Archive for June, 2022


Author: admin

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way”

Just seven words. Seven one-syllable words. Words we’ve heard time and time again in many circumstances. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

For a decade or more, this country has seemed to be “off-course,” drifting aimlessly without direction. Maybe the absence of contemporary “will” has contributed to a national loss of “way.”

Think about it.

In 1941, faced with war on two sides of our circular world, this nation was called to arms by Franklin Roosevelt. He defined a need for national unity and all-out commitment to win two wars. Following that call to arms, we found the “will” and the “way” to win both in less than 48 months. Because the whole nation was focused in a definable undertaking.

In 1961, faced with Soviet successes in space, John Kennedy, following Roosevelt’s path, defined a need for the country, saying this nation would send a man to the moon in the next decade. We found the “will.” And the “way.” Again, national focus.

We did. We found the national “will” to accomplish the seemingly Herculean tasks that had been defined. We got to the moon. And beyond.

When the need was set, the “will” and the “way” followed. Successfully. Orderly. Quickly.

Forget, for a moment, all the national divisions that surround us. Ignore, temporarily, the political battles that have weakened our society. Just consider the American family. How ever it’s constituted in your world.

The pressures of keeping a family together have never been greater. More than half of American families have both parents working. Trying to keep up with the prices of groceries, health care, gas, school needs and dozens of unplanned expenses we all face. Plus, just parenting.

Many of today’s families are in single-parent households. There, those pressures are even greater as one parent tries to take the place of two while dealing with all those demands. Full time. Then some.

Nearly all of us – parents or not – have our heads down, “pedaling” as fast as we can to keep up with ever increasing demands on our time, our treasure and our talents..

At the national level, the picture seems much the same. Most of those in charge seem to have their “heads down,” trying to do everything in these demanding times to “keep up” as a nation.

Except Congress. Congress – such as it is – is hopelessly divided, producing little in ways to make our lives better. That must change.

The President sits atop a government that seems aimless as we lurch from one crisis to another. Whether it’s rampant inflation to a pandemic to national health emergencies to international calamities to gun massacres to gas prices. Trying to clean up the national mess left by the previous administration and the ever-present, day-to-day multiplying of national demands. There’s no time for leading – for setting a national course – for defining a new national goal.

“National will,” if you will.

And, that’s what seems to be missing. Some sort of national undertaking that involves us all, that unifies us working for a common goal, a goal that defines the “will” so we can be bound together finding the “way.”

Nations that lead – that prosper – almost always have some sort of national direction working at a common undertaking. It’s the sort of inspirational “glue” that binds all in a well-defined task. Like winning a war or two. Like setting goals for space achievement.

At the moment, we seem divided one from another in nearly all things. Our eyes are down – not lifted to the horizon of common understanding. We lack the purpose of common “will.”

We need something large and defining to bring us all together in single purpose. Something like ending homelessness in the next decade. It could be done. Undertaking serious work on global warming before it gets completely out-of-hand. It still can be done.

There ARE other huge challenges we face. Challenges we can overcome IF we can end the current divisions wasting precious time. Challenges sapping our strength and our resources.

“Where there’s a will there’s a way.”

Old words. Words from a previous time. Long ago. But, at least in my opinion, words we badly need to listen to. Today.

We shall see

Author: admin

Living in Northwest Oregon – where enduring the extensive waterfall in our months-long Spring is considered a survival sport – you have lots of what we call “indoor time.”

During such extensive intervals of avoiding the vertical wet, many of us turn to a sort of terminal version of minutiae which can entail activities up to and including reading wallpaper.

In such a downpour the other day, I was reading a story about a new poll by the folks at Gallup. I’ve never been contacted by that venerable company but have been a frequent follower of their studious work.

What caught my eye about the latest Gallup sampling was the bold headline. It read “Pro-Choice or Pro-Life?”

At first, I was just curious. But, given some deeper thought, I wondered, “What could possibly be new about that?”

I was in for a bit of a surprise.

Gallup’s recent field testing on the thorny abortion issue found something we’ve not seen for a long, long time.

A majority of Americans – 55% – now identify as “pro-choice.” That’s the highest in 27 years. During those years, when asked their thoughts, only some 40-50% identified as such. When converting percentages to population, that’s a significant shift in thought of millions of people.

And, there’s this. The polling began the same day the leak of the SCOTUS draft decision showing the court was likely on a path to gut Roe vs Wade was published by POLITICO.

Gallup’s Director for U.S. Social Research. Lydia Saad, attributed the rise in support for abortion rights to that SCOTUS news.

“The prospect of the Supreme Court overturning the case (which) established a woman’s right to seek an abortion has clearly jolted a segment of Americans into identifying with the “pro-choice” side of the issue,” she wrote. “More are expressing unequivocal support for abortion being legal.”

Identification as “pro-choice” rather than “pro-life” also went up nine-percentage points to 61% among women, up 12 points to 67% among young adults 18-34 and up nine points to 58% for adults 35-54.

Gallup found no significant change among Republicans, Independents, men or older GOP’ers.

The poll queried 1,007 adults over a three-week period starting the day the SCOTUS draft appeared. That would have been May 2nd.

And there’s this. The Wall Street Journal – no left-leaning publication – did its own polling about the same time and found more than two-thirds of Americans want Roe upheld with most favoring “access to legal abortion for any reason.”

The Journal called the results a “four-decade evolution” in the nation’s view of abortion rights.

Since Gallup’s poll found little-to-no-change in self-identifying “Republicans, Independents and men,” it would seem the upswing in “pro-choice” responses probably came from self-identifying Democrats – both men and women – and folks voicing no active political party connection.

Wherever the “pro-choice” support came from, you can bet politicians of every stripe will look at the numbers and “adjust accordingly.”

There is a visceral attachment to Roe by a sizeable cross-section of people in this country. Maybe Gallup will do additional polls to see just how large that group may be.

Regardless, just this outing found a notable up-tick of “pro-choice” voices meaning a lot of Americans are closely watching for the SCOTUS ruling which is due before the Court adjourns later this month.

What affect that ruling will have on the November General Election is anybody’s guess.

A little? A lot? No effect?

We shall see.


Author: admin

We’ve recently completed a nearly five-year stay in Arizona to move back to Oregon – specifically to the upper Willamette Valley about 40 miles outside of Portland. Good to be h-o-m-e!

During our desert hiatus, we had many interactions with people of Mexican heritage as well as others from the Southern hemisphere. Natural situation if you live in a state that borders Mexico.

When we left the overheated, drought-threatened “bliss” of a 55+ community for the damp climes of Oregon, we generally believed those Spanish heritage interactions would decline. We were wrong!

If anything, those occasions of cross-cultural contact seem to have increased to almost daily occurrences.

Oregon, like other coastal states, has seen an influx of Mexican and other Southern Hemisphere-born citizens. Just as is the case of transient, native-born Americans who’ve sought out the “peace and quiet” of the Northwest, many Latins have moved here and become participants in local economies.

A “for instance.” Last weekend, we bought a couple of occasional chairs to make up for the ones we left behind. The well-groomed and courteous sales clerk who helped us was filling out our sales receipt on a computer. A woman, obviously Hispanic, interrupted with a question. In Spanish. The man working with us turned to his right and answered her query in flawless (I think) Spanish without missing a beat. Entirely professional and multi-lingual. A real asset to any business.

In Arizona, nearly all lower level service jobs – garbage collection, car washing, janitorial, yard work – are filled by Hispanics. We seldom had an interaction with any Spanish heritage workers in sales or any other mid-level service employment. Just didn’t happen.

But here, on many business occasions, we’ve been graciously assisted by Spanish-speaking men and women.

Oh sure, if you’re dining in a Mexican restaurant or you’re in a small Mexican grocery store, you’ll hear and see the cultural differences. But, on the sales floor of a Chevrolet dealer? Dealing with an insurance broker? Consultation with a doctor born in Guatemala?

Welcome to these recent changes in Northwest living. Positive additions to most any town.

From what we’ve seen, the Spanish heritage influences being felt in our state – and I’m sure in others – have been mostly positive. Oh, you still see names with South American and Mexican origins in the local arrest and court action listings in the local paper. (Yes, Virginia, a lot of small town newspapers still do that. The few that are left.) But, you also see many Smiths, Abbotts, Olsens and Corleones as well. A real Heinz-57 mix of American scofflaws.

It’s interesting to see how our little community of about 35,000 has “moved over” to make room for these new citizens.

I was looking at a newspaper insert the other night, one sponsored by our city fathers. And mothers. It was a comprehensive list of all the activities available this Summer through the parks and rec department. Half printed in English. Half in Spanish.

Local directional signage, driver’s license materials, larger grocery selections of Spanish food items. A parks and rec publication. Not intrusive. Just added information for those who speak Spanish.

As others in our small community have, I welcome the addition of peoples who have talents and energy to add. There’s room for all and all are welcome. As it should be.

Still, I’ve got to confess. Sometimes, I get rankled by this assistance offered to people who don’t speak any English. I know. I know. We’re trying to be inclusive and welcoming. I gotcha.

But, travel to other non-English speaking countries, like Germany or Japan or Greece, and you’re not likely to see such mundane things as driver’s license instructions, inner-city bus schedules, necessary government forms and such offered in English. Not to mention parks and rec.

I truly believe, if you’re going to live in this country and enjoy the rewards of such residency, some effort should be made to learn the native language. And, I’m sure some folks do. We’ve got lots of students in our educational system who are learning by osmosis if nothing else.

But, we’re still staffing “English as a Second Language” efforts requiring multi-lingual teachers and other support staff. Many schools are using materials designed for kids who don’t speak English. Are the costs of such accommodation really necessary?

I’ll just leave those questions hanging there for your individual answers. In English, of course.

It ain’t over

Author: admin

Donald Trump’s effect on our national political affairs is, it seems, on the wane. Or, so it would seem.

Oh, he’s still out there. Still shooting verbal “bullets” at his perceived enemies and conducting near-daily, word-salad assaults on our system of democratic governance. He’s still a discordant voice of lies and anger.

But, evidence of his “diminished political capacity” is beginning to pile up. His “endorsements” to the contrary, Georgia’s GOP primary election defeats of his picks were across-the-board. Especially Governor and Secretary of State.

In Pennsylvania, where he blustered and bloviated, his choices were mostly losers. The one “bright” spot – for him – was the very, very narrow win of Mehmet Oz, a very flawed candidate for the U.S. Senate. Unless the erratic health of Democrat John Fetterman becomes more a factor than it appears, Oz will be denied a seat in “Emerald-City-by-the Potomac.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying, or even attempting to suggest, Trump won’t continue making his presence felt in picking, choosing and supporting various far Right candidacies. He will. Oh, yes he will.

But, the size of the crowd of followers of his scorched-earth approach to politics has been diminished. The “glory days” of his influence, I believe, may be behind him. For which we, the more sane citizen participants in our political affairs, should be ever-grateful.

But, here’s a worrisome item. Recent polling of the electorate shows fewer Americans believe DJT was behind the January 6th attack on our government than did a year ago.

NBC’s May sampling found just 45% of Americans believe Trump was “solely” or “mainly” responsible. That’s down 10-points in the last 12 months! Some 55% believe he was “somewhat” or “not really” responsible.

As with many things in our lives, the sharp edges of events-past seem to dull with time. In this case, that could be dangerous.

But – two evenings from now, the House Special Committee digging into the January 6th attack on the Capitol will hold its first publically televised hearing. Several more dates, later this month, are on the schedule.

It would seem one of the main tasks of the Committee will be to bring the depth and width of the conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election into sharper public focus by making more details public. Especially Trump’s participation. And his followers. Especially the well-armed ones.

Committee Co-Chair Liz Cheney, interviewed by CBS News last weekend, said the attack was “extremely well-organized” and that details already uncovered by the Committee are “chilling.”

She said those undermining efforts are “ongoing” and urged Americans to watch the upcoming programming to learn, firsthand, the very real dangers threatening our Democracy.

It’s this last part of Cheney’s statements – the “ongoing” part – that’s concerning. Seems many people thought the attack to prevent then-Vice President Pence from certifying 2020 election results was repelled, a good number of those involved were brought to justice. Just this week, Proud Boys – at least five of them – were charged with seditious conspiracy which will keep ‘em off the street for years – not months. And there’ll be more.

Sure, Trump continues to claim he won and was cheated. But, Cheney is saying there are still forces at play – dangerous forces – continuing to plot and strategize. Which could mean more militant confrontations in our streets. In Washington and elsewhere.

In the past six months or so, we’ve not heard much from the FBI, Justice Department or other federal agencies about the Oath Keepers, the Three Per-Centers and other armed groups. It’s a certainty the Feds and other agencies are keeping watch and likely have “inside” contacts reporting.

It now seems likely Trump is the public manifestation of a much wider conspiracy than generally known. If, as recent reporting has claimed, his more militant supporters are communicating and working underground, the public January 6th Committee hearings may, as member Rep. Jamie Raskin has said, “Blow the roof off the house.”

So, Trump’s about to take a backseat. He’s about to be over-shadowed. For a little while.

Resorting to an oldie – but a goodie – we all better “stay tuned.