Open letter to US House and Senate Republicans

The people have spoken. Not only did President Obama win a landslide Electoral College victory, but he handily captured the Popular Vote, as well. Our representatives need to heed this mandate and stop the petty obstructionist nonsense and get back to work moving our country forward.

Ever since Mitch McConnell’s failed call for Republicans to make Obama a one-term president, the House has voted overwhelmingly “No” on every measure that the President supported. The most recent travesty was voting against the Veterans’ Jobs Bill, which would have put our troops, who have sacrificed much for our country, to work rebuilding our infrastructure. Republicans need put aside this nonsense, silence the extremists, and do the work they were elected to do…represent the citizens.

The people have examined the facts and rejected the lies the right has been promoting. They have rejected the ridiculous assertions made about women’s health issues and affirmed that women are capable of making their own decisions about their bodies without the help of their legislators. They have affirmed the right of gay couples to marry. They have rejected the myth of trickle-down economics and the notion that corporations are people. They have seen first hand the effects of global climate change and are ready to respond to it.

The Republican party is at risk of imploding. The party that, at one time, worked for positive social change has been so altered that it is no longer recognizable as being representative of the people. Some serious soul-searching is in order.

We are currently recovering from the worst economic downturn in decades…a downturn that was initiated well before President Obama took office, caused by policies put in place by the Bush administration. The President has managed to turn it around and the economy is making a slow comeback…a comeback that may have happened much faster if Republicans had not stood in the way.

Starting now, the House and Senate need to work on several things…overturn Citizens United, cease the attack on women’s rights, reject the influence of the religious right and affirm the civil rights of gay couples, make common-sense decision on how to respond to climate change, create real tax reform that assures everyone is playing by the same rules and paying their fair share, reject extremism and the notion that bipartisanship means the left coming around to your way of thinking.

Do this, or you may find yourselves out of a job in 2014.

No free rides for left-turners (or things I need to get used to in Cheyenne)

(I’ve been meaning to post this for a couple of months, but haven’t gotten to it yet. But here it is.)

OK, so we’ve been in Cheyenne for about three months now and here are some things that I’ve found I need to get used to about being here.

1. Everyone is so nice here

Yeah, I said it. I believe people here are, for the most part, genuinely nice. People usually say what they’re thinking and don’t seem to be hiding their true thoughts to “be polite”. And it’s not just folks in the church. It’s people I meet every day here. Strangers are chatty and friendly. And helpful. My new neighbor, the first time he met me, took a few minutes of his time, before he and his wife had to go out, to help me with re-assembling my daughter’s swingset, loaning me tools in the process. I think it’ll take me a while before I’m not suspicious anymore. Or guarded.

2. The thin air

I’m sitting on the couch writing this and I’m out of breath. The high altitude and thinner oxygen kicked my butt the first couple of weeks here. I was just so tired. From what I understand, at lower altitudes, where there is plenty of oxygen in each breath I take, my red blood cells become quickly saturated with oxygen while traveling through my lungs. However, at higher altitudes, where the oxygen is less plentiful, I just don’t have enough blood cells passing through my lungs to pick up enough oxygen to feed my cells. Thus, I get winded and tired easily. As I live here for a while, my body will compensate by making more red blood cells so that the sheer numbers will be able to grab enough oxygen. Oh, and apparently it is making me pee more. Something about the way the body compensates for the lack of enough red blood cells. My wife and I started running several months ago, before we moved here and we’re continuing to run now, but we’ve had to take a step back in our progress because we’ve been so winded. It’s getting easier, but we’re still going to take it slow.

3. The low humidity

I am so happy about the low humidity that I hesitate to even mention it in this post. No more sweating while sitting in the shade! I barely even break a sweat when I go for my run. But, we’re learning not to ever go out of the house without taking some emergency water with us. Dehydration happens fast here. I was already a water nut before, but I’m finding that even that’s not enough now. So, I’m being vigilant. On the bright side, my hair dries before I even step out of the shower and we don’t really have to worry about mold and mildew.

4. The conservative politics

After living in a purple state that went for Obama in 2008, it’s weird to live in a state and city where finding a liberal sentiment is like an oasis in the desert. We were very excited today when we saw a sticker that said “Proud Wyoming Democrat”. And then we passed by the Democratic Headquarters on the way home. But from what I hear, the republicans here are more of the Libertarian flavor, which can be good and bad.

5. The left turn signals

Apparently, in Virginia, I was very privileged. When I stopped at a traffic light, I took it for granted that when I wanted to turn left, I would be the first allowed to proceed, before the oncoming traffic. But in Wyoming, I have been humbled. Here, forward-driving traffic is allowed to proceed first, and left-turners are forced to wait their turn and hope they can make it through before the light turns, all the while being taunted by a flashing yellow arrow. It gets iffy during busy times. Actually, I’ve found that during certain times of day the pattern changes and left-turners actually get a green arrow, but it’s not always certain. I think it might be a reflection of the politics. ;0)