Oh, Thank Goodness!

Thank Goodness, Thank Goodness the House approved a spending bill just before deadline. Could you imagine? How disastrous! I really did not want to have to start blogging daily again about it!

I know for certain I would not have been able to keep my tone civil. Up to this point, I have argued that somebody somewhere must provide a match light’s flare of reasoned discourse, and better yet if multiple people (dare I wish for “many” people?) strike a tone of civility. Some consider this a trifling exercise, but as the current modus operandi of unyielding non-compromise has proved unsuccessful, why not try a different tack?

Thank Goodness I don’t have to spend hours editing a post that, in a vain attempt to be “family-reader friendly,” would never be so. My anger would spill. It wouldn’t be pretty. And I doubt I would apologize for my curt and unceremonious missives.

At what point do I completely “lose it” and succumb to the very tactics I abhor? One of the most telling moments of my life came when I shouted at a mother carrying her child out of a line. This mother carried her young daughter past the hundreds and hundreds of us holding official purple tickets as we stood in a freezing tunnel in Washington, D.C. waiting to be let into the VIP section to witness the first inauguration of President Obama. The mood inside the “Purple Tunnel of Doom” changed as time passed, from joyful anticipation to a speculation that the sheer numbers of ticket holders could never proceed through the line and security in time, then to the stark realization that we were not going to get into the inauguration at all, and finally to a controlled but palpable near-panic that we would not be let out of the tunnel. I believe I was overcome by an initial sense of injustice. We had all waited so patiently, and here was this woman, leaving the line, just walking and pushing her way through the crowd, going on ahead of us. This was a wrongdoing.  And so I shouted at a mother carrying her daughter. It was only after this moment passed that I realized that this mother was securing her own, and her daughter’s safety.  I will forever remember my deep frustration, my anger, my fear for my own safety, and my almost immediate embarrassment, remorse and shame.  When pushed to the brink, I blew it.

Talk about your life lessons. This is not a surprising finding; there is often the threat of violence in large demonstrations. Reasoned and reasonable people, passionate over a cause, fervent, find themselves engaged in escalating arguments. Right now people are convening throughout the U.S. and abroad, raising their voices every night in response to Grand Jury findings related to the death of black men by the hands of police officers. Scary things can happen when people are angry. This country has a proud history, and this history includes stories where members of the highest political office engaged in debate that went beyond charged rhetoric. There was a wild floor brawl in the House that progressed from insults to blows to general melee.  I’m not talking about the House and Senate now, this happened in 1858.* And this continues to happen around the globe today.

I had figured the Congress would strike a budget deal. Everybody seemed to be fairly certain of it. But the fact that our elected leaders waited so long, with what appears to me, anyway, to be a “thumb your nose” attitude, once again not seeming to care that peoples’ lives are on the line, that our country’s image is reaching new lows, and that folks are getting sick and tired of business as usual, is disturbing. So knowing that I once yelled at a mother holding a child while she tried to escape a tense and dangerous situation, I’m not sure I can keep my goal of “showing the leaders how it’s done” in line.

I’m not condoning violence – far from it. I was scared in that Purple Tunnel of Doom. But I don’t know how to “attack” this situation. I’m getting really tired of business as usual. My efforts to model proper behavior to legislators might be a useless exercise. My pen may have to drop the “Miss Manners” approach. The question is, how do I ensure that I don’t sink to lows that rival elected legislators’ tactics?

* U.S. House of Representatives: History, Art, & Archives

http://history.house.gov/Historical-Highlights/1851-1900/The-most-infamous-floor-brawl-in-the-history-of-the-U-S–House-of-Representatives/

Kathy Galgano

December 12, 2014

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Something We Can All Agree On – (Please, read to the end)

Dear Democratic Leader Pelosi:

I write to you here because as I do not live in your Congressional district,  my attempt to email you failed.

Congratulations on your election to remain the House Democratic leader.

Having said this, please know that I am removing myself from this email list, sadly. I am personally surprised at my fatigue in all things politics, especially now, after this month’s mid-term elections, when my Party’s numbers in Congressional representation have been reduced so significantly. And while I want and need to stay informed, I feel that there is a constant free-for-all in the emails that are sent to me. I am done with the emails that sensationalize everything, that always request a contribution, and that appear to divide the gap between the two parties even further.  

I received the news that you have been re-elected as House Democratic leader, and was asked for a contribution. I am always asked for a contribution, no matter what the news. I appreciate your hard work and tenacity, but, (and yes, there is a “but” here) must all emails include a request for money? Perhaps an announcement, and a call to rally would have been sufficient, and not tipped me over the edge. I am unsubscribing to these emails.

Here’s why I am tired — through this constant barrage of emails, the appearance is that elected representatives from both houses cannot do their jobs without airing dirty laundry, without constantly asking for money, without inane and sensational “Subject” lines that are at best humorous, and at worst, infantile and embarrassing. I am tired of reading multiple times a day that all is lost. I am also tired at the lack of respect for the offices of representing citizens; that respect has been whittled away by infighting, and also by these so-called “chummy” emails. Remember, citizens get these emails multiple times a day. Representing the people of the United States is serious business, and the behavior of elected officials as portrayed in these missives is unprofessional. This goes not only for the legislative branch, but also for the executive branch. Compound this constant campaign of ridiculous emails with the work that is not getting done in the beautiful and historic chambers in the Capitol building, and one might begin to understand why voters, well, I can only speak for myself here, why I am tired of the way business is being done today,

While something deep inside me knows that money is needed and campaign reform laws are paramount, I have been worn down to the point that I can no longer spend energy every day sorting through these missives, reading accounts of how the political parties continue to fight and how nothing is getting done, and then cringing as I am asked for and yet another contribution. 

Again, I sincerely congratulate you, Congresswoman Pelosi, and I wish you all the very best. I appreciate your hard work and tenacity and service. I also hope that a sense of decorum can be re-established, that people can see that the Congress is willing no longer to use the citizenry to jump in and take sides as if this were a big sporting match where we shout each other down. I fear that we have become a laughing stock. I look forward to a day when, while entrenched in vehement disagreement, there will be some respect for each other and for the electorate.

As you prepare for a new Congress, my thoughts are with you as you attempt to negotiate policy in a profound climate of non-partisanship, and urge you to take a new tack. I also urge your party members to do the same. Who knows? Perhaps this is something to which both sides can agree.

Respectfully,

Kathleen M. Galgano

GREAT NEWS!

Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton

Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton (Photo by Kathy Galgano 11/6/2014)

Lick Observatory in the Diablo Range

Lick Observatory is high atop Mr. Hamilton in the Diablo Range (Photo by Kathy Galgano 11/6/2014)

This spring, I wrote about Lick Observatory, the world-class astronomical observatory research center and San Jose gem. Funded by the University of California, Lick’s days were numbered as U.C. was withdrawing its funding for this great institution of science and learning. For a refresher, you can check out my piece, “Keep It Open” at: https://kathygalgano.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/keep-it-open/ So here’s the news and yes, it calls for a drum roll!

The University of California will continue to fund Lick Observatory!

Phew. U.C. made the right call, and, you played a big part. Thank you, Readers, for your calls and letters to the U.C. President and the U.C. Board of Regents. Thank you, also, for contacting your local, state and federal officials, and a big thank you to these elected officials who worked hard to keep Lick Observatory the world-class facility it is. Thank you for letters to newspapers, and for your calls and letters to Lick Observatory, expressing your support. Most importantly, thank you all for keeping the conversation alive, and for your interest, care, concern and positive attitude that something could be done to keep this historic and important scientific observatory funded and operational.

Everybody wins!

Here are a few links announcing the great news:

UC overturns decision to withdraw all funding to Lick Observatory http://www.dailycal.org/2014/11/03/university-overturned-decision-withdraw-funding-lick-observatory/?fb_action_ids=10204291122349777&fb_action_types=og.likes

UC confirms continued support of Lick Observatory http://news.ucsc.edu/2014/11/Lick-support.html

University of California Observatories http://www.ucolick.org/

http://www.ucolick.org/SaveLick/lick_future.html

Thanks, U.C. And Thanks, folks.

 

Kathy Galgano

November 6, 2014

 

Please Join Me (A Letter To My Readers Regarding the Impending Government Shutdown)

Dear Readers of Kathy’s Musings:

Good Morning. I wanted to write a little humor piece next, but am waking up disgusted and nervous about the impending government shutdown.

I just wrote a letter to my Representative; I have supported my Representative with my votes for a long time. I wrote that instead of focusing on my disgust, if there is something I can do to help avoid this shutdown, and keep people working so they can pay their rents and mortgages and buy groceries, and not make the kids touring our nation’s capital burst into tears because they can’t see the moon rocks at the National Air and Space Museum after selling who knows how many candy bars to get there, and continue to let prospective home owners acquire loans, and keep this nation from becoming a laughing stock in the eyes of the world, and prevent a downhill slide in the local, national, and global economies, then I will do it.

I have joined others in signing online petitions to register my deep concerns. I wrote a letter to the Editor of my local newspaper, although it wasn’t published. And now I sent a letter to my Representative, and even suggested we make public the names of the job positions that may be furloughed come Tuesday. Please join me in contacting your Representatives as well. Shutting down the government of the United States of America impacts all of us.

Thank you.

Kathy Galgano

September 29, 2013