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Stupid People

My niece’s next door neighbour lamented that he had to go to three hair cutters- when the edict was lifted, but none would cut his hair because he refused to wear a mask. Finally he came home and had his wife do it. I say good for those hair cutters, and ponder deeply, Why are people so stupid?

Tom Hanks interviewed by Lester Holt expressed his disappointment that something so simple as wearing a mask was eschewed, people unwilling to play their part in preventing the spread of Covid 19. Robyn Urback in Thursday’s Globe reinforced that theme by lampooning the need to drive with eyes open. Eh, why bother if you’ld rather snooze en route to your destination?

When we think of societal norms, there are those easy things all community members participate in. For example, we do not run around naked, we no longer spit on streets, we gather our dogs’ poop from our neighbours’ lawns, we wait for stoplights to turn…so what is the big deal in wearing a mask, especially in times of contagion?

Actually this reminds me of a controversy at the law society, Stop SOP, or Statement of Principles, when members were asked to initial a sheet that underscored the values of the profession such as truthfulness, honesty, ethical behaviour. Or you could write your own statement. But many went ballistic, infuriated to the eyeballs that they were being asked to sign off. To my way of thinking, if you live out those qualities of decent professionalism, why not admit to them- proudly. Many lawyers scoffed and refused the check off. Reminded me of OCT’s Standards and Ethics of the Profession, gleaned and gathered from teachers, but proud to share their stories that illustrated care, responsibility, judgment, empathy…

Maybe I’m naïve and oversimplifying, but truly, why should anyone be enraged and so engulfed in fury to refuse to stand up and acknowledge good citizenship? Being brought up in a household where my parents lived out the tenets of being good members of our society, I’m confused at the behaviour of those refusing to contribute to societal norms of safety by wearing some kind of face covering. My parents never cheated, lied or mislead, modelling in my sister and me, the way one leads a decent, honorable life. It was no big deal.

I do admit that truly in some areas, many norms can be seen as ridiculous, for example when my cousin returned from California to court a former girlfriend, wearing white pants in winter. He was the talk of the town – and the family who never let him forget his misdemeanour in fashion sensibility. I suppose that went along with wearing gloves and Easter bonnets. So many years ago. However, long standing principles, those values that have endured throughout time, those selfsame ones of compassion, kindness, courtesy have persisted. Or at least I thought they had, for our kids and grandkids.

The virtues of kind behaviour, again, in my nuclear family, such as caring for the elderly was an unstated mantra. How many days after a full load of work at our store and family care would my mother drag herself over to my grandmother’s, 40 minutes by foot, to check on her health and safety? Easily five of seven days . And when my father made an appointment for a service call to check out his hi fi units, he arrived on time, no matter he was on crutches and there were no curbs broken down, no special permits for the handicapped. My parents never boasted they were doing their civil duty, fulfilling the mandate of good participants in a shared society. They were just living their lives. Even as my mother aged, her face lit up as she referred to that both my sister and me as “ good citizens”.

To wear a mask is such a small thing to do. In deed, you can even wrap a handkerchief around the bottom of your face. And it could save someone’s life. So I ask again, what is the big deal?

In society, we have shared rules. To protest such a tiny inconvenience is an embarrassment, a cowardly way to demonstrate that you oppose the safety of others. These behaviours sadly belong to the Trump supporters, even here in Canada, those who could care less about others, denigrating immigrants, making racist remarks, building both real and symbolic walls, following narcissism, selfishly, ultimately destroying the freedoms of all of us .

I say it again, if you could save one person, wouldn’t you do it? What if that person were your son, your wife, your daughter, wouldn’t you help?

No one is sending you overseas with a gun, no one is even drawing your blood, you are only being asked to wear a mask, less invasive than an extra pair of socks, really only one sock, not a gag, a piece of soft fabric to contain your sneeze, your cough, your spit: the spit you keep in your mouth anyway, so frankly, what is the big deal?

Pandemics and Polio

What is to be said these days? Reading the newspaper is filled with a landfill of anxiety. From Trump’s narcissistic behaviour to the closing of small businesses to the need for more doctors, it all rattles the soul and raises anxiety. I keep thinking of Dickens line from A Tale of Two Cities( 1859) ,” It was the best of times… the worst of times.”, although the worst part seems to outbalance the best.

My father had polio and so as a baby I was quarantined with my mother. Fears rose higher for I had discovered a lozenge discarded by my polio- infected father and sucked on it. I can imagine my mother’s anguish as she searched for the tiny candy discarded by her sick husband. By the time he had taken sick, we had our own little house. According to my sister, born years later after my dad’s polio, my mother and I were quarantined. Our meals arrived through our breadbox.

I never asked my mother about this period of my first years, but now I wonder, “ How long did the quarantine last? Who dropped off food? How did she endure? Was Miss Scott, our downstairs boarder, also quarantined or did she move in later to help alleviate financial drain with my father hospitalization at Riverdale Hospital? Likely, she came after my dad disappeared for nine months. Interestingly when I goggle “ polio quarantine” there are no references , only descriptions of symptoms and the eventual cure. There’s more print on the bubonic and Spanish plagues.

Yet I find this from The Elwood City Ledger in Pennsylvania that had posted in 2016,

Epidemics were common. In 1916, there were more than 27,000 cases and 6,000 deaths from polio in the United States with more than 2,000 deaths in New York City alone. The names and addresses of those with polio were printed in newspapers daily. Every summer, there was a polio epidemic that created a lot of fear. Meetings would be canceled, children were warned not to drink from water fountains and to stay away from swimming pools, beaches and places where people gathered. In the United States, the most serious epidemics occurred in the 1940s and ’50s. In 1949, there were 2,720 deaths from polio.

Perhaps to lighten the situation of this present pandemic, I read Barry Hertz’s review in The Globe of the latest in the series of Curb Your Enthusiasm and the recognition of the Larry David in all of us, for example his placing Purell , “ liquid gold” on the tables of his “ spite store.” Yet, Hertz ruins the ending of the series by describing the final outcome in the last episode. Thanks a lot. For me, wanting to forget it all, I transport and fantasize my dark thoughts in my head by viewing Outlanders, Brockmire, My Brilliant Friend.

We’ve discovered that tuning into the news before bed should be avoided if we crave a decent sleep. Morning newspapers, Global at 5:30 and Lester Holt with his “ breaking news” a bit later provide an overview. Yet each morning I wake, grab my IPad in hopes of news that the virus is waning, the line flattened and signs of some hope reappearing. “ Hope springs eternal”. Silly Alexander Pope.

Another story by Lawrence Martin uses a certain Dr. David Katz to perhaps explain Trump’s desire to reopen the country and remove sanctions to “shelter at home.” Katz suggests, according to Lawrence, that since most effected are over 60 years of age anyway, the government should focus on this small demographic, thus allowing the rest of the economy to return to normal.

Unwise thinking for so many reasons: the community spread, the numbers in the lower than 60 age bracket, the immoral retrograde Darwinian attitude that only the strong need survive, asserting money/ business is so much more valuable than human life. That is not to say, trade, commerce, money are not essential, but it must come second to the endurance, preservation and maintenance of healthy bodies that can eventually contribute to the wellbeing of not just themselves, but the community, the world. My friend Joe sends me an article by Nick Bryant, from the bbc news, that analyzes the Trump behaviour precisely. It’s definitely worth a read.

One can see and feel the anguish of Governor Cuomo in New York, and the hard straight talk of even our own Justin Trudeau who like the school teacher addressing an unruly class sternly admonishing, rightly so, “ Enough is enough”. And more restrictive measures need be put in place for a public who either do not listen or refuse to.

Yet we hear of truly stupid people listening to the President who holds out predictions that a certain drug hydroxycholoroquine may be a panacea, and people actually purchasing it! or what they mistakenly believe, and dying from their own actions. The pandemic expert immunologist at his side, Dr. Anthony Fauci gently correcting predictions of Easter recovery as “ aspirational”. One wonders if the good doctor will remain standing side by side with the delusional Trump and windup doll Pence if he continues to correct the President.

It also makes one wonder about the citizens with whom we share this world. Those who would act so precipitously, following the American Pied Piper down the lane of destruction. I hear with utmost incredulity Trump’s rating has not suffered and surmise the followers who would put themselves at risk are the same mislead group who support him unequivocally. As one writer stated, it’s the same Trump that was elected, but made worse by the horrific times.

The latest Gallup polling reveals the split in the United States, sadly mirroring the divisions that are fracturing the country: 94% of Republicans approve of his handling of the crisis, compared with 27% of Democrats. But overall, six out of ten Americans approve, pushing Trump’s approval rating up again to 49%, matching the highest score of his presidency. And I add a guffaw when I hear that he had intended to send guards to the Canadian- American border. Pray tell, what sane person would rush towards New York for infection and contagion?

Marsha Barber in The Star runs with the idea of ageism in terms of who will get the ventilators in this crisis. In Italy, they’ve had to decide. And with more cases, and even procedures to split the machines, she interviews Dr. Michael Kenyon, an ICU doctor in British Columbia. He is quoted as saying, “…and eventually 50-year-olds off the ventilator, and I’m going to give them to 30year-olds with three kids.”

According to Aish, an Orthodox Jewish organization, it’s all about who is most likely to have the best chance of survival. And in established Jewish law, when medical resources are limited, the resources go to those most likely to benefit from a particular therapy. However without any doubt that oldsters are undervalued, I believe that “ those older folk” would always and gladly cede their place in line to their grandchildren or any child, for that matter. But to add to this attitude of bias towards those over 60, an additional term “ Okay Boomer ” has deepened the darkness of resentment with “Boomer Remover .”

So if you are wondering about the best of times, reread  the following paragraph, and know life has been irrevocably changed and will be different in the time after, but as always,

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had ( have) everything before us…

The sound of one hand clapping

Most people of my generation will remember where they were when President Kennedy was shot or enemy planes tore into the Trade Centre in New York. For the first, I was an adolescent, exiting a high school exam in Grade 11, maybe French ; for the second, I was called to the lounge at the Ontario College of Teachers where I worked with a group of other employees. We stood fixated on an overhead television as yet a second plane crashed into the buildings. So clearly I remember my reaction, thinking this is not real, it’s film so let’s just rewind the tape and reverse the horror of this moment.

But of course it was real.

And for days, weeks, months, the media exposed the repercussions of the event. Yet looking back, the attack felt more like numerous isolated episodes although CNN posted continual coverage of people throwing themselves off burning buildings, long walls of remembrance, stories of bravery and tragedy and so much emotional more. And in my head, that small voice murmuring, just rewind the tape…please….

The coronavirus poses yet a third indelible marker in my life. It feels unlike the others: a continuous swamp of enveloping, progressing not isolated but overwhelming lurking sludge. As we watch Lester Holt’s Nightly News at 5:30 and previously chortled at his recurrent intro, “ Breaking News”, we now anxiously and nervously await to hear another unfolding recitation of what, where and how the crisis is creeping throughout the world, a panther of peril and paranoia.

Although California has been listed as others as an state of emergency, to date San Diego has a mere 8 cases as I write this, ( my husband’s partner retorts that’s due to non-testing…whatever) ,March 14. And like all else in most places I read about, there are school, university closings, community centres, attractions such as Disney and Sea World have all tightly fastened their doors shut, sports and arts events postponed, even tennis in Palm Springs, March Madness.

Watching Late Night with Stephen Colbert was most strange as without an audience to respond to his jokes, it was in deed one hand clapping. And through his devilish humour, one could perceive Colbert’s sadness, almost depression as if he were swimming in a thick miasma of sorrow. You truly felt it, the fusion of the masks of comedy and tragedy, turning the facial lines of laughter upside down. Only when Dr. Sanjay Gupta arrived on the scene did Colbert revert to his former host’s cool professional persona, riveted by the straight forward and knowledgeable answers to the questions on the virus. Gupta spoke honestly about his own fears regarding his older parents in Florida, this looming situation wherein we must think about, act and care for one another, not just ourselves if we are to protect our communities, our world.

Lest this attitude be the approach when coronavirus has passed and the business of focusing on climate change remains!

Unlike Trump whose disregard comes through so clearly as he reads, mangles his words without feeling to the nation, denying responsibility, blaming other countries, denigrating their policies , calling Yamiche Alcindor’s question yesterday “ nasty” and cutting her off for even raising his culpability. Providing no wisdom, calm or even empathy, Trump does not lead, but merely, narrates- badly, at that -instilling more panic and fear in the wake of his announcements. I suppose the man cannot help it. It’s who he is. We yearn for FDR’s fireside chats , his tone and demeanor communicating self-assurance during times of terror and uncertainty.

Much of Trump’s stance is reflected in the populace, for if you have visited a grocery store in the last few days you will note and react to scenes re-enacted from disaster movies. For a reason I cannot discern, people are emptying the shelves of toilet paper. Maybe the stress of the situation is causing diarrhea or increased visits to the bathroom. My sister-in-law in Toronto reports eggs, flour and sugar have also disappeared from grocery shelves so I must surmise people are baking their own bread and cakes to avoid the sweaty hands of bakers polluting the goods they would make. Seriously???? What are they thinking?

At Bristol Farms here in San Diego where we shop, we noticed containers of chlorox and hygienic wipes still available with regular prices; however, we observed at one of the other major chains, Ralphs , there was a feeling of such intense frenzy as long lines of overfilled carts patiently waited for the checkout cashier to send them on their way, most surprisingly not wearing masks. My daughter shared a story of a gunman at Loblaws in our hometown. Leaky bowels will do that to you – or the thought of persistent constipation.

Our son reminded us of a game he once bought us called Pandemic by Matt Leacock wherein the players must balance the needs of researcher, contingencies, medics, scientists, quarantine, dispatcher and operations. There are infections, outbreaks, and epidemic cards to draw. Players must share knowledge, discover cures, build research stations, treat disease while considering travel parameters of both folk and disease via air flights, sea ferries, human droplets, as it moves from city to city. The game ends as soon as cures to diseases are found from Istanbul to the North Pole.

Sadly, this is no longer a child’s game.

Now another marker in my life will recall for me, it was once the worst of times and the best of times… with or without toilet paper…

Displacement and City Issues

I’ve been home barely a week but fitting back seems more difficult this year. And although I am older, it has felt different. Which surprises me because the two past years have followed almost exactly the same patterns: from location to classes and exercise- with the exception of extending my friendship circles and adding a book group, this year has repeated the last two in San Diego. 

Coming home, I feel that my house space expand from one floor to three and I feel almost lost. Of course the weather and skies that fill me with gratitude and warmth in San Diego are grey, overcast and shivery here so instead of popping out on my morning walk, I now unlock my car door and re- establish the daily routines- of exercise and such . Today 10 cm of snow so sidewalks are slick, glazed with ice. Even the robins have found shelter today.

The cynicism and revulsion I experienced nightly as I watched Lester Holt and Scott Pelly discourse on Trump are personalized now . When I go to review scholarship applications at Artbarn and have to navigate behind barriers— barriers for Metrolinx that will be in place for four years – yes, at least four years-while the neighbourhood is destroyed, I am shocked by the chaos created by the goal to improve road and thoroughfare access. Several stores are all ready vacant as their businesses are ruined, and unavailable to customers. Where is the vibrant shopping community that featured Miele appliances and upbeat clothes and Chinese dining and colourful flowers?

Trying to gain entry to any store along Eglinton is a quest behind and through barriers as work slowly proceeds – progenitors of this action oblivious and uncaring that the incomes of the owners have been jeopardized or totally lost. Not to mention the stagnation of traffic. Where a month of inaction due to disruption would be a cause for outcry, four years is a death sentence. I wondering if our council people fought hard, but obviously they lost the battle.

I ponder the similar mess on St. Clair which at the end did NOT improve traffic flow. I wonder how those small shops endured, as many did. Is it any wonder that Gap can remain rooted while a mom and pop grocery cannot. Was there no other way to work with the neighbourhood or parcel out construction in the name of saving the neighbourhood activity? Like Trump on climate, the baby is throw out with the bath water. It is the 21 st Century with strategies that recall the Middle Ages.

I wonder if this construction and ruin is merely a Machiavellian ploy so that more condos can replace the shops that once drew people to this area. Eglinton and Avenue and Eglinton and Yonge with its schools and boutiques and streets upon which to walk are being eaten up by condos in the area , no single owner establishment able to pay rent-.Is this work intrusion into the area a lingering payback to the old old days when this borough was separate and garbage was collected at back doors? Is some bureaucrat , silent guffawing at dismantling this part of town? Or more likely, developers ,salivating, winking and planning for their takeover.

 And on my walks over the last few years whether south on Yonge or north on Avenue, I have observed the encroachment of those condos. I surmise that as businesses dwindle on Eglinton, they will be replaced by condos that like the construction blocking Artbarn, first disrupts , making access difficult or impossible and even dangerous , and results in the understandable necessity of the evacuation by the owners- relinquishing the space, parks, close subway access , community centre, the well located walk ways to the slobbering condo corporations.

Lying through their teeth that there will be more accessible and living space to replace single house lodging, the condos will offer at unbelievably inflated prices what my father used to call “ chicken coops”. And will only be available to those who can afford the exorbitant prices in what was once prime real estate- in part due to the great little shops. Just today I was told of the thinness of walls in new condos just north of St.Clair at Bathurst, but a wise first time owner, not wanting to share secrets with the condo next door, turned it over for a cool 300,000 over what she had paid. Who could blame her? So I imagine that our city planners and government deciders are destroying first, businesses, driving out and eliminating the diversity of the area-, levelling the ground for those damn condos whose construction merits will vary greatly.. It infuriates and raises my blood pressure.

So much makes me angry.I notice in the butcher shop near Artbarn, the rearrangement of cabinets, wisely away from the door that opens onto construction, and instead of the feel good welcome, I intuit something else here and I wonder if shoppers have in deed begun to go elsewhere. I had intended to head towards the vegetable store on the other side of Avenue Road, even my aunt deceased almost twenty years used to purchase her greens here, but I am unsure if there is a path that is not blocked by machines and construction workers. All is turmoil as I ironically note that in the middle of the street a worker’s car is parked ( where shoppers, should any persist, of course would be towed) and there under the loom of giant machines even for home owners two blocks away experience the shaking of the once stable bedrock of homes.

True California is LALA Land and I am a visitor there but also a part time resident, also annoyed by the noise and disruption of new screens outside my door. But there I can wander out- into the sunny shade, ramble a bit and see the reason and the order for the intrusion. Here I cannot.

Spring must be on its way here as I watch a plump robin on my fence. But sadly too I note the two toned squirrels digging for the bulbs planted in the burnished fall in my garden, digging deeply, as the ground is now partially cleared of snow. Will the raccoons lumber by too soon, nocturnal animals so out of sync, that they do not differentiate between day and night. Suddenly Hunger Games flashes into my head, the mottled fur of the squirrel recalling the outrageous costumes of inhabitants against the rubble and hunger of the destroyed cities. Doesn’t it begin by dismantling roadways?

It takes a while to re-orient oneself back home without being able to plug back into professional work. Gradually we reinvent ourselves, loosening the rituals of the day to renew our interests that once organized our lives.. This is the good and bad of retirement, but as in few matters, we are never fully in control of our lives, conforming to the predilections, spaces and times of others. And so I gradually re- engage myself, accommodating my days to my activities.

I write to express my pleasure and displeasure at myself in my world. But this morning, it is the grey skies and my disrupted neighbourhood that prompts my litany of complaints. How sad the world has become.

Mrs. Nebraska and Brave New World

I’m standing in the JCC parking lot with a woman from Nebraska. She looks quite nice, and relates that she is 74. As soon as she says Nebraska, I know what’s coming. I have rolled my eyes to reinforce that Trump is and will be a disaster. But she quickly retaliates that having lived in Central America for 2 years, that the Clinton Foundation is nothing but corruption. I actually believe this is true, but I respond, ‘When you have two terrible choices, you take the lesser of the two”. She vehemently disagrees, again trumpeting the corruption. I retaliate with the stories from the African- America cabbies from Chicago, the Meryl Streep twitter…but all is lightly dismissed, and as far as the Russians go, according to Mrs. Nebraska, they have always been involved, and they did not pull the levers in the polling booths. She throws her best shot( Martin Luther King Day was just yesterday), exhorting that the country is divided and everyone must come together.

I nicely retort that we are never going to agree and that really, I must leave. But she will not stop her harangue and because I am polite, I stand for a few more minutes, but when she turns her furor on Barack Obama, I walk away, leaving her to discourse with the empty parking lot.

Later I think of what I might have added- no doubt to deaf ears- regarding Trump’s choices for his cabinet posts that go against all of his promises to support the the poor stiffs and pains- in- the- butts : as in just encountered here. There’s the wall, attacks on women and disabled, thin skin, Trump University, no prior governmental experience, bad business deals, petulant retaliations….still I am boiling over at the stupidity of this woman.

***

Last week, we watched Lester Holt interview Barrack Obama. And then 60 Minutes also asked Obama some demanding questions.What a pleasure to observe such a thoughtful, positive voice which might have come from a historian, an artist or any thinking person. Truly, it gives one hope in spite of what is coming.

In many ways although with less laughter, the interview resembled the one with WTF’s Marc Maron in which Obama discoursed on democracy and the way all things take time, with no road being smooth, and for every set back, a small piece of the step forward has been – if not achieved, at least put in place. Referring to Obamacare, he spoke to its inception as a marker from which to grow- even if Trump will see to its being repealed and the insurance companies will barter for more covetous rates.

As I listened to Obama’s. exchanges with Lester Holt, and then Steve Kraft, in a truly tough conversations, I considered Obama’s optimism and his youth and at the end, was surprised that he is mid- 50’s and that he still maintains beliefs we usually associate with ingenues whose lights are still bright because they have not been tested by the world. That he has held strong to that attitude is admirable, one we DO want our children to embrace.

Still I couldn’t help but ruminate that he has revealed in his presidency, rather than just optimism a naïve stance: for his belief is very strong in the promise of an America as ideal. But perhaps even as a symbol, he must gasp that an African American having achieved the presidentship is close to miraculous. So perhaps that realization has prompted him to dream the impossible dream.

From my point of view, it was his desire to maintain his values of compromise and collaboration, that lofty goal to be inclusive with the Republicans that underlined issues in succeeding to establish his ventures .In deed, he had paused, tried to connect, offer opportunities for input, fought the dragons, but ultimately his plans for a stronger, safer, more inclusive country had fallen far from the goal. Particularly in his first term when like a knowing, autocratic parent, he should have prevailed in stead of tending to voices.

Yet, we are not privy to the workings within government, the wheels within wheels, the deals done and undone. But, even Obama in his interviews lamented the impossibility of changing votes that hinged on a representative’s constituency, his/ her state’s goals, self- interest and the desire for re- election. And it is true, decisions, even the most moral ones can be sidetracked for so many unknown reasons. For people like me who do not generally think in greys , the path towards what is right is straight ahead, but few are brave or strong enough to forge ahead and allow themselves to accept the fallout of choosing the path less travelled by. Perhaps too, I have lived long enough to observe that self- profit or a strong self- interested ego motivates too many. And yes of course, I am cynical.And at this point, I am rarely surprised by the tactics taken- even by those we would trust.

But Obama, with strong spirit and no corruption in his years as president did represent the Camelot we sought and believed was possible. But once again , we were proven wrong by those who lied, provided false research or did not truly care : that guns kill children; that everyone deserves health care; that clean air is a necessity; that we build through compromise and collaboration. The aims no aspirations we hope to plant and embrace, and ironically are even the last one of collaboration written here are penned in the statements that underpin companies’ philosophies and statements.

Congruently I reflected on articles last week, one in particular by Rick Salutin in The Toronto Star that listed OBama’s losses and failures in his eight years: Guantanamo, Iraq, Israel… The question put to Obama by his interviewers about the Middle East was a difficult one for the president. Yet without attacking those who dare to enquire and pose the hard questions, and without insulting or dismissing the uncomfortable probes and withholding resentment,Obama spoke of his work, commenting humbly on the successes along with the setbacks and frustrations.

Again for me, it was the handling of the intensity of the moment, “the how” as opposed to the what or why that impressed me the most about President Obama. How often in a tight squeeze , do we lose our cool, lash out, scream unfair, sulk or react defensively .

Along with a respective, reflective demeanour, Obama acknowledged that he had been so busy, there had not been time to connect with many people who felt disenfranchised by job loss, etc– in spite of having put so many Americans back to work.

Incredulous and backed by the parents of the Sandy Hill dead, he could not comprehend how gun laws and simple registration had been defeated. He acknowledged that the Republicans made up their minds and refused to even listen. With tears on his face and empathy for those parents, he stood as the challenging angel amid the satans of deafness.

There is so much to admire in this man. Besides being the harbinger of justice and symbol of the American Dream, he is a feeling individual, able to express his emotions of love, despair, anger. Yet his behaviour is tempered by rational thought. He thinks, he considers, he reflects and then he acts- in the good for all. He, like Nelson Mandela ,will remain, I believe, as the emblem of what is best in America. And like the cab drivers I spoke to in Chicago, he still dreams the dream- as quixotic as it may be by oldsters like myself. But he gives you reason to hope. That after the Trump years, and pray we and our children are not demolished, that another Phoenix will rise from the ashes to make a better world, with pure heart and intentions that we hope our children will choose to emulate.

The protesters, the Women’s March today, John Lewis’s remarks last week and even the debate on Chuck Todd’s Meet the Press give us reason to hope that the best will endure to challenge a presidency that in its earliest beginnings has all ready reiterated its jingoistic slogans and, for reasons I cannot fathom, resonate with the Mrs. Nebraskas of America.

Yesterday at the end of my yoga class, an older man turned to the rest of us and  sadly muttered,” Brave new world”.

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