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Posts Tagged ‘Fourth of July’

Hope y’all had a Happy Fourth! The Bride and Groom imported an 8′ bouncy water slide onto their lawn, so that even on a 96 degree day all the kids had outside fun! I whipped up a pesto pasta primavera and Great Grandma Ada helped bake some mini-white-chocolate-lemon cheesecakes adorned with strawberries, blueberries and bits of broken white choco-lusciousness. Sprinkled amidst the watermelon and hot dogs were voter registration forms, just in case!

Because as we were celebrating our first Fourth with all the Grands in Nashville, the Rocker and Aunt KiKi were visiting two museums in Amsterdam, and this was his takeaway: “incredibly powerful visit to the national holocaust museum and memorial and the dutch resistance museum today on our last day in amsterdam. some sobering reminders of the dangers of fascism and what human beings are capable of. the dutch resistance museum was particularly intriguing, as it continually asks you, what would you do in the face of a rising wave of fascism? adapt and ignore, collaborate, or actively resist?”  

Could this just be the last, gasping, dying breath of racism dressed up as white nationalism? Yesterday, James Fields Jr pled “Not Guilty” in a Charlottesville courtroom to multiple federal hate crime charges. He was the Ohio man who decided he would drive his car into a group of counter-protestors at the “Unite the Right” rally last August on the Historic Downtown Mall. The very weekend we were moving from the Blue Ridge, Fields injured many and killed Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old young woman who believed in love and not hate.

The judge asked him if he suffered from mental illness… is that because if you’re white and run into a group of people with your car you couldn’t possibly be a terrorist? Fields said he suffers from depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and ADHD…and I nearly choked on the bile of his audacity.

That, and the news about Justice Kennedy had us all wondering when this assault on democracy might end; if we are going to resist, NOW is the time. Block a vote on filling the Supreme Court vacancy – there should be NO vote until Mr T is no longer the subject of a federal investigation! Here is what Cory Booker had to say :

“If we’re not going to thoroughly discuss what it means to have a president with this ongoing investigation happening, who is now going to interview Supreme Court justices, and potentially continue with his tradition of doing litmus tests, loyalty tests, for that person, we could be participating in a process that could undermine that criminal investigation,” Booker said yesterday. “I do not believe [the Senate Judiciary Committee] should or can in good conscience consider a nominee put forward by this president until that investigation is concluded.”   http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/booker-no-supreme-court-vote-until-resolution-trump-investigation

But the best thing about this last week, to end on a high note, is that Bob and I bought a new car! As many of you know, I dread driving on the Fourth of July, because that was the holiday that found my family fractured by a drunk driver in 1949. We had just lost our father to brain cancer, and now our mother, the Flapper, and Nana were hospitalized leaving baby me in the care of their friends. I’m a nervous wreck generally in any car, but Bob’s old Acura had lived a good, long life. It was time, it was past time.

We now have so many driver-assist doo dads, I’m feeling almost comfortable driving again. So keep the faith, register young voters, and start calling your legislators again people! Get on the Booker train, it’s time to pick your torch – the one in our Lady’s hand on Liberty Island, or the Tikki torches that marched on Thomas Jefferson’s campus. Patriotism is an active noun.

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IMG_0787Yesterday we got up early to wish our country a happy birthday. Like we’ve done so many times before, we headed up the mountain to Mr Jefferson’s home for the 52nd Naturalization Ceremony at Monticello. http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/state-regional/nearly-citizens-naturalized-at-monticello/article_33d59e48-03f4-11e4-af9a-0017a43b2370.html

Thousands always gather to watch our newest citizens swear an oath of allegiance to these United States; red and blue, right and left unite in our collective pride for once. And as Iraq was dissolving into tribal warfare, trying desperately to sustain its very early gestational stage of freedom, I thought about the bigger picture. How we didn’t achieve true independence in 1776, well not ALL of us did, IMG_0792

We had to fight our own bloody Civil War and then survive the tumultuous 60s, and we are still voting one state at a time for marriage equality in 2014.

And while the keynote speaker, David Rubenstein, co-founder and CEO of the Carlyle Group, read an amusing email he received from TJ himself, it was his list of famous immigrants that caught my attention; Albert Einstein, YoYoMa, Kissinger, Madeline Albright, etc and I couldn’t help but think about the buses of women and children that have faced angry mobs in California, and the refugee camps we’ve set up along border states.    IMG_0797

Still, what other country our size manages to allow and contain so much dissent, along with a free press? How will history tell this American immigration story? It turns out Mr Rubenstein graduated the same year as Bob from Duke University. I asked Bob if he thought he’d been a frat boy in 1970. The Yearbook that year was divided in two, one for the Greeks and one for the Geeks (Hippies).

And as I stood there with my little flag and my hand in its splint, I thought about the Supreme’s latest Hobby Lobby ruling. In 1967 when I was in college, doctors were not allowed to write prescriptions for that newfangled birth control pill if you were unmarried. And today, your boss can determine your reproductive destiny because SCOTUS has ruled in favor of corporations over women. And it has once again softened the line between church and state, and we know what Mr Jefferson would say about that! IMG_0783

http://classroom.monticello.org/teachers/resources/profile/6/Jefferson-and-the-Declaration-of-Independence/   ps why do I always look like some botched plastic surgery victim?

 

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Last night our City Council heard from many business owners on the Historic Downtown Mall. Their issue is that the numbers of homeless people congregating on the mall is hurting their business. I remember Mimi walking into her yarn shop one day and complaining about some people who were yelling profanities and getting into a fight a few doors up. Right smack dab in the middle of the day! I have to admit, it’s hard to sit outside for a scrumptious meal at one of our fine dining establishments with homeless people carrying on in the background. Catholic guilt kicks in. Still, our city, the People’s Republic of Charlottesville, has gone overboard in protecting the rights of the homeless: http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/cgi-bin/id/city.cgi?city=Charlottesville&state=VA its churches offer shelters; lawyers defend them in court free of charge; and there are ordinances protecting their right to congregate while restricting where they can stand/sit. Since they are not allowed to approach you for money, they sit with their dogs and kids holding cardboard signs explaining why they need to beg. Because that is what it is, not loitering, but begging.

My Jersey comes out at times like these. I grew up walking the streets of NY pre-Guiliani, when every block was teeming with beggars and people were sleeping on cardboard boxes outside of Tiffany. I was taught to ignore them. I know that sounds cruel, but the reasoning was that it would put (young) me at risk if I stopped to talk with them, and it would encourage more begging. There were shelters available and most homeless, I was told, are alcoholic and/or drug users; so any money I gave them was just feeding their habit. That made sense to me. Now we know that many homeless are not just drunks but mentally ill, and since there are laws prohibiting the forced administration of medication to these patients, unless they are a danger to themselves or others, they are stuck in a Catch 22 of bureaucratic limbo. If they are treated with psychogenic drugs, they will often stop taking them because they forget or just don’t like the feeling. So a cycle of homelessness can seem hopeless.

Certainly today, there may also be a small percentage of homeless who have fallen into poverty due to divorce or bankruptcy, and find themselves living in a car. My question is do homeless people really have the right, are they protected by our First Amendment, to sit on our public sidewalks with their signs up and their hands open? To argue and party with abandon so long as they remain a certain number of feet away from the Paramount Theatre? And how much can we the people balance and regulate their rights with the rights of business owners to operate their stores in relative peace?

When temperatures rise into triple digits in June, and many in our county are still without power in July, our City Council may find it difficult to keep tempers down around town. Stay safe, stay cool be careful around those fireworks – did you know you can buy them right in the grocery store in VA?! Happy Fourth of July Y’All, from this transplanted Jersey Girl!

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