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The Moderate Mom

Misplaced Anger

It’s easy to get angry, even very angry, about politics. But consider this, especially if you are getting unusually angry: Is that really why you are mad? I have found myself unusually angry after the recent election, but a lot of my anger isn’t about the results or even the way other people are reacting, although that really, really doesn’t help.

For the last two years, I have struggled with a bad cough. Despite seeing doctors several times about it, the coughing continued to plague me until I finally saw an asthma and allergy specialist. I am allergic to everything they tested me for, including the trees in my yard. On a scale of 1-4 with 4 being the highest, I am a 4++ for those trees. You might be thinking we should simply cut down the trees, but they are on our neighbors’ yards as well. In fact, we live in the middle of at least 200 acres of them.

I’m allergic to oak trees (and maple, among others). Realistically, without medication, my choices in the US seem to be the desert, Hawaii, and the Great Plains.

And I’m angry about it.

I’m angry because I love to be in the woods. We chose our house  in part because of the beautiful yard. The woods have always been a source of peace for me. I’m angry because I love to be involved in Scouts with my kids, including camping and campfires. (I have asthma, making campfires problematic.) I enjoy opening the windows when it’s nice outside. And I hate taking medicine all the time. Now, I have to take multiple medicines every day and may need regular shots, and there is no end date on those. Since I’m also allergic to dogs and cats, once our current pets pass, it’s unlikely we will be able to get more.

So, I’m angry.

The truth is that I knew my coughing was bad, but I had been living with it for a long time. The problems started in junior high and progressively, but slowly, got worse. By the time I went to the doctor, being unable to sleep all night because of coughing had become my normal. The times my coughing was bad enough to temporarily make breathing difficult were new and admittedly alarming. (In retrospect, they should have been more alarming, but it was a long process.)

No one around me realized how bad it was. If my husband had, he would have picked me up and bodily carried me in, if necessary, to make sure I saw the doctor. And I had pretty well given up on not coughing. It’s not like I hadn’t gone and had it checked, because I had – multiple times. By chance, I used an old inhaler and it helped. That helped spur me to see an allergy and asthma specialist. Thank God I did because I am better now. Completely dependent on medication, but better.

I want to grow old in my home. I don’t want to leave here when the kids go to college. I want them to come back to the home they grew up in. Someday, I want them to bring their spouses and kids here to visit and see grandchildren play in the yard, but I don’t know that we will be able to do that. I’m probably being over-reactive at the moment, but the reality is that continued exposure to an allergen (oak, in this case) normally makes anyone allergic to it more and more sensitive, and I’m already extremely allergic and definitely reactive to it. There is no guarantee that, even with shots, I’ll be able to stay here for even one decade, much less two or three.

I know I should be grateful, and I am. I am grateful to have a diagnosis and medicine that helps. I am relieved to be able to sleep all night, laying down instead of propped up on piles of pillows. I’m relieved to no longer be plagued by racking coughing, especially when I’m driving. And I do have to admit that it’s nice that the doctor said I shouldn’t be the one vacuuming, dusting, or sweeping – but I think every mom out there knows I’ll still be the one doing it. (I will, however, wear an allergen-filtering dust mask.)

But right now, I’m angry. As I tell my kids, I get to feel my feelings, but I don’t have the right to ruin anyone else’s day because of it, and that includes berating friends and acquaintences online. If you find you are getting angrier than normal, please, stop and think about what you are really angry about. It doesn’t help anything to berate your friends and family for something totally unrelated.  It just damages your relationships.

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In American Presidential elections, there are two candidates (realistically) in the final race. This election is no different. Politics is a dirty, brutal business, which is why very few good people are willing to enter the fray and even fewer manage to stay the course. Attacking the candidates, their beliefs, their life history, their relations with the opposite sex, and even their family is par for the course. That’s part of the reason they have Secret Service protection from the time their party nominates them until they either lose or die. For some, the vitriol is sufficient that they receive protection even before receiving their party nomination.

At times, their supporters are attacked as well. Some charges are leveled against both sides, most commonly that those we don’t agree with are ignoring obvious facts and can’t/won’t think logically. While those can be unpleasant and nasty, depending on how they are phrased, they aren’t really impugning anyone’s character nor do they make “the other side” (i.e., fellow Americans) into an enemy who must be defeated at all costs.

How This Election is Different

The level of vitriol leveled at the candidates is astounding. Hillary is a lying, cheating, political hack who attacks rape victims, laughs at a tween who was raped, is guilty of dereliction of duty (Benghazi) and has committed espionage by negligence (emails). Oh, and she is covering up massive health issues. The Donald is a lying, misogynistic, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic jerk who cheats small businesses and sexually assaults women.

I have friends from both sides of the aisle. The conservatives are not accusing liberals or progressives of personally being liars who support rapist and think blacks are “super predators” like Hillary does. Nor has the Donald lumped Hillary’s supporters into one “basket of deplorables” who are “irredeemable” and “not America”.

On the other side, I see posts and comments from liberal friends on a daily basis who call anyone who is voting for Trump a racist, bigot, misogynist, etc. These are attacks on a candidates SUPPORTERS. This is unacceptable and dangerous. The events of October 15 demonstrate this in stark terms.

October 15

In Bangor, Maine, twenty vehicles were vandalized at a Trump rally. Unknown vandals spray-painted white lines on the vehicles. The same night, someone threw a molotov cocktail through the window of a North Carolina Republican headquarters office. Luckily no one was injured this time, but just denouncing the NC attack isn’t enough. Hillary needs to stop attacking the character of anyone who opposes her and the Democratic National Committee needs to call out her behavior as unacceptable. 

These are not the first, nor are they the last, attacks that are directly against a candidate’s supporters in this election cycle. By denigrating Donald’s supporters, Hillary and her campaign are turning them into the enemy. An enemy is automatically someone it is acceptable to attack. Her words and her treatment of those who don’t support her is leading, directly, to violence against individuals, and to property damage and destruction. (Trump supporters have been attacked for wearing Trump hats and shirts.)

Not That Different

I don’t like Donald Trump. I don’t. But I will be voting for him because there is no evidence (i.e, proof of any sort) of him doing anything worse than being a dick. Frankly, even if there was evidence of him being a rapist or sexual predator, Democrats have no room to criticize with the likes of Bill Clinton, Lyndon Johnson, and JFK in their ranks, but that is a different issue. (Johnson apparently liked to be naked in front of, well, anyone and everyone.)

Other people are voting for Hillary because they see the attacks on her as being on irrelevant points or believe that she is genuinely not guilty. They believe Trump’s personality makes him unfit, and that’s their right. We need two parties with two different, and contrasting, points of view.

No one, in either party, wants America to become nation of misogynistic, racist xenophobes. We don’t, as a nation, want to go back to the days when being a member of the KKK was something anyone celebrated. Sure, a few wing-nuts may, but the opinions of a few wackadoodles doesn’t make their position mainstream or acceptable for either party. Unfortunately, having the media relentlessly parrot that position as commonplace and acceptable by a large group can accomplish that.

The more the main stream media and social media villify any group of Americans, the more that group can become a target. It’s one thing to call those at the far ends of the political spectrum libtards and wingnuts. Ultimately, while highly unflattering, neither name implies the group is a true danger to anyone else. Racist, misogynist, and any kind of “phobic” (homophobic, Islamaphobic, etc.) are labels for groups that want to remove or suppress other groups. Everyone I know is in agreement that we need to weed out these groups.

Until we can agree to stop use those kinds of labels for those who simply disagree with us, the probability is that these kind of incidents will happen more often.

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Personally, I really liked Ben Carson and hoped he would be our next President. I have to admit some of it was because I would love to see someone from my alma mater (Johns Hopkins) other than the embarrassing Woodrow Wilson serve as President. Mostly, though, he is brilliant and as a surgeon he worked as the leader of a team, not by himself.

There were seventeen GOP candidates when the race started, most of them politicians. As a relatively rare non-politician in the race for POTUS, I think it’s worth taking a few minutes to consider what caused him to drop out because most Americans have repeatedly stated a preference for having fewer career politicians. If that’s what we really want, then we  need to think a bit more critically about the candidates and their backgrounds, not just have knee-jerk reaction that anyone who doesn’t look and act like a career politician is somehow unfit for the job.

Energy

In the end, I think his success as a surgeon is ultimately, and ironically, the reason his presidential campaign failed. As a surgeon, there were times he had to be on his feet, working, fully mentally alert, for far more than the normal eight hour work day – a work day many of us spend sitting behind a computer. His most famous surgery lasted twenty two (22) hours. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to recognize that surgeons would tend to conserve their energy much as a long-distance runner does, especially compared to a sprinter. People are used to seeing politicians, who act much more like sprinters and are “on” with a lot of energy on display at campaign events.

Calm

Another objection he faced was due to his extremely calm demeanor. His even-ness was interpreted as passivity.

Again, his career is relevant. Surgery is stressful under the best circumstances. How would you feel if your loved one was going in for brain surgery? Most people are not calm and relaxed in that circumstance. The calmer and more even the surgeon and those interacting with the patient and their family are, the less difficult it is for the family to remain calm and make the decisions they need to make, especially in pediatric neurosurgery (like Carson). Remaining calm and non-reactive at all times was a virtual professional necessity.

Racism

He finished his bachelors degree in 1973 and his MD in 1977. We have come a long way since then, but the simple fact is that Dr. Carson’s early professional career was formed in a different era. Ben Carson is a big man, and he is very dark-skinned. He cannot “pass” as any other race. In the 1970s, he would have faced significant racism compared to today. While racism still exists, racism in the 2010s USA simply isn’t comparable to what people experienced in the past. When Dr. Carson entered medicine, American society was still in the beginning stages of truly integrating and accepting non-whites.

While this is clearly speculative, I suspect that anyone who looked like Ben Carson in the 1970s would have needed to be far more reserved in their interactions in order to not upset those around them. It doesn’t take much imagination to see that a big black man who was passionate (“confrontational”) could have been setting themselves up for failure at that time, even though white males would have had no push-back no matter how confrontational they were. It certainly has been the case throughout our history, and there are still instances of it today. It’s flat-out wrong, but it is becoming less common (and less acceptable) as time passes.

And my Point is…

Presidential candidates have a personal history just like everyone else. Most of us are used to seeing career politicians running for office. Their lives have shaped them to perform in public exactly the way candidates are expected to perform. When people who are not career politicians – like Cain, West, Carson, and yes, Trump – run for office, their lives have shaped their public selves for a different job. Whether that is officer, business person, doctor, or something else entirely, that background may make them more capable of doing the actual job even as it makes them appear less ideal for the job.

Dr. Carson appeared low energy but has demonstrated the ability to remain up and working at a very high level for an entire day. He also had to be able to go from sound asleep to making literal life or death decisions virtually instantaneously. Those are certainly good qualities for a commander in chief! But in a candidate, it looked like he was low energy and disengaged.

We need to look beyond the surface and really look at what candidates are bringing to the job. We need to look at what skills, personality traits, and interpersonal abilities their prior experiences would have helped them develop.

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In this video by Zdenek Gazda, there are small details that make it hard to deny that Hillary has a serious, on-going medical condition. It is alarming that Hillary isn’t holding up her own weight even in the first frames, but what is even more alarming than the fact that she isn’t taken to the hospital is the fact that the Secret Service doesn’t react as if this is an unusual or unexpected event.

Taken together, the following details make it obvious that there is something medically wrong with Hillary, and it isn’t a minor issue. Most people will get this from the way she sags down so that her head is at about waist-height on a day that really isn’t hot, for New York City. But here are some details you may not have noticed:

  1. She isn’t holding up her own weight from the very first frame of this video. She is resting against a concrete post that goes up to about butt-height, but it’s more than that. If you enlarge it by either putting it on full-screen or zooming in, you can see that her torso is leaning backward at an odd angle. She is not holding herself up. Most of her weight is resting on that pillar, which is clearly not an accident, but it appears that the only reason she isn’t falling down is the woman to her left with her arm linked through Hillary’s. As she starts moving (being moved), you can even see that her left shoulder is higher than her right shoulder, which makes sense if she isn’t supporting most of her own weight but rather being held up by the other woman. In addition, the other woman progress from having her arm through Hillary’s to an arm around her back, and then supporting her back with both hands.
  2. As soon as she starts moving (being moved), Hillary’s body slumps, her feet are dragging and clearly not bearing weight even before she slumps down completely. To be clear: Hillary does not lift her feet a single time in this video, nor does she take a single step. At no point in this video is she moving under her own power.
  3. It takes at least three people to get her into the vehicle – one on either side and the woman mentioned earlier behind her. She is completely dead weight, which only happens when we are unconscious, including being asleep. (Think about the difference in weight carrying a small child who is awake versus asleep.) Tellingly, they were pre-positioned to provide this support. There are quite a few photos around showing her need for physical support, so it isn’t really surprising that they are prepared to provide it, but they are very well-rehearsed at getting in position to fully support her. They have done this before, and are positioned and prepared to do it routinely.
  4. Secret Service isn’t stressed. Her detail has notoriously been referred to as a punishment detail, but these men and women are professionals. If their protectee was in danger, their body language would be tense. If there was something unexpected and potentially dangerous happening, they would look tense. If their protectee unexpectedly started to collapse with no clear and known reason, they would be talking and communicating information and looking tense. That didn’t happen.
  5. Go back and look at their body language. As she starts to move from the column, an officer simply steps in to grab her weight and help get her into the vehicle. Another steps to block the view of this happening. None of them even blinked when she sagged down. They didn’t call for any kind of help. This isn’t a surprise to them. They have seen it happen before and been thoroughly briefed on how to handle it. They also automatically move in to shield her from view. That many people clustered so closely is the opposite of what she would want and need if the problem was, in fact, heat.
  6. Two local police officers in the video (wearing white shirts) do react and move quickly toward her when they see her condition. They didn’t expect it and were concerned to see her collapsing. Compare this to how her detail, with their more in-depth knowledge of her physical condition, reacts.
  7. She doesn’t go to the hospital. If they didn’t know exactly what was happening, she would have gone for medical treatment, not to her daughter’s apartment. This is a known condition.
  8. They effectively treated her at her daughter’s apartment. She looked completely healthy when she left there less than three hours later. Realistically, that could only be a result of getting treatment for a known condition that has been ongoing for long enough to have the medications on hand or nearby at all times.
  9. She left her shoe behind. Yes, it’s a trivial detail – but we need our shoes to walk around and no one who is even slightly mentally alert will miss the fact that they lost a shoe, but she did.
  10. This isn’t in the video, but the press was reportedly kept from following her and wasn’t given any information for at least an hour. Why? If it was the heat, they could’ve reported that right away, and would certainly have had her both remove her jacket and drink some water even before her vehicle arrived.

The second video, of her leaving Chelsea’s apartment, is of interest as well.

  1. When she comes out, she seems completely fine after less than three hours. Given the severity of what we saw, this seems unlikely unless treatment and medication were on hand based on a known condition. In addition, it’s rare to get the treatment and medication right on the first try for any ailment, so it seems unlikely that this was the first time this has happened.
  2. Someone asks her what happened and she ignored the question, even when it was repeated. Far from saying it was too hot, she said, “It’s a beautiful day in New York.” Hillary herself is not saying this was just because of the heat.
  3. There are no handlers near her, which is unusual, but she also only walks a very short distance to the vehicle waiting to take her to her home. Contrast this to how close people were before she was put into the van. (It is impossible to say, from what the video shows, that she got in under her own power.)

Whether you love or hate her, Hillary Clinton has had a successful life by most standards. She has done most of the things she set out to do, other than becoming President. Unfortunately for her, her shot at the big desk has come a bit too late and she no longer seems to be physically capable of performing the job.

As I am getting ready to post this, there is an announcement that she was dehydrated and has pneumonia. She was only outside for about ninety minutes and herself made no complaints about the heat, so it really is hard to believe it was dehydration, particularly since neither dehydration nor pneumonia has “fainting” listed as a symptom in any of the major, reputable online medical sites. It simply doesn’t make any sense if you look at the facts. It does, however, give her a plausible reason to get out of the public eye, yet again, for a week or  more.

Whatever ails her, and I do think the best case to date has been that she has Parkinson’s, it is time for her to retire and spend whatever time she has left with her family and grandbaby. The video today is just a little bit more proof of that.

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End the zero tolerance policies.

There are very few things were a zero-tolerance policy really makes sense. When the PC-police prevent us from discussing any cultural, ethnic, or racial differences in even the most casual, passing way, they make it worse. It’s obvious to even the littlest kid that different people look different. Observing differences isn’t judging them.

Are we entirely free of racism? No, of course no – don’t be daft. But to equate a white kid today telling a black kid they didn’t think they could get sunburned with skin that dark to living in 1961 Alabama as a black person, San Francisco as a Japanese-American after Pearl Harbor, an Irish person in mid-1800s America (or Britain), a Tutsi under the Rwandan government, American Indian tribes on the Trail of Tears, etc.etc. etc. is delusional.

When we say “no weapons or weapon look-alikes” on school property but don’t define a “weapon,” kids are left uncertain of what they can bring in. Will their souvenier pencil sharpener shaped like a cannon earn them a trip to the principal? Will a keychain with a bullet casing (not actual fire-capable ammunition) on it result in suspension? What happens if they have a screwdriver or other tool in their backpack, or under the seat of their vehicle for older kids?

When the dress code targets “sexually provocative” clothing, that leaves girls (and it is always girls) vulnerable to missing hours or even full days of class because someone else has an issue with an outfit they thought was fine, and that they might even have worn before. (No one is saying no dress code at all; simply that common sense and clarity are important.) Ankles were once considered “sexually provocative” and, as we know, many countries require women to be completely covered because even the slightest glimpse of flesh or hair could be “sexually provocative.” A zero-tolerance policy on “leggings” might cause a girl to be sent home if she wore them under a longer skirt on a cold day to stay warm. And no, that really isn’t a paranoid or extreme interpretation.

Ask any middle or high school girl if she thinks a school might actually do that. Ask her what might happen if she grabs the wrong bra when she’s getting dressed at 6 am and the straps show at the neckline of her shirt. Ask her if she ever worries that she’ll get in trouble at school over something she is wearing, and what those outfits might be.

A culture of fear.

That’s what today’s school kids live in. I showed my elementary son the “clock” in a metal suitcase that a Texas middle schooler brought to school in 2015. (This link has the best picture of the actual “clock” I could find.) I simply asked my son if he would bring that in to school. His panicked look at the mere suggestion of taking something that looked like that into school (what it might be didn’t even enter the equation) was the sort of thing I would expect to see if you told someone to pick up the murder weapon at a crime scene and get  their fingerprints all over it. He clearly knew that taking something like that to school would lead to Very Bad Things.

Our kids live in a culture of fear in our public schools – and so do their teachers. Most of them aren’t afraid, not really, of some wild gunman coming in and randomly killing them. What they are really afraid of is that they will do something innocent, like eating a Poptart or sharing some watermelon with a classmate or wearing a slightly-too-small shirt, and someone else will decide it is threatening or racist or “sexually provocative”.

Our teachers are in fear because if they see something that even might be dangerous or later causes offense and they don’t report it, they could lose their job, as could the administrators if they don’t punish the “perp” (once known as a kid, or possibly a troublemaker). They are in fear because they can do things out of genuine kindness and end up in trouble for it, even lose their job.

How is this education?

Seriously, what are we teaching our children? This doesn’t teach tolerance and it doesn’t teach inclusion. It teaches them that being around people who are not like them can lead to a whole lot of trouble because there might be misunderstandings if people are different from you. It teaches that if you are with people who are different from you and they do something you even think might be ill-intentioned, it is OK (even good) to run to an authority figure and demand they be punished without even trying to determine if they understand your concerns, much less actively sought to offend.

One day, I heard some boys mention a monkey in a conversation with a black boy. They literally meant a monkey – the kind in a zoo – and that was clear from the conversation. The black boy immediately cried racism. The two white boys looked utterly and absolutely confused: they knew no one who would use “monkey” as a racist term. When asked point-blank, the black boy admitted that he didn’t think they meant it racist – but his experiences with zero-tolerance policies made him very comfortable accusing others of racism because he knew they, and not he, would be accountable. End result: at least two boys were introduced to the concept that blacks were considered a lesser breed, akin to monkeys. How is that possibly a good thing?

We are also teaching our children that they cannot defend themselves. If even the words to describe weapons and any words that might offend are forbidden, then how can they ever learn to defend themselves? The truth is, they can’t – not at school and not in a lot of other places. If they defend themselves or others, they end up in at least as much trouble as the person trying to harm them. A good kid who defends someone defenseless can end up suspended, missing their own graduation, and more. How is that fair? How is that right?

What on earth are we teaching our kids?

How can we stop the insanity?

This is the real question. It needs to stop, and we have to do it. We have to stop accepting the PC police who cry out in outrage at even the slightest thing that might cause offense. People have to accept that sometimes, people say stupid things and there is no ill intent. Sometimes, yes, they mean what you think (or fear) they mean – but not most of the time. Sometimes they are tired and simply cannot think through all the meanings of their words. Sometimes they mis-speak. Sometimes they genuinely don’t know, like the boys above. And sometimes, other people are just being too darn sensitive.

There was a man who shot his coworkers on live TV in Virginia in 2015. One of their “offenses” was to have a watermelon in the office that kept moving around. It wasn’t an attempt to taunt him – it was a summer snack that was shared throughout the office. Another “offense” was to discuss “hard work.” This commonly used term has somehow been taken as equated with working as a slave in cotton fields. Frankly, I think the term “back-breaking labor” is a better descriptor of working in a cotton field, but even then – slavery is slavery and work is work. The two are not synonyms. There are plenty of paid jobs that involve “hard work” and “back-breaking labor.”

When we allow those terms to be taken to mean slavery, then we make it unacceptable to require either for a paid job. (Back-breaking labor is simply part of the job in some fields, and workers know this when they sign on and are paid accordingly.) Where are we when “hard working” is a forbidden term? What happens when a boss praises an employee for being a “hard worker” and gets slapped with a lawsuit for it?

And yes, there are times when these things are done with racist or cruel intentions, but those are far less common than the over-reactions. Take the time to sort out whether it was on purpose or not before making a complaint, and think about the impact on to the other person and their life, and those they impact, with a complaint. A teacher has an impact on dozens of kids year after year. If they are in the wrong and need corrected, then it is important to do that because they can hurt many kids. But if they are not in the wrong, think about the very real harm a false complaint could do.

If people take time to think it through, hopefully they won’t risk either punishing an innocent person or actually increasing racism by bringing up old racist ideas that need to be left in the dust bin of history.

Zero tolerance must end.

Zero tolerance is insane. It is strangling our country. It is damaging our educational system, kids, teachers, and even administrators. It is hurting our small businesses. Zero tolerance must end.

I have zero tolerance for zero tolerance.

That was a bit of hyperbole, but the truth is there really aren’t a lot of areas where zero tolerance makes sense. Those were it does are already covered by criminal law. We need to be safe, but school officials and businesses need to be able to make the call based on their own knowledge of the person and circumstances. They need to be able to look at the Eagle Scout who have never been in trouble, whose dad is a firefighter, and say that yes, the fire axe in the truck was clearly not intended for any nefarious purpose; as long as it stays home next time, there are no further consequences. They must be able to say that the people in the office were just sharing a watermelon, no offense intended. They need to be able to look at the kid whose record was spotless but who has been in three fights in two weeks and recognize something is happening and they need to help them, now.

When we take that right and ability away from the people who are there, who know all the details and specifics, then we start to cripple our society with insane rules and consequences.

We must end the proliferation of zero tolerance policies.

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hillarys declining health fb

This should be an issue – a big issue – because Hillary Clinton certainly seems to have one or more health issues that are serious enough to impact her ability to do the job of President of the United States. This image was taken a mere four years ago during her time as Secretary of State. She is not only able to walk and climb stairs unassisted, there is no apparent concern about her climbing the gangway using a largely-rope ladder and the clothing she wore was still mostly tailored. It is also interesting to note that her hair seemed to be thinner; either her hair stylist deserves serious props or she’s wearing a wig.

Hillary seems to be in decent health for her age. But that’s the issue: Hillary seems to have a variety of age-related health problems, including a serious lack of energy. My mother in law was in adequate health at 69, but she had already started having memory and balance issues, and she didn’t have a lot of energy. Now in her 80s, her memory issues have become quite severe and she needs a walker. All perfectly normal for her age.

Some people are definitely in better shape at the same age. At the other extreme, my parents were quite literally world travelers who were not only actively maintaining their own home, but were volunteering to do manual labor at their church, maintaining a part time job, and participating in exercise classes at age 69. I have always been impressed that my Mom became a certified aerobics instructor at 60! As they enter their 80s, they have clearly slowed down, but they still do those things but they have had to add a daily nap and cut down on the manual labor.

Hillary is more like my mother in law, and that’s not good for a potential Commander in Chief. She seems to be in great shape to help Chelsea with her grandkids, volunteer in the community, and enjoy some time with friends.

The Issues

The first, and most important, issue is that we don’t actually know the issues. Her complete medical records have never been released, only excerpts and summaries. Of the visible issues, the most obvious is her lack of energy. In the first eight (8) months of 2016, she held no press conferences. There are entire weeks when she has fewer campaign events than Trump has in a day!

The most troubling incident we know of was the well-reported “bump” to her head in 2012 that took six months to heal. Head trauma, especially relatively recent head trauma, is most certainly relevant to the ability to be President and all records of that should be publicly available so the American people can be reassured of any candidates physical fitness. But of course, those complete records are not being released.

The less information her campaign releases despite very clear signs that something is wrong, the more time people will spend looking at increasingly speculative information. For example, this link shows both still and video of Hillary with odd lumps on her back. These look like the lumps we all see when people are wearing mic packs, but those are generally around the lower back and there is only one per  person. Hillary has two rectangular lumps near her shoulder blades.

I welcome any explanations for this, whether it is confirming this website’s speculation (and it is just speculation) that it might be an external defribillator or any other possible explanation. Honestly, while it looks more like the defribillator vest than a mic pack, the lump placement is definitely not the same – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t showing anything of medical significance. (As my fourth grade teacher noted on my FaceBook page, lumps do come with age, but if you have rectangular lumps like these, I strongly encourage you to see your doctor immediately.)

On the other hand, I haven’t seen this image from any other event. It may have simply been an anomaly, or it may have been a diagnostic tool that she only wore for a day or two. She is old. Old people have all kinds of testing done and I, for one, have no issue with that. It’s the secrecy that leaves the question: What is she hiding? Is her penchant for oversized jackets to cover medical equipment?

The one issue that is clear is her that she suffers from balance problems. People are helping her up stairs and she is almost always leaning / bracing herself on chairs or podiums at campaign events. This clearly wasn’t the case when she was First Lady, so it is another concerning sign that she may have a significant health problem.

Sources

Hillary’s health is mainly the subject of speculation by bloggers and click-bait websites because there is so little concrete, factual information available. Hypothetical diagnoses based on what can be clearly seen on camera has led to a virtual cottage industry in diagnosing Hillary. All the medical professionals who chime in on the issue are clear that they can’t provide a diagnosis without an actual exam, but they are all also clear that, based on their training and years of experience, there is clearly something significant medically amiss with the Democratic nominee. If the Clinton Campaign would just come clean with her records, people wouldn’t be speculating nearly as much because we would have facts available.

Side Note: Dr. Drew’s show was cancelled a few days after he voiced concerns about Hillary’s health, but the network cancelled other shows as well as part of a rebranding. This seems to be purely coincidental timing, not some kind of “pay-back” for criticizing Hillary.

I don’t believe everything I see. There is a video of Hillary in a coffee shop that is purportedly a “seizure.” It certainly looks odd, especially for Hillary, but by no means does it look like a seizure to me. But there is a difference between healthy skepticism and blind denial. Only those who are in willful denial can claim that Hillary has demonstrated the physical stamina for the presidency during her campaigning.

And yet, there is no discussion of her exceptionally light schedule, short days, and general low energy (exhaustion, even) by the main stream media. Unfortunately, the sources I see covering these issues are, frankly, on a par with the National Enquirer, but that doesn’t make the images and videos they post fake. At this point, I have seen no evidence that they are. (If you have any, please post it in the comments.) I hate to use these kind of sources, but really, when the main stream media opts out of coverage, there isn’t much choice.

The primary other source we have are emails from her staff, particularly Huma Abedin. Huma clearly cares deeply and personally about her boss. She takes care of her, and we can learn a lot from her messages to Hillary.  Huma’s messages generally portray Hillary as being tired and old. There is nothing wrong with this – unless you are Commander in Chief and have to be able to be awake and alert quickly if there is an emergency, and stay that way for as many hours as it takes.

Huma specifically stated that Hillary is often confused – her words, not mine. She actually sent her messages to take a nap, mid-afternoon, to be prepared for a meeting while Hillary was Secretary of State. When is the last time you, as an adult, need to be reminded to take a nap to be prepared for a business meeting? Other staffers have made similar comments in their emails, so this isn’t simply one person’s perception. Her exhaustion and need for a light schedule is a reality Hillary’s staff is well aware of and routinely works around.

There is also information attributed to leaks from the Secret Service, although anonymous sources are always suspect. These do seem to be supported by recent videos and photos of her. Specifically, they state that Hillary Clinton is physically infirm to the point that she can no longer able to safely enter and exit the standard government-issue SUV. Her vehicle has reportedly been remodeled, at great cost, to allow handicap-accessible entry with a lower threshold due to the severity of her balance issues. A photo of her needing a sturdy step stool to enter a black SUV had begun making the rounds, adding credence to this statement.

Energy

Even if everything else turns out to be perfectly fine with Hillary’s health, she clearly lacks the stamina to take on the job she is running for. She doesn’t even have the energy to campaign for it. In an emergency, the Commander in Chief needs to be awake and able to make good decisions with very little warning and stay that way for potentially long periods of time. Based on the evidence of her current schedule, there is no way she could do that.

In addition, like it or hate it, the POTUS simply must update the press and interact with them on a regular basis. Hillary has gone more than eight months without having a press conference and press access to her has been limited since her campaign started. Why? Is it too mentally or physically taxing for her? Is she hiding something? Is she simply too tired and confused to handle the full press corps and their questions?

Hillary simply doesn’t have what it takes, physically, to do the job. Given what we are seeing, the simple truth is that a vote for Hillary is really a vote for Tim Kaine because she is too old and tired to do the job.

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I’m Back!

im back pinMy last post on here on The Moderate Mom was just a bit over a year ago. Not long after that, we found out my husband’s job was being eliminated. You can imagine the stress that created! I stopped blogging during that time and focused on my home and family. We are fine because we immediately cut back on our spending, told the kids why, and had generally prepared ourselves over the past few years in case something did go wrong. That preparedness allowed us to spend a lot less until he went back to work.

While he was between jobs, we spent time talking about where we wanted to go, as a family, and how we thought we could get there. The end result was that we decided to buy or start a business. After a lot of research, discussion, and reflection, we are starting a new website, Wise Fathers, with the hope of turning it into a real income stream. Naturally, that has led to changing our web hosting and a host of technical difficulties.

Although technical difficulties caused by moving this and other older blogs onto the new hosting have delayed launching Wise Fathers, it should be live in September. (Short version: outdated plugins led to malware problems; since the sites were new / newly moved, there aren’t any cached versions to revert to, creating big headaches.)

Wise Fathers will be a location where dads can get a variety of information from a variety of sources to help them with their parenting questions. It’s no secret that parenting books, blogs, advice, etc. tend to be mom-focused, but I have to admit I was shocked to see some of the top “parenting” magazines were so mom-focused that they have as many articles on make-up and women’s fashion as they do on straight-up parenting!

Now that the kids are going back to school, and my new laptop freely acknowledges the existence of wifi (the old one hasn’t done that since last year), I will be posting on the Moderate Mom again and may even start having some other bloggers posting as well. My daily focus will be Wise Fathers, but I still really enjoy posting on both the Moderate Mom and The Survival Mom, where I am a regular contributor, so in addition to an updated look, keep an eye out for new Moderate Mom posts every week!

But don’t expect me to take kindly to comments about how wonderful our economy is. Not after this past year.

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We can finally quit talking about it. Seriously. It’s done. It was already legal in 36 states, so please, let’s just move on. (Not to diminish the celebrations of those who have been waiting for this day. If that’s you – party on!)

To be clear, I have always thought the only restrictions on marriage should be to protect the weak and defenseless, namely children. If a religious officiant wants to perform a marriage between two people of the same sex and it isn’t a violation of their beliefs, then forbidding them to do so is a violation of the First Amendment. To be sure, forcing someone for whom it is a violation of their beliefs is also a violation of their First Amendment rights.

If you’re concerned about states rights, I understand that – but there are so many other issues where they are being violated that this really doesn’t need to be the flagship for that fight.

The really big reason, though, is that this doesn’t need to be part of the conversation in the upcoming presidential election. If we just move forward and accept that gay marriage is legal, then maybe, just maybe, we can spend more time finding out what the candidates think about topics like government over-reach, government over-spending, and foreign policy.

I know, that’s radical thinking. Why would we possibly ask Presidential candidates questions that actually relate to the job at hand instead of focusing on issues best handled by Congress?

Alabama Senate Passes Bill to Effectively Nullify All Sides on Marriage

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Read this article for more complete details, but the simple reality is that racism was so deeply ingrained in American life, and in every aspect of Hollywood, that the first black winner of an Oscar wasn’t even able to attend the premiere of her own movie.

When you see people complaining about racism as though nothing has improved because of the lack of black nominees this year, take a minute to think about that. Can you imagine Will Smith, Oprah Winfrey, or Samuel Jackson being denied admission anywhere, for any reason?

With that said (and please, do read the article, it’s worth the time), the real issue isn’t the lack of non-white nominees in 2016.  he real problem is the lack of decent parts being given to people who are not already proven to have a huge following, and women who are not young with perfect figures. Don’t misunderstand me – I do understand that a big name can bring big money, but the big studios pay out like having one of the truly big names guarantees both a stellar performance and a big profit. It does not.

Sure, there are a few who aren’t white (Denzel Washington and Will Smith spring to mind) and a few women who are no longer young (Judi Dench and Helen Mirren, I’m thinking of you!), but for every example like that, there is a Jack Nicholson who continued to play the “young” lead decades after any woman would have been playing a mom or grandma. (Goldie Hawn’s character in The First Wives Club gives a great portrayal of being a female actress in Hollywood; Whoopie Goldberg in The Associate takes on the finance world, but being a studio executive in Hollywood is not dissimilar.)

We vote to continue this. We vote every time we go to the movie theater and see yet another “blockbuster” with an aging male action star and a hot young blonde who needs saved. We vote for it every time we skip over Black-ish and watch the Kardashians. There are tens of thousands of movies, at least, available on Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services, plus DVDs we can buy or borrow from the library. (Yes, you can borrow movies, for free, from most local public libraries.) Stop paying $15-$20 or more per person to see the newest stereotype-reinforcing pile of poo from the big studios!

I won’t accuse the Divergent movie series of being the most original I’ve ever seen, but I do love seeing a powerful young woman as a lead character. Why do they have that? Because another studio made big money off of The Hunger Games and this was their answer. If people hadn’t gone, en masse, to watch The Hunger Games, they would have just come out with more action flicks featuring men.

Studios are risk averse. They won’t change unless they are forced into it. As long as their current formula makes them money, it will remain their formula. If you want to see more diverse movies, then start buying, renting, and borrowing Bollywood movies, telenovelas, foreign films, anime – whatever interests you. Do you know what your local library will do if they don’t have Bollywood movies but you ask and get others interested enough to ask? They will decide they need to buy…Bollywood movies. The same is true of any other specific movie or kind of movies. They make purchasing decisions based, in part, on what people request.

The best way to honor the memory of Hattie McDaniels and all those who have suffered under racism in Hollywood is to simply choose to buy, rent, and borrow diverse movies.

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different beliefs

different beliefs“Never discuss politics and religion” is reasonable advice for day to day harmony, because the topics bring out such strong feelings, but it has led to some unpleasant long-term side effects. People truly do not understand how people can have different belief than they do because people do not discuss their beliefs with anyone whose beliefs differ from theirs in any meaningful way.

Part of the end result of that reluctance to discuss our beliefs is that people end up with less understanding and tolerance of other beliefs. It isn’t because they are bad people. They truly don’t understand how any intelligent, humane person could believe differently from them.

Just as we all have different standards for our physical surroundings, we also have different standards and expectations for our social interactions. Some people actually enjoy debating (even if it is indistinguishable from arguing), while lots of others just get stressed by it.

Some are tolerant of other viewpoints and even search them out to understand them better, but the reality is that most people range from indifferent to the opinions of others to actively avoiding them. Recognizing and respecting those differences goes a long way toward more harmonious interactions.

We all need to work on managing expectations of ourselves and others online and in person, myself included. Everyone has subjects they feel strongly about, usually based on personal experiences but sometimes based on something else, like newspaper articles, and what they hear and see from others in their own community.

Different Tolerance Levels

I believe firmly that it is important for citizens to own firearms for personal protection. (I may post why some day, but this post is not a discussion of that.) I have other friends who believe the opposite, at least as firmly. Not all are willing to discuss hot-button issues like this (most avoid them), but I have had FaceBook discussions with several who disagree.

I really appreciate the few who comment back when I make testy comments. Sometimes when they have called me out, I have backed down because I realized what I was saying, liking, sharing, or reposting was either flat out wrong or too strongly worded. But other times, I have argued back and they have learned from my arguments, just like I learn from some I disagree with. (I know this to be true simply because they have said so.)

Some of my friends and former classmates will argue discuss the issue for a while, but it’s clear that neither of us is presenting facts or opinions that will sway the other. In some cases, we have agreed to not discuss or post on it any more because it’s clearly just a waste of everyone’s time. I’m OK with that, because there was no attempt to shut down communication, even in the face of high levels of frustration on both sides. I know I can post, should I want to, without being unfriended.

Others either simply unfriend anyone who disagrees with them or flat out say that anyone who disagrees with them should unfriend them, they are completely fine with that. While there are a limited number of topics where this makes sense (pedophilia, for example), the number where it is such clear-cut unacceptable behavior is incredibly limited.

My Expectations

It would be foolish to treat these groups the same, and I need to manage my own expectations of how I should talk to them and how I can expect them to respond. I continue to discuss the matter with those who are open to it. For the others, I don’t bring it up.

Some people simply have no tolerance for view points that counteract their own. I don’t know why. Some are so arrogant they can’t conceive of being totally in the wrong. Others are be blinded by a faith that says anyone who disagrees with what their Pastor is preaching is wrong (itself, another form of arrogance). Some are too lazy to look at the evidence. Still others may simply be too stupid to comprehend the arguments against their case.

I respect those who are willing to talk despite having extremely divergent opinions. A high school classmate and I have radically different opinions, and conversations have definitely gotten testy, but I have never felt like he viewed me as being intellectually inferior to him. A college classmate also has some very different opinions but is genuinely interested in learning another point of view and has regularly been chatting and exchanging views with me.

Because of their tolerance for the existence of other opinions and apparent ability to see that other people can look at the same information and come to opposite conclusions, I have the utmost respect for both of them.

The Conversation-Averse

At the other extreme, another friend stated that they want to stop certain conversations entirely. Anytime anyone refuses to even have a discussion, particularly with an underlying attitude that those who disagree with their position are somehow intellectually inferior to them, they immediately lose my respect, no matter what other accomplishments they have.

For those few who aren’t even willing to talk, I try not to discuss much of anything but it’s hard. I recently asked for the facts to back up a statement someone else made. I read it as “gun ownership correlates highly with murder rates”, but it was actually that it correlates with “increased deaths by shooting.” The response was a link to some Google search results.

Well, clearly someone can’t be shot without a gun! But what about the overall violent crime rates – particularly murder and suicide? By focusing on such an insanely narrow point, the conversation has been halted another way. Truthfully, I misread it because I just didn’t expect such an incredibly poor argument, and I really didn’t expect the total lack of anything to back it up.

Personally, I prefer to use things like studies from top-tier universities and surveys of professionals working in a related field as evidence to back up my positions, but if a Google search result is the best you can do….

Seriously, if a Google search is the best you’ve got to back up your entrenched position, it’s a waste of my time to try to change it.

Whatever the reason, in the end refusing to even listen to another viewpoint is nothing more than intellectual laziness and arrogance. I think the biggest irony is that most of those who refuse to discuss issues genuinely believe themselves to be more tolerant than the average person!

Making a Difference

In the end, the only tool I have found that makes any headway in altering what others think on hot-button topics is the hardest of all to wield: frank, calm discussion. Don’t get angry. Don’t call names or storm off in a huff. Allow for the possibility that what you hold to be true might not be 100% true.

But don’t let anyone walk all over you and convince you that you are wrong without some solid evidence on their side, and as amazing as Wikipedia really is, it’s just one of many websites that is most definitely not solid evidence. When you do realize you were wrong – and if you are honest and open to discussion, there will be time – admit it. It’s amazing what a difference that can make.

I think we all recognize that our nation has a lot of healing that needs to happen. In the end, one of the best steps we can take to make that happen is to stop being afraid to talk to people who are different from us in their beliefs, backgrounds, politics, race, or anything else. Have real conversations with them. Discuss hard issues, then we’ll start to understand and can move forward.

Until we really, truly start to talk about tough issues, that will not happen.

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