Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham – Movie

the Snow Queen

What I love about Michael Cunningham is that he is a reader’s writer. His literary allusions are satisfyingly extended metaphors that enrich the story he is telling. That effect is most profound if you are intimately familiar with the particular writer or genre he is riffing on, but I am guessing that it embellishes the overall message of his story whether you get the allusion or not. This particular novel is decorated and layered with imagery. His novel The Hours was just about as perfect as a novel can be, while this novel is a bit more uneven, but I still found myself infatuated with a fair share of the novel’s imagery.

In The Snow Queen, the literary underpinnings are very accessible, as accessible as classic fairy tales and heroic fantasies of knights and ladies. They are the very stuff of childhood for those children who seem hardwired to appreciate drama and who spend time enhancing their reality by adding mental costumes and sets, by turning ordinary actions into medieval scenarios. These kids participate in these interactions which observers see as the mundane stuff of childhood, but which the children see as gleaming and mythical vignettes which may or may not involve princesses (queens) or knights trailing “shining capes of chain mail.” These images also give the author opportunities to dazzle us with linguistic magic.

We meet Barrett and Tyler. Barrett is our dreamer, Tyler our rock star, neither as larger-than-life as we or they would wish. They are brothers with a back story; their mom died when she was struck by lightning on a golf course, but not before making high school football star Tyler promise to always look after his younger brother Barrett, who is not as socially gifted.

These brothers are no longer young. Barrett should already have outgrown that fantasy dimension which lends his world its romantic tint. Tyler should have either succeeded as a musician or placed it secondary to a real career, or perhaps even tertiary to family and career.

Barrett wanders through Central Park as the novel begins on the way to the apartment where he lives with his brother and his brother’s dying fiancée, Beth. A mysterious light appears to him (and apparently only to him) as he crosses the park and he is stopped; he is not a believer in the light but he cannot deny the light. Is this light a message? Is this light about God or something else?

We first encounter Tyler rising from the bed he shares with the fragile and daintily frail, but lovely Beth, because it is snowing in their bedroom. She lies in her beauty and stillness on the bed as the snow falls and begins to pile up on the floor (the Snow Queen).

There is also the part of this story that is not ancient myth but more urban reality. Drugs like cocaine (snow) and heroine appear casually in Cunningham’s story, although users want to quit and there are suggestions that rehab has been tried and will be tried again. I can’t tell anymore, but I will say that, in a way, this is a coming of age story for people like us in 21st century America who have a very long adolescence. It’s a story of love and death with bits of literary adrenalin all over the place.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

 

Congress, Leave the Post Office Alone!

killing the post office

My mom is 96 years old. She is not one of those people who still walks on a treadmill and drives a car. She finds it laborious to walk to the kitchen after a small stroke weakened her right side. She has few pleasures left, but she has some and one of them is collecting her mail each day (except Sunday) when it is delivered to her house. Most of the mail is not even for her; it is for my sister. But often, when I go to visit her, I find her sitting on her sofa sorting the mail into two piles.

She used to read the local newspaper every day but our small city no longer publishes a daily paper. Only Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday papers are delivered to her now and she looks forward to these papers also. She has no interest in reading the on-line edition of the newspaper and is not computer literate.

Now there is a return to the talk from last summer of ending door-to-door mail delivery and building community mailboxes.  (See my post of 8/2/2013, USPS Comes Under Small Government Axe.) Apparently Canada has done this and it works well. Since when do we copy Canada?

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This is a very bad idea. Many seniors like my mom will miss a daily visit from their postal carrier terribly. Communities will miss these good jobs terribly. Why are all our good jobs in the crosshairs? Why are Republicans trying to privatize a public service that people like, which costs Congress nothing and which offers job security to many, along with providing a certain safety factor to neighborhoods when postal carriers visit almost every house every day. Anything can happen in neighborhoods when they are too isolated.

Leave our Post Office alone, Congress!

We have all heard that Congress forced the post office to create an enormous fund for pensions and health benefits. Now we are hearing from an article in Bloomberg that Congress is salivating as they think about all that money that could be commandeered if the Post Office gets privatized. They already plan to use those funds, which have driven the Post Office to the edge of insolvency over and over again, for infrastructure projects. And while I think infrastructure projects are important, this money was not intended for that purpose and shame on you Congress.

Leave our Post Office alone, Congress!

Just when I think a “small government” item has been taken off the table it is back on the table, smelling up the joint.

The American People like the Post Office. Hand off, Congress!

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

Irreconcilable Differences

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Living with Republican ideas seems impossible to someone with my view of the world. Accepting ideas like “guns everywhere” and teaching Creationism in schools and even living with things like voter restrictions, obstructionism and union busting is so foreign to me that I already feel some days like I am no longer living in America. I can live with seat belt laws and child seat laws. Compared to what Republicans want me to swallow, these “nanny state” protections are just a little white noise.

In many ways I do see us moving to the right because the Republicans have grabbed the wheel or jammed the wheels of government and they are slowly turning that wheel. First they blocked all moves to the left (except Health Care and this exception has made them livid). If the country can at least not take any turns to the left, however slight, they reason, then Republicans will not have to travel back from left to center before they can make that right turn.

Once I went on a camping trip with two friends to Ocracoke Island in North Carolina on Memorial Day. We got to Cape Hatteras just in time to catch the last ferry. We were told that there were no campsites and no return ferries so we should not go to Ocracoke unless we already had a campsite there. Two of us said, “Let’s wait until morning.” Our third friend who happened to be driving at that moment did not agree and even though we had a rule that the majority rules she slapped one of us on the face (the one in the passenger seat) and just drove onto the ferry, thus ending Democracy in our car, declaring herself the dictator of Memorial Day (by action). She won, but our friendship suffered an end to a delusion that we were anything more than just convenient companions. Trust was no longer assumed to exist between the three of us and it was the last time we all went on vacation together.

This is how I feel about the Republican Party. They know that at least half of Americans cannot stomach some of the ideas they currently hold dear. We don’t want to go backwards to when abortions were illegal and we don’t really get why the GOP insists that Roe v Wade must be overturned. We do not have a law that forces anyone to have an abortion. Therefore we can only assume that Republicans feel they must force their religious “laws” on the rest of us, even though freedom of religion is protected by the Constitution. They argue that our forefathers never foresaw that there would be Americans who were not Christians, but this is not what our Constitution says.

Because Republicans do not believe in climate change I would be forced, if they took complete control, to ignore what I believe about rising sea levels and melting ice caps and extreme weather. I would be forced to accept the destruction of our fresh water through fracking and leaky oil pipelines everywhere and I would still believe in my heart of hearts that if we really tried to lower CO2 levels we might be able to stop the worst changes even yet.

Because Republicans do not believe in Darwin and evolution I would have to constantly gag on strict adherence to Creationism. The earth is only 6 or 7 thousand years old – I do not accept this piece of fundamentalist dogma. I do not accept that denying the evidence of our senses and our intellect is anything that God would ask of us. I do not think that teaching this blinkered view of science will allow us to use scientific knowledge in the ways that will be necessary in order to allow our planet to support the 9 billion people who will live here by 2050.

Republicans may champ at the bit under a Democratic administration, even one that they have basically spayed and neutered, and yet the things Democrats want to enact would actually change American very little. They are in no way different than policies we have lived with for decades. The changes we would find if the Republicans implemented their policies would change America into a truly foreign terrain that I, for one, would find unrecognizable.

Truth to tell I would rather do that unspeakable thing and split into two nations than live in a county ruled by this particular version of the Republican Party and I think Republicans feel the same way about living with the policies that I and many Democrats espouse. Will we become two Americas, under God? If we continue in this uncompromising vein I do not see any other way. Either Republicans will have to continue to live with policies they clearly cannot abide, or Democrats will have to swallow ideological nonsense they can never believe in. And no one will be happy.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

My Spirea Plants, 2014

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Some of you may be thinking, “Why is this women so obsessed with her spirea plants?” I’m not really all that obsessive about them but I notice each year how much they have grown and they are so lovely when in bloom that I can’t help sharing. It’s sort of like when a parent makes a pencil mark on the doorway to mark a child’s growth, except, of course, these are bushes, not children.

Some of my Spirea bushes are now 3 years old, some are 4 years old. These are Renaissance Spirea. I wanted Bridal Veil Spirea plants but nurseries no longer sell this particular variation because newer varieties are stronger and are bred to have advantages over the old-fashioned Bridal Veil. I don’t think the newer plants have quite that same explosive-fireworks-display effect that those old Bridal Veils had when they used to line country roads delineating farm yards. However, these Renaissance Spirea still put on a glorious, although short-lived, display.

I have written five previous articles about Spirea plants (OK, that could be a bit excessive). For the intrepid few who may be interested there is Bridal Veil Spirea, posted 4/5/11 – My Spirea Hunt posted 4/26/11 – My Baby Spirea posted 6/7/11 – My Spirea One Year Later posted 7/30/12 – My Spirea Plants, 2013 posted 5/27/13.

So here are my Spirea plants in bloom this year and just about at the peak of their performance, and it is the best showing they have made so far because there was no extreme weather this spring. Will I stop at year 4? Hopefully.

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By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

A Fitting Monument

 

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Imagine a very special building – vast with columns and arches and carved friezes – an enormous empty space. This space is filled with life-size cardboard figures of soldiers, our soldiers, lined up rank on rank. On the front side of each cardboard figure is the soldier’s likeness when s/he went to war, on the reverse, their likenesses when they came back. There is also a life-size cardboard figure of every soldier who did not come back and on the reverse, a tribute of some kind.

We could pay money and wander through this hall of soldiers and we could look at all the faces of those to whom we owe our national stability and perhaps our very lives. These soldiers are mostly unknown to us. We have never looked at their unique faces. It might take us a number of visits to look on the faces of a smallish portion of the soldiers who fought for our nation, but I bet we would run through the gamut of emotions as we wandered through those ranks, as we read the names, as we looked at the faces. I bet it would eventually become almost a religious experience, an exercise in recognizing the value of human life, a reminder to try every solution possible short of war before we send our fellow Americans off again.

The exhibit would be kind of like those ceramic soldiers they discovered (uncovered) in China except more personal and less permanent.

Do we have a building large enough? How many visits would we have to make to see every soldier? Too many, I am thinking. I don’t know the numbers and I don’t want to do the math.

Perhaps this is a bit of a two-dimensional monument and much too large to be personal enough. Perhaps we could put all our soldiers’ pictures on a web site where they would be available every minute and we could visit a few each day.

I guess what we really want is to thank all our soldiers who took part in all of America’s wars, military actions, and skirmishes for their service to our nation and to those of us who would make terrible soldiers. If the war cost you your life we hope you can rest in peace. We are sorry for the sacrifices your families had to make.

This is the day dedicated to our American soldiers, our day to remember you, whether living or not. I am thinking that most of us remember you much more often than just this one day. However, this is Memorial Day and we dedicate this day to the armed forces of America.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

 

 

The Minimum Wage – A Microcosm of America’s Two Futures

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We know the Democrats want to raise the minimum wage so that workers who are paid the current minimum wage will actually be able to live on their wages (provided they are full time employees). Democrats believe that people who work at full time jobs, whatever the job may be, should not have to also rely on the social safety net because no one who is working full time should be living in poverty. This makes so much sense to me that I find it difficult to understand why everyone is not on board.

I hear even people who make less than the proposed new minimum wage of $10.10 arguing that American cannot afford to raise the minimum wage. They are afraid that they will lose their jobs or that other people will lose jobs and unemployment will rise again. This is so sad. It underlines the job insecurity that people have learned to live with for at least the past 20 years in America. We now understand that employers cannot let loyalty to good employees stand in the way of their bottom line. Profit determines all. These low wage employees suspect that critics of a higher minimum wage may be exaggerating the possible negative outcomes, but they have been burned and they are not ready to brave the fire (the firings) again.

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But on the other side of this are the Republicans who want to lower the minimum wage, who, in fact, would like to do away with the minimum wage altogether. Why are Republicans against raising the minimum wage? They would like you to believe it is because they have the answer to fixing the economy and they want you to believe that we cannot fix our economy unless we get rid of all the regulations that apply to doing business in America. Only if we give Capitalism free reign once again will America prosper.

Only if we get rid of expensive government programs which means dismantling the social safety net (Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, welfare, WIC, disability, social security, unemployment, etc.) but not cutting corporate subsidies, not raising the low tax rates for the wealthy, not cutting the military budget, will the American economy rebound. Many Americans do not find it at all strange that Republicans only want to make cuts that affect the poorest Americans because they agree with the Republicans when they argue that this assistance is creating a lazy class of people who get out of working and they also agree that the way to solve this is to get rid of all these social programs. I just say Yikes! Don’t these ideas seem extreme to you? Why is the GOP in favor of getting rid of the minimum wage altogether? Why are they busting unions and cutting public jobs? Why are post offices opening up in Staples manned by non-Civil Service workers?

I say all of these policies are designed by wealthy Americans to lure factories back to America and we, the Middle Class, will be the very low paid, benefit-less work force. I suppose this is a great plan if you are rich and don’t have to be one of those workers. And they are on track to get this very cheap labor force. It is looking more and more likely. It is very clear that Republicans have no intention of raising the minimum wage, ever, because doing so does not fit with their current economic strategies.

Is this what we the people want? Are we so in need of jobs that we will accept Chinese pay rates to get our factories to come back to America? What kind of deflation will America have to see in order to allow such a low-paid work force to survive and still live indoors (especially without that safety net)? It’s a very grim prospect and we are on our way to it. But we are not there yet. We still have time to elect Democrats in 2014. We still have time to make considered cuts to our federal budget that will save money and save programs. We still have time to accept that the 1.0 version of the Industrial Revolution is over in America and that we haven’t yet seen the 2.0 version, but we probably will. We are still a big and prosperous nation with lots of big brains hopefully working on big new ideas.

I just can’t believe we are letting Republican “dis” ordinary American citizens and workers in the ways they have been during the post-Bush years when it is the very risky activities of these wealthy people that put America into its current straitened situationand the hard work of ordinary Americans that made them wealthy in the first place. I guess we have never comprehended so well our reliance on the wealthy for our livelihood and our very lifestyles. Are we really free people or just behind-the-eight-ball customers in a giant company store?

This is the view from the cheap seats.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

 

12 Years a Slave – Movie

12 years  a slave

I was very apprehensive about watching the film 12 Years a Slave, and for very good reasons. I knew it would raise feelings of soul-sucking and unassuageable guilt along with massive anger at injustices that cannot be set right except in a pay-it-forward sense, and that it would dish up a huge serving of sorrow that one group of human beings perpetrated such oppression against another group of human beings.

How did anyone survive slavery? There was no hope offered for a better life after a set number of years of “service” as there was for indentured servants. There was no hope at all, not for a happy, productive life, not for an intact family, not for any personal ambitions, not even for humane treatment if you were “owned” by a harsh or mentally unbalance “owner”. You were simply snatched from your home and placed in hell for as long as you survived. The strength of character and the ability to create private internal structures that offered some personal dignity proves to us right down through history the mettle of these African people transplanted so criminally to American soil.

So then imagine that you are Solomon Northrup, a free man, a learned man, a man of means with a wife and two children whom you love. You are a talented musician, you play violin and fiddle. Imagine that one summer, when your wife and children leave to complete some temporary work at another household, you agree to join two fellow musicians for a “gig” in Washington, DC. Then you are plied with alcohol (perhaps drugged) and you wake up in your undergarments with chains on your limbs. And so begins your long nightmare, twelve years of slavery. As if it were not excruciating enough to be a slave at all, to be slave when you know you are a free man, to just be stolen from your family, to disappear, as if you have deserted them without a word, to be unable to communicate with your family because it is against the law for a slave to read or write or even own a piece of paper; how much more excruciating is this situation Mr. Northrup finds himself in? And while there are stories of more enlightened slave owners who might have overlooked a slave’s ability to read and write or even found a way to secretly make use of it, Solomon was not fortunate enough to land in any situation like that. In fact, his owners knew he didn’t seem to be in the right place, so they guarded their investment even more carefully.

I watched 12 Years a Slave the day after I completed the book The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, also about slavery and so I ingested all that hard subject matter in one week, and it was depressing in a way, but it was also uplifting because American is not there anymore (and because both the book and the movie were so well done). We don’t keep slaves (at least not in this old way). We have made strides to learn respect for all humans on this earth and we will make more strides with this issue – as long as we remember what was. That is why it is important that authors and screenwriters and poets and songwriters, et al keep writing about and making movies about this horrible chapter in our history in the same way that writers must keep writing about the Holocaust.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

 

**I did not mention the actors in this film because most of us already know who they were and how great they were, but you can always find a list of actors for any film if you go to the movie data base by typing the title of the film into your search engine.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – Book


The Invention of Wings

Sarah Grimké, born to the Charleston Grimkés (her father was a judge) in the early 1800’s was a middle child in a family of ten children, a family that was not yet done growing. The Grimkés had a farm plantation, but the family lived in a house in town. They could see Charleston harbor from their house. The Grimkés were slave owners and they were a real Charleston family (not fictional).

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd is a novel; it is fiction, but it’s about two sisters who actually lived in Charleston and who really did what Ms. Kidd says they did. The author did not know the details of their lives and she, therefore, filled in the blanks with the completely plausible narrative details which make this book so enjoyable to read.

When Sarah turns eleven two very important things happen in her life. She is given a slave named Hetty (Handful) that she does not want. Even as a young women Sarah believed that slavery was wrong. Sarah had been indulged by her father, the judge because she was intelligent. He allowed her to learn things that were usually taught to boys, things like Latin, Greek and mathematics. Sarah assumed she would grow up to be a lawyer because she felt her father would help her break the social rules. When her father learned that she was teaching Hetty to read and write she was relieved of her delusion. It was against the law to teach a slave to read and write and her father was livid. In addition her father learned that Sarah thought she would be allowed to study the law and become a lawyer. After that her access to her father’s office and his books was taken from her to her constant future grief.

We watch Sarah and Hetty grow up in the same household and although Sarah feels oppressed by the limitations women faced at that particular time, she is equally aware that Hetty’s oppression is orders of magnitude greater than her own and this is very clear to us as readers also.

While Sarah is still a teen her little sister Angelina is born and Sarah teases her mother to make her Nina’s (Angelina’s) godmother. The two are inseparable until Sarah leaves Charleston to take her dying father to Pennsylvania for his health. It is too late for her father but Sarah meets other people who hate slavery and she begins to find ways to use her considerable intellect.

There is so much here in this wonderful and very readable book that it would tax your patience if I tried to summarize the entire story, but it is well worth reading and, in fact, it has been on the bestseller list for a long time and for very good reasons.

Hetty’s story, a heavy and “blue” tale, parallels Sarah’s story and we, although alert to how much women are held back, are always aware that Hetty and her “slave family” are in straits so inhumane that these Grimké women cannot chase after their own freedom first. Slaves must be freed first. The realization that there are no humans who are truly less than or beneath other humans made it essential for these sisters to give freeing the slaves a higher priority than their own freedom. It is interesting that the struggles of women and slaves have always been parallel. Who won which freedom-battle first as these two paths wove across each other and ran alongside each other was often at the whim of fate it seems.

At the end of the novel, after Sarah and Nina Grimké become the famous abolitionists and liberators of women that they apparently were destined to become, the author includes an afterword where she shares the documentation that exists for the lives and pursuits of these two sisters who never became as famous as they should have, but who still held the quiet respect of their like-minded peers and those who did know of their contribution.

Wings form a big part of the symbolism in this story and, although wings would have been most useful to the Grimké’s slaves, the Grimké sisters could have avoided much approbation if they too had wings to take them over their own rough spots. Unfortunately most of the “wings” were so much more metaphorical than real that they became the perfect symbol of both death and a long-delayed hope of freedom.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

The Problems at the VA

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The problem at the VA – and yes you can go through the whole chain of command and fire whoever you wish, but the real problem is too many wars fought without any thought to the postwar period, without any thought to the massive injuries both physical and mental that would result from the IED’s (at least in this current incarnation of war) which were the opposition’s weapon of choice. The time to start beefing up the VA Health Care System would have been when we sent soldiers to these wars, not when they are ending.

These wars ended in the worst recession since the Great Depression and armies are never treated well after wars when cultures are in an economic downturn or crisis.

Some money could be removed from the active military side of the budget to the VA side of the budget especially if we plan to choose our battles more carefully and fight using smaller scale operations.

We could be more proactive. It sounds like there was no triage; every patient was simply added to the line with no attempt made to take the neediest first. Just seeing that backlog of paper work stored in that one building (is that in Pa) makes me wonder why we didn’t hire the young people who could not get jobs or young people who signed up for the armed services, who had already sworn the oath, and who had found the discipline unpalatable. We could have sorted through these two groups of potential data entry workers and set up operations to get that paperwork scanned into an electronic medical records system. Apparently there have been no difficulties finding computer people for the NSA so why haven’t we been doing the same at the VA? Has the NSA been more successful because the VA is run by the government and the NSA has been farmed out to private contractors? If so, then perhaps a private contractor should be found to deal with those record-keeping log jams at the VA.  Again we come up against our austerity which was perhaps pursued with greater zest than it had to be because of ideology.

We have heard that a shortage of doctors is a real possibility in our near future and apparently this is already true at the VA Health Centers. Finding medical personnel with the appropriate credentials is a problem for which there is no quick and easy solution. It presents a very real bottleneck and not just for the VA but for the civilian population also. It is one of the problems that came along with the ACA which added lots of patients into an American health care system which was already beginning to experience doctor shortages and it was well-known that this would happen. A panel of experts should be appointed to make suggestions for how we will deal with this shortfall.

We can begin to see why some of the staffs at some of the VA Health Centers cheated, what we don’t understand is why there are no creative ideas being brainstormed at the VA to solve the issues that inspired hospitals staffs to lie or to investigate why Congress set up our VA’s to fail.

Imposing stringent standards from above such as requiring vets to be given an appointment within 14 days seemed to be goals that were taken quite seriously by VA staffs. The Common Core in schools is another case of this same kind of top-down pressure. The theory goes that people so pressured will rise to meet the goals – it will inspire them to up their game, to stop being wasteful or lazy and put their shoulders to the wheel and do whatever they must to meet the goals.

However, when the goals are unrealistic, when it is found by those asked to meet these goals that it will be impossible to meet them, people cheat, because they believe they have no other choice. The VA medical staffs keep two sets of appointment books; the teachers give up teaching students and teach to the test.

Rachel Maddow described it really well last week – “if you put pressure to smooth out one bulge, a bulge will appear somewhere else” (let’s call it the hose analogy). Just giving people standards and not giving them the wherewithal to meet them is proving to be a less than helpful strategy for producing positive reforms.

We treat all of our problems lately as if there were only one correct solution and that solution will be irreversible. However, it is possible to come up with a range of possible solutions and to prioritize them. And it is hard to imagine why a solution that proved to be flawed could not be discontinued and a new plan put in place.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

Our National Agenda – Stressful and Embarrassing

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Here’s a list of issues we have heard discussed recently in the media. The only thing not on this list for the moment is health care which can now go to the back of the priority chain. Otherwise, we have not been able to find closure on any of these issues because of obstructionism and because of what we are told is a truly divided nation. It’s like adding more and more dirty clothes to the pile and never doing laundry. Except as these problems pile up and up they become burdens on our minds and our hearts. It seems that Republicans, the main obstructionist force in Washington, want us to be confused about what to tackle first and what our priorities really are and if that is their intent, the strategy’s working. Perhaps it is unintentional but it hurts my brain because if we ever get unstuck we won’t know which thing to tackle first.

Our issues (this list may not be complete) in no particular order:

Net Neutrality

Social Security

Medicare

Social Safety Net

Unemployment

Infrastructure

Education

Obstructionism

Immigration

Taxes

Budgets

Ethics

Political Correctness

Racism

Jobs

Minimum Wage

Income Inequality

Under the radar Republican political strategies

Elections

Losing the Senate

Militias

Rebels with guns

Anti-government sentiment in America

Random mass violence

Gun “wars”

“Constitution” wars

Abortion wars

War on Women

Voting Rights

Divided America

Downsizing government or not

NSA

Deportation

VA Concerns

Trans Pacific Trade Partnership

Keystone Pipeline

Climate Change

Extreme Weather

Benghazi

Captial punishment

Space station

Campaign Contribution Laws

2014 Election

2016 Election

International worries

Putin

Boco Haram

Terrorists

Unrest

The war in Syria

Hostilities in Middle East

Hostilities in Africa

Trade and Imperialism issues with China

North Korea-we should probably do something

Serious human rights violations

I wrote an article on this subject last year on 7/24/13 with the title Have We Dipped Our Brushes in Too Many Pots? – but the list has grown much longer than my earlier list and there are still things I may have overlooked.

It is astonishing that anyone is willing to tune into Washington with all these area that are crying out for attention and decision-making; these issues which rest in limbo day after day because we have one party acting like an implacable enemy of every policy we have followed up to this present moment, one party that wants to severely limit the powers of the federal government and make a tea bag our national symbol. I’d rather just go to the beach, but instead I keep rubber necking like a commuter passing a bad accident. What will happen to America? This is all so very stressful (and embarrassing).

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This is the view from the cheap seats.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>