First Blog

October 7, 2017

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog for a while now, but all of the self-criticism I carry around in my head has repeatedly stopped me: “Who’s going to want to read MY blog – I’m not famous, and I have a lot of issues!”, and so on. However, I was listening to a Ted Talk given by Anne Lamott recently and was inspired by her validation of everyone’s ability to make a contribution based on his/her life experiences. So I guess it’s time to jump into the blog fray and start sharing.

Here’s her Ted Talk:

My goals are simple:

  1. Share some hard-earned wisdom/stupidity, and
  2. Write about how Trump is affecting American culture.

Here are the quotes from Anne Lamott that got me moving:

  1. “… everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy and scared, even the people who seem to have it most together. They are more like you than you would believe, so try not to compare your insides to other people’s outsides. It will only make you worse than you already are.”
  2. “Every writer you know writes really terrible first drafts, but they keep their butt in the chair. That’s the secret of life. That’s probably the main difference between you and them. They just do it. They do it by prearrangement with themselves. They do it as a debt of honor. They tell stories that come through them one day at a time, little by little.”

I have been writing feverishly since the election – in fact, I’m working on a book that I hope to finish soon, and by soon I mean I have no idea when the darn thing will be done but I’m really looking forward to getting it out of my space and into yours! My blog will touch on some of the ideas in the book, but they really are two separate approaches – more about the book later.

I’d like to start this blog by telling you about something that happened yesterday. I spent the day as a substitute teacher in an elementary school special education classroom, observing and helping where I could. I have been a substitute in that school many times and am familiar with many of the students. The teachers who worked with the children one-on-one are very patient and focused on helping their students learn. I had seen these children the year before and was amazed at the progress they have made – because of the love, patience, and commitment to the students’ learning demonstrated by their teachers. One child, who can barely speak, had learned how to communicate by tapping on pictures on a small tablet. Here was a child who would be locked in his own chaotic mind if it were not for being able to communicate through pictures, and by learning to associate words and ideas with those pictures. I often saw him lashing out, screaming, yelling, and causing major distractions in the regular classroom last year. But this year he was much calmer and has learned to express his basic needs. The love and patience of those teachers is directly resulting in the growth of these children. It truly was inspirational.

So how does that relate to Trump, you may ask? Well, here’s the thing: there are signs posted all over that classroom’s walls that promote the basic ideas for good civic behavior, and I was struck by how far, we as a country, have moved away from the very simple ideas we learned in elementary school.

One poster listed “Ten Great Ways To Treat Others” and as I read through the list, I realized that we elected a president who can’t manage to do any of them right because he is so focused on himself and what he wants – regardless of the fact that he was elected to serve – not to steal. So here are the ten things:

  1. Use kind words.
  2. Help when you can.
  3. Share and take turns.
  4. Listen to what others have to say.
  5. Be honest and truthful.
  6. Think before you speak or act.
  7. Remember your manners.
  8. Hold your temper.
  9. Think about the feelings of others.
  10. Work and play fairly.

Okay, so I’m going to go through this list and give examples of how our president has utterly failed to master each of these ‘Great Ways.’

1    Use kind words.

Here are some of the words Trump seems to use a lot: stupid, weak, loser, moron, bad, lightweight, and so on.

You can check out other words he uses regularly here:

2     Help when you can.  

Two weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, and after some heartless tweets in which he bragged about what a great job he was doing and criticized the mayor of San Juan for asking for help, Trump finally visited Puerto Rico. But the trip was intended to get positive press for Trump – not to give the people of Puerto Rico the help they so desperately need. According to Andres Oppenheimer of the Miami Herald, during his whirlwind visit, Trump threw rolls of paper towels into a crowd of people in dire need of even basic supplies “as if he were a rock star tossing t-shirts to a concert crowd.” Oppenheimer went on to say that Trump’s actions reminded him of “virtually all populist leaders [who]… put themselves at center stage and make it look as if people in need are getting their goodies thanks to them, rather than as a result of the government’s duty to take care of them in extreme situations.”

Instead of expressing empathy for the American citizens suffering in Puerto Rico, Trump complained that they had “thrown our budget a little out of whack.”

Here is the link to the full article by Oppenheimer:

3   Share and take turns.

Trump has made countless promises to donate money to charities over the years, but research has shown that the money usually went into his pockets. One example that comes to mind is the six foot portrait of himself he had done with money supposedly earmarked for charity. And in spite of his many claims about having “donated millions to charity,” The Washington Post was unable to find support for his claims – now if only we could see his tax returns, we could be certain one way or the other. Here’s a link to the Washington Post story:

4   Listen to what others have to say.

He doesn’t want to listen to the daily classified intelligence briefings offered by his staff because he says he’s a “smart person.” Here’s an article about that:

5   Be honest and truthful.

This one makes me laugh. Here is an article about his 1000 plus lies as of August 2017:

6   Think before you speak or act.

People all over the world have complained about Trump’s obsessive and reckless tweeting habit, much of which takes place in the early hours when not many people are around to act as an audience or to talk sense into him. Just check out his tweet history on his Twitter account:

7   Remember your manners.

Grabbing a woman by her p*ssy against her will and bragging about it is a sure sign you never learned any.

8   Hold your temper.

Here is an article that discloses a few of his many temper tantrums:

9   Think about the feelings of others.

If you look back at the many Twitter wars Trump has had over the last few years, it is evident that only his feelings matter to him – and he seems to be both thin-skinned and vindictive. He has gone after John McCain, Rosie O’Donnell, Mika Brzezinski, Kristin Stewart, Colin Kaepernick, Bill Maher, Jemele Hill, Jon Stewart, Barbara Walters, Meryl Streep, Snoop Dog, etc., etc., etc. Clearly the feelings of others just do not matter to Donald Trump.

Here are some related articles:

10   Work and play fairly.

Trump doesn’t pay the people who work for him and has been sued by thousands of people, from dishwashers to attorneys. I don’t know about you, but it seems like you would really have to work at it to get sued by that many people! Here is an article from USA Today that talks about just who he has been screwing out of money:

In addition, I firmly believe Trump and his family worked closely with the Russians to cheat and win the election. If so, this is one of the most dishonest and unfair actions imaginable. There is a lot of press out there about this, with more evidence of collusion and treason being discovered every day. Here’s a recent article about how Ken Starr is expecting an indictment:

So Trump has managed to massively fail at every positive tool for getting along with others that we all should have learned in elementary school. This does not bode well for the future of his presidency. However, I still believe in our democratic system, and hope that we can see this man for the charlatan he is, and fix this mess so that we never have another kleptocratic traitor in the White House again!