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My Thoughts on the Election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States

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“I pledge to every citizen of our lands that I will be the president for the American people. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past . . . I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so we can work together and unify our great country.”

 

As the clock moved from 8:00 to 9 to 10:00 p.m. and then all the way past midnight to 1:00 in the morning, I could see the dream that I and millions of other Americans shared of a Hillary Clinton Presidency—the first woman President—come crumbling and then eventually crashing down.  I wanted this woman—whom I know in my heart—to be a kind, caring, and compassionate person—I wanted this extraordinarily talented brilliant woman to be our President and to usher in a time of greater understanding and greater tolerance for all.  Let me not understate the degree to which I believed in Hillary Clinton and in her commitment to the American people—especially to those who have not been able to share in the American dream.  I—like so many of you—am devastated by the Clinton loss and the Trump win.

 

Having said all that, however, I am determined to make my grieving process just as short as possible.  I was despondent for a full 6 hours as I stayed glued to my TV screen, surfing the news channels—looking in vain for the glimmers of hope to miraculously transform themselves into a narrow Clinton victory.  Such was not to be the case, however.  Miracles were in very short supply, and those miracles that were in the air, were captured and enjoyed by the Donald Trump supporters.  By 1:30 a.m., I had seen and heard all that I needed to realize that Donald Trump was to be our 45th President of the United States.

 

As I awakened this morning just before 7:00 a.m., the news from Charlie and Nora and Gayle—along with that of Chris Cuomo—confirmed my worst fears and the certainty of Donald Trump’s election.  Yet, having said all that, I refuse to dwell on recriminations.  I refuse to linger on the what-if’s.  I refuse to excoriate Mr. Trump and his legion of supporters.  I know and you all know too many people—colleagues, facebook friends, relatives—who love our country and are intelligent, caring  people—who voted for Mr. Trump.  Some did so unabashedly or with pride, and others did so despite some serious reservations.

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For me, even now, it is time to begin to pick myself up and begin to move on.  For me it is time to pull together whatever fibers that I have of a resilient personality and move on.  For me, it is time to do what I had urged the Republicans to do 8 years ago when Barack Obama was elected.  That is, to realize that our nation—as a whole—has spoken.  We have elected a President that for the next four years will serve as the President of ALL of the people.  As much as it may pain us, we need to do what we urged the Republicans to do 8 years ago:  give him a chance.  Look for common ground in ways to improve our country and the lives of its people—including especially those who have undergone intolerance, prejudice, and economic and social despair.

 

I began this essay with Donald Trump’s pledge, last night, to all Americans.  I repeat that here because it is the focus of this piece:

 

“I pledge to every citizen of our lands that I will be the president for the American people. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past . . . I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so we can work together and unify our great country.

 

I am taking Mr. Trump at his word—that he actually wants our guidance and help.  I choose to believe that because I do believe in the innate goodness of human beings—even those who have made the jarring, hateful remarks that have characterized the campaign of Donald Trump.  I do believe—or I choose to believe that each of us–including Donald Trump—has the capacity to listen to the “better angels of our nature” and to act on those noble instincts.  I also believe in both the ego and the determination of Mr. Trump.  Sure, those characteristics have deservedly raised more than a few red flags, but they also offer some hope.  I am convinced that Donald Trump wants—even now—to take his place in history as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents of all.  He wants to be remembered as the President who cared about all the people, who rebuilt our infrastructure, who supported our veterans.  Last night he said, the following:

 

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“Every single American will have the ability to realize their fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, schools, hospitals. We will rebuild our infrastructure. Which will become second to none, and we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.

 

 

We will also finally take care of our great veterans who have been so loyal and I’ve gotten to know so many over this 18-month journey. The time that I have taken with them I consider among my greatest honors. We will embark upon a project of American growth and renewal. We will call upon the best and the brightest to leverage our tremendous talent to benefit all.

 

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If he means what he says, and in this instance, I am hopeful that he does, then his ego, his determination, his perseverance, and his tenacity may lead him to become a far better President than we could have imagined.  In any case, for now, I am—for a time—willing to suspend my disbelief, take him at his word, and offer him a few words of “guidance”—just as he requested.

 

  1. Look forward, not back. Forget the cries of “Lock her up” and realize that months or years of charges and investigations into Hillary Clinton and the Clinton foundation serve no one, anger the nearly 50 percent of Americans who supported Secretary Clinton, and distract you, the government, and the American people from the real challenges that we face in our country.

 

 

  1. Surround yourself with really good people. Make your litmus test be that they must be not only people who have strong convictions, but they must be people of strong character—people with good hearts.  Seek out people who have great intelligence, but also great wisdom and a healthy measure of common sense.  And make sure that there are a reasonable number of individuals whom you respect, but may have differing views than your own on our nation’s challenges.  They must be people who will not be afraid to clearly express those conflicting views—people to whom you will actively listen.

 

 

  1. Do not scrap the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—in its entirety.  Get rid of those parts that are not working, if you must, but keep the parts that are important to the American people.  Keep the parts about pre-existing conditions, the parts about limits, about keeping young people on their parent’s insurance until 26, the parts about free preventative services, and limits on health insurance payout.  Keep all the good parts that really are benefitting our people.

 

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  1. Search the Senate and the House of Representative for five Republicans and five Democrats that are highly respected and valued by the entire legislature and the American people. They must be people who are valued for their character, their creativity, their intelligence, and their ability and proclivity to compromise—to compromise with others to come up with real workable solutions to    Sit these people down in a room and let them tackle the great problems of our day—and agree to abide by their eventual conclusions.  One month they would confront immigration, for example, and work to come up with the best possible plan.  The next month, they might tackle health care.  The month after that—infrastructure needs.

 

 

 

  1. Realize that you—as President of the United States—are a role model for every child and every adult in our country. Please act like it.  You may have set some less than stellar examples in the past (surely an understatement, at best), but the past does not need to be prologue.  Your past comments and actions need not determine your future behavior.  You can begin weighing your words more carefully, noting that words DO, in fact, matter.  You can stop the insults.  As I and others have always insisted, before you say anything, ask yourself two questions:  Is it true? and Is it kind? And if the answer is “No,” then simply don’t say it.

 

 

  1. Be very cautious of trusting Vladamir Putin or any of a number of other leaders of countries with whom we have adversarial relationships. Take the full measure of a person by looking at their past behavior and deeds, meeting and talking with them, and also listening to what I hope and trust will be a diverse cadre of experienced, knowledgeable, trusted advisors of high character.

 

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  1. Make every possible effort to understand the needs, the problems, and the gifts of various groups in our society—women, people of color, immigrants, people of all religions, all nationalities, elder Americans. Reach out to them; sit down with them; listen—really listen–and then work to better the lives of all of those people. Work to end sexism, racism, prejudice in our society.  Help all to live better lives.  And don’t forget our youngest Americans—infants and toddlers.   Provide for their needs, as well, including universal preschool and quality daycare for parents who need it.  As a father, you are aware of the needs of children of every age—including teenagers and young adults.  Do all you can to strengthen schools, encourage and support good teachers, promote an atmosphere of learning, and provide the best possible education for every single child.

 

 

  1. Develop and implement a plan to successfully deal with an opiate crisis which is a scourge on our country and all its families. We all know someone whose lives have been tragically impacted by opioid abuse.  Surely we can put steps in place to curb opioid use, and to help those whose lives have been diminished or destroyed by the use of these drugs.

 

 

 

  1. Support those who risk their lives for our country—our military, or police, our firefighters. Help our veterans as they return from service.

 

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11.   Protect the environment.  Visit our National and State Parks and other natural areas to see their glory:  Bryce Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Acadia, Denali, Rocky Mt. National Park, The Grand Canyon, the Smoky Mountains, Yosemite, the Everglades, the Badlands, the Painted Desert, and so many more.  Realize that we would never have these areas today for our families had not Teddy Roosevelt and other Presidents protected them for our children.  They will not be there tomorrow–nor the Elk, the Grizzlies, the Wolves–unless you and Congress protect them!  And Climate Change?  It’s real and its a threat to our future unless you and other world leaders work together to make changes which will improve the situation.

 

 

 

12.  Be the kind of leader that we need–the kind who truly brings us together–because, as you know, we are so divided right now!  Appear frequently on television to sit down with us and really TALK to us.  Tell us what you’re thinking–and why.  Be honest with us.  Encourage us when we need encouragement.  Console us when we need consolation.  Keep making every possible effort to bring us together, even when it gets tough.  Do the kinds of things that will reassure ALL of us that you are listening, and that you HEAR us.  When Americans ask you to seriously consider common sense gun control legislation, at least listen with an open mind.  When you hear the other side talk about the importance of the Iran Nuclear treaty, at least listen to their points of view before deciding.  When people protest, invite a few of them in to hear their real concerns.

 

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If you can do that, Mr. Trump, you WILL, in fact,  go down in history as one of our greatest Presidents—a President who brought people together, who worked to really improve the lives of ALL of our citizens.

 

 

With all my heart, Mr. President-elect, I wish you the best.  I wish you courage, compassion, strength, and wisdom.  Your success will be our success.  Godspeed, and God bless.

 

 

Sincerely,

Mitchell R.Grosky

Athol, Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

 

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New Hampshire: Standing Up and Speaking Out for Hillary Clinton!

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On September 28, I spent the day covering the Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders Campaign Appearance at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH. for my political/social issues blog “This Week With Mitch Grosky.” In addition to taking over 500 photos, I also conducted brief interviews with a number of the people there.  After being addressed by a number of college officials and state officials, Governor Maggie Hassan (now running for Senator) spoke to the crowd.

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Governor Maggie Hassan

She was followed by the entrance of Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders.

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Secretary Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders Enter Together to Loud Cheers and Enthusiastic Applause

Bernie Sanders spoke first, speaking of the importance of electing Hillary Clinton as President. He also spoke about some of the issues–education, climate change, minimum wage, and others–that they share in common.

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Senator Bernie Sanders

Then Hillary Clinton spoke about some of these same issues, as well as the importance of universal pre-Kindergarten (pre-school), spending most of her time addressing the theme of the day: “Debt Free College.”

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This is her education plan which would dramatically reduce college costs for most students. The plan calls for making public colleges and universities tuition-free for families who earn less than $125,000 per year, making community college free for all students, and helping students to significantly lower their current debt by refinancing at lower interest rates.

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After speeches by Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton, there was a panel discussion or Question and Answer session in which both featured speakers answered pre-selected questions from the audience about their plans for education reform. The enthusiastic full-capacity crowd of 1,200 seemed to really enjoy both the speeches and the bonus question and answer session.

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I was struck by a couple of things:

 First of all, it was easy to discern and appreciate the real excitement in the audience as people waited in line to enter with eager anticipation, and as they actually listened carefully to the speeches of the afternoon–especially those of Secretary Hillary Clinton, U.S.Senator Bernie Sanders, and Governor Maggie Hassan.

Secondly, I was impressed that the people there expressed nearly universal approval of and strong praise for Hillary Clinton.   Sometimes when people look on facebook or on the various news programs, they get the impression that everyone sees this election as a choice between the “lesser of two evils.”  That was certainly NOT the case here.  These are people who strongly believe in Hillary Clinton, who deeply admire who she is and all that she has accomplished in the past approximately 30 years.  These are people who enthusiastically support her and are totally committed to her.

In each brief interview that I conducted, I focused on two major questions.  First of all, I asked, “Are you here to support Hillary Clinton or to make up your mind?”  In nearly every single case–including those involving former Bernie Sanders supporters–I found that people had already made a firm commitment to support Hillary Clinton.

Secondly, once they acknowledged that they were already supporting Secretary Clinton, I asked them, “Could you give me a couple of reasons why you feel that she is the best candidate for President?”  People voiced strong opinions in support of the former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State.  What follows are excerpts from some of the conversations which I had with well over a dozen supporters.

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Clai from West Berlin, New Hampshire

I see a woman who is brilliant, knows policy inside and out, and who cares for everyone around her. . . She came out at the beginning of her campaign talking about (reasonable gun limitations) when nobody else did, and she’s met with survivors (of gun violence) all over the country in small groups . . . it’s on her agenda.”  –Clai from West Berlin, New Hampshire

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Deb from North Hampton, New Hampshire

“I’m here as a volunteer, for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and we’re concerned about the gun violence that’s taking the lives of over 30,000 Americans per day, and Hillary has come out and said that she’s going to fight the NRA and fight for sensible gun laws, and Donald Trump has not said that, so I’m very much supporting Hillary for that reason. . . Here in New Hampshire, there are a lot of gun owners, and there’s no reason that the second amendment can’t go hand-in-hand with sensible gun laws.” –Deb from North Hampton, New Hampshire

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Veronica from Cambridge, Massachusetts

“Her message ‘Stronger Together’—I firmly and confidently believe in that.  She’s all for getting our country together—something I firmly believe and I think that’s what we need today, especially with all that’s going on.  The world is a scary place, and thinking about Trump ruling our nation scares me to death.  It took me a while to come to Hillary, but I strongly believe in her message, ‘Stronger Together.’”–Veronica from Cambridge, Massachusetts

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“I’ve been a supporter of hers for like 15 years . . . I lived in New York; I volunteered on her staff and so on . . .  I feel that she brings a view and she understands the problems that are going on in the community, and I think she will do so much better than Donald.  I mean Donald is very upsetting because he’s spouting bigotry . . . he’s spouting separation.  It’s just amazing the things that he’s said.  He makes me feel that he doesn’t feel sorry for the words he’s expressing. . . He’s saying things that some people feel, and they’ve been afraid to say—whether (those things) are right or wrong.  He’s given them carte blanche to say those things . . . and it’s very scary because you have a population that might THINK those things about their neighbor, but he’s expressed it so (it seems like it’s) OK to say those things.” –Denise from Roxbury, Massachusetts

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Allison, Executive Editor of “The New Hampshire,” the School Newspaper at UNH—from West Hartford, CT

“I am neutral right now.  What’s important to me is that the students are educated (about) the candidates and that we get as many students as we can out there to vote on Election Day. . . The biggest issue that I’m interested in is education. I’ve always been really interested in education, and I’m listening to what the candidates have to say about student debt . . . This is not something that is on the forefront of most people’s minds, so it is our responsibility to make sure that issue is covered, and that we’re voting in favor of what’s best for our generation —Allison, Executive Editor of “The New Hampshire,” the School Newspaper at UNH—from West Hartford, CT

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Natalie, originally from New Hampshire but now living in Florida

“I’m here in support of Hillary Clinton.  I think she’s fantastic.  I’ve been following her for years.  I think she’s absolutely brilliant.  For me, personally, it would be the ACA (Affordable Care Act or Obamacare), but it’s having a first woman President . . . it’s huge; I mean we have to break that barrier . .  . everything that the Democrats stand for, quite frankly, and what the Republicans are against.”  She indicated that she was “not at all” impressed by Donald Trump—“It’s very scary; we can’t have that; we just can’t have that . . . I think he’s dangerous; I think he would take us down financially.  I think he would promote hatred, and other countries would be coming against us, and we would bear that—that hate and that burden.  The Supreme Court is also at stake; we’re looking at 3-4 Supreme Court seats – the next 20 years . . . I have zero confidence in Donald Trump (in making those appointments), and I’m terrified quite frankly.  –Natalie, originally from New Hampshire but now living in Florida

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Keith from Kennebunk, Maine.

“I’m already in support of Hillary Clinton.  She’s good for jobs.  She’s good for the colleges.  She‘s good for the college students.  She’s good for a lot of issues that the American people are concerned about.  I’m not interested in Donald Trump’s candidacy; I think he’s a farce.  He talks a lot.  Big talk, but I don’t think he can put anything behind his words. . . I don’t believe him; he’s lying to the American people.”  –Keith from Kennebunk, Maine.

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Chad from Ipswich, Massachusetts

“Those are the two reasons (that I’m supporting Hillary Clinton)—daughter number one and daughter number two –those are the number one and two reasons that I’m supporting Hillary Clinton. (The fact that she’s a woman) is important to me because it’s kind of unprecedented.  We’ve seen our first African-American President, and that’s amazing, and it would be nice to see . . . a woman, and it’s not a party trick in my mind.  I think that she is the most qualified person for this job, and the fact that she’s a woman is really icing on the cake.  There are only a handful (of her positions) that I have any disagreement with her about.”  He indicated the following as important issues for him:  “The issue of racial equality; that tops for me right now.  The environment is tops for me right now.  Not as much for me the story of the economy.  I’ve lived in a lot of countries in the world, and I know what world economy is, and it takes a little bit of perspective to understand what economy is like in this country.  Granted I’m a somewhat privileged person, but even with that, it’s hard to compare poverty in Guatemala and Haiti to what everyday working class people are feeling in the United States.  But I will say that over the last 8 years, we’ve seen a whole lot of positive change that we never saw in the previous 8 years.”  He indicated that he “absolutely” liked that Hillary Clinton would continue the politics of Barack Obama. . . “I’m very much aligned with the ideology of Barack Obama, and Bernie—absolutely Bernie, as well.  Gun control, by the way, is also right up there on the list. . . I think we just need reasonable gun control. It’s obvious.  It’s sensible.  You go anyplace else in the world and people talk about the United States.  (They ask) Does everyone carry a gun? Do you have to fear for your life when you walk down the street?  The answer is no, but that fear is there for a reason, and you spend time in other developed world countries and they don’t have the same issues we have . . .”             —Chad from Ipswich, Massachusetts

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Sylvia from Salem, Massachusetts

“I’ve made up my mind (to support Hillary)–since 2008.  Experience, Brilliance, Commitment. -–Sylvia from Salem, Massachusetts

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–Ted from Durham, New Hampshire

“I’m supporting Hillary.  I’ve been a Democrat most of my life, so that’s part of it, but I also think that I’m not so much afraid of Donald as I am of the image that he portrays, and the ability for the rest of this country to look at that and have bad behavior because of it.  He noted that the image he projects to the rest of the world “is even scarier.  .  . the lack of respect for all human beings and the inclusiveness that he rejects . . .”  –Ted from Durham, New Hampshire

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Bill from Durham, New Hampshire

“I’m supporting Hillary Clinton.  She’s far more experienced and she knows what’s she’s doing whereas I don’t really like Donald Trump.  What about Donald Trump particularly bothers me?  Oh, let’s see:  the fact of his bigotry, the fact that he once went on record saying that he wouldn’t mind dating his own daughter, the fact that he went over to Scotland and kicked people off their land using . . . eminent domain. . . In addition to that, he led basically a lynch mob against the Central Park Four who were accused of assault.”  —Bill from Durham, New Hampshire.

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Jared from Exeter, New Hampshire

“I’m supporting Hillary Clinton.  I agree with most of her plans, and I think she’s a strong leader, who can cross beyond party borders.  I support most of her social plans, like I support  the LGBT community and the Black community especially.”  –Jared from Exeter, New Hampshire

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Menat from Exeter, New Hampshire

“I’m supporting Hillary Clinton.  I think Hillary has more of the majority of the people around our country’s  needs in mind—over Trump, and that’s the way I think our next President should be.  I think there’s a lot of unemployment currently . . . she has plans like implementing solar panels that will solve two problems in one—to make sure we have clean energy as well as employing more people. . . I think Donald Trump has this certain mindset that the top one percent of our country has, and that’s just not the majority of the thoughts and opinions of the people in our country, and I don’t think that the President should represent just the top one percent.”  Menat from Exeter, New Hampshire

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More Faces in the Crowd at the University of New Hampshire Event for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

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For over 300 MORE photographs of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Maggie Hassan, and Others at this event, please check me out on facebook at Hillary and Bernie Visit UNH!

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Julian Assange, Elizabeth Edwards, GPS

Thoughts for the Week (December 5-12, 2010):

Julian Assange–This week Mr. Assange, the Australian journalist and founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested for crimes against two woman.   Time and the courts will tell whether he is guilty of these crimes.  Yet Mr. Assange has already taken responsibility for a different very serious offense, that is  the leaking of thousands of sensitive documents—many of which may be endangering the safety of U.S. and other servicemen.  It is exasperating to me that certain individuals maintain a holier than thou attitude of knowing more or better than the rest of us what is best for us and for the world.   Mr. Assange’s philosophy has been quoted as “To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed. We must think beyond those who have gone before us and discover technological changes that embolden us with ways to act in which our forebears could not . . . The more secretive or unjust an organisation is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. … Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.”

I understand that some things which happen nationally or globally behind the scenes would be best exposed.   Certainly abuses in human rights need to see the light of day so they can be exposed and prevented in the future.  Yet it seems to me to be a dangerous trend to force a society  to allow all of its actions–including military secrets–to be exposed and spotlighted on a world stage for everyone to see.

Daniel Yates, a former British military intelligence officer, wrote “Assange has seriously endangered the lives of Afghan civilians …”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,. Mike Mullen, said, “Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is, they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.”

U.S. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell  has called Assange “a high-tech terrorist”.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for the above quotations).

As for me, every year or two we freely elect people to run our government.  I am content to allow those representatives (who have much more information and expertise than I) to hold in confidence that which they feel is truly in the nation’s best interest to do so.  I would ask that Mr. Assange and his WikiLeaks organization do the same.

Elizabeth Edwards:  The elusive definition of grace received a new meaning this week with the death of Elizabeth Edwards, an attorney, wife, mother, and  political activist who was against the War in Iraq and who waged battles on behalf of universal health care and gay rights.  Throughout the Kerry/Edwards vs. Bush/Cheney election fight, throughout her struggle against breast cancer, and throughout her husband’s infidelity scandal, she  maintained her honor and dignity, and came to symbolize hope and grace for young and old–Democrat and Republican alike.  I have added her last facebook entry to my own profile list of favorite quotations:

The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human.But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful.”       —Elizabeth Edwards

Peace be with you always, Elizabeth, and may your family hold in their hearts and minds the most beautiful images of a wonderful woman.

And finally, a few thoughts about that most essential of modern inventions, the GPS.

I bought my Garmin GPS about two years ago in anticipation of my cross-country trip shortly after I retired from 35 years as a teacher and principal.  It has since proven to be the one tech gadget I can not live without.  OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it is certainly the one that I try to never leave home without (Please excuse the mangled syntax and ending preposition).  It has made maps and mapquest obsolete.  I no longer need to listen to well-intentioned long-winded directions given by well-meaning friends.  I no longer need to rely on a co-pilot next to me armed with the latest AAA map.   I just type in my destination, and Jill (the American English voice of my GPS) directs me every step of the way.  If I make any kind of mistake, I inevitably hear those sometimes dreaded/sometimes welcomed words:  “re-caluculating.”  I sometimes think if nothing other than the Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) had come from our Space program, it would still be worth it.  (Yes, I know that the space program is responsible for far more technological advances than just GPS—just a bit of hyperbole to make a point).

Whether the GPS allows me to expertly navigate around my own lovely Commonwealth of Massachusetts or permits me to travel across the entire country and photograph the awesome sights that our nation offers to us all, it is a technological marvel, and one that benefits us all.

Now if only future techies could develop a GPS that could be activated when a political party seems to have lost its way…

Until next time,

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