Making a Difference

PRE-NOTE: Our 4th grandchild turned 21 this week.  if you wish, here’s my post.

POSTNOTE: Recommended viewing tip for Monday, June 14, 5-6 p.m.  Details: Martin Sheen June 14 2021


If you’re reading this, it’s a reasonable guess that you’re one of about 200 who’ve actually seen this text.  Most likely you’ve gotten notice about this, since viewer numbers tend to spike on that day – my counter shows that.  I don’t know who you are specifically, though most on my mailing lists of over 500 are people I’ve come to know over the years.

I keep going since I expect there are unknown millions out there who are plodding along like me, trying to make a positive difference, one unlikely person at a time.  So, thanks to you for stopping by.

If you want to make a difference in the future of this country, my recommendations:

  1. Register to vote, regardless of the attempted roadblocks being thrown up by your elected representatives.
  2. Cast an informed ballot in every election for the most reasonable of the two candidates who are favorites for most every electoral choice in every election.
  3. Get involved more than you think you’re capable, personally and financially.  Get out of the safety zone – your ‘wall’.   Each of us is the solution, or the problem….
  4. Be an ‘evangelist’ over and above trying to be well informed, seeking a single convert – most likely you know who that is.  It’s not a matter of converting the hopeless case, but even some of those actually consider the implications of their choice.  Most people are reasonable, like you.

Of course I could go on and on.  Leave it at those.

Here’s some other ideas, some learning opportunities I’ve recently come across.

Two very interesting and enlightening talks hosted and posted recently by the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers.

  1.  Nancy MacLean interviewed by Don Shelby on her book “Democracy in Chains” with preliminary remarks.  The interview itself starts at about 10 minutes, but preliminary comments are also interesting, from Minnesota’s Attorney General; a Climate activist, Sam Grant; and a state legislator, Emma Greeman.  [MacLean/Shelby is available on YouTube, though sometimes not.  Just try it again if unsuccessful.  Search the two names together to find the correct talk.)
  2. Don Shelby, comments after the Nancy MacLean talk.  This requires entering a passcode, which is &wd0N%&a.  He gave, willingly, more than an hour of his time to debrief us on the MacLean talk.

Don Shelby?  He’s a local news legend in this area.  I recently described him as our areas Walter Cronkite. He’s always been a straight shooter.  If you live in this area, you probably heard him on the local news.  If you watch public television, his long interview with filmmaker Ken Burns is a standard fixture during pledge week.

He’s far more than just an old talking head.

MacLean?  She’s taking on the denizens of the hard radical rich right-wing, which makes her a target for Trolls and Bots.  It’s a risky business to be a truth teller and a professor.  She’s made the jump.  Her book is well worth reading.

Other summer suggestions, as long as I’m on.

Younger folks are taking on re-inventing an organization of which I’ve long been part of, Citizens for Global Solutions Minnesota.  Go there, and scroll down for the on-line Third Thursday Film next Thursday and try it out.  Scroll down a little further to the Human Rights Forum on June 30, featuring Latoya Burrell, online.  And scroll down a little further to the “Becoming Human” lecture series on Racism, featuring six St. Thomas University professors in which I was a participant a year ago.

My friend, filmmaker Arthur Kanegis (“The World is My Country“) has started a most interesting weekly. on-line program (Wednesdays, 10 a.m. Pacific Time) featuring people making a difference where they live.  The most recent program featured a lady taking on nuclear proliferation; a previous week an author about “Walls”.  These aren’t famous people.  But they deserve an audience.  Check out the program here.


This has been an active week in political Pinocchio rhetoric.  June 8, I heard a long interview of John Bolton about President Biden’s trip to Europe; later Mitch McConnell lamenting that hearings about the Jan. 6 insurrection would be politicized.  Of course they will, deservedly so.

This week the President went to Europe on his first trip there as President, preceded by over 40 years in either U.S. Senate and Vice-President with a broad portfolio of experience and relationships in foreign relations and all sorts of expert and experienced advice.  The Vice-President, lifelong Californian, went to Central America and Mexico was criticized for not going to the Wall, and advising Central Americans not to come north.  She similarly is experienced and well-advised.  Diplomatic trips are not ‘buddy to buddy’; different nations have differing interests and priorities.  We are very well served.

There was the usual breaking news.  Thursday the story in the New York Times that the Justice Department of the previous president had been investigating certain members of Congress and their families for alleged leaks.  Dr. Fauci and Science has become the enemy in the spin rooms; Critical Race Theory, whatever that is is on the table in some places; the military, or so it is alleged, is not troubled with racism, and Sen. Tom Cotton raised a question with the African-American Secretary of Defense which he would not allow the Secretary to answer, doubtless because what was demanded was a soundbite “NO” or “YES” which could then be manipulated as a soundbite on ‘news’.

Of course, it depends on whose ‘news’ one chooses to believe.   We are prisoners of sound bites, and it is not healthy for our democracy since “truth” has been deemed to be obsolete.

“Caveat emptor” remains prudent.

We are in truly dangerous times.  Back on August 1 and 2, 2020, dare I say more rational times in a truly irrational period in U.S. History, I wrote my personal opinion of the “D’s” and the “T’s” (no typo) at that time in history.  This was written back in the day, summer 2020, when I presumed that an election would be held, and somebody would be elected, and back to some sense of normal.  I won’t say I was ‘naive’, because these are not normal times, when lies are accepted as truth by far too many.  But if you’re interested in what I was thinking then, unedited, here they are simply titled  D and T.

(I knew next to nothing about the former President before his election in 2016, except that he had no government experience at any level, and he was a TV personality who owned real estate.  If you’re interested, every word I ever wrote about him, or his opponent in 2016, remains archived here.  Simply put his name in the search box.  Caveat: in some cases, I didn’t say anything about him, but someone would comment, using his name.  But in most cases, my treatment of him was pretty benign.)

By this time in history I say he is easily and accurately labeled as the worst president in America’s history thus far.  It will be a long while to recover from this nation divided against itself.

This week, the Boston Globe, a prolific winner of Pulitzer Prizes, began a series of six editorials making its case about the past man in the White House.  Take some time to at least check it out here.

Upcoming this week, some thoughts from a career union representative about the economy.


Above I say this: “By this time in history I say he is easily and accurately labeled as the worst president in America’s history thus far.  It will be a long while to recover from this nation divided against itself.”

I agree, this is a pretty audacious assertion.  The President of the United States – every single one of them, ever, is the final decision maker, and no decision is ever right, to someone, usually with a large microphone.  Harry Truman’s desk reminder, “The Buck Stops Here”, was very accurate.

#45, along with the constant lies, did one thing that makes him deserve eternal infamy in my mind.  He declared himself to be a peace president – against war over there, anywhere.

At the same time, he sanctified war within our country country, us versus them: Democrats, immigrants, people of color…on and on, day after day, after the election which he lost very decisively.

As he fades into the sunset, as he certainly is, and will continue to, he still attempts to keep us divided and at war with each other.

This will be his only lasting legacy, and it is a bitter one.

That’s why I think he’s the worst ever.

3 replies
  1. norman hanson
    norman hanson says:

    Yes, Dick, that is certainly the legacy of #45 something that he continues to build on as unlike the previous 44, he cannot go quietly let alone accept the fact that he lost the election and continues to push the Big Lie that it was stolen from him. Granted, he is just an insecure and arrogant sore loser but the concerning thing is that so many elected public officials across the country believe, support and attempt to perpetuate the Big Lie as well. And yes, #45 will continue to slide off the front pages especially after the 2022 elections if not well before. On the other hand, he will continue to push the Big Lie as he becomes the political version of Willy Lohman from Death of a Salesman!

  2. Ken Thimmesch
    Ken Thimmesch says:

    An addendum to the voting instructions. Register in many precincts using dead people’s names, collect several mail-in ballots, mail them with doctor-like signatures, make sure your favorite poll worker turns off the signature verification switch, deliver many truckloads of filled-in ballots, pull down the shades or paper the windows so no one can peep in, seat Republican poll observers as far away as possible, sneak in at 2 am and process those redundant ballots, never take any ids to vote, these are only meant for buying tobacco or alcohol or to enter a casino or an airplane and they are not racist for this purpose. Some of these instructions were successful last year, and they might be codified in the new voting bill.


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