Global Warming

US pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord today. The president spoke about the US being treated unfairly. He spoke about how some countries get to build coal mines and we don’t. How unfair! By the way, the Accord doesn’t mention coal at all. The obsession with coal blows my mind. Besides the fact that this is bad for the climate, I also think it is bad for America to step back from a position of global leadership. We step away from a situation when we should be leading the pack. The world is going green and now there is great risk of the US being left behind all because this administration can’t leave the 1980s business playbook where it belongs, in the past. China will undoubtedly step into the leadership role which will have a hand in the already diminishing influence the US has on the global stage. I haven’t even touched on the fact that the US is the biggest greenhouse gas contributor! With only 4% of the total globes population living here we are able to put up ⅓ of the world’s total carbon emissions. And then we walk away and make it everyone else’s problem because of the “unfair” costs. Not only is the US the biggest contributor, we are also the wealthiest nation with the strongest economy so it makes perfect sense to me that we should invest, and lead the charge, in the world’s efforts to stop global warming.

Children Need Healthcare to Thrive

I’ve been thinking about health care a lot lately. I think I’ve grown into a person that takes the health insurance I currently have for granted. Over the past 2 years we had 4 emergency room visits with the kids. Two of those visits were injuries requiring immediate attention. Oliver was running and fell on a stick and impaled his throat. One was when my dog knocked Oliver over into a kitchen cabinet and he needed to get stitches. One visit was a freak neck infection Oliver got which would have been fatal if left untreated. The last one was when Max wouldn’t stop crying and throwing up so we got worried something was wrong. Turns out he was just collicky so it was a total mom fail, but hey, we got some peace of mind on that one. I was pregnant last year and since Oliver was a premature baby I had to go in weekly for an injection to help Max along during the last 2 trimesters. When Max was born he was jaundice for the first 5 days of his life so I had to take him to the hospital everyday to have new labs done. After Max was born I had two tests come back abnormal. I ended up having a LEEP procedure done to prevent spread of cervical cancer. My husband had a vasectomy. He also has a monthly prescription. Both my kids had multiple wellness visits. Oliver recently was diagnosed with autism. In order to get a diagnosis you must have multiple evaluations done by multiple doctors. Now he receives 30 hours of ABA therapy as a treatment for autism. My sister in law died last year and I started seeing a counselor to help me through that difficult time. When I break it down into these terms it makes me realize that health insurance is absolutely imperative to have a thriving family. In the past 2 years my family has needed coverage in 9 out of the 10 Essential Health Benefits. One of the 9 we used is preventive health services. Within this category my family needed coverage in 9 of the 27 required procedures including autism, vision, and hearing screenings (see the links below to learn more). I can’t believe all this in just 2 years. If I didn’t have adequate health insurance it’s undeniable that my children wouldn’t have the quality of life that they enjoy now. Should a child with autism continue to struggle to acclimate to the world on his own if his family cannot afford health insurance? Should a mother who suffers from postpartum depression be denied affordable prescriptions? Should a family go into financial ruin because their adventurous toddler decided to jump off the playground toy and got injured? I think the answer is a resounding no. Healthcare is a right and children deserve to receive the care they need regardless of their parents financial situation. My family is not out of the norm. My family is proof of the importance of quality health insurance for everyday families.

Who Speaks for the Stay-At-Home Mom

I was watching the Disney channel today with my kids when a commercial came up encouraging girls to dream big and become astronauts, teachers, politicians and what have you. I got to thinking about this big feminist movement right now. The movement seems solely for the working woman. This is another reason I think that it’s so easy for me to feel insignificant in my role as a stay at home mom. Society views non working women as less than working women. It’s not that, it’s like non working women don’t even get referred to so there isn’t really a true comparison. So many times I’ve been asked what I do for a living and I respond with, ‘I’m just a stay at home mom.’ Even I sell myself short. More often than not there’s no follow up questions or the conversation changes to something else. I feel disconnected from society, but society doesn’t have a place for me anyway. It made me angry when Trump lumped me into his unemployment stats during his first address to Congress. I mean, coal miners get more publicity than stay at home parents! I’m not a job seeker. I’m not an oppressed woman that is forced into a traditional role. I stay home by choice. I stay home because I want to raise my kids. I stay at home because my autistic son needs me. Does that make me weak? Am I a woman that isn’t powerful? Why is the workplace the only measurable for a person’s impact? Ivanka is applauded for being a working mom and Melania is criticized for choosing motherhood over first lady. How can women at home empower themselves? What conversation do we need to have to feel able to stand tall and be respected for the true sacrifice we make day in and out? I wish I had the answer. I’m afraid there’s no answer because it’s a question that doesn’t get asked.

Deep Seated Fears

I think one of the things driving this low-info nationalistic movement is that rural white America fears no longer being the majority. What does it mean if white people are no longer the majority? How does that change culture? How does that change the feeling of being the most important or privileged? I think this deep seated fear coupled with job losses in coal/manufacturing and a misguided view on globalization has lead a huge population into an isolation populist wave. I can understand why someone might feel betrayed or left behind by a diversifying government/country when it appears to be sending your jobs abroad and immigrants continue to be a focus of the national conversation. Trump was able to pinpoint this issue with the help of Steve Bannon and decided to solve the problem for these Americans by building a wall, touting Muslims bans and extreme vetting. He propagated the lie that coal and manufacturing jobs can be restored without addressing the fact that a big reason these jobs get eliminated is merely because of tech improvements. He painted a picture that directly addressed ingrained fears and aversions in rural America. Democrats haven’t even begun to acknowledge this side of the problem. Is there a more positive picture to paint that also addresses this major problem for people? Is there a clear message that can be communicated concisely to people who distrust the government? Or is it just too late? Trump has energized a portion of the population that is hard to reach. I bet it’s even harder to change their minds. Maybe only Trump can do that.

First 100 Days

The 100 Day mark in the presidency may very well be a totally arbitrary line, but it does seem like a measurable that is widely accepted among politicians and journalists. Trump during his campaign made a huge deal about how much he would accomplish in the first 100 days. He constantly talked about how much immediate change his 100 day plan would do. Throughout the campaign the 100 day mark was anything but arbitrary for him. As we approach the 100 day mark, he his backpedaling calling it a ridiculous standard. I honestly think that he believes his first 100 days aren’t going well. If he believed that he was crushing it his tweets would look remarkably different I’m sure. He’s preparing for the windfall of comparisons to other administrations that have outperformed him. He has passed no new legislation and the majority of his executive orders don’t actually mean anything. Some call for reviews of current regulations, one was for immediate construction of the wall, 2 were for immigration ban, one was a freeze on government employee hires and a plethora of other meaningless or unconstitutional orders. The only ones that hold some weight will actually affect us adversely. For example, rollbacks on environmental protections like pouring coal ash into streams. “Vote for Trump! He’s the guy that will finally get the ash into the drinking water!” said nobody ever.

I’m new to politics. I realized something yesterday that seems like a big problem for people who are new to politics. What does it mean to be a Democrat? What is the overall message? What are the core values? Nancy Pelosi was asked on Meet The Press yesterday what it means to be a Democrat and she didn’t give a clear answer. How do you move the needle if you can’t answer that question in a clear 2-3 sentences? It seems like Trump was able to paint a clear picture of what being Republican means to him and that resonated with people. What is the picture for Democrats? If we can’t answer the question in a way the casual passerby can repeat we’re losing the battle.

It seems neither are guided by principles they hold dear. No core values that help them make big decisions that affect the country and the world. How am I to support them when I don’t know what their end goal is? It’s like asking your kids to trust your judgement while your constantly changing your mind. You must have tangible goals they can grasp. Integrity, be honest and trustworthy. Inclusiveness, understand that we all walk different paths and respect others views. Compassion, acknowledge that people can be victims of their circumstances and can use a helping hand. Team oriented, other people’s success matters. Justice, everyone deserves equal and fair treatment, be willing to stand up for what is right. My kids will be able to run through the moral compass I hope to instill in them to help guide their decisions. I don’t think it’s too much to ask of the people who act on behalf of the US to have a very clear moral code. I ask again, What does it mean to be a Democrat? We should figure it out.

Why the White Lies?

I can’t think of a time where Trump has actually communicated a clear thought in any of his press conferences. It seems like when he doesn’t know what to say he just says tremendous, good, great, huge and repeats himself twice. He drives me up the wall to listen to. I mean he’s so off the cuff, today he said Pavarati was a good friend, a very good friend and he’s been dead for 10 years. What are you supposed to do with that? First of all, what is that adding to the message you’re trying to deliver? What are you supposed to do with a president that is so off the cuff and so full of lies? I don’t even know where to start. I just feel so disheartened by the show tonight. I guess the thing that makes me the most concerned about this Pavarati situation is that I am very concerned that the person who holds the highest office in our country is such an accomplished pathological liar. I don’t know if the word is accomplished or it’s such an ingrained behavior that lies are just so off the cuff and rolls of the tongue so easy that his brain can’t do anything else except make things up.

How dangerous are people that spread conspiracy theories? How dangerous is a world that a fact is debatable? What can be done about people who spout lies and propagate conspiracy theories? How does money play into all of it? How do we change society? It seems hopeless.

Moral Leadership Matters

I’m getting ready for the day thinking about the James Comey interview last night. I follow the Russia investigation really closely so there were no bombshell reveals for me. The most notable thing was him saying the president is morally unfit to serve as president. If there’s anything that I agree with Comey about, it is that. I think about this all the time. I am constantly shocked by Trump’s behavior. When I think about my own kids it becomes even more clear that he is leading us astray. Would I accept my sons calling people names on twitter? Would I want them to make blanket statements about entire groups of people like Mexicans being rapists? Do I want them to think it’s ok to lie? Do I want my sons to treat women with no respect? The answer for me is no. Trump isn’t a role model and that disturbs me. I feel sad that we’ve have gotten to a point where it doesn’t matter what someone is saying, only who is saying it. Are they on my team or theirs? Us versus them. We’re all different so it’s critical that we try to find common ground. Trump doesn’t value that at all. It’s one of the main reasons I will be voting in this year’s midterm elections. A change has to begin now and it will take everyone voting according to their values, not with their party.