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November Is Full Of Holidays Focused On Giving Thanks

 In November we think about giving thanks, but there are other important days on the calendar. November is election month. Our local election was on the 7th, and Republicans in Virginia took a trouncing.  I will give thanks that our governor, now without any legislative support, will not get to track women’s menstrual cycles. Nor will he get his abortion ban. Democrats now control our legislature, and that is a fine thing. Voters across America realize that this election was between the party that wants to take away our rights and the party who wants all citizens to have the right to control their -own lives without governmental interference.  Most Americans know that we, the people, should be in charge of what we do with our bodies and who we love, not politicians. Another - often overshadowed by the others - holiday in the November calendar is Veteran’s Day.  It used to be called Armistice Day, to celebrate the end of WWI and pay homage to the many who gave their lives in that war. W
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Depending on who wins Nov. 7, a potential real-life horror looms over us

It’s the season of spookiness. The Valley started it off in style with Staunton’s Mischief and Magic weekend with Dementors abounding and Voldemort wandering the main streets. All over we’re seeing yards decorated with monsters and skeletons, bats and witches. It’s my favorite season. And my favorite genre for books and movies is gothic horror. Put me on the couch with some popcorn watching The Haunting and I’m happy. I don’t read books or watch movies about serial killers or real-life monsters. I like fiction and fantasy – imaginary terror that is pure escapism. We all know there is enough real-life horror and tragedy to escape from occasionally. And that’s why we like those moments, Halloween, Mischief and Magic weekends, classic horror stories. Unfortunately, here in Virginia, a potential real-life horror looms over us, and we need to figure out this month how to grapple with it. Because if we don’t, on November 8th, we could wake up in shock, viewing a dangerous landscape. Why? Be

Instead of Censoring Shakespeare, the GOP Should Learn From Him

 The Shenandoah Valley is blessed to be home to The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) in Staunton. As a retired English teacher, I delight in having access to Shakespeare’s plays produced by consummate professionals. The ASC players can be hilarious, profound, and wise, and their performances are a conduit for some of the most beautiful language ever spoken. Or written. But make no mistake, there is raunchiness in the plays, and man, when the ASC encounters it, they milk it for all it’s worth. Because it’s FUNNY. Bad puns, physical comedy, slapstick, and double entendre are funny. It’s partly why the plays have been popular for centuries. Enlightened people recognize the mirror they hold up to life’s bawdiness, beauty, miracles, and foolishness. However, through the centuries, Shakespeare’s plays have been banned, outlawed, and censored by people who fear them. Just this month, Republican-led Hillsborough County in Florida has decreed that the plays, particularly Romeo and Juliet, must

Our Economy Fares Better Under Democrats

 We have an ingrained myth in America that people persist in believing. During the 2016 presidential campaign, a friend told me that one of her coworkers hated Donald Trump with a fiery red hate but was going to vote for him anyway. Why? “Because,” he said, “I care about my IRA.” This man, presumably, went through the recession in 2008 during the George Bush presidency, where IRAs were demolished and house values plunged. But even having a damaging Republican recession didn’t dislodge the myth from that man’s mind that our economy does better under Republicans. This is something he, and way too many other Americans, believe. And yet, by every single indicator — gross domestic product, employment, incomes, productivity, even stock prices — America’s economy booms when Democrats are in the White House. This has been true for nearly a century now, and it’s certainly true for the Biden White House. Republicans have been calling President Joe Biden’s policies “Bidenomics,” which they think

Round and Round With Right-Wing Hypocrisy

Oh, the wheel of right-wing hypocrisy goes round and round and never stops. Mike Pence (famously know for having no spine) who spent all the years of the  Trump presidency slavishly adoring him, has entered the presidential race. After four years of his  l├Ęche-cul NOW he chooses to speak out against him ?  This is  not sincere.  Pence has never been sincere in his life.  It’s all an act.  Everything he  does has been in service to his political career, including now, denouncing the  Trump lawlessness. Chris Christie, famously the most-hated, lowest-rated governor in the history of  New Jersey, is also running for president.  He gave a blockbuster speech to  announce his entry into the race.  He laid into Trump with power and wit, and  accuracy, calling him a grifter.  Which he is. Imagine if Christie has said this in, oh, 2016, rather than spending all of Trump’s  years in the White House sucking up to him.  It was Christie who coached Trump  for his debates, and he was a supporter dur

GOP Wasting Time With Investigations

 As a committed Democrat, I have to say I love Republican investigations into Democratic “wrongdoing” or “criminal activity.” It’s so satisfying. Why? Because no matter how much they spend or how many years they toil, they never find anything criminal. Why? Because out of the two parties, there is only one full of criminal activity, and hey, it isn’t the Democrats. Let’s look at the following: Remember the Clintons? When the GOP spent over $82 million of taxpayer money on four investigations into their investments, the result brought no charges — no criminal wrongdoing. Republicans, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, held investigations into the attack on Benghazi, Libya, in 2012. They held her responsible for the deaths of Americans. After 62 hours of testimony from 255 witnesses, including that of the Secretary, 13 reports, and over 2500 pages of a conclusive report? No charges were brought. Congressional committees had an unlimited budget, spending $8,000 daily on the Beng

Democracy Protects Us From Mayhem

 You know the commercial for home insurance where Mayhem (in the guise of actor Dean Winter) comes to call, wrecking garages, cars, and houses. Have no fear, the insurance company says, “We’ve got you covered.” I’ve been wondering: What insurance coverage do Americans have to protect ourselves against the mayhem and chaos caused by the MAGA Republican Party?  We have a lot. We have the ballot box, for one thing. Democrats have proven their ability to defeat the MAGA Mayhem threatening democracy. Earlier this month, there was an election to fill a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and the Democrat won by a wide margin. Previously, because of Republican gerrymandering, Wisconsin Democrats have been unable to control their General Assembly, but voters elected a Democrat who will help cease that anti-democratic practice in their Supreme Court. She is also a supporter of women’s reproductive rights. The political orientation of the Wisconsin Supreme Court has been in Republican hands for