long subscribed to the idea that, like a sudden oxygen related emergency on an aircraft, it’s important for you to put your mask on first, so that you may tend to others.   (Speaking of aircraft, if I’m ever in the seat that has to operate the emergency door, we ain’t taking off until I have the damn blueprints to it)

This terrible event in our lives was not unforeseen.  Smart people all over the world have been sounding the alarm that we are not, globally speaking, prepared to deal with this kind of epidemic.  Maybe this episode will teach us that God, in her infinite wisdom, placed people here with certain skills or abilities and maybe, just maybe, we should listen to them.  We’re kinda funny that way.  We tend to elevate those that can sing or dance, or tell a good story.  Rightly so.  Ditto those who can run like the wind, or pull a tractor across a field with their testicles.  (Pretty sure the finals for that are held in Oklahoma or Arkansas) If we are injured or sick, our doctors are quickly elevated to near deity status, but, once we return to health, they go back to being over-billing hacks.  We trust chemists and scientists when they make vaccines or build bridges, but not when they tell us that Joe Robbie stadium (I refuse to call it the Hard Rock stadium) will probably be underwater in a relatively short period of time.

We don’t know what’s next.  Not in our immediate area, not nationally, not globally.  For a planner, this is problematic.  I do not envy those tasked with making decisions that could affect millions of people.

So all we can do is adjust whatever plan we had, and react to new information as it comes out.  Meanwhile, maybe let’s all cut each other a little slack?  Tempers will flare, people will say/do stupid things.  Look for ways to stay upbeat and help others do the same.

More tomorrow.

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A Message From The Establishment

I have refrained nearly all year from posting anything overtly political, knowing how crazy the Primary process can be and all.  I did not feel the need to add to the noise.  As soon as the Democrats have a nominee, this will likely be a very nasty General Election and so I wanted to let young folks, friends and their friends know where I stand, what I will do and what I will not do.  I will address my Democratic friends, and then later this week my Republican friends.  Fair enough, right?

To my big blue group of competing coalitions known as the Democratic Party…whew!  Barring some seismic last minute shift, our nominee will be Joe Biden.  As I’ve said in the past, not my first choice, but a fine choice.  I voted for Warren for a number of reasons I won’t go into right now, but I got no problem with the older white guy who stood behind our first black President and never flinched.  He was the old workhorse to the thoroughbred Obama.  This is why he has so much street cred with black voters, a huge part of our Party. It was a remarkable thing for us older voters to see.  He’s shown a willingness to grow, and change, and he can withstand a vigorous vetting process.  He has for over 40 years.  Bland, sure.  But safe as rain.  One last thing…there are people who don’t know this incredibly rich piece of Joe Biden’s history.  In 1972, his wife and daughter were killed when their car was struck by a tractor-trailer.  His sons were badly injured.  Biden took the Amway train 90 minutes home every night to help nurse them back to health, all the while working in the Senate.  A single dad, he left standing orders with his aides that he be summoned at any time if one of his sons called.  Then, he lost his son Beau to brain cancer in 2015. Still Joe Biden seems to smile and be positive.

That’s a good man.

I guess I have to address why I ain’t feelin the Bern.  To me, at least, he is an un-vetted interloper.  True, he represented all 12 people who live in the State of Vermont for over 40 years…as an Independent.  You can do that in Vermont.  I found it more than a little irritating that he expected to use our Party’s infrastructure (that took decades to build) and then spit on what he called the Party Establishment.  Got news for ya.  I am the Democratic Establishment.  I am a former activist.  I have worked or volunteered for many different candidates, most of whom lost.   I donate.  But most importantly, I vote. Voters are the Establishment.

I’m pretty sure the hashtag “OK, Boomer” was aimed directly at me.  So, let me yell at the clouds here a little, hoping against hope that some younger voters will read this far down.  Kids, we been at this awhile.  Do you know what happened to at least three of our Democratic heroes?  Shot.  Dead.  Jack, Bobby, Martin.  We didn’t give up on the process.  We continued to fight, and it’s important to know what this looks like.

First, you have to know what the Democratic Party is and isn’t.  What it ain’t:  A bunch of old white men sitting in a room making decisions for the rest of us.  Oh, it used to be that way.  Especially in Chicago, or Boston.

What it is now:  It’s black, it’s gay, it’s unionized and non-unionized.  It’s old, it’s young, it’s entrepreneurial and it’s paid by the hour.  It’s hippies and hillbillies.  It’s business people and environmentally concerned people.   It is secular and devoutly religious.  It is comfortably ensconced in academia and it turns wrenches for a living.  It’s Toni Morrison and Rupi Kaur.  It’s Oprah and Ellen, it’s Karen and Jim.

More succinctly:  It is a group of competing interests all inhabiting the same tent.  It’s a big-ass tent.  The divisions are often easily exploitable, and our most craven and opportunistic opponents try and do just that. So, in the game of democratic politics, you form coalitions to gain power.  Takes years to even be heard sometimes.  Ask some older black voters, or any gay service-member.  Ask any woman who wants enough agency to make decisions about her own body.  Ask a Dreamer, for cryin out loud.

All the internecine battles that take place help us shape our platform.  Sometimes, we have just enough agreement to get something important passed.  But if we intend to make sweeping changes…these are the magic numbers:  218/60/1/5.  218 House seats, 60 Senate seats, 1 President, and 5 Supreme Court Justices.

It’s great to be inspired.  I am so happy that some of you are so passionate about our messy political process.  Just please understand that it is indeed messy and complicated. At the top of this post I said I would say what I will not do.  I won’t share, or allow anyone else to share unsupported attacks or vicious propaganda on my wall.  Against anyone, even Trump.  If it’s funny and harmless, sure,  go ahead.  I won’t unfriend you, but I’ll damn sure un-follow.  I can find that button on the book of faces.

What I will do is continue to fight for a government that looks after as many people as possible.  Note that I didn’t say just Americans.  We aren’t alone on the planet, and what we do affects others around the world, many of whom need our cooperation or support.  We are an incredibly rich country, we can afford it.  I will help this Party find ways to make basic healthcare available to everybody, regardless of the ability to pay.  I’ll help look for ways to subsidize pharmaceuticals so people don’t have to choose between paying for insulin or paying their rent.  I’ll fight for our Dreamers so that they can stop living in fear of being sent away to another country with which they have no connection.  In short, I’ll be a Democrat.

So, hey youngsters, welcome aboard!  We got bumper stickers and yard signs for ya!  LOL.  Maybe help us out with some fancy electric intertube stuff?  KTHXBAI

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The Update

Well, it seems as if tomorrow was a long time coming.  I had fully intended to write a little something about my battle with cancer…the truth is, I don’t know how I feel about it yet.  I know that my doctors tell me it’s gone.  I’ve had three clear scans and I don’t need another follow up until nearly summer.  I’m able to eat most anything, though my palate is forever changed.  I lost quite a bit of muscle mass during the process, but I am feeling stronger every day and I plan to play in a few major tournaments this year.

I’m not going to bore my readers (both of them!) with all of the gory details, but good gravy the treatment is a real bitch.  They basically microwave you for 35 days and pump Agent Orange into your bloodstream once a week for six weeks.  It’s rough.  It’s terrifying.  I know there are many people going through this, some of whom do not have the wonderful people I had around me.  The Primary Wife is a rock.  She knows a thing or two about this process and my doctors learned to shut up and do what she says.  She had my back…always does.  My daughter Cricket spent a ton of time with me through this whole ordeal, I will be forever grateful for the love and care she provided while I was down.  She put her plans on hold after college to help me and her mother get through this uncertain time.  Noah was and is away at college but he checked in and helped keep my spirits up.  I also had many friends not only check in, but actually visit and help.

I’m a very lucky man.

Some things they don’t tell you:  There is a mental aspect to this that you are not at all prepared for, and for me at least, this was as hard if not harder to deal with than the physical toll it extracts.  At first, it was rage, but not in the “why me?” sort.  I had 62 years of pretty good health, even though I taxed my body at every opportunity.  No, the rage was a reaction to feeling vulnerable.  I was just not equipped to deal with the feeling that if something required me to be present, strong and confident I would not have been up to it.  I was not accustomed to being dependent on others.  As I got stronger, this mostly passed.  Now, the mental challenge is dealing with the guilt.  I was around some very sick people on a daily basis while undergoing treatment.  Some of them are no longer around.  Others had next to nothing by way of a support system, and I can’t imagine I would have survived had that been my plight.  I had pretty decent insurance.  I received a level of care that others did not.  Yes, we took a big financial hit but thankfully our coverage has limits as to personal liability.  Knowing that other people went through this without similar coverage really bothered me.  Still does.

So, while the worst appears to be in my rear-view mirror, I am mindful that the road ahead is still a bit uncertain.  I feel grateful that I am not alone.

More later.

 

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Wishing It Had Been a Grapefruit

As soon as I answered the phone and heard the doctor’s voice, I knew what the verdict was before he actually said it.  Blah blah cancer blah blah.  I’m sure they hate these phone calls, so I let him off very easy and said “OK thanks I’ll get back to you”.  I hung up and went to tell The Primary Wife.  Ten minutes later, I’m on the road to Lexington so I could tell my son in person.  She would let Cricket know later when she got home from work.  My plan was to tell no one else.  For awhile, that was okay.

I’m a private person.  I wasn’t always this way, in fact I was in my youth, a sharer.  Possibly an over-sharer, despite not having the Book of Faces to assist.  In those days, long conversations

con·ver·sa·tion
/ˌkänvərˈsāSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. the informal exchange of ideas by spoken words.

was in person or via the analog telephone, at first moored to a table, later, with 1000 ft cords that after the first use would coil up like starving python, and if you weren’t of firm grip, could rip the phone from your hand.  These days, it seems like any information can be easily weaponized and I for one cannot understand how we got to this place as a species.  Anyway…I haz cancer.

So last Spring I was shaving and noticed a lump on my neck, in my lymph node area.  I immediately sprung into action and began a vigorous “ignore it and it will go away” campaign.  I mean, I felt fine, great even, strong, sleek, wrapped in skin that belied my years…a mini God.  This, despite having a forty year addiction to alcohol and cigarettes.  (there is some irony here I’ll explain later)  The lump did not hurt, nor did it seem inclined to go away like any good guest knows to do.  I finally decided to wander into our local clinic, a drab, dreary and humorless place but they take our co-pay and I can walk there.  They prescribed a round of antibiotics.  Not wild about antibiotics,  after all, they are not to be taken with alcohol (I audibly gasped when I learned this) and they have a tendency to turn your colon into a thousand foot phone cord only filled with cement.  But I was relieved to hear this would fix it.  I dutifully took them while avoiding all   most  some alcohol.  The lump laughed this off and actually began mocking me while I shaved, at first by growing larger, later, when it thought it needed more of my attention, it would ripple gently and turn various pastel shades.  Back to the clinic and another co-pay.  The doctor, serious and stoic, consulted his book of medicine, conferenced with a pricey specialist and came up with a pretty ballsy plan:  ANOTHER round of antibiotics, this time turned to 11.  I didn’t poop for ten days.  Kinda liberating, actually, but I got behind (get it?) a little on my reading.  By this time, my lump became self aware and had a Twitter account.  The second round did nothing at all.  The clinic doctor took my face in his cold yet weirdly soft, attractive hands, looked me in the eye and said ‘I don’t like this, I’m sending you to a ENT. I said ok, and before I left I paid for services rendered and then asked the cashier what an ENT was.  Turns out there is this whole subset of doctors who could only afford to go to the part of medical school that covers the ears, nose and throat.  I mean yes that’s like a third of the body, but still.  So off to Springfield and another copay.

I could write like eleven paragraphs about the process there, but I’ll sum it up by saying that they really like to administer cat scans.  Sometimes they just strap you in and go for it, other times they inject wheel mixed acrylic paint into your bloodstream.  They really like their machines, and at 55,000 dollars a pop, who wouldn’t?  Eventually, a highly trained dedicated scientist made the diagnosis… “Mr. Casares, I’m afraid you have a lump.”

I’m as serious as, well, cancer.

Next on the menu was a biopsy.  Another IV catheter, some sweet drugs to relax me, and I swear to god some Jimmy Buffet music, and then they show you the piece de resistance.  It’s a needle, roughly the size of a school bus.  The radiologist hits the resin bag, grabs it with both hands, dons a pair of welders goggles and plunges it into my neck like he’s killing a White Walker.  When they finished, they thanked me for stopping my screaming and informed me they would notify me of the results in about a week.  A week???!!!  I was unable to grasp the notion that there would be a team of lump specialists in the next room, armed with potions and flasks and microscopes that would know the result before they stopped the bleeding from my neck.   That, it turns out, is not how modern hospitals work.  They actually farm this process out to the lowest bidder.  So, somewhere in West Texas, Armando the tech is processing my beloved lump tissue while playing Fortnight on his desktop.  (His tablet lacks the processing speed)

Then you get the call.

The doctor on the phone explained that I had HPV related cancer.  By now I was getting tired of using the Google or asking cashiers what the hell stuff means, so I pressed him for a better explanation.  It called Human Papillomavirus.  Now, that, for most people would be difficult to pronounce, but since I used to work at a french restaurant called Pamplemousse I immediately knew  I had grapefruit cancer.  So, I promised a a little irony, and here it is…As I admitted to upthread, I have had a long, passionate affair with both alcohol and cigarettes for over forty years.  I’d start my day with a Marlboro and and a cup of Maxwell house coffee.  I mean, Folgers is good and everything, but it costs more and well it’s hot, it’s brown, and deeply satisfying, much like myself.  Anyway, I’ve never been a day drinker, but come five o’clock I’m clutching a martini and cooking enough food for my screaming brats to keep the child services people from showing up.  Pretty much every day.  In my past, I owned a successful bar/restaurant/venue and I believe I drank a bit there.  Now, in my defense, I’ll say that I am a hard worker and I’m in bed by dark:45.  I’m old enough to know that the only people who stay up after midnight are serial killers, vampires and juggalos. (There is a surprising  amount of overlap among those demographics) I also exercise and I play a sport regularly.  I am routinely told I do not look my age.  So, I actually had to stifle a laugh when the doctor told me this particular cancer has nothing to do with my habits, good or bad.

Bottom line?  Death in six months unless I permit them to nuke me for six weeks, as well as inject Agent Orange into my bloodstream on a weekly basis.  It took me a minute to decide. Today I’m about 1/3 of the way through the treatment.  One note, with  little more delicious irony:  I’m in the demographic least likely to get this disease….Hispanics.  Anyway, I will say this, roughly 80 percent of the adult population has been exposed.  A tiny fraction of people will have the virus mutate, and an even smaller amount will have it manifest to cancer.  I KNEW I should have listened to more mariachi music!

More tomorrow.  Or the next day.

 

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They Decide, and the Shotgun Sings the Song*.

We’ve been had.  All of us.  Every facet of American life has been corrupted.  Even those who took advantage of the holes in the system to acquire wealth and power have discovered that wealth and power do not feed their souls.  So, like cocaine addicts, they keep chasing that first high, and it never comes.  They bought in, and they rage when someone points out the emptiness of their endeavor.

I was a victim of Madison Ave’s influence, early on I thought the acquisition of things was a worthy pursuit during my time here on this rock.  I did not think what I was chasing was unreasonable, I wanted the nice house, the sexy car, maybe a nice suit to wear to work.  It took decades for me to understand that, globally speaking, those were extravagant goals.  I’m not prone to feelings of guilt, at least not to the extent that I will let past personal failures define who I am.  That said, it is difficult sometimes to allow myself to enjoy the finer (material) things in life, especially knowing that roughly twenty percent of the people on the planet lack clean drinking water.  I suppose that makes me a bleeding heart Librul.

Alternatively, perhaps, I am someone who really wants our system to work, both to protect what I have managed to accumulate and to make sure others have the opportunity to do the same.  The American dream is still in it’s infancy, historically speaking, but my fear is that for too many of us, it is the ultimate empty promise, something we chase because we are supposed to, but one that leaves us unsure if we’ve actually achieved it.

It may well be that the post WWII era set the standard too high from the jump.  There was a big push toward infrastructure.  and we got world class dams and highways.  We wanted to provide opportunity to our returning Veterans, so the emphasis was affordable housing and the G.I. Bill.  We were still an industrial economy, and job stability was a given, as was a pension plan that would reward a lifetime of work with some measure of security.  With the exception of the G.I. Bill (which is not the same as it was but still exists) those things are gone.  Let that sink in.  They are gone.  No one is building affordable housing.  Before some of you point out that “affordable” is a relative term….I think we can safely assume that new construction in our little boom town consists primarily of luxury condos and custom homes.  Most working people will not be buying either of them.  Pension plans are few and far between, replaced by a system so corrupt, so rigged, that few Americans will ever be able to count on their participation in one to provide a secure and dignified retirement.  Ask the people who worked at  Enron how stock options worked out for them.  Even Social Security is beginning to look like yet another empty promise, which brings me back to this…..

We’ve been had.  All of us.  To some degree, we have all bought in to some form of tribalism or another.  We are being encouraged to do so by those who want to loot our treasury while we clobber each other for any number of ginned up differences, racial, gender, economic class, the list is way too exhaustive to try and list.  When a large enough group finds some collective mindset and decides to reshape or improve our system of government or the economy, it becomes a target for those with a stake in maintaining the status quo, and they are ruthless about it.

We used to value the journalists among us who’s job it was to shine a light on corruption or ask the questions that needed to be asked for all of us.  What we have now is largely a media consisting of one dimensional shills for one group or another.  Others within it are too worried about protecting their gig to truly report what is being done to us by the rich and powerful.  Sure, there are exceptions, I really admire the people at Vice news for at least taking a stab at reporting real issues and legitimately compelling stories.   There are still old school editors and free-lance journalists among us who look for the truth and report it, sometimes at great personal risk.

Today, I don’t have answers for these problems.  Even if legit answers are offered by people smarter than me, they will likely be drowned out in this sea of noise we’ve paddle around in every day.  All I know is, I do not want to be part of the problem.  I do not want to buy into this tribalism, it is the thing that is being foisted upon us much like leisure suits were in the 70’s.  Yes, I have real trouble with those on the Far Right, but no more than I do with the Purity Posse of the left.  So, I don’t plan to deal with extremists of any kind.  Rather, I intend to engage with anyone who seeks to find common ground with me, as I believe our failure to do that will bring about the end of our once great Nation.  We can hammer out the details after I’ve learned you’re not a Nazi in disguise, and you have learned that I am not a baby killer.  Let’s start there

*And, my beard has indeed grown longer overnight. Bonus points if anyone can tell me where I am in the pic.

 

 

 

 

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I Guess It Took This

I’m trying very hard to keep from posting photos of dead children.  One reason is that seems emotionally manipulative, and the other more obvious reason is that they are just so hard to look upon.  I may not be able to refrain much longer.  If it takes photos of Syrian children gasping their final breath to jar people, well so be it.  We need to decide who we are as a country…

It’s nearly impossible to put the politics of the region aside.  This war (like all wars) is about resources and who controls them.  The British, France, Germany and America were stoking the fires of radical Islam way back in the 19th century as a way to justify occupation.  It still goes on today.

At this point, I just want to see Bashar al-Assad removed from power and jailed.

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Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag

I will choose to not give out details just yet, but I finally broke the inertia and put my long game plan into motion.  Literally.  There are a lot of moving parts to this plan, each is somewhat independent of the others.  I’ve taken quite an interest in spiritual matters of late, and since I have the time to do it, I believe I will seek out those willing to engage in conversation so that I may learn, or teach.

I am currently reading Neale Donald Walschs’ “Conversation With Humanity” which helped put the last piece in place, and prompted me to begin.

More later.

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Been Away So Long I Hardly Knew The Place

Well.  Two years between posts.  Just to be clear, I was unable to log in here for over a year, I finally had to get the good people at WordPress to work a little magic with my credentials.  I’m not completely sure of the direction I’ll be heading with this, I only know that for a time I didn’t feel like I had much to say, but I think that has changed, and, well, I have this here blog.

Tonight I’ll be heading to Vanderbilt to watch my daughter participate in a debate with the college Republicans (both of them?) on the issues of immigration and foreign policies.  I never encouraged her to join the college Dems but it seems clear she wants to engage, and that makes me proud.

My legion group platoon duo of readers probably want to be brought up to speed on happenings here at Coyote Creek, so, here goes:  The family is happy and healthy, we lost Rocky, MeHa, and Chipper, but gained a Cookie and a Georgia. The horses and goats are fat.  One child is at Vandy, the other is about to be in his last year in high school hell.  Neither of them are fat. Your handsome host finally escaped from a cult that required a daily sacrifice of self-respect and punished any sign of innovation or human-ness.  I am back to wandering in the woods with my arsenal of discs and actually enjoying life as an old person.

Caught up?  Good.  Appreciate ya stopping by.  Do it again.

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We All Get A Pony!

EDITED TO ADD:  I wasn’t going to post this, but now I have to.  Everything in italics was written the day after the election, the rest was written today:

So much low hanging,  schadenfreude dripping fruit to be had, but I’m only going to indulge in it a little because, frankly, as someone who routinely votes for the losing side I feel a tad entitled.  Think of it as combat pay.  So, just let me get this out of the way…

To the nice elected official from South Carolina who felt it is was appropriate to shout “you lie” during a State of the Union speech, and to the Western Governor who wagged her bony ass finger in POTUS’s face, and finally, (mercifully) to The Donald, who treated POTUS like some minor character in the world’s worst reality show:  Please shut the hell up.

I’m past it.

So, boiled down, the The Community Organizer organized the community.  (There have been more than a few who have suggested that this was somehow something to be mocked.  I think that ability is rare and is probably Government at it’s essence.  But that’s for another post).

80% of the African American vote.  70% Latino vote.  50 PERCENT ASIAN vote.  18 point spread for women. Impressive numbers, amirite?  The long game is producing a political infrastructure to be reckoned with.  About damn time.

Let’s make sure we don’t make their mistake and insist on purity tests in the coming years.  We are always a poorly worded phrase away from destructive internecine battles.  Time to enlarge the tent, people.

I really was going to refrain from Mitt bashing.  For a hot minute, I believed this was a good man who just didn’t run a very good race.  But he has flung open the door and invited ridicule with his latest remarks.  Apparently, he was participating in a conference call with a number of his high dollar donors.  He blamed his electoral ass-kicking to be the result of “gifts” the Obama campaign promised to Latinos, (free health care) women, (free contraception) and young people (student loan interest forgiveness).  How rich do you have to be to say stuff like that?  I think this sorry excuse for a person has never been held accountable for anything his entire life.  Until this.  High profile Republicans are rightly calling him out.  I mean, fer crissake, if Bobby Jindal denounces you, just how far have you strayed?

He will never, EVER be able to run for office again.  Thank your personal higher power for that.

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I Want My Country Back Too

For those of you who don’t already know, there’s an election happening today.  Apparently, it’s the most important election of my lifetime.  It must be.  For over a year now, my inbox has been flooded with requests for money.  Daily.  I think I read somewhere that winning this election is going to cost 2.5 billion dollars, give or take a Super Pac.  I know prices have gone up of late, but, really, TWO AND A HALF BILLION?  A huge chunk of that money went to buying airtime to run ads, mostly in swing states, but there are races everywhere and everybody has to be on the tube.  If I were the cynical type, I might just wonder if media outlets didn’t play up the “horse-race” narrative in an effort to sell more and more airtime.  I know it’s a straw argument, but honestly, I look around and wonder how many schools 2.5 billion dollars builds?  How many local health clinics can we staff with that kind of stack?  How many veterans can we help heal or retrain for some of those great new jobs we have been promised?

My readers know I will vote for President Obama.  There was never any wavering on my part.  I don’t love Obama, nor do I worship him, despite what low information voters might have you believe.  I think the use of drones on U.S. citizens is wrong.  Allowing Holder to run roughshod over the medical marijuana industry deeply disappointed me.  There are serious policy disagreements between us, and he knows it.  Oh, he knows it.  But I have been more than impressed by his job performance as POTUS, particularly because he faced a cabal of craven congress critters intent on making him fail, and some of those were members of his own Party.  The stakes were huge, and he stepped up.  GM, Chrysler, Affordable Care Act, these were not popular causes, yet he got them done.  Beyond that, I really really really don’t want Mitt Romney making appointments to the bench.  Any bench, anywhere.  At any price.

I’m not going to rehash what’s been said about Mitt Romney here on this blog.  You either trust him, or you don’t.  But there is one near constant refrain I keep hearing from Romney supporters, and it irks me every damn time I hear it:

“I want my country back”.

You know what, you pathetic, cringing little milksop?  I do too.  The country I want back is the one that told it’s citizens that if they worked hard, and played by the rules, they could count on a little something when they were too old to work.  The country that told my father and millions of other men, “thank you for serving in our Armed Forces, here’s some tuition money to use to go school.”  Yes.  The country I miss is the one that said, “sure, you can form a union with your fellow workers, and negotiate en mass for safer conditions, better pay, fairer hours, etc.  It’s the country that told it’s black citizens that after generations of enslavement, you are entitled to be free and prosperous and have the full benefit of citizenship.  It’s the country that managed to build thousands of roads and bridges and dams, knowing full well the people doing the work were not the people who would most benefit.

It’s the country that helped win a global war against tyranny, and did so on the heels of a full scale economic meltdown.  It’s the country that asked it’s wealthiest to pony up roughly 87 percent of it’s income so that we might build an infrastructure that was the envy of the entire world.

It’s the country that found value in identifying public space and protected our most precious areas for future generations to enjoy.

I could go on forever, but, lastly, it’s the country that said if you were poor, hungry, tired or oppressed, you were welcome here.

I wonder what country they’re talking about.

Go vote.

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