Friday, June 30, 2017

"Nothing Up My Sleeve"

            Yesterday our president tweeted (again) something offensive. Everyone stopped to respond to his repugnant words. As it should be. Resistance means we can’t overlook the turn of a phrase that contains an intimidation tactic that this administration uses daily and ruthlessly. The White House responded that the president will respond “fire with fire” to criticisms thrown his way. I could spend hours on the topic of the difference between evaluating the job performance of an elected official, which is one of the jobs of the media, and making demeaning statements intended to shame or enflame in response to those assessments. A “fire with fire” response would have been a series of tweets that point-by-point addressed to Scarborough and Brzenzinski the issues under debate, not shooting off insults toward their intellect or appearances.
            As disgusting as the Twitter battle became yesterday, I was also troubled by this president’s proclamation at a meeting with the Department of Energy. I found it distressing that this administration’s agenda includes an expansion of off-shore drilling to oil and natural gas companies to push our country into “American energy dominance.” Not one word of this policy went toward clean energy funding. As I resist this administration’s misogynistic positions, I must also fight against an energy policy that will unravel years of work by conservationists.
            Almost unnoticed in yesterday’s news, because of the belligerent tweeting and disconcerting energy policy, came the report that a White House panel requested from all fifty states voter rolls. This information would include “the names, addresses, birthdates, political party (if recorded), last four digits of the voter's Social Security Number and which elections the voter has participated in since 2006, for every registered voter in the country.” Fortunately, representatives from several states have already turned down this request.

            It concerns me that this administration conducts magic tricks constantly. As we focus our attentions at one overt maneuver that attacks our civility and sensibilities, they slip by other, and perhaps far more dangerous, policy.

Copyright 2017 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Thursday, June 29, 2017

"In Reserve"

         I retied in 2010 because I needed to take care of my mother as Huntington’s Disease ate away her brain and robbed her of everything. For two years, she became the 24/7 focus of our entire family. After she died, I returned to work part-time. Originally, I thought I’d work only a couple of days each week.
         To be honest, I appreciate having a job. I love working with children in the classroom, visiting different campuses throughout the month, and building my reputation with various faculties. I like having a long list of positions to select from as I fill my calendar each week; and my part-time job turned into working almost full-time during the last two school years. Having employment keeps me out of trouble!
         I realized the other day just how fortunate we are that I can add income to our monthly budget. Right now, my pay helps cover bills that didn’t exist when I retired seven years ago, like a car payment. It goes toward the utilities, insurance, and taxes that continue to climb year-by-year. Aren’t we lucky that I have the ability to take on another job?
         My husband’s company laid-off sixty people a few weeks ago. Their projected budget for the next eighteen months means he’s safe for now, but we have an unexpected threat looming that didn’t exist in March. We’ve already run down the “what if” path and know we’ll survive because I can always go back into the workforce full-time in a job that pays more than my $80.00 per day substituting gig.
         I know that many families don’t have a second income earner “in reserve” who can swoop in to rescue the day when there’s a lay-off. I worry about the single parent struggling across two minimum wage jobs. I fret about the working poor—who already pull forty-hour work weeks and cannot survive because they don’t receive a living wage. I agonize over my retired teacher friend whose pension won’t cover the rising medical insurance payment. It burdens me to know that many people don’t have savings, investments, or family to fallback on—not just in an emergency, but to make it through each and every day.

Copyright 2017 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Out and about one sunny day   
I tripped over alternative facts   
And fell into the rabbit hole   
I plunged into an Orwellian nightmare   
Where ignorance was strength   
And a pompous idiot—   
Who reflected reality with a narcissistic mirror—   
Targeted the well-read man with censorship   
My breathing labored as the weight of corrupt lies    
Constricted my lungs   
While I struggled to climb out of the pit   
To seek sunlight and truth   
His lunacy became the norm   
And my intellectualism was cursed into damnation   

Copyright 2017 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman