The Inauguration: An Observer View

Clearly the most important part of this piece is the link to the article in the Guardian. It is a well-written, thorough, and thoughtful piece. Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, you should consider reading it. Also, keep in mind that this is a British newspaper, so this is from a U.K. perspective.

Views from the Edge

Today’s email from a respected friend calls attention to a British opinion piece on the American Inauguration.

Today I wish I could find a single line in this post-inaugural Guardian piece (God, even a phrase) that strikes me as false.

I can’t.

I can’t either.

Click to read The Observer view on bullying, aggressive, nationalist Donald Trump

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, January 22, 2017

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Are you dismayed that he-who-shall-not-be-named got into the White House by propagating lies and fake news and through other high crimes and misdemeanors? Then don’t do that. Over the past couple of days, I’ve had  bunch of stuff sent to me, written in comments or via email, that our shiny new updated, 21st century POTUS has:

  • Cancelled Roe V Wade (a woman’s right to abortion)
  • Removed support for all women’s health care (no idea if this has an acronym or something else)
  • Gotten rid of the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obama Care).

None of which are true.

For example: Roe V. Wade is a matter for the Supreme Court (henceforth known as SCOTUS), assuming they would review it (again). Which is doubtful since they have ruled on it multiple times, always with the same result. Not only have they not overturned it, further review isn’t on their docket.

How do I know this? I follow the SCOTUS website. I glance at upcoming cases, sometimes read the summaries of why they made a particular decision. If it is important to me, I try to read the decision itself. Usually, I get about halfway and go back to the translation, but I give it a try. Whatever language SCOTUS speaks, it is not the same one I use. The important point is that I do not rely on Internet hearsay for information about things that matter. I look them up and so should you.

If you are old enough to write on the Internet, you can track down source information. I’m really tired of hearing people whining about how they don’t know how. Learn or shut up.

What IS true? Trump issued a Presidential order further loosening the most hated part of the ACA which says that you get health insurance or pay a fine. It was already pretty loose, with many exceptions for hardship and has not been enforced very often even under President Obama. So it’s a change, but it’s not actually a change. It’s more a gesture to his followers that he does intend to make changes to the health care system, but not yet.

Did it cancel some outstanding “stuff” that Obama put in place? Yes, but every incoming president has done the same thing. Just as they change the pictures and the curtains in the White House (and probably the bed linens and which dishes they will eat from on a daily basis), they close off loose ends of their predecessor’s plans and presumably formulate their own directives and plans.


Maybe you have good reason to panic. Maybe the world as we know it is about to end. Maybe he-who-I-will-not-name is going to cancel the ACA … but he’s not likely to do it without having a replacement plan. Why not? Because the people who voted for him are the very people who depend on it. It’s bad politics to attack your core and not expect to also get kicked out of office. The entire GOP is very wary and worried about the probable blow-back that would result from cancelling “Obama Care” without something at least as good in place. Twenty million people finding themselves without health insurance would be unhealthy for their future prospects as elected officials.

They may not care about me or you, but they do care about their own careers. Self-interest is the one interest you can take to the bank.

We are the oversight for our government. They may forget it, but don’t you forget that they work for us and at our pleasure and discretion. True, once they are in office, it’s hard to dislodge them before the next election, but those years fly by pretty fast. Congressional representatives only have two-years to prove their worth. Senators get a big six and POTUS gets 4. Two and a half, really, because by then, he (or hopefully, someday, she) is already revving up for reelection.


I am begging you: Please do not post, comment, email, rant or otherwise distribute misinformation. Distortions of truth may be more lethal than complete fiction because most people never get more than a sentence or two into an article. If they see anything which appears to confirm what they already believe, they don’t read further. I’ve seen it here on Serendipity. I often get comments that show my reader hasn’t read more than the headline, glanced at a picture, hit like, and made a comment. Usually, I don’t care. I’m not typically a source of hard news. Occasionally, I do a more research. Dig up historical precedents and back up my opinion with data.


The thing I won’t do is casually publish information that is serious — and false. Whether it’s completely untrue or merely substantially wrong. I will always fact check anything that matters. I’ll usually fact check anything that can be checked even if it’s trivial because I come from a background where facts matter.

Truth is not a matter of opinion and no, your opinion is NOT as good as anyone else’s if you are ignorant of the subject about which you are talking.


It’s the time of year when I set aside my blogging cloak and don the cloak of book judge. From now until the end of February, I’ve got a lot of reading to do. That means I’ll be visiting you less often and posting less. I’m sure you will all manage with less of me for a few weeks. I’ve also picked up a miserable head cold. Why is it that I am brave and stalwart in the face of major adversity, but a pathetic lump in the face of a runny nose, itchy eyes, sore throat and all that other stuff? And yes, Garry’s got it too because caring is sharing and we really care.


I have a very nice life. By most objective standards, I have nothing to complain about. Then why do I walk around with a knot in my stomach and a sense of dread in my heart? The answer is – I read the news. Every day. Obsessively.


Why do I subject myself to ongoing angst when I could be living a minimally stressful retirement? The daily workings of the government usually have no effect on my existence. Even a major international crisis rarely intrudes on my day-to-day life. The policies of HUD don’t interfere with my peaceful existence in exurban Connecticut.

News-headline-newspapersSo why can’t I stay away from the major source of anxiety in my life? And why do I feel anxiety about things that will probably have little or no effect on me or my family? Other than masochistic tendencies, I’m not sure of the answer.

I come from generations of passionately involved women who actively protested the injustices of their day. My grandmother protested against the czar in Russia. My mother marched for labor unions in America. They brought me up to feel connected to the world around me. They made sure I empathized with those less fortunate than me. They made sure I chafed at injustice and inequality. They made it impossible for me to turn away from deprivation and suffering.

My mother and grandmother were activists. They put their money where their mouths were. I’m not like that. I’m an introvert and slightly claustrophobic in crowds. I don’t do rallies, marches or protests. I cheer them on … from home. And I worry. Perhaps staying informed is my penitence for not being out on the barricades.

Photo: USA Today

Photo: USA Today

In the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s, my grandmother chided me for not being a part of the protests that were taking place at Columbia University, where I was at college. The whole anti-Vietnam war movement started with Mark Rudd and the Columbia SDS chapter. Their protests were news. Photos of police on horseback clubbing students at my school were everywhere. The movement created there shaped the world for the next few years until the war finally ended. It also shaped my whole generation.

My grandmother said if the younger generation didn’t make a revolution to change things for the better, who would? I could have easily been a part of my generation’s ‘revolution’. But I wasn’t. It was a good one and I missed it.

So today, I read. I can’t stop, even when what I read depresses and scares me. On some level, I believe being informed is a way of being involved. I also talk to family and friends and try to get them involved with the issues that interest me. On Facebook, I take comfort in knowing there are so many others out there who also care about what I care about. So, I post and share articles that I think my online ‘friends’ should know about. Some of these people are genuine activists.

At least I can encourage and support them. It wouldn’t satisfy my grandmother, but it’s the best I can do.