Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

A Day Like No Other

I headed for the Y this morning, surprised I was awake and eager – I’d been up late the night before following the senatorial elections in Georgia, finally giving up when I couldn’t stay awake any longer. When I got to the Y, I found all the lanes filled, more than filled, and people waiting. In a state with one of the highest COVID rates in the nation and one of the highest death rates, and a state rated #50 in all 50 states in the health care for the elderly (aaack, I choke even to write this word, which seems to apply to me, but I do not feel “elderly”) I cannot stay in a place where a lot of unmasked people are breathing heavily as they exercise. I came home and walked a mile, then went on with my day.

I fell in love with a beautiful heron.

And his friends:

What a day it was. Two Democrats elected in Georgia, swinging the Senate to a 50-50 split, with Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker. As I see it, it is a challenge and a win-win. If this country is going to heal, we have to work together. We have to try to see things from the other’s point of view, and we have to find ways to compromise to achieve the greater good. We have so much work to do just to remedy the great slough of the last four years, work in the fields of justice, environment, health care, infrastructure, diplomatic relations, oh my, so much work to do in so many areas. It’s going to take all of us working together.

So as we are eating lunch and Mitch McConnell is on CNN making an astonishing speech supporting accepting the electoral college votes for Joe Biden, so astonishing it caught our full attention, and then all hell broke loose. There was a rallying speech by our Fearless Leader, who assured his followers once again that the election had been stolen and he was going to march with them (he didn’t) to the Capital where the senators and congresspeople were meeting, and they were to show how strong they were, and not be weak.

We watched in horror as this mob headed to the Capitol and knocked over the barriers and FOUGHT WITH THE POLICE. these followers of the Fearless one who calls himself the Law and Order President. Oh the shame of it! We watched as they broke windows, and lookie-lou’d, phone cameras in every hand documenting their invasion. We watched a sole policeman trying to staunch the mob as they headed for the law-makers chambers. The horror. The shame. I think all America was watching these hooligans with utter horror.

Not the brightest bulbs in the chandeliers; the US government offices are littered with cameras and state-of-the art facial recognition sortware. For the rest of their lives they will be instantly recognized as yahoos and insurrectionists in their FBI files accessible to every sheriff’s office and police department in America. What utter fools.

What did they think they were going to be able to accomplish? I suspect it was not a question of thinking; they were part of a mob and just sort of mindlessly participated not even realizing what they were doing. The last thing they would accomplish was overturning the will of the people, those voters who defeated the sitting president by more than 7 million votes.

As I write this, the Senate and House are meeting again to verify the electoral college votes and probably will agree to research better, more efficient ways to secure the vote in the future, maybe find more standardized ways to provide equal access to voting to all Americans, and to think of ways to more efficiently tally the vote. Joe Biden is safe. He will be inaugurated January 20th. And Kamala Harris will be one of the most important Vice-Presidents in history, providing the tie breaking vote when Democrats and Republicans fail to agree, but even better, working in the background to find ways to get lawmakers to craft legislation that will serve the people of both parties. I believe this.

At the end of this extraordinary day, I looked out and saw this:

Is that not beautiful?

I believe that out of the most horrendous circumstances, great good can come. I have seen this in my own life. People can change. Lives can change. We have choices, and sometimes it takes a good shaking up to show us how we can make better choices. I have hope that today has opened eyes, and opened hearts, and that it has opened a possibility that we can find a way to work together to accomplish great things.

Nancy Pelosi is talking about today being a day of Epiphany, a time of change and healing. My Moslem friends would say “insh’allah.” God willing.

January 6, 2021 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Cultural, Events, Interconnected, Law and Order, Leadership, Political Issues, Social Issues, Sunsets | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Congress Overturns Bush Veto

From BBC News.

The United States Congress has for the first time overturned President George W Bush’s veto, on a bill authorising spending on water projects.

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The Senate voted 79-14 to overturn the veto, after the House of Representatives voted 361-54, well over the two-thirds majority required.

The last time a veto was overridden was in 1998, under President Bill Clinton.

The bill authorises billions of dollars-worth of local projects, many of which Mr Bush says are unnecessary.

It includes funding for coastal restoration in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, improving the Florida Everglades and fisheries in the Great Lakes.

Many local projects, such as dams, sewage plants and beach restoration, are considered important to local communities and therefore to politicians’ electors.

My comment: It’s about time. I only wish it had happened before, when Congress approved a child healthcare plan, Bush vetoed it, and Congress didn’t have the votes to override the veto.

In the US system, there are two houses in the legislature; the Senate, with two representatives from each state, and the House of Representatives, with representations allocated according to population. When a bill is passed, it has to be passed by both houses, by a simple majority, more voting for than against. Then the bill goes to the President for his signature. If he vetos the bill (says no) then the bill can still become a law if 2/3 of the members of the Senate and 2/3 members of the House vote for it.

Several members of Bush’s party, the Republicans, had to vote with the Democrats in order to overcome the veto.

You can read the rest of the story HERE.

In addition to national laws, there are state laws. In my state, Washington state, there is a really cool way a bill may be introduced by the people, called an initiative. If you can gather enough genuine signatures – and they will be sampled and verified, so you really have to have more than enough real signatures – you can put an issue on the ballot. It usually takes a lot of signatures, and most of the time the initiatives can be a little bit crack-pot, but it puts a lot of power in the hands of the people to have this instrument for making laws.

On the other hand, there are also referendums, in which the elected legislators will send a bill to the people to vote on.

These are both forms of direct democracy, where the people vote for themselves, instead of trusting elected representatives make the decisions for them.

You would think it would be an ideal form of democracy, but to work, it requires that people educate themselves on the issues, and people often aren’t willing to do that.

November 9, 2007 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, Education, Locard Exchange Principal, Political Issues, Social Issues | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment