Read Along With Me – Current Issues

I’ve requested a batch of books from a review program that I participate in. The topics are all relating to current issues and political hot topics. Usually, I read more in the genre of memoirs or light fiction, so this is new territory for me.

political books to review

I felt the need to review these books as a way to help authors who tackle tough subjects like these. You can help too by reading these books and posting reviews on your blog or on Amazon. This brings the books to the attention of more readers and encourages the authors to keep researching and writing.

Currently, I’m reading:

Next, I have these to read:

As I finish each one, I’ll post my opinion on it in this blog and on Amazon.

Writing to Moscow Mitch

People are angry with the death clutch that Mitch McConnell has on bills in the Senate. Nothing is getting through. In particular, his refusal to allow preventive measures to protect the upcoming election from Russian interference is alarming. It pretty much guarantees that 2020 will be under attack and we’ll have another iffy election.

For some comic relief and to point out concerns about McConnell’s possible corruption by the Russians, the nickname Moscow Mitch has started to circulate. Join in by sending a postcard to Moscow Mitch expressing your concerns.

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My Postcard to Moscow Mitch

I thought the flag design made of money fit the theme quite well. Mitch McConnell has some questionable Russian money associated with him and Kentucky. You can read articles like Why is McConnell so upset about being called Moscow Mitch? Maybe it hits too close to home.

flag made of money postcardMoscow mitch postcard

It is obvious that McConnell has completely forgotten the oath he swore when he took office as a Senator.

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God”

Join me in sending Moscow Mitch some postcards reminding him that the people are watching and that we see what he is doing.

We Are Not a Mob

Not long ago, the President complained about angry mobs of Democrats. What he is actually seeing is crowds of angry women voters making their voices heard. A more realistic description would be Angry Moms. 

twitter angry moms mobs

The letter below explains how dangerous it is for the President to inflame the situation for his own political reasons. When I saw this letter, I was glad to add my name to the list of supporters and help get the message out.

October 27, 2018

To our Elected Representatives:

We are writing to you on behalf of our Indivisible group members because we are alarmed and frightened by the current wave of propaganda manufactured by POTUS, GOP strategists,  politicians, and the right-wing spin machine. Fox News, GOP politicians, and right-wing pundits parrot President’s Trump irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric. His attacks on anyone supporting the Democratic Party (or seeking to oppose his increasing authoritarianism) are now painting us as an angry mob of radical, violent anarchists.

We need you to come forward with definitive and unflinching rebuttal of these hateful and cynical assertions. We urge you and all responsible elected officials to firmly refute this attempt to further divide our country which creates a dangerous environment for the open expression of political views.

This is who we ARE. Nationwide, we are mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, aunts and grandmothers – and the men who love us and join us in a sincere effort to protect our democracy and our democratic values.  Our efforts are local as well as national, and in the effort to protect the environment, we are worldwide.

In Floridawe are joined by the wait staff who had no income this summer as the red tide kept diners away from our shoreline restaurants.  We are the captains whose boats were never booked for sunset cruises and fishing expeditions all summer.   We are the homeowners who live on the coastline and could not open a window or walk the beach all summer.   We are the parents and teachers who watch our children wear masks to walk to school.

We have formed activist groups from our living rooms, phone-banked, met with our elected representatives, marched peacefully, registered voters, canvassed, and written letters to the editor. Over ten million of us marched in the two Women’s Marches – peacefully. Our engagement in the political process has changed the political landscape. It is this change that the GOP fears and seeks to undermine and destroy.

We are better than this. We are a nation that has always offered the opportunity for everyone to live up to his or her full potential. This is our country at its best and what we must continue to strive for!

Many of us are spending our retirement or our spare time in these activities, not just out of anger (although there is certainly anger) but also from our belief in the possibility of a more just, more free, more equal America.

We have found our voice and will not be silent. We will not tolerate being called “hysterical” or “overly emotional” by people who follow a petulant, rage-tweeting serial liar. We are incensed that our experiences continue to be dismissed, despite the abundant evidence presented again and again and again in stories that stretch from Anita Hill to Christine Blasey Ford and to all of our courageous sisters and brothers in between. We will not stand quietly while our realities or those of other dissenters are discounted.

We know how to direct our anger into constructive action, lawful protest and winning elections.  We’ve been doing it for two years. We will not apologize for it and we will not be deterred. We need to hear voices of support and acknowledgment, not silence.

The GOP and the nativist and authoritarian elements of our society are lying and inciting hatred and violence without challenge. By branding Democrats as angry mobs of anarchists, the GOP is all but declaring war on citizens and constituents who express dissent while their own rallies are filled with hate. They are attempting to divide the country into the righteous “us” and the “dangerous, radical – them.” THE REALITY is that we are the galvanized, persistent and utterly necessary patriots determined to restore our country from the reckless danger of Trumpism.

Your constituents, your country, and the world need to hear this message from you. We need to hear your public statements of support in social media and the press now in these critical weeks before the election.


Jane Hunter, leader, Englewood Indivisible,  Sue Busko, deputy leader

William Bliss, leader, Fun Coast Indivisible Progressives

Vickie Neapolitan-Scott, Indivisible NWFL

Chris Moschini, Indivisible FL-13

Meryl Blackman, Indivisible Florida 13

Cynthia Lippert. Indivisible Florida 13

Kate Pravera, Indivisible FL-13

WIlliam Welsch, Indivisible Action SWFL

Darlene Goodfellow, Indivisible East Hillsborough

Mary Lawrence, IndivisibleStJohns FL

Shane Rogers-Mauro, Indivisible South Florida

Victor Rogers-Mauro, Indivisible South Florida

Katherine Sutherland, M.D., United For Action – Central Florida

IndivisibleMartin- Ellyn Stevenson, Lani Havens, Paula Albright, Hillary Heidelberg, & Robin Cartwright

Dianne K. Perry, Ph.D., Founder, Action Together Suncoast

Jenni Casale, Founding Member, Treasurer, Action Together Suncoast

Laurie Woodward Garcia, Broward for Progress

Diane Cheeks, Founder Member, Summerfield Indivisible

Sandy Goldman, Indivisible Clay County FL

Kaye Abight, Indivisible Marion County, FL

Dee Melvin, Co-Leader, Indivisible in The Villages

Kim Hurwitz, Founder, Lee OFA Indivisible

Viki Coen, Lee OFA Indivisible

Mariann Hunter, co-leader, Indivisible Venice

Barbara Gregory, Founder, Indivisible Collier OFA

Virginia Allain, Founder, Indivisible Solivita – SWANS

angry mobs women vote

Parallels in History

This summer, I read a book by Titia Bozuwa titled Defiance. The novel, set in occupied Holland in World War II revolves around the experiences of eight medical students. As the Nazis start filling up trains with Jews, the band of eight young men and women pledge to rescue some families. There are close calls as they try to get food and hiding places for Jewish children.

Their lives change drastically over the next few years. The Germans close the universities to try to suppress resistance among the young people. Their education is put on hold, romances disrupted, and families separated as the war progresses. The group of eight refuse to sign the declaration of loyalty to the occupying German government.

They try to keep in touch as their lives go in different directions. One is sent to work in German factories and another gets help from the underground to try to get to England to fight the war from there.

It’s a gripping story that keeps up the suspense throughout. Much of the events in the Netherlands during the war years is little known by the average American. Reading about the way the Nazis controlled the population and the privations suffered by the citizens was an intense reading experience. The story wraps up with the Hunger Winter of 1945 and finally the liberation of the Netherlands.

The parallels to disturbing situations in modern times are quite concerning. We are not in a world war and there are no gas chambers, but various religions and ethnicities are being singled out for abuse. Children were separated from their parents and put into child prisons along our borders. Some 500 of these children have still not been restored to their parents despite a court order for it to happen.

While reading Defiance, I couldn’t help but compare some situations with current events. With a person in power who shows dictatorial tendencies, the recent events are alarming and citizens must not be complacent. Voters must take a role in influencing our legislators and the administration away from fascist kinds of activity.

Defiance is a thought-provoking book that I highly recommend for WWII buffs, but also for anyone interested in history, anyone worried about the current political climate in the U.S. or someone just wanting a good story to read of human determination and courage.

Meet the Author

Titia Bozuwa grew up in the Netherlands, experiencing first-hand what Nazi occupation was like. She was just a child but one with a remarkable memory. She shared her childhood in the memoir, In the Shadow of the Cathedral: Growing Up in Holland During WWII.  Now, she has written this fictional account that covers a wider range of what that time was like.


Could the U.S. Have Its Own Auschwitz?

I wrote this essay a year and a half ago. It is even more pertinent today, with 500 children still separated from their parents and warehoused in child prisons right here in the United States.

Could the U.S. Have Its Own Auschwitz?

Today, January 27, 2017, is the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Many years ago I worked with a retired military man who had been present at the liberation of one of the Nazi death camps. The horror of what he saw there stayed with him all his life.

The systematic isolating, transporting, and extermination of millions of people is something we must never forget and never allow to happen again. Although it happened decades ago and across the ocean, such horrors could happen again. It could even happen here in our own country.

pixabay concentration camp
Sculpture depicting the horrors of a concentration camp.

“NO,” you might shout out! Citizens of this country would never be capable of such cruelty to people of a certain religion or certain background. We would never allow our leaders or our military to create camps where people starved to death.

I’m sorry to tell you that it can happen in this country and in fact, it has happened. During the Civil War, a prison for captured Union soldiers was established in Andersonville, Georgia. Circumstances contributed to a holocaust situation there.

guard tower andersonville
A guard tower at the reconstructed prison in Andersonville, Georgia.

More and more prisoners poured into a stockade that was inadequate for the 45,000 men that languished there during its 14 months of operation. With disruption to supply lines, there was inadequate food. At the same time, the inept or uncaring administration provided no shelter, little medical care, and no abatement of unsanitary conditions.

Around 14,000 formerly robust soldiers died of starvation or illness from the horrible conditions. The survivors were like skeletons with lifelong health problems. My great-great grandfather was a survivor of Andersonville.

The camp commander was tried and hung for war crimes, but the fact remains that under certain circumstances a holocaust can happen in the United States. We can’t let such a thing happen.

We must be alert to any efforts to intern a population. As a caring people, we must personally take steps to prevent mistreatment and abuse of human rights. We cannot turn our heads like the people did in Germany or like those who in the 1860s who knew of Andersonville but did not intervene.

If I Were President

A second cousin chastised me on Facebook for not respecting the president. “Ok 👌🏼 I get your message “you” don’t like The President, just remember all was NOT peaches & cream before he was elected. Term limits on Congress would be a STEP in the right direction and do remember that “we the people” elected him, NOT the press.
By the way, could YOU do a better job?🦋🎶” (she added the emoji to soften the complaint against a family member)

trump national embarrassment

My reply was, “Yes, I could do better. I would get advisers who were not white supremacists and a cabinet with real qualifications, not just wealthy yes-men out to line their own pockets.”

I thanked her for her input. “Dear, Cousin, you’ve given me a good topic for my blog. Thanks. Friends, please tell me in what ways you would be a good president?”

My friend Elaine gave her input on what a good president needs to be, “No President will ever do a 100% good job. However, this President has no humanity. You could not say that about the last one.

Heck, you could not say that about any President that I remember. Well, apart from Nixon. It does not matter whether you are Republican or Democrat or anything in between. Humanity is crucial and for someone so powerful to lack it is scary for the world.”

Then in the fast-moving ways of Facebook, the question was lost in the welter of current posts. No one else answered my query. Perhaps they didn’t have an opinion or perhaps they are just weary of the constant barrage of bad news about this administration. The other possibility is they’ve learned the futility of arguing with a supporter of the president.

Gillum for Governor!

I’m pleased to see that Andrew Gillum, the candidate that I voted for in the primaries to be governor of Florida, won. It was unexpected, as CNN, etc. didn’t think a progressive candidate or a Black man could win in that state. Times are changing, folks. Bernie Sanders endorsed Gillum and I think it helped boost his candidacy.

Gillum for governor of Florida
Let’s get Gillum in as Florida governor. We need forward movement for a state that has truly suffered under Scott.

I hear some older voters wondering if Gillum will be too far left for Democratic voters in the November election. Here’s what I say to them,

“I think you will find the young voters respond very well to Gillum’s progressive views. We need to understand their desire for a better minimum wage, gun safety laws, affordable healthcare, preserving our environment, affordable college, etc. In the long run, we will all be the better for it. If these ideas are too far left, what is our country coming to?”

Plus, remind them that they were the ones touting “Vote Blue – No Matter Who” and then blaming Bernie for not adequately turning out the vote for Clinton. So, the message for November in Florida is “Vote Blue – No Matter Who” and get to work registering new voters and wooing Independents.”

A Facebook friend asked what she could do to help Andrew Gillum, Anna Eskamani, Stephanie Murphy and Bill Nelson as we approach November. She was looking for some things she could do just as an everyday citizen.

How to Help Democrats Win in November

  • Get some yard signs for your yard. Find the local campaign office to get some.  Bill Nelson’s campaign office phone number is 407-413-5494
  • Talk to your friends and neighbors
  • Post positive stuff about the candidates in as many public groups as possible. Don’t just post in the echo chamber (groups that already support the candidate).
  • Write letters to the editor
  • Encourage people to register to vote. There is still time. They can register online.
  • Volunteer for a phone bank
  • Contact the local campaign offices and ask them what they need.
  • Contact Sarah Elbadri to help with the Gillum campaign. You can make calls or canvas.
  • Canvassing, postcarding to get out the vote, and phone calls.
  • Post positive stuff about the candidates in places where the general public will see it, such as responses to news articles, etc.
  • Check the Gillum for Governor Facebook group for more ideas.

graham for gillum