My Question for Today

Like many loyal Americans, I have been following the confirmation process for Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment the Supreme Court of the United States of America. WOW, that has to be an experience for anyone; imagine being nominated for the highest court in America. I think I’d be so nervous I’d be wetting my pants, but Judge Kavanaugh has been about as laid back and cool as I’ve ever seen. 

I watched most of the confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary and was again amazed by the blatant display of amateur children’s ravings coming from the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. My god, it was like a pack of rabid, starving hyenas going after a large, bull elephant (no pun intended) who was calmly awaiting their next move. 

This started me thinking about the concept of Judiciary Committee. As is my habit, I began to research words to compare with actions, thus I grabbed my trusty Cambridge English Dictionary and looked up the word “judiciary.” 

The definition of judiciary is, and I quote: “the part of a country’s government that is responsible for its legal system, including all the judges in the country’s courts: a member of the judiciary.” 

My next question was, how many members sit on the Judiciary Committee, that answer was easy. I found that as of this date, there are 21 members, 10 of which are democrat and 11 are Republicans. But what I couldn’t find, was the number of lawyers v non-lawyers on the committee. I found that the Chairman, Senator Grasseley, and the ranking member, Senator Feinstein are while Senators Booker and Harris are. I supposed I could have looked up the profiles on each Senator, but to what end. What I really wanted to know is do these 21 members know what the hell they’re doing? 

Call me old and senile, but I should think that anyone with more than one viable brain cell should know that being on a committee with so much power requires a person be judicious? 

Back to my trusty Dictionary where I read, Judicious means: “having or showing good judgment in making decisions.” OMG, now I have a real problem understanding what happened in the hearing. Do any of the 10 Democrats even know what the word judicious means, let alone act like it? 

I have never, in my entire 75+ years on this earth seen such a display of immature childishness as I did in watching the Democrats at the confirmation hearing. They were disgusting and disgraceful showing no respect for our legal system let alone our entire government.

I say this even after Justice Ginsburg publicly chastised them, the Democrats, following the lead of Senator Feinstein, attacked again using an unverified, anonymous letter claiming Judge Kavanaugh may be guilty of some form of sexual harassment or assault. 

Now think about this carefully: The ranking member of the Senator Judiciary Committee receives an anonymous letter in July 2018 from an unnamed source accusing the nominee of a crime but refusing to be identified. The Senator sits on the letter through the entire vetting and confirmation processes for Judge Kavanaugh and doesn’t bring it forward until the 11th hour when she hands it over to the FBI to investigate (reportedly the FBI declined to investigate due to lack of cause). 

Please, will someone, tell me, what kind of a game are our Senators trying to play in our Judiciary Committee? How can they even wear the mantle of “Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee” when they aren’t even judicious in their activities? 

Primary question: Have we failed as Americans by allowing our government to get so far out of control as they think they can define their authorities in their own terms? 

New Project

For many years I’ve wanted to tell the world my story; to share my thoughts, my pain, my hopes, and my sorrow. Now, going into my 75th year of life, it is time for that story. I ask only one thing of my readers, please be honest in your comments.  Should you wish to share with me, please write to me at Papa.QuillDriver@gmail.com; include your location. Until then, I’ll leave you with one thought:   

The only person who can beat you down and keep you there is you.
 

Nana didn’t know Henry.

Nana didn’t know Henry.

 

Henry, who was to become my best friend in elementary school was a chubby black kid with a heat of pure gold.  We met in the fall of 1950 when we began first grade and remained friends until he died at age eighteen from a congenital heart defect,

It’s funny, how when looking back at friendships many people cannot recall precisely what it was that triggered your liking for each other. I know Henry and I were in the same first-grade class, but he, being black had to sit in the back of the class. Yep, I grew up in that era when segregation was still alive but in its death throes. Hell, even at recess, Henry would be with the other black kids in their corner of the playground.

Racism you say, sure it was, it was early 1950s Minneapolis, Minnesota and I went to an integrated public school where black kids sat in the back rows of everything and had their own play area outside. We were making progress in the cafeteria though, at least there, everyone could get into the same line, course there was only one line for everything.  I loved chocolate milk too (not important to this story, but thought you’d like to know ). I didn’t usually eat the cafeteria food, my mother had me on a strict diet; took me awhile to adjust to Peter Pan peanut butter with my grape jelly over Skippy’s but PB&J was the menu of the day, almost every day.

We had a great teacher for first grade. She was smart, fun and didn’t believe in using brass knuckles or a wooden ruler to get our attention. What she did have was a shrill voice that was louder than a claxon when she got upset. But, we liked her.

We had a class project just before Thanksgiving that year. It involved caring for a pair of white mice Why? Damned if I know now but we did. Each Friday after school, one student would take the mice home in their cage to care for them. My turn came Thanksgiving weekend, and I was thrilled to be involved because it made me feel like I was a part of something. So, when school let out on Wednesday the day before Thanksgiving, I picked up the cage, put the cover over it and trudged home in the midst of a massive snowfall.

When I got home, no one was in the apartment we lived in over our little dairy store, so I took my two small charges in their cage into my bedroom which was kind of hidden behind the refrigerator, and I put them in the corner. At last, I thought, I have my own little family.

On Thanksgiving day, we all piled into dad’s 1950 Oldsmobile 88 Sedan and drove down to Mankato, Minnesota to share dinner with my paternal grandparents. It was the typical non-earthshattering event, but I did get to tell Nana about my mice. I remember her saying it was a huge and very significant responsibility for so young a man as me, but she was proud of me. She knew how to say the things I needed to hear and wasn’t hearing at home.

When we returned to Minneapolis later that day, I was exhausted and went right to bed. In the morning, my mother came into my room and demanded to know where I got the “rats” and cage. I explained it was part of a school project. Of course, she also demanded to know why I didn’t ask her permission before bringing them home. Apparently, she had forgotten signing a permission slip at the start of the project. Whatever the case, “take those rats back to school now!” was all I heard.

I was destroyed! How was I going to get them back into the school when it was closed for the holiday? Even if I did, who would care for them until school on Monday? It made no difference, I had to “take those rats back to school, now!”

Following my usual breakfast of somewhat lumpy oatmeal, I bundled up and trudged my way along the five snow-covered city blocks to Adams Elementary School at Bloomington and Franklin Avenues only to find it covered in snow with no signs of recent activity. I didn’t know what to do, so I went over to the swing set, brushed the snow off and sat down with the cage on my lap to think. I was upset. No, I was terrified, I didn’t know what to do except sit there crying.

I don’t know how long I sat there before the local cop stopped to ask me what I was doing. Luckily, at least for me, he knew me from our family dairy store which was open from seven AM to midnight, seven days a week. Guess he could come in late at night when I was already in bed asleep.

When I told him what had happened, he took me to his squad car, put me and the cage in the back seat then turned up the heater. He said he thought he could help and to relax, then started talking on his police radio to some woman. When he finished, we drove a few blocks to a house where a man I recognized as a janitor at my school came out and got into the front seat. We then drove back to school where the janitor let us into my classroom where I left my little charges after giving them fresh water and food. We then took the janitor back home, and the officer drove me back to our store where the policeman talked to my dad. I went to my room where I think I cried myself to sleep.

I was a mess the remainder of the weekend because I knew my classmates would make fun of me for having to bring the mice back to school. Come Monday morning, I was up early, skipped breakfast and was about to rush out the door when my brother David told me school was closed due to the snowstorm the night before. Not only were the schools closed but the streets were blocked with knee-deep piles of snow; I’m not talking my knees, I’m talking Paul Bunyan’s.

All I could think about was “are the mice ok” Are they safe?” I didn’t know, and it was tearing at me.

Tuesday morning wasn’t much better; schools were still closed but the roads were getting plowed, and I knew there would be school on Wednesday. There just had to me!

I got up extra early Wednesday morning, did my usual morning stuff, including not brushing my teeth, but then no one else in my family did, and no one encouraged me to. I ate my oatmeal, put on my overboots, you know those old black rubber boots we put on over our shoes, my jacket, gloves, and hat then out the door, down the stairs and around the corner I went. I think I ran, and slid all the way to school, desperate to know.

When I arrived at school, I found the front doors closed and locked. I couldn’t get in. It seemed as though the world were conspiring to hurt me, but I was not about to let it happen. I sat my butt down on the pile of snow next to the steps and waited. I know I had to have waited for 10,000 hours before the principal finally opened the doors and let us in. The winter morning ritual of entering school had begun. Boots off, at the door, hat and gloves next then your coat and snow pants if you had them. I always had a pair of my older brothers worn out jeans I put on over my pants. Then you carried everything up to your class where there was a cloak closet across the back of the room the room to hang them up.

As I was hanging my things up, my teacher came into the cloak closet and said she needed to talk to me. We went out into the hallway where she asked me why I allowed one of the mice to eat the other one. If that wasn’t piss down your leg moment, there never has been one.

What happened? I screamed.

She said the when she got to school there was only one mouse in the cage along with remnants of the other one; remnants meaning fur, and a bone or two.

I put my coat, hat, boots, and gloves back on and ran crying out of school right into Henry who was just entering. I bounced off him like a tennis ball off a racket and fell flat on my butt. Still crying my head off.

Henry sat down next to me, put his arm around my shoulder not saying a word until I stopped crying, then he asked me if I want him to walk me home. Up to that time, I hadn’t realized who was sitting next to me, I just knew I felt safe and protected.

I turned to look, and there he was, his smile about the size of Alaska, aglow in the midst of a face as black and shiny as the finest ebony. “Hi, I’m Henry, your classmate.” That did it for me; someone cared inclusively – I lost it and started crying again. By the time I calmed down some, our teacher, along with the principal had arrived by us telling Henry to walk me home, and so he did.

In that 30 -minute walk from school to our store, I made a friend. A real friend who, I sincerely hope remains my friend even though he has passed into another realm so very long ago.

During our walk, we discovered that we lived within a block of one another, left for school at approximately the same time but that he walked along the north side of Franklin Avenue, and I along with the south. We probably missed seeing each other because of the streetcars, buses with plumes of black diesel smoke or mounds of snow plowed to the curbs. Whatever the reason it ended; we were instant friends and planned to walk together on the north side of Franklin because that’s where the Old Dutch Potato Chip factory was and sometimes we got free samples.

That first year, Henry and I got very close. I could tell him anything, and he never shamed me, nor did I ever shame him. But, there was one thing that really bothered me, and I didn’t know how to handle it. I didn’t want to hurt Henry, nor drive him away because to me, he was a real brother, not just a name like my biological brothers. I was only six, and I was alone a lot, I was scared I’d lose him cause he was my bestest-of-all friend, but I was also curious. Henry’s mother was a white lady, and his father was a black man. .

Why didn’t Henry have stripes like a Zebra or squares like a checkboard?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are there no true Americans left?

Each day, I get up, go to the bathroom, put on my robe, go through the living room turning on the TV as I do, and finally enter the kitchen where I put on my pot of coffee. From there I go into my office where I take my blood pressure and do my daily fasting glucose check (I’m an insulin dependent diabetic). By the time I’m done with all this, my coffee is ready so it’s back to the kitchen, unsweetened creamer in my mug followed by hot, strong coffee then back to my desk. During this entire time, I’ve heard how President Trump has been destroying America; taking us to war in North Korea and Syria, then the tune changes to how all these wonderful nations are against us because he is a madman.

After my first sip of great coffee, I realize I’m on the wrong new channel. I swear at my boy, who doesn’t hear me: “Leave my channel on when you’re through watching TV!”

Calm now, I turn to watching my two favorite news channels: FOX and OAN – finally truth, or a damn close proximity to it at last.

Having been a loyal American all my life, I have to admit I am shattered when I hear about all the corruption within our government. What happened?

Our FBI, one known as the best criminal investigative organization in the world turns out to have a corrupt leadership? Politicians on both sides of the aisle are selling America to the highest bidder? A previous president, along with his two secretaries of state may be charged with treason? Professors are insulting the dead and so much more.

Did I fall asleep last night and awake to anarchy in America?

Loyal Americans, regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, wealth, religion, gender orientation, sexual orientation and all the other possible variables need to stand up and say NO MORE.

We do not hate immigrants, we simply want them to obey our laws, as we have to; unfortunately, that may be a truer than not when talking about our leaders.

We cannot allow our Constitution to be attacked by ignorance and corruption; it must stand as our guidebook as it always has.

We cannot allow our leaders to arbitrarily change our laws to meet their political agendas.

We must stop the corruption and abuse in the Swamp.

We must return America to its respected place among nations. Our shining beacon of hope and welcome must never become a snuffed out candle on a Stygian night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Professor

You are my professor, a scholar so wise,
I come as your student, unlearned in your eyes.
To hear a sage voice, so long did I yearn.
Now I seek right answers, your knowledge to learn.
I pledge you my troth, respect is your due,
For I am a novice, experience yet new.
But I beg of you now, please hear my plea,
Cast your opinions aside, let fact be free,

Teach me to think, for I am tomorrow.

Papa Nyk

Voices long silent speak only truth.

Last night, in my dreams

A shadow did appear.

Pure ebony spirit

No reason did I fear.

His voice familiar,

His manner serene.

He spoke with love’s passion,

His peace I did glean.

“We stand with you.” said he.

“There shall come a renewal.”

“Forgotten lessons of our past.”

“Once taught in life’s school.”

“See not with your eyes,

those deceptions vast.

But know with your heart,

Love shall recast.

Hate not another,

For color of skin.

But remember always,

Mitakuye Oyasin