Eight Good Reasons To Vote

Image

Eight Good Reasons To Vote

“Following the close of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked “What have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” He answered, “A republic, if you can keep it!”

Voting is a privilege. If you are not a white male land owner, chances are good that someone fought for your right to vote. If you live in America, you were either lucky enough to be born with it or lucky enough to earn it.

You can complain with integrity. You can justifiably complain about your elected officials if you speak out as a voter.

Voting is a responsibility. The USCIS Guide to Naturalization says, “Citizens have a responsibility to participate in the political process by registering and voting in elections.” In the naturalization oath, new citizens swear to support the Constitution of the United States, and voting is an integral part of that Constitution.

Because you still believe in the Constitution – even if there are flaws. The right to vote is mentioned more often in the Constitution than anything else. Perhaps the mentality was that voting was a privilege and it needed to be a right. For a long time it was only the “right people” who could vote. This is something we are so adamant about when we see it in other countries. Our vote may not seem so important to us now but we would be so much worse without it.

Because every vote counts! If you don’t like the current administration, choose a candidate that you think can win the election.

Higher turnout makes our democracy more representative. You still should vote in your election, because even if the candidate you loathe is destined to win in a landslide, you can make a dent in their margin of victory. Officials who are elected in close elections are reminded of it constantly.

If you don’t vote, you give others the power to make decisions for you. Silence implies consent. If you fail to vote, you forfeit your right to complain.

Because you get a free sticker!

Fly safe
JAZ

Men of A Certain Age And Sexual Harassment

Image

Men Of A Certain Age And Sexual Harassment 

“Is this what growing into an adult woman is—having to predict and accordingly arrange for the avoidance of sexual harassment?” Candice Carty-Williams,

It is true that sexual harassment won’t go away on its own. The focus on the problem is good.

For women of my age, it was an inevitable part of life, unpleasant but expected. As a female, I learned to adapt my behavior in order to prevent, avoid, ignore, and ultimately dismiss the unwanted attention. 

As these experiences start to accumulate in your life, over time it becomes normal. You stop looking up when the construction workers yell and whistle. You avoid the men at work who call you honey and baby. You pass on the job when the person interviewing you puts his hand on your shoulder and leaves it there. 

I’m sure that my mother and my grandmother had these stories. But my daughter does not. 

How we interpret all the news about sexual harassment is generational. Grabby, gross guys in the workplace were inevitable and I am not shocked to hear about it. But my daughter has grown up in a different world. Her dad was involved in her upbringing. The headmaster of her elementary school and her doctors were women.  More women are in college than men and equality was something she has always heard about it. My daughter will not tolerate the stuff that her mother and grandmother did and will speak up at the time if anything should ever happen. Her generation won’t wait decades to come forward with accusations. They were stunned by the Hollywood headlines, the length of time it went on and how long it took people to come forward.

I also think that to her generation harassment and assault are viewed in the same way- which is great for the future. But, I’m not going to make my voting decision based on which older candidate didn’t make an inappropriate comment to women. That was the world they knew and had learned from their fathers- just as my generation of women learned to keep silent from their mothers. It is not that these issues don’t matter to me. They matter a lot. But they are not disqualifying to me in a candidate that I think has the best chance to win the Presidential election.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Ugly Americans

Image

Ugly Americans

“What’s the derogatory term for Americans in a foreign country? ….Americans” unknown 

As Americans traveling the world we do apologize often for our behavior. But we may have outdone ourselves with Trump. Trump represents the America that the world hates. He embodies the worst anti-American stereotypes: vulgar, violent, cash-obsessed, racist.

 I had heard about the  Ugly Americans abroad but this was my first experience with them. We were at a beautiful resort in the Pantanal in Brazil where meals were served at community tables. There they were- loud, arrogant, older Trump supporters and the BF took the bait.  Sometimes I think we’re all too much like this. We are rude to people we don’t know precisely because we don’t know them, and we think it doesn’t really matter.  We treat people with differing political views as evil rather than consider that they have had different experiences and ideas. 

My boyfriend apologized the next morning and they agreed to talk only about the jaguars that we were all hoping to see . There had  recently been a huge fire in the Pantanal  and it affected and killed many animals. The safaris were like treasure hunts and we had been lucky and had seen almost all the animals including jaguars, 

The next morning out on the jeep with them we saw nothing. The Ugly Americans complained loudly and compared the experience unfavorably to their many trips in Africa and boat trip to Port Jofre. A vacation always goes better if you don’t compare.They wallowed in a swamp of complaints.They measured their stay in the Pantanal with an American yardstick instead of immersing themselves in the culture they came to see.

Their anger escalated in the afternoon. Again, we saw very few animals and we pulled up to go canoeing on this beautiful lake in the Pantanal. They were furious. He yelled at the guide.  “I flew five thousand miles to go canoeing. I’m not going and I’m going to just sit here and complain.”

Righteous anger boiled up inside me. I felt compelled to tell him that his negative energy was impacting the group experience and this beautiful place. He replied in a loud angry voice that i should shut my mouth and go back to Brooklyn (where I grew up). His response was several notches more intense than necessary. “You are healthy and you are here,” I answered and walked away.

I got into the canoe and begged my boyfriend not to say anything. He. agreed but when we got back to shore, the man stood in his path. The next thing I knew was that they had their hands on each other about to fight. “I hate you Hollywood types. You think you are better than everyone,” he said.  It was right out of Trump’s playbook.

The wife would stand in front of the jeep so I couldn’t get on without asking her to move or go around to the other side.  If I tried to talk to my German friends sitting behind me, she would get involved and push me out of the conversation. No one liked them but everyone was trying to keep the peace and talk to them so that there would be no more incidents and we would see more animals. I haven’t seen bullies like this since  junior high school.

We bonded with the hardworking  staff and the other lovely guests from all over the world over our dislike of “the Ugly Americans.” i tried to avoid them as much as possible but staying in the same lodge it was difficult. They were still complaining in the doorway as we were leaving.

Just to be clear, every country has horrible people who are loud, rude, and arrogant, and these people are horrible when they travel and, presumably, horrible at home. It’s not limited to a single country.

 

Fly safe,

JAZ

Are You A Republican Or Democrat In The Time Of Trump?

Image

Are You A Republican Or Democrat In The Time Of Trump?

“Thinking is difficult. That is why most people judge.” Carl Gustav Jung

Whenever I ask someone if they are a Democrat or Republican and they are Republican, there is always a silence or I am asked if that will make a difference in how I treat them. That is how I know that they are Republican in the time of Trump. There is such a widening divide between Democrats and Republicans these days. The divergence is everywhere from Washington to my dinner table. We avoid discussing politics in”mixed company” more than we ever have before. 

I think part of it is the media. We all don’t listen to the same objective  news anymore. Our news is biased. Republicans watch Fox News and Democrats watch MSNBC or CNN . Opinion news is our new reality. Between the internet and all the cable networks, you can now get the news with whatever personal  bias you choose.

If someone on the phone tells me that he is Republican, that fact alone would make me think that he is not black, lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual or  nonreligious. If he says that he is a Democrat, I would assume that he is not Evangelical Christian and does not live in Kentucky. There are plenty of people who break their party’s stereotypes but it is not the first thought that comes into my mind.

We can always blame the Russians. It is said  on my news stations that the trolls and bots (still not 100 per cent sure I understand these words) help to increase the fact that life in America is no longer great. It’s now well-established that Russia attempted to influence the results of the 2016 US Presidential Election though the propagation of online misinformation. Whether it did influence the election, and to what extent collusion occurred and by whom, remains a matter of partisan debate. It is a subject we intensely avoid with people who do not share our political beliefs.

As I learned from traveling, when you talk to people  you find out that we are not as different as we think. If we have different political beliefs, we can always find some common ground. Democracy is based on the idea that people from different cultures and different political beliefs can sit at a table and find a solution for the greater good. What is best for America is more important than whether our party wins or gets what it wants.

 We have always been a country where anything is possible and our destiny is in our own hands. We  face huge challenges but so does the rest of the world. We have always had “the right stuff” to ride out the coming storm. We are not a perfect country but we are founded on the loftiest ideals that any country has every articulated. We have to learn, progress and grow.  

Fly safe,

JAZ

President Trump And The Media

President Trump and the Media

“It may not be good for America, but its damn good for CBS “Les Moonves

If you need to boost traffic to your site, increase circulation, get people to pay for internet subscriptions, get higher ratings or bigger audiences – be all Trump all the time.

it is definitely a co-dependent relationship between Trump and the media, especially CNN. Out of all the networks, CNN seems to have given Trump the most air time. CNN is also the most criticized by Trump. He is always talking about how they don’t understand him, report what he says correctly,  have a very liberal point of view and eventually banned them from certain events.

Before the political season, CNN and the twenty-four hour news channels were suffering in the ratings. This campaign changed  all that for them. It also benefited SNL and some of the late night talk shows. TV news ratings surged during the political season. Unknown newscasters have become celebrities through the Trump coverage.  It is no longer Jake Tapper who?

Codependency is a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s failings or mental health issues or perhaps ratings. Are they like a codependent family? It’s exhausting. Trump tweets something crazy at 2am and the news programs go berserk for the rest of the day. The media doesn’t have to do this every single day, but then they wouldn’t get the attention either.

At first I was afraid, that the censorship of the press was the beginning of American fascism. I now see that Trump still gets a lot of criticism from the media every day. As we know in Hollywood, if you need attention, then any attention is good attention.

They hate each other to the benefit of both off them.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Make America Hate Again

Make America Hate Again

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” Maya Angelou

It turns out that it was not just the economy that brought out the Trump supporters but the shame that the white working class had previously felt about themselves. The Right was very successful in campaigning on the premise that it wasn’t the white working class that failed but some other villain – Muslims, Jews, Liberals, African-Americans, Immigrants, Gays, Feminists, the Media  – the list keeps growing.

The liberals and the media did not understand this deep level of classicism between the haves, have less or have-nots.

Right or wrong Donald Trump gave them back some pride. In doing that, he gave license to their rage and has done nothing to stop that.

I now live in an artsy, racially mixed (and by that I mean interracial couples)  neighborhood. I am at the beach and there are many visitors on the weekends. I was walking my dog and  there was a truck double parked facing in the wrong direction. A man driving by got out of his car to ask him what he was doing.  They were both white. The truck was an Escalade type thing. The car was the cheaper Mercedes model. The Mercedes driver wore a Hawaiian flowered shirt. They were arguing and it was getting ugly. As is my New York custom,  I crossed the street to avoid trouble. The truck driver yelled, “You are such a fucking faggot. You are a big loser. Did you vote for Hillary?”

The racism, sexism and xenophobia that Trump used to advance his candidacy had found its way to my street. When things happen right in front of you,  it is hard to stay open and indifferent. White hate speech against white people in a very liberal neighborhood is new. It is nothing new for black or gay people anywhere. Venice is the kind of mixed arty community that people move into to avoid this. The big conversation among strangers here is how are the waves today or look at that sunset. The lid against hate has been blown off. 

I still say that I wasn’t brought up to hate. I grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust, McCarthyism and my parents’ fears.  I was raised not to sign anything, peacefully protest but not call too much attention to yourself by leading the march.  

A younger couple had heard it as well and they walked up to me. He is blond. She is Asian. They asked how it started. “Stay safe,” they say when they walk away.

Fly safe,

JAZ

Fake News

Fake News

“My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them.” Mitch Hedberg

Today President Trump closed his twitter account. The UN  divided up all the Syrian refugees  and every nation in the world took some in. Peace was declared in Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Nigeria and Congo.  Other African countries are going to follow their example.  With a lot of effort on both parts, a peace agreement to the mutual satisfaction  of both sides, was finally reached between Israel and Palestine.  In a historic quick defeat resulting in no casualties, the Arab Nations banded together and defeated Isis. They are planning a joint effort against other terrorist groups as well. Boko Haram returned all the girls to Nigeria. They were unharmed and well taken care of. The Muslims Clerics issued a doctrine saying all girls must attend school. A mysterious virus is killing the opium and coca plants in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. The Mexican cartels are looking into other businesses – perhaps building supplies. Scientists say that the hole in the ozone layer is noticeably smaller and that climate change is reversing due to the joint efforts of every country in the world.

The Republicans  have repealed and replaced Obama Care with a low-cost high level health care plan pleasing the medical profession, the patients and the insurance companies. Donald Trump has created so many new jobs that we need to take in more immigrants to fill them. Suicide and murder rates are the lowest they have ever been. America has been declared a smoke free country. A new drug has been approved that cures Cancer, Diabetes, MS, Autoimmune Diseases, Alcoholism, Drug Addiction and Racism. Pharmaceutical companies are working over time to cure-all other diseases as well. American billionaires have all banded together to eradicate homelessness and they are expecting everyone to have homes by 2025. The government has poured money into education and mental illness research and treatment. The police have issued a new  policy stating that if you get to your car while they are writing a parking ticket, they will rip it up. Gas prices are the lowest they have been in one hundred years.  Kindness is up fifty percent  and continues to soar.

If we are going to have fake news and alternative facts, let’s use it for good. Why not fake what we want the world to be like? Why not pretend to be the people that we didn’t think we could be?

Fly safe,

JAZ