Views of life

Right now I am deeply grateful for the varied glimpses of life I’ve experienced and observed, based on living in different locations around the United States, and being a reporter who covered numerous topics including religion and politics.

Reporting city council meetings brought me face to face with good folks on all sides presenting their cases on why city leaders must approve certain actions. You want disagreement? You’ll find it in the council chambers!

Sitting in varied religious places of worship where I focused on the elements we held in common. Whether in a Christian church, or mosque, or in a synagouge, beauty, prayer, reflections on the sacred writings are taking place. Along with little ones who are squirming to get free of parents and go run!

Yes illegal actions must be challenged. Stopped. Corrected.

Yes people’s rights as human beings must be affirmed and re-affirmed.

Certainly differences exist between us human beings. We all have differing views on life based on our experience, genetics, and views on life.

I writhe with frustration when these disagreements are played up to the max — possibly fueled by misinformation. No bridges of understanding allowed for. People saying “either you agree with me or you’re wrong wrong wrong!”

I can only speak for myself. My choice is to focus on we hold in common — and to show respect even when I don’t agree with the other person’s conclusions.

Peace be with you.

(C) 2017 by Mary Louise Van Dyke. All Rights Reserved.


Now is the hour of our voting discontent

Today is Election Day here in the United States.

In the furor over who becomes president, it’s easy to overlook the local aspect today. But I am hoping voters in my area approve additional funding for emergency medical services, for development of our green park/trail systems, for adding more commuter rail lines in the Seattle-Everett and regions further south.

These issues matter.

Then there are the races for president, for governor and a host of local and other state positions. What a bloody process its been, chiefly among our two presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. Neither is illustrious. Or perfect.

But the reality is one of them will become our next president. I plan to do my best to show support for whichever one wins — despite grave reservations.

May whoever is elected:

Proceed with integrity, care and concern for the citizens and others who reside here in the United States.

Remember to speak thoughtfully and to act in a timely, reasoned manner.

Base decisions on what is best for the United States and not just for themselves and the closest friends who helped them get elected.

God help us all — and may we all do our best to help ourselves!

(C) 2016 by Mary Louise Van Dyke.

Divided loyalties

Dear President George and Mrs. Martha Washington,
If you are keeping an eye on the affairs (dare I say) of the United States, you may find the current political scene strangely familiar. You know those elections where John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were at loggerheads over what directions the very new “United” states should take and loyalties to our former allies in Europe?
Well our loyalties — specifically knowing who to vote for in — the upcoming election are sharply divided.
Who will best represent our values? Oh the furor.
Candidate one — a blunt outspoken man whose past “locker room” words and actions, recorded in ways you never dreamed of, are coming back to haunt him in 32-pt type. Kind of an Andrew Jackson type — the man who represents the common man.
Only today, we say person to represent all of us. The ones who don’t make government their career and are feeling lost in the current forays over whose rights count for the most.
Martha, I can tell you women’s rights have progressed to the point where a former First Lady — the job you held during George’s two administrations — is running for president. I think your contemporary Abigail Adams would have cheered. She wanted women’s rights remembered when our constitutional rights were being established.
We have a woman nominee. A proud moment. But tarnished. Her record points to being the opposite of the blunt outspoken man. Electronic correspondence from her time as Secretary of State hidden, deleted, done away with when it is supposed to be subject to strict rules. And her husband is also a womanizer like the blunt candidate.
So, two flawed candidates to represent us folks — who are also flawed.
If you are watching, wish us wisdom and courage in this most interesting time, George and Martha. Wish whoever is elected the wisdom to put the United States’ interests first ahead of their own agendas — at least most of the time.
Sincerely yours,
A wary citizen
(C) 2016 by Mary Louise Van Dyke. All Rights Reserved.

Resolution on Hillary Clinton’s emails

hillary clinton

The verdict on Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal server for her Secretary of State communications is in. Earlier this week FBI Director James Comey issued a detailed assessment of why charges will not be forthcoming — despite Clinton’s being “extremely careless.”

Sobering words those. “Extremely careless.” Appropriately said? However one might wonder if that is part of Comey’s job description, to offer opinions?

Unsurprisingly rival Donald Trump, in a Time magazine article, declared the decision “rigged” and hinted at “bribery.” House Speaker Paul Ryan told NBC, the verdict sets a “terrible precedent.”

Politico published a story about Hillary Clinton’s mixed blessings — and President Obama going the extra mile to stump for his one time rival at a Tuesday meeting in Charlotte, NC.

The AP Fact Check (that appeared in the Kansas City Star and elsewhere) examines Clinton’s past claims about not sending any classified material on her personal server — versus “The Facts: Actually, the FBI identified at least 113 emails that passed through her personal server and contained materials that were classified at the time they were sent . . . .”

Clinton, herself, appears to have nothing to say on the subject — something that one might find troubling in a potential future president. USA Today quoted Clinton’s campaign spokesman Brian Fallon as saying they were glad the matter was “now resolved.”

Resolved? But is it? Will voters care about this issue come November? Clinton has enormous political experience as a former Secretary of State and First Lady. Still ….

The New York Times Opinion page editorial board published an editorial that ended with:

“If there was ever a time that Mrs. Clinton needed to demonstrate that she understands the forthrightness demanded of those who hold the nation’s highest office, this is that moment.”

(C) 2016 by Mary Louise Van Dyke. All rights reserved.

Recycling dark-edged humor

Did you know that you can recycle and re-use humor. Even dark humor?

I learned about this very important fact while reading a column written by senior humor statesman Dave Barry. Barry writes about the Independence Day movie and Americans being exposed to “grotesque, repulsive, inhuman creatures that would stop at nothing in their determination to dominate the earth.” He goes on to say that he is referring to the upcoming Democrat and Republic conventions.

Sounds like a good snapshot of the upcoming summer months. Conventions to select between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton who are possibly the least uninspiring candidates to run in United States’ history. Independence Day 2 was just released a few days ago.


Just a little side note though – Barry published the column in his “Dave Barry is from Mars and Venus” book published in 1997. The presidential candidates he refers to are Bill Clinton (husband of Hillary Clinton), Bob Dole, and Ross Perot. And the Independence Day movie was the original one.

I found the coincidences interesting. After all, if Republican leaders can’t warm up to Donald, they could still try to persuade the delegates to vote for someone more to their liking. Which could hurtle Donald into the role played by Ross Perot back in 1996 as the Reform Party (some might say Spoiler) candidate.

And this time Bill is cheering on his wife, and hopefully not planning any parties with cigars and interns if he gets to be First Man.

Well, I am sure we can all agree on the very troubling questions we face. Elect the first woman president with a woman who is well versed in politics but seems to have major problems with open records compliance. Ironically the book – recall it was published two decades ago – features Barry’s attempt to arrange a lunch meeting with the then First Lady. Clinton was open to the idea, he writes, but she said everything discussed would be “off the record.”

I haven’t found Donald Trump mentioned in the book which is frustrating. I believe both candidates should have equal time. That’s only fair. So I goggled both names together – that’s one of the tricks I’ve learned of 19 years of being a freelance journalist – and discovered this gem.

Barry interviewed Trump back in 1999 when Trump was making an exploratory stab at running for president. Trump said he was unimpressed with (2000 election) candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush who, unlike Trump, had failed to make “billions of dollars in a short period of time.”

Barry wrote it was hard to argue with that statement.

Well, there’s plenty of arguing going on now as voters struggle to decide which candidate is the least objectionable. Which person best fits their idea of who should be leading the U.S. through these hazardous times (no humor intended here).

I wonder if Dave Barry would be open to running for president? Think of it. A president with a sense of humor . . . . Hmmm.

Hopefully we won’t face an invasion from denizens of the outer limits of our solar system, we already have enough challenges from residents of Planet Earth. Walls that block information, walls to keep out people. Walls of frustration while trying to guess what the future holds. Hoping our varied senses of humor stay intact as the new president is sworn in next January.

© 2016 by Mary Louise Van Dyke. All Rights Reserved.