White Lines and Getting Buzzed

Getting Buzzed… it happens almost every time I go on a ride around Douglas County.  Most people give me three to six feet of space, even on a narrow road… but there are always one or two people who feel compelled to get dangerously close. Sometimes they yell to get off the road or lay on their horn in anger.  It is as if I am riding my bike to ruin their day… I am actually riding my bike as recreation and exercise, and I try my best to be as close to the side of the road as is safe.  Often from your car you can not really see what the shoulder looks like.  Knowing the roads around Roseburg, as only a cyclist can, I know where the shoulder is covered with gravel, glass, large cracks, or is eroded away.  To me it is better to maintain a fairly straight line then jolt out abruptly when these obstacles appear.

That white line has nothing to do with where I should be riding.  The road belongs to me as well as any motor vehicle.  The white line is just the edge of the road, it is not a bike path. I pay my taxes and should be allowed to use the roads without fear of angry motorists.  I am less likely to need medical care as a result of weight, blood pressure, or heart issues. My rides benefit my health, my family, my students and my community because when we take care of ourselves we are taking care of all those who depend on us.   If I can safely ride to the right of it, I will… but if not, I am not doing you, as a motorist, any favors by being unsafe.

When I rode yesterday not one person buzzed me!  People gave me so much space, smiled and waved… maybe they knew that, like them,  I had been waiting for some smoke free air.  I was able to enjoy a ride, and maybe seeing me out there made them appreciate the clean air from a different perspective. Perhaps they even considered celebrating the smoke free air that same way.  If we all grabbed our bikes and went for a ride our community would be healthier and happier…

Give it a try and maybe we won’t be getting buzzed so often.

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The Gift of Mother Nature

Harvey and Irma are wreaking havoc on millions of Americans. They are losing property, pets, piece of mind and family…  humanity is being tested and celebrated in the media, and EVERY news station is poised to witness the devastation caused by the strongest storm to hit our country in recorded history.

America is consuming the coverage of this tragedy unfolding in our own living rooms.  And, Trump is the sole beneficiary of this new news focus.  No longer are his tweets a source of commentary, no longer are his Russian dealings part of the news desk banter, and no longer are we obsessed with his odd commentary and decisions that seems so uninformed.  He is benefiting because, for once, he is the president of a UNITED America looking to governmental support led by HIM.

In the next days,  months and years to come I hope that the people in areas that are affected by these storms are able to recover… and a big part of that recovery will be how well they are supported by our government. Let’s hope they get what they need!

Trump’s test will come in the aftermath of these tragedies (fire in the west and floods in the south-east)… we already know that he likes to be the center of attention, will he be able to harness the storms’ power to propel him into the good graces of America and erase some of his hateful decisions?  I don’t think so… all I know is that, for Trump, Mother Nature has given him a couple of weeks of good press – a gift really.  Maybe he’ll return the favor and make some decisions that protect her, and the storm victims, as a thank you…maybe not.

 

Stop Looking Up and Start Looking In

Many of us have heaps of criticism about the daily (often hourly) assaults on our moral sensibilities by the president.  Yes, he is horrid, racist, misogynistic… and at least five more labels that go against all that I hold dear… But, many are picking apart, not just what he says, tweets and does, they are picking apart the efforts and commentary of those who oppose him.

Tina Fay did a comedic piece on SNL with a sheet cake… It was great. I loved it.  And yet, here come the haters who didn’t get it. They are critics who suggest that her piece was serious and that it encouraged us to join a ‘sheet cake-eating movement’… Really? They obviously missed the point, the frustration, and the anger of the segment.  If you missed the piece on one of the platforms you follow, here it is again: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tina-fey-sheet-caking_us_599675d0e4b0e8cc855cce85

Instead of looking to criticize people who are putting their opinions out there, we should look at what we are doing ourselves to push back against Trump.  Send postcards, write e-mails, have those difficult conversations where you listen as much as you speak, march, boycott, make a statement, help solve this crisis, resist…. criticizing people who are trying to do something is counter productive… YOU do something.

I am tired of hearing that ‘This is not who we are’ from all sides… sorry folks, it is.  We elected him and WE need to sort this out.  WE need to grow, to listen, to make it right.  I know that this is who we are because we are a country where an angry few can terrorize the many, where one bad apple CAN spoil the whole bunch… 20 cars can give me plenty of room when I am out riding my bike ~ it only takes one jerk to buzz by me honking and yelling for me to get off the road to do harm.  Our town is working on improvement but over and over people hatefully complain about what is being done… Our town and our country is being terrorized by hate ~ that is what racism, anti-semitism, homophobia and misogyny are really about… we could say it is fear but that just makes you feel sorry for the haters… we need to combat hate, we have elected hate to our highest office and hate has been given a license to flourish with the protection of the first amendment.  Hate is on the rise and we must rally against it.

So, when you turn on your ‘feed’ make sure you are not contributing to hate… make sure you are being constructive and helpful… and to all of the teachers out there beginning your school year, make sure that you are teaching the most important lessons of our time… teach kindness, understanding, love and peace… let’s raise a generation where hate dies a quick death because it is drowned out by US… let’s become what we wish our country was now… sadly, what’s happening in our country IS who we are, but it doesn’t have to be…

 

 

What Next…

Every day, EVERY DAY, it is something else.  A new affront to the moral sensibilities I hold dear… they are said, left unsaid, tweeted, or alluded to by our ‘leader’.  Although he has continuously proven himself as anything but a leader, once again today he showed his complete lack of leadership ability.  After two days of being called out by fellow republicans and democrats for his unwillingness to name white supremacist, Nazi, neo-Nazi, and alt-right groups, terrorist groups, he begrudgingly spoke the words that were lost to him two days ago… of course, those words were tucked into a speech that began with a commentary on how well our economy and stock market were doing, obviously written by someone with a far superior vocabulary than himself… hence his use of the word repugnant.  I am sure his base was confused by the omission of  the highly sophisticated term ‘very, very bad’, which he often uses when speaking of ideas he dislikes.  He admonished those groups by name because he was forced to do so… his admonishment is as hollow as is his ability to lead this country.  Our country is caught in the tornado that is his twitter storm of self-serving, ego-centered, and volatile statements on whatever catches his attention.

Who are those speaking out against his madness? Now there are many, perhaps more people will begin to listen.  Today they were there at a very small rally in a highly conservative town… they were the educators, social workers, doctors, medical professionals… they were people chanting for love, for peace, for tolerance, for justice, for equality…

What next?  Fight and stand for what is right… do not sit silently by just shaking your head… join a group, speak out, mail a postcard, call your elected officials, show up…

A Perfect Fit… Scaramucci and Trump

I watched, enraptured, as the new press secretary introduced Anthony Scaramucci and he took the stage… Smooth operator played in the minds of some CNN news people as he slowly poured out his proverbial soul to the press and the American people… His devotion and loyalty to the President is obviously unmatched and what earned him his job, as was his ability to smile and almost flirt with a room full of reporters… It was like watching a first date. The room was full of anticipation.  Will he be the one?  He was charming, confident, boyish, and funny… he did his job.  But, he also declared his love for his boss, he made some interestingly catchy statements and showed us that he will be 100% in the President’s corner on all things ~ will he be willing to lie and distort facts? Well, after watching his morning interview on CNN, it seems so.

I felt almost sorry for Spicer, he was a deer in the headlights in that briefing room. It was like he had no idea of what he was getting himself into until it was too late and he was a character on SNL.  Scaramucci, on the other hand, knows exactly what he is taking on.  He is a cat playing with a mouse… the mouse still has some life in it, but it is being toyed with, tossed around… it will only be a matter of time before the claws come out and there is one final chomp.  Scaramucci is reminiscent of a mafia lawyer… he is too smooth… beware! If we thought hiding in the shrubbery was bad we will have so much more to be concerned about as the months progress…

The most laughable moment of that press conference, if you want to see humor in a horror film, was when he declared that Trump has ‘very good karma’… let that sink in

A Right to Complain

I know many people are irate at the way our president is …. just is…. speaking, tweeting, lying, perhaps even breathing… you know, that whistling sound some people make with their nose… but, I digress…

Many people are rightfully complaining, loudly, about the leader of our country and his loyal followers. You can complain to whomever you choose, but your complaining means nothing if you only complain to those who chime in and spur you on.  Living your life as the ‘good guy’, the upstanding, decent, charity contributing, liberal means nothing if you are not willing to say ‘I do not support Trump’, ‘I am a Jew’, or ‘I am a liberal Democrat ‘…. only then will people who hold you in high regard perhaps think twice about their own ideas… when you are respected you MUST be willing to be honest about who you really are… allowing someone to believe that you are a ‘good Christian’ or a staunch Trump supporter does nothing to enlighten those you may have the power to impact.

IF you care, IF you disagree with the direction  our country is heading, IF you are irate…. YOU HAVE AN OBLIGATION….

If you are not willing to stand up… then perhaps  you should just suck it up and hang on for the next 3 1/2 years… otherwise the time has come to say ‘No, I did not and do not, support Trump’…

 

Sympathy for the Devil

I almost feel sorry for him… day after day, speech after speech, meeting after meeting and tweet after tweet… people still support him ~ those same people who wore the red hats and flooded the internet spreading fake news ~ they are standing tall by their man.  Billing himself as the only one who could come in and ‘save’ our country, he was (and probably still is) look at as the Messiah. I recall reading  and hearing his supporters  speak about Trump being the choice of God.  How frightening for them to think that God was really not in charge of our election but actually a narcissistic loose cannon and his helpful Russian friends (whether he knew it or not).  Trump is spiraling out of control, digging his hole deeper by the day, and alienating our global friends. Most every day we can hear him speaking the alternate truth.  Watching Trump’s presidency is like watching a train wreck or a singer perform who can’t carry a tune… cringing, I watch, through my finger, shaking my head…  I almost feel sorry for him because he is making himself and our country look like a fool…. and a man in his 70’s should behave with more dignity and speak with more care…

Impeachment? I don’t think it will happen…. but I can hope…

People say that everything is either a gift or a lesson…. well, America?  Have we learned our lesson yet?  If so, it is time to move on and do better next time.