Archive | July 2016

To Bernie Sanders supporters

Stop whining. Get over it. He isn’t the Democratic nominee for president nor did he win most of the primary elections. Enough of the idle threats and cackling shouts. Bernie Sanders dangled promises in front of the country that, like the huckster Donald Trump, he simply could not fulfill. Medicare for all? Sounds great but it’s not practical. Remember there is a Republican party that represents the health care industry and their well connected lobbyists. As long as the industry rakes in billions in profit (and they will for the continued future), there will be no European or Canadian style health care in the USA. Even most Medicare plans are controlled by corporations. Free college tuition? Oh please, this nation barely supports constitutionally required public school for K-12. Do you honestly believe he could force Congress to pay for free college tuition? Surely the USA must do better. Public support for education is paltry. College graduates will retire with student loans hanging on their backs. It pales in comparison to our support for prisons, wars and tax cuts for the affluent who hide assets overseas.

How did Congress enrich itself, enraging people? We allowed them to, that’s why. For one thing, look at voting records. Young Democrats simply don’t vote in substantial numbers. Older White Republicans do. So who do you think Congressional representatives listen to? I’ll give you one guess. As long as you don’t vote, then don’t complain. You give up the right to moan and whine by not voting. Every American has the right to vote, whether you are born here or are a naturalized citizen. Right wing Republicans are elected into office time and again because Democrats don’t vote. It’s just that simple.

As for me, I am tired of hearing about the Sanders revolution. The US government didn’t become so gridlocked overnight and it’ll take a long time to mend. Bernie Sanders supporters have a lot to learn from the young Democrats who revolted, marched and led sit-ins in the 1960s against the Viet Nam war and stood up against legalized segregation. Some were brutalized by segregationists in the Deep South. Others died. No one whined or made threats. They just did what had to be done. I’m glad I came from the Woodstock generation. We made our mistakes and were at times misguided. But we stuck together and were united for peace and the end to the ugly segregation that tore this country apart. Listening to disgruntled Sanders supporters say they will vote for Trump makes me absolutely sick. Shame on them and shame on their generation. I’m proud to call myself an aging hippie. I hope I never end up in a nursing home looked over by a Sanders supporter who voted for Donald Trump.

 

The Republican national convention

The Republican national convention nears. Donald Trump undoubtedly will puff out his chest, thumping as he accepts the nomination to become their candidate for president. I will be among the many not watching the show. I turned off the TV set years ago, for a few reasons. Cable TV became a luxury I couldn’t afford. Secondly, TV ads annoy me. Thirdly, I threw my attention to reading and writing instead. As for the rise of Donald Trump, well, most of you who follow me know how I feel. I am sickened, disgusted and outraged. I am well aware of the anti Hillary crowd too. If she was so repulsive then why didn’t Bernie beat her? Did anyone complain when she was senator from NY? Secretary of State? Enough meandering. She is the Democratic candidate and she has my full support. When she opens an Arizona office, I’ll be there doing my best to see that she wins. At least she doesn’t have the support of the Klu Klux Klan. And I sincerely hope and pray that the massive anti Trump crowd at the RNC convention shows grace and style, avoiding arrest. Remember you are representing more than just yourselves. If you get ugly, and I hope you don’t, Trump’s image rises. Why do that? Act like ladies and gentlemen please. Don’t give the GOP any more reason to attack us. The eyes of the nation and the world are upon you. Give them something worthwhile to look at. Don’t act like thugs and hooligans because Fox media will broadcast those vile images around the world. And Trump’s bluster will be even broader and nastier. If you read this and are not registered to vote, please register. Your votes are needed. Please help defeat Donald Trump. Europe didn’t stand a chance once Hitler rose to power. We have the chance to defeat Trump. Make it happen.

Ramadan 2016

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Ramadan 2016

 

Don’t leave us Ramadan. You will be missed by over a billion Muslims around the world. Personally, I will miss Ramadan. Why is Ramadan so special, so treasured and so revered?

 

The holy month that began on June 5th officially ends on July 5th at sunset. During Ramadan, able-bodied adults are required to fast from sun up to sundown, donate to charity (zakat) and recite special prayers at night (Taraweeh) either at home or in a mosque (preferred). At sundown, Muslims gather for iftar, a meal to break the fast. Why fast? Fasting teaches self-discipline and restraint. More importantly, fasting reminds Muslims there are people who go hungry every day. For them, fasting isn’t a choice but daily life. Hunger pains gnaw in their bellies every single day. The Quran says the Prophet (PBUH) broke his fast with dates so Muslim families do the same. Family, friends, neighbors and even strangers share the evening meal, known as iftar. This year, I was blessed to share a special iftar with my Muslim and Christian sisters at the home of newly arrived Syrian refugees. What a joy and pleasure it was to bring fresh, delicious food to the refugees and welcome them to Phoenix. Other friends invited me for iftars. I dined at a Pakistani restaurant owned by a friend’s uncle. There was always plenty of lively conversation as well as Magrib, the fourth of our five daily prayers at iftars. As soon as we cleaned up and washed dishes, we drove to the mosque for Taraweeh prayers. During Ramadan, our community collected cash and gifts for refugees new to Phoenix. The sisters who delivered the gifts said refugees were delighted, thankful and overwhelmed with joy. Non-profit groups representing Syrian orphans also asked for donations at the mosque. How can you say no when the savage war has left over 70,000 children without parents?

 

Praying every night at the mosque brought me closer to my sisters. No one was a stranger. Everyone was welcomed, especially travelers, converts, and non-Muslim visitors. We prayed for peace, understanding and tolerance in our community and around the world. Not only did I look forward to seeing old friends but I made new friends. Strangers who I just met brought me Eid gifts.

 

For those who only know Islam from anonymous internet posts and Fox media, you know so very little. Yes, there are wayward Muslims who commit horrific atrocities in the name of Islam. They tarnish the decency of all good Muslims who pray five times a day, donate to charity and devote themselves to family and community. Ramadan has renewed our faith to stand strong in the face of hardship. Dark days are ahead for us Muslims especially if Donald Trump is elected. Some may even be killed because of the hatred he spits out and his followers soak up as acceptable. But we as a people will endure. We have no choice but to stand united and get through this together with grace and dignity because of our faith in Allah and our faith in each other. The media has shunned our kindness, our benevolence and our mercy but Allah has not. That’s what really counts. Ramadan has made me stronger and more determined to continue doing good each day for people, animals and the world around me. May Allah grant peace, love and mercy to the whole world.