Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Something Other Than the Baby

I promise - The Burrow will not turn into a grandma blog.  It's just that I am obsessed right now, surrounded as I am by baby paraphernalia and a nursing mother and a little ball of love.  But there are other things going on in the world, things upon which I must comment.

First, let us take a moment an mourn the loss of James Brady.  Younger readers may not remember that he was President Ronald Reagan's press secretary early in Reagan's first term.  I enjoyed his repartee; quick wit is often frowned upon in political circles but he was a master of the art form.  His genial demeanor made up for the fact that he was working for a man whose idea of trickle down economics made my blood boil.

And then, in 1981, he was shot in the head by a mentally ill young man, as he was standing 10' from his boss.  Brain damage, partial paralysis, constant pain ... none of them stopped him from becoming an advocate for stronger, sensible, background check legislation.  The Brady Bill mandated a waiting period before purchasing a gun, a position Brady had not embraced before his shooting.  As he said, in 1993 as President Clinton signed his eponymous legislation,
"Every once in a while you need to wake up and smell the propane. I needed to be hit in the head before I started hitting the bricks."
His wife, Sarah, is one of my heroes.  She took a licking and kept on ticking, turning her ire into tireless efforts with The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

In a similar vein, Moms Demand Action held a training session for 200 volunteers in Las Vegas last weekend.  Phone banking and skill development and networking created super-volunteers, ready to return to their local communities and fight the good fight.  The more I look at the words above, the more attracted I am to the names of these two organizations. How can you be for gun violence? Preventing it should be a natural inclination.  If it's not, then let's demand some action to make it be so.

Turning to other news, it's odd to be in a state without a contested national election.  In my district in Arizona, Rep. Ron Barber (D, AZ) has been targeted by the Republican National Committee.  Outside PAC monies have poured into television ads, the Republicans vying in the primary to oppose him in November have bought tv time, and the Democrats and the Congressman have retaliated in kind.  The border fence will be enhanced, and we'll send Obama the bill.  Obamacare is frightening and horrifying and must be repealed.  Good works and pictures of seniors and children and open space underly the Congressman's face.  It's loud and annoying and changing no one's mind.

Here, in Illinois, there's a governor's race which has much of the same intensity, but less national import.  Instead, I'm hearing personal attacks, references to financial shenanigans, and warring statistics on job growth.  The ads are wordy and boring. It seems that I prefer the fireworks at home.

I think that there would be fewer fireworks if President Obama were doing a better job of selling his accomplishments.  Republicans are skewering one another for being willing to work with the other side.  That would make sense if, as they allege, everything the President has done has been an utter failure.  But, sitting with a new mother, I must beg to disagree.  Prenatal vitamins are now free, with Obamacare insurance.  A dual, electric, breast pump was also part of the package, at no extra charge. Grandma on the couch has insurance even though she used up her maximum lifetime allowance in 2011, through no fault of my own.

These are all good things, as are the good economic numbers which TBG sees on the financial channels.  But, when he turns on the evening news, these achievements are no where to be found.  I love our President dearly, but he is a lousy communicator and an even worse self-promoter.  He's gotten it done, but he's not bragging about it.  I'm not sure what he's waiting for, but I am tired of looking for that which is not there.

And speaking of that which is not there, I find that I really miss my morning newspaper.  There's a new app for the local paper, and it's followed me to Illinois on my phone.  I can scroll through articles the site managers have deemed interesting, but the mug shots of newly arrested criminals, the Road Runner column which tells me why repaving is taking an eon, and the comics are either not there or not obviously accessible.  I can eat my yogurt and Kashi Crunch cereal while peering at my phone, but it's not the same as turning newsprint.

I need that sound to start my day off right.  If I can't have it, I guess I'll just have to listen to the baby coo.

Damn.  That resolution in the first paragraph didn't last very long at all.

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