First off with Trump being President Saturday Night Live is going through a mini Renaissance. As it is this current season is having it’s highest ratings in 22 years. All thanks to Trump there are even talks about reviving the half hour Weekend Update in the fall, that last aired back in the fall of 2008. This would give another time to lambast the President and his administration, since there aren’t enough late night shows doing this already. However, this goes Trump has been a blessing for everyone in Political comedy as it has been only the two or three weeks that he’s been President, but it seems like every day they do something stupid, Like the way Betsy DeVos became the Secretary of Education, by making donations to Republicans and having the Vice President cast the tie breaking vote for her confirmation.
One of the images from this past Saturday’s Women’s March across the nation and around the world that caught my eye was a group of ladies dressed like suffragettes with a sign reading “Same Shit Different Century”, sure a lot has changed in the world but women’s rights are still dragging behind those of men in the United States. Who would have thought that a century after Alice Paul and the other participants of the Woman suffrage parade of 1913 in Washington DC, that we wouldn’t have really gotten that far from what they were fighting for sure Women can vote and even be elected to public office but they haven’t gotten much since. Women are still earning less than a man for the same amount of work and any semblance of the Equal Right Act still hasn’t been passed and approved by the states. However, this seems unlikely to be passed right now with the Republican held Congress, and perhaps the ERA needs to be revived to include all those LGBTQ as well. Let us all work towards bringing this to a reality as we need to become more active citizens by participating in local elections and learning what candidates stand for rather than how much noise they can make.
This march brought up the musical Ragtime set in the early part of the 20th century and tells the stories of three groups of people the Upper-class Whites in New Rochelle, the African Americans in Harlem, and the Eastern European Immigrants. It is a period piece for today, as all these groups still exist today in different forms The musical touches on race, disparities of class, police violence, immigration, equality and justice for women and minorities. If you have some time take a listen to the musical or I’m sure you can find some high school production on Youtube. The stand out songs are the from two different points in the show one at the end of Act One “Till We Reach That Day” and the other just before the end of Act Two “Make Them Hear You”. In the Act One Finale we have an unjust murder by the police, which still is relevant today. The song before the Act Two finale “Make Them Hear You” is an anthem for Justice through non-violence. We hear that “Your sword can be a sermon, or the power of the pen. Teach every child to raise his voice and then, my brothers, then will justice be demanded by ten million righteous men make them hear you.” This is our vehicle for change in the world, and hopefully tomorrow there will be more of us working for the cause where someday gender and race won’t matter when it comes to politics and life in general.
In the United States today is the peaceful turnover of power that has happened since 1797, when John Adams became president. This will be the 58th Inauguration and is bound to be similar to all the rest of them. At about 11 am the festivities begin as the former Presidents (Carter, Clinton, Bush and Obama) will enter and take their places. There will be prayers and musical interludes and perhaps a poem. Around noon on January 20th the Vice President and President will both take the oath of office. The Vice President first will be swore in by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas followed by four ruffles and fluorishes and Hail Columbia, the Vice President’s song will be preformed by the Marine Band. The President comes next and will be swore in by the Chief Justice John Roberts followed by four ruffles and flourishes and Hail to the Chief with a 21-gun salute. This is typically followed by the Inaugural address. After the address Congress convenes for lunch and after lunch there is the Parade starting around 3pm or so. Then there are a couple of Inaugural balls in the evening. After the Oath of Office Trump will become the 45h President of the United States.
I hope that all Americans will give Trump at least a chance to be President before they judge him, He will be giving a major address where he will outline his agenda or something. Let’s just hope that it involves less tweeting.
One of the unique aspect of the American system is the Farewell Address, it began with George Washington in 1789, when he “taught us how to say goodbye”, with the help of Alexander Hamilton it became a iconic speech where he looked back over his presidency and offered some advice for the future of the nation. Washington himself warns of the dangers of sectionalism and factionalism, the divisions based on party politics that even then were growing more and more bitter within the new nation’s government and among its people. It ends with a brilliant section which made it’s way into Hamilton:
“Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest. Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.”
Washington was such an enormous figure that it wasn’t until Andrew Jackson that a President made an official Farewell Address. Jackson himself also warns of the dangers of sectionalism and the shadowy nature of the banking institutions, as they threaten the liberty of the regular citizen. Jackson also brought forth the idea that “eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty.” The next big Farewell address came with Truman, the invention of radio and television had made the President closer to the populace as speeches could be broadcast throughout the nation. Turman’s address includes a great line with is important in these days. “Regardless of your politics, whether you are Republican or Democrat, your fate is tied up with what is done here in this room. The President is President of the whole country. We must give him our support as citizens of the United States. He will have mine, and I want you to give him yours.”
Then we come to Ike’s farewell Address which has seemed to be the direction that the nation has headed. In Eisenhower’s speech he warned about deficit spending, the potential for corruption in the Military Industrial Complex and that science would be relegated to the scientific elites and federal funded. This is one of the big farewell addresses in the 20th century. Bill Clinton in his farewell address urged that the nation treat its diverse population with “fairness and dignity, regardless of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation and regardless of when they arrived in our country, always moving toward the more perfect union of our founders’ dreams.” George W. Bush in his echoed some of the sentiments of Truman saying that “You may not agree with some of the tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.” They had to make tough decisions and did what they thought was best for the nation.
Obama’s farewell comes at a unique time and his emphasis was on the average citizen, We are the people that make up this democracy in America. If we are tired of the partisan divide that seems entrenched we should not retreat into our safe communities of like minded people but go out and try as Atticus Finch says “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” This is for all of us the middle class white guy should try to understand where minority groups are coming from and they in turn should do the same. So many of us only care about the our (party) but need to focus on the We. Obama touched upon this idea in his speech in Selma, “America is not the project of any one person. Because the single most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘We.’ ‘We The People.’ ‘We Shall Overcome.’ ‘Yes, We Can.’”
Sure it’s a topic that no one is a huge fan of but I would like to make a point sure Donald Trump has been naming Billionaire after Billionaire to his Cabinet, but none of these positions have been approved yet and as of today the Electoral College hasn’t even voted yet to determine if Trump is going to be the President. Although it seems unlikely that Trump doesn’t win there is a very slim possibility that it could happen. Even if the Electoral College does by chance some how not certify the Trump Presidency it would go to congress for debate where the Republican hold the advantage in both houses so it seems like Trump Pence are here to stay. However this doesn’t mean that Trump Cabinet would be approved since some of these name are pretty bad. I mean Ben Carson himself said that he was a poor choice to be a Secretary of whatever as he’s never run a federal agency. What ever comes of it there will be a bunch of white males and at least a couple of women like Linda McMahon and Nikki Haley in his Cabinet. Hopefully this will only be a single term in office and we can have some reasonable debate/ civil discourse in the upcoming years that is my biggest hope for the future
Star Wars: This is something we already expected Rogue One will not have a crawl. This is the first of the Star Wars spin off movie that are being released under the Star Wars:Stories brand. We will get a couple more after Rogue One, in 2018 there is a Han Solo movie coming out as well as something else in 2020 and perhaps many more after these scheduled films. Since after the Saga films VIII and XI come out I think that they’ve said that is the end of the Skywalker story.
Politics: Here is a fun one currently 6 electors in the Electoral College have vowed to cast votes against Trump, and Michigan still hasn’t finished counting all the votes. This will match the most faithless electors since 1808, when six electors didn’t vote for James Madison. The number may rise or some electors might abstain from voting. We will have to wait until the middle of December for this vote to happen. However it seems unlikely this will get Hillary Clinton elected. On the other hand New Republic points out that Trump could just as easily be impeached from day one if congress wants to do something about it. According to the article Trump has run afoul of the “emolument clause” of the Constitution as Trump’s Hotel in Washington has some foreign diplomats are staying there to curry favor with the President-elect..
Beer: A Brewpub in Chicago was received a Michelin star. This is cool news as sure it is a recognition of the food prepared at the pub. Sure it’s a big honor but it’s based on the taste of a group of people. Who really cares although people put a great of emphasis on the Michelin star it really means nothing. The Michelin guide was made so people would drive out to a restaurant and wear down the treads on tires for they’d have to be replaced sooner.
First off It seem likely that the Elections in the US need to be overhauled in some way shape or form, perhaps using a ranked ballot instead of whomever get over 50% as so many of the Independent voters might have pushed either candidate ever further. I you don’t know about other voting systems check out CGP Grey’s YouTube videos on Politics in the Animal kingdom.
Well it seems like history has been made a century after the first woman was elected to federal office we will have to wait a little longer for a female President, and America has elected a hopeful one-term president. It will be Donald Trump the “business man and builder/real estate tycoon” from New York, who will be the least qualified since Hoover as Eisenhower was at least General of the Army, as the next President of the United States and he’s got a Republican Senate to work with. So things will be easy for him to get things done. Appointing a Supreme Court Justice and repealing the Affordable Care Act are the major things that Republicans want to do and Trump want to redo trade deals with China and Mexico as well as building that wall. Although these thing need congress to do as well. However the sun will rise and we will still be living here tomorrow and the world did not end because Trump won. More importantly the election really isn’t decided until the Electoral College place their ballots in December. Sure this isn’t what anyone expected only a couple hours ago but it’s what we got. Will Trump moderate to try to appeal to the general public? Trump is will become the oldest President in US history as he is already 70, so hopefully this will lead to a single term. It already looks like in 2018 we will see the Democrats make huge gains in the Senate and Congress, then in 2020 will showcase a new slate of candidates running for President.
This is the big week in a matter of hours the final ballots of the 2016 Elections will be cast and we will learn if Hillary or Trump becomes the next President of the United States. I for one only have one request for whomever is so lucky as to win the election and that is they stick to a single term, we’ve have three two-term Presidents in a row and it would be wonderful if some other families could have a chance at leading the nation. Either way the next President will be the oldest elected of second oldest elected as Hillary will be 69 and Trump is 70. Reagan himself was nearly 70.
Across the nation there are also some Senate elections as well as the entirety of the House of Representatives. There are also some other elections for individual States. Whatever you do if you can vote in all the elections. Sure the “big name” Presidential election gets all the press but the smaller local elections can make a world of difference in your community. So go vote on Tuesday.
This week as we near the end of the Liturgical Year our readings are from Wisdom 11:22-12:2, Psalm 145, Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians 1:11-2:2, and Luke’s Gospel 19:1-10.
The Gospel this week is the story of Zacchaeus that short tax collector who climbs a tree to see Jesus. Jesus calls to him and eats with Zacchaeus where Zacchaeus says that he’s done horrible things and will give back to the poor. This story is a story of all Christians. At times we are all to caught up in the things of this world, caring more for things than people, neglecting them just because we think of them as a sinner. However we are all sinners, we all want to be like Zacchaeus and have that moment in the tree. This story echoes what we hear in the Book of Wisdom where the Lord is said to “love all thing that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for what you hated, you would not have fashioned.” The Lord comes to us with love and ask us to do the same to all our neighbors, as the Great Commandment say “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
This is especially important to remember in the upcoming week in the United States as that Presidential Election is just days away and we should remember that we are not a nation of Blues and Reds but we are all different shades of Purple. Let us keep this in mind this week as we try to live by the key to living “Love your neighbor as yourself”. It is a simple idea but it is difficult for us to do let us all try to follow this commandment for the rest of the year. We hear Jesus telling us to come down from the tree saying that he will be staying with us tonight are we ready.
Netflix: According to the letter that was sent to Netflix investors in 2017 they are planning to release 1000 hours of original content. This is a huge increase from the 600 hours this year. Hopefully it won’t be 400 hours of less movies available on demand. This is a large increase and is pretty amazing at how much stuff Netflix is making itself so it isn’t caught up in licensing fees.
Washington DC: The Constitution for statehood has been approved and now goes to the citizens of Washington DC to decide if they would like to live in the “State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth” or Washington DC. Although this is a better name for the state than the previous named New Columbia. If approved by the residents of DC it would then go to Congress to get approval, this however is the biggest hurdle as although it seems likely that the Democrats will get a bigger chunk of the pie in Congress so I’m not sure if both DC and Puerto Rico would both get in or if Republican would rather want to have at least one “republican” coming in as well or might they just want to add all six of the delegates to voting members of the house. This is an interesting aspect to watch in the upcoming election.
Politics: For once Trump has a good idea. Donald Trump is bringing up the idea of Congressional term limits 6 years in the House and 12 in the Senate. This seems like a smart idea as it is often seen as the weak part in the political machine in America as there is currently a member of the house who has been there for a half century and a member of the senate who has been there for 40 years. Now this isn’t the smartest thing as Congress itself would have to approve this legislation and it seems unlikely that they would approve something that would kick out about half of them from office.