Monday, September 29, 2008

finally

In November of 2006, I wrote this post on this blog. I repeat it here for a reason. A reason that will become evident when you click on the link at the end…….

The year was 1988. It was Tuesday, November 29, five days after Thanksgiving, a gray but unseasonably warm day, when, early in the morning, I got the call from my sister.....

Mom had died only moments earlier. After her long difficult struggle with colon cancer, she was finally released from her suffering. I immediately headed for my sister’s house, an hour away by speeding car, and arrived before the men from the funeral home got there to take Mom’s withered body away. Yes, there were tears. There was grief. But there was also the real relief that she would no longer be suffering the terrible ravages of that horrible disease. That her death was expected certainly mitigated the sense of loss and prepared us for that inevitable day.

Carol and I then set about making the final funeral arrangements, and started the difficult process of calling relatives and friends to tell them about Mom. We tried calling Uncle Eddie and Aunt Frannie during this process, but got no answer. That was not unusual. They could have been out working in the junkyard, off fishing or hunting somewhere. We gave it no second thought as we drove around town, stopping at the funeral home, going to the florist, closing bank accounts. The usual mundane tasks that accompany anyone’s death.

Mom’s funeral was set for Friday, December 2. Everyone we could think of had been notified by Tuesday evening, the day Mom died. Everyone except Uncle Eddie and Aunt Frannie. We tried to reach them by phone but got no answer. Wednesday morning we found out why.

Everything after that is speculation, supposition, and basic guesswork based on what the police could put together. For while Carol and I had been driving around town on Tuesday, while we had been going through the process of preparing for Mom’s funeral, some person, or persons, had been in the process of beating Uncle Eddie and Aunt Frannie to death. They were found by my brother-in-law bludgeoned, lying in pools of their own blood, next to each other in the barn that served as both office and storage place for the junkyard.

Robbery was the suspected motive, but there was no way to determine what, if anything, had been taken. No one suspicious was ever seen near the junkyard. No witness has ever come forward. No one has ever been accused of the crime. To this day the case has remained unsolved. Now 18 years later, it is a cold, cold case.

We had two funerals within days. Mom’s was on Friday, Uncle Eddie and Aunt Frannie were buried on Monday. Five days after Thanksgiving in 1988, five days after seeing three of our family members still alive, our family was visited by an expected, even hoped for death, and the unexpected violent deaths that continue to shock our memories of that awful time.

Somewhere in the world, a killer is still loose. Somewhere in the world, that killer might be celebrating Thanksgiving.

Our Thanksgivings will always be haunted by the knowledge that our family was chosen to suffer a terrible loss at this time of year. But that only serves to remind us of how thankful we can be for the family we still have, while remembering Uncle Eddie’s fedora, still in place, tilted back on his head, Aunt Frannie sitting primly in the corner, tight curls neatly in place, and Mom in the kitchen supervising, organizing, and still getting everything in order the way it should be. As we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving one more time, we will give thanks for having had them in our lives, while always wondering why they were taken away so cruelly.
posted by BobCiz at 9:14 AM 0 comments links to this post

Twenty years have passed since those events recounted here unfolded. Now at last there seems to be some developments in this old case that are moving it closer to being resolved. This link will take you to a newspaper story published several days ago.
http://www.sheboyganpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080928/SHE0101/809280446/1973

Needless to say, I will be following this story as it develops. Perhaps there will finally be closure.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

vp choice

Much has been made of the process of selecting a running mate for presidential candidates. The necessity of balancing the ticket to appeal to the widest range of voters becomes more a process of elimination than one of selection. In John McCain’s case the selection had to be one that would not alienate the wide conservative base he needs to win the election while maintaining his beloved mantle of maverick and harbinger of change. His support for all the failed policies of the current failed administration means he has to have someone with him to be the spear carrier of change that he can’t really lay claim to. His first choices, Tom Ridge, and Joe Lieberman, were rebuffed by the poobahs of the Republican party as too pro-choice on the abortion issue and Mitt Romney who was unappealing to the female and white worker constituency. So whom does he turn to? Sarah Palin, an unknown arch conservative evangelical who spouts feminist rhetoric while laying claim to her own maverick mantle.

Sarah Palin’s stated stands on the issues of the day are deeply embedded in the evangelical den of conservative thought. She is anti-abortion even in the case of rape and incest, pro-gun, pro-creationism, anti-gay rights, and anti-sex education (am I the only one who sees the irony in a mother opposed to sex education having a pregnant teenage daughter?). She wants to wear the label of environmentalist while denying that global warming is man-made. And most ridiculous of all she calls the war in Iraq “God’s task.”

John McCain’s selection of her smacks of a desperate attempt to pander to the female vote. He appears to be counting on women voters to be superficial enough to vote for any woman despite her stand on the issues. He seems to be counting on those women who were Hillary Clinton supporters to switch to the Republican side just because he has put a woman on the dais next to him. His choice of running mate appears to be another of his quick decisions that got little serious consideration. Another one of those damn the consequences snap judgments that he is known for. So now he has to try to pass her off as career mom, balancing work with family, while opposing the measures that would make woman’s difficulties in such multitasking easier, like expanded family leave and paid sick days and equal pay. McCain has found a running mate who has walked arm in arm with him and George Bush against the interests of women and working people in general.

Sarah Palin has been thrust into the role of attack dog (wearing lipstick, of course) against the Democratic ticket. Her introduction to the country at the Republican convention outlined quite clearly her role in the campaign. She is to be the sarcastic, caustic, snide, and mocking voice that attacks the opposition personally as well as politically. That attitude is hardly presidential. So far we have heard nothing of substance from her, only the constant vitriol of partisan politics lightly disguised with humorous sarcasm.

Granted, she has her good points too. I just can’t think of any right now that would enhance her qualifications to be president if circumstances dictate. But if I ever have a moose in my backyard, I’ll know whom to call.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

presidential qualifications

Speaking of presidential politics, I am always amused and somewhat surprised that there is so much emphasis put on “experience” when discussing the candidates’ qualifications for the job of President of the United States. The fact that the job of president is unique in the world should mitigate the requirement that a potential president have experience as president. Where, pray tell, does one get that experience? A lot can be said about those candidates who have experience in various governing and management capacities, but until you have actually been president, you can’t have the experience everyone is talking about to do the job.

All we can really hope for is that the job of president is turned over to someone with the necessary intelligence and mental acuity to learn on the job. We all know what happens when a man of limited ability and intelligence manages to fall into the job. We get a country that is engaged in fighting an unjust, even illegal war, that costs the taxpayers some 10 billion dollars a month to propagate and costs even more in the lives shattered and lost, a country in the throes of an economic slump that sees too many citizens losing their jobs and homes, a country that ignores the plight of people who can’t afford health care or medications, a country that is in an energy crisis that finds itself reliant on foreign oil from countries that are opposed to our principles, a country whose official stand on global warming is that it is a myth and that raping the environment is fine as long as Big Oil gets its tax breaks and makes obscene profits, a country that sees its standing as a global power diminished more each day.

While it is true that Barack Obama has little experience on the national level of government, being a first term senator with a background in local politics and community service, his obvious intelligence bodes well for his likely ability to handle the demands of the presidency. He has shown an inclination to look at the problems facing our country and arrive at carefully considered solutions to those problems. That some critics want to paint him as elitist and arrogant only shows that they are willing to settle for more years of buffoonery in the presidency.

John McCain’s reputation as a so-called maverick is well deserved. So is his reputation for shooting from the hip, making snap decisions and quick judgments and damn the consequences. And while no one can possibly question his patriotism and courage (how does being a prisoner of war qulaify a person for high government office?), there are those in the senate who have found him to be mean spirited, vindictive, and dismissive of those who disagree with him. His admitted lack of understanding of economics is frightening (I wish I was in his definition of the middle class—anyone earning 5 million dollars or less per year). His unflinching support for the war in Iraq can only suggest that if he becomes president we will be mired in those treacherous desert sands for many more years. His typical Republican dismissal of working class Americans in favor of tax breaks for big business as a way of stimulating the economy and creating jobs is so out of touch that it only emphasizes his disconnection from those working class citizens. His claim to be an agent of change in Washington is laughable. He admits to voting with Bush 90% of the time so the only change he will bring to the presidency is his name. Which should be George McCain.

It is time that our country gets back on the track to serving the best interests of its citizens. It’s time to regain the respect we deserve as the preeminent power in the world. It’s time to put intelligence back into the office of president. Let’s not settle for less than the best. Time for change is here.