Bibliography for 2018

Everything I read, or started to read, in 2018.

  1. Aaronovitch, Ben. Midnight Riot. New York, NY: Del Rey, 2011 (January 10). 310 pages. 4 stars.
  2. Alexander, J. Neil. Celebrating Liturgical Time: Days, Weeks, and Seasons. New York, NY: Church Publishing, 2014 (January 10). 116 pages. 4 stars.
  3. Anders, Charlie Jane. “Don’t Press Charges and I Won’t Sue.” Boston, MA: Boston Review, 2017 (October 30). 30 pages. 4 stars.
  4. Avery, Simon. The Teardrop Method. Cambs, UK: TTA Press, 2018 (May 17). 160 pages. 3 stars.
  5. Beard, Mary. How Do We Look: The Body, the Divine, and the Question of Civilization. New York, NY: Liveright Publishing, 2018 (September 2). 240 pages. 3 stars.
  6. Beard, Mary. Women & Power: A Manifesto. New York, NY: Liveright Publishing, 2017 (November 2). 126 pages. 4 stars.
  7. Benjamin, Chloe. The Immortalists. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2018 (January 9). 352 pages. 3 stars. Review.
  8. Berry, T.J. Space Unicorn Blues. Nottingham, UK: Angry Robot Books, 2018 (July 3). 400 pages. 4 stars.
  9. Bodard, Aliette de. In the Vanisher’s Palace. New York, NY: JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc, 2018 (October 16). 145 pages. 3 stars.
  10. Brown, Eric S. The Monster Society. East Chicago, IN: Ring of Fire Press, 2018 (April 16). 201 pages 3 stars.
  11. Brust, Steven. Good Guys. New York, NY: Tor Books, 2018 (March 6). 307 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  12. Bujold, Lois McMaster. The Curse of Chalion. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2000. 512 pages. 5 stars.
  13. Bujold, Lois McMaster. The Flowers of Vashnoi. Amazon, 2018 (May 16). 98 pages. 4 stars.
  14. Craig, Will. Living the Hero’s Journey: Exploring Your Role in the Action-Adventure of a Lifetime. Boulder, CO: Live and Learn Publishing, 2017 (September 7). 227 pages. Unfinished.
  15. Dalcher, Christina. Vox. New York, NY: Berkley, 2018 (August 21). 336 pages. 3 stars.
  16. Dale, Helen. Kingdom of the Wicked Book One: Rules. Balmain NSW: Ligature Pty Limited, 2017 (October 1). 352 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  17. Dale, Helen. Kingdom of the Wicked Book Two: Order. Balmain NSW: Ligature Pty Limited, 2018 (May 27). 434 pages. 4 stars Review.
  18. Dawson, Delilah S. and Hearne, Kevin. Kill the Farm Boy. New York, NY: Del Rey, 2018 (July 17). 367 pages. Unfinished.
  19. Diamant, Anita. The Red Tent. New York, NY: Picador, 1997. 336 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  20. Donnelly, Lara Elena. Amberlough. New York, NY: Tor Books, 2017 (February 7). 368 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  21. Dunstall, S.K. Stars Uncharted. New York, NY: Ace, 2018 (August 14). 416 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  22. Ehrman, Bart D. The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 2018 (February 13). 353 pages. 4 stars.
  23. Evanovich, Janet. Look Alive Twenty-Five. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2018 (November 13). 320 pages. 4 stars.
  24. Fraser, Caroline. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Co, 2017 (November 17). 640 pages. 5 stars.
  25. Gailey, Sarah. American Hippo. New York, NY:, 2018 (May 22). 256 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  26. Gardner, James Alan. All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault. New York, NY: Tor Books, 2017 (November 7). 377 pages. 4 stars.
  27. Gardner, James Alan. They Promised Me the Gun Wasn’t Loaded. New York, NY: Tor Books, 2018 (November 6). 352 pages. 4 stars.
  28. Goss, Theodora. European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 2018 (July 10). 720 pages. 3 stars. Review.
  29. Goss, Theodora. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 2017 (June 20). 417 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  30. Grann, David. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2017 (April 18). 354 pages. 2 stars.
  31. Gregory, Daryl. Spoonbenders. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017 (June 27). 416 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  32. Haller, Tobias Stanislas. The Episcopal Handbook. New York, NY: Morehouse Publishing, 2015 (January 1). 231 pages. 5 stars.
  33. Harkaway, Nick. Gnomon. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017 (October 19). 560 pages. Unfinished.
  34. Ireland, Justina. Dread Nation. New York, NY: Balzer + Bray, 2018 (April 3). 418 pages. 4 stars.
  35. Jemisin, N.K. The Fifth Season. New York, NY: Orbit Books, 2015 (August 15). 496 pages. 4 stars.
  36. Jemisin, N.K. The Obelisk Gate. New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, 2016 (August 16). 448 pages. 4 stars.
  37. Jemisin, N.K. The Stone Sky. New York, NY: Orbit Books, 2017 (August 15). 464 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  38. Jones, Stephen Graham. Mapping the Interior. New York, NY:, 2017 (June 20). 112 pages. 3 stars.
  39. Kellerman, Jonathan. Night Moves. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 2018 (February 13). 416 pages. 4 stars.
  40. Klages, Ellen. Passing Strange. New York, NY:, 2017 (January 24). 224 pages. 4 stars.
  41. Klaushofer, Alex. “In Search of Glastonbury.” Hermes Books, 2015 (June 20). 35 pages. 4 stars.
  42. Kleon, Austin. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. New York, NY: Workman Publishing Company, 2012 (February 28). 160 pages. 4 stars.
  43. Korb, Alex. The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, 2015 (March 1). 241 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  44. Kowal, Mary Robinette. The Calculating Stars. New York, NY: Tor Books, 2018 (July 3). 384 pages. 5 stars. Review.
  45. Kowal, Mary Robinette. The Fated Sky. New York, NY: Tor Books, 2018 (August 21). 320 pages. 5 stars. Review.
  46. Kowal, Mary Robinette. The Lady Astronaut of Mars. New York, NY., 2012 (December). 31 pages. 4 stars.
  47. Lackey, Mercedes. The Bartered Brides. New York, NY: DAW Books, 2018 (October 18). 320 pages. 4 stars.
  48. Lackey, Mercedes. The Hills Have Spies. New York, NY: DAW Books, 2018 (June 5). 336 pages. 4 stars.
  49. Lafferty, Mur. Six Wakes. New York, NY: Orbit Books, 2017 (January 31). 400 pages. 3 stars. Review.
  50. Lambert, Timothy James. The Gnostic Notebook. Amazon, 2015 (February 9). 518 pages. Unfinished.
  51. Leckie, Ann. Provenance. New York, NY: Orbit Books, 2017 (September 26). 448 pages. 5 stars. Review.
  52. Lee, Fonda. Jade City. New York, NY: Orbit Books, 2017 (November 7). 512 pages. 3 stars. Review.
  53. Lee, Yoon Ha. Extracurricular Activities. New York, NY:, 2017 (February 15). 55 pages. Hugo Award nominee. 4 stars.
  54. Lee, Yoon Ha. Ninefox Gambit. Oxford, UK: Solaris Books, 2016 (June 14). 384 pages. 3 stars.
  55. Lee, Yoon Ha. Raven Stratagem. Oxford, UK: Solaris Books, 2017 (June 13). 400 pages. 3 stars. Review.
  56. Mackey, Kim. Essen Defiant. East Chicago, IN: Ring of Fire Press, 2018 (March 5). 203 pages. 3 stars.
  57. McGovern, Bridget. Rocket Fuel: Some of the Best from Non-Fiction. New York, NY:, 2018 (July 17). 291 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  58. McGuire, Seanan. Down Among the Sticks and Bones. New York, NY:, 2017 (June 13). 176 pages. 3 stars.
  59. McGuire, Seanan. Rosemary and Rue. New York, NY: Daw Books, 2009 (September 1). 368 pages. 3.5 stars. Review.
  60. Miller, Rachel Wilkerson. Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide. New York, NY: The Experiment Publishing, 2017 (July 31). 241 pages. 4 stars.
  61. Milton, Giles. Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler’s Defeat. New York, NY: Picador, 2017 (February 7). 368 pages. 4 stars.
  62. Newitz, Annalee. Autonomous. New York, NY: Tor Books, 2017 (September 19). 298 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  63. North, Ryan. How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler. New York, NY: Riverhead Books, 2018 (September 18). 462 pages. 4 stars.
  64. Novik, Naomi. Spinning Silver. New York, NY: Del Rey, 2018 (July 10). 480 pages. 5 stars. Review.
  65. Okorafor, Nnedi. Binti. New York, NY: Book, 2015 (September 22). 96 pages. 3 stars.
  66. Okorafor, Nnedi. Binti: Home. New York, NY: Book, 2017 (January 31). 176 pages. 3 stars.
  67. Orlean, Susan. The Library Book. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2018 (October 16). 336 pages. 4 stars.
  68. Pavlovitz, John. A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2017 (September 1). 210 pages. 4 stars.
  69. Peynado, Brenda. “The Kite Maker.” New York, NY:, 2018 (August 29). 2 stars.
  70. Pink, Daniel H. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. New York, NY: Riverhead Books, 2018 (January 9). 268 pages. 4 stars.
  71. Pinsker, Sarah. “And Then There Were [N-One]”. Uncanny Magazine March/April 2017. 40 pages. 4 stars.
  72. Porath, Jason. Tough Mothers: Amazing Stories of History’s Mightiest Matriarchs. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2018 (April 3). 256 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  73. Puchner, Martin. The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization. New York, NY: Random House, 2017 (November 24). 448 pages. 3 stars.
  74. Reed, MacKenzie. Smart Journaling: How to Form Life-Changing Journal Writing Habits that Actually Work for Reaching Any Goal and Getting Your Life Back on Track. Amazon Digital Services, 2018 (March 26). 124 pages. 3 stars.
  75. Robinson, Kim Stanley. New York 2140. New York, NY: Orbit Books, 2017 (March 14). 624 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  76. Rowling, J. K. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – The Original Screenplay. New York, NY: Pottermore Limited, 2018 (November 16). 304 pages. 4 stars.
  77. Rowling, J. K. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay. New York, NY: Pottermore Limited, 2016 (November 18). 304 pages. 4 stars.
  78. Russell, Craig. Fragment. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Thistledown Press, 2016 (October 1). 214 pages. 4 stars.
  79. Sakalaucks, Herb. The Danish Scheme. East Chicago, IN: Ring of Fire Press, 2013 (June 18). 238 pages. 3 stars.
  80. Sakalaucks, Herb. 1632: The Battle for Newfoundland. East Chicago, IN: Ring of Fire Press, 2018 (January 20). 297 pages. 3 stars.
  81. Scalzi, John. The Collapsing Empire. Review.
  82. Scalzi, John. Head On. New York, NY: Tor Books, 2018 (April 17). 336 pages. 4 stars.
  83. Schaefer, F.C. All the Way with JFK: An Alternate History of 1964. Amazon, 2017 (February 16). 160 pages. Unfinished.
  84. Schoen, Lawrence M. Barry’s Deal. NobleFusion Press, 2017 (November 9). 84 pages. 4 stars.
  85. Schroeder, Karl. The Million. New York, NY: Books, 2018 (September 1). 160 pages. 3 stars. Review.
  86. Shah, Bina. Before She Sleeps. Harrison, NY: Delphinium Books, 2018 (August 7). 280 pages. 3 stars.
  87. Sinor, Bradley H. The Hunt for the Red Cardinal. East Chicago, IN: Ring of Fire Press, 2018 (June 15). 299 pages. 3 stars.
  88. Traister, Rebecca. Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2018 (October 2). 320 pages. 3 stars.
  89. Turtledove, Harry. Shtetl Days. New York, NY: Books, 2011 (April 14). 32 pages. 5 stars. Review.
  90. Valente, Catherynne M. Space Opera. New York, NY: Saga Press, 2018 (April 10). 304 pages. 3 stars. Review.
  91. Walsh, Alison. A Literary Tea Party: Blends and Treats for Alice, Bilbo, Dorothy, Jo and Book Lovers Everywhere. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing, 2018 (June 5). 160 pages. 4 stars.
  92. Walton, Jo. An Informal History of the Hugos: A Personal Look Back at the Hugo Awards, 1953-2000. New York, NY: Tor Books, 2018 (August 7). 352 pages. 3 stars. Review.
  93. Warwick, Howard of. The Heretics of De’Ath. London, England: Funny Book Company, 2010 (November 5). 252 pages. 2 stars.
  94. Webber, Christopher L. The Vestry Handbook: Revised Edition. Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 1988 (March). 136 pages. 4 stars.
  95. Wells, Martha. All Systems Red. New York, NY: Books, 2017 (May 2). 156 pages. 5 stars.
  96. Wells, Martha. Artificial Condition. New York, NY: Books, 2018 (May 8). 160 pages. 5 stars.
  97. Wells, Martha. Exit Strategy. New York, NY: Books, 2018 (October 2). 176 pages. 5 stars.
  98. Wells, Martha. Rogue Protocol. New York, NY: Books, 2018 (August 7). 160 pages. 5 stars.
  99. Westover, Tara. Educated. New York, NY: Random House, 2018 (February 20). 336 pages. 4 stars.
  100. White, Sam. A Cold Welcome: The Little Ice Age and Europe’s Encounter with North America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017 (October 16). 365 pages. 3 stars.
  101. Whitta, Gary; Yant, Christie; and Howey, Hugh. Resist: Tales from a Future Worth Fighting Against. Green Cove Springs, FL: Broad Reach Publishing, 2018 (October 19). 388 pages. 3 stars.
  102. Williams, Drew. The Stars Now Unclaimed. New York, NY: Tor Books, 2018 (August 23). 400 pages. 3 stars.
  103. Willis, Connie. D.A. Burton, MI: Subterranean Press, 2007 (September 1). 76 pages. 5 stars. Review.
  104. Willis, Connie. I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land. Burton, MI: Subterranean Press, 2018 (April 30). 88 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  105. Yang, J.Y. The Black Tides of Heaven. New York, NY: Books, 2017 (September 26). 240 pages. 2 stars.
  106. Zabel, Bryce. Once There Was a Way: What If the Beatles Stayed Together? New York, NY: Diversion Books, 2017 (December 5). 308 pages. 4 stars. Review.
  107. Zumas, Leni. Red Clocks. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company, 2018 (January 16). 368 pages. 3 stars.

Announcing the Hugo Awards of 2018

The Hugo Awards for 2018 were announced Sunday night! And history has been made!

The fiction awards are as follows:

Best Novel: The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin. This is the one that made history. N.K. Jemisin as won the Best Novel award three years in a row, for her The Broken Earth series. I will admit that this isn’t my favorite novel of the nominees, but it is the “weightiest” and the most significant. It’s a terrific win, and I’m pleased it did so.

Best Novella: All Systems Red by Martha Wells. This is my favorite of the novella nominees in a strong slate. A terrific main character in a terrific story; I keep telling everyone how great this story is.

Best Novelette: “The Secret Life of Bots” by Suzanne Palmer. This was number two on my list, and I’m quite content that it won.

Best Short Story: “Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™,” by Rebecca Roanhorse. Again, not my favorite, but a good selection from a good slate.

Finally, since I’ve spent all this time reading and reviewing the entries this year, I’ve bought a supporting membership for next year. (I’d love to go to Dublin, but I just don’t see that happening.)

Politics – The Sheep and the Goats

I’ve mentioned that the above parable is one of my foundational beliefs, for politics, religion, and life. For me, here’s what that means.

If you don’t know the passage, it’s in Matthew 25:31-46. To paraphrase it, Jesus tells His disciples that, when He is on His throne of glory, He will gather the people and divide them based on how they have treated Him. He gives six conditions: hunger, thirst, a stranger, naked, sick and in prison. And when the people say, “We never did these things,” He tells them that as they have done to the least of His brothers, so they have done to Him. (Note: since every translation I have read of this uses “brothers” for both genders, I am doing so as well.)

In discussing this as political actions that a Christian should take, there are two basic arguments that people have used to state that this doesn’t apply to political actions, just personal ones.

The first argument is the one that I consider the more defensible one: Jesus is talking personal action, not government action. This is true. However, I vote as a Christian, and I believe in voting for policies that I believe are better for all of us, which means voting for policies that support the “least of our brothers”. The Jewish people of the time, the ones that Jesus was preaching to, had a long history that supporting those less fortunate than themselves was a moral and social good. The Romans, the people in charge of the government of the time, the government that we are supposed to read in the Bible as somewhere between callous and evil, on the other hand, viewed helping those less fortunate as generally a bad idea. To me, it makes more sense to those of us trying to follow Jesus’ teachings to support those less fortunate. In addition to being a more Christian thing to do, studies have shown that it costs less to give support up front than to have to deal with the consequences later on.

The second argument is one that I have a great deal of trouble with: that “of my brothers” doesn’t include all of humanity, which is my reading. They limit that group to their fellow Christians, or their fellow countrymen, or those who are part of some group that they belong to. I disagree. Throughout the four Gospels, Jesus makes it clear that we are all in this together, that “neighbor” is to be defined broadly, and that He speaks to everyone. To me, that means that we are to view everyone as our brothers, and to care for all of humanity. Anything else seems wrong to me.

As I stated earlier, in the passage, Jesus identifies six conditions in which He was in need that those who He considered His sheep provided for, and I intend on discussing them in later blog posts.

Politics – At the Core

Political discussion in this country has become a minefield.  People who used to be friends are finding themselves separated by chasms that seem insurmountable.  Our two political parties seem unable to find compromises on anything.  And the daily news, especially right now, with the children at the border, continues to get worse.  Like everyone else, I have opinions.  Mine are grounded in what I believe are good morals, ethics, facts and law.  I express them as truth and I make no apologies for that.  But.

First and foremost, we are all human.  We disagree, but underneath, we are still one.  Although I disagree, vehemently in some cases, with the opposing viewpoint, with a few exceptions, I know that the other side isn’t evil.  Even those we now view as evil rarely see themselves as such.

As humans, we frequently view an issue as having two sides.  For better or worse, we then divide ourselves into two camps, but the problem is that there are many issues and few cases in which the people in one group agree on everything.

Looking at the various political issues that we generally view as “important” when it comes to political discussions and voting, the two general principles that people use to determine what their beliefs are on a specific issue.  Please note:  what follows is MASSIVE generalization; people’s consideration is much more complex than this.

The first is that people tend to divide up the world into “Us” and “Them”.  In and of itself, this isn’t a bad thing; sometimes, a situation does have two different sides.  The issue is in how large the “Us” group is and how large the “Them” group is.  The larger the “Us” group is, the more an individual believes in the positives of diversity, of identity politics, in seeing the citizens of other nations in a positive light.  The larger the “Them” group is, the more an individual doesn’t see discrimination, the more they are angered by identity politics, by being asked to understand those who are different from them, the more they see those of other nations in a negative light.  To me, we are best off in keeping the “Us” group large, comprising the entire human race.  We are best keeping the “Them” group small, and only applying it at all to specific situations.  First and foremost, we are all human.

The second principle is that of predestination, although it is usually known as the “Protestant Work Ethic”.  Basically, it means that many people believe that what happens to other people was brought upon themselves.  One common way in which this manifests itself is when people argue against welfare because they believe that most of those receiving it are lazy and are just scamming the system.  If shown an individual case, especially of someone they know, and they’ll agree that it was just bad luck and that they need the help, but they don’t generalize it to most of those in need.  In addition, they express the belief that it is better that no one be given assistance that doesn’t need it, even if that means that some who do need it won’t get it.

I don’t believe in predestination, I do believe that most people want to be independent, and I think that a safety net for those who need it is essential.  I think that “Us” means all of humanity and that “Them” is an occasionally useful, temporary description.  Over all, in no particular order, I’m a liberal, a Democrat, a Christian, a middle-aged wife and mother, full-time employed, an American … and a member of the human race.  Come join me.

My Political Beliefs

I have been a registered Democrat since I was eighteen, even when the country around me was making “liberal” a dirty word.  (It’s not.)  I started out pretty close to the center, but as the country has drifted right, and I’ve experienced the world around me, I’ve drifted farther and farther left.

My political beliefs have been largely shaped by my religious beliefs, with life experience added on top.  The first thing I think whenever politics, especially finances, comes up is a passage from the New Testament, Matthew 25:31-46, the parable of the sheep and the goats.  I will admit that I always hear it in Keith Green’s voice.  If the name doesn’t sound familiar, he was a Christian singer who died in a plane crash in 1982, and he did a powerful reading of the passage that I first heard in college sometime between 1982 and 1985.  I have never been able, or wanted, to shake the power of that reading and it has influenced my politics ever since.

In addition, there are multiple passages in the prophets of the Old Testament (Amos sticks especially in my mind) in which they rail against Israel because of how they (mis)treat the poor, the widows, the orphans, and how they are unjust.  I can’t remember exact passages, but I do remember the idea continuing like a drum beat.  Between these passages and the one from Matthew, I have believed that being a good person means taking care of those less fortunate than you.

I have been blessed with good fortune in my life.  I have also been sheltered from much of the poverty and dangers of this world.  I’m also timid and shy, so I’ve never ventured out to help those in need personally.  But I do believe that we are supposed to do so, and the economy of scale means that I will vote for those politicians who agree that we, as a wealthy nation, should do so as a nation.

However, that doesn’t mean that I believe that the government should force anyone to have, or pretend to have, the same religious beliefs that I do.  My political beliefs may have been formed by my religious beliefs, but I still believe that a person’s religion is between them and their God/dess.  (Those same prophets who influenced my political beliefs would have a few things to say about Her!)

To put it simply and bluntly, I am a Democratic Socialist who believes in diversity, civility and, otherwise, to let people live freely according to the laws of our country.  These ideals don’t always play nicely with each other, but I believe it is the best way to try live up to our potential as a nation.



Whether you have just found this blog, or have been following it for the past month, welcome.  My plan, until I change it, is to post the following:

  • On Sundays, a post about the what and why of my religious beliefs, and anything else that falls under that basic category.  I currently attend the Episcopal church, my political beliefs follow directly from my religious beliefs, and I’ve done a good bit of reading and thinking about religion in many of its different forms.
  • On Thursdays, a post about the what and why of my political beliefs, which place me at the left of the Democratic Party.  I’ll try to keep the religious bits out of these posts.
  • For the rest of the week, at least two book reviews, since I’m trying to read at least two books a week.  I started out with the finalists for the Nebula and Hugo awards (and I’ll repost the Hugo finalists closer to the awards), but I read a lot of things other than science fiction and fantasy.
  • Anything else that comes to mind.

I am, at the least, a middle-aged woman, a computer programmer, a wife, a mother, and a friend.  I approach the world by reading and thinking about it.  If given something I don’t understand, like Harry Potter’s Hermione, I go to the library!

It’s a weird, strange, wonderful world we live in.  Come join me.  I promise, I’m only cranky sometimes.

Why I’m doing this

To begin with, this blog will be my personal view on U.S. politics as I see them.  That means that they will be from the point of view of a 53-year-old woman, married 29 years, mother of a 21-year-old son, and registered Democrat since I turned 18.  I try to live my life as best as I can, by the virtues that Jesus taught, primarily those of compassion and mercy.

For most of my life, although I’ve had political opinions and have voted regularly, politics was something that happened “in the background”.  I’m not fond of unnecessary confrontation, which seems to be the default in politics.  I voted Democrat, discussed it with my husband and close friends, but mostly, I left it alone.

The 2016 U.S. Presidential election has been especially ugly and left me feeling especially disgusted.  I voted for Senator Sanders in the primary election but, when Secretary Clinton won the primary, I knew I would be voting for her.  Mr. Trump was not an option and, as the campaign continued, he became less so in my mind.  When November 8 came, I altered my usual Election Day schedule.  I went to the polls, with my son, before I went to work (usually I go after).  We discussed the procedure, I reminded him to make sure he’d pushed the correct buttons, we voted, I dropped him back home and I went to work.  

By the time I returned home, my husband had left on a business trip, so I watched the election returns alone.  Usually, I wouldn’t bother, but I needed to know that night.  The results weren’t “final” that night, but by the time I went to bed at 1:30am, it was pretty certain that Donald J. Trump had been elected as our 45th President.  At this point, I felt sick, and then I got angry.  This blog is one of several results of that anger.

This isn’t sour grapes.  Since 1953, which includes my entire lifetime, the Presidency has been in the hands of one party for no more than 12 years at a time.  I will even admit that the fact that the Presidency switches hands is probably good for the country as a whole, since power is not consolidated with one political party to the exclusion of the other.  I am not overjoyed at some of the decisions and actions that have been taken, especially by the Republican Presidents, but time generally balances out the good and the bad.  My issue is not that the Republican nominee in general won the election, because this has happened in four of the eight Presidential elections in which I have voted.  

My issue is entirely with Mr. Trump.  In my opinion, he is not of presidential caliber because he respects nothing and nobody other than himself.  He shows no respect for the people of the United States and he shows little to no respect for the office for which he has been elected.  His behavior since his election indicates a man who will drag this country through one scandal after another until he is impeached.  What he will do after that is anyone’s guess.

Instead of working to bring the people of this country together, which this country desperately needs, Donald Trump’s rhetoric acts to divide them.  That rhetoric is misogynistic, racist, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and anti-everyone else who isn’t a wealthy, white male born in this country.  This rhetoric has granted tacit permission to his supporters to act on these beliefs, both in word and in deed.  From November 8, when Mr. Trump was elected, until the day I’m writing this, November 29, there have been 867 incidents of hateful speech, harassment and intimidation.  In the immediate past, this behavior was not generally condoned.  Now, however, it is understood that it is acceptable.  On a 60 Minutes interview on November 13, Mr. Trump did say to those supporters who were responsible for the hate speech to “Stop it,” but it’s not much in the way of saying that he actually disapproves.  I can’t remember hearing that he has said or done anything else to express his disapproval of the hatred currently rampant in this country.

I don’t believe that the majority of those who voted for Mr. Trump in the past election chose him because his hateful rhetoric, nor do I believe that they are racist, misogynistic or otherwise bigoted.  I know that many people voted for him because they always vote Republican or because they refused to vote for Secretary Clinton.  That is their right.  However, they will have to accept the responsibility for those votes and for the increase in racist, misogynistic and bigoted speech and actions that will occur.

I will end the topic of Mr. Trump’s respect, or lack thereof, for the people of the United States with the following quote from a campaign rally held on January 23, 2016.  “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”  Frankly, I think better of the American people.

Donald J. Trump has also shown little to no respect for the office he intends to accept on January 20, 2017.  He shows this primarily in his refusal to separate his business and political activities.  Mr. Trump is a wealthy man with a valuable “brand” and a large corporate empire.  There have already been instances of questionable actions he has taken in regards to possibly allowing his business interests to color his political ones.  There have been cases in which diplomatic and corporate groups have decided on his hotels; some may just be looking for a “big name” place to stay, but some have stated, point-blank, that they are doing so as an “easy way” to ingratiate themselves.  Although, at this point, it is impossible to say if he has any intention of doing so, he is giving the appearance of using the office of President to enrich his own pockets.

There are also traditions associated with the Presidency that Mr. Trump appears ready to discard.  Some of them may not matter, but others certainly do.  As an example, there is some question as to whether Mr. Trump will be living in the White House once he takes office.  If he decides not to, and I hope he listens to those advisors who recommends that he does, he will be the first President since John Adams, our second President, who hasn’t lived there.  Forgetting about the fact that living elsewhere will cost more, in housing the Secret Service who protect him, in transporting him from New York City, where he currently lives, to Washington, D.C., and the inevitable traffic snarls from having the President commuting through New York City, there are also practical reasons to have the President in the White House.

Finally, Mr. Trump has expressed a great deal of respect for President Vladimir Putin of Russia.  Although we are technically at peace with Russia right now, it is a very tense peace.  Mr. Trump’s respect for President Putin, and the fact that many of the Wikileaks and other “fake” news stories originated in Russia, lead the concern that Russia wants Mr. Trump in office for its own reasons.  Those reasons are not likely to be beneficial to the United States.

In regards to the recounts, Mr. Trump has said that, “the people have spoken.”  And this is the truth; the votes that were made on November 8 are the ones that will count.  However, since the popular vote has been so overwhelmingly in favor of Secretary Clinton, and several of the “battleground” states have such slim leads, a recount seems like a sensible way to put questions to rest.  The recounts are not an accusation that Mr. Trump, or his campaign, have done anything wrong.  It is an acknowledgement that people and machines aren’t perfect, that mistakes could be made, and a check isn’t a bad idea.  Since Mr. Trump had so little respect for the election process that he refused to state that he would accept the outcome unless it went in his favor, I see no reason not to check those areas in which the leads are slim and could be mistaken.