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A day in the life

I really can’t think of one good goddamned thing about growing old. I know, I know, a great many of my friends were denied the privilege of doing so, and I guess you could put that on the plus side of the ledger. Of course, if you believe in God, heaven, and hell, you might well wonder if dying would be such a great thing after all. While I might not have been Adolph Hitler reincarnate, I guarantee you that I was not St Catherine of Sienna, St. Peter, St. Theresa, or any of the other really good people who do deserve a place sitting with the Lord. Of the ten commandments, I’ve broken damn near everyone, and I’m not certain that gets me a pass through the Golden Gates.

No, the only thing one can say about the golden years, as some are wont to call them, is the golden is the color of your pee and in itself that’s not always a good thing. You wake up in the morning and wonder if all of these aches and pains are going to go away with the first sip of coffee or even if you’ll make it to the kitchen to have that first cup. Your feet hit the floor and the diabetic nerve pain sends the soles of your feet into the marvelous, painful, tingling state that seems to override the leg cramps and the stiff neck, etcetera, etcetera. Stumbling into the bathroom, you do manage to relieve yourself in one way, but you still question whether that Senecot that you took last night will do its job soon or wait until you’re far removed from a toilet to take effect. Since you put on your Depends first thing, I suppose it shouldn’t matter, but cleaning up can be a bitch, particularly if you have to drive home to do so…ah, don’t worry about it. Fabreze does wonders in situations such as this.

The heavenly aroma of brewing coffee tells you that someone else has made it to the kitchen before you. (Oh, thank you, God). You rattle and creak, trying to keep your balance all the way down the hall and finally settle in to a seat at the kitchen table…where the pill container, blood pressure cuff, and diabetes blood sugar test kit await…all before coffee…or juice…or V-8 Fusion energy drink. Medical procedures performed, you wolf down the protein bar – which actually tastes good because it simulates Rocky Road. Now it’s time for the umpty-ump pills, washed down with…whatever.

Back down the hall for a silent brushing of the teeth and a gargle of Listerine, it’s now time to get to the computer, check the e-mail, check the Greater Good Network, and move on to the morning papers. Wild fires are still burning in the west, shootings are still taking place all over the country, Trump continues to tweet asinine comments about minor issues while ignoring the real needs of the nation, and…let’s see… oh yeah, the Red Sox bow out early in the ALCS…again.

By now, it’s shortly after 4:30 am. I climb into the 99 Camry, the one with 165+ thousand miles on it (purrs like a kitten…that just got its tail stepped on) and head for the gym, hoping against hope that the young women who opens will decide this is her day to sleep in. No go, however, and the doors open a bit before five. I greet a few friends and climb on the bike, get out the head phones and plug them into the I-pod for 45 minutes of the same goddamn thing every day…Olympic Fanfare, Washington Post March, Marine Corps Hymn, Pomp & Circumstance, and, of course, the 1812 Overture. Actually, it’s a pretty fast pace when it gets going. Eleven miles later, it’s off the bike and onto the mat for some stretching exercises, followed by 250 ab crunches. I stagger to the car and drive home, only to find that Juli is already up, has let the dog out, and is watching the morning news. I flop into the big bear chair, recline it, and watch CBS this morning…I think I’m ready for bed!

If asked to write down 15-minute intervals of the rest of the day, I’d be hard pressed to do so. I can tell you that my back hurts for the entire day, that it’s an effort to walk down the hall to get to the bathroom when nature so demand. I read a great deal, and even find some time to do a bit of writing for the blog, but I really cannot tell you how the day progresses…and that pisses me off. It’s like not having anything to do, but not enjoying not doing it…go ahead, figure that one out. Some days I drive Juli to the market…”You can’t come in because I shop faster than you walk.” Okay. Some days we get to Walmart in order for me to pick up prescriptions and she to do some other shopping. Some days we get out to lunch, but dammit, those are short-term things. What happens in between?

When you have a job, you have specific responsibilities. You know this; I know this. When you retire, you have things that you really want to do, but after almost 20 years into retirement, most of those things have been done. I have the feel that that is when the grim reaper begins to catch up. I’ll be damned if I want that son-of-a-bitch asking me if I’m ready yet, because the answer is that despite the aches and pains, the groans and gnashing of teeth, I’m quite certain there are still a few things I’ve yet to accomplish. Problem is…I can’t remember what the hell they are. Therefore, I will continue to piss and moan about the agonies of growing old while I continue to write nasty things about nasty people, good things about good people, go to the gym regularly, help with the garden and marvel at its wonders, read the books I wish and…hey, wait a minute, what am I saying? I may ache and I may be old, but life is pretty damned great when I pause to think about it. WOW, what a joy it is to be allowed to grow old.

I wonder

Anyone who has ever driven a car probably knows two main routes in the United States, particularly if they happen to live to the east of the Mississippi. The first is US Route 66. It’s outdated now because of the superhighways, but historically, well, it has a great deal of history. I drove parts of it back “in the day” when the superhighways were still just a dream. Motels, restaurants, big gas stations, and all sorts of touristy shops dotted that old route, but if you needed to get from point A to point B going west, it was a great road. The other route that most “easterners” know is US Route 1. It starts in Maine and goes all the way down to the Florida Keys. Hell, for all I know, maybe someday it will extend all the way to Cuba via a 90-mile bridge. Like US Route 66, US Route 1 has been replaced by US Route 95, and that will probably be replaced by some other superhighway Anyway, US Route 1 is the road I want to talk about.

The gym that I go to early in the morning is located on Route 1…in a shopping mall…across from one of what we call a “big box store,” in another shopping mall. Maybe that’s why some of these old routes have been bypassed…the new super-duper highways don’t have malls and such, just rest stops that host restaurants and gas fill up stations; oh, and stops for truckers. Well, anyway, I’m getting a little bit off base here, so let me get back to my original point. Here is US Route 1, passing right by the mall where the gym is located, and here I am, generally getting there around 4:30 in the morning. Sometimes I’ll break out the Kindle and begin reading one or another of the more than a hundred books I have on that device, but sometimes, just sometimes, I’ll sit with the driver’s side window rolled down and watch the cars and trucks rolling by on US Route 1.

A couple of days after the recent shooting in Las Vegas, I was sitting in the parking lot, thinking about all those people who just wanted to hear some country music, just wanted to enjoy themselves, and just, instead, got killed. It’s really difficult to process something like that because there’s no way to pass it off and say, “Well, that’s life,” “Shit happens,” or any of those stupid clichés. And then that stupid bastard has the audacity to take his own life and deprive the world of knowing what the hell was going through his mind. I want to know what he was thinking. However, if he hadn’t offed himself, he probably wouldn’t have been doing the killing in the first place. But, I want to know why, but I’ll never know…and that really pisses me off. So, I sit in my car, with the window down because it’s a warmish morning, and I watch the cars and trucks go by, and I think “Are any of you crazy enough to pull some shit like that?” “Are you driving along, hating the world and yourself so much that you would even consider stockpiling weapons for more than ten years, just so you could kill a group of strangers?” Why would anyone do that. How could someone, anyone, harbor that much hatred in themselves that they could do such a horrific thing.

So, I sit in the car and I ponder, but I also ponder where some of those trucks are heading and what they’re carrying, and when they’ll reach their destination. I wonder about the people in the cars on US Route 1 who are heading to or from work at 4:30 in the morning. What are they thinking? I’m pretty darned certain that they aren’t thinking of killing people, at least I hope they’re not thinking of that. It’s kind of crazy the things that I think about as I sit in that parking lot at 4:30 in the morning. One thing I don’t think about is my workout. Heck, that’s become such an established routine that it’s like I’m on autopilot. I know, I know, you’re supposed to change your workout regularly, and I guess I do that, but I really prefer to think about those people in their cars and in those big trailer trucks, and I like to wonder what they are thinking about.

Who knows, maybe one of those drivers looks over at the parking lot and sees this single car with a driver whose arm is resting on the open window, and they ask themselves, “I wonder who that damned fool is and what he’s thinking about this morning?”
Interesting, eh?

Okay, now what?

“This is the worst mass shooting in America’s history.” Bullshit! The worst mass shooting in this country’s history occurred on damn near any day during the Civil War. We didn’t tend to change the Constitution then, and we won’t change it now. Congressman Steve Scalise, shot several months ago, claims that if it hadn’t been for the two Capitol Police, he might have bled out, and he was glad they had guns. Personally, I believe that’s rather like trying to compare apples and oranges, but what the hell do I know.

After Sandy Hook, where 20 children and six adults were killed, the screams for greater gun control were heard for perhaps two weeks. Then, it was back to business as usual. It was, “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” And, “We should provide better health care for the mentally ill,” because, of course, Adam Lanza had to be mentally ill. I’m certain that we will also hear reports that Stephen Paddock was also a mental case of some type or other. What the hell does that have to do with the price of tea in China, or in this case, what the hell does it have to do with stricter gun controls. Just think about the ease with which this man could acquire more than forty guns, and God-only-knows how many rounds of ammunition. Second Amendment rights, my ass. Who the hell needs an AK47 to go deer hunting, and if they do, that deer probably won’t have enough good meat left to eat. How many more Adam Lanza’s, Stephen Paddock’s, Omar Mateen’s, and others are just waiting out there, gathering their guns and ammo and saying to themselves, “Shit…59…hell, that’s nothin.’ I can beat that record, man. Just you wait ‘til I get everything together,” and now they’ve been given a new location from which to begin their horrendous and grisly attack. Do you think I’m blowing smoke up your skirt? You think I’m being an alarmist? Good heavens, watch the evening news some time. See what’s going on in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, or almost any large city in the country.

We are out of control when it comes to gun violence…and the National Rifle Association (NRA) is such a powerful lobby in this country that there is no way in hell they will allow legislation to be passed by Congress to place greater control on who is allowed to have guns, how many, or the requirements to own them. Worse yet, Congressmen and I imagine some women as well, just love their guns and are terrified they might have to go through some vetting process which may put restrictions on the number or type of guns they can have…not to mention that the NRA pays Congress very well to vote negatively on any legislation regarding gun control.

I don’t happen to be a gun owner. My Dad was. He had a .22 pistol and an over and under shotgun. In the service, I qualified as a marksman with the M-1 rifle, the M-1 carbine, and the .45 caliber pistol. It’s not that I don’t like guns. I see no reason why I should own any. “Don’t you want to protect your family?” you may ask. Well…now…gee…My wife died of cancer; my kids are all grown up, married, and living away, so I guess the answer is, “No, if someone wants to shoot their way into the house and kill the two of us, hey, we gotta die of something.” I don’t know if my married daughters have guns. I do know that my son does own them. That’s his business.

What changes should be made in gun control legislation? I’m not certain that I’m qualified to answer that question, but let me give you some thoughts. I don’t think any single individual should be allowed to own a weapon of war such as an automatic rifle, hand grenades, anti-tank weapons, or surface-to-air missiles. Don’t kid yourself, people own these things. I have an old friend living in Oregon who is as prepared for a WWIII invasion as anyone I know. He’s a former tank driver. I’d trust him with my life, but I really don’t know why he needs the supply depot that he owns. I also believe that the process for acquiring a gun should be more stringent. Personal freedoms be damned. If someone wants to own a gun, he or she should be prepared to tell law enforcement why they want it, what it is, and how it will be used, and a record of that should be on file with some local, state, and federal agency. I do not believe that anyone purchasing a gun should have to undergo a mental examination. That’s just a bit much. Why is it, however, that whenever one of these mass shootings takes place, the first thing that is said is that the person had to have had mental issues. Maybe so, or maybe he or she just thought it would be nice to see what killing felt like…yeah, I guess you might want to call that something of a mental disconnect, but is it really? If guns were not as easily available, would that person ever even have such thoughts?

According to a US News & World Report article in June of this year, “Gun-related violence killed three people in the U.S. every two hours in 2015, according to data collected by the Global Health Data Exchange. Despite a rather steady decline in gun deaths in the past decade, firearms remain a significant issue for the country, evidenced this week by the shooting at a U.S. congressional baseball practice in Virginia and a separate shooting at a San Francisco package delivery store that left four people dead.”

Gun deaths in America are nearly double the global average according to this same article and, “Research published in the American Journal of Medicine last year found that Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed by firearms than people in other developed countries.”

The article goes on to state that “Among countries ranked by total gross domestic product, rate of death by firearm assaults in the U.S. was more than 10 times higher than the next four highest countries combined, according to data from the Global Burden of Disease. Those four countries are China, Japan, Germany and the U.K.”

All of this being said, I leave you with one question…”What do those countries know that America does not?”

Recently, I penned a piece about respect and dignity. Without rehashing the entire thing, it was about a time when I felt disrespected by a high school teacher who, in effect, told me to go get a full-time job in a grocery store because I’d never amount to anything. Thinking on it, she not only disrespected me but everyone who works in retail…across the board. Evidently, she didn’t think much of people who work in that field…and that’s wrong.

Disrespecting people because of what they do with their lives – other than people who are criminals – is disrespectful of all classes of people. In her case, the thinking was, “If you don’t go from high school to college, you will never amount to anything good.” Even many of the surveys that you see emphasize the importance of a college education. According to Market Watch, a college graduate will make $1 million more than someone with a high school diploma, and depending on the field, that amount may be as much as $3 million. Oh, those poor, lowly high school graduates. Oh, what bullshit are we selling today.

It may be true in some cases that some college graduates make more money over their lifetime than some high school graduates, but I firmly believe that this is just another case of statisticians skewing results to favor something that not even they know is a fact. That is a forty-seven-word sentence that means just about as much as some college degrees. I say that because there are fields where a high school diploma can earn you buckets of bucks. Unfortunately, too many people are choosing to go to college, graduate with anywhere from $37,000 in loans to pay back, and don’t begin to profit until they’re two-thirds of the way through their first year of work.

Our granddaughter went to college and graduated in the traditional four years. She went to work at a pretty decent salary and, after two years, decided that the business world was just not for her. Sure, she had been a great student, a terrific athlete, and obviously a qualified job applicant. Her decision was to go back to nursing school because she wanted to give back. When she came to this realization I haven’t a clue. She’s probably going to earn a hell of lot less money as a nurse than she would have as a business executive, but that’s beside the point. It’s just further ammunition for my argument that high school graduates very often don’t know what they want to do, but opt for college purely because it is the track du jour for today’s youth…and that’s the bullshit part of my thinking.

Not everyone belongs in college. People who wish to become doctors or dentists; people who are going into the family business; people who are certain that they would be great in the field of law, sure, these are people who belong in programs that will lead them to their goals. However, there are others, those who want to go into accounting, for example, who graduate and within five years ask themselves, “What the hell was I thinking?” I cannot tell you the number of young CPA’s who have come up to me in the gym and asked, “What do I do to get into some other area of business?” or “How did you get into public relations?” If you really want me to give you a number, I’d say it’s been around ten young college grads who have asked the questions. The sadist part is that each of them admitted that they still had college debt to pay.

A fellow I know was the headmaster at a vocational school. He gave me a tour of their facilities one day and proudly showed off the carpentry, auto mechanic, plumbing, electrician, and other “labs” that they featured. There was also a cosmetology studio, a kitchen for those wishing to pursue jobs in any area in that field, as well as classrooms to pursue the necessary studies that were integral to the field students were pursuing. These graduates would go from high school to some form of apprenticeship, without debt, and begin earning immediately. If you’ve ever needed a plumber, roofer, or electrician in an emergency, you know well what the cost is. Tell me that many of these people are making a million dollars less than some college graduates and I’ll laugh in your face.

The biggest problem right now is that people are not going into the trades. For every two people who are retiring from the building trades, less than one cardboard cutout figure is replacing them. If supply and demand economics holds true, I would venture to guess that many people who do enter these fields are going to be making a hell of a lot more money in the future. Perhaps advances in building, plumbing, electrical, and other materials are being made that will simplify some of these tasks but the key is still people who can do the jobs. The gentleman we hire to do things around the house that we can’t do is a college graduate. He considers himself a “handyman.” The fellow who mows and cares for our lawn and plows our driveway in the winter holds a master’s degree and owns his own landscaping business. Our underground sprinkler system is tended by a man who saw an opportunity and with his engineering background, jumped at it to begin a highly successful background. Did all have college debt when they began? I don’t have a clue. Did they feel a college degree was necessary? You’d have to ask them, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t feel the same thing that our granddaughter and those accountants felt…I just want to do something where I will feel better about what I’m doing.

There was a time when I said that no one should be allowed to attend college right out of high school. I believed then, and to some extent, believe today, that secondary school graduates should either work in retail for two years, join the military for a two-year stint, or perform a community service job for minimal pay for a couple of years. First, it will teach them what they probably don’t want to do for the rest of their lives. Second, it will give them a better focus about where their strengths can best be used. Third, they will not waste money by going to college with any idea of their future plans. Seems to me that if the first question a guidance counselor asks is, “What colleges are you thinking of,” they are not doing their students any favor. Perhaps the question should be, “Do you have a clue to what you wish to do for the rest of your life?” At 18, I was completely clueless, and had my mother not asked that question, well, I’ve always said while father may know best, mother knows the right questions to ask.

Dignity and respect

“I hope you can get a full-time job at the A&P,” she said. “You’ll never be good for anything else.”

She, in this case, was Victoria Howarth, a high school English teacher who taught only those children who would be going to college. Her remarks to me were made out in the hallway, in front of one of her pet students whose mother just happened to be a member of the school committee. Those remarks hurt. Now that I’m an octogenarian, I guess I can admit that. Her pet student went on to study at Regis College in Weston and, as I understand it, then went on to New York City and became …how shall I put this…oh, be polite…okay…became an escort. Ergo, while I did work at the A&P all the time I was going through college, I did manage to graduate and then received a master’s degree from the same institution. Oh, and I later went back and substituted at my old high school, making it a point to run into Miss Howarth at every opportunity.

“Where are you going with this?” you may well ask, and to be truthful with you – usually an indication that one is not about to be truthful – I don’t really know where I’m going to take you. There are two distinctly different directions in which this could go. The first concerns the disrespect shown to me by “Vicki,” and I got a huge kick out of calling her that when we were supposed colleagues. The second direction I could take is what might have happened to me had I chosen a path different from that of going to college, although spending the rest of my life at the A&P would not have been a career choice for me.

Let’s take the disrespect aspect of Miss Howarth’s remarks first. She did everything but call me a blithering idiot in front of one of my peers. At 17, it’s painful to get slapped like that. Today, of course, when the skin has thickened a bit, I could tell the old biddy off and not really be too concerned about her opinion of me, but then, way back then, it hurt. As a result, when I listened to Air Force Lieutenant Jay Silveria’s remarks the other day – over and over and over again – it brought back that painful episode in my life. General Silveria, commandant of the Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs, had been told of some racist remarks written on the message boards of five black cadets. Here’s what he had to say: “That kind of behavior has no place at USAFA and no place in the Air Force. You should be outraged, not only as an airman but as a human being. It’s the power of the diversity, the power of the 4,000 of you, and all of the people on the staff…the power of us as a diverse group, the power that we come from all walks of life, that we come from all parts of this country, that we come from all races, that we come from all backgrounds, gender, all makeup, all upbringing, the power of that diversity comes together, that makes us all that more powerful. If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then you need to get out. If you can’t teach someone from another gender, whether that’s a man or a woman, with dignity and respect, then you need to get out. If you demean someone in any way, then you need to get out. And if you can’t treat someone from another race or with different colored skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out.” Obviously, I have excerpted from his remarks. I hope that you will go online and listen to his entire speech. It reminded me of that afternoon so many years ago when a person years and years my senior found it necessary to demean and disrespect me, not as a high school student, but as a human being. Sure, I’ve put on my big boy panties and gotten over it…most of the time, but every so often, every now and then, an event occurs that will trigger that memory….and I don’t like it one bit. However, in all fairness, it’s not just the Vicki Howarth’s of this world who are guilty of engaging their tongues before consulting their brains, and that’s a lesson we should all carry away from this piece. If you cannot treat another person with dignity and respect, walk away. If you see a woman wearing a hijab or full Muslim dress, and you cannot treat that woman with dignity and respect, walk away. Examples could go on and on, but you understand what I’m saying. If you want to feel hateful and disrespectful of others, go ahead. But know one thing, if you say it around me, I won’t tolerate it. I may not speak out to you in front of others, but rest assured that I will speak to you. It may cost me your friendship, but I’m not so certain I want to be your friend if you cannot treat others with dignity and respect.

Oh, and my classmate who was an escort, well, she got out of that business and last I heard was happily married and living on a farm in northern New England. Can’t help but wonder though if she remembers that afternoon, outside Room 210, at RHS.

Protest, protest, protest

What is all this stink about protests. The way I’m looking at it right now is that Trump is blasting the NFL and its players because he truly doesn’t understand the background of this current protest phenomenon. When Colin Kaepernick first sat down while the national anthem was played, it was in a pre-season game. He later said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder” His explanation of why he later began taking a knee rather than sitting was to “show respect for members of the military,” after he had spoken with a veteran about his actions. This is the part that Trump doesn’t get. Taking a knee, linking arms, doing whatever one wants to do is not disrespecting the anthem or the flag or any other “symbol.” It is begging the United States to pay more attention to the number of blacks who are being killed by police. What Kaepernick did and what others are doing reflects what is happening in America. By his words and by his actions, Trump has only exacerbated the situation rather than defuse it.

Think about this for a moment…America has been a land of protest before it was a land called America. English people came to this new world as a form of protest against the Church of England. Yeah, protesting goes all the way back to the Pilgrims…but you knew that. Once we got a few colonies established, what did we do? We protested by taking it up a notch to protest King George and all of England. That became sort of the ultimate in protests, but it also became the founding of the country that we know to today. The North protested the South’s tradition of slavery and the South protested the North’s intervention in that tradition. Again, another ‘ultimate’ protest in which, depending on your source, between 640,000 and 850,000 Americans gave their lives. We are a nation that thrives on protest. Workers strike to protest working conditions or pay. Minorities marched to protest the treatment of blacks in the South. Good Lord, all you have to do is walk down Pennsylvania any day of the week – including Sunday’s – and you’re bound to find someone outside the White House with a protest sign in their hands, and the same is true in the halls of Congress.

When Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised black-gloved hands on the podium of the 1968 Olympics, many thought it was a Black Power salute. As Smith later recorded in his book, Silent Gesture, it had nothing to do with black power and everything to do with human rights. There was much greater symbolism to the clothing worn by Smith, Carlos, and silver medalist, Peter Norman. All three wore human rights badges on their warmup jackets, and Smith and Carlos dressed to recognize black poverty and black lynching’s. Most people never even saw the symbols they wore, merely the raised fists, and even that was misinterpreted.

Should professional athletes be above the fray and not allowed to express their concern over what is wrong in America? You call it. Can you protest something that you believe is unfair? Can you do it publicly by carrying a sign? Of course, you can. Perhaps you don’t like the fact that the athletes do it while millions watch on television or thousands in the stands. Perhaps you’re with them one hundred percent. Perhaps you don’t give a damn one way or the other. I believe that Kaepernick and all the others who have followed him have a perfect right to do what they’re doing and the way they’re doing it. I also believe that standing, locking arms, and showing solidarity against a racist political figure who doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground and who is trying to divide rather than unite this country is perfectly fine.

I hope to heaven that the time never comes in this country when men and women, old and young, black, white, brown, yellow, or red cannot protest what they believe is wrong with where the country is going. At that point, America is no longer a democratic republic and that will be the end of America. We’re already attempting to take away the rights of woman when we tell them that they cannot choose. We’re attempting to take away the right to vote from blacks and others when we demand that they show identification to vote while allowing whites to pass freely into the voting booths. We’ve taken away many of the rights of the red man by confining him to some of the poorest pieces of property in this country. Ever since our founding, we have tried to keep one group or another from gaining a foothold on the ladder to the top, but, for the most part, it’s been through protests and hard work that the ladder has been climbable. Keep kneeling Colin, and keep protesting unfairness America.

Not since James K. Polk has an American executive been as divisive as Donald J. Trump. Just as Polk’s slave holdings were a contributing factor to the Civil War, so Trump’s actions are attempting to once more make race an issue in the United States. Ever since his tepid remarks about Charlottesville and his sorry attempt to redefine his remarks, he has shown over and over that his white supremacist base is exactly who he plans to appeal to in order to have an eight-year term in the White House. If that means that blacks take issue with him and seek revenge for the actions of a few white police officers, it will only fuel his ongoing racist attitudes.

Trump appears to feel that kneeling by players in the NFL during the national anthem is an affront to the anthem and to the American flag. If he could take his head out of the sand long enough, he might understand that they are not protesting either. Their protest regards the manner in which this nation is once again being divided by the color of peoples’ skin. To say to NFL owners that they should fire the “son-of-a-bitch” who kneels before the anthem is sung is not only an insult to the players, but to the mothers of those players…think about that one carefully before you make any snide comment.

Perhaps the one thing that is becoming bothersome to me is the slow pace of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. I can only hope that it’s because Mueller and his team are dotting ‘I’s and crossing ‘t’s before slamming the door in Trump’s face and opening the door for Congress to impeach the slimeball. Do I actually hate Donald Trump? The answer is no. I hate what he stands for. If he wished to remain a sleazy real estate mogul in New York, going bankrupt, coming out of it and going bankrupt again, that was fine and didn’t affect my bottom line in any way. Now, however, he occupies a position of power and trust that does affect me and every other American citizen, including our naturalized citizens and the children who were brought here illegally by their parents, and he is still being the sleazy operator that he was when he was in real estate.

The Republican Party had seven years to decimate the Affordable Care Act, and one of Trump’s major talking points was “repeal and replace.” Neither the Republicans, Trump, nor the Democrats ever thought of the more appropriate slogan which might have been “repair and reinvent.” Would it have been possible? No, not with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle so unwilling to meet and have an open debate about the merits and faults of the ACA. As a consequence, instead of working together to achieve a consensus, Congress tried more than 70 times to merely repeal the act. That’s like a football team trying to run a play through the eight hole every play, knowing that there are two 385 granite blocks on the other side who are immovable, or to put it another way, it’s like trying to knock down a steel door with your head. Wait a minute…nah, forget it.

Taking Trump’s asinine behavior one step further, why is this man so interested in playing chicken with North Korea. When Goldilocks starts calling other world leaders his little made-up nicknames, he has no idea of how they will react. In the hermit kingdom of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, a man of questionable mental stability, might just become sufficiently pissed to launch an all-out attack on his neighbors to the south, thereby triggering a response that could well develop into WWIII with a final solution not dissimilar to On The Beach.

When the United Nations was formed, it adopted a portion of the goals of the League of Nations, formed shortly after WWI. A portion of this meant, “to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security.” Trump’s recent remarks to the General Assembly of the UN hardly was in the spirit of international cooperation. Quite plainly, it was a declaration of war against Iran and North Korea and not once, but several times did he make his intentions known. I was somewhat surprised that several of the nations represented didn’t get up and walk out to show their displeasure with the tenor of his speech. I suppose they were worried that they might be the subjects of his next round of Tweetie Bird tweets. I could have told them not to worry, that he was too concerned about the Emmy Awards and what the players in the National Football League were doing.

This country is in dire need of a Health Care Bill that will provide coverage for those who want and need it, and in most cases, those who have preexisting conditions that must be covered. We are also in dire need of tax reform that will simplify our tax code. Rather than the nearly 74,000 pages that the current tax code requires, there should be something less complex and confusing. Who is working on this? Is anyone working on this, or is this like the health care bill…”We’ll get around to it.” If you and I had that same attitude on our jobs, we’d be out looking for work in no time flat.

If Donald Trump wishes to remain in his current position, he damn well better start to act like he knows what he’s doing, and stop taking on piddly-ass causes like slamming football players, news outlets, and members of the entertainment community. Otherwise, he should get out now while the getting is good. He may even be able to convince Robert Mueller to stop the investigation that will probably put him behind bars.