Kamala Harris Mirrors America, Election 2020 Will Make For Social Progress

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We knew this day would come.  The announcement of the Democratic Party running mate to Joe Biden.  And when it arrived it sent a bolt of electrical energy around the nation.  Senator Kamala Harris is about to make history, and her powerful narrative is exactly what the Democratic Party has long been known for as it pushes social change.

Harris will be the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major party.  As the past months have clearly demonstrated there is a deep desire to push past the old ways of doing things, and confront what needs to change in the nation.  Rather than just talk about it, Biden has started to act.

I had hoped Susan Rice would be the nominee as her deep experience with international relations gravitated with me.  Alliances and arrangements with our global partners are not sexy topics to be sure, but they are vital ones.  However, I can see Rice as Secretary of State and that would also confirm the commitment Biden has about rebuilding from the damaging last four years.

I am pleased with the selection of Harris as it is smart politics. A Biden-Harris ticket gives the Democratic Party leverage with more moderate voters.  This nation yearns for normalcy, reasoned, and logical leadership.  When they see Harris they will grasp the credible qualities she brings her with, and at the same time see the change and bending of the curve this nation has long been working toward.

Competence and pragmatism are what the Biden-Harris ticket will provide for the nation.  And Republicans should not kid themselves into thinking that moderate and concerned members of their party were not waiting for yet another reason to vote against Trump.  Centrist Harris will be enticing them at every turn.

Democrats have long provided the vehicle for tolerance and acceptance with the pushing of the envelope so that our national leadership mirrors the way our citizenry looks at banks, malls, soccer leagues, and churches.  Just this past week I was looking at some books from when I was starting to learn to read.  The school books of Jane and Dick and Sally are all caucasian kids. Not a child of color was to be seen.  And we know that type of thinking and absurdity needs to end.

We need to see the full array of our nation reflected on every front page of our newspapers and on our nightly news.  Our top elected leaders should embrace the future and look like the nation they wish to lead.

Today Joe Biden took his first major step with the elevation of Kamala Harris as the vice-presidential nominee. In January she will make another record-setting moment when sworn into office.

This is how change comes about.  I am very pleased to be an American tonight.  I have not had this feeling for a very long time.

And so it goes.

Remembering Mom And Dad At Hancock Cemetery–Royce And Geneva Humphrey

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James and I decided to head northwards today, on the 13th anniversary of the death of my mom.  We had not ventured up to Hancock earlier this year given the pandemic and not wishing to interact with anyone.  So we set out on what was a cloudless day, perfect summer temperatures, and very low humidity and did not run into one other person the entire day.

When we arrived at the cemetery James took from a packed arrangement of items some freshly homemade brownies.  Doing so he spoke of how my dad always thought it wise to be the first taste-tester of any baked good mom pulled from the oven. “You would not want to serve it to others if it was no good” was the running line for decades back home.  And there always seemed to be irrefutable logic to dad’s words.

So with that James said we were going to have some brownies with the folks.  Yes, it was that type of day.  James remains ever-thoughtful and that is why he is a wonderful part of my family.  My folks loved him.

I placed some flowers for mom at the headstone and we added a brownie, too, on the stone in fond memories.  I know this would have made for smiles.  And with dad’s fondness for small animals and making sure they were fed in the wild I know some little creature tonight will find the morsel.

And so it goes.

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Madison Needs Tougher Parents So To Deal With Gun-Toting Kids And Related Issues

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This past week I read a letter to the editor of the Cap Times which I very much agree with.  Being a long-time anti-gun advocate the letter from Stephen Lee absolutely resonated.

Dear Editor: Instead of defunding the police, how about the City of Madison start de-arming the youth of Madison?

The number of car to car shootings in Madison and surrounding areas is out of hand.

If the parents of these kids would start parenting and put a stop to this, Madison would be much safer.

There has got to be a way for community leaders, police and civic groups to confront this plague of lawlessness in Madison.

The message to these rogue youth has got to be embedded into their senseless minds that they are endangering themselves when they are shooting at another vehicle that is also shooting back at them — that they may end up being the person who gets killed. These shootings also endanger innocent bystanders.

These shootings have got to stop. Now!

Madison used to be a safe city and everyone needs to work on getting it back to being safe for everyone.

Leaders need to lead, parents need to parent and the police need to police.

Stephen Lee, Madison

I have been taken aback, like so many others, to read the newspapers and discover that more shootings have taken place in our city.  Those articles on top of other local news are most disconcerting to all.  We must–simply have to–find some solutions.

I am always interested in the backstory to events that I read so to better understand how a person gets to the point where they make headlines in the newspaper.  I cheer for the national spelling champs and love to read how they prepare for the challenge of spelling words that befuddle even the best of us adults.   I applaud the person who makes news for finishing college and getting a degree while overcoming health issues.

But I also pay attention when people make awful headlines and are then found to have dropped out of high school in their sophomore year.   Or how a gun was used in a crime by a teenager who housed the weapon in their parent’s home.

Granted I was born in 1962 in a rural county in Wisconsin.   Many can say ‘things were much different’ then, and they would be accurate.  But only up to a point.  There is no reason the same common-sense rules of the road for parenting that my mom and dad employed should not apply today.

I offer a few ideas that either was in place when I was a kid or clearly had no need to ever be addressed because we had a solid family foundation.  We simply must have parents who will take their responsibilities seriously.

So here are a few rules of the road that I knew as a child, and parents should practice in their homes today.

  1. Kids need to be read to from day one.  Books need to be in a home and used as an everyday item same as a plate or spoon.
  2. There is no excuse to miss school except for sickness.
  3. Schoolwork is front and center in the evening.
  4. One may not have lots of money but there can still be an investment made in education.  Attending parent/teacher meetings or volunteering at the local school are but two ways to impact a child’s education.
  5. From the start know who your kids interact with and the quality of people they spend time with when the parent is not around.  Alerting them from the start about the quality of friends can be most important.
  6. Every day there is a time when all in the family meet for dinner (supper) and no electronic gadgets are allowed at the table.  Talk centers on whatever took place in the lives gathered.  Fostering good communication skills for the whole family is the most undervalued asset in times of turmoil.
  7. Kids do not smoke in the house.
  8. No drugs are allowed in the house.
  9. No guns or other weapons are allowed in the house.
  10. There is an expectation from Day One that learning is important and respect for oneself and others is never to falter.
  11. No one even hints at dropping out of high school.

Times change but common-sense does not.  Young people who make awful choices need to take their share of responsibility for what happens.  But parents need to step up their game and help society create the next generation of adults we would want as our neighbors.

Madison can do better with parenting.  We simply must do better.