Thursday, September 15, 2016

My America

Cards with the Happy Ladies Club.  It's Hand and Foot, a variation of Canasta that requires some but not total concentration.  With six decks in the draw pile, counting cards becomes an exercise in frustration.  So, we chat and we prompt one another when it's her turn, or when she's forgotten to discard, and then we go back to chatting.

If there are two tables, the conversation can often be loud  If there are six at one table, the game lasts forever.  It doesn't matter.  There are no toads in this group, there's no one I consciously avoid sitting beside, we all have our strengths and weaknesses but we're basically a congenial crowd.

And so, when Colin Kaepernick's kneeling during the National Anthem came up in conversation, there was no cause for alarm.  The Mainer was appalled, insulted on behalf of the military, thought it was a terrible idea.  I smiled and said I totally disagreed with her, that I thought it was a meaningful gesture that had far-reaching consequences and yes, he certainly could have held a press conference to express his views, but we probably wouldn't have been talking about it if he had.

The fact of our having the conversation, 60-something ladies in the desert Southwest talking about race and Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter and of course all lives matter but that's not the issue.  The issue is The Conversation - be respectful, hands in plain sight, say Sir, don't run - that parents of young black men have every time their sons leave the house.

That we were talking about it, parsing the details, worrying about where America was headed - that is my America.

And then, someone mentioned that she was still undecided about her vote in November. It wasn't all that awkward to ask her why.  She doesn't like either of them.  She doesn't trust Hillary; "She lied about Benghazi."  Republican sponsored Congressional Hearings found no facts, but she remained convinced that something was there that had not been found.  What turned her around was the reminder that that same investigating Republican Congress also refused to allocate the funds necessary to defend all our embassies adequately.  Mrs. Clinton couldn't have done it, even if she had wanted to do it.

She acknowledged Trump's basket of deplorable ideas, but thought maybe a change might be good for the country.  We worried that issue to death as we shuffled the cards for the last hand.  We were still smiling, still friends, still disagreeing but listening and thinking and, I hope, at least one of us was rearranging her future plans.

This is what I love about Tucson, and what I hold and have always held as my ideal of America.  The right to agree to disagree without the loss of status or freedom makes this the best country in the world... or as close to it as can be.  It was on full display at cards on Tuesday afternoon.


  1. It would all be so much better if the process wasn't so riddled with issues that don't matter and lacking in ones that do; so focused on personality (or perception of it) and not qualifications. I've no idea how to make it happen but it would be very helpful if candidates and news reporters had to tell the truth. Then the voters could make their decisions with good information. I can't understand why we don't demand that.

  2. Your friend was brave to say what she did about being uncertain and she must have trusted the ones she said it to. Frankly, in many places, to say you support Trump is to be dumped as a friend and accused of being a horrible person. I think that is more apt to happen than to tell righties you support Hillary. They will wonder why considering how deceptive they believe she is, but the are more likely to not unfriend you. I try to say little right now and will be mostly looking forward to the debates, which I will watch.

    One problem with our primary system is it seems to be an endurance contest-- who is strongest?! A lot of nearly 70 year old women could not stand for hours at events. What matters is that their brains still work. We'll know more about Hillary when she's in an unscripted situation (likewise trump). If she or he answer every question with a stump speech, that says a lot.

    This time the issues are important, but so is character.

    1. And the fact that she felt she could say it, that we could disagree and still be at the same table, laughing, is why I treasure the Happy Ladies Club. It's a rarity in these times... especially in these times.

      I hope that the moderators can hold Trump's feet to the fire and not let him run the show. I don't know why they can't have high stools or chairs.... how is standing up a qualification for president?



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