Sunday, February 18, 2007

We Americans are fortunate to live in a country that protects our freedom to speak out. We can take unpopular positions. This freedom is protected by our constitution. We can disagree with powerful institutions , rich corporations, rich and powerful families. I usually keep my mouth shut anyways. Those same institutions have the same speak out against me. If He is my boss, I can be fired. There was a lot I did not say.
Never the less, I felt it was my duty to contribute to my community, to be active make a difference. I credit my parents for instilling in me, a sense of responsibility for others. Dad was a Policeman. The Police Benevolent society distributed food baskets during the holidays. Mom did the distribution. She made sure her daughters came along to see how other people lived. I could see the difference. I saw families in complete disarray, really destitute. I also saw very poor people who were intelligent and kept a clean house...although spartan. Not a lot of furniture there, but everything was polished and in place. Some of those houses were really cold in the winter.
I am proud of my volunteer experiences...visiting orphanages in high school, volunteer teacher at the YWCA during college, a Red Cross Volunteer, on the board of the local youth center , a commissioner running a building devoted to veterans, on the Council on last position.
The Council on Aging was when I realized that I was not heard. I hold minority positions. ...such heretical positions as: We ought to follow the personal policy of our senior center. It did not happen.
Sitting down, reasoning with myself: I am retired . I don't know how many years of good health I have left. Do I want to spend that time volunteering? Especially when I feel ineffective? Is it important for me to make a more concentrated effort to be heard? Shall I give volunteering top priority ? The answer was a clear no. My years of volunteering are over.
Never the less, I still follow issues and have concerns about where my local community is going. Our taxes are an issue. Disappearing open space is an issue. Social services are an issue. Transportation, pollution, conserving our New England architecture...all issues.
Not only local politics, but state and national issues need to be followed.
Two issues on the state level are our sky rocketing energy costs and the eminent domain law that can throw people off their land when they don't want to go.
One issue on the national level caused me to write this entry into my blog: The war in Iraq. President Bush never made clear to me, the connection between the terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York and Iraq. In fact, He clearly knew that the terrorists came from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but We need the oil from the Saudis, so We can't shoot there.
Instead, He declared war against Iraq. To me, that makes the USA, the bad guy. We're there now. Young men, the ages of my grandsons, are losing limb or life. The conflict draws more fundamentalist and terrorists into the area. Training camps spring up. Maybe there were already there. It is as if We stuck a stick into a hornets nest. Of course the hornets are going to be pretty mad.
Well, We're in the Frey now. Perhaps it is a good thing that their dictator is gone. I don't think We can just walk away because We now owe law and order to the gentle and intelligent citizens of Iraq. They're dying in greater numbers than our own troops. I urge our president to use our troops in Iraq to train and guide the Iraq troops and civilian forces to restore law and order in their country. When stability is established, get out.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Buffalo and Erie County is still in the news because of record snow levels. I love lots of snow. I love it when it acts like an insulator and I have a feeling of warmth in the cold. I love it when the snow is a sound insulator. The world is quiet in the snow. All I hear is crunch of footsteps or kisses from the wind. It is so beautiful. Snow sparkles in the moonlight or under the streetlamp. Most people don't venture out in bad weather, so I do. I have the world to myself. In snow, people don't socialize. You are left with your thoughts. Heavenly. I can walk in the road...the only plowed space. I am alone, just me in the cold dark space. The air feels clean in my much better than indoor, heated air.

The television says that the area has over 10 feet of snow and it is still snowing. Let's see: one story is eight feet, so the average snow level is now at the second story of houses. Drifts are even higher. When people clear their sidewalks and driveways, they have to pile the snow up someplace...usually on their lawn. How high can snowbanks go? Pretty darn high.

I am supposed to drive to Buffalo. I cancelled my trip. Darn. I love the snow, but realistically, my truck may fishtail on the road, even with the extra weights that Don put in the bed of my truck. There are reports of cars going off the side of the road, because the driver couldn't see the side of the road. Some people have died...shoveling, or freezing, or because they couldn't get medical care fast enough. Everything slows down in the snow. I guess I have to slow down, too.