Thursday, October 27, 2016

Strong Women.

Women have only had the right to vote in the US for 96 years. The19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave the women the Right to Vote on June 4th, 1920.

This world has been run by men since the beginning. The record is mixed, but overall, it has left us with a very violent, authoritarian, confrontational, male dominated society. All you have to do is look at what women still have to go through in 2016.

We have a woman of impeccable experience and qualifications, who has spent her life, against unimaginable odds, preparing to be The first woman President. At every turn, she has had to overcome obstacles put in place by small dick, small minded, fearful men. 

This is pretty much the same as what women have gone through since the beginning. 

My wife and I were having a chat this morning and she was reminding me about the suffering she faced in life. My wife grew up in a culture and a situation where she was convinced that most of anything that went wrong was, somehow, her fault. A very small, fearful man made her feel that way. A man afraid to be a man. A man afraid of accepting his responsibility for whatever situations they encountered. A man who refused to respect her dignity. What a terrible burden to carry. And it is a burden that many women carry, in many cultures, many countries and many religions to this day. 

I was raised by a very strong woman. My Mother grew up during the depression, which, for many, would have enough to defeat them. 

Add onto it, the fact that she, and a few of her many sisters, were sexually abused by their father, who was an alcoholic run around who was rarely home. And onto it, add the fact that she was only a teen ager when her mother died, forcing her to move from house to house, family to family, relative to relative.

Although my Mother was one year old when women got “The Right” to vote, ultimately my Mother was not “given rights”. She took them. 

Six years before I was born, my Mother met my dad while hitchhiking through the South Seattle neighborhoods between Rainier Valley and Foster. He stopped his delivery truck and picked up two very pretty young women. He eventually ended up dating one of them….and fell in love with the other. Unfortunately, three years later, after Pearl Harbor, he went into the Navy to serve as an Aircraft Mechanic in the South Pacific islands maintaining and repairing Grumman Corsairs. 

In my Mother’s ongoing desperation to have a family and life of her own, and being that Mervin was overseas serving his country, she married a man by the name of Robert Nelson.  He was a very decent man with a good job, respected in the community of friends and relatives. He was unable to serve in the military because he suffered from diabetes. They were married, and had their only child together, my sister Patti. 

Robert and my Mother could not have been more different. He was reserved, a late starter, slept late, worked late, stayed up late. He also had the dream of becoming a member of a Swing Band, playing both the trombone and stand up base. Hence, he spent many nights away from home……like her father. 

My Mother, on the other hand, was a woman who rose early, very structured and who was totally dedicated to giving her family the home she never had. She was a home body who did everything in the home, from cooking, baking, canning, painting, growing a garden, cleaning the house, making clothes for herself and her kids. They were not a good fit. 

In 1945, the war ended. Mervin came home. 

I am not sure how things happened from that point on. Most of it went to their graves with them, but, evidently they seem to have had an affair, because, although she was married at the time, all be it unhappily, in 1946, I became Mervin Thomas’ first born natural child. His first son of three. It is very evident, from her life, that Mervin was always the love of her life. It was not long after that Robert and her divorced and not long after that, my Mother married my Dad.

My Mother had every reason to fail but never did. She continued to provide a safe, comfortable, loving, peaceful home for all of us. She was selfless. She did what she knew was right with love, tenderness and a strong sense of duty. In response to whatever problems we may have been having. she always told us “Fix it.” Family and raising a family was her sole focus. 

My wife is so much like my Mother. She is compassionate, loving and caring, with a strong sense of duty and bound and determine to “Fix It”…one of the reasons I love her so much. It was the fact that she was obviously a good Mom that convinced me that she would be a good wife. I was right. 

This is one of the reasons I loved Michael Moore’s new documentary, “Trumpland”. He was talking about women like my mom. She was a strong Democrat. She was a feminist…who chose as her profession to be a wonderful, strong woman….and Head of House. A mom……with all her heart and soul. 

I know, if she were alive today, she would love voting for Hillary. This fact makes it even more significant that I support and vote for Hillary, not only a strong woman, but a great Mom. She would be proud. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Why a woman President? Why a Black President? Why a Latino President? Or an Asian President? Maybe a Native American President?

It is surely not because we are trying to fill a quota or just because we can. It is because most of us want to bring a new and different perspective to the most powerful office on Earth and to the face we show the world.  

Don’t vote for Hillary because she has female parts. Vote for Hillary because she has a woman’s touch. Vote for Hillary because she has a woman’s sensitivity. Vote for Hillary because she has a woman’s sensibility….not because she can do the job like a man. Sadly, most of the woman leaders of the world have all been measured by the standards of men. That is unfair and unrealistic. Maybe that is why things never change. 

The majority of Americans want a woman for President, so………..let her be one. She doesn’t have to act like a man. She doesn’t have to think like a man. She doesn’t have to perform like a man. Don't pigeon hole her. She is a woman. Ego and bluster have been the order of the day for far too long and have very bad track records. 

The male figures in all of our lives contribute very different things than our female figures. Our “Moms” hold a much different place in our hearts than our “Dads”. Their roles are distinctly unique and equally important, and necessary for the balance we need to move forward. So it is with a nation. We not only want a woman to lead our nation, we NEED a woman to lead our nation. We need a different perspective. 

So…allow Hillary Clinton be a woman. Don’t expect her to be like a man. Let her show her soft, caring side. Her vulnerable side. Her sensitive side. Let her talk as if she were having a Mother-Daughter talk with Chelsea. 

That is the true difference between a man and woman, whether they are parents or leaders. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Republican Reality Check

I have come to the conclusion, that in many cases, Republicans lack the will or the energy to seek the truth. The prefer to latch on to labels and slogans to interpret their lives. 

If they were intellectually curious, they would drop their Bibles and their “Merican Flags and pick up a history book. 

If they did, they might find that:

  • Capitalism and Free Enterprise are not the same thing. Capitalism is big money. Capitalism is super rich people who have no interest in the country, but instead try to find ways to extract it's money and resources. McDonalds replaces The Burger Shack. Wall Street replaces Main Street. CEO’s and stock holders replace Mom and Pop. Once thriving family farms disappear, being sold for pennies on the dollar for Corporate farming. In many ways, Capitalism poisons Free Enterprise by creating an uneven playing field. Eventually, Capitalism devours Free Enterprise. It is it’s very nature. 

  • The Constitution actually is more important than either The National Anthem OR The Flag. Actually, The Constitution makes it possible to burn The Flag in protest, OR refuse to salute it as a Freedom of Speech. It also gives a citizen the right to refuse to sing the National Anthem or to sit if they wish. 

  • America is not a “White Country”. White people came here and displaced the brown and red people who were living her at the time. While it is true that most of the early settlers were from predominantly “White” cultures, people from all over the world have come to the US and helped build it. 

  • Democracy is frowned upon by the Republican Party. They think that only rich, mostly White  people should have the right to have a say in this country. They truly believe, and have stated so, that they do better when less people vote…so they have spend decades trying to propagandize people against their own government and to make it harder for people to vote……especially people of color.

  • It is not brown people taking your jobs. It is people who are willing to work for less, get less benefits, work longer hours because they are desperate. Your jobs went overseas for a reason. Profit for corporations who don’t give a rat’s ass about you or the United States of America.

  • Wages have remained stagnant for decades while costs of food, gas, housing, cars, transportation and medical care have skyrocketed, essentially creating more poor people, dependent on safety nets that are constantly being pulled away by Conservative legislatures. 

  • A stable and productive society is one in which people CAN live comfortably based on the benefits they get. They can also buy more, thus increasing the profits of Corporations…….AND Mom and Pops. A Mom and Pop businessman or woman make sure their customer base remain strong and is able to afford to buy, again and again. A Corporation has no interest. They will just move on to the next green pasture. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Today is Labor Day. 

It is the day, ironically, that comes at the end of summer and the beginning of another work year, that we remember those who work for a living. 

We remember those who worked for less than a living wage, put their lives on the line, either in skyscrapers thousands of feet above ground or in dark mine shafts deep beneath the ground, so the Super Rich could prosper and have comfortable lives. 

We remember the nurses, teachers, police, firemen, garbage collectors, cooks, dishwashers, auto parts salesmen and burger flippers that have made our lives a little safer, easier and meaningful. We remember the ones who worked at sub-par jobs because that was all that was offered. We remember those who worked for no wages and got nothing more than a meal and a roof over their head. 

And we remember those, today, who must work two and three jobs to make ends meet because wages have no kept up with inflation. We must also remember the children who must come home to an empty house because both parents are now required to work to make ends meet because the monied people in this country are too greedy. 

On this Labor Day, let us hope that, some day, those in power will once again realize that it is a strong middle class that “Makes America Great”, and without it, America fails. 

Happy Labor Day to all those who built and are still building America. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

1968 DNC Convention revisted.

I have been a little despondent lately looking at the social and political condition in this country. The hatred and discontent is not what we imagined when we worked for social change in the 1960s. I was devastated and confused about where our movement had gone. It seemed as though we had failed miserably.

Every generation has it’s political's political showdown. My generation just had it’s. The Progressives of the 60’s on one side..(Clinton and Sanders)…..and the rich, “privileged” Conservative kids on the other…(Bush and Trump). Just like in the 1960s.

After watching the Democratic Convention, from start to finish on C-SPAN (No commentary or commercials) I was reborn and rejuvenated. This truly was a convention created and produced by children of “The 60’s.” The Bill Clinton Era of the 1990s was just a warm up. This is serious and for real.

The people, the focus, the platform are all ideas that were hatched back in the Anti-War and Civil Rights Movements of the 1960s. The sentiment that played throughout the Convention was identical to the one we had back then…..with one exception: It was the mature version. The doable version. The version that resulted from facing our problems from a realistic position as opposed to an idealistic one. The version created by experience and open eyes.

All of the players, who are my generation, learned that you have to compromise and get inside the system in order to make the changes we so desperately wanted and needed. You need to know how the system works in order to change it. And they also realized that we will not always get everything we want, and that getting most of what you want is better than nothing at all.

Bill and Hillary Clinton realized this long ago. So did Donna Brazile.......and all the other people who have molded today’s Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders did not learn that, but, in the end, his ideas were included…… compromise. That is the way it is done.

Yes…we have a lot of work to do…..but….we are on the right path. Respect and equal treatment for all is our goal…..and, slowly, bit by bit, we will get there.

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are a perfect combination to get that job done. I have not been so proud to be a Democrat since Barack Obama was elected President in 2008.


Friday, July 15, 2016

What race??

Race means nothing to me. I am an Asian spirit living in a White body. I've known that most of my life. I don't care who was first on earth. I would be proud to be part African or any other race and probably am. Most of us are not "Pure" anything. I have an African grandson. I have an Vietnamese wife. I have a Japanese sister and a Japanese neice. My daughter is Afro-Cuban, Syrian, and Chinese in addition to my own blood line. I have Scottish, English, German, Jewish and French blood running through my veins....and those are only the ones that I know of for sure.
The thing that matters most to me in people is their character and their spirit, not what god they pray to, who they love or what they look like.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Dallas. No surprise here.

It’s hard to imagine that anyone would be surprised at what happened in Dallas last night.

Rogue racist police shoot people in the street, the large majority of them being black and innocent. The killers almost never get prosecuted much less brought to trial.

We have a political party in the GOP and a news industry that is owned and run by Conservatives that rants daily against the people of this country and favors white supremacy.

We have a Congress, controlled by Republicans, a party that has, for the last 25 years, done nothing but to try to tear the fabric of our country apart by pitting straight white people against everyone else who is not like them.

The defiance and hatred that spews from the mouths of Conservative leaders and talking heads is relentless. It goes on day after day, week after week, year after year.

Our news is filled with dissension, hatred and violence every day. Peacemakers are ignored or called “Bleeding Hearts”, while hateful messages by preachers, “faux News Anchors” and Right and Left Wing extremist politicians receive top billing.

We have a defiant Congress that refuses to do the work of the people but instead uses their positions as political theater and their power to do political witch hunts. Their demeanor is nasty, mean and clearly anarchist.

No. I am not surprised at what happened in Dallas yesterday. I am surprised that it took so long. I will not be surprised when it happens again in some other city. And I will not be surprised when the Republican led Congress does nothing…..again…..except to blame others.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Daze

And so comes another Memorial Day. I am 69 years old, so I have experienced about 65 that I can remember. 

Once again, we will hold Memorial Day ceremonies, plant US Flags and flowers and remember those who have died in the Armed Forces. We will play anthems, salute flags, and romanticize the wars that we have fought on others people’s homelands, in other people’s farmlands and in other people’s neighborhoods. We will call them all heroes. We will use this day to absolve ourselves of our sins. We will restate our patriotism and our pride at being “Americans”, ignoring the fact that the United States is NOT America, but part of America…along with 46 other countries. We will arrogantly challenge anyone to mess with us every again…..forgetting that, more often, it is us who have messed with others first.

One thing we will not do, and never do, is to ask the question as to why they died and if they had to die. We will not face the reality that most of the wars this country has fought since WWII have been to protect corporate interests abroad. We will not remember the dead innocent women and children that those wars created. We will not remember that WWII was fought in less time than almost all wars since, against much stronger and organized forces. We will not realize that “American Interests” has now gone from meaning security to financial gain. We will not question that it seems that war has now become a business. We will not question why the USA seems to be in perpetual war.

Please do not “Thank Me” for “My Service”. I was forced into a situation that I and many others did not support. It was not by choice. Do not consider me a hero. I am not. Do not expect me to stand by silently knowing that millions have died for corporate profit. Do not think that saying “Thanks” helps me forget the horror and dishonor of war. 

I do not ask for praise or thanks. Rather, I would ask you to look deeper into your soul and ask yourself….”Was this war necessary?”. “Did these young men and women need to die?” “How can we prevent war and suffering?” “Why can’t we use more diplomacy instead of destruction to further our cause?” And answer the question: “Would I sacrifice my own son or daughter for this cause.?”

And finally……demand the government fund the programs promised to our veterans as part of the pact the living have made for their sacrifice. 

That would be a good way to Honor the War Dead. That would be a great Memorial Day for me. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Lord of the Flies: 2016

Young people are the majority of support 
for Bernie Sanders.

Do you really want those young people making decisions 
that will affect your life?

They know nothing about politics or history.

They are children....born in the 90s, 
growing up and existing in a virtual world.........
in which nothing is destroyed for real, 
if something is just hit the reset button, 
a place where nobody wins...
but everyone gets an award for participating, 
who have been educated for “The Test’ but not ”For Life”,
who the new media has programmed and manipulated 
with “The Corporate View” since birth
and who, consequently, have no point of reference
to the reality most of us older people have lived.

And they tell us...we need to face reality.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Quiet Evening in Saigon....1968

While serving in Vietnam from 1967 until 1968, I often volunteered to do Official Courier runs to U. S. Army Headquarters in Long Binh, about 24 miles outside of Saigon. You see, back in those days, although we had computers (IBM 1105s, which fit in semi-trailers) we had no way of transmitting the information so we had to hand carry the paperwork from place to place. 

Leaving my compound in Quy Nhon at early dawn, I would take my Priority Two Orders to the airfield and wait for a flight. There were very few direct flights in those days, so we had to do hops from place to place until we got to our desired destination. I often flew on private helicopters of very high ranking officers as well as normal aircraft to get where I was going. My Priority Two Orders made that possible. I basically always got the next flight out.

When doing Courier Runs to Headquarters, you got a free three day pass. The trick was……if you arrived at your destination early enough on the first day and got your mission done, you would have two days of free R&R. That was always my goal. Saigon was very fun in those days and relatively safe…….during the day. 

On a particular trip in 1968, I did just that. I arrived at Tân Sơn Nhất Airport in Saigon in late afternoon after a long, multi craft hopscotch trip from Quy Nhon. I walked across the tarmac to the heliport opposite to the main terminal to try to arrange for a flight to Long Binh, where the US Army Vietnam Headquarters were. That was my destination. 

At about 3:30 PM, I finally caught a hop to Long Binh arriving at around twenty minutes later. I immediately grabbed my parcel containing the computer print outs that were destined for USARV and jumped out of the Huey. The helipad was directly beside the headquarters building, so it was a short walk to the statistics office where I was to drop off my paperwork. 

Having completed my mission, I went back to the helipad and waited for the next hop back to Tân Sơn Nhất Airport. 

I arrived back in Saigon about 5:30 PM. I hired a cab to take me to my hotel in downtown Saigon….about 20-25 minutes away, depending on traffic. In those days, there was a curfew which started at sunset and went to sunrise. Since Saigon is only 10-12 degrees or so off the Equator….it has pretty much 12 hours of daylight. 6PM is the beginning of darkness. 

As we approached downtown, the cab driver turned and said to me that he needed to drop me somewhere because he needed to get home before curfew. I was taken aback. He wants to drop me in the middle of nowhere at sundown in Saigon?? No…I don’t think so. I argued with him and told him he needed to take me to my hotel immediately. He refused. As the argument proceeded, we reached a stand off. He was not budging. 

It was then, and only then, ever, that I have ever pulled a gun on another person. I reached down and pulled out my .45 automatic and pointed it at his head. I said he need to take me somewhere safe. He promised. 

He drove a short way and then pulled up in front of a rather large house by Vietnamese standards. The house was surrounded by a wall and gate. He quickly opened my car door and ushered me through the gate and to the door. He introduced my to a friendly woman and explained to her, I guess, in Vietnamese, what the circumstances were. She welcomed me into her home, where she introduced me to her husband, and family, including a small boy with a small white dog. She showed me to a room at the top of the stairs and, although she could not speak English, indicated to me that this was my room. 

As I was settling in, I noticed the small boy, with his dog, looking at me through a small open window between the stairs and my room. We smiled and waved at each other and attempted to connect. (I took a great photo of them, but, somehow, through the years, I have misplaced it.) After about one hour, the boy returned and indicated that it was dinner time. 

I went back downstairs and was greeted by the family and invited to sit down at the table. This family was obviously very westernized, as most Vietnamese did not sit at dinner tables. They normally sit on the floor. We smiled and I expressed my approval of the food and my appreciation to them for providing me with a well needed home cooked meal. 

It was easy to forget, at that moment, that I was in an unknown location, with unknown people in the middle of a war zone. Nobody in the Army, or anywhere else for that matter, knew where I was. I could have easily “disappeared”, but, as has always been the case, I trusted the Universe to take care of me. 

After dinner, I excused myself and returned to my room. I was tired after a long day of traveling. 

In the morning, I awoke to a sunny, beautiful day. I was served a small breakfast by my hostess and then bid her and the family farewell. I grabbed my small suitcase went out into the busy street and hailed another cab, which completed the trip to my hotel. 

Since that time, and often, I wonder about the family. I wonder if they were OK after hosting a US soldier in their home. But that is assuming that they were aligned against the VC. Maybe they were VC sympathizers. Maybe I spent the night with the enemy. 

I will never know……but I will always remember the great and unexpected experience I had one evening in war torn Saigon. And I hope they are safe and know how much their kindness meant to me on that very unusual night. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Wisdom of Moving On.

I guess I should feel honored. I have put my issues regarding Vietnam in the past..while so many have not.
So many still harbor negative feelings and hostility towards a people and a nation that basically kicked our asses out of their own country. We should not feel alone. They did the same to China…(twice), France, and Japan before us.
The people of Vietnam today are not the ones we fought against. They, like us, are the survivors of a terrible and brutal past and who were also the victims of governments who chose to put us all in those situations.
They are also people who do not harbor the animosity and hatred that so many Americans do towards their former enemies, which I find difficult to understand. After all……the people of North Vietnam suffered much higher casualties and infrastructure destruction during the war than the South. Still, today….their attitude is “The war is in the past. We need to move on.”
We have people in the US who are still fighting The Civil War…..which ended over 150 years ago.
My mother always taught me to look on the bright side and taught me to look for the positive in an otherwise negative situation. That philosophy usually works….unless you are dealing with someone or a situation that makes it impossible to move ahead successfully.
Time is a great healer. It does not remove the pain and hurt or physical damage done…..but it does give you the opportunity to gain perspective and to live with those things in a more productive way…but only if you are willing to take it.
Some people like to hang on to negativity, as if somehow it identifies them. Hatred, bigotry, and anger are all products of fearful people who refuse to take the chance to move into the light and away from darkness.
We can apply this meme to many things in life: …….our jobs, our relationships, our social outlooks as well as our experiences. You can choose to harbor and hang on to negativity and pain…….or you can choose “to move on.” The thing you cannot do is to attack others for your decision or inability to do so.
Peace and love.