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Some reflections on yesterday’s Election Day results

Yesterday was Primary Election Day here in Pennsylvania, and I was up to my eyeballs in electioneering/ volunteering.

Setting aside politics yesterday after lunch time, I helped bury in the ground a beautiful and perfect 21-year-old young lady who was killed the day after graduating from the University of Miami. Her name is Elizabeth Goldenberg, and she was from nearby Hummelstown, practically a suburb of Harrisburg these days. As her sobbing parents and siblings stood by, a large and far-flung community gathered around to give support, caring, and sympathy.

Young Elizabeth was killed in a boating accident while touring the Everglades with her family. She went from award-winning sky-is-the-limit talent to snuffed out like a light switch had been pushed. She was a hugely positive force surrounded by affectionate people who basked in her glow.

In moments like this I question my faith, I question God, because I can think of plenty of bad people who deserve to die, and yet this perfect young person is prematurely cut down. It is the essence of makes no sense and unfair.

It is hard to shake that feeling, and so that is also my thinking about the politics results: a lot of it makes no sense and is patently unfair.

While it is true that all my candidates but one prevailed yesterday, three issues nag at my mind:

  1. Republican Establishment is still inflicting self-damage by protecting poor candidates who are weak go-along get-along types, while stopping strong candidates from getting ahead. We saw that with the county judicial endorsement. The Dauphin GOP continues to artificially undermine the strongest Republicans and thereby alienate conservative grass roots voters, which the party needs. Unfair and self-defeating.
  2. I feel bad for Josh Feldman, candidate for the Uptown Harrisburg magistrate position, held by Barb Pianka. Feldman is a recent transplant to this area, with no roots, and had done no work related to the job, and yet he threw himself into the fray at the urging of other people. You might say he was used to try and settle a political score. If you read this blog, then you know I played a role in that race. It still brings me no pleasure to have played that role, and now more than ever I feel bad for Mr. Feldman. Hopefully he is able to get over the hard work and big expenditures he invested and get back to his pet service business in one piece. Whoever encouraged you to run was not your friend, Josh. Unfair to the unsuspecting.
  3. All the mainstream media’s anti-Trump fake news and fake leaks and fake analysis and fake issues and fake chaos are aimed at one thing: Obfuscation and diversion, hindering President Trump from digging into the morass and removing the cancer. For fifty years the anti-America left (which is in many ways lead by the mainstream media) has quietly infiltrated and taken over a great deal of American government. Had Hillary Clinton been elected, those bureaucrats were all poised to get it over the goal line, a line of no return, and fully take control of America. If Trump is able to “drain the swamp,” then all of that effort will have been for naught. Impeachment? After 100 days in office? For what? How? After Hillary Clinton’s lying and cheating and sale of emails with secret classified information, and sale of key uranium stockpiles to the Russian government, no one is more due for a trial and jail than she. The US media has become a partisan machine disconnected from real journalism, and so they treat Trump and his supporters unfairly.

While shoveling dirt on sweet Elizabeth’s coffin yesterday, miserable at the unfairness of her death, I was also struck by how meaningless so much of our material life is, how much we Americans take for granted, how relatively easy our lives are, compared to how most other humans live, and how we so easily fill up our lives with stupid, shallow things.

What is most important are relationships: Relationships between old friends, family members who respect one another, business colleagues, neighbors, and so on. Appreciate what we have. Hold our loved ones tight. In the end, it’s all ya got.

 

Drugs are destroying the next generation

Over the past weeks, the stories in the press and among friends and family about destructive drug use are overwhelming. Overwhelming in number and in sadness, these reports spell a problem for the next generation.

Young people in their teens, twenties, dying from drug overdoses. These are otherwise together and with-it young people, who looked forward to fulfilling careers and family life. Or going to jail, as did one young man I have known since he was born.

My own two older kids report back on their brushes with “casual” drug use, describing to their mother and I with some hilarity the carefree antics of their fellows using hard drugs and “recreational” drugs, like marijuana.

But nothing is funny about this. It is terrifying.

Yesterday I read that 33,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2015. This is not your grandfather’s “pot”; rather, it is an unknown witches’ brew of various toxins and addictive drugs all mixed together. Usually these mixes are designed by drug dealers to get people hooked, so they come and buy more drugs. But these mixes are killing a lot of people, or destroying their careers and their families.

At the Middle Paxton Township building this morning, I saw a flyer for an upcoming community meeting about opioid abuse. So many regular families have it.

Yesterday I sent two emails to my two daughters:

“Girls, I love you both so so so much. All your lives I’ve stayed up late comforting you when you were sick, or when you were anxious about social situations, or about school. Doing that is what fathers do, and I wish I could do it again now, because I am scared.

Now you are young adults and independent, living out of our home, and free to make even fatal decisions. Your mother and I are not near you to warn you, watch you, or stop you from making bad decisions. When your mother and I  were young, very few bad decisions we could have made carried serious risk. Smoking marijuana was smoking a dried up leaf, and it either made you feel sick, or stupid.

Today, the risks from bad decisions are huge because the outcomes are so fast and are irreversible. Someone offers you marijuana and you think “what the heck, it’s just one puff,” but you don’t know what’s in it.
You know what is in so many marijuana cigarettes today? HEROIN.

HEROIN is bad by itself, but today not even heroin is heroin. Now it’s laced with other drugs.
You can’t only “try” heroin ONCE, because that ONE TIME leaves you an addict. Your life is over after you become an addict. There is no recovery.

Everything you do after “trying” heroin and cocaine is to try to get more drugs to satisfy the craving.
Your life goes downhill immediately after you try heroin. And cocaine.
I’m writing to you right now because story after story after story is coming in from news reports and from family and from friends about how the “little” drugs led to more powerful drugs, which led to the end of someone’s life. People we know, kids like you.

Kids who felt indestructible.
Bulletproof.
Indomitable.
Healthy.

On Friday I spoke with an old friend of mine. She’s a lawyer. She’s now a drug addict, getting divorced, losing her home, losing the man who loved her, losing her profession.

She said “Josh, I am so so scared. I have nowhere to go.”

The result of trying cocaine and heroin is either death, or drug addiction so powerful that the young person can no longer function at a professional or self-sustaining level.

Life is about making wise choices, smart choices. Drug use, illegal behavior, risky behavior like driving fast or walking alone, and sexual behavior have never before carried so much potential to destroy everything you and I have worked for, for your own success, so quickly.

DO NOT EVEN TRY DRUGS. There is no benefit to them at all.

NO DRUG IS COOL.

NO DRUG IS SAFE.

LEAVE THE COMPANY OF PEOPLE WHO USE DRUGS.

These people will pressure you to join them in their stupidity and misery, and your life will forever be over in the one second it takes for you to “just try” it.

MAKE SMART DECISIONS.

I love you both so very very much.
-Dad”

 

Dangerous waters ahead

Does the right hand know what the left hand is doing at the Corbett campaign?  Are the very young people working there really up to it, do they have the background to successfully carry this off?  Trying to knock an unknown candidate off the ballot looks weak. Trying to pick a fight with sportsmen is just plain foolish. Good grief, people!