Sunday, May 1, 2016

Waiting for a Woman President

I was 21 years old and proud to cast my first presidential ballot for Shirley Chisholm in 1972.  

Then in 1984 I was 36 years old and seven months pregnant, standing on a street corner waving a sign for Geraldine Ferraro and Walter Mondale on election day.

When John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008, I was happy.  That meant that either my favored candidate, Barack Obama, would win or I'd get to watch a woman be vice president of the USA.

Now I am 67 years old and happy to see Hillary Clinton run for the Democratic party's nomination.

No way would I vote for anyone but Hillary in 2016.  It's about time.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Acapulco Violence

In the 50s and 60s, I heard about Acapulco as the glamorous place to visit in Mexico.

Now it is scaring away tourist with drug trafficking violence.

Today "the city, its port, and Guerrero state have taken on increasing importance as way stations for South American cocaine destined for the United States," report Cecilia Sanchez and Chris Kraul.

Many human tragedies are the result--both deaths and loss of jobs as tourist businesses shut down.  Tourists go to Cancun and Cabo San Lucas now.

Cocaine use in California and throughout the US is the problem.  

We need to legalize and control the sale and distribution of this drug and others, not leave these jobs to the drug cartels.

Daniel Berrigan - Rest in Peace

The gentle poet and anti-war activist Daniel Berrigan died today, April 30, 2016, just short of his 95th birthday.  He was born May 9, 1921.

I have his autograph on a quotation of his done in calligraphy by Sr. M. Madeleva, CSJ:

These many beautiful days cannot be lived again, but they are compounded in my own flesh and spirit, and I take them in full measure toward whatever lies ahead.

I remember when he and eight other Catholic anti-war protestors poured napalm on draft board files in May, 1968, in Catonsville, Maryland.  

I was working in nearby Baltimore and living with my parents.  I remember my father's outrage at this protest.

Daniel served three years in prison for this speaking out against the lives being destroyed by theVietnam War., getting out of prison in 1972, about the time of the Watergate break-ins -- Nixon at his worst.  

Nixon never served time for lying or for lives lost in the war.

Re-drafting the Draft

Hilarious that a Republican who doesn't want women to serve in the Armed Forces submitted a bill in the House of Representatives saying that women should have to register for Selective Service--and now he's voting against his own bill.

Of course women leaders are supporting the bill.

Having those cards at the Post Office that only males have to fill out at age 18 is a vestige of the past.

Both women and men should register with the Selective Service.

If both women and men had been drafted in the late 60s, there would have been even more protest against the Vietnam War.

I oppose most wars our presidents have gotten us into in the past--but if anyone has to go, both genders should be called on.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Presidential Gender

Things have changed since Shirley Chisholm ran for president in 1972.

That year was my first chance to vote in a presidential race, and I voted for her in the Democratic primary.  

She was the lone woman seeking to be president of the USA that year.

This year we have a woman who will win the nomination for the Democratic Party's candidate for president.

This year the bumbling GOP candidates are trying to strengthen their hand by selecting a woman as a running mate.

Ted Cruz has announced his VP choice three months ahead of the convention--an unheard of move.   He's gambling that a woman as his running mate will improve his chances, and he needs her help immediately.

I love this turn-around: men needing women to win the office held by men for two hundred and twenty years.    

Hillary Clinton may not be the best candidate for president we've ever seen, but she will be a better president than most of the men who have won that honor.

I'm grateful that I have lived to see this day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Bully and his Man Card

He dismissed a two-term U.S. senator and former Secretary of State as bringing nothing to the race to president except the fact that she's a woman.

May he rot in defeat on November 8, 2016.

He plays the man card every minute--he blusters and bullies, posing as tough and tough and powerful.

He will lose.

Hillary will be wearing the pants in the White House.

Your Story, My Story

Dave Isay with Bill Davis

Dave Isay has put together the largest collection of human voices ever recorded.

More than 250,000 interviews are now stored in the Library of Congress under the auspices of StoryCorps, the organization he founded.  The interviews cover subjects such as love, family, death, and work.

"Listening is an act of love," Dave says, quoting the title of the first book of stories published by StoryCorps in 2007.  "There are so many stories that are hidden in plain sight all around us."

For example, the doctor who delivered his second child said to him (after he appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert), "I wish I had done something important enough with my life to be on the Colbert show."

In answer, he interviewed her.  The story of Austen Chen's courage and dedication now appears on on the latest StoryCorps CD and in the accompanying book, Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work.  He calls this book "a love letter to professions that don't get thanked as often as they should."
Sandy Kim chatting with Dave Isay

My friend Sandy Kim took me to hear Dave speak tonight at the Crawford Family Forum in Pasadena, where the radio station KPCC is produced.  He was interviewed by Bill Davis, president of KPCC.

"Every life, every story matters equally and infinitely," he reminded the audience.

Dave began by doing documentaries and was influenced by listening to oral histories recorded by ethnomusicologists for the American FolkLife Center Archive starting in 1928.

His goal is to "give as many people as possible the chance to be heard."

"We're bombarded with untruth and with stories that just make you frightened," he says.  Instead, he is "collecting the wisdom of humanity" through stories.  

"Media put to its highest use can be the greatest power for good the world has ever seen," he believes.

It takes two people to record a story with StoryCorps: one to interview and one to be interviewed.  The result is "an act of honesty and love."  
Sandy Kim with Chassity Saldana and her father

Six interviews were played during the course of the evening: 

  • a surgeon interviewing his high school science teacher
  • a daughter, Chassity Saldana, interviewing her mother who became an engineer after being a teen mom
  • a black NASCAR race car driver, Wendell Scott, who began in 1952 and faced down racism
  • two garbage truck drivers in New York City
  • a Latina migrant farmworker who became a librarian
  • the brother of black astronaut Ronald McNair, who died in the Challenger shuttle in 1986

Several of these were given animation to reach people who need visual as well as audio stories.  Watch them and many more on the StoryCorps website and on YouTube.

Now StoryCorps offers a downloadable app and a list of questions so anyone can interview a friend or family member and have their story preserved in the Library of Congress.

You can also go online and make a reservation to record an interview in a StoryCorps mobile booth in Chicago, Atlanta, or San Francisco.  Sitting together in a dark booth creates a very intimate space.  Sandy interviewed me about my mother in 2013 when the mobile booth was in Los Angeles.

"StoryCorps is much more about listening than speaking," says Dave.  "People say things like 'I love you,' 'Forgive me,' and 'I forgive you.'  Attention must be paid because we don't know about tomorrow."

Last Thanksgiving, StoryCorps asked high school kids to record their parents.  More than 50,000 interviews were received that weekend using the app.  

Listening to these stories teaches us "how we can be our best and highest selves," Dave concludes. 

StoryCorps is broadcast weekly on KPCC.  National Public Radio is the broadcast partner of StoryCorps, and the archive partner is the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Special initiatives have been formed to gather stories from 9/11 families, LGBT persons, military families, Latinos, African-Americans, and families impacted by memory loss.

Here's the mission statement on the StoryCorps website:

StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.

We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations.